Bread and Wine

Recently I met my boyfriend for the first time. Say what? Yes you heard me right. I met my boyfriend for the first time when he stepped off of the airplane and into the Ohio humidity. Nervous jittery feelings were deeply imbedded into my person as the moment I had be waiting for and almost believing was not reality became reality.

Not more than 24 hours after we met in person for the first time we were thrown into a five day church conference complete with 2,000 people (exact number unknown). To say the pressure was on and the nerves were at an all time high is a vast understatement. I’ll pause here to say I wouldn’t have changed a single moment but it was far more overwhelming than I could have wrapped my head around.

This blog post isn’t about my Mark and I. Sorry to disappoint you but I sure do hope you’ll continue to read along as I share something very special to me.

Monday night at my churches conference we all go up on stage to sing. The singing comes after a special sermon directed at our young folks. Mark and I walked in to the song Would You be Poured Out Like Wine. The words gripped my heart as I heard it through his heart. For me it’s a fairly common song and I hear it a lot. For him it was the first time and I’m glad he had the thought to record it. As I reflected over our week together being surrounded by my fellowship I couldn’t help but have the light bulb moment of understanding that this fellowship had truly been poured out like wine and broken not only for each other but for Mark and I personally.

The week leading up to this unprecedented meeting I started getting texts of prayers and support. The day before a dear sister stopped by and as the Holy Spirit prompted took my hands and prayed for mark and I. All throughout the conference and even still phone calls,texts,and so very many prayers are being poured out like wine on our behalf. It’s not uncommon for me to value and be filled up with love by “my people”. In fact in every season I have had brothers and sisters walk along side me as consistent cheerleaders ready to support me however God leads. Poured..so much poured on my behalf.

Then there were the sermons prepared by God using willing men as humble vessels for His glory. Oh so incredibly rich were the moments sitting in fellowship ears attentive and hearts connecting. After each preaching service I was so in awe of all the people who came up and talked to Mark and I. They treated us like fellow citizens of the kingdom and not simply the next article of gossip in the newspaper. Ministers,friends,strangers,everywhere everyone was available to talk about the Lord. My friends from all spots in life shared meals with us. These selfless acts of making the person I care about feel welcome was not overlooked but in fact was noticed and brought tears to my eyes! My fellowship was broken like bread to feed the hungry! Oh we are hungry for your continued prayers over this relationship.

Next up was Tuesday council meeting which I honestly didn’t really know what to think about as we walked in. Soon I knew without a doubt that these men laboring for this little part of the body of Christ were communicating in love and I was glad Mark got to experience that. Before Tuesday’s council there was Sunday’s communion. It’s nothing for communion to be a moving time of pure worship. I personally felt overwhelmed by that point. Overwhelmed in a good way but there was a lot of pressure on us having just met and now everyone being so excited and ready for us to tie the knot in their minds. I sat at the table just sobbing realizing that there was no way that I could do this relationship on my own but rather I needed Jesus take the complete lead as we have desired from the beginning. No amount of well wishes or personal hopes could carry us, only the Holy Spirit has that capability. So after taking the wine and the bread I felt peace so much peace knowing no matter my tomorrows He has already paved the way. He has provided me with a loving fellowship that is the embodiment of the song we sang and the Jesus we serve.

I don’t know where you find yourself on this pilgrim journey. Maybe you’re not yet a pilgrim and find yourself just plum lost. That’s not how this life is supposed to be. The kingdom of God is a community made up of living people living in abundant joy serving their king Jesus. That manifests itself in many ways such as laying down your life for a brother or sister as my fellowship has done for me. If you haven’t yet started your pilgrimage I ask “why not”? Why haven’t you surrendered your will to the Lord? Are you going through life looking the part but living in the depths of depression or lukewarm living..or maybe you’re just spiritually dead? Know this one thing. We have all come short of the glory of God. We are rotten with sin and deserve to die. God doesn’t accept dead people into His spotless kingdom. You must take hold of what the Word says in John 3:16. For God so loved the world (you&me) that He gave His only begotten son so that whosoever shall parish will have everlasting life! He wants to take you from death into life,darkness into light! Then only then you can follow the Words of Jesus in taking your cross (His cause) and follow after Him as pilgrims and strangers in this foreign land.

To the pilgrim that’s just journeying on. Don’t be disheartened in well doing. Your labor is not in vain. Like the fellowship that I’ve been placed in, be an blessing and an encouragement to those that you meet. I once was lost sinking in sin but if it weren’t for pilgrims willing to step out in faith along the way to walk along side me at a slower pace, I may never have found real healing and surrender! Chin up dear ones! You’re doing a good work! Continue to be Poured out like wine and broken like bread in the name of of sweet Jesus Christ!

