MRP Interview: Nichola K. Brown

This year, the Modern Ruth Project will feature occasional interviews with specialists and professionals who are experienced in each month’s topic. This past week, I had the pleasure of talking with therapist, author, and founder of Keilah Restoration Ministries, Nichola K. Brown. Nichola specializes in empowering individuals and deeply desires to help women understand what it means to be loved by God.  

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MRP: In your experience, what are some of the most significant mental challenges faced by women?

Nichola: Statistically, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, the most common mental disorder for adults [overall] is depression and anxiety.  And the church isn’t really equipped to deal with anxiety/depression, which starts in the brain. You can’t really tell people to pray. It needs to be taken more seriously.

MRP: In your opinion, where do insecurity and low self-image stem from?

Nichola: There can be so many factors. It can go all the way back to your family origin, your household, or school. For example, if a teacher didn’t think highly of you or you were bullied or if there was verbal abuse in the home. It varies from person to person and could be triggered by anything.

A woman goes through about 7,000 to 9,000 thoughts per day. So let’s say, you make a mistake. [Now] you have a whole story you created from that action. Whatever an external encounter was, we [mentally] create a narrative and elaborate story that’s not even true.

MRP: Can a negative view of oneself be easily overcome?

Nichola: Anything is possible through Christ. We are so resilient and God made us in such an amazing way. As easily as we learn, we can unlearn.  But it will take energy, effort, and intentionality. It’s not impossible but not easy.

MRP: How can women start to improve their self-image?

Nichola: You can listen to sermons. Put words of affirmation on your mirrors. Flood your minds with words that counter those negative thoughts. Focus on and memorize affirmation Scriptures.

Usually, people come to therapy when they’re in crisis. [But] I’m a huge advocate of everyone going to therapy once a year, just like a physical exam.

Proverbs 20:5 says “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.” Connect with someone who can really help you. You aren’t alone in this feeling. There are a community of people struggling with the same thing and there are counselors who are willing to work with you.

MRP: What’s one thing you’d say to a woman who is struggling with crippling self-esteem?

Nichola: I’d say “God loves you as you are.” He is not less pleased [with us] when we are in a place of brokenness for He sees us in such a different way. Sometimes, we push God away because we think we need to be in a healthier place. But that doesn’t make Him love us any less. God is still present in the despair.

The decisions I made were so different once I really understood that love is not based on perfection. And once you receive His love, you’ll understand why identity is so important in our faith. It’s the core foundation of everything you’ll build on.


MRP thanks Nichola for sharing her wisdom with us! Nichola is also hosting a FREE webinar this Saturday, February 10th, “Loving Me: The Christian Women’s Guide to Self-Love.” Learn more about Nichola and her ministry at https://www.keilahrestoration.com. Also, check out her book, Sabbath Season: A Call to Rest on Amazon.

If you’re interested in seeking therapy, please visit https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists, http://www.christiancounselordirectory.com/FindATherapist, or https://www.therapyforblackgirls.com/ for a therapist near you.

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The Many Forms of Generosity

christmas-2951662_1920There are days I struggle with not being able to be generous in the ways I want. When most people think of generosity, giving financially comes to mind. At this point in my life, unfortunately, I’m not able to extend much generosity in that regard. However, I’ve realized that there are a plethora of ways in which each of us can be generous. I’m seeing that each one of my gifts and talents are a way that I can be generous. No matter where you are at financially, you have been given many gifts which you specifically can offer.

Your specific God-given talents are intended for generosity. I recently discovered that I love singing in front of people. I can’t wait to be generous with my voice, whether in the choir, at nursing homes, or wherever else doors open. Your gift could be anything: cooking, website designing, working with children, or the gift of intercession. If you don’t know how to be generous with your gift or where to offer it, ask the Holy Spirit to open doors. Believe me, they will open!

Your specific situation in life also offers different opportunities for generosity. As a student and a working person, spare time isn’t on the top of my list. However, I can be generous in offering a listening ear to my fellow students. I can be generous in the prayers I offer for the countless needs of others at this time. I can also learn to be more generous in offering a “sweet spirit” to all those to whom I come in contact with. Though you may not have a lot of time, your season in life offers some way that you can be generous.

