Five Questions: Pres. Nichole

Welcome to! Tell us who you are.

I am a wife to an Orthodox priest, and together we have 4 children, two boys nearly 7 and 5, and twin girls who turn 2 in October. We live outside of Chicago, though I grew up near Atlanta. I have a degree in large animal science and was in the field of natural horsemanship and training before I had my children, and plan to go back into it soon. I met my husband while studying for my master’s degree at Holy Cross seminary – we graduated together.

What do you most enjoy sharing? What do you feel most called to share?

I often share moments of my life as a mom with my 4 kids, and I try to share the joys as well as the difficulties of this stage of life. My children are young and energetic, with strong personalities! I really believe that being honest about how trying early motherhood can be is often helpful and comforting to new mothers. I try to share my struggles, my inner monologues, and my gratitude and frustrations. I also enjoy sharing Horse-related things, funny things, good musical moments, examples of cleverness and ingenuity, and general wholesomeness in humanity.

The world of social media is complex. What do you see as difficult and as redemptive about sharing your journey in this way? 

It is hard to feel like anyone wants to hear what I have to say sometimes. Sometimes I share struggles and I get responses from people trying to fix it, or people who are worried about my mental health, when I just wanted to share a snapshot of my day so others won’t feel alone in struggle.

Being vulnerable is often helpful to me, just to share things that make it clear that I do not have it all together. I used to really fear asking for help or admitting that I am struggling. Opening up to other moms and sharing the hard things has really helped me embrace my human weakness, and brought me closer to other parents in solidarity.

What is your earliest, distinctly Orthodox memory?

I became Orthodox in middle school, so I clearly remember the first time I attended an Orthodox service at age 10. I was a little overwhelmed and definitely uncomfortable. It was dark (a Russian church, and I think it was vespers so it was dimly candlelit), the chanting was totally foreign (musically and linguistically), and the priests and deacons in their black robes were quite intimidating. I had grown up in Presbyterian churches before this, so it was quite different!

What do you hope will be the mark you leave on the world as you pass through it? 

I hope I can bring comfort and support to moms of young children. I hope I can encourage them to bring their kids to church, even though it is immensely difficult sometimes. I hope sharing my journey as I go along it can help create a sense of camaraderie and sisterhood. I deeply feel the need for “the village,” and since my closest friends are scattered all over the country, I have had to do the best I can, and have found social media can help fill the gaps.


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