I’m Nicole, a Georgia girl who has left parts of her heart scattered all over the world. I live somewhere in the tension between wanderlust and rootedness (but currently back in Georgia with my husband and two all too-rapidly growing children).
I found my roots in the love of Jesus as a teenager—in listening to and loving God.
But I found my wings in the messy and wholly beautiful world outside the walls of my faith tradition—in learning from and loving my neighbor.
In the aftermath of September 11, 2001—hatred rumbling throughout the world—I wanted to discover and communicate God’s love to hurting people instead. I had a bachelor’s degree in Religion, a year and a half of seminary under my belt, and all kinds of ideas about going out to “change the world.”
My husband and I lived in the Middle East as a newly married couple and then spent a decade back in the U.S. while our family was growing. We never lost our love for the world, staying active in international aid trips and serving among the vibrant refugee community not far from our hometown. In 2017, two kids in tow this time, we moved to South Asia to support locally-led efforts in small business development and education in rural and refugee communities.
I have always believed in the power of Story. A life-long lover of the written word, my early dreams of becoming a writer and my notebooks full of poetry were set aside for “the real work.” It was when I really entered people’s lives and listened to their stories that I realized this was the real work of changing the world—listening, learning, loving.
“Where my roots have grown deep into God’s call to love the strangers among us, a voice to call others has emerged. I write to tell stories of transformation I know is possible. I know because I’ve lived it—once full of fear and striving, knowing nothing of grace. God taught me how to love without borders, and my life was never the same. Those seeds planted years ago have transformed into what I daily pray is a sheltering place for others to grow.” (Beyond September 11th, Everbloom)
With roots in American Protestantism but a life-long bent toward the contemplative, I love to explore the diversity of faith traditions and the multitude of ways God is sought and found. I am equally at home and challenged by contemplative prayer and deep study of Scripture, traditional and progressive, loud worship music and silence, the monastic and the modern. I’ve found my spiritual home in the Episcopal Church and am a licensed lay preacher and worship leader in the Atlanta Diocese. I am the Seminarian at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Newnan and an Episcopal and Anglican Studies student at Candler School of Theology at Emory University. I don’t know what the vocation God called me into 20 years ago will look like in the coming season, but I’m attempting to just take the next right step in serving the Body of Christ I so love.
I am passionate about being a lifelong learner, in humbly learning through open doors and hearts. I can’t express the gratitude I have for those who have given me so much around the world—from the teachers who imparted the knowledge of God to me, to the Trappist monks who opened my eyes to the wisdom of the mystics, the social workers and advocates who taught me none of us are free until all of us are free, and the practitioners of other traditions who have opened their doors, lives, and hearts to me. Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Coptic, Catholic, and more than I could ever name.
I believe we are all part of God’s work of restoration and love to see the multitude of ways people put their faith into action. I wholeheartedly believe in the Imago Dei, the inherent belovedness in each of us made in the image of God. We will not stop acting until we see the flourishing of all. I’m privileged in this season to serve on the Women of Welcome team, a community of women dedicated to diving into the whole of Scripture to understand God’s heart for the immigrant and refugee.
When I am not working in my job in non-profit and digital communications (over at Ruby Brick) or studying (I am working on my Doctor of Ministry dissertation researching Contemplation in the Episcopal Church at Winebrenner Theological Seminary), you’ll most often find me outdoors with my family or snuggling up with them for a moving night, reading, practicing yoga, digging into some international food, or enjoying some quiet in a local coffee shop.
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Thank you for being here.