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"Do I contradict myself?

Very well then I contradict myself,

(I am large, I contain multitudes.)"

-Walt Whitman

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If we aren't changing and discovering more about who we were created to be, we probably aren't paying attention.  I wholeheartedly believe in the Imago Dei, the inherent belovedness of each of us made in the image of God. The more we get to know God, the more we understand our own lives hidden in God with Christ (and vice versa).

 

As we journey with God and others through this messy, beautiful life — may we always be learners, willing to be transformed. 

 

When I carved out this little corner of the internet in 2015, it was as a blogger. Then, a published writer. Then, a non-profit communications professional in South Asia. After that, you journeyed with me back to seminary, and as I discovered God's call to the Episcopal Church and found my voice as a preacher and theologian. This space is ever-evolving, as am I. As are we all. 

I hope it can be a place of challenge, encouragement, and inspiration. It is an honor that you would join me in this space. Thank you for listening with me amidst all the noise around us. May the voice we hear always be God's. 

P.S. Want to know a little more?

Read on for a little of my story. 

 

When I'm not here, writing about this incredible journey we call life with God, studying, or at church—you'll find me cuddled up with my husband and adorable dachshund. My two teenagers might be there, but most likely they're out with friends. I'll be reading a good book, watching a movie, or heading out for a walk. Again, thanks for being here!

Wanderlust

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.

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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)

Rootedness

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 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:

The teachers of the Baptist church who imparted the knowledge of God to me and the love of Scripture to me.

The Coptic brothers and sisters who forgave my stumbling Arabic and gave me a love of the Eastern church.

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, and Catholic alike.

 

In the early part of my ministry, God gave me the ability to catch glimpses of a world where we live alongside people who have as much to pour into us as we have to pour into them—mutual love, respect, and listening. My heart desires to spend the second half of my life seeing that kind of community take root where God places me. I’ve had a small window into that Beloved dream. I want to be part of throwing open the door now and watching it become reality.

 

I’ve found my spiritual home in the Episcopal Church, where I am an Aspirant for Holy Orders (an aspiring Priest in seminary). I am a licensed lay preacher,  worship leader, and pastoral caregiver in the Atlanta Diocese. I am an Episcopal and Anglican Studies student at Candler School of Theology at Emory University and a Doctoral Candidate at Winebrenner Theological Seminary studying the intersection of contemplative practice and congregational life.

 

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. Thank you for joining me on this ever-evolving journey.

 

I would love to hear more about your journey! I wish it could be over a cup of coffee. Until then, drop me an email, or let's connect on social media!

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