Update

I realized I’ve been sharing with others but I wanted to share with you all as well.

Wednesday I wrote:

Today I made a choice. Today is my day to begin my next journey. I’ve debated if I’d share it with others or if it something I’d silently do on my own. I think I’ll do as I do with the rest of my life. I’ll be honest. I am overweight. There’s no hiding it or pretending it away. I can honestly say I’m fat but I don’t look in the mirror and see ugly. In fact I wish I did because maybe it would have been more motivating in the past. My choice is being driven by my career choice. I work with complex children and have to have the stamina to keep themselves and myself safe when they are in my care. I can’t be winded going up a flight of stairs because they’ll know that I’m physically weak and they will twist that to believe they are not safe. I choose strength over weakness. Weakness of physical limitations and weakness over mental limitations. I have let other people’s unintentional hurtful words keep me from caring to be the best me. Well after this year of overcoming hard things I’m done letting others rule my life. No I don’t feel ugly by my fat but I do feel weak and I am not ok with that. I choose to be strong! However let’s be honest, we as women all* want to be slimmer than what we are. It’s just a fact. I’m ok admitting I look forward to what I’ll see in the future. Strength in my confidence!

*Some women would wish to be able to gain weight. I just meant we all want to look good!

On Saturday(I’m not share my exact words because they are not for this setting.)I wrote about being thankful to be alive and how just a month ago I seriously started questioning me being alive. I hated myself and and felt so alone. You can see the difference in the side by side pictures. I really reached an all time low. I knew if I didn’t make some choices I wouldn’t just be dying on the inside but I’d actually die if I didn’t do something. I decided to make some choices to delete my social media accounts and make new ones. I did this to control who’s lives I saw and who saw mine. It was too hard to see the community I was once active in go on with life. They made a choice not to be in my life and they no longer get the privilege of seeing my life through a window so to speak. It was the most freeing choice. Then I made a choice to start weight watchers. That too has been a freeing choice. I have made a series of positive and life changing choices so I might choose to live and not simply survive each day! I have never been more proud of myself! I couldn’t have done it without the prayers of my true friends and community. I have had my burden lifted!

Today I wrote:

New Zero

—-/

I’m thankful for a new day to love,serve,and become a new me. We start each day at zero. Zero knowledge of how the day will turn out. Zero steps logged in the pilgrimage for that day. Zero mistakes made (yet). The possibilities are endless and a good portion of those possibilities are in our own control to move forward in them or not. We have the control over a lot..not everything but with each step we are making a choice. With each step our zero becomes 1/10/100/1,000/10,000 and more which help up reach our goal! The zero can either look like a defeat before we even begin or an open road with victory at the end. WE get to choose which way we’ll view this pilgrim road! I started my journey at zero. I had nothing left. I was literally at zero. I had lost zero weight,I had zero care in me. I had zero of the life I once had. Until one day I saw my zero as a possibility! My zero is now four! I’ve lost four pounds and those four pound are just as exciting to be lost as if it were the 110 lbs. I need to lose. Just as we start out at zero in our personal lives we start out at zero in our spiritual lives. Before we have Christ we have nothing! When we see and accept His unfailing love for us that’s when our nothing turns into a possibility. From there we set out to follow Him on the greatest pilgrimage we will make. The goal is our marriage to Him. We are literally journeying on to get to our wedding to the king of kings! Along the way we drop a lot of weight. Step,step,step…drop anxiety. Step,step,step…drop the anger. Step,Step,Step …drop our idols. Step,Step,step…What weight will you drop today? Soon your zero will bring you to your finish line and you won’t be walking but rather running and I don’t know about you but I’m excited for each of my steps from zero to then!

——/

Psalm 143:8 Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.

So a recap of what all this means. I crashed, I mean I REALLY crashed and I was not ok. I’m thankful for the people in my life that help me. I’m ok now..better than ok I’m thriving. I have made positive choices to only have the people in my life who invest in my life and I them. I started weight watchers last week and I’m loving it! I’m making good life choices and I’m a new me!

Thankful Snippets

Here are a few snippets I’ve written over the past few days as I choose to be thankful.

