A Fresh Start With a Rainbow of Opportunities

I love getting to that point in summer preparation that I look like an organized teacher. Things are colorful and in their place. It’ll only last four and half seconds but in those precious seconds I can imagine how file cabinet brains work while enjoying my confetti brain color explosion all the same. It’s a little like having the best of both worlds…for the four and a half seconds. It’s bliss!

A new year symbolizes a new opportunity. For me it is eight new opportunities to share God’s love and impact the future of the kingdom of God. In the beginning of each school year I feel so energized and excited but I know how quickly routine ,drama,and burnout can happen. Hey it’s the reality that comes with the weight of not only coming along side parents in spiritual education but also making sure their academic education is top notch too. My prayer this summer has been “Lord help me not to be a lazy teacher.” It seems like that shouldn’t be a prayer request of a young passionate teacher but it has been strong on my heart. I’ve taken extra care over this summer to listen and watch videos on effective teaching. The topics covered were from struggling students to colorful classrooms to story telling in the classroom. Each time I heard the speaker talk I would repeat my prayer.

Looking forward to this upcoming school year there are going to be challenges that I’m very aware of and want to help minimize as much as possible. Some of these are out of my control but can be greatly influenced by my willingness to be “all in” as a teacher. You see being an ENFP I have to work mighty hard to not want to scamper off to greener grass when things get difficult. However with the concrete knowledge that God has placed me right where I’m at means I have an obligation to being not only content but also thrive. That is exactly what I plan to do! That also gives me compassion,I think, to students who may not enjoy school so much. Hmm how can I bring them into a place of contentment?

So with that all said I am super excited for the learning environment that I have created! By far my favorite part of getting prepped for the year is the decorating! I’m not a classy teacher with simple beauty. And trust me check out our other classrooms they are STELLAR! Absolutely peaceful to walk into. I just LOVE seeing each teacher’s own flare! However I’m more of a funky person with bright colors and imagination. I like space to be filled with learning posters or quotes. I want my students to be looking at something inspirational,learning,or colorful in those moments that their minds wonder. I mean come on they are human and it’s bound to happen!

So for those that care I present you with our rainforest rainbow classroom! Each year it gets more difficult for me to maintain a color theme with a fun theme intertwined. I’m so happy with how this turned out! I walk in and feel the greeness and fun oozing through my mind. I hope the students do too! With a few more tweaks I’ll call it totally ready but I just can’t wait to share!

Much love,

Pilgrim Nicci

The future is bright ….

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Diary Post:God Loves You Even When You Can’t See Clearly

Do you pray for the lost in the world?

Today as I was driving home from the school I was feeling really restless. The powerful feeling of needing to talk to my Father was apparent but I didn’t really have anything to say. Maybe from reading other posts of mine you might get the impression that I never have anything to say to my Father. That is the furthest thing from the truth. In reality I am in a continual conversation with Him throughout the day. It’s the times that I’m wrestling with something and it’s no different than going to your earthly dad and asking for advice. Sometimes you just don’t know how to start the conversation.

As I was trying to start my conversation ( which in reality is silly because He already knows my heart) I was rethinking the phone call I got back from an anabaptist organization in China. That conversation kept the light in my Spirit fueled and added hope to my that maybe just maybe God could use me in China. But I found myself asking how? It’s just not even possible! I don’t have money or bravery. Humph!

So there I was driving along looking for my voice and it came! Oh how I was pouring my heart to my Father. Something in my Spirit kept saying “Nicci you need to repent for getting ahead of God”. What seriously? How have I done that? I’ve tried to follow His will. I’ve tried to accept situations that I don’t understand and reconcile the sadness I feel for lost opportunity. Now you want me to repent for something I’m not even sure I did?

