At Odds:The Victory is Yours

Folks let’s talk about Spiritual battle real quick. It is something raging all of the time. The Spirits are at war EVERY SINGLE DAY. It’s not that all of a sudden they switch their attention to the unsuspecting Christian. There is sin,temptation , doubt, and fear around EVERY CORNER! Jesus didn’t say “Let’s go on a jolly good walk in the park to find the gold at end of the rainbow.” He said take up your cross(cause/mission) and follow me”. He says follow and we follow. That can be follow me into a sweet time of fellowship with likeminded believer or it could also mean follow me into battle against the false teachers disguised as brothers and sisters in Christ. Then He can lead us into obvious blessings that overflow and then right into blessings that don’t always immediately feel like blessings. He’s GOD and has the right to lead us,call us,and command us into whatever season He needs us in to put us in the best position for battle against the adversary! He allows the shots of fiery lies to be shot our way by Satan to strengthen us and to prove His strength. It hurts! Ouch oh it hurts! It hurts so bad that it is downright tempting to walk off the battlefield hands thrown up in surrender to the wrong king. I think there is the misguided assumption that when you become a Christian that it means a warm fuzzy life carefree from pain and suffering. Like some how Jesus acts like a bandaid from all our sorrows. WRONG! He IS our healer but healing spiritually isn’t really anything like being healed naturally. It’s far grater but so are the wounds that the healing must be delt with.

As this spiritual battle continues on and the lies of Satan are being shot with cannons at lightning speed there are some things that you can do to to bring victory in the name of Jesus Christ.

1)Make sure that you’re in the Word. Cliche as this sounds it’s really your only basis to go into battle. Without it you’re useless and might as well give up the fight. You’ll be a sitting duck and very little help to the kingdom. In fact you can bring great damage to the fight at hand.

2)Let others know that you’re facing this war. Partner in prayer with as many as you can. A war is never won alone. It takes a mighty army of people all laboring together with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

3)Confront every single lie head on. Is Satan telling you something about a thought someone has about you? Go ask them directly if what he is telling you is true. They’ll appreciate you coming to them. Is Satan discrediting your value? Read the Word and see what the Lord has to say about you. Are the attacks coming in the form of past sins being brought up? Recall the moment you laid them at the foot of the cross. Read what Jesus has done for you and when the Holy Spirit entered you!

4)Get sleep. This one really isn’t spiritual at all but Satan does attack when we are weak. If you’re weary and worn out physically it can be prime time for lies,nightmares,and imaginations to swell up.

Be of good cheer dear ones as we as brothers and sisters unite against the one who fell! If a Christian family member comes to you battle weary, walk along side them to lift them up to continue the good fight. Soon they will be the one to lift you when you have been wounded and the positions of battle have been changed. Go forward with the mighty armor of God knowing what Ephesians 6:12 says “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” You have the power of Jesus Christ walk in all confidence as given the example in 2 Timothy 2:3-4 “thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” We can be pleasing to the Lord by our faithful battle not with others but with Satan alone. He WILL GO DOWN!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=nlpSl3yadO4

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Mini Post:It’s the Devil

This picture reminds me when I was in the play Inherit the Wind. The stage was dark. My head focused on the ground,slowly lifting until I met the eyes of the man on the stage,I dropped the flowers I clutched in my hand,and I screamed “IT’S THE DEVIL!!!!” Turning quickly without looking back I ran off the stage.

Let us all be ready to look Satan in the eyes and call him what he is. No,not with Fear and trembling as little Melinda but with full assurance of who we belong to. We are not of this world that claim the resurrection of Jesus Christ! Those that are left in darkness, I implore you to call out to the God of creation to take pity on your soul! Today is the day of opportunity! Tomorrow is not yet guaranteed.

My brothers and sisters don’t allow the threat of the dying world cause your faith to become lukewarm! Walk closer to Jesus Christ, rid yourself of anything that would threaten to push the Holy Spirit out,and live the truth of your status of sons and daughters of your Heavenly Father!

Time Well Traveled

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.

Moody Clouds!

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.

May: The end of a challenging school year ended and honestly I was so thankful! A much needed break was in the horizon. https://pilgrimnicci.wordpress.com/2018/05/14/seek-ye-first-the-kingdom-of-god-not-the-amish-romance/

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.

https://pilgrimnicci.wordpress.com/2018/06/16/passport-prayer/

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.

https://pilgrimnicci.wordpress.com/2018/06/22/diary-post-a-few-thoughts-on-boredom/

August: I went to Kansas for a weekend that I can honestly say was one of the best weekends of my life! I felt so loved by my friends Lana and Monica as they had carefully planned a to do list of fun for us. We did so much but beyond that we grew a little closer as friends. https://pilgrimnicci.wordpress.com/2018/08/12/find-me-in-the-woods-among-the-trees/

School started and instantly I could “feel” that it was going to be a good year. I have yet to be disappointed in how the cookies have crumbled.

https://pilgrimnicci.wordpress.com/2018/07/18/a-fresh-start-with-a-rainbow-of-opportunities/

Yes, I was terrified but it was worth it!