Don’t lament your lack of finances and make it an excuse as to why you can’t be generous. Generosity comes in so many forms. At different times in our lives, we all have different blessings that we can be generous with. Ask the Lord how you can be generous with your specific gifts and in the season you are in. Each day, we are granted opportunities to be generous and to bear fruit. In this season of celebrating the One who came to give it all, let’s seek how we can be more generous in giving of ourselves.


lianna-headshot Lianna

Hello! My name is Lianna. I am 28 years old and live in Cleveland, Ohio.  I am a Master’s student studying to become a counselor.  My favorite things are traveling, learning other languages, singing, and journeying with others. I blog and hope to inspire others at sunflowersojourn.wordpress.com.

December Challenge: Generosity

hand-2597795_1920I have a confession to make: Christmas isn’t exactly my most favorite time of year.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love seeing glowing strands of colored light spiral streetlamps and draped around bushes. And sipping hot creamy drinks of sweet caffeine or chocolate from poinsettia red cups. Not to mention, listening to holiday music on the radio is a bonafide mood lifter.

But somewhere, in the past 10 years, my connotation of Christmas went from this lovely scene:giphy

to these not so lovely scenes:

giphy (1) giphy-downsized (1)

 

 

 

 

I’m sure my deteriorating holiday high has a lot to do with age. As an adult, the holiday I adored as a child became unfamiliar. I was suddenly mindful of prices and how much gifts cost and whether I should buy gifts for some people and none for others. Giving became disfigured. It had mutated from being euphoric to being exhausting.

But as I write this, I think about how much it cost God to give Jesus to His beloved but fallen world. He didn’t hesitate. He wasn’t too exhausted or overwhelmed to give Himself. And He didn’t give only to those He deemed worthy or meritorious. He gave His life and continues to offer the gift of new life to all. 

I think about that whenever I begin to feel weary this time of year. How the Lord gives so freely, richly, and without measure. And as His daughter, I should as well.

As we go into December and close out 2017, I challenge you to give to someone who can’t give back, an unlikely recipient. Maybe the next stop you get an Uber, thank the driver with a $5 gift card to Starbucks. Or give a thank you card to your waiter when you go out to eat. Call your local schools and ask to pay off overdue lunch accounts for kids.

We are all unlikely recipients of God’s love and grace. As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, let’s spread His love and grace generously this month and beyond.

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Jennifer Jen

Hi, there! My name is Jennifer. I’m 33 and live in the D.C. area. I love Jesus, R & B music, and sugar in all its forms :-).

In June 2016, I married my amazing husband, Calvin.

I was completely single and waiting throughout my entire twenties. So I know the prayers, fears, and tears that come with prolonged singleness very well.

I am excited to share my story and encourage single women who are waiting for God’s best!

 

Strength in Scripture

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In the past 3 months, I have undergone too many life transitions to even list here. Certain situations in life felt hopeless.  I was unsure if they would ever change; there seemed to be no change to the patterns.

In the midst of my uncertainties and mind battles, the Lord is planting certain Scriptures on my heart. These Scriptures are giving me strength to press on. When I felt hopeless and as if those aspects of my life wouldn’t change, Psalm 118:17 sprang into my heart: “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD.”

I began to recite the verse to myself often, especially when the difficulties reared their head. No matter how difficult life seemed, I will live through it. Even greater, I will live to testify to God’s great works! Someday, I will be able to tell how God’s mighty hand turned my circumstances around.

This is just one example of God’s Word being strength to me. There are other verses that have been given to me during other difficult situations. God’s Word is “alive and active.” (Hebrews 4:12)  The Word is becoming nourishment for my mind and heart in each circumstance of my life.

I am coming to a greater appreciation of Scripture, especially for life’s difficult situations. If we are rooted in Scripture, we can dig deep and find power in God’s Word when trials come.  It is working for our good and can provide whatever we need. But like any superfood, it can’t take effect unless we have taken it into our body!