With shaky voice I said “Lord I don’t know what I did wrong. My heart is here for you to lead. That’s all I ever wanted. I never meant to go ahead of your will for my life. However Father I repent of my sinful human nature. I take responsibility Father for anything I did to get in the way of your plan for my life or others. You know what is best in every situation. I do not and I have no place to desire anything that you have not first authorized. Lord God draw me closer to you so I might know your will. Help me see it crystal clear. Don’t let me muddy the picture with myself. Create in me an honest person. Take away myself and my pride or whatever stand in the way of clear vision.

In the middle of my prayer I got a phone call from a person that is a friend but is totally on a different social stage than me. It’s always a little shocking getting a call from them because I think “Why in the world would they want to talk to me? They have tons of friends.” I know that those feelings are wrong and this person is human and probably has those same feelings too. Anyway the call was literally just to ask me how I was doing and if I was excited for the upcoming school year. I thought wow how sweet of this person to call to ask that! Then they went on to say something like “Now I don’t mean this in anyway but encouraging but I keep wondering if you getting into RAD is God’s way of providing you children because you may never have any”. Then the person went on to share a heartwarming story about an ant and a contact lens that absolutely touched my soul!

The phone call ended and I sang praises to the Lord for Him providing a diverse group of friends. They may not be all best friends but friends all the same!

When I got home I checked my Facebook (surprise)and I saw I had a message from someone. Hmm who is this? Oh I know! It was the lady I sat next to at church yesterday. I had felt so awkward because I sat too far up and was literally sitting with all ministers wives. Now of course it really wasn’t a big deal I didn’t do it on purpose and I REALLY didn’t want to sit in the back with the young folks so I had a choice to make..and I made it. Anyway she was a dear! I greatly enjoyed chatting with her after church. In the message she sent on Facebook it said “Remember that you don’t have to do anything to be loved by God…He already loves you because you’re you.

I’ll tell you what! That reached deep into my heart and gave it a squeeze ! Here on the way home I was feeling like a failure because I don’t see God’s plan clearly right now. Then I got a call from a friend that I don’t feel like measure up to socially but it turned out so encouraging. I had to repent for feeling less. Then this message came to assure me of the Father’s love! You just never know the impact of a simple phone call or message will have on someone’s life. I went downstairs to tell the lady I live with and I could hardly stop crying happy tears to tell her my joy! This is the point you probably also think I sit around and cry all of the time. Well not all of the time but I am an incredibly emotional person and I feel ALL of the feels in life. So yes I do cry a lot…and I’m ok with that.

I’m curious,how has God shown Himself to you today?

Yes, my God loves imperfect me!

Why I Deserve to Go to Hell but I Won’t

Are people generally good? Do people do the best that they can? I believe if you were to ask random people on the street they would say yes. I say no. Here is why. Genesis 3:6-13 depicts the fall of man and his response. Those of us that label ourselves affectionately Christians know the story like the back our hand. I’m not saying humans are not generally good because Adam and Eve fell,all though that is part of it. I would argue that it’s because of their response to that fall. Let’s take a slightly deeper look. They ate of the tree off knowledge of good and evil and their eyes were opened to their nakedness. Now here was their opportunity to fall before God and beg of His mercy but that’s not the choice they made. Instead in attempt to hide themselves they sewed fig leaves together. When God confronted them yet again there was the perfect opportunity to throw their hands up and confess their sins. Did they? No, Adam turned the blame from himself to not only Eve but God who created Eve. Oh dear Adam would you have played your cards differently if you would have known the ramifications of your actions? In my heart I would like to think so but I know better.

How do I know what Adam and Eve would of done if they knew the consequences? Simply put, I’ve been Adam and Eve before. I know the tragedy of realizing my sin even though I may have not known that I was sinning. I know the reality of choosing to sin willingly. I even know the pit in the stomach feeling of trying to cover up my sin. I know all to well that humans, specifically Nicci is not good.

