Snippets:Wishing to be a Bride

Here comes the bride,here comes the bride…

Women are raised to dream about their wedding day. Very likely she’ll get to be a flower girl,a bridesmaid,or a server in a wedding before she herself ever walks down the aisle. In the moments of helping the bride to be, she’ll let her mind wonder to that day she hopes will come where the roles are reversed. She’ll be in her white dress and her friend will be handing her the bouquet. She’ll let her mind’s eye even take a few steps towards the groom of her own imagination. No, this certainly isn’t an uncommon happening in a young woman’s life.

A while ago I gave up that hope and fantasy. Sure I joke about it as if it could happen but in my heart of hearts I’ve let it slip through my heart and watched it drop to the ground as I walked away. It’s something that had became such a daunting thing. It had become a fantasy that took the place of my devotion to my God. I hurt so bad as I prayed without end for a future as a bride. I wanted more than anything to be seen as beautiful and worth being loved by someone here on earth. It all ended when I gave it over to God and chose to allow God’s will to be what matters over my own. I have not shortage of writings on the topic of contentment as a single and I’d encourage you if you are struggling to call out to the Lord,He WILL help you. It doesn’t work like a hallmark movie but it is possible to have contentment.

Here I was on the side of the road in Austria wishing more than anything for that day when I get to be the bride. Everywhere I looked I was surrounded by beauty that I had never seen before. It was for a snapshot moment like I was transported into the part of the kingdom that I cannot see yet but something was missing. Jesus wasn’t there visibly. Where was my groom? I was ready. My heart has been prepared and I was standing waiting but where was He? Obviously this wasn’t heaven and Jesus is with the Father while I’m on earth and that’s ok.

In the depths of my heart I cannot wait until it is my turn to wear white and be one with my king. No, separation and no wondering what was wrong with me. No, sin and no wishing moments would stand still. It’ll be the wedding of a lifetime and I won’t even care that I get to share it with others. In fact I’ll be delighted with each of the saints that’ll walk alongside me to our Jesus! Oh what a day,a glorious day that’ll be!

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Snippets: Purpose

Once in a while ordinary things are beautiful. They have nothing really that makes them stand out yet they serve a purpose and that’s where the beauty can be found. We serve a not so ordinary God not fashioned by the hands of ordinary men but rather who created us. He who is extraordinary takes us ordinary people and gives us a reason to be beautiful. We each have a purpose here as ambassadors of the Lord. We are not so different than the other fleshy humans that we pass day to day except for the fact we have beautiful life within our soul. Our empty vessel has been filled with the Holy Spirit so we might go out and tell the world about our extraordinary Father and His Son!

Snippets:Storybook Mountain

Sometimes life’s realities are the furthest thing from a storybook picture of how you imagined them. Then there is that moment you find yourself at the bottom of a mountain looking around thinking “I could never climb this big thing,not even if I were skinny and more motivated!” That’s where God meets a person and says “My love, you are in fact in a story but it’s MY story to write for your life. The mountains I’m going to bring you to, have nothing to do with these physical things of earth. I want you to be diligent in the Spirit. I want you to climb the mountain I set before you and proclaim MY name when you get to the top! Are you willing to do that?” In those precious moments with the Lord you then begin to realize just what it means to have Him by your side. The answer becomes an obvious YES LORD and you begin to climb.

Snippet Of Inspiration

Are you willing to stand out from the crowd? Often times we want to just blend in and go with the flow. Drawing attention to ourselves for being different can be be a little too stretching. I wonder though what if we took the focus off of ourselves and put it all on the Lord? Could we then be unashamed to love a little deeper, speak more freely,or connect on a deeper level? Lord let us be so focused on you that we do stand out not of our own doing but because of you in us.

Spaghetti Loving People in Germany

There is no adequate way to give my readers a real life peak into the heart of what visiting the kingdom in Germany was to each of us. To me it is too raw and intimate. If I were to casually put it out in the open space of the internet I think it would rob some of the glory from God. I’m going to share as I see fit. If you’d like to chat over coffee or tea I’d love to open my heart in a detailed way.

This trip from beginning to end has shown the hand of God. I wouldn’t even be where I am if it weren’t for God setting things in motion before I knew what was even going on. His glory is unmatched by any other and He IS worthy of all my praise. I am nothing in comparison to His vast wonder. I stood at the top of a mountain and I saw how big He is. I walked along the valleys of a small town in Austria and I learned just how small I am. Oh what a worm am I? I have nothing to offer my God but my feeble praise and yet He calls me His. I fail daily and still He calls me beloved. Then in His magnitude of love He allowed me to take part in His pure blood and sinless body. No, not alone but with my dear brothers and sisters! I have some falling on my face to do when I get home to my “closet”. Then I might just dance with Him in unashamed abandonment. Yes, that’s just what I plan to do!

