Here we find ourselves in the very last few hours of 2019. Our news feeds are filling up with pictures of the year past and hopes and dreams for the year to come. If you’re anything like me you are more than ready to say good riddance to 2019! I don’t need to bore you with the long list of why “woe is me this year was horrible”. Maybe you have a reason to whine and complain or maybe you don’t but that isn’t stopping you from doing so. Whatever the case I’m encouraging you(and me) to leave 2019 in 2019 and look forward with all anticipation of what God will do in your (my) life as you seek His face in each of the moments to come. There will be trials just as in 2019 and those years gone on before but you survived and you’ll survive any bumps in the road of the future. There’s also going to be great memories to experience,relationships to form,love to share,goals to achieve and when you(Me) make it to this time next year you’ll be proud of yourself IF you keep your focus on the Lord and the goals you set out for yourself. My problems in 2019 can largely be attributed to me losing focus as I faced challenge after challenge. I could have saved myself a lot of pain. Ask yourself (I ask myself) “Will I regret this if…” and “Does this make me proud?” Oh and most importantly “Am I glorifying my Father?” Most of you know my goal this year is to lose 110 lbs(now 95ish). As you follow along on my journey I want to encourage you to make a big goal for yourself. Share with me how you are doing with it and let’s support each other along the way! Comment your goal and I’ll write it down and pray for you!
Here are my beginning pictures I took tonight. Remember this thing: You only have to make one choice at a time to reach your goal. We only get one day at a time so why not live it to the fullest taking as many steps one step at a time as we fulfill each moment we are given.
1)I feel beautiful and happy tonight the last night of 2019.
2-4) My before pictures as of today. I took before pictures 13lbs. Ago but I wanted to share tonight’s.
Here we find ourselves at the end of another year. With God’s abundant grace we have will be given a new year with multiple opportunities. I know for myself this year has been a year of change,growth,and exciting new doors that have opened and some that have closed. I’m not unique in reflecting on the year that has passed. Many blog posts and conversations will be focused on this passage of time. I’d like join in and reflect on the awesomeness of my God in His love and care for me in this past year.
January: I found myself preparing for my newest roommate to move in. Having the privilege to live and work along side Roxy was a joy and blessing.
February: I discovered that although for many many years I valued St. Patrick’s Day as my favorite holiday it actually turns out to be Valentines Day. I wear pink,bought a heart shaped pizza,and my parents sent me beautiful flowers. What more could a woman ask for?!? Alongside my new found favorite holiday, I celebrate in my heart the day I fully came into submission and surrender to my Lord! It fills me with all sorts of large feelings I will never be able to put into words. My life removed from God is worth nothing. That is cause enough to praise His name! https://pilgrimnicci.wordpress.com/2018/02/07/they-call-me-a-fool-he-calls-me-his-bride/
March: This month was filled with birthday type stuff. I turned 27 and started a new year of life.
April: I boarded a small six passenger airline and headed with a team to Florida to serve at a family healing camp. My heart grew like the Grinches heart grew while I spent time with children and families effected by RAD(Reactivate Attachment Disorder). I would never of called myself a “kid person” sure I love teaching and such but something changed in seeing parents literally fighting for the lives of their children. We are called to care for the widows and children and I can do that by supporting these awesome families that are growing little hearts that have been hurt.
June: Annual meeting was a delight because I got to connect with many of my brothers and sisters in Christ. There is a vision that takes place in my mind when we are gathered around the communion table seeking to do the will of God. We are each humbly waiting for that day that we are one in the consummation of the marriage with Christ!
After annual meeting I packed my bags for a week of Training/working in Canada with a raddlet (kid with RAD). Whew no amount of time would allow me to tell all of the stories. Fear,excitement,drama,smells,and friendship blooming we’re all words I’d use. Originally I was planning on heading to Georgia for about a month but the child needed different care so I headed home with a switch of plans.
July: This was the most boring,lonely,horrible month ever. On the tail of the disappointment of lost opportunity I was in the house completely alone for a good portion with absolutely nothing to do and no motivation to find something to fill my time. I’m not proud of July but God uses it to draw me closer to Him. I had a lot of one on one talks with Him and my Bible was opened on my lap more than it wasn’t. I found comfort in bringing my Bible to bed with me each night as if a security blanket.
