Can We See Our Scars As Beautiful?


If we’re honest (and you know I like to be embarrassingly honest) we’re all a bit of hot mess of scars, aren’t we? You may not have physical scars from cancer surgery or from slicing yourself with a kitchen knife instead of the carrots, but I’m pretty sure, if we’re brave enough to look, we’ve all got one or two emotional scars that growing up and living life have left behind.

Do your scars make you cringe with shame? Mine do. Are you embarrassed by their ugliness? Do you hide them? If you do, you’re not alone (mine are currently hidden away in a new pair of high-rise jeans).

But what if we are meant to see our scars differently?Continue Reading

Step Ahead Scared and Grow

Step ahead scared

I didn’t think I could do it.

I wasn’t sure how  to do it.

I really wanted to do it.

But I was scared.

Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever wanted to do something but fear held you back. Fear of failing, fear of rejection, fear of looking like a complete and utter nincompoop?

Or perhaps you’ve needed to do something but kept putting it off because getting a root canal with nothing but whale music and an aspirin for anesthetic seemed way more fun?

Me too. On both counts.

However this week I did them both because of something profound I heard someone say.

In a conversation on the HopeWriters podcast about people we admire and want to be like when we grow up, Emily P. Freeman said this (and I paraphrase because I have a terrible memory)

People we admire, who’ve done great things and are inspiring, haven’t always had it easy. They’ve just stepped ahead scared.

Bam! My mind exploded when I heard that.

People we admire, who've done great things and are inspiring, haven't always had it easy. They've… Click To Tweet

I can moan and whine until the cows come home. I can grumble about not being where I want to be in life, not being the person I’d like to be, or not having the faith I aspire to, but really I’m just a big fat scaredy cat.

When I’m scared I don’t step forward. I hesitate, procrastinate, dither and stall. I go up to the edge, peek over and say how I’d love to fly, but never step off and then moan I’m not flying where and how I want to.

Then I heard those words and stepped ahead – scared.

In the grand scheme of world peace and ending global hunger, my step was as a drop in the ocean; a nat on the backside of a seeing eye dog. But I did it, and now I’ve taken this small step perhaps I’ll take another.

And my small step was ….. queue drum roll and please, don’t roll your eyes when you find out what it is…..

I’ve committed to doing Facebook Live everyday.

Ta-da!

This is exactly what I look like on Facebook Live – don’t you just love the hair?

I know, the anticlimax is tangible, but here’s the deal. I wanted to do it, I knew it was what I should be doing (to say God was calling me may be going a bit to far, but you get where I’m going) but I was scared.

I was scared I wouldn’t know what to say, that I’d look a mess on camera and you’d see the wonky smile I was teased about as a kid. I was scared I’d get two old ladies and a door mouse tuning in and even they’d fall asleep. I was scared you’d think me crazy, fame-seeking and fickle.

Then I stepped ahead scared, and guess what? I grew.

Yes, I didn’t know what to say, I definitely looked a hot mess and, if you’ve seen it, you saw my wonky smile, and you may even have fallen asleep.

BUT IT’S OK!

I’ve done a full week now and I feel more confident, not just on FBLive but in myself. I’ve felt the fear, done it anyway and grown.

So friends, let me invite you to do two things.

Firstly, join me over on Facebook Live for some laughs, encouragement and connection?  All you have to do is hop over my Facebook Page and “like” it, then you should be notified when I go live.

I’ll be there every weekday at 9am-ish EST. Come and join the fun, comment live and I’ll be able to say Hi and respond, or comment later if you’re in line at Starbucks and can’t see it live (and if you like it enough to share it with friends the good fairy of Neverland will sprinkle magic sparkles on your Cornflakes – I promise).

Here’s the one I did the other day about being braver than you seem (it inspired this post!) MY FACEBOOK LIVE

Secondly, what do you need or want to do, but you’re too scared? What are you facing but find yourself hesitating, procrastinating, dithering and stalling. It might be something pretty frivolous like FBLive, or it could be something important and sensitive like asking someone to forgive you or quitting your job. What would it look like to take a step scared? How might you grow if you did?

Let me encourage you friend – take that step in love and watch yourself grow.

See you next time,

Niki

If you’ve stepped ahead scared, share your story in the comments below. I love to hear stories of how we grow through the tough stuff.

P.S. Here’s a bonus to get you stepping out scared.

Nearly all of us fear rejection the most. Fear of failure, looking stupid, being hurt, not being good enough etc, are all forms of fear under different pseudonyms. The antidote to fear is always love; unconditional love. When we know we are loved fully, just as we are and will never be rejected, we are free to step out scared.

