The Goodness of God

Written by Sharon Wilks

In what could have been the worst season of my life, I can say with conviction that I have cried more tears over the goodness of God than over anything else.

It all started with a knock at the door.

A knock that changed my life forever. It was designed to take me out – knock the wind out of my sails, but instead, it put the wind in my sails that redirected me to what’s truly important and opened my eyes to see the goodness of God that has always been there.

*KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK*

We had just returned to the resort where we were staying in Darwin after attending the Sunday afternoon church service. There was a knock at the door and I opened it expecting to see one of the two receptionists we had prayed for earlier that day. Instead, I saw a policeman and a chaplain. He was young and had a serious look on His face. They said they had some bad news and asked if they could come in.

Everything within me was screaming NOOOOOOOO! But we let them in. We had to.

Wayne said ‘it’s our daughters isn’t it?’

These things happen to other people, they don’t happen to us. They happen in the movies, not to us. The policeman said ‘Kimberly didn’t make it, Chantelle is critical.’ He couldn’t answer any more of our questions because the accident had happened across the Queensland border and he was just asked to deliver the news to us.

My Mum had passed away in July of 2018, my Dad in October and my brother in January of 2019, but losing Kimberly was next level shock – totally unexpected.

By normal human reasoning, these eight months of my life should have been my deepest darkest valley however, it has actually revealed to me more of the goodness of God than I have ever seen in my entire life. When my Dad died on our journey to Darwin, the Lord said to me “One day you will see this as my kindness.” God was absolutely right!

‘Beloved brothers and sisters, we want you to be quite certain about the truth concerning those who have passed away, so that you won’t be overwhelmed with grief like many others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, we also believe that God will bring with Jesus those who died while believing in Him.’

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

Through the previous three deaths in my family, He has taught me so much about grieving – not as the world grieves, but with hope that we will be reunited again. He has prepared me for, and helped me in this, Kimberly – the hardest one of all.

The truth is – He is always good.

It’s who He is.

It’s the very nature and character of God.

He is love. The nature of love is good.

It is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Within hours, the Doctor from Mt Isa rang and said they had scanned Chantelle’s brain and spine and there were no injuries. Shortly after, the Doctor used her own phone to FaceTime us so we could see Chantelle and talk to her. I could see there was a Pastor with her who was a great man of faith. This gave me so much peace, that she was in good hands and not alone, when we couldn’t be with her.

Our Pastor and his wife were with us within minutes of the news and they already had people praying. They rang people for us and organised our plane tickets to be with Chantelle and also paid for them. These were all things we couldn’t do for ourselves – we couldn’t think straight. When plans got changed and Chantelle was moved to a hospital in a different city, it was no problem. They cancelled those tickets and organised new ones. Our amazing Pastors drove us to the airport the next morning, then when we arrived in Townsville, we found out that the Police had organised free accomodation for us in units where cadets stayed while they completed their training.

Many of our friends had offered to fly to be with us, to all we said ‘no thanks, we are okay.’ However, two friends refused to hear us and arrived in the afternoon. When I saw them, I just cried.

We didn’t know what we needed until it arrived – FAMILY.

Not long after this, Wayne rang Chantelle’s boss and asked for Kim’s Manager to ring him if she was up to it. Kim had been witnessing to her and was so excited because she just knew she was so close to surrendering her heart to Jesus. She had been like a Mum to Kim. Her boss soon called Wayne and he led her to the Lord – I just cried. This was the beginning of God showing me I had a heart for souls.

The Police that attended the scene said it was a miracle that Chantelle and Noah survived… Gods goodness. The surgeon said that Chantelle’s elbow was so shattered that they may have to relocate it and may not even be able to fix it. Before surgery, Chantelle made the entire surgical team stop and pray with her. The surgeon later said that when they put the metal plate in her arm, the bones all just came together… the goodness of God! He also said that when there is an injury as severe as her elbow was, there is almost always at least two other severe injuries… the goodness of God!

The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy. I come that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10) He is always good… if it’s not good, it’s not God. The enemy will always come and try to cause us to question Gods goodness but we must settle it in our hearts once and for all – He is always good, it’s who He is, it’s His nature.

Oh taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the and who trusts in Him.

Psalm 34:8

This has certainly been our experience in this season. Not understanding everything and having questions unanswered, but trusting Him and trusting His nature no matter what.