Today: Drive

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What drives you? Why is it that you wake up in the morning? I’d really like to sound super spiritual and say that every single morning I’m driven by knowing I can serve the Lord. If I’m going to be honest with you then I have to tell you the truth. I get out of bed some mornings simply because “that’s just what you do.” I mean come on. You can’t live a fulfilling life in your bed or on your couch. You have to make a choice so I choose to throw back the covers and go forward with my day. Yet 9/10 my drive is changed by (my drive) to work or wherever it is I’m headed. I am nearly always reminded that we do have a purpose beyond just living one day at a time until we are in the grave. I have a God to glorify,love to give and receive, a job to do so I have the financial ability to feed the hungry and give to the needy,people to give rest to,and the gospel to share. So in a sense,my drive drives me. On my drive I see the sun rising in the east by the power of our creator. There are birds,deer,squirrels,and all types of creatures just trusting in the Lord for His provision. Children with their parents waiting at the bus stop. I wonder “Do they know Jesus?” I pass the same cars going to the same places. I sometimes even see people I know and we wave as we go by! This morning as I was being driven by my drive I was thankful,so very thankful for my drive to work. I don’t enjoy the act of driving. In fact it comes with a lot of fear yet God has given me many blessings as I drive to the places I must go. Today there was a thick layer of fog covering the morning sky and the earth. It was so beautiful and I just had to tell the Lord how thankful I was to be surrounded by such a big cloud of beauty. It changed how everything looked on my drive and I saw things in a different way. What drives you? Will you be driven by the vehicle of this world or by the path of the one true God? Choose wisely the things that drive you it will be a matter of life and death one day.

October 25

Harvest

—-/

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Galatians 6:7

——/

Yesterday morning before work I took a picture of our back yard and didn’t give any thought to it. In fact I assumed I’d delete it later that day. That evening after work as I pulled into our home something was different. I couldn’t place my finger on it but there definitely was a difference. Then it hit me! Part of the field had been harvested! It’s interesting to me to see the two fields side by side. You know when I was going through my dark days in effort to mask the truth behind what I was going through I filled my life with junk. I was binge watching videos,eating just to pass my time,and writing all the hate and sadness I had for myself,and was focusing a lot on what I no longer had and deep down inside I was mad at God. I was a little like that field that is still standing. Stuck. Immobile.Swaying in the wind.Cold.Crusty. I was dead inside. Even being a believer I was sowing seeds that Satan was placing right into my hands. I was making poor choices that only aided my frustration,anger,hurt,and fear. I was the problem because I was not making choices to be used for the glory of God. I was not choosing to be a kingdom worker. I was content to stay in the dead field being blown around by the angry winds….until I started having frightening thoughts. “I just want to die. I’m dead inside anyway.” That was the moment I knew if I died right then in the state I was in there was a chance I wouldn’t see my Jesus. I knew I had a choice to sow the seeds again in my life that I wanted to see produced. I made a choice to be thankful instead of being bitter. I made a choice to rid my life of my idols. I made a choice to live alive and not rot in the field of what could have been. This was not done alone in my power but with the Holy Spirit. I have seen the beginning of the harvest again in my life! Joy real not from pretending but from seeing the blessings all around me! Peace free of crushing anxiety. Love oh the love for the people around me has deepened in a way I cannot explain! What we sow is what we’ll reap. What choice will you make today?

October 24

Belonging—-/

From the oldest to the youngest there is a place to belong. I’m thankful that no one has to be left out of the church if only they choose the path of the cross. Sometimes I know it can seem as though there isn’t room for the single and the widow or the young and the old to blend together into a rhythm where everyone has their place. However I propose that if you believe that then you are giving room to the devil. There IS a place for all! I just loved the children’s communion bread creations being made as the adults labored for the up coming love feast. We don’t need different services for different ages…there is a place for all.

—/ I’m thankful that I got to go to bread baking. In past years I was working and was unable to attend.

YET there is room the feast is spread

For every hungry, thirsting soul; And living streams and living bread

Are ours when once we reach our goal.

Yet there is room! the home of peace Throws open wide each crystal door;

And voices full of love and bliss Bid us come in! and rove no more.

