Monday, June 16, 2014

My Journey Back to Faith

I planned on sharing some more before and after's of the house but, felt compelled to share something that's been on my heart (and in a draft post) for a while now. I've never shared this part of my life partially because I think I was embarrassed and also a little afraid of being judged when I make the inevitable misstep.

I've been working on my spiritual growth over the past few months but, just didn't feel God's presence. I'm a Christian, I went to Christian schools for many years and I believe His Word to be true from my very core. God is all around us, every second of every day, in every thing. I absolutely know and believe that with every ounce of my being but, how do I reflect that in my actions and make it my heart? How do I take that and have it make a difference in my life? That is where I was struggling.

My heart didn't feel whole.

The hubs says that he feels God speak to him and all he does is listen and act. Um, #excuseme what. I want that! I want God to talk to me and I listen. I knew I needed to really pursue Christ to be the kind of wife and mother I want to be (and the one God wants me to be). Not just say but, act. Like really live my life chasing His will. Fulfilling His purpose for me. Letting Him transform my heart, thoughts and actions. It's almost like I would hear God speaking to me and then kind of resist it when it was something I didn't want to hear. A good friend told me that often times we view our relationship with God like we view the one with our actual father - and that made a whole...whole lot of sense to me. I've always been one to think that I know better, that despite what someone (anyone) tells me, I'm gonna do it my way. Even if I know they're right and I'm wrong. I have to learn the hard way which, has caused me a lot of pain, heartache and tangled feelings that I've had to work through over the years.

As #craycray as it sounds, PowerSheets are what have helped me connect the dots. Helped me create some action items that will help me build that deeper relationship with God that I desire and truly transform my heart. I reached out to a friend and asked for her advice. This is someone I have seen grow in incredible ways and she has had such an impact on me as a wife, mother and so much more. She had many words of wisdom and her words of truth and encouragement were what really pushed me into taking action on changing those empty feelings I was having.

After I spent a few days praying (as best as I know how) reflecting on what I want my life to look like, what kind of family I want to raise and what kind of wife, mother, friend and person I want to be, I had 5 areas of focus.
  1. Faith
  2. Husband
  3. Children 
  4. Others 
  5. Self

I've learned that my brain seems to work best in a compartmentalized manner (which is reinforced by the time management/organizational system that I'm using. Seriously, amazing. I'll share more about that in the next couple weeks) and when I write things down. Seems to be the only way that things really sink in. 

From this larger goal, you're asked to break it down into an Action Plan that included listing the Why and How. This forced me to form and refine my purpose and put it on paper. One of the biggest things I've learned from Advocare is the importance of having a solid purpose so, I really embraced this exercise. 

My Goal:
  • I want to know God's heart through reading the Bible and devotionals (Jesus Calling) start to finish this year and through prayer. I want to seek and align His will with my daily activities, thoughts and actions. I want to ACT on His will and teachings.
My Why:
  • Because my family needs me to do this more than they need me to do anything. I don't want God to have to teach me the hard way to get me to listen. It's the only way to fill the void in my heart and accomplish every and any other goal I set. I want Him to know that I treasure His blessings and grace through my thoughts and actions, not just my words. Words mean nothing if your behaviors and actions don't align. My boys teach me that every day. They learn by seeing. I want to earn their respect.

My How:
  • Finding a church and asking God for the guidance and discipline to do this - I'm honestly embarrassed to admit that we don't go to church. I always felt like you didn't need to go to church to be a good person and a strong Christian but, as it turns out, there are several verses here that talk about the importance of going to church and why. My girlfriend also said that it's important to pray about it and find a one where God wants you to serve - not just where they have casual dress code and a great daycare/kids program (not that I even thought...or maybe even mentioned that those were my criteria to her. Nope. Definitely didn't do that). 

  • Reading Jesus Calling each morning before checking any social media - this was a hard one for me. Again, embarrassing but, I'm working on it.
  • Being still, spending time with God and praying throughout the day - it's weird. I feel like I don't know how to pray. What do I say? How do I become disciplined and focused so that my mind doesn't wander? I'll start praying and it's like I'm not really there. This is a big focus for me because I think prayer takes practice.  
  • Getting rid of distractions that keep me from this - I unfollowed a lot of people/groups on Facebook and Instagram that weren't positive or fully in line with my values (ex. Someecards, certain fitness accounts on IG, etc.). I've also set some technology boundaries. My phone is a slippery slope. I found myself checking FB, IG, etc. habitually. Kid #1 calls my phone my camera because I'm always taking pictures with it and not too long ago he said to me, "mommy, QUIT LOOKING AT YOUR CAMERA! LOOK AT ME!!" I now am only on my computer or phone (for anything except something regarding the husband or kids) before they get up, when they're at school, or when they're napping. It's been really hard because I love being available to my Advocare people/team all the time, but it just didn't align with my core, nor my priorities so, I've had to set some boundaries. 