Let me share a little bit of the reality of my sin with you. Now if you ask my mom or maybe even people that have known me fa while they may not know my inner heart or the depth of my sinful nature. I am not sharing this to make myself look bad or to bring glory to the person that I once was. I desperately want to call sin what it is and to share that there is redemption available. So let’s pick up when I was thirteen going on fourteen and then the early months of fifteen. I’d say I was the average middle school student. I was pretty innocent and I loved my parents. I was really excited to be going to a new school and moving to a new area,one close to my then best friend! The only thing not so normal about me was that my family was essentially homeless. We lived in a motel and would off and on for a long time. In some ways it was like an adventure and others it was drove me to try to fit in or to be as “good” as my peers.

Soon enough school was in full swing and I was making more friends. One day I got a note from my best friend that was from the guy we dubbed “the curly headed kid”. I didn’t know him but my friend and I would watch him and his mass amount of curly hair get on and off of the school bus each day. In this note was an invitation of sorts to our school dance. To say I was elated would be an understatement. I remember that night as if it happened yesterday. It was so fun and was nearly movie perfect. I could almost imagine the cast of high school musical break out in song at any moment. Yes, it is a fun and thrilling memory. Needless to say as time went on our relationship grew (as much as it can at age 13/14. I mean come on.) and we didn’t remain pure. Despite the fact him and his mom attended Church every Sunday and my mom would drop me off too. I had a desire to follow Jesus but had no clue how to do that. We were fairly active at that little local Methodist church. Unfortunately because of our impure relationship we often times were lying to our parents and that made me feel worse than the after effects of the sexual relationship did. I’d walk home knowing what I was engaging in was wrong. Slowly my time spent with this guy turned from fun or at the very least what I thought was normal to heartache and despair. We’d go to the local Dollar General and he’d steal stuff and I knew it. He’d get more rough with me and I’d start finding bruises on my body that happened while he was “teasing”. All these too big of emotions coupled with my teenaged hormones being out of wack caused me to cut…well what ever you call using a sharpened stick to harm yourself. I had no real desire to hurt myself but I knew tons of other girls did it and I read in my teen books of the angsty characters did it,so why shouldn’t I try? I felt sad and my boyfriend was no longer hurting me in private but now in public too! It all came crashing down one day when he kicked me into the other seat as I was getting off the bus. I retaliated and punched him back and called him a filthy name. The cops were called and of course I was the one to get reprimanded. The bus driver didn’t see what he had done only the punch I threw. Unfortunately I had deleted all of his possessive and hate texts because I was terrified of my mom seeing them. My whole life was one big mess and not a lot of people knew about it. I was dressing the part of a over sexualized teenager during the week and going to church on Sunday. My sin was monstrous and I deserved to go to hell.

“Sexy” expressions are what is displayed on nearly all of my pictures from that time

What we wear does change our actions

I’ve never typed that nor have I shared all the details of that time in my life. I suppose my mother knows more than most and I’m glad through it all she stood by my side.

So how does a filthy beaten down sinner escape hell? How does a person even begin to wash their dirty laundry in their past baggage? How do they lay their baggage down and walk away from it forever? Simply put,YOU don’t. Magnificently though God does! So although you,me,and lots of other nasty sinners have rotting past and there is no escape there is a savior! John 3:16 says For God so love the world (you/me) that He sent His only begotten son so that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish ( go to hell) but have everlasting life! Isn’t that absolutely amazing news? Doesn’t that make you want to leap for joy? It does me. So Jesus in His time here in earth detailed how a person can inherit eternal life through His life,death,and resurrection. His overarching message was that the kingdom of God is at hand. He showed us very clearly that being in a relationship with Him was so much more than get out of hell free card. It had some requirements and some duties that we must fulfill. You know because after all we are not naturally good. We desperately needed Him to spell things out for us. You see once Jesus’s blood cleans a person all up and the Holy Spirit comes to make it’s abode in us the requirements of kingdom life really are not a burden. They are in fact a joy to carry out. Now I’m not going to lie and say they are easy because sometimes simple stuff like loving my neighbor is hard. That’s where His grace comes in. We won’t ever be perfect and we will have a free will and Jesus knows that. Through our repentance and patterning our lives after His, we will become His disciple. Day by day the gap between you and your past will grow so vast that it’s not possible to cross it to the person that you once were. That in my opinion is where the assurance of salvation is apparent. You no longer see yourself how Satan wanted you to be but rather how God see you! Trust me when I say that Satan will tell you that you are worthless and trash. That you will never be far away from the label of your sin. I’m here to tell you that yes sin is absolutely unacceptable in the eyes of God. It does make you wrenched and nasty. However the relationship you enter into as a baby Christian and journey through into disciple is a purifying process and NO ONE can stake their claim to your life except Jesus Christ!

