There is light and there is darkness. Contrary to popular belief you won’t find a middle ground between the two. It doesn’t matter if you went into the water and came out sopping wet. This thing called church membership and community living has absolutely no value without the Holy Spirit causing the old man to be laid off and new life to spring forward.
Which side do you find yourself on? Do you sit in darkness but look nice on the outside,content to look nice and catch a few of the church life benefits? Or rather do you live a fulfilled life in the kingdom reflecting the light,life,and love of the Lord Jesus Christ?
Do not be pleased to be hypocrites. The world will call the pretender’s bluff and rightfully so. The truth will be found and judgment will come when the bridegroom comes for His perfect bride spotless without blemish or wrinkle. He will not be content with an unlit soul insiders a dead body.
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/
Here we find ourselves on the eve of that fateful day a year after this was originally posted. It was a day of change for me as well as many others. It had an impact reaching into each person a different way. For me that is where the idea a nonresistance and being separate entered my mind.
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.
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!
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.”
Plastic eggs,gourmet meals,and a cute fluffy bunny with a pink bow tied around it’s neck. Little girls with new Easter dresses and boys wearing spiffy suits. It’s a day to remember but do we even know why? Is it the egg hunt after church or the overflowing basket left by the Easter bunny? Maybe it’s because of family and the meal we will share? Oh I just can’t waiting o get home to eat my chocolate rabbit! I’ll start at the ears and won’t stop until I gets o its toes!!! Oh how I love this day! A day to remember!
The above paragraph makes me a little sick. I walk around the stores and I see an abundance of stuff. This stuff makes me feel something and I don’t like it. It brings back memory’s of my childhood that were precious and innocent. They bring back memories of my early teenage years as they became a little less innocent. And they bring back memories of a future I don’t want any part of. Oh I used to love Easter just as I did every other holiday. It was an opportunity to get gifts and have fun. I look around and see how the world has cheapened once again an opportunity to celebrate Jesus Christ. No we don’t need a day set aside and arguably it’s pagan anyway but most Christians of today would in fact associate it with being a religious holiday.
I remember last year the minister that spoke blessed me and many others by standing up and preaching a heart felt message. There was no scheduled egg hunts after. There was no band lined up to play music. There wasn’t decorations on the walls. There was a humble man and a congregation ready to worship. It was solemn,it was a time of rejoicing,it was moments of expectation for us all. The expectation is the realization of what He did! He died literally died. This man…oh I don’t my to go into he happenings you know it by heart but church wake up!!! Don’t you get it? This is your king!!!! Why reduce this day set aside to what this cursed world would desire of you? Why not keep it entirely focused on our Jesus and His victory of love? Why not?
Get rid of the Easter baskets. Do away with the stuff you don’t need to buy because it’s only going to last one day anyway! Use this day as a day to say thank you. Teach your children a tradition that they can look forward to in knowing their mom and dad associate Easter with being humbled and willing to put away the pressures of this world to keep up and just give the day to the Lord? Why not?
This time a year ago I was really in a dark place. It’s sort of came on rather quickly and set up camp for several months. I was at the Kingdom fellowship weekend and time stood still. It was like just God and me among the sea of worshiping people. Every single person around me was just as hungry as I was. Some didn’t have a fellowship while others like me were discouraged by the one God had placed them in. Whatever the reason was I firmly believe God hand picked each and every person who sat in the overheated tabernacle for those three days.
When I say time stopped I’m not using some pretty literary word picture. Time literally stopped. My heart was beating but my flesh was frozen and my mind was empty ready to be filled. I had up until that point not understood what it was like not to get bored with some part of the message being displayed before me. I sat still( well as still as I get for having feet that don’t touch the ground),I wrote at lightning speed,and I took in as much as I possibly could. That was the moment I became hungry.
Sure I had desire before that blessed weekend. What I lacked was raw untainted hunger for the truth. Excuse my crude analogy but I was like how vampires are in the movie twilight I used to like. Always left thirsty for blood even after feeding off of a substitute. Never being truly satisfied until they had the real desire of their needs met with human blood. Ok I warned you it was pretty lame but that’s what came to mind.
Man after man came up to the microphone to pour his heart out as He shared what the Father had given to him to say. You could hear the sincerity in their voices. You could see the desperation in the men who where praying constantly during the weekend. You could feel the Godheads presence. You could taste the sweet flavor of your life changing. It’s those moments I wish so badly we could hold on to and never ever let go. Tonight as I type this there is another group hand picked by God experiencing that same thing that I did. This knowledge blesses me ever so much!
No sooner did I leave the comforts of the tabernacle and re enter my normal life did Satan begin to attack. I came so close to just leaving my fellowship because it didn’t meet my standards. I became critical of the people who defined this fraction of the bride of Christ. Although my frustrations were rooted in truth I had no room for grace in my self righteous crusade.
Through KFW God caused me to look up some of the groups represented that weekend. One being Followers of the Way. Now before I begin I don’t want to elevate them to some sort of idol. This is just how God has worked in my life through them.
I started listening to some of their online messages which for awhile only made me covet what my fellowship lacked. That was because I was only hearing what Satan wanted me to hear. One day on my way to farmers market I listened to a message about lies that Satan tells us. If there was a textbook for lies of Satan I had met them all. I had no real idea what satanic attacks looked like nor how Satan worked. He was just the evil one and the opposite of of God. It wasn’t until then that I could rid him from my thinking.
Of course it wouldn’t be a quick fix and I still have to be on guard for his lies. There have been several moments when he has used others to attack me without them knowing it and I now know how to handle it. I might always have a tendency to be negative and I really hope through Gods grace that I may overcome that but I’m forever indebted to KFW and Followers of the Way for the education if you will and the “fellowship” that can come even across the miles.
I couldn’t see anything profitable in my own fellowship and although they may never understand what they have given me my walk with my Jesus has been restored and I’m thankful. I may not always fellowship with the a German Baptist. I don’t know what God’s ultimate plan is. One thing I do know for sure is that this fellowship is a work in progress and there are many things to be thankful for.