Monday, October 31, 2011

Joy: Nicole's Story

This week on the blog is all about JOY, the second fruit of the spirit. We will each be sharing our own experiences with joy this week and I (Nicole) am happy to be kicking this week off. My story starts in the pit. But, oh girls, am I glad it doesn't end there. I know that many if not most of you will understand my story because most of us have been in our own pit a time or two. When it all boils down, each of our pits look just the same; dark, dirty, hopeless, scary, and chain-filled. But, the things that get us in the pit, or the experiences we have while there differs from person to person. 

I can't really tell you what got me into this pit in the first place except the lies of the evil one.  After the holiday season 2010, I returned back to my college town to an empty apartment and an even emptier heart.  The loneliness I felt in this season completely engulfed my life.  I made the pit my home and decided that I wouldn't be encouraged no matter what.  No, I didn't consciously choose to be discouraged, but I know that you must consciously CHOOSE joy, and I did not.  I allowed the devil to speak negatively into my life over and over and over.

You're not good enough.
You're a terrible friend.
You aren't worth pursuing.
You can't ever get anything right.
You are utterly and completely not worth it.

For months and months I chose to believe bits and pieces of these lies at different times.  I would get caught up in sin because I allowed these lies to become truth in my life.  As I started to let go of the loneliness, I held harder to the sins that met me in the pit.  


Throughout the past few months, God has been working in me and addressing some of the sins I have found myself in; some because of the pit, and some not.  He has pushed and encouraged me to LET GO of the things that have entrapped me, but the negative words of the evil one have continued to ring in my ears.

"You're not good enough."
"Who are YOU that God would love a person like YOU?"

I was so embarrassed to return back to the Lord.  Where do I, a sinner by choice, have a place in front of the Lord's throne?  I kept hearing a quiet whisper to return, because He said that he loved me anyways.  I was reminded that he loved me because it was his nature to love, not because of my own actions.

In Deuteronomy 7, Moses is reminding Israel of this very truth.  This is what he tells them is verses 7-9:

"God wasn't attracted to you and didn't choose you because you were big and important-the fact is, there was almost nothing to you.  He did it out of sheer love, keeping the promise he made to your ancestors.  God stepped in and mightily bought you back out of that world of slavery, freed you from the iron grip of Pharaoh king of Egypt.  Know this:  God, your God, is God indeed, a God you can depend upon.  He keeps his covenant of loyal love with those who love him and observe his commandments for a thousand generations."

Oh, what relief this brings to my heart.  God choose me in the darkest moments of my life, not because I was worthy, but because He loves me that much.  He broke the chains of my disobedience and stepped in and saved me from the slavery I had sold myself into.

I can depend on him.

For the longest, I found my security in others.  And, girls, I can promise you that there is NO joy when you depend on others for it.  But, God is a God we can depend on (v.9).  When I finally choose obedience instead of disobedience and when I came to a place in my heart where I looked to him alone to fulfill me, I found joy.  Verses like these in Deuteronomy have given me such peace and freedom.  Yes, God wants me to be obedient to Him and live a life that honors him, but on the days that I fail and I fall down again, He still loves me.

WOW! With that truth in mind, how can we NOT have joy?  My joy came when I allowed the Lord to free me from the bondage I had found myself in.  Joy, for me, is understanding (in my tiny, human brain) who God is.  He is a loving, true, dependable God who loves regardless of our actions. Joy does NOT have to be sucked from our lives just because we've sinned.  Romans 3:23-24 says, "For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard.  Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous.  He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty of our sins."  Yes, we've fallen short, but God still declares us righteous.  Christ died so that we may know what freedom feels like.  He WANTS us have joy.  

My challenge for you today is to reflect on your life and see if you've truly experienced the joy that the Lord wants you to have.  Are you still chained to your past mistakes?  Ask the Lord to remove those chains.  
Taste freedom.  Feel joy.

Questions or comments about my story?  Email me at



  1. Wow, I had an experience so similar to that! Only mine lasted a few years. God's just recently brought me out of it and it's been so amazing how much joy I have now that I'm not believing Satan's lies.

  2. So thankful for your story! You are so encouraging to me and I'm so thankful for the joy that we have because of our Lord and Savior!!! Love you sweet friend :)

  3. oh i love this a whole lot. so thankful for your heart

  4. Dependence on God alone. Amen. Love you and your heart!

  5. Love it! I have a tendency to feel not good enough, as well. I recently realized that since Jesus died to declare me righteous, to erase my sin, and to close the gap between my unworthiness and saying that I'm not good enough is essentially implying that Jesus isn't good enough...that He didn't do a good enough job when he died for my sins, righteousness, and connection to God. And I know that could not possibly be true. It helps to remind myself of that...A LOT! Thanks for sharing! :)