Soul Nourishment {And How God Wraps Us In Community}

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We stood in my kitchen, sipping large mugs as we talked small. Our kids were within eyesight and I couldn’t help but marvel at how well they played together. Like they simply picked up where they left off…long time friends enjoying contact and conversation. It didn’t matter that their lives were so completely different. Within seconds they had found a common bond…

I offer spiced zucchini bread because that’s what I like to do–nourish others. And we enjoyed the next few minutes as we swapped recipes.

Cooking talk turned to daily task chat. Routine conversation evolved into what we do in our free time…

She asked me then how long I’d been blogging and I nearly gagged on my lemon tea because I knew we had never gone so deep. And she mentioned our mutual friend, the one who had let her in to see the real me. I pulled the warm mug close and blew soft, hoping to bring color back to my cheeks.

This is the moment where my kitchen should have felt smaller, more confined. This is where I would have uttered one of my many change-the-subject lines I had tucked away for safe keeping. Only I didn’t…and for the first time in my blogging journey, I realized my real-life skin felt comfortable on me.

We talked about how I got started. How I’m the last person you’d ever expect to write. How I share my journey out of obedience to His request. And I told her that’s all I’m doing. I simply say ‘yes’ to Him every day and document it so I can see how far I’ve come. Maybe others join me. Maybe she’d like to as well, but it won’t hurt me if she doesn’t. This is my journey. I just offer you come along…for the love of Him.

Never once did I realize by me loving on Him, He would love more on me and give me more than I ever knew I needed…a deeper community.

And she asked the expected question. The one I know so many are thinking, but rarely have the guts to ask: “But you can’t really get to know these people, right? I mean, it’s the internet. How far can it really go?”

I set my empty mug down on the counter and glanced over at our kids gathered ’round a musical robot. And as they began to chime in to Alphie’s song, I see it in movie clip form:

  • The first blog comment from someone I didn’t know. My pulsed raced wildly and yet God shaped her in to my life so tight…I can’t ever imagine letting go.
  • The first time my phone rang from someone I felt I knew deeply yet had never heard her voice. And how God brought the relationship full circle. I prayed her through her first book of many and will always be amazed at how she allowed me to share in her journey so selflessly as my name/story fill the foreword.
  • I play back how Michele-Lyn — someone I love like the soul-sister she is — video called me from Allume and brought me around the room on her phone…introducing me to other sisters I have yet to hug proper. Simply because she wanted me to be there.
  • I remember when my journey turned painful and how countless cyber-friends wrapped their arms around me. Sent cards. Called. Wrote notes. Checked in. Prayed over me and for me. They held me tight when I needed it most. And I felt it in real-life form.

Maybe it takes experiencing it yourself to understand it fully, but I shared it with her anyway.

You would think real community couldn’t happen in cyber-world. Friends, I’m living proof of how God can reach hearts through back-lit screens. I’m an example of how God doesn’t let zip codes interfere with glory. I’m one of many He has drawn closer to Himself and soul-nourished via lives I have yet to meet in person.

She nods politely because what else can a friend do but try to understand? And maybe God will nourish her soul another way, but I’m glad I was able to tell her my story.

Because I have to believe God pursues you as much as He does me. And there’s no stopping how high or how deep or how far His love will go to reach you fully.

Now that I’ve received a taste myself, I choose to wake each day and say “Yes. I’ll go where You lead me…even if it feels virtual. Even if virtual turns reality. Even if my real-life mixes with this internet world I don’t really understand. Only if You, Father, receive all the glory….”

Friends, in just a couple short weeks, I will be joining other women who find encouragement and see God through a site I love: (in)Courage as they host their annual real-life meet up. (Details HERE).

To see if there’s a FREE real-life meetup happening near you, you may look HERE.

