Thursday, June 23, 2016

8 things Christians should stop doing right now!

Exhale.....

Yes, I feel so much better now.

I seriously didn't know what to expect from the reality TV world. I feel so much better than I did 2 weeks ago!!! When you sign up for it, you really don't know what it's all about until you've experienced it. You get asked the SAME questions a million times. You're often being asked to connect to your pain in a deeper way.

So much of my past has passed! It is way behind me! However, you have to relive so many moments and go back to them when you're in interviews trying to get your story across.

In this process I have learned SO MANY THINGS!!! Indeed, we have so many amazing and supportive Christians in the world. I have received countless messages of support, and to you all, I give so many thanks. I have also received my share of hate and nonsense. I guess the religious crappy people who were religious and crappy....can still be religious and crappy. I've been asked about my heart and walk with the Lord so many times that you can just lay that question to rest now. Stop asking.

Again I will say, I am not in control of how someone edits my story....I can only hope that as the show goes on, my heart for God... and change in the world, shine through.

Now...the good stuff. I have healed in so many ways these last couple weeks. I can't tell you all the people who have come forward with apologies for not getting to know me and just writing me off. People have told me that they wanted to support me but didn't know how. Also heard from multiple retail store workers. These people had received corporate orders to remove my product from the shelves and they had to do it against their own desires. They were so kind and apologetic.

And......I've had people say they DID continue to play my music and support my albums.

It's easy to get stuck in your own brain. It's also easy to make a blanket statement when you don't have access to more information. Back when I was doing music, so much of the internet world did not exist. THANK GOD! I'm sure it would've showed me more support then I realized, which is a good thing....but I'm also sure that the crappy side of religious Christianity would've been prevalent as well.

Can I be totally honest??? I've heard comments from people saying I made Christians look bad....and let me be real now....You do not need me to do that!

Let me break this down..... Yesterday my husband and I were driving and a man kept honking his horn behind us. He obviously didn't see what we saw, he just wanted us to move and was so angry that we weren't doing what he thought we should. In actuality, we were letting a man cross the street that he didn't see in front of us. However, from his obstructed view, he felt fully entitled to his loud honking and anger.


Sometimes you need to stop and be patient with people. You can't see the full view of what is in front of them. Before you honk your horn, remember that maybe....just maybe....they see something you don't.

As Christians we can be SOOOOO quick to honk our horns. These comments and opinions are just noisy obnoxious horns that only draw attention to the negative side of our beliefs. The fact that people of faith are leaving words for all to read that are an embarrassment to what we stand for, just aggravates me.

I have a heart for change. I have a heart for people. I have a heart for God. Trust me when I say, this will all come out if things go according to plan.

In the meantime, before you honk your horns, I've made a list of things I'd like to see end in our dysfunctional Christian family. Just a few suggestions and statements that could help us start looking a little more sane online. Jesus definitely needs better publicity.



* Do not ask someone where they are at with their walk/The Lord/Jesus/their heart....and so on. Are you their appointed mentor? Pastor? Prayer partner? If not, it ain't your business. Bye. 

* Do not appoint yourself as the gate keeper to heaven. Someone's outside life may look crazy to you.....it may indicate in the most obvious of ways (in your gatekeeping expertise) that they are doomed for flames and fiery lakes. However, you may be quite surprised when they pop in on a holy dinner party in the sky. You do not have go-go gadget heart goggles. If you do, then slap it on a business card and charge hourly. 

* If you are inclined to write that God wants us to be holy.. or someone is called to be a better example....or God requires more from us....simply stop your fingers in their tracks and write something simple instead... like...."I'm praying for you" ...this is a wonderful example. Simple and sweet. It can mean I'm praying for you to do great things...or you can have it secretly mean that you're praying they get their act together. Whatever you want. 

* Singing secular music is not a form of "backsliding".....come on folks. Did Amy Grant not fight on the front lines in the army of Pop for no reason? We are to hold that legacy close to our hearts and not allow her suffering to be in vain. 

*"Are you in church?"... What kind of question is that? Clearly not your business and clearly not an indicator of spiritual stability. I do go to church, but I've done some of my craziest stuff while attending 5 days a week. I've also been at my strongest points spiritually when I went to the chapel of bacon.  So... it's just not a question you should ever ask as a gauge to someone else's walk.  

* "You're causing people to stumble".....No no honey......if my exposed q-tip legs are doing damage, you have a much bigger problem on your hands. The internet is an in-home adult xxx super store, the mind shall stumble as it allows. Christian women do not have to cover their womanly curves or skin. Now, I don't mean you should be showing off your kibbles and bits...but a little skin will not hurt the flock. 

* Jesus Loves Gay People. Yup. 

* Using phrases like "come back to your first love"...."are you lukewarm?"...."let daddy God take care of it"...."but are you on fire for God?"....these can all take a non-seatbelt-ed sit in my Grandpa's old Toyota truck with the removable shell. 