Some of you know and some of you don’t know that I have a brother and sister in Christ in Germany. They are pilgriming the way for the kingdom right in their neck of the woods. They are the bride and a church of two. It was our great delight to come join them in communion and support. It’s not unusual to participate in communion and to be changed. There is nothing rare about tears being shed or a feeling of wholeness because that is exactly how it should be. What was rare was the intensity of the desire to be one. There is one God,one body,and one bride. We in a very real way were bonded together as one Spirit (the Holy Spirit).

Before communion and before all of our bonding,we went to a concentration camp. There we walked in stunned silence. It is one thing to read a book or watch a movie about wickedness, it is entirely another to walk the very steps where death by the thousands has taken place. As I went through the camp two major thoughts came to the forefront of my mind, “these were souls and these were people” and “This right here is an example of why I want no allegiance to this world”. Can you stand in the place so closely resembling death and not almost see the faces,smell the stench,or hear the sounds? Being a very imaginative person I could and it was nearly overwhelming.

On the cusp of finishing up our time at the camp Jonathan and Carolyn showed up. The reminder was fresh of all they have given up to be in this body of Christ. We ate lunch,went to the store,and headed to their home. Everything about Germany was foreign in my opinion. From the language to the water but soon we saw just how similar we all really are. To quote my friend and brother in Christ as we sat down to eat “we are all just a bunch of spaghetti loving people, we aren’t all that different,not really”. I would like to think that no truer words have been spoken.

Saturday we did some touring which really isn’t the important part. I’ll spare you many details and head right in to the cliff notes. We did a whole bunch of fun things and crossed off some major unknown bucket list items as we grew closer as friends. One thing that can’t be left out is the fact that we were stopped many times to be asked about our head coverings. With each “Excuse me(insert German that I couldn’t understand)”came an opportunity to plant seeds for the kingdom. If you are a Christian woman and don’t cover your head I sincerely ask of you that you would humbly pray and study the scriptures. The thought came crashing back to me with each new planted seed “these are people and these are souls “.

Soon enough it was the time we had been waiting for,communion. Oh this is the raw and intimate part and although I so wish to share every detail I simply can’t in this format. I’ll show pictures instead. This was a rare opportunity and one I will keep dear to me until my final days here on earth have come to an end. It was in these special moments where I was reminded very vividly just what the bride of Christ should look like.

Sunday came with another opportunity to tour around but as I type this I am reminded that maybe I’m getting my days mixed up. Either way after what ever it was on whatever day it happened to be, on Sunday we held church meeting. My heart thumped so fast inside of my chest as each humble man brought the words of our God to us. I couldn’t hold back my tears as I realized that this moment was special but it had to end. My brothers and sister were filled and supported this week but what happens when we leave? I only know a tenth of what it’s like to be pilgriming in this fellowship and in this kingdom without my family by my side. Yet I don’t understand the gravity of them being without a local body. I know that Satan will be on the prowl in the coming days,weeks,and months. I ask that you pause right now and lift our brothers and sister up to the strength of our God. Ask God to give them assurance of what they are doing. Ask God to bring them a local body.

The crux of this love feast was there were people that we grew to love that we may never meet again on this side of eternity. Have you ever shaken the hand of a brother in Christ that wanted fellowship so badly that as you looked him straight in the eye you knew that he literally had to struggle to let go? There your hand was in his firm grasp knowing his opportunity for fellowship was literally slipping through his fingers. That has power. Language had no barrier in that moment. He was loved and he gave love. I pray this isn’t the last time we meet but I don’t know where the Spirit will lead him to go. May God be with him until we meet again.

The next day brought new opportunity and a new county to see. Austria was a little nugget of surprise to me. I have never given Austria any thought before now. As we drove along my eyes met the sky and I knew without a doubt that my God was massive. In the distance there were mountains bigger than I’ve seen before. This little lady from flat Kansas was in awe! Maybe I’m stupid for feeling so little as we had the chance to not only stand at the top of one but to walk along the valley as well. The ripples that flowed through the little moss covered stream was like music to my ears. It was fun to watch a brother slip down a little closer and drink the water flowing through. His joy was fun to witness.

On our little trip to Austria there were six of us. We laughed,shared special moments,and got lost in the beautiful creations of our great God. The moments spent together are too wonderful to blast out here to the inter webs. I will say is a 14 year old,16 year old,30 year old,32 year old,and and an 83 year old are forever etched into my heart. Bothers and a sister. They are the kingdom and we serve the same God. We are each in a unique place in our pilgrimage. God brought each of us and stitched this experience together using us where we are. I didn’t know I could have so much respect for a 14 year old young man. Honestly in my work setting I typically avoid the 14-18 age range because I have absolutely no idea how to relate to them. At 14 I was having sex,telling lies,and was “homeless” off and on. This young man had a testimony worth listening to and certainly walked the walk that would go along with it. Among all of the hoopla and excitement of the occasion he stood out to me as a man (although young) of God. His tears were real as we prayed over our family. His sincerity shown through as a light for all to see! No glory to him but all to God.