At all times, we need to make Scripture reading a priority. In the times when life is great and we believe we’re super successful…To God be the glory! Praise and thank Him, and make sure you’re reading His love letters to you. When difficulties inevitably come, you’ll be able to dig deep into those times of reading Scripture. By God’s grace, you will have a store of spiritual “vitamin C” to keep you strong. Your remembrance and continued reading of Scripture will sustain you.

It’s easy to put off reading the Bible, or to only listen to it at church once a week. But it is strength to our lives. It is a big aspect of what roots us in the Lord. We keep our focus on Christ when we are reading the Word, in both good and bad times. When troubles come, we will find great strength in being rooted. The Word teaches us God’s goodness and faithfulness to us. Make learning and loving Scripture a priority. You won’t regret it.

What passage or verse has helped you in a time of difficulty?

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lianna-headshot Lianna

Hello! My name is Lianna. I am 28 years old and live in Cleveland, Ohio.  I am a Master’s student studying to become a counselor.  My favorite things are traveling, learning other languages, singing, and journeying with others. I blog and hope to inspire others at sunflowersojourn.wordpress.com.

Loving Being in the Word

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Psalm 119:105 (NIV) “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path.”

Let’s admit it – life is tough and full of uncertainties. It’s a natural tendency that we cling to something (or someone) when we face challenging situations or at crossroads.

Personally, reading the Bible has been a life-transforming experience for me.  From it, I gathered gems of wisdom from the writings of the different authors such as King Solomon the author of the book of Ecclesiastes. Lessons on human behavior, culture revolution and leadership from 1 and 2 Kings to the book of Revelation. From matters regarding finances, to relationships, it all can be found in the Bible.

Does that mean that the Bible is the magical quick fix answer to all our problems? The answer is no. In Psalm 119:105, imagine walking on a path in total darkness holding only a lamp. The light emitted from the lamp enables us to see just a few steps ahead, it doesn’t reveal the point of destination. One thing however is to ensure that the light is always near you to give you clarity on the surrounding nearest to you so that you may walk with confidence avoid potential danger. The principles and wisdom found in the Bible grant us ability to comprehend life, have patience in difficult situations and the grit to persevere.

If you are a Christian reading this and wonder how you can start reading the Bible, I’d encourage you to do the following:

  • Start by determining the specific part of the day that you wish to set apart (the time) to do your reading. For example, it could be every morning after breakfast while finishing a cup of coffee (which is my routine) or for some people who prefer reading the Bible before bedtime. The key is discipline and consistency.

 

  • If you are having difficulty to kick start your daily habit of reading the Bible, allow yourself time to get into the routine. You may want to start with the book of Proverbs from the Old Testament, reading it a chapter a day which takes about 10 to 15 minutes. Alternatively, if you want to start with a book from the New Testament; the book of St. John is a great book to read, also begin with a chapter a day.

 

  • Some of you may have started a routine but find some books such as Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Numbers difficult to read – why not try an audio Bible? Not only that you could download the app for free, with the audio Bible you could listen to the scriptures being read to you whenever and wherever – be it while you are getting ready for work, commuting or winding down for the day.

From biology stand point, a plant can’t grow without water and soil or an individual needs proper nourishment to function efficiently.  The Word of God is the nourishment to our understanding of who God is. There is no short cut to that.

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Matthew 24:35 (NIV)

Do you struggle with being in the Bible routinely?

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timmie-liew Timmie

Hello, my name is Timmie and I’m from Malaysia. I am a lawyer by profession. I am a charismatic, passionate person and enjoy beautiful things in life such as travelling to different cities to appreciate the culture. I love fashion and appreciate ‘coffee time’ with people to talk about life and build meaningful relationships. I’m passionate about the things of God, the Church and authentic leadership. My deepest desire is to embrace all that God has called me to be and be a blessing to whoever that God has placed in my life past, present and future. Our God is a GREAT God, and the best is yet to come !🙂