On day three after the accident, one of Kimmy’s friends sent me a message that Lovkn, (one of Kims favourite artists that she had travelled to Brisbane to hear) had read her blog ‘Endless Summer’ and had written a song from it. The song was so beautiful!  All I could do was cry. I asked permission to use it at her funeral and was given the green light. (He will also be releasing the song on his next album because he wants everyone to know how wonderful Kimmy is). Another beautiful friend of Kimmy’s let us know that she had choreographed a dance in her honour and was happy to perform it at her celebration! The tears kept coming.

There was one day, Wayne had twisted his ankle and he couldn’t walk on it, so we spent five hours going to the Doctors, getting x-rays, a moon boot etc. We stopped at a cafe and Wayne sat in the car while I went in and ordered drinks and food. I could hear a group of Christians talking nearby. When I went to leave with my hands full, one of the guys from the group held the door open for me, I went to the car and delivered the food but all of a sudden I was compelled to go back and tell this man that I had received the goodness of God because of his kindness. I knew he was a Christian, but was also aware that life is too short not to tell someone when we have seen the goodness of God through them.

I could go on and on recounting the most touching accounts of all the amazing things that people have done for us, but the truth is that in everything people did for us, I saw and received the goodness of God. They are too numerous to count and I don’t want to leave anyone out because every act of kindness caused me to see the goodness of God and receive the overwhelming love of God.

The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who trust in Him. Nahum 1:7

I can honestly say that in this season, I have cried more tears at the goodness of God than I have tears of loss and grief. He has surely held us and kept us and deepened our intimacy and trust in Him.

Mountain or Molehill

It’s hard to find purpose when we don’t understand the season, I haven’t understood the season God has had me in and I’d allowed it to steal my joy!

I’m such a visionary, a go getter, that I desire to see purpose, to put my hand to something that’s going to leave a lasting impact on the earth when I’m gone…

But what about today?

God once told me, ‘Chantelle it takes more faith to believe – that’s – who you are in THIS moment, when ‘nothing’s’ happening.’

Yeah cool, thanks for that Lord!

Ok. So what does it look like to remember, and believe – that I’m a Revivalist, a freedom fighter, a carrier of joy, a Holy Ghost terrorist right now? I can see that joy has become a foreign concept in the body of Christ.. yet 1/3 of the Kingdom is joy!? I believe the key to staying in hope, faith and freedom is remembering how to be joyful!

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Romans 14:17 ESV

Sometimes we pay way too much attention to things that don’t bring joy and life, and the more attention we give it, the bigger and uglier it gets! It’s a JOY-KILLER!

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8 ESV

A couple weeks ago, I was really down, I was thinking about things that aren’t lovely, pure, excellent or true! I’d allowed lies to impact my thought life – even hopelessness about losing my sister! But the truth is, she’s with Jesus! And I WILL see her again! She’s where she wants to be! Where WE want to be! That’s not hopeless! That’s HOPE-FILLED!

But I wasn’t successfully coming to that on my own, so I txt a couple of trusted friends and asked them to pray for me, for perspective and truth!.. One of my close girlfriends from Brisbane then FaceTimed me, and you know what? She didn’t pay it any attention. She wasn’t interested in hearing or talking about the sob story. In fact, we are ice cream together over FaceTime and talked about life, about ice cream flavours and stupid things that made us laugh. And that’s exactly what I needed. The next morning I woke up and I was completely fine.

I had been focusing on, making bigger, and empowering the wrong thing. I’d forgotten the goodness of God and allowed life to speak louder than the kindness of a Good Father.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” Philippians 4:4 ESV

Paul wasn’t silly. He knew it was good for the Philippians to hear it over and over, and they knew for Paul to say something twice meant they needed to pay attention!

Re-joice and again re-joice! Choose joy, and practise being joyful! And keep on practising! It IS a choice! It’s a gift that needs to be in-wrapped again and again! God is ALWAYS full of joy.. and He is ALIVE on the inside of us! 

Why? Spoiler alert: WE WIN!

AT THE END OF THE BOOK – WE WIN!

Death has been defeated! We have unbroken undefiled communion with a kind Father! We get to tell all His kids! WE WIN!

That’s something to be happy about!