Yet there is room! the eternal song Waits till our voices join the strain;

Room, room amid the choral throng, Who praise the Lamb for sinners slain!

Yet there is room! the arms of love Stretch wide to welcome sinners home;

Oh, haste, no more in sorrow rove, “The Spirit and the Bride say come!”

October 23

Reflection —/ I’m thankful for the reflection of Jesus Christ in myself and my brothers and sisters in Christ. That through the testimony of our lives in Christ, might plant a seed of faith or minister to the lost. You know what? I had a whole post planned yesterday for today because I was so thankful today was my day of rest after six long days of respite. Then this morning the cross caught my attention. No, not the cross that hangs in the window but the light shining through it casting a beautiful image across the way. Lord let me be your Image bearer each day. Though some days are weary and while others exhilarating let that have no impact on how your light shines through me. Let the love you have bestowed upon me be given freely and I ever be reminded that I’m not veiled from your image. You are reflected in each one of my siblings in the faith. I’m so thankful for the cross. I’m so thankful for the resurrection! I’m so thankful that one day the light of the sun will no longer be needed but the radiance of the SON will be the only light because He is the light! There is so much to be joyful about! So maybe you’re like me and have had a week surrounded by angry negativity and just need a little rest. I want to encourage you yes take that nap you so desperately need but more importantly find your rest in the Lord.

——/

1 John 4:8

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

2 Corinthians 3:13-18

13 And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished:

14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.

15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.

16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.

17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

October 22

Grace

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Today I’m thankful for the grace of God. We deserve to die not only a natural death here on earth but in our eternal life should be tortured and killed. God in His perfect love for His creation has provided a way through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. Not by our works but by His Grace we who claim and follow Christ have life if we are raised in Christ here and in eternity! Not by my(Nicci) ability but by His love I get to live. ——/

I have taken a picture on October 22 of this tree every year for 7 years. Today I debated what to do because it was at “the school” and I didn’t want to stop in and be awkward. It turned out I needed to stop there to pick up a kid last minute anyway this morning so I got my picture! It still is beautiful as it has been for all these years. Although it was a small problem,silly really, I like to think that God worked this out for me.

——/

Galatians 2:16-21

16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.

18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.

19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.

20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

October 21

Calm

——/

Today I’m thankful for those quiet moments in life that allow you to breathe before moving forward in the battle. Whether they be the few minutes stolen while on the deck before work,the special time with the Lord, an entire day set aside to rest,or a season of life a little more free from care. Today my calm and quiet moment came as I stepped onto the deck and allowed myself to just soak up the beauty around me. After a long four days of being hyper in tune to my surroundings and going on with my normal work week today, I was so thankful for a small refresh before I marched right back onto the battlefield.

October 20

Body of Christ

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There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Galatians 3:28-29

——-/

Today I am thankful for the body of Christ. Knowing that my brothers and sisters span all across the globe and generation is such an exciting reality. We lift one another up though we may have never met. We support each other’s pilgrim journey. There is a bond we feel when we run into a fellow pilgrim in the grocery store or at the airport. We battle in the Spiritual warfare against Satan. We are different colors,backgrounds,sizes,and abilities yet each one of us is perfectly knit together for the honor and glory of God! Together we stand for the labor of our kingdom and praise of our king. That’s pretty awesome to me!

Psalms 56 :Anxiety and Fear Doesn’t Have to Rule Your Life

It’s not a hard task to flip through the pages of the Word or do a quick google search to find comforting verses to help ease our anxiety and fears. As I have mentioned before there is no end to the plethora of stores carrying signs to place around your home with these inscriptions in the ever popular calligraphy handwriting. These are for sure happy little reminders of what we already know about what the Word says but they do very little good if we don’t know how to apply them to our lives.

Recently when someone in my district couldn’t host our monthly ladies Bible Study unexpectedly I was next up to the task. This is something I greatly enjoy. It blesses me to have the opportunity. However as soon as I heard the news I quickly remembered our topic and sure enough pure panic raced through my veins. HOW TO OVERCOME FEAR AND ANXIETY was what the other lady had chosen and what was expectedly be presented. With only 2 days to prepare I knew I was in no shape to be taking on a subject I’ve been failing so miserably at. Who am I kidding? What is beyond failing at and that’s where you’d find me if the mask I’ve been trying to wear was taken off. Humph! What to do?