September: We (at school) really started to feel our routine set in and the normal school days began to flourish. I am very fortunate to get the opportunity to work among fellow followers of Jesus Christ as we labor for the kingdom of God! I started doing therapeutic respite in my home and I have been enjoying the process so much! It’s a unique challenge and requires me to be on my A game 100% but oh so worth giving these wonderful parents a small break from having to be the superhero for a few days. I pray that God gives me many more opportunities to support these awesome parents! https://pilgrimnicci.wordpress.com/2018/07/23/its-a-sloths-life-pajamaspity-partiesand-pee-peevpants/
October: My teeny tiny nephew came into the world with many prayers and much love. His arrival has been a highlight of the year for sure! Each new babe is a special miracle from God. Let’s hold our children a little closer this year as we realize some children never get to feel the love that yours does. Let’s pause to pray for the hearts of the neglected and abused children. Oh Lord you do care and hear their cries!
I got on an airplane for the third time this year for an adventure of a lifetime! Myself along with my brothers and sisters in Christ went to Germany to meet up with more of our family in Christ to support and have a love feast in their neck of the woods! Oh what a joy filled experience unmatched by anything I’ve ever been a part of before. This was the moment I got what I really was a part of. My fellowship is my everything here on earth to me.
November:This month was a fun one! Myself and three other women rented a cabin in the woods in Holmes County to find some R&R. We did all the usual things that you do there with the addition of spending a day doing fun crafty things! Somewhere along the way in the summer I took up painting. It’s a skill I hope to expand to bless others as I write letters that will bring encouragement to those that get them.
My friend Lana came out for the weekend so we could…well let’s just say check your mailbox in the next week. We had more laughs than I knew could happen! Friends sure make life fun!
I had the opportunity to be perused by a godly man in another fellowship. It was a fun opportunity that turned out to not bring peace even though it was fun while it lasted. Who doesn’t want to be valued by someone here on earth? It was a growing experience bringing me to face my vision for my life and how God has continued to call me to be faithful in all things.
I am traveling home now after a week in Missouri and Kansas. Things like Christmas,sickness,Cheesecake Factory,bonding,and large sloths are the words used for this trip.
Now we find ourselves back at January where I began a year ago. I can’t tell you what the next year will hold but my prayer is go a steadfast commitment to my Lord and Savior as I continue on my pilgrimage in the kingdom of God. I hope I meet many new friends and strengthen relationships with the ones I already have. This year has brought many Mountain View moments and yes, a few moments where I stood at the bottom of the mountain wondering why I had to start again. I can say without any stretching of the truth that the climb was worth it!
The sun rose and set every day of this past year and I got to enjoy most of them as I did life. Oh the gift that is a new day! Let us each wake to look for the gift God has given us then let us fall before Him in praise!
I love you all! Much love dear ones. If you haven’t found yourself at the foot of the cross casting your sins away, I urge you to cry out to our sovereign Lord to help you to do so! This life here on earth will vanish and we will each face eternity. I want you each to face it looking at the face of Jesus at the wedding of His people with Him to never be separated. If I can help you by answering questions or praying along side of you please let me know. We are not promised another day on this earth. Make your choice now. https://pilgrimnicci.wordpress.com/2018/07/13/why-i-deserve-to-go-to-hell-but-i-wont/
What will the new year hold? I think all too often we ask that in a way that really is selfish. “What will I gain from a new year?” Is the burning question we have tucked into our hearts. We are wondering if this will be the year I’ll be noticed by that cute guy. Things like job promotions and pay raises cross our minds. Let me ask you this. Are you already planning your next vacation for 2019? You see, we really are so self focused when we begin to wonder about the upcoming year. I’m not saying it’s all bad to have those thoughts but as I evaluate the direction of my life it becomes apparent the question I want to be on my heart. Hmm maybe it’s not actually the question at all but rather the answer.