I love watching Steve Harvey clips ‘Ask Steve’ – HES SO FUNNY! The questions people ask him, and the responses he gives – I can’t help but laugh! Practise joy! It doesn’t have to seem spiritual!

My mum will often sing to me ‘I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart… where?!..’ and it makes me smile! Even when I don’t feel like it.. Because it’s true! God is in there! He hasn’t left! Sometimes I just forget how happy He is!

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies…

…For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-10, 17-18 ESV

They were being persecuted – really persecuted within inches of life, yet they weren’t driven to despair! Why? Because they KNEW how thin the veil that separates us from eternity with God is! They understood – in LIFE – I WIN, in DEATH – I WIN! We can’t lose! They kept an eternal perspective!

Yesterday I played Godfrey Birtill’s song ‘R U Ready’ and my dad came into my room and started dancing, so I jumped up, and we danced the song out from start to finish! Twice! We re-peated joy! We re-joiced! And you know how we felt afterwards?.. HAPPY!

I dare you to try it! We don’t need to understand, we don’t have to know, we don’t need to be in control!

Look at the kids that dance around everyone out the front at Sunday church, do you think they care what everyone’s thinking of them? NO! Let’s be more like them! Let go!

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalm 100:4

If you feel (feel because it’s not the truth) far from God, give thanks for all the good things He’s done and every time He’s come through for you! Write a list of 5 things everyday that you can be thankful for! 

Practise joy today!

Keep an eternal perspective!

Remember WE WIN!

HAVE THE BEST, JOY FILLED DAY!

                                                                               🌻

It’s a Choice – Life is Short.

How do I even start?

This week I received the devastating news that a good friend and co-worker had passed away.

Does my heart hurt? Yes.
Do I understand? No.

But what I do understand is this..
Life is short. So short in fact that we can be here one moment, and gone the next.

I know, I have been there, I’ve experienced it first hand.

It’s sobering, a wake up call. How much hurt and unnecessary pain do we hold onto? How many offences are we unwilling to cover with grace?

It’s actually not ok.

Once, I was in an incredibly painful position, I had been accused of something so wild that wasn’t even true, and it was even taken to my Pastors at the time, I could have had to say goodbye to everything I felt God call me to! Was I hurt? YOU BET, was I angry? You wouldn’t even know!

I was FUMING!
But one of my pastors said to me ‘oh Chantelle, looks like you have a bit of an attitude towards ______’

Oh really?! 🤦🏻‍♀️ Thanks for pointing out the obvious!?
I thought I had forgiven him, but there was still bitterness in my heart and an attitude towards him. My Pastor then told me I had no choice but to forgive. So, I wailed, not just the tears rolling down the cheeks kind of cry, but the ugly face kind of cry, then I would burst out laughing, then I’d cry / laugh at the same time, then I’d cry then laugh again.

Why?
My internal dialogue was this:

Me: I DONT WANT TO FORGIVE
Lord: But remember how much I’ve forgiven you of?
Me: BUT I DONT WANT TO
Lord: Do you want to be free?
Me: HE DOESNT DESERVE FORGIVENESS
Lord: Do you?
Me: BUT LORD WHAT HE DID WAS AWFUL
Lord: But do you remember how much I’ve forgiven you?..

This went on for at least an hour, my Pastor holding my hand – definitely thinking ‘what a weirdo!’ God won the argument (obviously).. (after an hour) and I forgave and chose my own freedom, and I genuinely love that person and even have a great relationship with them now!

Holding on to un-forgiveness and bitterness is like giving your freedom away to the other person. Joyce Meyer says,

‘Un-forgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die’.

Is it easy? No, but it is a choice. Sometimes when I would see that person, I would feel a rage of emotion about to erupt like a volcano but my spiritual dad would say to me, ‘Chantelle, you have to remind yourself that you’ve already forgiven, and choose love.’

Around the start of this year, I hired a new young lady to work with me, she turned out to be a beautiful friend. I was blessed to be able to share the real Jesus with her and lead her into relationship with Him. She is now in paradise with Him. It was sudden and unexpected but I am so deeply thankful that God trusted me with His daughter, to share the truth and see her in eternal life with Him.

How many people are in your world right now that need a little light? Don’t wait till tomorrow to share the goodness of our Kind Father! Step out! Be courageous! Let go of your fear of rejection, THEY CANT REJECT YOU WHEN THE FATHER HAS ACCEPTED YOU! When I shared His love for my beautiful friend, she sobbed all day and was filled with joy!