This is the real me. The me that has JOY!

No,people are not good;but Jesus Christ is!

Much love,

Pilgrim Nicci

Mini Post: A Quote by Nicci

What makes a quote a quote? Is it the amount of fame a person has collected or is it a perfectly crafted group of words that capture a moment? I like quotes an awful lot but I come up wondering why use someone else’s insightful words. I don’t lack for a brain nor do I have my tongue tied. So here it goes,an original quote my me.

Today I discovered as I was out living life, that you don’t need someone else to bring a rainbow to your day. You are perfectly capable of painting the world with the color that is within you. You can choose to wait around hoping for new colors to walk into your life or you can use what you have and be content in your lot in life. Use what you have to be who you are. That is where rainbows are projected. You will find your rainbow nestled in the ordinary life. -Nicci Price

No Flag

We must show our Christian colors if we are to be true to Jesus Christ. C. S. Lewis

No Flag By NP

My Jesus has no flag but His colors are crimson and white.

Crimson for the pure blood that was taken from his life.

Nail punctured His hands and a pierce in His side.

With His death He came to me to reside.

My Jesus has no flag but His colors are Crimson and white.

He fought the battle died but did not give up the fight.

His death was tragic but He rose again.

All to wash away our dirty sin.

My Jesus has no flag but His colors are crimson and white.

You’ll notice that if you live in America you might feel like a color has come up missing.

You say but where is the royal blue? It is what completes the picture of this sacred day.

My dear friend don’t you know that the missing color is not really missing at all?

Blue is the color of the sad and depressed. In Jesus Christ we have found our eternal rest!

My Jesus has no flag but His colors are crimson and red.

He has a kingdom one that no one may enter if they are dead!

You cannot have two masters you must choose one.

You better choose wisely because when you choose who you will serve, there is only one winner in the battle that’s already been won!

My Jesus has no flag but His colors are crimson and white.

I don’t know about you but no Firework in the sky will inspire my allegiance to my king.

But one look at this leaf and I’m tempted to sing!

My Jesus has no flag but His colors are crimson and white.

Who is your loyalty to?

A nation that’s called the land of the free?

I hope rather it’s to king Jesus! He is who we should go on bended knee.

My Jesus has no flag but His colors are crimson and white.

Distorted View is Made by You

When we choose to do things our own way over the way of the Lord it is a sin against Him and a curse unto ourselves. We cannot see the whole picture. Our way is the fuzzy way,and I don’t mean warm fuzzy, I mean distorted.

Sometimes we see things the way we want to see them. It becomes easy to block out the rest of the image as we try to focus more clearly on the path we wish to pave for ourselves. It even can look beautiful for a time. It becomes a non issue to justify sin. Drifting away from God we feel can be explained away by cutesy sentiments like:

-“All those that wander are not lost.”

-“I have an insane feeling to be where I am not.”

-“Be gentle with yourself you’re doing the best you can.”

-“Overthinking will destroy your mood.Breath and let go.”

-“Sometimes God calls us to something different than everyone else.”<=this one can be true but He will NEVER call you out of His law or will.

Do these sound familiar? They blanket the inspirational quote section of Pinterest. You can also find them on a mass amount of wall hangings,T-shirts,notebooks,and other in demand items.

God will NEVER call you out of His will. He will NEVER direct you to sin. He WILL let you choose out of free will. He WILL allow temptation and trials to take place.

