It’s my privilege to introduce you to a sweet, beautiful Hawaiian sister. Nicolette Choi and I met at a church small group on the island of O’ahu. We hit it off immediately, our kids did as well. I love this girl and all God’s glory in her. God’s righteousness in Nicolette shines like the noonday sun and gets brighter with each passing week. I believe the best is yet to come. If you’ve ever felt “not pretty enough” or “unaccepted” for being you, perhaps God has a word for you through this powerful testimony.
But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory [making us conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:57 AMP
Too much of this, too little of that
Doesn’t exactly sound like a conqueror to me. Victorious? I don’t think so.
Then again…maybe, just maybe it was the perfect breeding ground for God himself to move in and be glorified through it all.
It’s in the overcoming of hardship and trial that one can claim victory.
In my life, I have had my share of hard times. I’ve also experienced first hand, the healing power of God and the victory that ensues as I have held on to His promises.
One such promise was to restore my identity – starting with my name.
My whole life I went by shortened versions of my name. I despised my first name and was insulted to be called by it. It was partly because of a childhood incident when a classmate innocently asked me why a brown girl like me had a white girl’s name.
In that moment, that one instance, I allowed my name, a part of my identity, to be taken away from me because I believed a lie that I was unworthy simply because of the color of my skin- the way I looked. I grew to secretly resent both aspects of me – my physical appearance as well as the name that I was unfit to be called.
I believed a lie that I was unworthy simply because of the color of my skin… ~Nicolette Choi
But there is more.
The first knock came when I was told I was supposed to be a Nicholas. During my mother’s entire pregnancy, she and my father celebrated the notion of having a son and naming him Nicholas. It wasn’t until I made a dramatic and surprising debut in the front seat of my dad’s car on the way to the hospital that my parents found out that there was to be no Nicholas, so they named me Nicolette.
I’d been born a disappointment and then given a name I felt I wasn’t pretty enough to be called. It was the making of a lifetime full of confusion about who I was and what was I worth on the most basic level.
For many reasons, my name and physical appearance being big ones, I spent most of my life battling depression.
Growing up having to listen to jokes about my skin being too dark and my body being too thin, among many other insults, sealed the message within me that I was worthless and not good enough physically. Compounded by the sexual abuse I endured during my early childhood years, I was left broken and hurting and searching for a way out. If there was a time where I could have used some victor, this would have been it.
My entire outlook on life was filtered through this lense. I saw everything and everyone through my unworthiness. I desperately wanted to be loved but built walls so high and thick that to penetrate them in order to reach my heart was next to impossible. Without God that is.
I saw everything and everyone through (the lense of) my unworthiness. ~Nicolette Choi
Que Jesus’ entrance:
In 2008, Jesus did the impossible.
He grabbed a hold of my heart, brought me back to church and through intercessory prayer healed the parts of me that years of lies and abuse had stolen. There is still work to be done; but forgiveness and healing entered my inner most parts and chains were broken that I told Him time and again could never be loosed.
I knew one day I would be called to share my story that He might be glorified through it all. I knew I wanted others to experience the same kind of healing that freed my heart and allowed me to love and be loved. I didn’t know what that would look like or when that day would come. Despite my desire to help others, becoming even more vulnerable was not something I was looking forward to.
In 2011, the Lord spoke to me about going by my full legal name, Nicolette. It may not sound like that big of a deal to most people. However, for me, this was a reminder of my unworthiness and being unwanted. I also knew that if He was asking me to do something, it was always for my good!
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 ESV
I had felt a stirring in my heart about my “true identity” and how it was related to my calling. I knew He was asking me to go public about something I revealed in small groups and to trusted friends, but never publicly. Now, He was asking me to do exactly that. I was mortified at the thought of someone being able to Google my name and know one of the most painful secrets I have had to bear was there on the screen. My pain open and available to scrutiny, judgement, criticism.
I secretly hoped that partial obedience would be enough.
If I just wrote out my story, He would come through at the last minute and not ask me to publish it. I fought Him for weeks. I had written it out and made a little website just waiting to be shared. But pressing the “publish” button was something that I felt I could not physically go through with. Thankfully, through the power of praying friends and family I eventually gathered the courage to “do it afraid” and my blog went live. People from all over the world were reading my story. People were seeking Jesus and finding Him. Pointing precious souls to Jesus is all that I had wanted and He was answering that prayer.
After publishing that post, I no longer felt ashamed.
There was a new level of freedom that washed over me and a renewed sense of love for people. That is not the last time that I have proclaimed the love of God or His miraculous healing power in my life. That is just one instance of His goodness to me, and I will share it because I am compelled by the spirit of God to ‘go and tell the world’.
But thanks be to God, Who in Christ always leads us in triumph [as trophies of Christ’s victory] and through us spreads and makes evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere, 2 Corinthians 2:14 AMP
It is always to glorify Him and to be used in the aid of healing and victory for others. God is the one that leads us in the way of triumph. We can trust that He is doing a good work and He will be faithful to complete it. So you don’t have to be on the other side of your issue before you encourage someone in their struggle or praise Him for His goodness.
Go ahead and praise your way through despite where you are in your journey right now…spread the aroma of His sweet presence wherever you go, victorious one!
About Nicolette ~
Nicolette is a wife and a mama to 5 beautiful little people. She is absolutely passionate about helping people learn how to walk this life victoriously through the power and love of Jesus. She has an unhealthy appreciation for pretty office supplies and a sucker for cute packaging. If she isn’t wrangling children or cleaning messes, you can find her attempting to be creative while drinking copious amounts of chai tea lattes. She loves deep conversations and enjoys having them often with whomever has the time to engage.
Photo Credit: choiphotography.com
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Linking with other writers of faith here: Intentionally Pursuing, Purposeful Faith, Holly Barrett, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Holley Gerth, Susan B. Mead, & Counting My Blessings. Please join us.
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