We don’t know how many people’s salvation are on the other side of our ‘yes’. We are here, on earth for that very reason!

KEEP AN ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE!

Love and keep on loving! Share and keep on sharing! Shine and keep on shining! Forgive! And keep on forgiving! May our life’s story be ‘no matter what they did towards me, I never changed the way I loved them.’

THATS grace. THATS the gospel. THATS Jesus.

Unconditional love.
Without strings attached.
It’s KINDNESS that leads man to repentance. (Romans 2:4)

Forgiveness also allows us to see people for who they really are in the eyes of God, not for the mistake they made, or a season they’ve walked through, or the pain they once carried.

Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. 10 Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, 11 so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs. 2 Corinthians 2:5-

How many people have left community because they’ve been overwhelmed with sorrow that their actions have caused pain? I’m not giving permission for poor behaviour, but what I am saying, is that ‘forgiveness restores the standard.’ (Danny Silk) AND to withhold forgiveness is to be outwitted by satan?!?! (vs 11).

Love is the mark of true maturity. (Colossians 3:14)
Are we truely mature?
Does this really matter? Is this eternal?
If the answer is ‘no’ then, LET IT GO!

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. James 4:13-17

Life is sometimes – most times, unexpected, short, BUT it’s also a gift. We can’t bank on tomorrow, we don’t know what tomorrow holds.

Do the people you love, know you love them? Have the people in your world heard the good news? Do they know there’s a Kind Father who loves them without condition?

Step out! Love someone today. Forgive someone today. Be a light somewhere today! Let God heal your heart and make a decision to ‘never change the way you love’ someone no matter what.

They might be here today, but what about tomorrow?..

The Truth about Pain

About a week ago, I was spending time with the Lord, feeling completely defeated, messy, and in so much pain that my internal cry was ‘I don’t think I’ll ever be ok again.’ But in that moment, God’s response cut through all my anger and grief and hit me right in the heart. He said to me

‘Chantelle, you’re not broken. You’re not ‘not ok,’ you’re not a mess, you’re not alone. You are ok. You are strong. You are whole. You are wild. You are free. In fact, you are a hero in the faith!

You belong to me.’ 

Um, ok.
It snapped me out of a downward spiral that’s for sure. I felt encouraged and able to keep going, but I didn’t however understand the depth of what He had said to me. The past week being back in Brisbane, I’ve been able to sit with people who love me – every part no matter what it looks like, unafraid of the pain they’ve sat with me as I’ve sorted through the things I’ve been feeling and allowed me to piece together exactly what He meant when He told me – actually you ARE ok. 

Here’s what I’ve discovered..

Pain doesn’t mean we’re not ok. Pain means we’re alive. Fully engaging with our hearts in moments that are outwardly awful. Because they’re inwardly awful. But it doesn’t mean we’re not ok, in fact it means the opposite. Because we sit in those moments with the Father who so deeply desires to hold us when it does hurt, we allow our hearts to fully feel, and fully be held.

[‘You intend to stay.. with me’ Yaz Williams] 

I realised that for a little while, I had been resisting the Father. Because to come close, meant to fully feel, and fully feeling meant more pain than I believed I could bare. I couldn’t bare to feel that much, to feel as though my heart had been crushed beyond the point of recovery. But really, in those moments of resisting, I was not ok.

Maybe being ok is not appearing outwardly pleasant or happy all the time. Maybe being ok is really giving our hearts the room, the permission to speak, to be fully heard and expressed. To sit with our hearts in moments of deep grief or pain and allowing it to be free in those moments before our closest friend and brother – Jesus, to be wildly poured out over His feet, to be still long enough for Him to come close enough to be the one to comfort us when we think we may never be ok again.

Maybe THATS true freedom. Maybe that’s what it looks like to be really ok. Maybe that’s why He told me ‘You’re ok’ and maybe that’s why I believed Him.

We have been created in His image, with all the feels and all the emotions, from joy to sadness and EVERYTHING in between. So why wouldn’t we trust and allow our hearts to feel but in that process, in those moments, be fully held by Him?

“The Lord is close to all whose hearts are crushed by pain, and he is always ready to restore the repentant one. Even when bad things happen to the good and godly ones, the Lord will save them and not let them be defeated by what they face.”