Much love, Pilgrim Nicci

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Diary post:A Day Worth Waiting For

This was originally written to share with some Christian singles but I think it’s better suited for here. It’s a bit of a diary post.

I’ve been thinking about the bride of Christ today. I want to share something with you, a thought I had oh probably three years ago or so. I was at our love feast and the minister was preaching as he was breaking bread or finishing up either with the bread or the wine. I can’t remember exactly but what I do remember is how I felt as he spoke about the bride of Christ. Right then and there I burst into tears of JOY. I thought “Oh Lord! I may never get to be loved here on earth and get to wear a white dress with my groom waiting in anticipation for me at the end of the aisle. Lord but you are waiting for me and you love me and as long as I live THAT will satisfy me. Your love is enough! Who am I to desire anything more than your affection for me! Lord let me be a pure bride as I wait our wedding day along with my brothers and sisters!” Right then and there I knew without a single doubt that I had value. So much value to my king Jesus. His wedding was the one I could fix my gaze on as a single. I could rejoice with those around me that had an earthly love without feeling jealous or less. It was no longer a Competition or a matter of me being damaged goods. I WAS wanted and desired.

Now after several years of laying down my strong desire to be loved here on earth I’m getting even a small taste of what it is to be loved by my Jesus but here on earth. No,I’m not deserving and I cannot figure out why I am the one who gets to feel a thousand happy butterflies in my stomach each morning or wonder if this pounding my chest will ever end. I have been given something so very special. But even in all of this joy in this adventure of sharing this love together it is incomparable to what it will be like when we are in the presence of king Jesus! How much more will my heart beat? Will it explode from my chest? Will the butterflies escape and encircle us as we are presented to our Father as blameless and perfect?

I admit that after several years of not allowing myself to even consider what an earthly wedding could be like I have allowed myself to slip into this fun dream world where I get to be the earthly bride and my earthly groom is there with love waiting for me. Yet today as I was day dreaming I burst into tears just as I did on that night so many years ago. How rich is it when we as Christ bride prepare for OUR day? Not only in our minds but in our hearts and in our actions? Oh I have a long way to go before I find myself worthy of getting my crown. Honestly I could never be good enough and neither could you! That’s where loving grace comes in. That doesn’t mean we should stop striving for a closer walk with our Lord. Just like my relationship with my Mark, I cannot fully experience it because the miles separate us but it doesn’t make it less real or our love less. How much more should we be in preparation for our king Jesus to become godly men and women as we wait that day of being united together?

Lord I cry out for each person that is waiting for that day! We long oh Lord to see your face. We turn our faces to the sky the only thing bright enough..vast enough to let our imaginations wander of how BIG and bright you are! Oh Lord help us to be prepared as ready. Let us be a pure bride without wrinkles or stains. Lord God guide us as your vessels of use to the lost and dying world. Call the lost and let us walk beside them as a constant support in this pilgrim journey. Loosen our grips from anything here on earth but let our love hold tightly in the name of Jesus Christ our life blood! We lock our eyes on you Lord and we occupy until you come.

In the Name of Jesus Christ, Come!

Driving home tonight my Spirit is heavy with grief for those that refuse to acknowledge the Lord as king of their lives. The sky on the way home had so much depth and feeling to it. I don’t think the Lord has to labor in His marvelous works but something in this sky told me He added some extra care. There was something He wanted me to grasp. The beauty began to fade as I continued on my trek home. With each mile putting distance between me and my job the sky grew darker and darker. The hopeful colors disappeared and in their stead was a new type of depth and as if God was crying in the distance I felt the fullness of the message He was presenting to me. “Nicci WAKE UP WAKE UP MY PEOPLE ARE DYING! This beauty is more than a sky picture and a sign of my love! Precious Nicci my people will never see what I have done for them,how I love them,and what awaits them in eternity! Daughter don’t you care? Daughter cry with me for them to turn from their wicked selfishness. Help them know truth!”.

So I tried making a video to urge those of you that are lost, deceived,or whom have hard hearts. I pushed delete and realized that my words are just words that’ll come across your screen tonight. What truly has power is prayer in the name of Jesus Christ. I don’t know where each of you stand before the throne of God. I am not the author of the Lamb’s Book of Life but I do know it’s author and the author of your life. I’m crying out on your behalf whoever you may be that you will have opened ears to hear the call of my Father! You too can have joy and peace. Not the false thrill of what the world offers but true wholeness that comes from a submitted soul and the protection of obedience to the one who loved you enough to create you and to die for your sins and rise victorious over Satan’s hold on the world. You don’t have to remain broken and hopeless. You have a lifesaving creator waiting for your answer on the final adoption. Come now dear one!