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!

Sweet child

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.

https://pilgrimnicci.wordpress.com/2018/10/17/spaghetti-loving-people-in-germany/

Brother and sister in Germany

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.

https://pilgrimnicci.wordpress.com/2018/08/27/handwritten-letter-a-lost-art-or-not-needed-anymore/

December: December=eventful!

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/

Pilgrim Nicci

The Day I Went To Prison

Shadowy figures in the distant fog are easy to ignore. Walking right past the faceless bodies brings no pings of emotion that we wish could go away. What happens when the fog lifts and you lift your eyes as you make eye contact and say “Hello,God bless you and Merry Christmas.”? When the person is far away almost as if an abstract thought somehow we can justify not caring. This person must have done something terrible. This person is worthless and deserves to rot. This person really isn’t a person so let’s just walk away. It becomes much more of a blaring reality when you can imagine this woman as your bank teller, your dental hygienists,or even you. Where would we be if

we had made one choice that would of changed an entire future? I know that answer, I’d be on the other side of the cookie line.

So what does it mean to be on the side of the line that is giving? Yesterday was a day of waiting around. There was a fog plan in place which meant we didn’t get to pass out cookies right away. Held in a room full of predominately old order Amish sure made things interesting. As humans we tend to segregate ourselves into nice neat little groups. This makes us feel more comfortable ensuring that we don’t have to put forth much effort. The same was said even as we labored next to each other. There was a circle of chairs forming a tight group with backs facing us. Everyone not Amish we’re scattered around. Time came to repackage some cookies and I thought it would be my opportunity to break in with some of the Amish. I settled myself in to help. As I did this I tried countless times to make conversation. Each time being completely ignored. I’m not one to give up so I would simply repeat what I said. They’d grimace,answering a one word answer and turn away to talk in their language to someone else. I began asking myself why was it that these Amish came to this prison. It didn’t seem like it was for fellowship,they certainly don’t want any outsiders to get too close even if it’s another anabaptist,and they really seemed somewhat miserable. Then I remembered that these people are in just as much bondage as the women that are in maximum security. So I stood silently opening the baggies and as I passed it to the lady beside me I began to pray over these people that have physical freedom but are held in such tight chains and they don’t even know it.

Finally our wait was over and the rest of our cookie passing could continue. I was a bit nervous because I had no clue what to expect. Pretty quickly the unknown became known and I was comfortable. We all had a job mine was greeting the women as they entered. I so wish we could of hugged them because somehow a handshake just wasn’t enough. One young girl probably younger than me said “I’m a hugger and I’m so glad you’re here. You have no idea what this means to us.” With that she did lean in and gave me a hug and I didn’t mind. Streams of women came for the cookies,singing,and silent prayer. These women ranged in age from younger to me to 70’s or 80’s. I couldn’t help but wonder if they would ever have an identity outside of their crime. One older woman proudly announced “I have 27 days left and then I get a new life!” I felt happy for her and in the depths of my heart I prayed that it was the truth.

I made it my mission to memorize even one name and I did. I went home and looked up her crime. She was the get away driver in a burglary gone wrong. One bad choice and she wasn’t even the one to pull the trigger yet here she was. The Bible verse that says to avoid all appearances of evil has hung in my mind all day today. I wonder,would you stop right now and pray for this young woman? She is so young and when she gets out in several years could she be loosened from the chains of not only prison but also Satan?

One surprising experience was getting to go into the nursery. There were six young moms holding their precious gifts. None of these mothers have violent crimes and they all are going through a program to learn how to be a mother. You could definitely see a difference from mom to mom in how they talked about their children. My brain started wondering how will these children not develop RAD or other struggles. I found out that these children get to be with the moms for three years. It was so encouraging to see one mom with her baby’s head laying on her chest ear down. It was so sweet to acknowledge that a baby can still bond with its mother even in less than ideal situations. In those moments of us observing this child’s heart was being aligned with its mother’s heartbeat. That gave me hope for these children.

The program director said some of these moms have never held a baby or even changed their diapers yet here they were in the thick of it with no choice but to learn. In some small way I was overwhelmed with thankfulness that these babies were being raised right where they were. The moms were drug free,caring for their children,and growing to hopefully be able to raise these children in a healthy way. Once again only time will tell but these three years are giving them a chance.

You know what? We all were once in a prison. A prison of sin,ignorance,and defiance. Our drug of choice was pride and self satisfaction. We had no clue that our sugar daddy was really out to harm us. We didn’t know that the high we got was only temporary. There would be no escape in the end of our life. We were in sins prison without a hope and it was slowly destroying our lives.