If you want to know how ridiculously and unconditionally loved you are you can download the  AUDIO Love Letter from God. It’s a calming, soul nurturing letter from God, to you, written entirely in bible verses.

Just CLICK HERE to download it – it’s my gift to you

and if you want to send it to a friend, just send them this link http://eepurl.com/csG3m1

Free Audio Download

 

 

 

10 Books for When Life’s Hard

books for when life's hard

 

When life stinks so much you need an industrial strength air freshener just to get out of bed, a good book can be a waft of fresh air.

They can inspire us to get keep going, reassure us we’re not alone, give us answers we’ve been searching for, and connect us to God when we’re tempted to ditch Him.

Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order (just like the Oscars). Some are more theological, some more friend to friend, others are a day by day devotion. I was thinking about writing a blurb on each one, but the titles kind of speak for themselves and you can read the back of the book by clicking on the title. I know, so lazy!

Enjoy!!

When life gets hard, these books can help. #amreading Click To Tweet

Learning to Walk in the Dark, by Barbara Brown Taylor

Disappointment with God: Three Questions No One Asks Aloud, by Philip Yancy

Where is God When it Hurts? by Philip Yancy

When the Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction for Life’s Sacred Questions, by Sue Monk Kidd

It’s Not Fair: Learning to Love the Life You Didn’t Choose, by Melanie Dale

Choosing Real: An Invitation to Celebrate when Life Doesn’t Go as Planned, by Bekah Jane Pogue

Praying through Cancer: Set Your Heart Free From Fearby Susan Sorensen & Laura Geist

Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way, by Shauna Neiquist

Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution. by Brene Brown

Girl Meets Change: Truths to Carry You through Life’s Transitions, by Kristen Strong

 

Books to read when life is hard

 

Let me ask you, what helps you when life stinks and isn’t what you planned or dreamed of? Do you read, or is that too much like hard work? Maybe you listen to podcasts or scroll Facebook or Instagram for inspiration. What gets you out of the doldrums and feeds your soul when you’re overwhelmed and barely keeping your head above water?

Do scroll down and add your go-to book/podcast/etc to the comments. Life is a team sport friends and I know we’d all love to hear what helps others.

Have a great week,

Nix

And if you are listener not a reader, you can download the  AUDIO Love Letter from God. It’s a calming, soul nurturing letter from God, to you, written entirely in bible verses. Just CLICK HERE and if you want to send it to a friend, just send them this link http://eepurl.com/csG3m1

PS. This is the small print: In the interest of full disclosure the links here are affiliate links. That means if you click the link you get beamed to amazon where you can buy the book. If you choose to buy it then and there, I get a few cents on the dollar at no additional cost to you. I wish I could say it goes to my Beach House in the Bahama’s fund, but it actually goes towards keeping this blog online! There – no conspiracy theories, cover ups or wire tapping needed!

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Got Cancer

 

Finding out you’ve got a tumor the size of a fun size candy bar making itself at home right where the sun doesn’t shine, can change a girl’s outlook on life.

It can change a lot of things.

Like how you love your kids, how you take care of yourself, how you pray, and how much toilet paper you buy (in case you didn’t know, my cancer was rectal cancer – I know, a bummer, literally).

I’m hoping to be cleared by my oncologist next month. Yeah! I’m quite excited to say the least and may celebrate with a glass or four of bubbly.

To say the last five years have been a roller coaster would be like saying Jaws is a small fish and Bill Gates is comfortably well off.

It’s been MASSIVE, friends. Like, crazy oh my goodness I think I’m going to barf, wild. There were highs, with outpourings of love and deep connection with the Man Upstairs, but the lows were horrid (no gory details now because I’ve shared some of my Why me, Lord, why me? stories before).

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never stepped off a rollercoaster quite the same girl as when I got on, so I’m sharing some of the things I wish I knew BEFORE I got cancer.

Continue Reading

Do You Want to Feel God’s Love?

“We all want to be loved, don’t we? Everyone looks for a way of finding love.

It’s a constant search for affection in every walk of life.”

Audrey Hepburn

In that one statement she goes straight to heart of the human heart. Deep down we all just long to be loved.

To be seen, known and loved, just the way we are.

God sees my cellulitey bum and road rage, He knows I covet my best friend’s designer wardrobe and toned thighs. He’s aware of my control issues and fear of failing.

Yet He loves me anyway.

The trouble is, however much I know it in my head, I just can’t seem to feel it in my heart. Not really. Not as much as I want to.