Ok....Now  I will stop myself from sounding judgmental or honking my own horn. Some of this is meant to be funny and some of it is really true. 

Let us all learn how to love first. We need to be patient with people and understanding of different circumstances. I'm such an imperfect mess of a human. I'll be the first to tell you this. My life looks ridiculous on paper and I don't need a single person to tell me that. But you see....God told me that I'm fearfully and wonderfully made. He told me he knows the plans that he has for my life. He told me my steps are ordered and my mess was taken care of on the cross. If we do not begin to seek after the heart of Christ, we will not only lose ourselves, but we will truly miss the mark to being able to be the difference that the world actually needs right now. This difference will never be made in a judgmental or accusatory tone. You see it is his KINDNESS that leads to repentance. Imagine that the God of the universe is showing us kindness and yet as mere humans, we are showing judgment....how does this make any sense??

Let your love and kindness be the light to make the difference. Honking makes people cover up their ears and they will never hear a thing you say ...or ever be changed by it.




25 comments:

  1. Well said, Nikki! I am a recovering Pharisee who is enamored by the Grace of God. As the kid of a teen mom, I did my darndest to be the poster child of holiness. I was 31 when I married my equally virgin wife and am thankful to have 3 girls within God's covenant. I know that is not the norm and am thankful for Him keeping me, because there were many times I did not want to be kept.

    As a youth pastor, I tried to encourage those under my care to stay pure as well. Most of them who did not were well into their late teens/early 20s before having their child out of wedlock. My heart always break for those situations because I was that kid and know what it is not to have that father figure in my life. Yes, I had my brothers' dad for some support and being raised by my grandparents gave me the testimony I have. I recently reached out to my birth father last year and discovered I have 3 more brothers in addition to the 3 I grew up with. Other than my paternal aunt and some cousins on facebook, I still don't have a relationship with them.

    I'm amazed at God's grace and am thankful on how He's using you to show the world how good He is. Your children are a beautiful gift of God and as my mother had to stand up in front of the Church and "apologize", God turned what the enemy meant for evil to be a blessing! The wild thing is that all of us born of my mother are in some sort of ministry. Take that, devil!

    Love and appreciate you, Nikki! Praying Edgar goes far!

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  2. Nikki. I really really really applaud you. Thank you for being you and writing this.

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  3. YES YES AND MORE YES!! God is LOVE. Period!

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  4. You definitely hit the mark my friend. You are in your sweet spot and His Love Light shines thru you with His word pictures of encouragement and truth. The words to an old hymn keep going thru my mind...
    Sweet Holy Spirit, Sweet Heavenly Dove. Stay right here with us, filling us with your love. And for these blessings, we lift our hearts in praise. Without a doubt we'll know, that we have been redeemed, when we shall leave this place.

    God is using you, big time to show His unconditional, no strings attached, come as you are, broken into beautiful LOVE. It looks good on you. Love you.

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  5. Such good stuff. Wholeheartedly agree!

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  6. Such good stuff. Wholeheartedly agree!

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  8. Nikki, unfortunately I was fairly new to Christian music during the time your career was taking off in the late nineties and somehow missed your music. I was in seminary at that time and was still into rock music (I haven't changed that much since!). I caught Edgar's cover of Let It Be tonight and love it. I Googled you and read your story and found the blog site. I've been a pastor now for over 15 years, and sometimes "Christians" astound me by the sense of self-righteousness they can show to others. I applaud you, young lady, for the courage and stamina you undoubtedly have to maintain your faith through the trials you have faced. How I wish I had known you then so I could have prayed for you and supported you. I am sorry people were so cruel to you and your family. That is not what Christ is about. Know you and your husband and your beautiful daughter are in my prayers and you have all my votes in the competition. Keep the faith and rock on.

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  9. Nikki - I remember you visiting to do a concert in my hometown and playing your CD non-stop growing up. I have always loved your voice and always appreciated your down-to-earth vibe you gave. I am thrilled to see your blog <3

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  10. I totally agree with your ideas about what Christians should stop doing! When I saw you on AGT, I recognized your face and your voice, but I couldn't quite remember where from. Now, I realize that I had your "Shelter Me" CD as a teen! I am a year older than you =) I, too, grew up in a super-Christian culture. After college, I found my own way. I stopped over-committing myself to church, and I found a balance in my life. I still consider myself a Christian, but no longer feel the need to justify my life to anyone else. I spend time mostly focusing on my marriage and career, which is how I honor God. I got sick of the buzz-words: "equally-yoked", "Sold Out", "backsliding", "on-fire", "Born-again", etc. A real Christian's life is so much more than a cliche. I am so glad that you finally found happiness! This 90's Christian culture pressured young people to get married to either fix a "sin" or to keep themselves pure...it was better to marry young than risk a sinful relationship. Over the years, I have seen many of these young marriages end in divorce. Instead of focusing on only purity, young people need to understand how to establish themselves as adults, establish a career, and choose a partner wisely. There are many other strategies to choose a partner other than "pray about it" and "ask God to reveal the perfect person." I wish you luck with America's Got Talent! I hope your family wins, and if you do not win, at least you have more exposure that may lead to another opportunity.

