Be careful what you pray for, God just might make you laugh. Here was my prayer last night before my head hit the pillow. "Lord, help me remember what it was like being in middle school." This morning I woke up with one of the worse cases of acne I have had in years, welts the size of pennies, painful and embarrassing. I just turned 40, come on! Now, some of you may be asking why would I pray such a prayer and the answer is that I am returning to a youth group that I had the privilege of giving my testimony at a few weeks back. As I looked in the mirror I went back to the insecure 12 year old broken young girl that I was many years ago. I remember it like yesterday, trying to cover up what just could not be covered. I had this false belief that I lacked much value based on my appearance. As a grown up who has searched her past and made peace with it as well, I now know the truth and can say "thank you God" for answered prayers, even if I have to wear them on my face. My heart aches for this generation, I feel their pain so deeply but I also believe that the Lord's promises hold true for this generation and that He will be call these young people out to set many free. Please keep me in your prayers as I pour into this area of my community, holding tight to the promises for each of these young people, that they too have a hope and a future.

Don't forget, be careful what you pray for..


Going the distance!

Part 2

The gift of going the distance in prison ministry is that we get to witness the lines of race, denomination and gender being crossed. Not only do we get the privilege of observing the lines being crossed, we actually get the opportunity to participate in crossing the lines ourselves.

It is when the lines are erased that we can truly minister to one another and be ministered too. I have had the benefit of experiencing this kind of ministry, true iron sharpening iron behavior.

Saturday’s event

The women come to us hungry, hurting and ready to be fed. We arrived not in our own strength but in His and with anticipation, we all gathered to watch God pour out and move in a miraculous way.

We came to testify, teach and train those who are otherwise forgotten behind bars. We came to pray, love and encourage those who where preparing for their release. We came to listen, cry and just be with those who would never walk outside the walls.


We not only saw the lines being crossed behind the prison walls but also in the pews of the church. We were invited to celebrate church with a local congregation as well as spend time with a few more Daughters Free. We were not asked because of our skin color, sex or church background but rather because of our love for the Lord and our passion for the prisoner. From the outside and by all appearances we looked like we were just visiting but as worship began and greeting continued it was obvious that we were seen as family, sharing the same Father and the same faith.

We joined the congregation after service for a volunteer luncheon that they had put on for those serving in prison ministry. We spent time taking pictures together as if we were long last family members. I wanted the time to stand still but I also wanted to get back home to share with those in my circle what is looked like to go the distance and to cross and erases all lines that keep us from wearing Him well.

“Running my race in a lane called grace”

Going the distance!

Part 1

One week tomorrow since I returned home from Missouri and Illinois where I had the opportunity to minister to those in the gated community. Because coming home entails picking up where I left off, I am not always able to just pour into my writing. Though I will say, I am blessed with a husband who actually takes over while I am gone. Taking care of the kids, meals, appointments, homework, laundry, the list goes on. Therefore, picking up where I left off is really just snuggling in with the family and being not just physically present for them but emotionally present as well.

With my families emotional bank accounts filled up and a little time on my hand I am ready to pour out and share about the incredible trip I had inside and outside the prison walls. This trip marked the one-year anniversary where I actually felt for the very first time what Holy Ground was like beneath my feet. This trip marked the anniversary where I realized that the Lord had given me a new set of eyes and that where others saw prisoners I saw broken and beautiful women. It was this time last year where I found myself feeling more at home inside the prison then I did the church walls.

I arrived in Missouri last Thursday afternoon, traveling with two of my most favorite people in the whole wide world and team members from the ministry. I have to say, traveling with these two women is actually one of my favorite parts of serving in ministry. The gift of friendship that comes with serving is priceless, thank you my friends for making serving in ministry so rewarding.

Our first evening in town was spent with a Daughter Free, where we had the opportunity to join her in celebrating her churches 100-year anniversary. A night of worship, celebration and inspiration, it was truly an amazing event to participate in. From there we came home, enjoyed “homemade” chocolate chip cookies, a little down time, and then off to bed. I was blessed to have made a new friend and some new memories.

Friday night was our first event with the ministry behind bars. We arrived at the facility an hour prior to our event in the chapel, got cleared to come in, met with the chaplain and found ourselves smack dab in the middle of a tornado warning. Like we tell people who serve in this ministry, be prepared for anything to happen. There we were the three of us and the chaplain inside the chapel, waiting for the ladies to be released when all of a sudden the warning turned to a watch.

