One Fold at a Time ~ My Birthday Reflection

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I had made it with my own two hands in shop class. Didn’t matter what the temperature was in the house, it was always cool to the touch when I would stretch under to find it. Spray painted black and locked with a key was my safe place. The space that for my teenage self-consumed years, held my heart.

And I still remember it like it was yesterday, my 18th birthday. When I reached under my bed searching for something inside my secret box: the list of my 5 and 10 year goals. My dreams.

Reading them again in great detail, I concurred I wouldn’t change a thing. None of them seemed to scream “all for me”. I could even see how God’s glory might prevail in each one. And in my prayer time, I told Him as much.

Then I handed the list to Him and said for the first time in my life:

“Here, Lord. I give it to You. Have Your way with me.”

Friends, I wouldn’t know it then, but I do now. I witnessed grace right then and there as He crumpled up my papered dreams and handed me a new sheet. Not one wrinkle, crease or writing on it as far as I could see…

Fast forward 17 years and you’ll find me today as He reminds me of that moment. And I hear His whisper “Do you see? I may have crumpled your child-like dreams, but do you see how I have made them more beautiful?”

He’s right, you know. My life is nowhere near what I imagined it to be. It’s richer. And I see now how He has folded that piece of paper so intricately to make something beautiful out of me.

Somewhere along the way, He apprehended my heart with His compelling love.
And gave me wings to fly.
Somehow through the journey, He captivated my soul.
And fixed my face upon Him.
Some way only He can accomplish, He turned my world upside down.
And made me realize I am finally right-sideΒ up.

I’ve been in a scandalous love affair ever since.

Wanna know the biggest lesson I’ve learned through it all?

My heart doesn’t belong in a box tucked away neatly in a safe place. It’s not meant to live on my sleeve, either. My heart, the place I’ve let Him take up residence, is meant to be shared. Handed out freely to anyone willing to accept it in the manner intended.

Could I get hurt? No more than He has been.

Will I run out of something to give? Not if I keep letting Him fill me up again.

Does everyone deserve a piece of it? That’s where the gift comes in.

Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.
Proverbs 4:23 NLT

My heart warms while accepting the permission I have to protect myself. And my heart leaps out of my chest in joy over knowing the place where He resides determines the course of my life. It’s a joint effort. This love affair.

Friends, every time I lay my self down and give His love away, I gain another fold. I become one step closer to the one He has made me to be. And I have no idea what my shape will look like when He’s done but one thing I am certain: He’s the best origami artist there could ever be.

Thank you, Father, for another year of letting me witness what You can do through me. I’ve said it before and may I never stop: Here You go, Abba. Have Your way with me…

How about you, friend? How has He been folding you lately? How do you guard and still give your heart away? I’d love to hear.Β 

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,


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41 thoughts on “One Fold at a Time ~ My Birthday Reflection

  1. hey, we’re neighbors at Duane’s blog…rejoicing with you and God how you are allowing Him to make you more and more beautiful with His love…so grateful He brought us together as friends through blogging…love you! Funny, you should share that verse because God has been reminding me lately that not everyone has earned the right to know my story…similar paths again, huh?

  2. Oh Nikki! How I love your way with words. So eloquent! He’s been doing folding in my heart. He’s been making me rethink things from my childhood. Rethinking them only to improve upon them.

  3. Oh Nikki, this is rich with His truth and grace. What a lovely testament to His faithfulness in your life, even when the plan turned out differently than you had envisioned. Beautiful post today, and one that will stay with me for a long time, my friend. XOXO

  4. He has crumpled our childlike dreams, but oh how he has made life so much richer than anything I could ever have imagined on my own.

    Knowing His ability and love, my desire is to release all that I am into His care…

    • into His care….oh how He cares for us, doesn’t He. I’m not sure why I have such a hard time releasing, because I’ve never regretted it… Thanks for reading my ramblings, Dusty and sharing with me along the way!

  5. Thank you for this beautiful post. We all have child-like dreams, but not everyone has the courage to obey the call to give them all to Him and allow Him to have His way in us and in our precious desires. You did and He, as the Faithful God that He is, steered you to His perfect plan for your life. He is Good all the time! Blessings to you always

  6. Oh, Nikki – I love the image of Him being an origami artist! That’s perfect! And I love what you said about guarding your heart. It’s the wise thing to do, and takes a great deal of discernment.

