Women Who Inspire: Nicole Reyes

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I was scrolling through YouTube a while back and came across what is the gem known as Nicole Reyes. I clicked a video and heard Nicole’s entire message and once it was over I thought, “whoa, who’s this girl because she’s all sorts of amazing.” That was my assumption from just 30 minutes of hearing her preach. Turns out, she is amazing. Oh, and guys...she can preach!

She’s someone I’ve been drawn to – may sound a bit creepy but listen, when you come across a preacher girl who you secretly want to be like when you grow up, and happens to respond to your email (amid her busy schedule + life), you learn to love her from afar.

Nicole is an awesome speaker and author, to say the least. The girl is passionate for Jesus and is a true women encourager aka your total woman who supports other women. Her love for the local church and passion to see the Gospel transform lives around the world prompted her to relocate from Los Angeles to New York City in 2016, where she serves as Director of Liberty Foundation. When she's not traveling the world, she spends time with her boyfriend Ben, family and friends. 

Read on to learn about what makes her happy, the changes she embraced during her bi-costal move, her advice on leading without a platform, and more. 

You launched Navigating the New earlier this year, a devotional series of videos released each week, which came at an appropriate time given the new year and the many changes taking place within the church, our society, and culture. The series is now wrapped up but what’s the one thing you want viewers, who may come across the series, to take away from each message?

You know, we all deal with change. It’s simply a part of life. Navigating the new can be tricky. It can be exhilarating and infuriating all at the same time. Change can be a rollercoaster that leaves us with emotional whiplash; or it can just as easily be the soil in which seed-size faith can grow into blossoming Christ-like character and spiritual maturity.

Change can be messy, but it can also be the perfect time to allow the Holy Spirit to shine light on the dusty and untended places of our hearts. It can also reveal great mysteries about grace and truth to speak spectacular words of life, hope, and healing. I’ve had to navigate some major changes in my life the last couple of years. I can honestly say that Jesus has not only proven His faithfulness to me in every change, but the new I had to navigate became life defining moments in my journey of faith. 

And I would want my viewers to experience the same – to know that transition offers so much more than a change of pace or a new destination. The goal of transition is never simply to resolve where we are going; it’s equally about resolving who we are becoming. 

Navigating the new always has the potential to transform not just our circumstances, but our character. I hope my viewers would trust Jesus to lead them in their new, learn the right lessons along the way, and personally experience this transformation! 

Where or when are you the happiest?

That’s a tough one because I can’t limit my answer to one time or place, but I’ll try to keep the list short :) I am happiest when I am curled up in my bed with my morning coffee in one hand and my Bible in the other. I love starting my mornings with intentional prayer and study of God’s Word. It’s where I continue to fall more in love with the Word of God and ultimately more in love with Jesus. 

I’m also completely happy when I'm preaching. It doesn’t matter if I'm speaking to one person or thousands, if it’s in front of a live audience, or typed and posted online in written form – I absolutely love talking about Jesus and exploring the great mysteries of grace and truth found in the Bible. I believe our hearts begin to soar when we discover what we love doing and how that can best serve the world. I began preaching and writing at 12-years-old, so my heart has been soaring ever since.

And last, but not least, I am happiest when spending time with my boyfriend, Ben. It doesn’t matter what we’re doing, we will laugh a lot, encourage each other and have fun. Meeting Ben last year has been one of the greatest surprises and blessings of my life!

Tell us what you've learned during your transition from LA to NYC during the last year and the importance of embracing change in several aspects of your life. 

Well, you’ll have to check out my series Navigating the New for a full answer, but here are a few that stand out:

  • You’ll never be able to fully embrace the present until you have fully forgiven the past
  • Authenticity requires vulnerability.  Be open and honest with those you can trust to move forward in strength
  • You’ll never make everyone happy, so don’t waste time trying
  • Great things in life take time, so put in the time and give it time
  • Take risks. Refuse to live a small life of comfort and safety
  • There is no greater pursuit than to know and follow Jesus, and in every season, there is no greater reward than to know His love

Vulnerable confession:

I like TV!  I always wanted to be that person who says, ‘I don’t own a TV. I prefer to spend my free time outdoors or reading a good book or doing something else that makes me sound all grown up and sophisticated.’ And sure, I like reading, but I also like my Netflix. I may or may not have even binge watched “Stranger Things.”  What can I say – I’ve been a fan of the television – ever since Saturday morning cartoons.

What’s your take on how to lead without holding a title or how to develop one’s calling without having a platform, yet still make a difference?

Lead where you are. Start where you are. Do what you can with what you have. Don’t wait for someone to give you permission to use your God-given gifts and talents to serve others. Go for it! You don’t have to have a title to influence others for the better, you don’t have to have a college degree or certificate to solve problems others are facing, and you don’t have to have a platform to have a voice. 

I think the danger today is that we believe we aren’t successful unless we have a ton of social media followers or a large platform. Our culture is full of people who are in a hurry to be famous and recognized. People will put a whole lot of energy into making sure their voice is heard without first figuring out what they have to say. 

There is so much power in simply choosing to be faithful where you are and with what you have been given. Push yourself, stretch yourself, keep learning, keep trying, keep serving and keep developing the gifts God has given you. Successful people are not the ones who get known the quickest; they are the ones who keep showing up every day to do their best. 

What does living with intention mean to you?

We are a by-product of our choices more than anything else. God has given us this radical gift of love called free will. We choose the kind of relationship we have with Jesus and His direction and healing in our life. We also choose to what degree we will obey, how we will let His love shape us, what we say “yes” to and what we say “no” to. 

We choose how we respond to difficulties, how to treat others, our pursuits, our friendships, how we spend our time, what we say, and what we eat. We choose what we wear, when we will get up in the morning and when we will go to sleep. Yes, there are some things that are beyond our control, but we have a lot of say in who we will be and what we will do with the life we’ve been given. 

I believe living with intention is choosing to own the story of your life. It’s making a decision that you are not a victim of your circumstances or a creature of habit or another face in the crowd. Living with intention is taking responsibility for the decisions of your life and how they shape you. If we are courageous enough, living with intention looks like evaluating the places of our lives, that aren’t what we want them to be, and asking the Holy Spirit to empower us to continue to grow and change.

Want to know Nicole a bit more? Visit her site or follow her on Twitter or Instagram

Women Who Inspire is a Q&A series featuring women from all walks of life who embody what it means to live with intention and who inspire me in some way or another. These are women who have a story to tell and aren’t afraid to share a little bit of their vulnerabilities and of course, their wins. Know someone who should be featured? Contact me and I'll be happy to consider!

Jessica Martinez