Live Oaks of Midland--Nicole Mavis
Meet one of the sweetest & kindest women I have had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know: Nicole Mavis.
I consider her an Oak in Midland because of the way she has nurtured so many relationships through her gentleness, listening ear and thoughtfulness. She has also endured hardship and is an overcomer. Here is her faith-filled story…
But first, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I have been with MidMichigan Health for the past 10 years. I am the Administrative Assistant at the Diabetes Center. I love being around like minded people who just want to help others and make them feel better.
What about your family?
I grew up in a home that was filled with love and my brother and I were blessed with parents that were nurturing and supportive and did everything they could to help us grow into well rounded adults. Though my immediate family was just the four of us, we were never alone because I grew up in a family filled with cousins, Aunts and Uncles. We have a very large family and very few of them left Midland, so now as adults, our families are closer than ever and our children are growing up together. Our grandparents are so very proud as they smile down from heaven.
19 years ago I met the love of my life through a mutual friend. Josh and I will be married 12 years in May. Wow! I can’t even believe those NUMBERS! It has gone by so fast. It literally feels like yesterday that we meet. My husband and I spent the first 5 years of our marriage traveling and establishing our careers before we started our family. We welcomed our son Hunter 6 years ago and then 3 years ago we had our baby girl, Harper. She completes our family perfectly and thank god everyday for our beautiful little family.
Where have you put down roots?
Midland is home. Midland is where my family is and Midland is where we want to raise our family.
How many years have you lived in Midland
I was born and raised in Midland. Both my husband and my families are here in Midland and we will never leave. Family is everything and we could never picture life living far away from them.
In what ways are you involved in our community?
I volunteer at The Bridge, which is a non profit grocery store that our church opened two years ago. Our mission is to “Bridge” the gap for those who are low income in our community… but does not qualify for state services. We have thousands of families in Midland County that are below the poverty line and go without food. We are serving those families and providing them with affordable options so they do not have to go hungry. It’s a pretty amazing program. I also enjoy being involved with Cancer Services and giving back. They helped me through my cancer diagnosis and I love being surrounded by such a loving and caring group of women. I feel very connected to them and I always look forward to helping them in any way that I can.
How do you want to change or improve Midland?
We need more opportunities in Midland for individuals who are trying to rehabilitate themselves back in our community after struggling with addiction. We need more programs that provide them with training opportunities so they can gain confidence and get a job. There are a few programs in Midland, but feel like we could use more.
What are your dreams?
For my marriage to continue to grow and experience new things together. For my husband continue to thrive and be happy in his career. For my children to continue to grow and be healthy, I want for them to be happy and to love themselves and others. And for myself, I dream to one day quit my full time job and be able to do more with my children in school and do photography full time.
What are you passionate about?
Photography, I love using my gift from god to give families beautiful photos of their loved ones… photos they will hold and cherish forever.
What breaks your heart?
To think of the world that my children are growing up in. The days of walking down a country road to your friends house, is gone. The days of being able to trust a stranger, is gone. The days of going to school and feel like it’s your safe place, is gone. There are so many things that generations before them used to enjoy… but because of the violence and hate that walks our streets anymore… those days are gone.
How have the winds of life made you stronger?
With life you have highs and you have lows. I can say personally, I have struggled with my lows and I am not afraid to admit that as I am human and we all struggle. Since turning 30 I have dealt with a lot of loss both in death and in friendships, I have dealt with health issues, the stress of raising your children, the pressure of being this “Got it all together” Mom and wife, the worry of maintaining a healthy marriage, the anxiety of jobs, making life decisions that can ultimately impact you for the rest of your life… being a adult is NO JOKE! Its rough! Through all of this, I have learned that everyone wakes in the morning with a choice. A choice to make the best of it and start new or to dwell on the yesterdays and allow it bring you down. The winds of life have taught me to do my very best to find a positive in everything you face, no matter how hard it is. God never gives you more than you can handle and you just have to give your troubles and worries to him as he is the one with a plan.
Will you share more of your faith story with us?
In the weeks after my cancer diagnosis, I cannot describe the fear of the unknown. I can not describe my thoughts nor my emotions. If I could not describe them to my loved ones so they could help me, then what was I to do? It was then that I turned to the lord because only he knew my thoughts, he knew what I needed to get through this. I’ll never forget sitting in church that day, by myself and just weeping as I listened to the message being delivered to us. It was as if it was meant for me. Pastor Ed read scriptures from the bible about fear and and how god is our refuge and he will see us through everything… it spoke right to my heart. It was then I knew everything was going to be ok. I had not been consistent in going to church or praying to god at this point in my life. However, I was raised in a catholic home where christian values were always instilled in us. Those weeks after hearing I had cancer I was scared out of my mind and that day I went back to church I asked for forgiveness of all my sins and I laid myself before the lord and asked him to work through me, allow me to serve him by serving others. It was that day I felt the presence of god with me and inside of me… I felt god’s grace. It was then that I knew he would calm my fears and help me to get through this very trying time in my life.
After going through cancer… I have learned how fragile life truly is. It helped me to refocus on the important things in life, my children, my husband, my family and my faith. Life can consume you and you can lose sight of the important things in life, really quick. When you face a scary diagnosis and your future is threatened with your family, you don’t let the little moments pass by. You embrace them, you love them, you hold onto them.
Where do you get your grounding?
My family. Immediate family and extended. I have a very large family and we are very close. I’m talking… close with 2nd and 3rd cousins! It’s pretty amazing and you don’t see this often with families. We are very lucky that very few of us moved out of the area so this helps us greatly in staying close. The love and support we give one another is monumental. We lift each other up and always go running when one of us are in need. I have watched my parents, my great aunts and uncles and so many of my cousins move through life being present, helping others, be humble in their successes, live life serving our lord and just being kind and loving members of our community. Having these role models in my life… without a doubt has kept me grounded and given me a great deal of pride. They make me want to be a better person and everyday I wake with the goal of making a difference in someone’s life, little or big.
Finally, do you have a favorite quote or Scripture you could leave us with?
To live a life of kindness and love. To live a life building others up and being selfless. To live a life serving our lord and doing for others. To just be a good human.
And the perfect reminder. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:6-9
Thank you so much Nicole for sharing your story, we feel honored and encouraged!