    I feel Him folding me in the area of focus, especially with my time. With my college kids home for the summer, my time hasn’t been my own but I happily “waste” it with them. They’ll be out of college and out on their own in a couple of years, and I’ll never get this lazy time back.

    But in the meantime, He’s calling me to be a better steward of it. It’s a delicate balance! Please pray that I’ll learn those lessons easily!

    • Discernment is right, Susan! I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately as I’m not certain where the line is of loving with our hearts open wide and guarding them…but I’m confident He’ll show me what’s right for me. And I’m beginning to accept I may never know, but will learn to rely on Him on a case by case basis. So thankful He hasn’t given up on me!

      And thank you so much for updating me on how I can pray for you. Updated my prayer journal and will be praying for balance…perspective…your kids. Hugs to you, friend!

  7. Once again, your space has blessed and challenged me:) I love your heart and appreciate your transparency.

    My heart has been folded and unfolded uniquely in the last two days. I’ve approached some I’ve hurt and asked for their forgiveness. One I approached had deeply wounded me, too, but didn’t feel the need to reciprocate by asking for my forgiveness. I did receive an apology for an isolated incident, but I had to walk away, peacefully walk away, knowing I followed HIS example of forgiving.

    Others I’ve asked to forgive me have yet to respond yay or nay. I’m waiting, but there’s nothing I can do beyond receiving HIS peace.

    Fold. Unfold. Trust. Peace.

    I’m weary today, but thankful I sought their forgiveness regardless of the response.

    I truly appreciate you, Nikki!

    • oh wow, Stefanie. That is so much for a heart to endure in such a short time. So proud of you! I love your thought of the folding and unfolding. Sometimes those creases leave a bigger story of grace than the precise folds, don’t you think? Praying you feel His peace tonight, friend.

  8. Nikki you are so gifted. I love how you weave word pictures together to help us visualize the truths you want us to understand.

    Sounds like God is doing similar things in us–evaluating our dreams and God’s plans for us. He’s definitely the one to trust. Thanks for this peak into your heart– for trusting us.

    • Coming from one that is extremely gifted, I am so touched, Mary Beth! Thank you… I’ve told you before, you read my heart so well. And I’m enjoying the similar path He has us on lately and am so grateful He has joined us together to help hold each other up from time to time…. Hugs to you!

  9. Nikki, this is a great question, and such an important one! I was having this conversation with someone just today. It’s taken me until now, at 35 years old, to seriously ponder the question of guarding my heart. I clearly share much through my blog, so I see that as sharing my heart. However, my deep personal relationships are few. I think that is how I guard my heart. God is doing much work in this area currently, guiding me to those with whom I share deeply. Thanks so much for your heartfelt thoughts! It’s a pleasure to be getting to know you.

    • Having just turned 35, I’m smiling wide at how we are both pondering this heart guarding business, Mandy! And I love your thoughts here. Striving to be sensitive to who He would have me bleed for so to speak. And I’m honored to get to know you — you light shines so bright…

  10. What a beautiful post! I always feel so uplifted and encouraged after reading them! I absolutely love the image of the Lord as an origami artist! Happy belated birthday, my friend! I hope it was wonderful and that God blesses you with many, many more years of love, health and happiness! πŸ™‚

  11. Writing out my testimony for adoption application after application for grants, etc…has continued to remind me of where God has brought me from. The identity He’s given me and my family as His children, and the amazing amount of faith He’s put in us to proclaim His Kingdom…so very glad to have been held by the Father. πŸ™‚

    • We should all do that every so often (if we don’t journal) to see how far we’ve come. It’s a great exercise!
      Being held by the Father…yes. that thought is so very near for me right now. I might just have to blog about it soon…
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing with me, Wick!

  12. Catching up on my reading! Can you tell? Being away from home without a computer is difficult but thankfully my husband understands that I compelled to catch up when we get home. πŸ™‚

    Nikki, this was one of your loveliest posts. I found myself wanting to share that grace, love and hope in the instant it was granted you. But even better is to know you now — just what He planned you to be. πŸ™‚

    Blessings, dear friend!

    • So very kind of you to catch up! (of course I didn’t expect you to). Glad you made it home safely and thank you so much for your kind words. He’s still working on me…there’s no telling what He has in store and I’m learning to enjoy the adventure! πŸ™‚

  13. Pingback: Not Getting My Way and the WIP Wednesday Link-Up - New Life Steward

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