I decided if God had brought opportunity to study this topic when I was so completely covered in fear and anxiety then this was His Devine appointment for me. I’d like to share what God presented to me. I’ll preface this with the knowledge that I’m taking the verses David penned from the natural attack of his person and into the spiritual attack that we all face.

Before I go any further grab your Bible and read Psalm 56. I’ll wait….

Take a deep breath and let’s dig in!

Vs. 1 The enemy is fighting us everyday. He aims to prove that God is not worthy of our trust and will fail in keeping His promises.

Vs.2 Sometimes we may feel that we will be “swallowed up” by our fears and anxieties. We feel weighted down by the pressures of this world. We often lay in bed at night,thoughts racing, every which way. When do finally close our eyes, our body physically beginning to shut down, and sleep befalls us, sometimes dreams plague our imaginations leaving us unrested and more likely to be weary for the next days battle. It’s vital to our lives to get the rest we need to function at our best. I know some would have the thought that even a small nap during the day is a sign of weakness but I would suggest that it could be the upper edge we need to finish the days battle strong!

Vs. 3 We as women can all too easily allow our minds to jump from one worry to the next. Let’s look at what the Word says.

Vs. 4 In the end the things we wrestle with are just temporary. We that claim the adoption of the kingdom know there is a time coming when this time on earth will vanish away. Replaced will be a new life and our woes will forever be gone! Satan not much different than an annoying brother who is antagonizing his sister can do no real harm if we call out to our Father to intervene.

Vs. 5 Satan lurks around those of the kingdom, evaluating our words and actions for weak points or secret struggles. The ever twister of truth, he will stop at no point to distract the women (and men) of God from the perfect peace and protection that our Lord offers!

Vs. 6-8

We hear a lot of talk about God knowing the numbers and names of the hairs on our heads. But have you ever considered that each year we shed He has captured and bottled in love? There is absolutely nothing in our lives that our Lord doesn’t know about! He isn’t simply an observer of our sorrows as if kicking back, tuning in to the drama of our lives unfold on a big screen. He deeply cares enough to collect each of our moments. I believe when we weep He weeps.

Vs.9 The Word says “when I cry into the, then shall mine enemies turn back. This I KNOW; for God is for me.” Let that sink in. Close your eyes and breathe in that goodness. Drink in the abundance of God’s love and provision!

Vs.10-11 Because we have the above knowledge we have no reason not to fall on our faces in praise! What more could we want?When we have placed our trust in God’s capable hands we dismiss the lies,accusations,and self pity of Satan.

Vs.12 If you have ever done a study on vows in the Bible, you know they are no small thing. They are binding. So when verse 12 says “thy vows are upon me , oh God.” We know that is binding as well! What better knowledge do we have than to be bound with God in His protection?

Imagine with me for a second. We have been placed into a bullet proof room. The thick door has been shut and the key is now slipped into the keyhole. Now the key is being turned until you hear the distinctive click that lets you know you are safely locked in. The key is now resting in God’s hand and no one not even Satan himself can pry it from your Lord’s hands!

Vs. 13 We trust the Lord with our eternal security. How much more should we trust our lives here on earth to the very person who created us? If we can give Him the unseen of the future, then surely the seen things of now can be kept in His care as well!

Take a moment to flip to Psalm 57:7. It says “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed:I will sing and give praise.”

What if each morning we as women (and men) of God “fixed” our hearts on God? Placing the key to our thoughts and hearts into God’s hands? Would our days of fear for the future and anxiety in tough moments be a thing of the past? What if fear and anxiety weren’t even an option anymore because we literally didn’t have control over those things any longer because God had taken the key that offered up willingly? AH! Doesn’t that sound nice to let go of the control and in return the fear an anxiety can have no access to our hearts and minds and can’t control us!