Psalms‬ ‭34:18-19‬ ‭TPT

He so desires to be involved, like an invested Father in His child’s life, although He is all knowing, he restrains Himself to engage with us on our level, a conversation, communion – ‘Please tell me about that, how are you?’ What a kind Father, to know, but choose to engage as though He knew nothing? He cares so deeply about our hearts and longs for us to ‘get’ that He intends to stay.

He intends to stay.

So would you let Him in?
Would you go there with Him?
Would you believe Him when He says ‘you’re ok’
Even if it doesn’t look like what you’ve believed ‘ok’ should be?
Would you give your heart permission to speak, to fully feel and engage with it in moments of pain?

Even as I’ve been penning my thoughts I’ve been sobbing and sitting with the Father in it. I miss Kim, my sister, my best friend – more than I can express in words.

Pain isn’t bad.
Pain doesn’t mean you’re not ok.
Pain is a gift.

Maybe it’s about our perspective.

Take some time to sit with the Father, explore places in your heart with Him that may have been shut down. Give your heart permission to fully feel and journal with the Holy Spirit about what you find.

Moments

Everything changed forever, the day everything changed.

In my journey with God, I’ve walked through many fires but through unconditional love, choosing quick forgiveness and the grace of a Kind Father, I’ve managed to walk through them all without even  smelling like smoke (Daniel 3:27). But nothing – nothing, could have prepared me for this.

The day started out as a great adventure, and ended in the back of a rescue chopper – without my sister, my best friend. We had a terrible accident on what should have been the trip of a life-time. That day, Kimmy graduated into the arms of Jesus, she walked through the incredibly thin veil that separates humanity from eternity and was welcomed into her ‘Endless summer.’

Blog link by Kimberly Jade Wilks:

https://wordpress.com/post/fromtheheart145938268.com/147

It was a shock, a rude awakening, an incredibly sobering moment that would change not only my life, but also my family’s life and everyone that’s been touched by her love in some way. I love her so much, we all do. She was my best friend, my partner in crime, my adventure – sunset chasing, bike riding, dumpling eating, series watching, hair dying, face-masking, bed making, dinner cooking, work buddy. We did everything together. I thought we always would.

I took for granted that I would be an Aunty, that I would hold her kids, stand with her on her wedding day, that she would stand with me on mine – that she would know and approve of the man I would marry. I took for granted that she would chase my kids around on hot days with a hose; that she would teach them about adventure, joy, fun and the deep ways to the heart of God. That she would lead worship on world stages, prophetically dance and watch as people were set free through her courage. I thought we would do it together. I thought we would always walk with each other through all of life’s major milestones and events. I thought I knew how thin the veil is that separates us from forever – I didn’t.

Life is full of moments, moments that change us, moments that leave us inspired – wanting more, moments that cut us to the heart and cause us to say ‘I’ll never be the same.’ Moments are passing us by all the time, they are an invitation into something more. I feel the Father even now, inviting each of us to embrace this moment and choose to be forever changed by it.

In the arena of life I have learned not everything works out the way we hoped it would, circumstances change, we walk through miscarriages, we lose our dream job, we have to adjust to tremendous change, we have to relocate our entire family, the ones we love make terrible life decisions that hurt our hearts, we have an unexpected accident and we lose someone we love dearly. Life doesn’t always go to plan.

So what will we do when it doesn’t?

THESE are the moments that define us. How we respond to moments that could – or even should destroy us. Will we with our free-will, choose to love the Father and remain steadfast and grounded in the goodness of His nature? Or will we allow these storms to knock the wind from our sails and blame the one only one who never left and so desires to hold us when it hurts?

Will we choose to believe the Gospel when life gets real?

Through our faith, the mighty power of God constantly guards us until our full salvation is ready to be revealed in the last time. May the thought of this cause you to jump for joy, even though lately you’ve had to put up with the grief of many trials. But these only reveal the sterling core of your faith, which is far more valuable than gold that perishes, for even gold is refined by fire. Your authentic faith will result in even more praise, glory, and honor when Jesus the Anointed One is revealed.

1 Peter 1:5-7

Walking through the loss of my sister and best friend has been the hardest season of my life. There are places, spaces and songs that remind me of her friendship and the things we have walked through together. The ‘firsts’ of everything are hard. They’re painful. They’re also an invitation from a Kind Father to allow Him to draw close and hold me when no one else can, to heal the places no one else can reach.