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

Warm Fuzzy Life Fighting For the Lord

Do you ever wake up but choose to lay in your bed? The feeling of being wrapped up in blankets in a warm embrace almost encircling you deep into your heart? You know you won’t be falling back to sleep but you just aren’t ready to crawl out of your blanket burrito yet. With each moment passing you wake up a little more and as that happens you have happy thoughts of what the day will hold or memories from the past. It’s just a comfortable content feeling of ahhh.

That’s how I woke up this morning. In fact I still lay in my bed not officially ready to do the mountain of laundry or pay the bills and go grocery shopping. I’m simply enjoying these last few moments of “snuggling”.

As much as I greatly enjoy my comfortable existence and can’t help but let my mind wonder to my brothers and sisters around the world that are not in such a comfortable situation. How do they wake up? Do they ever even go to sleep? Does a guard kick them awake? Do the cries of the person in the cell next to them startle them into reality once again? Is the ach in their belly so great that they can hardly stand the pain?

What makes them different from me? Why do I get complete luxury yet they get misery? I don’t have those answers and that’s ok. What I do know is that I am bound with them in my heart and my prayers are always with them…even from the comforts of my bed wrapped in a quilt.

Am I willing to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ? Would I stand strong outside of the protection of a lavish life? My greatest prayer isn’t that I’ll always be safe but rather that if that day comes that I will have had a life of preparation. That my allegiance was set long before the shackles were around my wrists. That the Word of a God was etched into my heart as if it were now a part of my being. I pray that whoever I may meet day to day doesn’t meet just me but that Jesus is who they see when they look into my eyes.

You see, I may never live in a land that hates me for the Jesus I serve. I most likely will not be thrown into a prison cell wondering where God is or why He’s left me. Rats may never be my only companionship. But that doesn’t mean I’m not in a raging battle for the kingdom. I’m not on the front lines currently as Job was or like my dear family but I’m in the battle all the same. I better be prepared and I better be diligent for this life is not a game and it isn’t won for my glory but for the glory of my God.

I must remember in prayer the front line workers who face Satan in the faces of other created humans. I must be strong as I face Satan in my own head. My brothers and sisters will face physical trails and endure so looking into the face of Jesus. I have no physical pain or suffering, mine comes from lies whispered or tempting things that are forbidden. I must stand strong just as they do.yes, the battle is raging and it looks different in the body of Christ depending on where you have been called in this life. No one situation is a higher calling and none are looked as less to our Father. The point is that we still battle on and rise up victoriously for His name shall be the name of victory in our lives

“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”

‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭6:12‬

A New Tradition

Plastic eggs,gourmet meals,and a cute fluffy bunny with a pink bow tied around it’s neck. Little girls with new Easter dresses and boys wearing spiffy suits. It’s a day to remember but do we even know why? Is it the egg hunt after church or the overflowing basket left by the Easter bunny? Maybe it’s because of family and the meal we will share? Oh I just can’t waiting o get home to eat my chocolate rabbit! I’ll start at the ears and won’t stop until I gets o its toes!!! Oh how I love this day! A day to remember!

The above paragraph makes me a little sick. I walk around the stores and I see an abundance of stuff. This stuff makes me feel something and I don’t like it. It brings back memory’s of my childhood that were precious and innocent. They bring back memories of my early teenage years as they became a little less innocent. And they bring back memories of a future I don’t want any part of. Oh I used to love Easter just as I did every other holiday. It was an opportunity to get gifts and have fun. I look around and see how the world has cheapened once again an opportunity to celebrate Jesus Christ. No we don’t need a day set aside and arguably it’s pagan anyway but most Christians of today would in fact associate it with being a religious holiday.

I remember last year the minister that spoke blessed me and many others by standing up and preaching a heart felt message. There was no scheduled egg hunts after. There was no band lined up to play music. There wasn’t decorations on the walls. There was a humble man and a congregation ready to worship. It was solemn,it was a time of rejoicing,it was moments of expectation for us all. The expectation is the realization of what He did! He died literally died. This man…oh I don’t my to go into he happenings you know it by heart but church wake up!!! Don’t you get it? This is your king!!!! Why reduce this day set aside to what this cursed world would desire of you? Why not keep it entirely focused on our Jesus and His victory of love? Why not?

Get rid of the Easter baskets. Do away with the stuff you don’t need to buy because it’s only going to last one day anyway! Use this day as a day to say thank you. Teach your children a tradition that they can look forward to in knowing their mom and dad associate Easter with being humbled and willing to put away the pressures of this world to keep up and just give the day to the Lord? Why not?