We know all too well that just because we know where we stand it will not stop Satan from firing bullets our way. What will change is how we deal with them. We know they no longer can harm us but we have to be active in our new found freedom from harm. Our days are no longer filled with fear and anxiety. So what will we fill them with so we aren’t tempted to reach back for the key again?

Word-Fill your life with the Word. Post it around your house, sit down and read it,and listen to it in the car. Fill your spiritual cup to the brim with the Word! DO NOT NEGLECT THIS!

Praise- Praise the one who created you! Praise Him for taking away your burden!

Rest-Rest in the Lord but also get the natural rest you need. Seriously,get to bed on time or take a nap. Each hour of sleep you miss is an hour of weak moments that Satan can pick at. You need to be strong to endure the day!

Pray- Ask the Lord for a hedge of protection around you. Pray your praises! Pray for others, as you find people to pray for you’ll have very little time to worry any longer!

Go outside- Get your shoes on and go outside. Take deep breaths as you get oxygen to your entire body! Sit outside with your eyes closed. Listen to the birds chip. Soak up all the happy vitamin D!!!!

I have some verses you can look up in that spare time you now have while sitting in the bulletproof room. Additionally I have a small gift to give to to help you have a tangible reminder to “fix your heart on God and give Him the key.” There are 40 small gifts available in a first come first serve fashion. You can let me know of your interest in one by connecting with me via Social media or by contacting me here in the question section.

Is. 41:10

Ps. 56:3

Phil. 4:6-7

John 14:27

2 Tim. 1:7

1 John 4:18

Ps. 94:14

Is. 43:1

Proverbs 12:25

Ps. 23:4

Joshua 1:6

Matt. 6:34

1 Peter 5:6-7

Luke 12:22-26

*Ps. 27:1

Ps. 55:22

Mark 6:50

Is. 41:13-14

Ps. 46:1

Ps. 118:6-7

Proverbs 29:25

Mark 4:39-40

1 Peter 3:14

Ps. 34:4

Mark 5:36

Romans 8:38-39

Much love,Pilgrim Nicci

Pray

One mom says goodbye to her sweet baby girl in an instant. One moment here and another in the arms of Jesus. Another mom slowly watches her son who has fought his fight hold on to life with everything he has but she knows it won’t be long now. So she hold on until he too will be with His Jesus. There’s a mom who’s child seems to be full of life but emotionally they are dying inside from a disorder few are willing to admit exist. She watches her child fight for life one minute but choose heart death another. Tragedy causes all of our emotions to be felt all at once. We mourn with these moms. Our tear filled prayers beg our Lord to be near each situation that we are helpless to fix knowing He is able to comfort the broken-hearted. We rejoice in the fact there is victory over death and babes and little children are innocent in the kingdom and Jesus loves all the children and says “Let them come.” There is so much heartache and pain tonight as we all lay our heads to rest tonight. What if tonight was your child’s last night? What would you want to tell them? What would you want them to feel? From the little baby to the grown adult go wrap them in a hug,call them to tell them you love them,and make the moments we have matter.

Tonight I want to ask you to pray for the Cover family,the Shock family,and the countless families with children with mental illness. Your prayers are what will carry them.

One Day Away:Holmes County

Green rolling hills provide a place of escape and relaxation on a random August afternoon. The clip clop clip clop of the past mingled with the here and now can be seen in any given direction. Long lines hung from home to barn with rainbows of laundry swaying in the breeze catch our romantic notions of a simple life. It goes without saying that although the plain and simple life seems like something straight out of the storybook of our imagination, we know the reality is far from that. There is hard work, sometimes Spiritual abuse,and a not so simple framework. Yet as we take. Step into Holmes County and out of our current setting it is easy to just get lost on the ever wondering roads only stoping as our fancy directs.

I’ve been to Holmes County Ohio or as it’s affectionately coined Amish County Ohio, on several occasions now. Each time has been a real treat and uniquely different depending on who I have been with. This most recent encounter with HC has possibly been my favorite as far as just escaping day to day life to embrace a moment of peace and quiet. It was a short day trip that had zero planning and very little notice. I’m going to share my favorite HC spots and my suggestion on how to properly enjoy a day or two of relaxation.