The sky grew dark quickly as if a blanket had been put over the light of day. The rain came down like a broken sprinkler head and the cracking in the sky sounded like a bullwhip hitting the earth. The bright flashes of lighting gave way to the silhouettes of the trees on the yard. How do I stay calm in the middle of the storm, once again? Praising God through all circumstances and that is just what we did as a team. We had quickly been directed back to the chaplain office to hunker down and prepare for what just might possibly be.

Eventually we came out, threw on some worship music and just started singing and dancing to the Lord in the middle of the storm. Thunder and lighting, rain all around us and guards and inmates watching from the other side.

They eventually released the women to come to chapel and the teaching began. I recognized a few faces from last years visit but most of the ladies I saw this time were new faces. They greeted us with smiles, handshakes and a look of deep gratitude. When many of them found out, we were from California they just could not believe we had come such a distance for them. Even one of the guards questioned why we would do such a thing. With a smile on our faces and love in our hearts our response was because God loves you, that simple. He went the distance for us and we will do the same for you was the song in our hearts as we were given the privilege to minister to the most beautiful women in our nation.

The ladies devoured the teaching; they embraced the message and worshipped the Lord with all their hearts. Once again, I found myself amazed at the freedom I felt amongst these women who were locked up behind bars with most of their freedoms taken away.

Leaving the ladies is always the hardest, walking away through the facility and out the doors leaving them behind breaks my heart every time. However, I knew I would be back in the morning, which helped ease the pain of my heart and bridge the distance between our two worlds.

Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken!

Deanna Allen, Michelle Melton and Cris Nole

Sometimes there just aren't enough words to describe what it is like to serve along side some of the most amazing women in the world. I love how God shows up in our brokenness, victories, service and best of all laughter. Being set free to be who we have been called to be and running the race with like minded sister's, now that is a race I am willing to run. More to come on how the crusade went but for now I must get some sleep.

Daughters of Destiny
Recently returning from Missouri Mission Field.
Ecclesiastes 4:12

God is able!

Part 3

At that very moment a man appeared out of nowhere, my window was down and he reached out his hand and I took his and he said, “my name is Able.” As we shook hands, I asked him if he was with search and rescues. Of course, he said “no”; I just continued to shake his hand and introduced myself as well. Able our angel had the most beautiful smile I had ever seen and I knew the moment he spoke that the Lord had sent him to us.

He looked straight passed me and made eye contact with my daughter; tears fell fresh on her face. In a gentle and reassuring voice, he told us, “I will not leave you.” I sat there in amazement, “where did this man come from?” kept running through my head. I asked him what he was doing out here and he told me that he did this kind of thing for fun. I could not help but laugh and cry at the same time. I spoke out to my operators Darin and Sherri and said, “are you listing to this”?

Relief poured through me like a fresh cup of cold water. Fear had left me and peace took over as this stranger named Able proceeded to tell me that he could help guide and direct me out of the center of nowhere. I explained to him the fear I had of slipping off the side of the cliff and that I had zero experience driving in these kind of conditions.

He assured me that he knew what he was doing; something inside me said, “Trust him”. He had that mountain man look to him with dark hair, somewhat disheveled and he walked with a confidence of someone who knew what he was doing. Sherri from 911 encouraged me to let him help us; he was truly an answer to my prayers.

Therefore, with my life and the life of my children in this stranger’s hands, I continued pray, as I accepted his help. I sat straight up in my car, gripped the steering wheel and listened as I had never listened before, these were by far the most important directions I had ever received in my life. One wrong turn and it could cost us dearly. Able actually walked next to me as I maneuvered my vehicle away from the cliff and squeezed it as close to the mountain as I could get it. His directions were clear and concise. Using the tracks before and the ditch to catch me from slipping and sliding.

As soon as I was almost hugging the side of the mountain he returned to his truck and slowly drove in front of us to pave the way. As he passed us, I made eye contact with the man in his passenger’s seat who also had the very same smile as Able. He too spoke peace into the situation with just a look. As my eyes floated to their back seat I could not believe what I saw next, three young children, probably about my son and daughters age, one girl and they too had that look and smile on their face as Able and his passenger.

All three turned to look at us and continued to smile as they drove past us. I could feel the tension in the car slip away as the kids realized that they were not alone either that there were other children involved in the situation. His directions were the same as before, stay in his tracks and that is just what I did. Follow in his footsteps, wow, this sounded so familiar.