And on this Music Monday (thank you for some grace here) you may hear voices of these women I’ve met online only and see for yourself how God is using this cyber world to encourage simple women like me. Just watch THIS VIDEO. And the others if you have time…

How about you, friend? Where do you go to find encouragement? What does your community look like? How has God nourished your soul lately? And are you participating in an (in)RL meet up? I’d love to hear.Β 

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

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41 thoughts on “Soul Nourishment {And How God Wraps Us In Community}

  1. Beautiful! I’ve been learning the same thing — how as I open up to God and learn to love Him and those around me, He shows me so much love and grace. I also have been so blessed by incourage and the online blogging community, and it’s hard to explain to those who aren’t “in” it. πŸ™‚ I’m so excited to meet you in person at inRL this year, Nikki. πŸ™‚

  2. Nikki, oh, gosh, friend–I with I were in your kitchen, eating your yummy zuchinni bread and siping tea! Confession–I have a hard time talking with real-life friends about writing and blogging. I do share with them. I do talk about it. But it is so hard, so vulnerable (particularly because so many of my real-life friends don’t blog), and I often want to just keep it separate–even though I know I need to keep trusting His words and where He leads. Your story here is so powerful, Nikki. Yes, it is amazing how true connection happens across these screens. So blessed by your beautiful heart, friend.

    • Okay, I just figured out that I was the stranger who left the blog comment . . . and oh, my, friend–I can’t imagine not being able to connect with you, be soaking up in His presence, with you. I see Him here. I hear Him here. Thank you. Thank you. XO

    • I’m so blessed by you, sweet Jennifer! And yes–you were my first comment from a stranger! πŸ˜‰ Which I laugh at now…thinking of you as a stranger. You know, when I submitted to Him asking me to put myself out here like this, I told Him I would and asked if He would just give me 5 women….just 5 that got me. He has given me more than that, but I remember adding you to that list from the get-go;)

  3. Oh sister… yes I can call you that… I hear your heart and my heart beating in unison on this one. I can not even begin to describe how this community – this stalwart of fearless, brave and courageous sisters- has brought me so close to God. I will never forget our first interaction friend – Do you remember it? A Five Minute Friday Twitter Party and you told me that He was pursuing me! That has never left me – everyday I come back to that – He pursues me. And I let that settle in deep, it’s roots taking firm hold in my heart – and to think that God directed our cyber paths to find one another, with the countless pathways that I could have taken, this was the one that He chose!

    I love you friend… from the bottom of my heart love you and so glad that God has stitched our hearts to together… just like He has done with the other beautiful people I have met online. One day friend either on this earth or in Heaven I will hug your neck and not let go and I will whisper this “God says – well done, well done good and faithful servant.”

    • Tonya, what I remember most of that night was the urgent impression I had that I needed to share that with you. I can’t explain it, but love how God chooses to use us here in this space! So thankful for the threads of glory He has woven in each of us, for I know they never ravel. And I’ll look forward to that day when we can hug proper, friend. Don’t be surprised if I whisper it again…because it’s so true. Oh how He pursues you. ❀

  4. Oh Nikki, you have blessed me so. I am so grateful for this community of blogging. Hardly any of my IRL friends blog, and most of those I am community with do not understand why I continue. It’s people like you that give me the courage to keep going. I am so blessed to be able to spend an IRL meet up with Jennifer Camp and friends. I’ve met her once before. She only lives about 25 mins from my home. I hope to get to meet you one day!

    • I would LOVE to be at your inRL meetup, Barbie…for three of my favorite people will be there! (you, Jennifer, and Dolly) What fun!

      It makes me feel better knowing your inRL friends don’t quite get it, either. Even though I can’t imagine them not–you have such a tremendous ministry! (you remember, I read your blog before I blogged myself!)

      Love and hugs to you, friend. And I look forward to the day I finally get to hug you proper.

  5. Reason #2857 of why I love you: “You would think real community couldn’t happen in cyber-world. Friends, I’m living proof of how God can reach hearts through back-lit screens. I’m an example of how God doesn’t let zip codes interfere with glory. I’m one of many He has drawn closer to Himself and soul-nourished via lives I have yet to meet in person.”

    Oh my sweet kindred-spirit, sister-friend… so much this!

