I hadn’t planned it this way, but this is the third of three guest posts in a row from the leading ladies in dynamic duos! Two weeks ago, we had Nancy Ortberg (she and John served at Willow Creek for many years, and are now at Menlo Park Presbyterian), and last week Judy Douglass (who together with her husband Steve head up Cru Global). This week’s wonderful guest is Cheryl Nyquist, who serve together at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. This is a precious glimpse on the inner world of someone who, perhaps, we might put on a pedestal – but what she shares is a message all of us can relate to.
Michele and I had been walking or riding bikes every morning for about two months. We thoroughly enjoyed sharing with one another our daily struggles and praises. In the context of what we were sharing that morning, which was particularly difficult, she stopped in the middle of the sidewalk in downtown Chicago right in front of married student housing here at Moody Bible Institute and said, “Cheryl, do you know who you are?” I immediately felt like I was taking a pop quiz! I begin to say, “well… I am Paul’s wife. I am the President of Moody’s wife!” (PAUSE) “I am a mom and sister and…..”
She stopped me. “NO!” she began to laugh. She looked at me with love in her eyes. She held her arms wide open and up high and said, ” You are a daughter of the King….a beloved, precious, delightful, precious in His sight… woman. You are cherished, treasured, and highly valued by the King. (she really has great vocabulary!) He has wrapped you in His thick cocoon of love so that you are protected from the pesty and dangerous arrows in life. You have already taken many arrows in life from the enemy. Know who you are and whose you are!! You have dignitiy bestowed on you from the King. The world cannot take it away from you unless you let them.”
It was profound for me. I had, of course, heard bits and pieces of this kind of talk in many different ways over the years as I have been a believer in Jesus for 30+ years. That day, however was a turning point for me. What do I mean by a turning point? The enemy over the years has always known different and key ways to trip me up. He feeds me LIES. He knows exactly what my weak spots are so that he can create the horrible lies for me to ingest.
That morning and for weeks and months following, God began to integrate these words into my daily life. I was ready to hear these words. I needed to hear these truths. I had been shot by many arrows as we all have. But this cocoon that God has wrapped around me means I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. I can be safe inside His protection. I don’t have to perform. I am free to bask in God’s love and His ways for me, fully trusting Him, as I do not have to feel shame. He forgives me and wraps the cocoon even tighter. To be free to use the gifts that God has given me and come so naturally for me instead of the responsibilities that are indirectly put upon me by those around me. The freedom, the love, the cherished feeling, and the victory I can have is at no cost to me. It is a priceless gift from my Jesus.
Today, tomorrow, and for eternity, I am bestowed with dignity and His love. I am a daughter of the King!
When we start doing anything in life differently, we usually don’t do it well at first. It takes practice. So carry on down the road of grace, with your strength and dignity intact, and find yourself, more of the time, experiencing the new story which has begun.
Cheryl Nyquist loves her husband, her 4 children, and 4 grandchildren. She and her husband, Paul, live in downtown Chicago, right across the street from Moody Bible Institute, where they both work and love pouring into students. After years in the country, they have found rich community in their downtown neighborhood. Cheryl loves people, and still keeps tomato, pepper, basil, and cilantro plants on her deck. She had her friend Cheryl are pictured here celebrating life on a water taxi downtown Chicago.