A confidence came over me as I took control of the wheel and prayed that we would not run out of gas as we moved forward. Able did just as he said he would and made tracks that I could follow, tracks that caught my car and kept us from danger. There were times when we took turns that seemed impossible to make, I would take a deep breath, pray and see his thumbs go up from out his window. He paved the way and at times I could see his truck slide and I was amazed at what seemed like a sacrifice and a chance he took just to lead us to safety.

All I thought as I watched him lead the way was, “as soon as we get out of here I wanted to take this man sent from God and his passengers to lunch”. I wanted to be able to thank them for what they had done. The voice of Darin was still with us and his encouragement helped us stay calm, cool and collective. I steered, stopped and directed my beast of a car around the hairpin roads, slipping at times but never hitting the mountain or even coming close to the edge of the cliff. I became more confident in the fact that we were almost out of what felt like the lost world and back into civilization.

We finally made it to the main road. It felt as if the mouth of the mountain had spit us out of a bad dream and left us there to pick up the pieces. We immediately lost contact with Darin from on star. Able pulled next to me on my right and I quickly asked him where the nearest gas station was, I was now running on fumes and needed to refuel before I ended up in one more sticky situation. Just as quickly as he arrived, he left.
I turned to ask him if I could take him and his crew to lunch and all of a sudden; they were gone, like a flash of lighting. I turned to my left to see if maybe he went around us but they were gone.

As I sat in wonder, my eyes took hold of two trucks, side by side, windows broken in and the their bodies smashed on all sides. I gasped at the thought that what I was staring at was a result of the path we had just come from. These two trucks did not look like they faired the trip to well and made me even more thankful for Able and his amazing arrival.

I have no doubt in my mind that my children and I had been taken care of by angels sent to us by our God, who we chose to praise regardless of the outcome…

Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?
Hebrews 1:14

God is able!

Part 2

So, here I am sitting on the outside of the pit. Able to look back on what could have possibly been the last few moments of my life as well as my children’s and I am in complete awe as I see the hand prints of God all over the experience. It happened on the ninth of last month. I had just finished spending four wonderful days in the hills of Mendocino County with my 13-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son.

With the advice of my GPS unit, we were headed home. Returning a different way we had come in, I trusted that “Tina” knew where she was taking us. We were traveling on a one-way road in my Yukon Denali, not a small car mind you. Five minutes had passed when I had to quickly pull over to avoid being hit head on by a mini van. This was the first sign that maybe I should have gone the way I came. The near head on accident left me a little shaken and briefly questioning my decision to follow the directions of my computerized map. “Tina” had been known for getting us lost before. There was little sign of life around us and the one way paved road quickly turned into a one-way muddy dirt road that looked like it had not seen many travelers in quite sometime.

With a forest of trees all around us and signs that made it clear that trespassers were not welcomed, I started to fear that just maybe I had made a wrong choice. The road had become narrow and started to look like the shape of a snake. There had been signs that we were on a road less traveled. Not recommended for through traffic and usually closed during the winter months were just a few of the signs posted before me. If it had been that easy, I would have turned my car around.

My tires had become one with the mud and sludge and when I looked out the windows, I saw a thick ribbon of mud wrapped around each of the wheels. Things started to go very wrong at that point. Every time I put any pressure on my breaks, the sound of metal grinding would come through the floorboards. By the grace of God, I was holding it together on the outside; I knew that my children’s response would mimic mine and that loosing it was not an option. My insides were a different story, my heart was racing a mile a minute and my brain was searching frantically for some kind of answer, some kind of solution to get us out of what felt like hell.
I continued to drive and silently pray. I was crying out to God for a peace and calmness in the middle of what appeared to be the most dangerous storm, literally and figuratively of my life and that of my children’s. Feelings of helplessness, vulnerability and fear came flooding toward me. We were in the eye of the storm with no apparent way out.

I approached the first turn with caution, the wind was blowing and rain was coming down and the roads continued to make mud and sludge. I almost froze at what I saw next, or at what I did not see, no guardrails. We could actually see straight down the cliff on every turn we were making. Then I found myself without traction; the tires became impacted with the sludge. All of sudden, we felt the car start to slide. We were heading straight towards the mountain, my breaks would not respond and I had very little control over the steering wheel.