    • I’d love to hug you proper, too, Susan! and get in on some board game time;) and go to Guatemala with you…and, and, and. There’s no telling what He has in store for me, but I’m trusting one day I’ll get that proper hug πŸ˜‰

  6. Hi Nikki! I find encouragement through blogs like yours! πŸ™‚ I don’t know very many women in real life who know or understand this blogging world, or just how much you can really get out of it. I had a blog last year, and I loved it for the relationships and friendships I made. But it became a source of tension in my life, and I dare say even an idol. So God called me to shut it down. That was about 6 or 7 months ago. Now I feel like God is calling me to start a different kind of blog. One about Him and his story of redemption in my life. The trouble is, I feel like He is calling me to write about something deep and painful within me; something that I don’t really want others to know about me (especially people I know in real-life). Talk about fear of man?! Anyway, just curious if you have ever felt that way? Scared to share part of yourself that you don’t talk about too much?

    • Oh my yes. I mean, my mother-in-law reads my blog! πŸ˜‰ I shake in my boots most every time I press publish if I’m being honest with you. In fact, I considered using a pen name when I first started blogging because I knew I was going to have to go “there” a time or two…to places that stung and I’d rather leave alone…but there’s something to taking that fear of man away…and each day I think I get it a bit more…it’s not that I have to be brave to take the fear away. It’s that I have to be solely focused on Him. Fear gets wiped then. and the publish button isn’t so daunting anymore.

      I’ll pray for you, friend–it’s not easy! (and you let me know if you pick writing back up again!)

  7. So, I either need to up my prayers for you getting to Allume, or for one of us to have the opportunity to travel to the other – maybe both! I love your heart, and your voice, still feel like I’m lacking a hug, though. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for being brave.

    • We have to believe it will happen one day, Amy! God’s just awesome like that;)
      and I’m far from brave, unfortunately…but I’m starting to see that maybe all I need to be is over myself and focused on Him. the truth becomes so much clearer and easier to share!
      until it’s proper, I’ll keep giving you my cyber {HUGS}…

  8. Nikki, We can’t share enough about this community God has gathered around us!!! I know how it kept me going when days were dark and nights were long. I am blessed to be in community with you, behind the screen, on the phone, and someday in person!

    • Tammy, YOU have been such a blessing to me! How you love is beyond amazing. How you helped me see I wasn’t over my miscarriage yet…I’ll never get over. How you persistently call even though I’m so very bad with the phone;) (I’ve been sans phone for awhile now, can you tell? All should be resolved soon).
      We’ll hug proper one day. I’m certain. You deserve a bigger thank you than that, but I’m trusting He’ll take care of the rest.

  9. I couldn’t agree more Nikki! I’m so blessed by your online sister friendship that I don’t miss any of your posts. With each one I know you a little more, we go a little deeper towards truth together. I’m so thankful for the kind of community our God can build anywhere! ~Love out to you from Maine girl, Amy πŸ™‚

  10. I so heart you, girl! And the moment we finally are able to meet face to face? You better brace yourself for one gargantuan hug from me! Yes and yes and yes to this. That our God doesn’t let zipcodes interfere with hearts bound together, is an amazing and beautiful aspect of this day and time we find ourselves living in.

    • I’m ready and waiting, Missy! and so true…our hearts can bleed for others far away easy…that’s really all it takes for God to work, isn’t it. Love and hugs to you, friend!

  11. It’s so true. Real life friends have a hard time understanding. We know it’s real, though, when we find ourselves going to our online-friends before our in real life friends. And then of course when we meet in person. πŸ™‚

    • Oh, that’s so true! I hadn’t thought of that yet, Brenda…I do go to my online friends in heavy situations easier… so thankful I’ve met you! I don’t know what I’d do without our Mosaics group…

  12. Oh yes! It is so true, deep friendships can form on-line. I have had similar experiences and I still remember that beautiful prayer you once wrote for me. And then sometimes, online friendships become friendships in real life–and that is wonderful!

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