With a whole new year fast approaching the answer to the question is there are 365 opportunities. As a follower of Jesus Christ I feel that every single day counts for the kingdom of God. I want to use all 365 days as days to share the truth of God’s love and the gravity of our sin situation. We get only one life here on earth and the choices we make have eternal impact not only for ourselves but for those we meet everyday.
I believe when Jesus gave the parable about the widow that gave her everything that He literally meant that we do the same. All too often I can get wrapped up in the “I’m a single school teacher” excuse of why my money is free to go out to eat or buy that extra coffee. Frequently I can even say I’m too “poor” to help that person in need. The blazing reality is that I’m so very rich! I’m rich in finances and emotional/spiritual wealth. I really lack for nothing. That becomes apparent when I get my act together and begin to give. Isn’t that funny how somehow someway I always have an increase when I choose to walk in faith and give of myself?
It’s not just being willing to give of ourselves in a monitory way. Although let’s pause and recognize that we MUST be doing that too! I’m not talking 10% bare minimum to gain us our check mark. I’m talking let’s allow it to be a sacrifice of total surrendered love. Not only our money but our time is to be laid at the foot of the cross as well. Once again each time I find myself willing to move as the spirit prompts, I am given an increase! Shouldn’t our lives be laced with the gospel truth? Oh you’ll be amazed how open people are with talking openly. Sure the goal or hope is to impact the lives of the lost but God in between those interactions gives us other mighty believers to sharpen and encourage our journey! It’s truly powerful!
So maybe the concept of using our 365 days as opportunity for the kingdom of God is a foreign concept. That’s ok! We all have to start somewhere and I’m not at 100% either. In so many ways this message is for me as well. I sat this morning in a puddle of tears crying out to God wondering how I could be so selfish! Please know you’re not alone! I began to search my heart and mind for how does 365 days of kingdom living look on practical terms. I came up with a list and it’s by no means exhaustive and I certainly don’t meet all of my own criteria. I hope it can be used to strengthen you and me to be honest with ourselves where we fail and can grow. I’d love to hear what you do to further the gospel and to be the hands and feet of Jesus all year long!
-First of all have daily devotions. We must be in the Word to share the Word. I might be radical in saying a sermon or intense prayer time can be coupled with this too.
-The grocery store is a unique opportunity to chat with people in a casual way. I’ve had some of the best kingdom conversations waiting at the meat counter of Kroger. Don’t be afraid of starting a conversation!
-Go over and talk to that person sitting alone at the restaurant. Yeah sure like 5% the person wants to be left alone but that 95% is well worth the shot.
-Serve at a soup kitchen. Not only do you get to have a challenge of cooking but also interacting with your neighbors.
-Get to know your neighbors. Don’t be afraid to ask them over for a meal. Be in prayer for them as you get to know them.
Invite people to your church. It can be incredibly frightening especially in my situation because my church has a visible culture and that can terrify people. Yet I’ve had some complete strangers come to church and I was so thankful for their willingness to come!
-Get in the mind set that your money and possessions are not your own. Loosen your grip on the things of this world and you’ll learn to give more freely.
-Be in prayer about giving opportunities. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to situations where you can be the hands and feet of Jesus.
-This one might seem silly but wash those dinner dishes after Sunday company. The hostess will appreciate the help even if at first she refuses the help.
-Pay the bill for the person in front of you at the grocery store. Typically they ask “why” and you can direct them to the Lord.
-Keep am extra quarter for trips to Aldi.
-Fix a meal for someone and drop it off unexpectedly. We forget that sometimes life gets busy for a young family and dinner may not be planned yet!
-Gofundme is an example of people from every walk of life coming together to support those in need.
-Well of Hope supports widows and children in Africa. You can sponsor a child through them.
-Invite a single or widow to dinner for “just because”.
-Buy someone that wouldn’t be expecting it flowers.
-Give hugs freely!
-Go visit a nursing home. Ask the residents about their lives.
-Babysit for free.
-Stop and give that person on the side of the road a ride.
-Buy a meal for a homeless person.
-Pray with someone right where you are. Don’t wait until later.
-Pray verbally when at a restaurant.
My list is short but it’s just a few things I’ve found to show God’s love in my everyday life. How do you serve those around you?