"And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13
If you ask Nikki Legros if she understands the truth in this scripture, she will tell you that she not only comprehends it, but she lives it. At the young age of 27, Nikki is a woman who has a smile that can light up a room. Her energy radiates and attracts complete strangers to befriend her upon first meeting. She opens her heart and her home to friends and people she hardly knows who have a need, and she lives a lifestyle that pours love into the lives of others. But, who would believe that she could be so full of love and have so much of it to give when she, herself, has lost so much of it?
Growing up, Nikki lived in a home without the love of her natural father. Although he was present, his own cultural upbringing caused him to desire that his first born child had been a male. And, despite the fact that his first born was a well-behaved and beautiful girl, he wanted very little to do with her to the point of not even allowing her to consume a meal in his presence. “He was unloving, never happy, and cold”, Nikki describes. At the age of 12, Nikki’s mother and father divorced; and from age 13 to 20, her contact with her father was sporadic.
Nikki’s mother was the greatest love she knew growing up. She describes her mother as an “amazing…, strong…, Godly woman.” In 2005, when Nikki was 20 years of age, her mother died suddenly of an intestinal blockage. Later, she was notified that medical malpractice was a factor. She was her mother’s only child and left to deal with depression, suicidal thoughts, and the second tragedy in three years as her son, Malachi, had passed away shortly after being born in 2002.
Within another three years, in 2008, Nikki was struck by heartbreak again when her husband of three years, who had been her best friend for 8 years, returned from a military leave of duty and unexpectedly informed her that he was going to file for divorce. She says “I did not see it coming. Every time the pieces were picked up, something else happened and shattered the pieces again.”
So, with the loss of so much love in her life, one is left to wonder how it is that she now has the glow of glory and triumph all over her. Even she admits she does not quite understand it, and that The Source is greater than her. She says, “I was always like this. I was so friendly and bubbly. But when I lost (love), I lost that.” For years, she had feelings of resentment, anger, frustration, questioned her faith in God, and found herself unable to forgive her father and the losses she had suffered.
[Photo by Nikki Legros]
In January 2008, Nikki had begun attending church services at The Rock. After the separation from her husband, who had left her with nothing, she made the decision to dive in, get more involved, and “Do Something.” She decided that she was going to give her pain and suffering to God for His use. Being born and raised in the church by her mother, Nikki felt this was where she should turn in her state of near hopelessness. She served in every ministry she could, from greeting to altar call, and was at the church 6 days a week. As she continuously poured out what she could of herself into church, and ministry, and people, God began to pour faith and hope back into her by His love.
About a year and half ago, Perri Storey, leader of Never Knew A Father’s Love at The Rock (NKAFL) sent out an email to about 500 people to see who would be willing to get on board with her to work in this area of ministry. Nikki immediately knew she was purposed to lend a hand, and was the only one who replied to Perri’s proposal. Now, she dedicates every Friday night from 6:30 to 9 to not only leading the support group sessions, but also being a part of the amazing things God is doing in them. “NKAFL added healing from a lot of the pain of not having my father in my life. I’ve been in contact with my father after 6 years as a result of this ministry. Our relationship isn’t great, but it’s a work in progress. I have learned that I’m not alone, this is a healing process, and no matter if you’re a leader or an attendee, we are all at different stages in our healing” she says. In addition to being the leader of NKAFL’s weekly support group, she is a member of a daily prayer team, she sings in her home church’s choir, and also makes the time to give of herself to NKAFL’s Outreach Ministry which gathers every 1st and 4th Sunday to feed the homeless.
As Nikki continues to heal from her first great loss of love through NKAFL, she is able to be more honest with herself about where she is in life and the overall healing of all the loss and pain she has experienced. Even though she is still growing and sometimes has conflict with wanting to forgive and wanting to focus on the pain, she is grateful to be full of God’s love which makes all the difference in her own life and gives her what she needs to be able to make a difference in the lives of others. She says, “Losing so much love in my life caused me to not know what true love was until God showed me. There was a God-sized hole that only God could fill.” It is evident by the joy that beams from her smile and the amount of her own life that she dedicates to encouraging and helping others that God not only filled the hole, but He continues to give her more love than she can keep to herself.
For more information about the Never Knew a Father's Love Ministry, click here »