Why Church is Hard…

{From the archives} As Easter came and went this year, I realized in my post-candy-“He is Risen”-haze that I didn’t really feel connected to Jesus this Easter.

I can remember Easter’s past, when just hearing the name “Jesus” would cause my eyes to swell with tears and my throat to tighten. This was not that year. In fact, I felt little of nothing and that made me feel, well, a little guilty.

And as I was lying in bed on Sunday night, I tried to talk to God and understand just where I went wrong this Easter. I concluded, based upon His silence, that while I wanted to say that He just doesn’t care about the things that I care about–the truth is, I haven’t been caring about the things He cares about.

To add insult to injury, I have begun to question things that I have never questioned. I have begun to wrestle with things I have always assumed I would never need to wrestle against. And I’m scared.

I realized however, that I wasn’t the only one left feeling empty and disconnected this Easter. Except that this was new to me. I’ve never had an Easter like this, but I shouldn’t be surprised because…

…Church is hard.

Church isn’t easy. Being the church isn’t easy (and to quote Coldplay, no one said it’d be this hard).

But there is one glaringly obvious reason as to why church is hard. It explains all the heartache, disappointment, loneliness, isolation, disillusionment, and even anger that so many of us in the church experience… Continue reading Why Church is Hard…

I Want a Break From God

My high school senior English teacher was pretty much Elaine from Seinfeld. I loved her. We all loved her. During one of her famous passionate lectures, she once commented about how nice it must be to be a stupid person. She explained that there must be something quite freeing about being able to shut off your brain and quit thinking about something–to essentially think about nothing.

Because intelligent people, she argued, were always thinking. In fact, they never stopped thinking…and it was exhausting. She envied the dumb.

This resonated with me (not that I consider myself brilliant by any means)–the fact that I cannot stop myself from thinking. I read this the other day and smiled because it is me: “I’ve been overthinking about overthinking again.”

You’d think that thinking would prove more fruitful, but no. Instead, I wonder how I get here again and again. It seems so futile–the race and the running, when despite my best effort I find myself doing just that.

And that is part of the problem, my effort. I hate striving. I hate watching “Christians” strive for Jesus. Wondering what we can do for God instead of being with God. Working instead of abiding. Trying instead of receiving.

So when it’s my turn, I feel like a failure and a liar. A fraud. Continue reading I Want a Break From God

Should God Alone Make You Happy?

Recently, in a church gathering the discussion of whether or not “God is enough” came up. Some passionately explained that “God is enough” for them and that we, as believers, don’t need anything else.

I, however, just as passionately disagree. Yes, I concede that God is enough–or rather He can be enough, but He isn’t meant to be “enough.” God never intended for us to walk through life with nothing but Him.

The discussion reminded me of this post I wrote quite a while back. Do you agree or disagree? 

Christians don’t throw around the word “happy” too often. We are cautious of the word because we think it sounds earthly, temporal, and fleeting. We much prefer the word “joy.” Joy is of God. Joy is rooted in something more than a mere mood or a passing event. In fact, the joy of the Lord is our strength, so says the Bible.

But, is it so bad to just want to be happy? I mean, happiness is still cool right? It’s okay for Christians to be happy, isn’t it? Personally, I’d take a big ‘ol plate of  happiness any day of the week.

Filling up your life with things that make you happy is healthy, and yet I know some Christians for whom this is especially difficult. They operate under the belief that God alone is suppose to make you happy…and nothing else. Happiness, they believe, should come from Him and nowhere else.

Is it sacrilegious for me to say that I disagree with that statement? God says we shall worship no other god. I’m all for that commandment but does that mean that God is to be the sole source of our happiness? Can we find happiness elsewhere? Continue reading Should God Alone Make You Happy?

Size Doesn’t Matter

(I love me a titillating blog title, don’t you?)

The organic church I am blessed to be a part of has been growing as of late. We have had many guests. Some stay. Some do not. We have also had a few other organic church or house churches visit us.

Some have come just to observe. Some have come to be equipped. Some have come to simply be filled up.

After our “Jesus meeting” one Saturday, I was saying goodbye to a man in his twenties whom the Lord has called to shepherd a flock in a newly forming organic church. While wishing him a goodnight, I told him that Jonathan and I would love to come visit their meeting sometime.

He hesitated for a brief second and said “Well, we are small…nothing like this,” referring to the church body that gathers in my home with upwards of 60 people some weeks.

“Don’t say that,” I told him. “It is not small in God’s eyes.”

He looked at me. “You’re right,” he said quickly, catching his mistake. “It’s not small in God’s eyes. I have to remember that.”

“It has often been that the greatest thing of God has been very small in the eyes of man.” T. Austin Sparks Continue reading Size Doesn’t Matter

The Invasion of Jesus

I’m an introvert and like any good introvert I avoid people. Well, not avoid people, so much as don’t like people.  I’m kidding. Sorta.

Basically, I need my space…and a lot of it.

