Sharing by: Pam Crawford
Charm is deceptive; and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
MIRROR, MIRROR, ON THE WALL
Nicole C. Mullin is a Christian music artist and speaker. I was first introduced to her work at a Women of Faith event a few years back. I was so moved by her testimony and I truly respect the transparency she displayed so that others could hear a word from God. I certainly did, and it has been part of what encourages me to share God with you.
I related personally to Nicole that day. I understood wholeheartedly where she had been in her life’s journey. And, I celebrated where God has her now. As I sat in that audience, I heard a woman share that when she was about 8 years old she realized that she wasn't right. Well, not right in the eyes of those who were more than willing to cut her down and point out her flaws. She shared that she was ridiculed for not living up to the expectations of someone else. For example, on the school bus she was constantly bullied and made fun of because someone decided they didn't like her hair or the clothing that she wore. Because she came from a poor family, she didn't always display the current styles. As a result of her daily abuse, she shared that she was a regular bed-wetter and this created it’s own set of challenges for her.
Listening to Nicole, my heart ached for all of the people who would relate. Then, my heart began to ache for myself. I could relate to what she was saying because I too was that little girl who was criticized for having flaws. In my case it was being told that I was too short, a fatty, and not very pretty. I remembered the constant emphasis on my freckles, my hair, my legs and my crooked nose that I broke in a bike accident. I was always the one picked last for team sports, and when my girlfriends were out with their boyfriends, I was home wiping my tears and watching Gilligan’s Island. I understood how she felt. Although my pain didn't come out in the form of bed-wetting (thank you Jesus), I did have my fair share of stomach issues. I believe I was about 17 when doctors discovered that I had stomach ulcers. By this point I had little confidence in myself and my self-esteem and self-worth were at an all time low. In my case, I put on my happy face and moved through life the best I could. Eventually I found love, but I carried around a lot of scars and I never really saw myself in the correct light. What did I miss?
The difference between the testimonies of Nicole C. Mullin and Pam Crawford is this. Nicole knew God. She just didn’t know about God, she actually knew God even at that young age. She shared that she had taken in so much of God’s teachings when she was a little girl, that she understood she could not let the junk that others threw at her reside in her heart for too long. She told us that although what she was hearing from others was hurtful at the time, when she got alone, she recognized it as lies. Can you imagine getting that? She went on to say that she had been raised in the church; she studied the Bible and sang in the choir. What I heard her say that day was that she had another kind of hope in her heart that allowed her to deflect the lies of Satan. The following are my notes of how Nicole describes this other kind of hope in her heart. I have been reviewing them as I work to become a Titus 2 woman. The kind of woman who has learned from her mistakes and desires to teach the younger women who they are in Christ. It took me 41 years to get this myself, but I praise God today that He never gave up on me even when I certainly had.
Notes from Nicole C. Mullen teaching at WOF.
Nicole was able to rise above her circumstance because she had heard stories where God had taken ordinary people and made them extraordinary. She had been taught that the same God back then, is the same God now. She rationalized if God was able to do that then, he could still do something in her. She allowed herself to have hope over what she had heard.
As a little girl, Nicole went before the Lord and asked Him to be her savior and she confessed her sins. She says that “somewhere between her ‘dear God and her Amen’ she knew that she knew that the God of heaven heard her plea.” She tells that she got up off her little knees and got on her little typewriter and typed, “As of this day I will never be the same. Jesus Christ has come into my life and he has changed me.” Regardless of what was going on or what she was hearing from the outside world, she determined that it did not have to get on the inside of her because as she put it “that place was now reserved for her hope.”
Can you imagine what life could be like if we all had a reserved spot for hope. What if we chose to allow God to help us discard the garbage that we allowed into our hearts and minds? I can testify to what that looks like to someone who held onto a lot of it for 41 years. It looks like someone who is willing to take a new look in the mirror (James 1:23-25). But this time, they see what God sees and they desire to become new from the inside out. They see a person in need of a deeper relationship with God and they work at developing it. They move beyond just knowing about God to actually discovering the attributes of the God of the Bible and they work to emulate them. They see their own heart and the portions of it that need to be transformed into a better likeness of Christ. They determine to let go of some things they have become quite comfortable in because they discover it does not align to God’s Word. And they determine to stop making excuses. So many of us have bought into the mentality that things can’t be different and we’re wrong. Being in a relationship with the God of the Bible is transforming. If you’re not already there, I encourage you to take a fresh look at Him today.
We don't have to continue doing the things we have always done. We can think differently. We can be different. With God's help everything is possible! You do not have to remain in bitterness, envy, jealousy, resentment, anger, and unforgiveness. This is poison from the enemy, a poison that I have had to work at discarding in my own life. Since I hit my knees back in 2001 and invited Christ into my life to change me, He has shown me with great clarity that if I don’t make these changes, Satan will continue to work to “kill, steal, and destroy” (John 10:10) what God has always intended to be good. Instead, I can work at becoming a Galatians 5:22-23 kind of woman. I have not yet fully arrived, but thank God I am not where I began. I am committed to no longer allowing Satan or this world define me. There is a lot of work ahead, but I know I’m not working at it alone. By grace, I have been saved for a purpose and I don’t want to waste it. Nicole and I both understand the urgency to help women and men understand that their value comes from God. You are loved, you matter, and you have great value! Embrace it today. Determine to make changes and experience God's best.
In Christ by grace,
In Christ by grace,