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

Playing Dress Up

As a young girl all the way into my early years as an adult I loved to play dress up. It started with a first grade production of Little Red Riding hood. I remember the velvety red dress with the matching headband. Next would be when I got to be in my sisters high schools Rendition of Oklahoma! I wore a blue and white dress and was all too pleased when we danced because it would swish this way and that. I would go on to doing some community theatre ( Just like us,Fairy Tale court room,and Inherit the wind) the proof is still on the walls where the cast got to sign their names (I thought that was pretty neat). When I was fourteen I entered the renaissance community and would get to wear many different costumes over those six years. Oh how fun this life of dressing up and becoming someone new all the time was. The issues of life and the real life’s realities could be brushed under the rug for a bit and I could say or do anything I wanted without caring what was true or not.

I’m not here trust to put down the life of an actor. I greatly enjoyed every moment of my time spent doing this activity. Somewhere though I realized that we can’t spend our lives escaping reality and living a lie. There is a time to grow up and be confident in who you are and face the realities of life. Life isn’t all fun and games,although there is plenty of joys too.

A thought that I feel like God has given me is Why I don’t dress up on Sunday. Well yes in a sense we do dress up a little. I wear a nicer dress and a pair of flats. What strongly try to avoid is being fixy or made up. Honestly a decision I made a while ago for my own personal life was to not have separate “Sunday dresses and week day dresses”. Now I do have dresses that are made of nicer material and obviously those typically get reserved for nicer occasions. I own only three long sleeved dresses two of which were for a wedding. I don’t find fault with dressing up for random occasions nor do I think it’s wrong to dress up on Sunday in our clothing. For myself I asked myself some questions that lead me to my personal choices.

1. I’m already wearing a nice dress made for me in love. I am inherently already dressed up compared to the mass majority of the world.

2. The fellowship I’m in already is set apart in look and action. For a visitor it can be intimidating. Maybe a family can’t afford “Sunday” clothes vs. non Sunday clothes. My dad has no suit and my mom no dresses. My dad when getting ready to come to a church meeting said “Oh it’s not like everyone will be wearing suits God will understand what I have to wear”. I had to hang my head in shame as I told him that yes in fact everyone would be in a suit.

3. I’m so not into fashion and I know that it’s almost a crime. I care nothing of the style waves or trends. In fact I find them sickening.

4. Who am I trying to impress? My brothers and sis I n Christ or my Father in heaven?

5. Is having separate wardrobe for different days of the week sending the same message Monday through Saturday as it does on Sunday?

Just as I don’t desire to have a physical change from day to day, I don’t want a spiritual one. I want what I am to be true everyday of every week. Sitting in a church on Sunday looking good but still unconverted is like stepping into the shining light on the wall. Your shadow is surrounded by light but you are still not the light.

Opening our Bible one day a week is simply not enough to call ourselves a follower of Jesus Christ. We must have a daily desire to sit and learn from Him. That is how the Holy Spirit has opportunity to seep through and grow inside of us.

I see a lot of good looking homes and well dressed bodies that call themselves Christian. Yet what fruit is produced isn’t a reflection of the Word of God and its promises. What does it matter if a home is sparkling clean and perfectly decorated if the husband is mean and the wife isn’t submissive? Who cares if you are wearing a dress if it is adorned in a way that says “Look at me”? Are we drawing attention to ourselves or to our creator? How about the heart of the person wearing a separate costume every day of the week? Why must we flip flop day to day depending on who is around? The answer is so absolutely clear! WE DON’T! Satan wants you to believe that it’s ok to live two separate lives. He love hidden sin! He is longing for your discontentment. Don’t let him win!

Dear sisters ( and brothers) I challenge you to be who you are in Christ everyday all day. Stand firm against this wicked world. Your church rules do nothing if you have an unchanged heart.

Much love,Pilgrim Nicci

Terror in the Eyes of a Teacher:A Day to Remember 

Today is September 11,2017. I will never forget that day that America was proven to not be invincible. Although I didn’t know it then I can now see how the events that took place 16 years ago in the past would shaped me in my convections of the future. Long before I dubbed the name Pilgrim Nicci and was a non resistant follower of Jesus Christ. I was a little girl in a hallway hearing things I shouldn’t of heard and feeling things I had never felt. 

 I remember that day distinctly and I remember thinking in my fourth grade mind that I’d have to remember this because it was something big. It was something I didn’t understand but it was big. I was in the hallway of the Christian school that I went to. I had just come in from volleyball practice and I remember feeling mortified because I was just starting to wear deodorant and a bra and I had forgotten both that day. I was lingering near my backpack as I desperately tried to formulate a plan to go talk to my mother who at the time worked as a preschool teacher downstairs in the same building. Time stopped as the principal of the school hastened from the upper grade room to that of my own. I looked up trying to smile but she looked past me as she got my teacher and began to share the morning events. I don’t remember the words that were spoken because they were in hushed tones. Neither of the adults even recognized that I was right there. Part of me was still in a panicked state about my of “womanly needs” and part of me was utterly terrified because I didn’t understand what was happening but my teachers face was contorted and asking the principal about a TV. 