And also like any good introvert, I especially dislike meeting new people. I get squirmy (on the inside) and sometimes feel like I’m going to barf (on the outside). I take time to really like people. I might love you right away because Jesus has this thing He does that makes that possible, but the liking part and the trusting part and the open and vulnerable part, that takes time.

Unless of course Jesus is doing something else, which He is known to do. . So when that something else happens, my introversion goes out the window. My heart bursts forth, my arms fling wide open, my spirit smiles because it knows…

…that this person is different. This one, this person, He is calling me towards. Continue reading The Invasion of Jesus

My Physical Healing: Part 3

Today is the third and final installment of the 3 part series on my physical healing. If you haven’t read Part 1 and 2, catch up!

As I sat studying the list the Lord had just given me, I was certain that much of what I heard was simply made up. Right? It had to be. I had written down things that seemed completely ridiculous–comical even. I was sure that they didn’t even exist.

One such item I heard was “artichoke.” Yes, artichoke, as in the spiny delicious vegetables I like to drown in butter. And you know when you hear something from the Lord and He leaves you with an impression or a feeling? Where nothing was explicitly stated, but in general, you have a sense about something?

Well, this is often how I “hear” the Lord, although it is more like “feeling” the Lord. All that to say, I somehow knew that the word “artichoke” didn’t mean I supposed to just eat a bunch of them. I was supposed to take artichoke as a supplement.

I also knew this was the case because many of the other items on my God-given grocery list were vitamins or nutritional supplements of some kind.

Things like: Continue reading My Physical Healing: Part 3

My Physical Healing: Part 2

Today is the (belated) follow-up to last week’s post about my physical healing. If you missed last week’s post, part 1, here you go.

I had never felt so surrounded, covered, encompassed while others were praying for me before. And while I don’t remember all of what was prayed, I remember bits and pieces.

One person began praying for my blood. They then left the room and another person came in and they too began praying for my blood, not having heard the first prayer.

Another brother in my church began to pray for an impartation (or literally a “transfer”) of faith. He is full of faith, and me, not so much. He laid hands upon me and asked that God give me the same faith that he holds.

I cried more and yet felt full of God’s peace.

And then like that, the prayer was over. I sat still a bit emotionally overwhelmed by what I had shared and by how my church family and God had responded.

The remainder of the night went on as usual, filled with more ministry, food, and fellowship. While talking with my sister and friend Carrington, she said something that would forever change me. While casually talking with me about the prayer that I had just received, she said these words: Continue reading My Physical Healing: Part 2

My Physical Healing: Part 1

So remember a few weeks ago when I shared with you all about the tremendous pain I have been suffering? And then remember about a week ago when I opened up a can of Holy Spirit in the scariest post I’ve ever written?

Well, it just keeps getting better. Meaning God just keeps, well, being God…

I’m sure that I’ve read the story of the hemorrhaging woman dozens of times. We all know it.

I usually picture her when I read the account, frail and lowly, weak and cast-off. I can see her fighting through the crowd with every last bit of energy she has, certain that if she can just touch the hem of His garment, she will be made well.

I see Jesus, filled with compassion and overflowing with love, look to her after realizing that power had gone out from Him. I see His eyes, full of heartache and grace look upon her and bless her without saying a word.

I know this story. I know it well…or so I had thought. Continue reading My Physical Healing: Part 1


I’ve sat so many times, staring at my computer screen, feeling like “What’s the point? Who cares anyway? I have nothing to say.” Modern Reject, for all that it is and how much I love it, needs to change. I’ve known it. I’ve resisted it.

But, it’s time. What I write here has to change, because I have been changing. So rapidly. So furiously. I cannot keep up with what the Holy Spirit is doing. I am barely nipping at His heels as He beckons me “Come…”

“Unfiltered.” That was the word my husband heard in bed last night. You should write about this, Nicole. All of it. Unfiltered.

This? I asked. Are you sure? Because, this…this is a lot. Too much. I couldn’t possibly. But I knew he was right. I knew God wanted this written.

Before I begin, I will tell you that I am afraid–afraid of man–fearful that some of you might judge me, call me crazy, disregard my experiences, and move me from the “cool Christian” column to the “weirdo, charismatic, whack-job Christian” one.

But it’s time because nothing else matters right now. What Jesus is doing in my life is what He wants me to write about. It will be different. It will be shocking to some and unbelievable to others.

Yet it’s all Truth.

So… Continue reading Unfiltered.

When Rejection Comes…

I woke up that morning feeling as though I had been hit by a truck. My body ached, still in desperate need of relief from physical pain, but this was something else, something more.

I couldn’t articulate what I was feeling and the more that my husband asked me to explain myself, the more frustrated we both became.

I felt deeply sad and yet passionately angry.

The pull between those two emotions was so overwhelming that I spent the day doing the only thing I know to do when things fall apart…


I pulled inside and remained there. Furiously trying to reconcile these feelings, begging God to do something…anything. Continue reading When Rejection Comes…