Each of the six on our little side trip have a contribution to the kingdom. I’d like to highlight each one. I hope it doesn’t embarrass them or take any honor from God. I was really impressed with the gifts each one had. No name names will be used just ages.

83: My God has given him a lot of years on earth. I’ve only observed a small portion of those years. A man of wit and integrity. I have watched him as he walks along side the young men in our fellowship,giving them confidence,a companion,strength,and wisdom. I believe these men will look back at their time as youth knowing they walked along side a Jesus here on earth.

30:A leader willing to bend who works well under high stress situations. This man is thoughtful of others and showed a true servant’s heart. I was touched by the care he had for the mentor mentioned above.

32: My friend showed great patience,relatability,and an over all positive attitude. She never once showed anger at my ENFP personality or the personality of the others in the group. Instead she made effort to relate to them. When my negative streak hit she was all too quick with something positive to say. She is a woman of great ability in leadership and confidence (when) others need just that. God is using that ability even if it goes against her natural inclination.

16: What an eye for beauty in nature! God has given this young man the gift of photography. He willingly shared his gift with the entire group. He was an example of who he is who he is. Not easily swayed by others.

14: I already mentioned above that this young man had a walk with the Lord that matched his talk. He showed care by opening doors,making comments,and even listening. His willingness to jump right in when needed wasn’t forgotten. There is a spark in him that is going to ignite the way for others as well.

Yes, each one has a place in the kingdom. I could write wonderful things about each person that was on the trip as a whole. I choose just to highlight the ones I was with the most.

I’m sure people will ask me what my favorite part was about this time of communion,exploration,and fellowship. Unfortunately there is no easy answer. The most meaningful was getting to talk to my brother Jonathan about church things such a vision for souls to come to Christ beyond just a GB church. That was a real highlight. It’s one tho g to chat on a computer screen and another to be screaming over a noisy dinner table talking about vision. Another meaningful moment was when my dear sister Carolyn gave me a tour of where she lived. Perhaps this seems insignificant but to me it meant something to be in her home one on one with her for even a few precious moments.

There were meaningful moments all spread out and obviously no one situation was more important or special than another. Communion was sweet,Sunday meeting was breathtaking, but those intimate one on one moments were by far worth mentioning.

As far as my most fun part in touring and such, I’ll have to say not being able to communicate the way we do in our day to day lives. I didn’t expect to love all of the clashing languages that surrounded us. There was a mystery in finding a way to communicate in various forms. Likewise the energy in Austria was a real treat. Just “getting lost” with no real destination has its own mystery. Oh and the beauty that just made you feel “home”.

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Obviously this little bit of writing does no justice and I’m tempted to delete it all. I’ll post it because I feel like the people that covered us in prayer,wish they could of been with us,or need a glimpse of Jesus, all deserve a peak inside to the heart of this experience. Like I said so many key points have entirely been left out. If you find yourself wanting more insight I’d be glad to meet with you. If you take nothing else away from this blog post take this one thing. There is one God and he is the same as He was at creation,crucifixion,resurrection,and forever. He wants to have the same intimate relationship with you that he had with Adam and Eve in the beginning. The love that the Father has for us is the same love he wants for us to have for not only Him but for all mankind.

Go forward and serve in prayer,praise,and peace.

Much love ,

Pilgrim Nicci

September 22: A Few Thoughts

I shared this picture a year ago today and probably two years ago and then also three and four five and well you get the idea.

On this date September 22,2012 I entered the water as a sign of my willingness to follow in the steps of Jesus. Although that was just a first of many moments in my journey into the kingdom it was the first. I remember looking out thinking “What have I just begun?” And “This is a moment that means something. I need to remember every detail.”

It wouldn’t be until February 14th a year and a half later that I could grasp fully what it meant to make the decision I made. I had to learn the hard way that my dress style or church brand did nothing for me in the kingdom if my old self stayed the same only hidden. The earth church can do no good if I was trying to keep up with the Jones..er…Flory’s,Denglinger’s,Brubaker’s ,or whatever popular last name there is. Contentment comes from peace from God.

Today my mind is turned to rebirth. As I sit here at the breakfast table with one kid quietly eating breakfast and the other raging I realize that rebirth is a painful process. There are joys and victories but there is always the labor pains and issues attaching oneself to a whole different system. A system some might call RADical. God is in the business of working with a bunch of RAD kids..or adults I should say. Yet once He is able to penetrate our hearts because our walls have come down, it is a beautiful bond worth the growing process.

I’ve said it before, I like this picture because we are both walking to Jesus. For this minister he would meet Jesus only 5 months later. Yes,we were walking in the direction of our King!

The Terror in the Eyes of a Teacher: September 11th revisited

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.
Word>world