Right before they ended their conversation I slipped into the classroom because I didn’t want to be in trouble for eavesdropping and being late to class. All the other volleyball players had taken care of their business and had entered the classroom by that point. My classmates asked me if I had seen our teacher and if everything was ok. I believe they sensed something was off. I told them I didn’t know what was up but I thought it was bad. 
The rest of the days events were filled with my teacher coming back in and explaining to the best of her abilities what had happened to the country that we deeply loved.

Recess didn’t hold the fun and games for me as I sat on top of the plastic rock replica. I heard boys laughing and making fun of the people in the planes. I heard girls wishing they could kill the evil people who had done this. I stood up and screamed “THIS ISN’T FUNNY! PEOPLE ARE DEAD! Planes crashing isn’t something to joke about and killing the killers isn’t ok! ” My friends slowly backed away and went on with their day.
I walked home that day and the days that followed and I remember for the first time my parents struggling to make ends meet. Gas prices went up,groceries left the shelves quickly,and fear set in. Life wasn’t the same after that day. And to think I spent my morning wondering if I smelled or if my chest was too big. Others spent their morning dying without Christ or losing a loved one. It’s strange how guilt can arise as an adult from childhood memories.
The months and years after 9/11 would be filled with American patriotism skyrocketing. People who previously hated each other now were friends. Flags would be flown where they hadn’t before. Tears were shed and men were enlisted. One thought in a Barns and Noble bookstore would change my thinking forever. I can’t say how many years after 9/11 this took place but I was definitely under the age of 13. A friend and I passed a row of calendars as we were talking about the normal girl stuff…boys. Oh how my friend loved the idea of marrying a military man! So strong,so brave,just like a modern day knight and shining armor! She stopped and looked at me and asked “Isn’t that the kind of man you want to marry?” My heart stopped and before I could think I said “No,I wouldn’t want to marry a murderer!”.

The rest is hazy but a conversation was had about how I wasn’t so sure that taking a life of someone because they did something wrong to you was ok. 

So maybe I wouldn’t go on to understand nonresistance or what two kingdoms was until many many years later. I knew for certain how I believed on this one issue,even when it went against the childish beliefs of my best friend.
I perhaps don’t have the same memories of 9/11 as most Americans do. That’s most likely because I don’t identify with being American. Sure it’s the country I am fortunate enough to be Pilgriming through and oh I’m ever so thankful for its beautiful land and the religious freedom it has..for now. 

However my memories of that day is realizing the evil of this world and its effects. The memories of a terrified girl not knowing what terror was when she fretted over her deodorant and bra but realizing what terror was when reflected in another humans eyes. 
As long as the earth shall be in existence there will be evil. We have a choice how we deal with that evil. Do we join in and create more evil by battling with the weapons of this horrific world? I propose that we battle as the Word of God instructs us to. We should pick up our spiritual defenses and head fully armored into the spiritual battle. Leaving people alive to flee from their wickedness and change their citizenship unforced but broken in submission. Then only then have we won the battle against this earthbound kingdom.

What will you be when you grow up? An honest look into a “perfect” home.

When we are children a question that is often asked is “what do you want to be when you grow up?”

For me it would change. I went through being an actress, plastic surgeon,farmer,pastry chef, a missionary, and teacher. I would go on to do three of those occupations. I have been so very fortunate to get to explore most of my dreams free of fear.

I start my school year out asking my students the question of future careers. Cowboy,mom,baker,and farmer are the norm in the elementary classroom. I look into the eyes of each light face and wonder where God will lead them. Will they too get to live the life they dreamed of? Will God direct their paths a different way? Will they get to grow up at all? I know the last question seems a little morbid or out of place.

There are millions of children every day that life is cut short. Some due to cancer and illness others because of abuse and neglect. For another group they don’t die a physical death but a spiritual and or emotional death. They are doomed to a life without Jesus stuck in homes that look good on the outside yet are anything but good when looked at with a magnify glass. These children are going to be taught that as long as they are good on Sunday’s or in public that no harm will come to them however in the very home meant to protect them there is harm being inflicted. Sexual,physical,and emotional abuse rank high in these pretty on the outside homes. You may see a love of money and business yet see a lack of love of family in the actions and words of the home. Possibly you could find harsh words. I’ve heard stories of no words at all that cause deadening silence to become the norm. Fathers working late to avoid nagging wives. Wives losing respect of their husbands because of too high of expectations he may hold. This vicious cycle will cause a child to die. He/she will be at a higher risk of falling into this way of life which really isn’t living at all.

Fathers you are the only earthly example your children will have of a loving Jesus! Mothers you are an example of the church and her obedience as a waiting bride. Parents are you willing to give your children a false view of Jesus and His bride?

I know I’m just a single gal with too much to say. I’m just going off of the stories of the people I meet day to day. In the church and out of the church. Young and old. I want desperately for each child whether still a babe in school or an adult still looking for guidance to have the opportunity to live a spirituality alive life. Parents are to be the protectors not the ones to bring death into the home. Don’t you want your children to live alive? Don’t you want them to grow up to be active citizens of the kingdom of God doing kingdom work here on earth?

Show your children an alive life so they too can go on to be all that they can be! God may very well need them to be a firefighter,linguist,cowboy,or teacher. Don’t step in the way of God’s work. He has in trusted these gifts to you. It’s not too late to start building a relationship with your child that reflects the love of Christ. Go now and make that first step.