I can choose one of two options in those moments:

  1. To withdraw and shut people out because the pain is too great to bare, and also believe the lie that ‘I’m all alone in this, no one else understands’
  2. OR to I can lean into love, allow Him in, to reach out and allow trusted friends and family into those moments of vulnerability and pain.

Vulnerability is courageous, it is strength on display, it is powerful to choose to allow people to see – really see us – see our hearts in moments of weakness and pain, and trust that they won’t judge us but will see us for who we really are in God and speak truth over us with unconditional love. The truth is, we don’t have to be ok all the time, and that’s ok.

We haven’t been ok 100% of the time. But in those moments what I believe makes it powerful is that we CHOOSE to worship our Kind Father even in the midst of immense pain, we choose to lay our hearts out before Him, even in pain, we allow Him into those moments, we allow family into those moments. That’s what makes us brave.

What a powerful thing for humanity to witness! That when we would have every right in the world’s eyes to be angry, depressed and blame God, instead we choose to remain steadfast about His goodness, immovable, walking in love and dare I even say – joy!?

Sometimes we get super comfortable as Christians. We go to church, sing the same songs so often we know the words, we read the bible and forget to allow it to transform us, we pray the prayers, go to the meetings – all the while remaining lukewarm. Then tragedy hits and we get on our faces and pour out hearts out in worship, we get stirred up in response to a circumstance but as time moves on, we forget again.

What if we didn’t rely on a circumstance to give it all?

What if our passion and fire never grew cold?

We get to see what we’re made of when the rubber hits the road and things get tough. What God has done on the inside of us in the secret place, is made very public when tragedy hits. So this is me, encouraging you to go deep, get lost in the Father, dig your roots deep into the assurance of His goodness and kindness towards you. Get on your face in the secret place. Allow Him to go deep in your heart, let His love into the spaces you’ve been afraid to go. Invite your family into hard places and let them speak truth over your heart. Get real, get raw, don’t despise the moment you’re in right now for the longing of a better one.

Embrace this moment, because THIS moment is pivotal for how you will walk through the next.

Thank God for today. Love the people around you. Put down your phone. Be present. Stay aware of how thin the veil is that separates us from eternity. Pour your WHOLE heart out in worship to the Father – every time, never settle into passivity. We never know which moment will be our last.

Choose Jesus today. Choose love now.

Bless you,

Yours in Christ, Chantelle.

My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can!  For you know that when your faith is tested, it stirs up power within you to endure all things.  And then as your endurance grows even stronger it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking.

James 1:2

 But you don’t have a clue what tomorrow may bring. For your fleeting life is but a warm breath of air that is visible in the cold only for a moment and then vanishes!

James 4:14

Endless Summer

Written by Kimberly Wilks

January 27, 2019

I close my eyes, and breathe in deep. As fresh oxygen fills my lungs, I sit in this pocket of bliss – taking in the raw tracks through wild country that lye before me. On my left, raging blue and green expanses of fierce uncharted waters. On my right, deep green melts into blues and vast hues of purple yellow and orange as the sun sets over mountain ranges which are covered in wild pine and oak trees. Before me – untamed, uncharted and uninhibited land. The greatest adventure yet. I hear my beloved’s whisper “Welcome to the Endless Summer”.

Hope fills and overwhelms every fibre of my being as I begin to ponder His whisper – this great adventure. The summer that never ends. Memories of summers past flood my mind and bring with them familiar feelings of the bliss I encountered in the midst of these adventures. Permission to play puts my heart at ease and releases tension I didn’t realise I was carrying. As I continue to ponder, I sense a deepening awareness that this summer is wildly different from all the rest. This adventure is not just a seasonal invitation for pockets of peace and moments of bliss – it’s an invitation to stay. It’s not merely a break from the stress and pressure of the world – but complete and utter freedom from it… forever.

This extravagant act of an invested lover reveals a deep kindness in his nature that melts my heart and draws me to engage with him. This invitation not only releases me from every kind of heaviness my soul has ever known, but it liberates my heart to begin to engage in the real adventure – the endless pursuit of a Lover King who has obliterated the power of everything that once separated my heart from his. This Lover King who did everything in his power to close the gap. Who saw that it wasn’t enough to simply be with me in the flesh –  he had to be closer than that. He had to make a home in my heart. To be close in every moment- and take care of me from the inside out. I begin to realise that nearness has always been his goal. Every move he’s ever made has been towards me. A fierce intentionality fills his every gesture. His motivation – simply to be near.