It wasn’t until someone or some situation was like our cookie receiving opportunity. A message from the Lord was brought down and over time we could accept that we were loved. We could start the fight to regain our dignity. We could share our hurts and our past sin with our Heavenly Father. When our hearts had soften enough we could ask Jesus for help. He came and pled guilty for our crimes and just like that our chains were gone. Having received the Holy Spirit we could then go out into the world as if to do community service. No, not because we have to pay off our crimes but because we have been given so much that we want to serve our king and those that He loves.

Some of us might not know the real sorrow of being behind bars of a state prison however we do know what bondage feels like. The peace that come with total freedom is not something I’d want to try to withhold from someone. I think what Gospel Echoes and many other people do to bring self worth,salvation,and stability into the lives of a prisoner, is such a good thing. Not too long ago five years or so, I would of said that these people weren’t worth fighting for. I’m glad that long ago God convicted my heart that redemption is available for all. It’s not just for the seemingly squeaky clean people who get dressed up on Sunday, it’s for EVERYONE.

So maybe you’re reading this and find yourself in sins prison. I’d like for you to know that you can cry out to God at any time and He is there waiting for your call. It won’t be a golden ticket moment where you get everything you ever hoped for but it will start you on a journey of peace and salvation.

If you need a friend or simply someone to pray over you, please go to the question page on this blog and I’d be happy to pray for you.

May you find the love and salvation that can only come from the Lord!

Much love,

Pilgrim Nicci

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

Passport Prayer

Most of you know by now that my summer took a slight turn and I ended up back in Ohio. After spending one week in Canada learning,growing,laughing,and praying I got a call saying that due to something out of our control I was no longer needed as a therapeutic respite nanny. Instantly I understood and had peace that this was the right decision even though it sent a sharp jab into my heart and if I’m being real honest,my pride. The next two days were filled with a little bit of a pity party ( which fit right in with what the RAD that was in the house was already doing) and trying to soak up every last moment of learning and time with Miss Karen.

When I arrived home yesterday I felt so restless. My apartment was empty because my roommate recently moved out and the bottom of the house was starkly quite due to Harold and Nancy being in Africa. I spent most of my evening trying to convince myself that I wasn’t going to rot on the couch all summer and that God did have a plan. You see, it’s so easy to say that you know but it’s hard to believe when things don’t go your way. I searched for jobs or fun classes to take. Coming up empty handed I started looking for a Mandarin teacher that I knew I wouldn’t find. I went to bed feeling like a lazy bum. Never mind the fact that I’m not lazy and I have a job but I felt like my opportunity to go to China was over,summer boredom was around the corner,and I didn’t understand why my answer to prayer was feeling like no more than an Indian gift from God. So I laid in bed praying I wouldn’t wake up too early because I didn’t have anything to fill my time.

Let’s rewind a bit and talk about Canada and Miss Karen. I believe when God stitched together this part of His story in my life, He knew Karen and I would hit it off. Sloths,rubber ducks,and Jesus are just a few of the things we have in common. Conversation was effortless and her go with the flow teaching style was perfect for my personality. She cooked,I did the dishes,and we both laughed so much that I’m sure her neighbors thought we had gone mad! Being in Canada was stretching and stressful for sure but it was perfect and enjoyable as well. It’s nothing like I imagined and everything that was needed to confirm that God has a work for me and in order to do it I HAVE to stop being so afraid of new pop ups. I must be willing to roll within he punches ( or plates being thrown). I was the recipient of impeccable hospitality not only in Karen’s home but also in her parents home as well. I pray a blessing on both homes that they would seek truth in every season of life and to allow the hospitality that they give be given in Jesus’s name.

Ok back to real time:

While I was food prepping I decided to listen to a VOM podcast because the quiet in the house was really starting to get to me. What I didn’t know was that I was avoiding talking to God. Well the first line of the podcast was something like “Without a passport you aren’t going anywhere. Once you have one go to the Lord and say “Here I am Lord send me.” Right there my heart felt the feeling you just can’t describe. I was busy cooking so I ignored it. The podcast went on to share some good information that I enjoyed listening to. Cooking was completed and I went to make my plate and my appetite was gone! If you know me then you know that doesn’t happen often. There was that heart feeling again. “Ugh I’ve got to pray.” That was my real thought as sad as it is to admit. I covered my head and I grabbed my passport and my Bible. Honestly I didn’t really know what to say. I started by praying for others because that’s easy. Then words started flowing and my heart opened up to my Father. If you haven’t experienced the comfort of going to Father God then the only real way to translate it into your understanding is it’s like when your earth dad tells you he is proud of you for something of value vs. the “oh you did a good job” compliment given vainly sometimes. The look in his eyes is one of respect and love. The hug that follows is of utter acceptance and comfort of being in your daddy’s arms. That is how this type of praying feels and this was no different. My Heavenly Father understood I was wrestling with a plethora of emotions and had no real reason to feel them. He understood the joy I felt in Canada learning about brokenness but also having a new friend. He just “got it”. I have no clue why I was surprised. It’s not like don’t communicate with Him everyday. It’s not like I’m a lost soul aimlessly going through life without a cause. Yet there I sat on my blue couch clasping my Bible and passport being hugged by my Father.