1) First you’ll need a friend that you’re 100% comfortable with. I’m talking the friend that has zero expectations of you and you them. Be prepared to just be.

2)Find a hole in the wall place to eat your lunch or dinner. I’m going to strongly suggest that you skip Dur Dutchman and anything really that says Amish,German,or farm. The Charm Pizzeria is a quick and cost effective place to pop in and out without much fuss. The pizza was top notch amazing as well as their frozen lemonade (they don’t actually sell that but they made one for me anyway). http://visitcharmohio.com/charm-sweet-shoppe-ltd.html

Rebecca’s Bistro is another really delicious option is you’re wanting something a little more fancy. It’s on the cusp of being too frilly for my taste but I have enjoyed what I’ve gotten each time I’ve gone. Be sure to allow extra waiting time, it’s a popular choice. https://www.rebeccasbistro.com/

3. For the ladies going on this trip Mt. hope fabrics is a small but efficient store. I personally love their slip options as well as other such things. They have traditional sizes as well as some plus sizes which make this a must stop shop anytime I’m in the area. They also carry things at a decent price like pretty notebooks, church toys,and winter wear. I actually wear an Amish style woolly scarf over my head during the coldest days of winter. I purchased it here and I’ve never regretted my decision. They also have a growing fabric selection and although it’s all very nice quality, the price is a bit steep for my taste. Be prepared to pay $7.50 a yard. https://www.mthopefabrics.com/

4. When going to HC you’re going to be on the road a lot. Some people like to be choosey with their stops mapping out every moment of the day. That totally isn’t my flavor unless I absolutely want to ensure I make it somewhere. The most relaxing thing is to simply throw away your expectations and simply experience! Just drive for the sake of seeing the beauty around you! Stop and chat with strangers for the pleasure of a conversation. Go into a random store that doesn’t hold any agenda. Just be and soak up the spontaneity that a day in Holmes County can hold!

5. After all that spontaneous adventure you’ll be needing a good cup of coffee. The RudMug coffee company, which is in the same row as Mt. Hope fabrics, has everything that a solidly good coffee shop should have. Friendly employees-check,well made coffee creations-check,comfy couches and cozy corners-check. This place is fairly child friendly baring that your children aren’t total brats. Sit down with your gal pal and spend a while sipping a maple breve. I venture to say this might be the most satisfying part of your time in HC. No agenda just being together almost like that show Friends where the gang hangs out doing random stuff but together. Do that,be all there.

6. If you’re an avid reader or writer like I am then go ahead and make a stop at Faithview books. They have a wide variety of Christian books that I’d feel comfortable reading,gifting,and suggesting to others. They also have greeting cards,stationary,journals,and other gift items. If you’re still in need of some coffee they give out a free cup of coffee and I for one think that’s a selling point right there!

7. Lastly there is no end to where you can go or what you could buy. Keep track of what you’re buying and how much you’re spending. Yes but something unique,yes,buy something frivolous,but be careful not to just spend because you can spend and it’s “Amish”. I guess I’m just saying be smart.

I’ve been looking for an apron for a while. In fact I think every trip to HC I’m on the search. I finally found one!

I’d love to hear from y’all where you like to go in Holmes County. Do you like to spend one really long day or rather an entire weekend? I like both. In fact last year in November a group of friends and I did a long weekend. We got a cabin and did some shopping and did some crafting and that was just as enjoyable. I think what stood out this go around was absolutely nothing was planned. That honestly suits my personality better. I’m a go with the flow kind of a gal. So whether you’re like me or not I hope some of these rid bits can make your next trip to Holmes County Ohio a little more relaxing.

Much love,Pilgrim Nicci

To You Before I Knew You

I’m going to share my heart about the relationship I had. I get that 90% of other normal women don’t share these thoughts publicly and I am not seeking to gain attention. I share because maybe out there reading this there’s a woman (or man) who is in similar shoes as I am and they need to identify with someone.