Finally, the fight is over. Peace is no longer a substance to obtain..or something I can loose. It’s not running away from me. He’s running towards me. No longer to do I need to fight to preserve my freedom, my rights, my joy or my peace. Once upon a time, my every effort was geared towards finding joy, bliss, peace and pleasure..and keeping it. Preserving it. Fear ruled my choices because the slightest change in my surroundings would threaten my internal experience of peace and joy. The gift of this kind lover – the Endless Summer – is the freedom from the fight. No longer am I motivated to preserve my peace – for it can no longer be threatened by surrounding circumstances. The gift of the Endless Summer is the gift He has fought for with His life. It’s the oasis of constant nearness to the one who loves me like no other. All the energy I once used to preserve my heart, is now free to simply engage in the beautiful one. The one who saw fit to gift my heart with this outrageous freedom – for freedoms sake. With no other motive in his heart, and no strings attached. Simply – enjoy the gift of being wildly and wonderfully free. Suddenly striving becomes a fickle idea as it’s exposed for what it really is – the subtle but deadly belief that the heart of Jesus is passive about me in some way. How could I add to what he has already done? Do I really believe that my desire to be free could outweigh the strength of his desire for me to be free? The war is over. He has created an eternal place of internal rest for a soul that only knew how to fight. A safe space of wild freedom that liberates every fibre of my being from every ounce of fight for me and turns my heart to fight for others.

I breathe in deep, and behold the last glimmer of golden sun as it sets over the last of the hills. My heart leaps within me as I contemplate the end of a life of working-to-rest, and the beginning of the Endless Summer. A life anchored in the depths of my lovers heart – free from the fight of all i’ve ever known. Free from fear. As I take one last glance at the setting sun, I feel the thrill of my Father as he ushers me into the dawn of the best day I’ve ever had. I hear his whisper once again..

“Welcome, my dear, to the Endless Summer…”

Rhythms of Rest

In December / January this year, my family, close friends and I had a massive, life changing revelation. It is possible. For Chantelle to… get a tan. *mic drop* The thing is, in the 16 years prior to now, I’d not allowed myself enough time to rest to even find out. I just believed I was pale white in summer and pasty white in winter. That’s just how it was.

Let’s laugh at that lie. *Hahaha*

Rest is a wrestle I’ve had with the Lord for a long time, not that I don’t like rest. I LOVE rest. I love holidays, and spaces where nothing is required of me – long periods of time.. What I haven’t understood is how to position the heart to approach a full life from a place of rest so that my soul doesn’t wind up tired and exhausted. I’ve had moments of ‘Yes! This is what it means!’ I’ve heard so many messages on the subject, but then over time self-care slipped into the ‘not a priority’ pile in my big list of to-do’s.

Now coming to Darwin, I felt like I would be walking into a season of rest, learning the Fathers song over me, learning more about the worlds that exist inside of me but have been left untapped, undiscovered and unearthed. However.. what I didn’t realise was just how serious my good Father was about this.

I believed I would come to Darwin, walk straight into a Youth Work role with kids in crime, and use the rest of my time to give myself to what God intended to do inside me. God however had a different idea of what this would look like.

I applied for every – every – available youth work position and all I received was emails about how someone more qualified than me had filled the role. I was confused. Until I cottoned onto what God was actually doing. He showed me that it wasn’t in fact hard to get a job; it just wasn’t what He was doing.

So I gave myself fully to what He WAS doing. Fathering me.

I made quality time with Him the first priority of everyday. In those times (and still today), He brought my heart into a greater level of freedom, He showed me that I am His priority, just Chantelle, and that He knows what I need isn’t necessarily what I thought I wanted. Thank God for that! He placed me in a family, with beautiful friends who gave me the space to give myself to what He was doing. Requiring nothing from me, loving me extravagantly and speaking life into my heart in such kind ways. Who does that?! Not even asking me to pay rent? But just be? Be Chantelle?! I’m so thankful for the ways these people have demonstrated Jesus to me in this season! (You know who you are).

