Nika Maples | Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year, author, and stroke survivor

Nika Maples

Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year, author, and stroke survivor

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Dallas, TX, US

Nika Maples

Nika Maples, a native Texan, never thought she would become a teacher. By her sophomore year in college God revealed other plans

In 1994, a lupus-induced stroke left Nika quadriplegic. She could not speak, swallow, or blink. In intensive care, she listened as physicians warned her family that she had as little as 48 hours to live. If she lived at all, they said, she could be expected to remain unresponsive. She had lost all functionality and had no hope of recovery, so doctors suggested an assisted living facility as the only option for Nika's future. When she could do nothing else, she prayed. Her friends prayed. Her family prayed. They took their desperate need to the Great Physician. He sustained her, and a year later, she walked back onto her college campus on her own two feet. The lessons she learned from quadriplegia will always be a part of her heart.

A stark reality became clearer to her by the day: Life is brief and brilliant. Whatever we choose to do with our handful of moments on earth, it is critical that we make those moments significant by living and serving as Jesus did. She could think of no better way to serve than to educate and encourage young people.

After she had taught in a public high school only four years, the Texas Education Agency honored Nika by naming her 2007 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year. Currently, she shares her message of endurance with education, business, and church groups. Audiences respond to her humorous and heartfelt stories with warmth and enthusiasm. Almost everyone walks away with renewed faith and hope.

Nika feels her purpose on this earth is to encourage others to keep going. While all of our struggles are different, the core question in the midst of difficulty remains the same: Has God forgotten me? More than anything else, Nika desires to remind others that God never forgets, that He brings beauty out of suffering and disappointment, and that His plans are bigger and better than any we could imagine on our own.

Nika holds a BS in mass communications from Texas Wesleyan University and an MA in English education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Currently, she is pursuing an MDIV from the King's University.

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How to Become a Hope Hunter
Seeking Until You Find What You Need the Most

Hope is not an accident. Sometimes it has to be hunted, and hunting it takes courage. Hope hunters know how to excavate hope from hardship. There is dirt underneath their fingernails and sweat on their shirts. They rake through the rubble of an unwanted situation, digging into difficult circumstances because they have come to expect that adversity will produce good. They believe that light always triumphs over darkness. They have learned to walk through winter with their eyes on spring.

Beyond the Veil, There is Hope
Learning to Live in Intimacy with the Father

When we experience chronic pain or loss, our natural response is to hide our hearts in order to protect them from additional pain. We default to public images of competence, minimizing, and prioritizing and we avoid getting the help we need from our friends, family, and the church. But when we distance ourselves from people, we are ultimately distancing ourselves from God. He wants a close relationship with us and will seek to remove the veils we are hiding behind. Thought it may seem uncomfortable at first, letting go of our self-protection always leads to renewed life. Beyond the veil there is always hope.

Secrets of the Psalms
Uncovering the Treasures in the Bible’s Poetry

The Lord left incomparable jewels hidden for us in the book of Psalms. From the hidden connections between the five books of Psalms to the first five books of the Bible to the gentle references to the coming Savior, the Psalms are a diamond-mine waiting to be discovered. Learning about the messages of love tucked into the Psalms will enrich your personal Bible reading in new and exciting ways. Hear your own heartbeat in the words of the psalmists, and walk through the Psalms as a treasure-hunter.

Finding Our Way in the Dark
How God Works Through Depression

It is tempting to think that any and all darkness is not from the Lord, but the Bible tells story after story of faithful people who were led through periods of darkness for the purpose of preparation for greater tasks. "If darkness is not also of God, then the fact that winter exists is unfathomable to me. Look at the way that barren branches bring forth the buds of spring. Look at the way that cool, grey skies hold within them the promise of brightest blue. God uses our darkness, too, and usually to bring forth Life in us."

Nika Maples
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