I think that my Spiritual journey is much like my health and fitness journey. I had to get to a point where I wanted and needed change and was willing to do the work to make it happen. 

God put things, like Advocare and my friend, Danielle, in my life to give me the tools, support and mentorship that I needed to truly transform my life. It's been an amazing journey so far and I am so excited to live the life that God is calling me to and fulfilling His purpose for me. 


  1. Niki, I so enjoyed reading this. I think we all go through periods of feeling disconnected despite our belief in Him. I joined a Community Bible study a few years ago, and now teach the little ones one day a week from Sept.-May. It got me back in the His word daily, I was held accountable. I truly believe we have too many other distractions nowadays. It is hard to get away from it all. I just recently picked up a book (even though my girls are grown), written by Rachel May Stafford (a blogger as well), called Hand Free Mama. You don't have to be a Mama of small children to take away things from this book! And, families are needed. They are a tremendous support system, as well as teaching tool. I look up to so many who have either walked my path or are ahead of me by many years for advice and encouragement. And, it is what He called us to do as you mentioned in the verse from Hebrews. In the past couple years our group has done an extensive study on both Hebrews and Romans. A lot can be learned from those chapters of the Bible alone regarding worship, faith and hope. Again, thanks for sharing your heart!!

    1. Thank you so much Lauren! I actually have a friend who has also recommended this book/way of life. It's next on my reading list, thank you so so much! Love your blog :)

  2. Thank you! I needed to read this.... BIG TIME! Is it just me, or do you also feel like your "existence" (emails, social media, work, etc) is taking over your LIFE (family, friends, faith)? I'm trying to build my relationship with God, but I have troubles turning my brain off. Great bloggy! Xo Kristen

    1. Kristen - to-ta-lly. It's helped me by setting technology boundaries. Especially when the husband and kids are around, I mean, I don't really *need* to talk to anyone other than them, at that very moment so that's been HUGE. Also, setting social media boundaries. It helps me not be so wound up - it's put my mind at ease turning off some of the distractions. Give it a try - I'd love to hear if/how it works for you you!

  3. Niki…this is a fabulous post and it is something I have battled for a very long time too..Good for you thou on how far you have come with this…I do not read the bible and probably should, but one person who I truly love to listen too and his messages are so positive is Joel Osteen….he seemed to help me a lot when i was going thru a terrible loss….hugs…Krissy

    1. Love JO Krissy! I wish we lived closer :) It's definitely something I have to be intentional about. Like "did I stop and actually pray? Thank God for even being alive today?!" It totally shifts my attitude. I don't flip out on the kids or a contractor (sometimes the husband still gets a lashing...) because I feel like God replenished me. It's not second nature yet but, that is my goal!

  4. What a great post. Good for you for sharing your heart! I totally agree with all of these things. I definitely can relate to not hearing (or maybe I'm just not listening :) ) to the Lord speak to me the way I desire Him to.

    We switched churches almost a year ago and I can't tell you how much of a difference it has made. Praying you guys find the right church for you!!!

  5. I came upon your site by chance, clicking forward from PWO. I enjoyed reading your thoughts and I want to encourage you in your faith journey. I will be praying for the insights you seek. You clearly have a wonderful foundation and heart for the Lord, as well as some mentors who seem to be giving you helpful guidance. I see myself as a Titus 2 woman, I've been through all the ups and downs of marriage and motherhood, and have learned many lessons. I hope that I can someday be helpful to younger women. As to prayer, it is difficult. One mneumonic that is helpful for me (I'm sure you've heard it) is ACTS: Adoration (acknowledging God's deity); Confession (self-forgiveness and repentance; Thanksgiving (for all our blessings); and Supplication. This often will get me through prayer when I'm at a loss for words. Another thing that helped me is learning that to hear he voice of God, you need to recognize it... and the way to do that is to be in the word, and to study and fellowship. Also, I want to encourage you to begin visiting churches to start the process of finding a church home that fits. Please keep in mind, that a big reason people move away from institutional church is that it is a human organization with imperfect people, and sinners. The key is, most people are trying to get closer to Christ, but all sin and fall short of the glory of God. So, don't let the occasional "hypocrite" stand in the way of your walk and journey! Praying for you!

  6. I have tried 3 times to post--and lost each post! I just will be briefer now, and tell you great post, I'll be praying for you to find a church home and for your faith journey! Surround yourself with like-minded folks, and the more you study and "recognize" God's voice, the easier it is to "hear" Him! Prayer help: ACTS: Adoration, Confession/contrition; Thanksgiving, Supplication (helps me when I'm stuck on "what" to pray!

    1. Thank you so much! I will definitely have to learn a little more about 'ACTS' but that sounds like exactly what I need :) Again, thank you!


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