I’ve been doing really well in these past few weeks. I’ve healed up from the physical pain of second degree burns on my arms and legs and my heart has not had the oozing blisters that matched my legs. In fact, I’ve never been better. I’m at peace,the light has reignited in my eyes,and I feel incredibly restful. Truly this has been my experience after thinking I could never get over the anger , hurt,and embarrassment of job loss. I couldn’t fathom that the tightness in my chest would ever truly leave me room to love again,whether romantically or I’m every day relationships. There was a small point where I even wondered if my legs would lose the sting that lingered long after the wounds had healed. As if like magic my life was restored to the real Nicci. The Nicci I truly am when I’m in the center of God’s will. The Nicci who isn’t laden with anxiety and fear of the future. The Nicci that loves to laugh,enjoys all things rainbows,and who leaves people happy not burdened. That’s who I am when I’m walking with the Lord. No, none of what I just listed is Spiritual or really conveys my relationship with the Lord but it does represent the joy that is in my heart. It’s like that kids song “I’ve got the joy,joy,joy,joy down in my heart!” Truly I had forgotten what not fretting about the future felt like.

Then today something slowly crept up and I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. Out of the blue I had a strong nagging urge to write a letter to my future husband. WHAT? SERIOUSLY?!? Ok, let me stop right here and say it’s totally cool if that’s your thing but for me I’ve always thought it was really really bazaar. I dismissed the idea for a while but that same little voice that said “Nicci get your pen and paper and write to your (then) boyfriend. You have to be honest with him.” So I picked up my blue zebra pen and the closest homemade card and just started writing. *take deep breath* it was so very therapeutic. I didn’t really feel that I particularly needed it at the time. My prayer life isn’t “Lord give me a husband. Or Lord surly you could work something out with my exboyfriend and I!” In fact any time I have the slightest inclination I say “Lord take those thoughts from my heart! Father please sustain contentment in my life.” So when this almost relief type feeling washed over me as I poured out a small but lovely letter to my future husband I was shocked.

Well let’s fast forward a little bit. The day my now ex boyfriend messaged me for the first time I picked up a blank journal and wrote a prayer. Included in that prayer was “Lord take this from me if it is not your will. I don’t want to harm myself or this gentleman by causing us to not follow your will. I don’t know what you have for us but thank you for the opportunity.” I still maintain those thoughts.

Today I took my letter and went to place it in the journal that is no longer blank. It is filled with several journal entries/prayers….and the letter I wrote that day God told me that I must draw a line in the sand. My fellowship was more than where I sat on Sunday. I had made my choice.

I’ll tell you what. I could hardly look at it as that conversation started playing over and over in my head. For a split second I closed my eyes a wished I could turn back time. I could be planning a trip to be in his state. I could be loved by someone of the opposite sex. I would have the hope of having that wedding this fall and I could wear a dress made of the white eyelet that I bought on impulse. There was the desire to keep a home and please my husband. Yes,for a split second I could imagine I had made another choice. Even now as I type there is very present the yearning of lost hopes and strong desire. Something was awakened in my heart with that relationship that I had tailored away for so long because I didn’t think anyone could ever love me because of my past,my looks,or any other of those lies that Satan brings up. So I’ve loved and lost but I’ve also lived and gained!

Going through the moment of having to choose God’s will, which was my prayer from day one,and coming out the other side I know that the Lord is actively providing. Is it a husband? Well no not exactly but He’s given me a way out of the deep despair of lost hopes. He’s given that new(really an old one) prayer of contentment! I am thankful that when I pick up that journal to add a new letter,entry,or prayer yes, there might be a quick stab of what might have been but if I pick up those five pages front and back I’ll quickly be reminded why I made the choice that I did. No, not because there was anything wrong with the man I love or even myself but rather because God said “Do you trust me?” He even gave me the command to save that emotion fill letter even when I thought it was a bit extreme! He wanted me to have no doubt of His ability to provide. I have it as a reminder!

For now I rest in that provision. If it weren’t for the horrible burns I’d never would have made a choice. If it weren’t for that choice I would still be rotting in bitterness and anger! He has provided a way out of my sin! Oh what cause for joy. So dear one if you’re reading my rather dairy post of a blog know this. Whatever hard thing you’re going through you will be ok! It very well might be what God uses to move your life forward. I was blessed to have a relationship while the hard part of being fired took place.It gave me the comfort I needed and the support of prayers that carried me through the days I wasn’t sure how I’d go on. Likewise the absence of the relationship dug up and cleansed my filthiest parts and restored my soul to a place of acceptance and I gained my meness back as well! God is good! Don’t forget it it!