With our distorted view,as we are drifting away from God in our own direction, we Inevitably will show up on Satan’s doorstep. We will have some past knowledge and even maybe some sincere desire to do what is right. Unfortunately our fuzzy and distorted frame of reference will have us doing things all wrong. There will be no obedience to God and all honor will go to Satan.

You see God has a perfect way for us to follow. He sent Jesus to pave the way and pattern for our lives. The Holy Spirit was left with us when Jesus could no longer be here on earth. There is no real reason that we should get lost while on the pilgrimage we must take. The plan was made,the guide is ready,all we must do is follow. Yup but good ol’ self gets in the way! We must ask ourselves, ” What is worth going away from God’s perfect will and what is the cost”?

The answer to those questions are straightforward. Nothing is worth going against God’s perfect will and perfect plan. The cost is the high price of enteral damnation. A separateness from the one who created us and loves us with a never changing love.

So I don’t know about you but for me the obvious answer is to do things God’s way even when I think something would be easier or more fun if I could reroute the plan. In the end there is great joy in serving the Lord His way! Even better is that the picture will become clearer and more beautiful as you take the steps that Jesus took. The the journey may get weary and is isn’t always the easy road but with a clear view you will find a place of rest.

This blog post was based off of these scriptures. I’d appreciate your thoughts as you read and pray over these words. I don’t claim to understand them 100% but this is what the Holy Spirit placed on my heart as I prayed and asked for wisdom.

Much love,

Pilgrim Nicci

Isaiah 66:3-4

3 He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.

4 I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.

Beyond Culture and Into Christ

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:-2 Corinthians 4:3

2 Corinthians 4:1-5

1Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.

———–

I have been fairly vocal about my opinion of the uniform style of dress my church chooses to wear. To me it is a blessing that I would struggle to rid myself of if the time came that we didn’t have one. I know I’m largely supported in that thought by brainwashed little old woman that in some respects can’t think outside of the teachings that they have received over the past 45+ years that this uniform is the only modest option and it is down right salvational! Please,please,please do not lump me into THAT category. I do in fact value a homemade dress in a uniform fashion that is consistent from day to day. It doesn’t have to be complete with flapping capes and be ankle length. In fact I have two sisters in Christ that I’m incredibly impressed by their beautiful modesty. One is Dunkard Brethren she wears a Mennonite style cape dress or very modest skirts and shirts and another IS Mennonite but wears a simple modest dress that comes mid calf. Both women are beautiful examples of diversity in modest dress. The simple reason is that their hearts have been converted. They aren’t just going through the motions of being modest for church requirement. They themselves are modest beyond their clothing choices and have made the decision to lay off the old man and literally become a new creature.

So although I do 100% support modesty I don’t feel like it must fit into the box of brand of church fellowship. In fact I think it’s a bit odd to have different sororities within the bride of Christ. I think perhaps it should have some more fluidity between like minded fellowship than it does. I get weary of the divisions in church fellowships and the questioning of ones salvation inside of the kingdom fellowships. Should we know what brand of church by the style of covering? I don’t know but I’ve got an opinion.

All that aside I do have a concern relating the uniform. I’ll only speak on the subject of German Baptist Brethren New Conference. I want to say straight away I do not intend this to be a source of tearing down my fellowship nor a place for others to bash it either. My statements are not intended as a blanket statement that covers the entire brotherhood. If you don’t find yourself in the subject I have to speak on, then rest in your assurance of a clear mind. However if you do find yourself having this struggle evaluate your heart and move forward as a changed creation in the grace of God.