*Side-note: I now have a job in retail, also not what I thought would happen, but thankful for the kindness of the Father knowing better than me exactly what I need right now.*

Fast-forward, I’ve found a special place I love to go to be alone with God, be still and listen, on a cliff overlooking the ocean. My greatest complaint since arriving has been just how BEAUTIFUL the ocean looks yet.. I can’t even swim in it. I’ve had SO many people (with great intentions, because they love me and want me to stay alive) warn me about swimming and even going anywhere near the ocean. So I settled for my spot on the cliff. I’d watch people walk by me on the sand below and even have their dogs running through the shallows and I’d think ‘they’re crazy!’ yet they looked so content. Unafraid. Then one day, while I was sitting on the cliff, I was reading a book called ‘Love Does’ by Bob Goff (for y’all who know me / Bob Goff, y’all know this bout to get good)… something he said hit me between the eyes. Prepare to get hit between the eyes.

There is only one invitation it would kill me to refuse, yet I’m tempted to turn it down all the time. I get the invitation every morning when I wake up to actually live a life of complete engagement, a life of whimsy, a life where love does. It doesn’t come in an envelope. It’s ushered in by a sunrise, the sound of a bird, or the smell of coffee drifting lazily from the kitchen. It’s the invitation to actually live, to fully participate in this amazing life for one more day. Nobody turns down an invitation to the White House, but I’ve seen plenty of people turn down an invitation to fully live.

Turning down this invitation comes in lots of flavours. It looks like numbing yourself or distracting yourself or seeing something really beautiful as just normal. It can also look like refusing to forgive , or not being grateful, or getting wrapped around the axle with fear or envy. I think God sends us an invitation to live and sometimes we forget to show up or get [tricked] into thinking we haven’t really been invited. But you see, we have been invited – everyday, all over again. (pg 80)

The Father used that to remind me of the time my ear drum burst, I was 15 and loved to swim, I was a water baby, I loved the beach, but now due to the size of the hole, I wasn’t allowed to get my ear wet – even a little otherwise it may lessen my chances of being able to hear properly again. In that time of my life, I allowed fear to govern me, I became so disappointed that:

  1. I couldn’t swim without getting my ear wet (not even molded ear plugs kept it dry 100%)
  2. God didn’t meet my faith and miraculously heal me. (I ended up having an operation, had to deal with the disappointment and then the operation wasn’t successful either).

So I developed a hate for the beach, mostly because it reminded me of the fun I could no longer have – until I decided not to allow fear to govern me anymore. I chose to plug my ear and swim anyway. I wasn’t going to allow circumstances stop me from participating anymore. I chose to participate, to engage.

Sitting on the cliff after this moment with the Lord, I slammed my book shut, took off my shoes and climbed down the face of the cliff. When I was young, my family and I used to walk along secret beaches and collect beautiful shells. When my feet hit the sand, I noticed there were beautiful shells decorating the waterline, left behind by a high tide. I felt the Father invite me into a walk along the beach to collect shells with Him like I did when I was a child. A childhood love. A long forgotten joy.

I felt invited into a moment with my Kind Father where He reminded me of the child within, of what it feels like to trust Him and not let fear govern my life any longer – even in secret seemingly small, unimportant ways. For me, walks along the beach with the Father where I can unravel my heart and be real with Him have become sacred rhythms of rest that I will treasure forever.

In this season I’ve been learning about the rhythms of rest that follow sons and daughters, the kind of rest that dwells within them and creates space for the people around them to participate in this state of peace and rest as well. I’ve never really understood what it meant to live from that space before, but through fleshing it out with God and trusted people, I believe it’s not about living a life that’s not full, sometimes we can’t help what a season looks like, but we can steward it. We do have choice.

Ask the Father what His rhythm of rest looks like in the current season. Maybe it’s saying ‘no’ to an extra shift to prioritise family, maybe it’s saying no to an event to prioritise time out, maybe its saying yes to a night out with friends for the sake of community and fun, maybe it’s saying yes to a walk along the beach without a schedule or another place to be. Maybe it’s about being present in the moment that’s right in front of us, fully engaged, letting go of having to move on to the next thing on the to-do list. I don’t believe there’s any rules, but about engaging with the lover of our souls and asking ‘Dad, what do I need right now?’ and being totally ok with that.

It’s a humbling space to be in, but the best one by far.