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  11. Love, love, love, LOVE!!!! I grew up a pk in the "no secular music, long dresses on the platform required" era. We've come a long ways baby!!! My husband and I are working in full-time ministry that *gasp* ISN'T within the walls of the church. But it's changing lives with kind words and practical help day in and day out. And because we never make it to Wednesday night church and sometimes Sunday mornings, there's been judgement. Questions. I'm thankful for parents and in-laws (all pastors) that are so supportive of us and the path we've chosen. We feel so close in our hearts to God, and have given up defending our choices and what we feel is our calling. I find myself becoming infuriated with comments and snide remarks and practically biting my tongue in half to not respond to people with their stupid questions, which, just as you pointed out, are none of their business. We have accountability and mentors and have chosen to keep those people close to us and out of the public eye for various reasons. Mostly so they aren't subjected to questions and comments.

    Thank you for your candor and sharing such practical truths. THESE are the things that need to go viral. No more hate speak. No more taking sides. No more judgment. God does indeed love the poor, the ugly, the messes, the gay people, the hateful people, the racists and the unloving and unlovable. (I'm probably leading the parade of the the mess and unlovable group haha)

    Your honesty is amazing. And I'm soooooo rooting for you and your fam. Keep doing what's right for YOU guys and block out the noise.

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  12. The first I heard you sing years ago I knew you were a catalyst (such good change!) in God's hand!
    Welcome to more joy, and lotsa love!!!

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  13. Nikki, I'm a Christian and a music producer based in memphis, tn. I knew who you were because I had your first album. However, I did not know your testimony. It pains me to see Christians kicking other Christians when they are down. Of course, I am aware of how the ccm industry kicked Michael English, Sandy Patti and a couple others I know basically out of the industry. Forget the industry...they basically helped destroy their ministries. Admittedly, their sin started the ball rolling but Christians are supposed to jump in and war with Christians who fall. Lift them up not tear them the rest of the way down. Nikki, I still feel the anointing on you. I felt it on Americas Got Talent. Not only did you and your families talents blow everyone away... but your anointing touched souls in that audience.

    In Christ Alone,
    Joey Anderson
    www.joeyanderson.com

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  14. You were my favorite singer as a little kid in the 90s! I named one of my Barbies after you. Haha! My little sister and I listened to your albums all the time and even met you when you came to sing at a nearby church. We were reminiscing today about all the old Christian artists and bands we used to love and we wondered what you were up to these days. We used trusty Google and I quickly realized I had just seen you on America's Got Talent! I didn't even realize it was you so I'm in awe right now! You and your family sounded amazing! It seems as if you have been very busy and doing lots of awesome things. Keep up the great work! I loved your post as well. As Christians we are supposed to lift each other up, not be overly legalistic, pushy, and judgey. I'm so sorry there are people like that acting in God's name. It is not their place whatsoever! I wish you the best and thought it would be nice for you to hear from a childhood fangirl! :)

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  15. I just researched you after hearing your story on America's Got Talent and found your album from 1998 the year I gave my life to Jesus. I remember your songs...they were part of my introduction to Christian music...I did want to come along to an everlasting place. I am so sorry you suffered at the hands of Pharisees but what they meant for harm God has used for good. I look forward to hearing from you more in the future.

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  16. As a Christian who has made a life changing King David kind of mistake myself, your story touched me deeply. Yes, there are religious people that judge, but I know that I've been forgiven, not only by God, but by my church family and my natural family. Pray for me and I'll pray for you. It's what we do.

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  18. I wish you and your family the best! We have all fallen short of the glory of God, but thank God for CHRIST and his saving grace! You and your family do and can continue to exemplify this!! For example-David Boudia the USA divers who always glorified God on NBC but didn't shove it down the publics throat. Good luck!

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  20. spot on nikki. loved you and your family on agt. so sorry you had to deal with such ignorance.keep the faith,amy

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  21. You are a gift from God.
    Thank you for sharing your life with us.
    T

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  22. Nikki,

    As a Christian, you are not perfect on your own, but perfected through the blood of Jesus. Once you gave your life to Him, you were forever a daughter of the most high God. I read how you have been healing - I pray that you receive freedom from the hurt of the "Christian" community who dropped you all those years ago. Continue to lean into your Father's arms and He will guide your steps from here on out. I also pray for God's protective covering over you, your children and your stand-up husband, for taking you as you are. May God bless each of you and may he continue to shine through you.

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