Much love,Pilgrim Nicci

Lady in Waiting for Her King

 

This article was originally published in Daughters of Promise Magazine” www.daughters-of-promise.org.

Often you the word expectant refers to someone about to have a child or perhaps get married. In a culture of young women moving to the next chapter of life what does the single woman have to look forward to? Is her existence summed up as a lady in waiting or is there something hidden, something to be doing? Perhaps the life of a single woman is also a place of expecting the next thing: expecting an opportunity to serve, give, pray, live, or even explore. We can be women of action as we anticipate what the Holy Spirt desires of us.

There is something inherent in wanting to be loved, to have a purpose, and to give life. When a woman in our culture gets to a certain age but hasn’t walked down the aisle, made up her home, and had a child, all hope can seem as if it has slipped through the fingers of time. Forever the tickticktick of expectation is looming around the corner. Is there a reason the desire remains but time has seemingly passed?

Love is needed by all and given freely by our Heavenly Father and He guarantees that not a day will go by without affection greater than we can imagine. 

This indwelling of the Holy Spirit is what should propel a woman into action instead of being a foreverspinster, waiting in self-pity. A single woman who has received love from the Fatheris able to go forth and share love in a multitude of ways. She can begin right in her home, in her local fellowship, in her community.There are people needing love and compassion in so many different ways. The homeless need shelter and an opportunity to better themselves. The widow needs a friend to walk alongside them. A person that is seeking truth might need a safe place to ask the hard questions of life. Do not underestimate the power of Jesus’s love within you. His love was so great that He died for His people. 

Purpose may look different in different situations. What unites each daughter of the King is being guided by the One who knows them more than any other. Who better to design a plan for your life than the very one who gave that life in the first place? Who are we to scoff when God’s plan doesn’t line up with ours? Do we really think so highly of ourselves that we try to boss around God? Even in moments of desperation, we might even have stood so low as to bribe or manipulate God into our feeble plan. Rest assured the Holy Spirit will never lead you into something that was not created for you. That should be enough to have us experience expectantexcitement in whatever we are called to. From the school teacher, to the barista, to the nanny, and even the travel nurses, your purpose is one of the Kingdom. Your marital status has nothing to do with it. The Holy Spirit will not cause you to wait too long before He moves you in the direction He wants you to follow. After all there is a lot of work to be done!

Giving life can seem difficult when the womb is empty, but life comes in so many forms and should not be written off as a gift given only to those that have entered marriage. We, as followers of Christ, have an obligation to bring true life, Jesus Christ, to each and every person that we meet. Do we have to go to Uganda? Certainly not, however if that’s where the Holy Spirit has led then go do it! If you are called to a more local mission, your life-giving power may come in tutoring the neighbor’s child. That consistent interaction may be the only Jesus they will encounter. Life can come forward in the joyful countenance you share withthose you connect with day to day. When you serve others in bringing food to the shut ins, singing to the elderly, having company, doing laundry for a new mother, praying over your community, and so much more you are living a life that produces life.

 A single woman has a rare opportunity in adult life that others do not – our prayer life is wide open in a way our married sisters may not have, with the busyness of their family life. It doesn’t mean we single gals aren’t busy, but that we have extra time to pray for those around us. Remember that clock of expectation? Let those ticks be a reminder for the calling of this season of life: tickNeighbortickpersecuted Churchtickschool children….tick sisters in Christtick 
Give life to prayer and there is where you will find contentment. 

 

In your time of expectation, you will go through periods of time of wondering what if? I propose that when you replace the what if I was married question with what if I lived my life for Christ, you will not have any time to sit around feeling sorry for yourself. As daughters of the King we must remember the high calling that comes with that and act accordingly. Kingdom life has no room for laziness. There are lives to be won and joy to spread. As you move forward, go with your head held high in the confidence that you are right where God has placed you. There is no worthier place to be!