What Does Holy Week Mean to You? It Means Whatever You Want it to Mean

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Palm Sunday. Passover. Maundy Thursday. Good Friday. Resurrection Sunday. What does Holy Week mean to you? Well, it can mean whatever you want it to mean. I’ll explain.

For many of us, Holy Week is an amplified adoration, gratefulness and reverence we carry within us DAILY, 52 weeks of the year, to thank our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for paying for our sins when He was sinless. No other sacrifice would do. He was the final Lamb slain—once and for all. He purchased our freedom from sin, broke the chains that would hold us, and through His resurrection, we have victory over the grave (eternal life, John 3:16) and our enemy Satan.

For many of us, Holy Week brings unspeakable joy and tears as we try to comprehend the full cost and suffering paid by Jesus for us.

Cross Holy Week

For some, Holy Week is simply going through the motions of family and church traditions, culminating with wearing their best outfits, Easter egg hunts, a full-spread brunch, lunch or dinner and a nap. The following week, with Holy Week in the rear view mirror, some return to their usual perverse speech, foul thinking, empty pursuits, and thirst for worldly living—even after having been at the well of He Who provides “living waters” where we’ll never thirst again (John 4:14).

For some, something said during Holy Week or an encounter with Jesus will bring them to a full I-don’t-care-what-people-think surrender of their intellectual pride, materialism, fleshly ways, with a cry out to the Lord to say, “Jesus, I don’t want to be this way anymore. All I want is You. Cleanse me. Please restore my soul. Please, make me over.”


Holy Week: It means whatever you want it to mean. 

Heavenly Father, we pray for unbelievers to come to a saving knowledge of Your precious Son Jesus Christ; to realize how directionless, empty and meaningless this world and this life is without relationship with Jesus. Our purpose is found in Him! We also pray for the Body of Christ to be unified in an even greater love for Jesus, to have a thirst to know Him more and boldly unashamed to share His love with others.

Thank you, Jesus, for giving your all for all. My Redeemer, My Savior, My King. I love you. I can’t praise you enough!




Elevators, Exit Ramps and Eternity

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Elevators, exit ramps and eternity: why would I group these three very different items in one sentence? Because frankly, each require that we know where we’re going. The Lord has grown me in patience and deeper love toward others, which is a blessing and prayer answered over the past year and a half. Praise God! He continues to grow me in an area that challenges my level of patience: when people get into the elevator and forget what floor they’re going to. I am not a coffee drinker and still manage to be alert to what needs to occur in the mornings. Nevertheless, I need to be sympathetic to those who need several hours and a couple cups of coffee to get it together. A rule for riding the elevator: other riders need you to know where you’re going.

There is another area that requires us to know where we are going: a highway exit ramp. Have you ridden with someone who is indecisive on whether to get off at that exit or the next? Or the driver hasn’t paid attention, realizes in two seconds their going to pass their exit and steers suddenly to exit the ramp? It’s unnerving. They could cause an accident.  Ain’t nobody got time for that. A rule for approaching exit ramps: know where you are going and signal your intentions in advance to other drivers.


Elevator buttonsExit ramp signThere remains yet another destination we must be certain of where we’re going: eternity. Some people think they have a great deal of time to decide if they believe in heaven or hell, Jesus Christ or Satan, eternal life or if this earth is heaven already. Earth is not our home. It is a temporary location, not your permanent address. Since creating mankind, God Our Heavenly Father has desired an eternal and intimate relationship with you and me. He even sent His Son Jesus Christ to earth to show us His love and provide us a way to secure an eternal relationship with God, while we were yet in our sins.

Jesus came so that through him we can access “life to the full.” (John 10:10) Many question who is Jesus, question what has been said about Him and seek other ways to establish their own path to “eternal life.” Yet, Jesus made it clear to us the path in John 14:6-7, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7- If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

It’s decision time folks. Step quickly, signal your intentions and decide your destination. Jesus says, “The time has come. The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15).  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)Salvation


About Nicole D. Hayes

Nicole D. Hayes is committed to serve as a vessel of compassion, instruction, love and truth for Jesus Christ. Born and raised in Topeka, Kan., she is a member of Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church in Washington, D.C.  Drawn to know Christ in her early childhood and saved at the age of 12, Nicole is a student and applier of God’s Word. She is also a successful public relations professional operating in Washington, D.C., with more than eight years experience of coordinating and delivering strategic communications and media outreach support for nonprofits and small business owners. During her career she has placed several nonprofits and small business owners in national, local and regional media spaces. She operates with a personal and business mantra of “making an investment in people.” Among many things, Nicole is also a motivational speaker. She has been invited to deliver messages to business leaders to not be misguided by the world’s view of success, to direct young people navigating through the world’s challenges, and to remind those who may have lost their way that joyfully, “God Has Not Changed His Mind About You.” Nicole’s purpose in creating “Voices Against the Grain” is to be light in darkness, to boldly instruct truth amidst confusion so as to bring clarity and restoration.