My heads a stubborn place and the chances are, yours is too. It’s as if God’s love gets stuck there, gathering dust, unable to trickle down to our hearts to work its healing, give us peace, comfort us and bring us joy.

It’s SOOOO frustrating.

I don’t just want to know about God’s love. I want to feel it. Feel its warmth spread through me, clutch me tightly and never let me go.

Continue Reading

Breaking the Myth of Costly Kindness When You Have Nothing Left to Give

kindness

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

John 15:12 (NIV)

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.

Winston Churchill

 

I just didn’t have the capacity to help others.

After my diagnosis I’d run for the hills at the first whiff of somebody else’s need. I could barely hold my own fractured life together so the thought of being the glue in someone else’s shattered world filled me with dread.

I’d bought into the myth that being there for others comes at huge personal cost.

Then I met Vicki.

It was only a brief encounter in the radiation department’s changing room, but she opened my heart to the gift of reaching out. Sitting in awkward silence, our hospital gowns gapping precariously round our knees, our cancer diagnoses hung silently in the air. We waited our turn, awkwardly perched on the clinical pleather seats, doing our best to preserve our modesty.

Whatever cancer she was battling, Vicki was clearly having a rough ride. Her pink scalp glared through wisps of what remained of her hair, and she sucked desperately on a mint, her dry cracked lips threatening to split and bleed.

Continue Reading

Is Your Greatest Strength Your Biggest Weakness?

My strength can be my biggest weakness.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a body builder able bench press a small country. I’m just pretty tough emotionally; like a true Brit I keep calm and carry on, my stiff, and perfectly bleached, upper lip holding fast.

I tough it out, I suck it up, I plough on through and keep going. There’s a dogged determination when I get my teeth into something. I’m reasonably good at most stuff, and if I’m not good at it, I find a way to get good at it or don’t try all. So on the whole, I’m a strong nut.

Hardy by name, Hardy by nature, that’s me.

It’s not like I don’t have any weaknesses. Oh no. Hiding at the back of my closet, behind my super hero outfits, I have boxes of Achilles’ heels lurking there, persuading me they’re invisible, claiming people won’t like me if they see me as weak.

But where’s the room for God in all that?

Continue Reading

4 Ways to Change How You Feel about a Life You Cannot Change

 

 

Some things just wont change. Ever. However much I try or pray.

I can’t change the pain and hurt people have caused me, or the death of my mum and sister Jo. I can’t go back and not get cancer or save Al from burning out.

We all live with a past we cannot change. With hurts and pain we cannot undo.

Maybe you’re wading through the dark waters of grief, or exhausted by children with special needs. Perhaps you’ve been overlooked at work or dumped by the man you gave your heart to.

I’d love to drive on over and change all that for you.

Wave my magic wand and Biperty, Boperty, Boo! Life’s all hunky dory again.

But I can’t – I’m no fairy godmother.

Continue Reading

How to feel God’s love in your heart, not just your head.

I’ve spent years telling people about God’s love. How ridiculously, brilliantly, marvelously, ginormously amazing and unconditional it is.

I’m a bit of a broken record on this one, can you tell?

I know He loves you like that – and me too.

The problem is, I rarely feel it.

I know it in my head, just not in my heart.

I don’t feel it like I long to. Do you? Do you feel God’s love as much as you crave to?

I don’t, and in fact I’m jealous of people who do.

I ache to feel its tender caress, breathe in its comforting aroma, and hear its melody. I long to be shaken by its power and left breathless by the intensity of its embrace.

Do you too? Are you aching to feel His love more than you do?     Continue Reading

When sitting still moves you forward

 

When our kids were little we loved We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. In verses that repeat the same upbeat refrain, it’s the humorous story of a family’s adventure to find a bear. Along the way they encounter tall grass, a wide river, a big dark forest, thick oozy mud, a swirling whirling snowstorm and a narrow dark cave, all brought to life in delightful illustrations.

At each new obstacle, we’d join in shouting, in our normal over the top theatrics,

“We can’t go over it, we can’t go under it. Oh no! We’ve got to go through it!” before pretending to squelch through the oozy mud, or stumble and trip through the forest. Once we found the bear we’d turn and run back through the cave, the storm, forest, mud and river, screaming all the way, before collapsing in a heap of giggles.

Buried deep in the giggles and dramatics, there’s a simple yet profound story I still grapple with today. It gently whispers the harsh reality of encountering life’s obstacles and difficult seasons; we can’t ignore, avoid or go round them – we must go through them.

Continue Reading