I shared with Karen the thought about praying over my passport it wasn’t something I ever considered. Which is ridiculous that I didn’t. After all I am claiming to be a pilgrim and stranger following after Jesus. Karen said something like “These kids are not ours. They are God’s children and what is to happen happens. We aren’t in control. That’s how all of life is. “It’s a God thing.” I got to thinking that’s right. Likewise me going to China is in God’s hands. I have no idea why mid plan God dropped Germany in my lap and wiped away was the financial opportunity to go to China. That was something I had to give to God. In the last two days I’ve been forcing myself to be happy over going to Germany to be with my brother and sister in Christ. I knew i was supposed feel happy yet I was grieving China. Doesn’t my brother and sister deserve better than a half hearted communion with someone that only signed up if her other plans could happen too? Yes,they do! They are the bride of Christ and I will be overjoyed to be in their company. After all maybe God doesn’t call us to be in one location. Perhaps our calling is to be where the need is.

Lord my passport is yours. I will only go where you pave my path to go. If that’s my brothers and sisters in Christ that need fellowship, then I’ll go bring companionship to them in your name . If it’s the lost then I’ll go find them for you so your name will be proclaimed. If it’s the sick then I’ll heal them in your name. If it’s the hungry I’ll provide food for them in your name. Wherever you send I will go…even you only send me to my blue couch in Ohio with my Bible and passport in my hand. I’ll pray in your name.

Much love,

Pilgrim Nicci

P.S. In this blog post I decided not to share about RAD. Please note I wasn’t taking this opportunity as a means to an end. I very much feel called to work with children and families dealing with RAD. I hope that doesn’t get lost in this post.

Warm Fuzzy Life Fighting For the Lord

Do you ever wake up but choose to lay in your bed? The feeling of being wrapped up in blankets in a warm embrace almost encircling you deep into your heart? You know you won’t be falling back to sleep but you just aren’t ready to crawl out of your blanket burrito yet. With each moment passing you wake up a little more and as that happens you have happy thoughts of what the day will hold or memories from the past. It’s just a comfortable content feeling of ahhh.

That’s how I woke up this morning. In fact I still lay in my bed not officially ready to do the mountain of laundry or pay the bills and go grocery shopping. I’m simply enjoying these last few moments of “snuggling”.

As much as I greatly enjoy my comfortable existence and can’t help but let my mind wonder to my brothers and sisters around the world that are not in such a comfortable situation. How do they wake up? Do they ever even go to sleep? Does a guard kick them awake? Do the cries of the person in the cell next to them startle them into reality once again? Is the ach in their belly so great that they can hardly stand the pain?

What makes them different from me? Why do I get complete luxury yet they get misery? I don’t have those answers and that’s ok. What I do know is that I am bound with them in my heart and my prayers are always with them…even from the comforts of my bed wrapped in a quilt.

Am I willing to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ? Would I stand strong outside of the protection of a lavish life? My greatest prayer isn’t that I’ll always be safe but rather that if that day comes that I will have had a life of preparation. That my allegiance was set long before the shackles were around my wrists. That the Word of a God was etched into my heart as if it were now a part of my being. I pray that whoever I may meet day to day doesn’t meet just me but that Jesus is who they see when they look into my eyes.

You see, I may never live in a land that hates me for the Jesus I serve. I most likely will not be thrown into a prison cell wondering where God is or why He’s left me. Rats may never be my only companionship. But that doesn’t mean I’m not in a raging battle for the kingdom. I’m not on the front lines currently as Job was or like my dear family but I’m in the battle all the same. I better be prepared and I better be diligent for this life is not a game and it isn’t won for my glory but for the glory of my God.

I must remember in prayer the front line workers who face Satan in the faces of other created humans. I must be strong as I face Satan in my own head. My brothers and sisters will face physical trails and endure so looking into the face of Jesus. I have no physical pain or suffering, mine comes from lies whispered or tempting things that are forbidden. I must stand strong just as they do.yes, the battle is raging and it looks different in the body of Christ depending on where you have been called in this life. No one situation is a higher calling and none are looked as less to our Father. The point is that we still battle on and rise up victoriously for His name shall be the name of victory in our lives

“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”

‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭6:12‬