Normalcy Bias or Great Expectation? Your View

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Rose-colored glasses. All is well with the world. ARE YOU KIDDING? Even some of the most skeptical realize something is amiss. As former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright bluntly stated, “The world is a mess.” So do you approach life with a normalcy bias or with a great expectation?


According to Wikipedia, “the normalcy bias, or normality bias, refers to a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This may result in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster.” 

In short, you will consider our times to be normal and not strange. And for that reason, when time is up you’ll be caught flat-footed, without a life preserver, and without hope. Like the frog sitting comfortably in a slow-boiling pot, you’ll be finished. Done. normal

Today, we are in the 11th hour. What’s the 11th hour? It means “time’s almost up.” “Gather everyone before the doors close.” “Last call.” Read Matthew 24 in its entirety. In short, Jesus fortells the signs of the end of this age. Matthew 24:3-8 reads: 

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us,when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

And verse 29: “The stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.”  

Zephaniah 1:14-15, 18 further warns:  “The great day of the Lord is near–near and coming quickly. Listen! The cry on the day of the Lord will be bitter… That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish… In the fire of his jealousy the whole world will be consumed, for he will make a sudden end of all who live in the earth.”

ready or notAt that point:

  • God’s wrath will not be to discipline those who denied Him
  • It’s not the unbeliever’s chance to invite His Son Jesus Christ into their life
  • This is not God’s opportunity to improve a person or lead them to holiness
  • Time has passed; He will no longer strive with man

A GREAT EXPECTATION…As the Sky is Falling

For the Believer whose hope, joy, life, peace and eternity rests in Jesus Christ:

  • We have nothing to fear about the coming events
  • God’s people will be in the midst of the battle and judgment, but He will equip us
  • As the “sky is falling” He has given us His Spirit of peace
  • We must continue to plant seeds, leave the Holy Spirit to harvest those last few souls
  • We will be sorrowed by the tragic times, yet will have a great expectation and joy!
  • We know these strange times indicate the expected and soon return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

Those in Christ Jesus have assurance in these critical times, for He said in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  (New International Version)

Have no delusions but clarity about what is coming down the pike. It’s your choice and your chance. Tomorrow will not be the same “normalcy” as today. Time is drawing near. If you don’t have the answers to get out of your mess or can’t rescue your own future, Jesus is the answer. Express that you need Him, acknowledge that He died and rose again for you so that you will have victory, and ask Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit to serve as your guide along the way.

God bless you,


Nicole D. Hayes is the founder of Voices Against the Grain, a bold teaching ministry launched in May 2013. Nicole’s purpose in creating Voices Against the Grain is to be light in darkness, to boldly instruct truth amid confusion so as to bring clarity and restoration.

Learn more about Nicole D. Hayes here.

A Generation’s Confidence in Christ Equips the Next

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6 (New King James Version)

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Some of the wisest words written. Raised in a Christian home, I am a bi-product of such wisdom, enacted by my parents and family members who told us of God’s love, the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. I, along with my brother, cousins and a host of relatives are reaping the fruits of obedience sown by our family’s legacy of faith in God that extends many generations. We are experiencing Exodus 20:5-6.

During this past Wednesday’s Voices Against the Grain radio show, I enjoyed authentic and inspiring conversations with godly women in my family as we wrapped up this month’s series, “March with Us, March with Her.” I was joined by my aunt Alyce Brown, aunt Lilly Hayes, cousin Cheri Brown and Grandma Thelma Hayes,  and delighted in sharing them with you. In our conversation of “Celebrating Faith and Family,” we reflected on the prayers and faith-living we saw through relatives past. We discussed how prayer and worship has changed over the decades. We also shared words to equip the next generation in Christ for successfully navigating in this challenging world.


Forever Mercy Exodus 20 and 6

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) This truth has compelled Believers to confidently tell others the power of God’s love, despite the world’s hate for such engagement. The world would rather we embrace other options to make our lives “easier” so we are not rejected by the world in our living for Christ. Yet, Jesus tells us in John 15:18-19 that, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19- If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.”  As Christians, we should never want to be comfortable in this world. Only Jesus Christ offers us true hope, peace, redemption from our sins and life everlasting. Nothing the world offers compares and can only best serve as a counterfeit.

We have received inspiring comments shared about how our conversation reminded you of your family’s faith legacy and foundation in God. For some of you, your family resembles mine—many generations who’ve stood upon Christ, the Solid Rock. For some of you, you or your parents may be the first generation of Believers who are boldly sharing this greatest gift with your loved ones, neighbors, community.

How has God revealed himself in your life? In your family? Please comment! I’d love to know. Thank you for listening! If you missed the episode or previous shows, click here