I knew at this point that the kids were old enough to understand the danger we were in with out me telling them. The look on both their faces told me that they were just as fearful as I was. As I approached the next turn, I immediately felt the car slide once again but this time towards the edge of the cliff. I quickly hit the breaks, the car started to fish tail and by the grace of God, I was able to stop the giant metal tank from plummeting over the side of the mountain with us in it.

There we were just a few feet between the back of the car and the edge of the cliff. Fear gripped me as the thoughts ran through my mind that at any moment the car with us in it could slide right off the side of the cliff. I longed to hear my husband’s voice, even for a moment. Helplessly my daughter looked at our cell phones as if magically she could make a connection happen. I quickly made a decision as we sat there in the middle of nowhere; close to sliding off the edge of a cliff, with less then a half a tank of gas and no connect with the outside world.

I made the choice to praise God regardless of the situation, regardless of the circumstance, the kids joined me as we thanked God for the food and water we had in the car, the gas to keep the motor running so we would have heat and for the very moment, we had together. I was able to share with them how easy it is to praise God when life is going good or even not so good. Never had we been put through the fire up until that moment and when it was all said and done our faith never waivered.

As we sat there thanking God for all He had done and continued to do for us, I decided to look in my rear view mirror and it hit me, how could I have forgotten. I had ON STAR! Yes, I love technology! I immediately hit the emergency button and an angel from the other side answered. Tears of relief filled my eyes when I heard, “Hi Mrs. Nole, my name is Darin, how may I help you.” I shared with him the severity of the situation and my fear of slipping of the side of the cliff.

Once again, I was in silent prayer, asking for continued strength and courage to hold it together. My daughter was curled up in the front seat making it clear of her disapproval of any attempt to try to move the car. Vito on the other hand had checked out the situation and was a little more confident in the help Darin might be sending. To be honest, from where we were it seemed impossible for any regular tow truck, emergency vehicle or rescue team to get to us.

I started sharing with Darin about the kids and I choosing to praise God in this storm, he just came into agreement with us and continued to talk to us at the same time as working on getting us help. His conversation with us helped keep us calm and brought peace to the situation. He repeatedly reminded us that we were not alone and that he was still there with us. Darin was finally able to patch us through to 911, search and rescue. This angels name was Sherri and she knew from her map that the road we were on was not meant for regular travel. She was working with a team of people on her side as Darin continued to talk to us and help us stay in the moment without drifting off to the what ifs.

It had started to rain again and Sherri from 911 made it clear that we needed to prepare to jump out of the car if it started to slide again. It was not like I was talking to the operators over the phone. Everything they said came through an intercom in the car and this information made my daughter extremely nervous and brought me to a place of anxiousness where I had to completely cry out to God for help. There we were the five of us. My two kids, myself and our two virtual angels. Anytime silence took over, Darin would pipe in and remind us that he was still there. I felt God’s presence through this total stranger who kept on encouraging and letting us know we were not alone.

Darin had tried earlier to patch us through to my husband but we had no luck getting through. He asked if he could try again and Sherri agreed that it would be a good idea. I was at the end of myself; feeling like I was unable to protect my children from the danger that possible was before us. However, when the kids heard Darin ask me about the call they both yelled out “yes, call him again”. I had a need to hear his voice and tell him how much I loved him.

Here was the problem, the minute I heard his voice I completely fell apart and so did the kids, tears flowed like a running faucet that I could not stop. The operators had informed him of the situation and the severity of our circumstance and his response to me was that he wanted to come to us. That is why I love him so much. What I needed from him that moment was his prayers and that is just what he gave us, as he finished praying you could hear an echo through out the car from the operators. I knew I could not hold myself together and stay on the line with him, so we said our goodbyes and our I love yous, praying all along that his would not be the last time we would hear each other’s voices.

With our goodbyes said, we let each other go. The three of us just sat there silently in shock. I gripped the stirring wheel, dropped my head and shut my shut my eyes. Once again silently crying out to God, knowing that to be absent from this life meant I would be present with Him. I was at the end of myself and it seemed like we were looking at an impossible situation. I had not given up but I did surrender completely to God, knowing that man had no answers for us either.

At that very moment a man appeared out of nowhere, my window was down and he reached out his hand and I took his and he said, “ my name is Able.” As we shook hands, I asked him if he was with search and rescues. Of course, he said “no”, I just continued to shake his hand and introduced myself as well. Able our angel had the most beautiful smile I had ever seen and I knew the moment he spoke that the Lord had sent him to us.