UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Lake Wylie

God, Grace, Grit

God, Grace, Grit

This is my story; a story of vulnerability, authenticity and hope. I want to share my experience as an offering to anyone who is going through a hard time or a series of hard times that feels like it is never ending. Whatever you are experiencing, be it illness, grief, confusion or trauma, please know that it is possible to find forgiveness, to bring the light into your life and to shine brighter than you ever have before and with God, Grace and Grit. Most importantly, God.

?Fishing is a sport of patience and ever-present experience of self-growth. Yet, as dedicated anglers, we know that fishing is more than a sport. It’s a communion with nature, a pathway to peace, and a way of life for families and friends. I found fishing at a time in my life when I felt like things had fallen apart. A series of unfortunate events put me in a difficult place that I didn’t know how to deal with, and I lived in darkness for some time before finding my road to healing through faith, family and fishing. I was gifted an abundance from God that gave me strength to carry on with my life as a mother, a sportswoman, and an advocate for empowerment through authenticity and dedication. I feel very blessed to have found my calling from God and a pathway to service and helping others, while being true to my own healing and growth through fishing. Now, onto the hard part of this story.

?Our family cabin on Rush Lake in Ottertail, Minn., is the place where my dad first taught me to fish. It was always a special time for our family when we spent summer days at the cabin, fishing from the boat or from the dock out back, running through the grass, and living in the joy and wildness of a Minnesota summer as a happy family. At a young age, our time fishing together was about way more than fishing. It was quality time where we could be peaceful and prioritize family and faith. During these summer days, my dad instilled in me the importance of always putting God and family first, sharing in the love of God, maintaining faith, and always pushing myself as an individual and as an athlete.

?My dad battled multiple myeloma cancer for many years, and the illness had been completely debilitating. The day I found my father unconscious at our cabin was shocking and terrifying. Educated in sports medicine, I immediately began to administer CPR while calling 911. This was the day I was able to save my father’s life. It was an act of God that I was there at the right moment, and was adequately trained to act in that shocking scenario. As time has passed, I am able to look back on the impact of that moment and know that it defined me in many ways and was God’s plan. But at that time, I felt both helpless and empowered, trained on what to do and how to execute the drill, and also overcome with fear as a helpless child trying to save her daddy. Thank God this time it turned out in our favor, and my father was saved. Eventually, the stress on my father’s body became too much for him to handle, and after years of illness ravaging his cells, he passed peacefully in the hospital one year later.

?For a long time, the grief was unbearable, and I couldn’t find the light within the darkness. It was only through surrender to Christ, on a mission trip to Nicaragua, that I finally found my way back to myself and my family and, mostly, to God. The road to healing was harder than I could have ever imagined, and was complicated by various events that seemed determined to keep me down. 

Over the next few years after my father’s death, I experienced what felt like hardship after hardship in test of my strength and character. I was involved in two motor vehicle accidents and suffered both physical and mental injuries due to concussion. My memory and cognitive capacity were impacted, and I struggled for a long time after to be understood, and to develop for myself an understanding of the ways I was impacted. 

While participating in a tournament for St. Jude, one of my favorite charities, in 2018 I experienced severe disorientation and memory loss. In an instant, I was unable to remember what I was doing and was unable to continue in the tournament. This was the incident that pushed me to come to a better understanding of all that had happened to me in recent years, and I finally was officially diagnosed with PTSD. Shortly after, I suffered a miscarriage that left me brokenhearted and in despair. But this time, I knew I was stronger than ever before because I surrendered to God’s plan.

?On my path to healing I continued to give my heart over to Christ to give me strength to come back to myself and continue to be a strong role model, a caring mother and wife, and a dedicated athlete. Through hard work, self-acceptance and forgiveness, I was once again able to focus on the people and things in my life that were most important. I began to feel my faith coming to life and showing itself to me, first in moments I called “God winks” and eventually in my everyday experiences. Living in faith and in my power became the new normal, and once again there was a fire within me that wasn’t as angry as before, but instead excited a spark of action. I continually recommitted to making an impact in the lives of others through nonprofit outreach, teaching children and supporting other women in the sport of fishing.

?I am proud of my accomplishments in the world of bass fishing and of what God has provided for me. Through acts of grace and moments of grit, I have dug deep within myself to find healing, happiness and inspiration.

Fishing is my platform and opportunity to share what I love with others, to embody the spirit of my dad, and to express my love of Christ. Acting gracefully on the water in times of stress relieves pressure and allows me to find appreciation for the moment and gratitude for my opportunities. Fishing is a time of self-reflection and a way to push beyond any limitations. 

Life isn’t always easy, and we all find ourselves in situations that seem impossible to overcome. But with God, grace and grit we have not only persevered, we have risen. And we are continuing to rise together, and can commit to uplifting one another along the way. No matter what you are going through on or off the water, know that with God, grace and grit, but most of all God, anything is possible.

Tags: nicole-jacobs  blog 

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