I believe that among our church there is a tendency to hide behind our uniform. *deep breath I typed that* Somewhere along the way it has become our only form of witnessing to the lost world. The over riding consensus is that our woman are billboards for the world to see as an example of a follower of Jesus Christ and the German Baptist Church. I’ll stop here and say, yes our modest funny looking dress does get us questions! Praise the Lord because if I would have never of seen a plain lady on the side of the road I wouldn’t be where I am today. However I’m the exception not the rule. The GB church has put a large amount of responsibility on the woman to be the ones in the day to day mission field. Yet what hasn’t been given to them is any training on how to witness. Oh yes from little up the children of our fellowship are filled to the brim with biblical teaching. That is a great joy and a very positive part of my fellowship! It encourages me greatly! However they aren’t really taught what to do when someone comes up and asks them a question about their clothing choices or fellowship. You ask 10 woman and you’ll get 10 answers and some might not be accurate.

You see, I’m not so sure that the German Baptist Church has a lot of room for outsiders beyond the occasional seeker that plows their way in. I’ve asked people “So how do we bring people into our fellowships and disciple them?” Only to be met with “Oh most people don’t want to come to our church you might as well stop trying.” I walk away feeling a little distant from my fellowship each time I hear that. I firmly believe it is OUR responsibility to go to the lost. It’s not the lost responsibility to come to us. We are to bring Jesus Christ to those that are lost. If we keep the gospel hidden by our casual thought that our dress will attract the lost then we have failed our mission here on earth.

So what can we do? I can only speak to the woman because my role is not that of a man. I hope maybe there is a man out there that is reading this that would be willing to talk to the men.

1. Know why you cover your head. Like not just the answer you’ve heard someone else say but know why YOU put it on each morning. Always take them back to the Father…not to church requirements.

2. Know why you choose modesty. Be willing to talk openly about modesty. Yes, answer their cultural questions but be sure to separate for them what is cultural vs. scriptural.

3. Have your testimony ready to share. I’m going out on a limb here and assuming if you have made the cultural change then you are in fact born again. You don’t have to give every detail but be sure to know your salvation story and use it to point to the Father love,Jesus’s sacrifice,and the Holy Spirit in dwelling in you.

4. Make sure who you are is who you are 100% of the time. When in public should be the same as you are on a Sunday. Make sure both line up with who God wants you to be. People are watching because of our culture differences. Let’s have them pointed back beyond our church building but to our Father God.

5. Don’t hesitate to strike up a conversation while out and about. It doesn’t have to dive straight into scripture. You can simply be friendly and show the love of Jesus. However if there is opportunity to direct the conversation do so! You may have just planted a seed.

6. Don’t use your cultural dress as a means to tune out those around you. Don’t place yourself on a pedestal of righteousness based on your attended fellowship.

7. Wear a smile. Honestly this right here is the capstone of knowledge I wish I could tell my entire fellowship. Do you know how unapproachable and snobby we look when we go around with a frown. I propose that we should smile even when it feels a little weird. Just do it!

8. Speaking of being inviting, make eye contact. I know it can be awkward but make eye contact ( and smile) at those that come into your path. I guarantee you that you’ll have more people willing to talk to you than if you avoid eye contact.

9. Remember that every time you step out the door you are in fact entering a mission field. You have an obligation to the kingdom of God and your king. It’s just as important as going across the ocean and sharing Jesus’s love to starving children. To kind of quote Finny “If you aren’t sharing the gospel locally you aren’t going to be able to do it anywhere else. People don’t magically become open to God word just because you’re on foreign soil.”

10. Lastly keep in mind the ultimate goal is to win people for Christ. The goal isn’t just to fill our church pews with success stories. If we can help them find a church fellowship that does work for them then that is a kingdom work. We shouldn’t think we are the only way because in reality there is only one way and it’s THE WAY Jesus Christ. However having said that there is a very bad issue if no new converts entering our community. I’d urge you to pray about how we as a body can be more like hands and feet of Christ.

So in short know what you believe. Don’t use your culture as a means to exclude seekers. Reach out to those around you. Don’t hide the gospel. Be a point of contact by starting with a smile and eye contact.

I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts in a respectful manner

We say visitors welcome. Let’s really welcome visitors.

Much love,Pilgrim Nicci