Awakening, Living in FREEDOM Everyday: Nicole Phakonekham
Hi! I’m Nicole Phakonekham! I’m the Beloved of my Heavenly Father, married to my best friend and hunk of a man, Bobby, and have the honor of being called “mom” by our 10-year-old son, Nicky! My family & I attend Church of the Highlands and enjoy leading small groups for marriages & families. After experiencing the tangibly powerful presence and love of Jesus in my life, I’m passionate about women finding rest and assurance in the all-consuming love of their Heavenly Father! It is my prayer that the trials I’ve walked through, all the while coming to know God as my Abba Father, might minister to others who find themselves bound by the lies and shame of the enemy. I pray HIS story of breaking the chains that heavily weighed me down from stepping into the greater future He had already planned for me and my family blesses you tremendously! I would love to pray with you or minister to you if you find yourself struggling with believing filthy lies over the demonstrative TRUTH of who your Heavenly Father says you are, which is HIS BELOVED! You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Awakening, Living in FREEDOM Everyday
I grew up knowing about God. At home, my parents taught me that He was the creator of our universe, He was good, He was forgiving, He loved us NO MATTER WHAT because we were His children. I was told wisdom was to read my Bible daily and depend on the Holy Spirit to guide my steps. My parents were amazing parents and they have blessed my life in many ways. They showed me unconditional love & grace when least expected and least deserved. At the time, I never understood how their parenting was a beautiful example of my God, my Heavenly Father.
At church, I was taught much of the same except with a few things added and changed. God loves us but is not pleased with us when we mess up. God forgives us of our sins but if we sin again we should work hard to try and gain more forgiveness. If you’re not reading your Bible daily, involved in every church activity, and aren’t only friends with church goers then you’re probably not a true Christian or fully accepted by God.
I walked the aisle at the age of 8 excited to please my parents and the church by asking Jesus to be my Lord & Savior. Honestly, I viewed baptism as my ticket to Heaven. If I followed a set of rules God wouldn’t take away my salvation but if I dare mess up, well, He would strike me down with a horrible punishment. Truth be told, I viewed God as a judge seated in Heaven waiting for me to make one wrong choice.
By high school, one wrong choice led to many others. At the age of 16, I had been raped, blamed myself and began believing the lie that I was a disgrace to God. It was then that I decided He was surely finished with me and if my parents knew anything of this, they would be finished too. So, to make up for it, I began working even harder to make sure my parents noticed my good works, would hide any mistakes made, covered up my partying lifestyle I had chosen to help deal with my internal heartaches and made it into college.
College was filled with more lies & more partying. Second semester comes around and I’m married to a guy that I’ve known/dated for a little over a month. Long story short, we married as what was suppose to be a joke on Valentine’s Day, only to find out the joke was on us! Since we were poor college students that couldn’t afford a lawyer or to pay for an annulment, we decided to stick it out and see what would happen. Fortunately, this guy was the total opposite of me and begins to encourage me to live a better life. He shows me there’s more to life than partying and also begins to make me feel as if I can still be loved regardless of my past. For the first time ever, I’m completely open to him about all the junk I’d been hiding from everyone else, even myself it seemed. However, I’m now married to him without my parents knowing and I’m only a freshman in college. Again, time to cover up yet another lie from my family.
Fast forward 3 years, we are still married, finishing up college and my parents still do not know about our marriage. My husband & I find out we’re expecting a child and I choose to continue lying to my parents, have a wedding to look as if I’m getting married for the first time and we welcome our son into the world. At the time, continuing to live in the lie of my marriage made a lot more sense then coming clean.
Fast forward 8 more years, we are still married, raising our son and my parents are still in the dark about our original marriage 11 years prior. My husband & I hit a point of hopelessness and begin a journey of seeking out something bigger than us. We find a church that introduces us to Jesus. They introduced us to a God that was completely foreign to us both. They showed us a God that’s so relentlessly in love with us and so eager to be in a relationship with us. A Father God that longs for a RELATIONSHIP with His kiddos, not a God seeking perfection or someone that could follow a set of rules. He wanted our brokenness so that He could make it NEW. His newness was not a piecing back together of something that had been broken but the old us had died and the new us has come alive in Him!!!
I joined a small group called LIFE, Living in Freedom Everyday, and God began to use this curriculum to gently open my spiritual eyes to some new revelations. I learned I was a three part being: spirit, soul, and body. I learned that the devil was truly an enemy of my soul and not just a character in Bible stories. The definition of shame was presented to me in a way I had never heard. My newly awakened spiritual eyes allowed me to see that the enemy was the one condemning me for my marriage, I was giving him the power to do it, and I was partnering with shame and living in his bondage. He was literally stealing my life and I didn’t even know it! God continued to reveal that He didn’t need me to fix myself and then come to Him for what I couldn’t handle. He softened my heart to experience His AGAPE LOVE for me as His daughter! He taught me that the battle with the enemy was already fought & won. When the enemy schemes after my family, or me I’m now FIGHTING FROM VICTORY, not towards it. Truly stated, the enemy needed a reminder that he was rendered powerless and inoperative over 2000 years ago and no weapon he attempts to form against me or my people will prosper! IT WAS FINISHED! IT STILL IS FINISHED! IT WILL ALWAYS BE FINISHED!
I physically felt God peeling away layers of baggage that I was convinced I would carry with me to my grave. I was coming into an understanding of my new identity in Christ and learning how to walk in this newness of life. God was no longer a religion to me. I was now in a Father, Daughter relationship with Him that showed me He saw me just as He sees Jesus. He sees me, knows me and relates to me as His Beloved! Since the old Nicole that was living in bondage & shame died with Christ, the new Nicole rose with Him also and I could finally rejoice in this new life of freedom!
After almost 12 years, I told my parents about hiding my marriage from them and they did the exact opposite of what the enemy had me convinced they would do. They showered me with love and reminded me that no matter how far I thought I could flee from God, He was always there, loving me & protecting me, just as they always will be too! Wow, was the enemy a liar!!! Finally, they knew and I experienced a freedom like I never could have dreamed!!! John 10:10 says, “The enemy has come to steal, kill & destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance, to the full, till it OVERFLOWS.” For the first time ever, I was Living in Freedom Everyday as a completely new daughter of the Most High King that loved me unconditionally and has great & mighty plans for a life of fullness and wholeness in Him!!!
My Prayer for You
Thank you, God, that we can come to you with our hearts softened and ears wide open to listen for Your voice to find LIFE. That when we seek you, Lord, we will find You! And when we turn to you, Father God, You forgive us so generously. Thank you for the FINISHED work of the Cross! We praise you for the very moment we come to You we receive the exchange of Jesus taking our sins and giving us His righteousness as our own. What a gift!!! I pray for the awakening of spiritual eyes & ears, in the Name of Jesus!!! I pray for lost & weary souls to find You and rise up in their new identities. I speak to the resurrection life of Jesus living in them now and say, “Breath in Your newness of life, Your rest, Your strength to overcome ANY obstacle or trial they may be walking.” I thank You for the victories that lie ahead for them! I praise You for the miracles, signs & wonders that you are preparing to reveal to them!!! May they receive their rightful place with You as sons & daughters of the Most High King and claim the overwhelming love & grace of their Daddy God!!! AMEN!!!