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. 

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Praying Through Proverbs ~ for a friend

“As iron sharpens iron,
so a friend sharpens a friend.”
Proverbs 27:17NLT

I have held this verse close to my heart for 16 years now. It hangs proudly in the center of my dining room and is tucked securely inside my wallet.

This was the first verse my soon-to-be husband gave me while we were dating. He had written it on a piece of paper and folded it up neatly in his pocket. When he saw me between classes, he handed it to me and said, “This verse is what I will strive to do for you. I just want you to know that and I pray you will accept the challenge to do this for me, too.” And he was off to class, leaving me there to unwrap the best gift given to me: A promise.

Sixteen years later (12 of them married),
through every season traveled,
I can tell you he has held up to this promise.

This verse is the perfect definition of a true friend to me. A friend that is honest with you above all else. One who sees your potential even when you’re at your worst. One who never gives up on you and encourages you to keep striving. One who knows you’re worth the effort — the extra energy and friction required to help a friend be their best.

And I want to be a friend like that.
My friends deserve my best.

And so I pray:

Father, thank You so much for blessing me with tremendous friends, near and far. I don’t deserve any of them, but want to give them the friendship they deserve. Help me to see what they need. Show me the ways I can bless them most. Give me the words to share when they need some extra guidance. May I shower them with Your grace as I encourage them on their path to You, Lord. And may I hold Your glory above all else. For in doing so I know our friendship will bloom. And joy will be our shared reward. . . .

How about you? How do you pray for your friends? How do you sharpen them? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

NOTE: You can view all of my Praying Through Proverbs Posts HERE.

Am linking this post up to: