Everybody Always, Part 1

Family. I just can’t seem to get away from the subject, like the golden thread of my life’s story will somehow weave in and out of this one thing. Family, or could it be called – love?

When I was young, I lived in a caravan with my family. Those are the days I look back on with deep joy. Although we thought the living situation wasn’t ideal at the time – in hindsight, it was one of the best times of my life. Because we were together. All the time. We laughed together, walked through some incredibly faith stretching times together, cried together, ate together, sat together and stood with each other. All the time – together. We learned to love each other. Really really. Y’all don’t even know.

My family also laughed at me, because I would make friends with young people who would be passing through the caravan park on holidays with their families, then 3 days later when they left – I would cry – I mean bawl my eyes out – like I was saying goodbye to a life-long friend. *Weirdo* 😉

I’ve had friends from all over the world, best friends, so I understand what it’s like to love deeply and then have to say goodbye. Goodbyes suck – they’re the worst, especially when the people you’re saying goodbye to have buried themselves deep within your heart. You know who you are.

I also understand what it feels like to be the one to be called, to be the one leaving everything and everyone you know behind to follow the Spirit’s leading and say a big, loud ‘yes’ to Him. In a way, I feel like that one is worse – because instead of saying goodbye to only one person, you’re saying goodbye to EVERYONE. That’s the kind of goodbye I’ve been working through recently.

In the past year, God has been doing such a deep work in my heart around family, loving the people around me in such a way that it brings healing and freedom to all parties. I’m growing in my understanding of the Father’s heart and the truth that,

 ‘The more Heaven comes to earth, the more earth looks like family.’

 Jonathan David Helser.

In Matthew 22:36-40 we find Jesus being asked ‘what is the greatest commandment?’ Jesus’ response is one I believe he felt would make it easy for us to ‘get’, yet it seems to be one of the things we struggle with most – Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and all your mind *ok… tick* and love your neighbor as you love yourself. Whop, there it is. So Chantelle, you’re saying, I need to love everybody always? Yep. Sounds like Jesus thinks we’re family!

So why do we find it easier to judge, get offended, call it quits, become bitter and cut people off when we don’t understand them, or they’re not quite like us? Hmmm.. When I was a child, my parents would discipline me when I did something that wasn’t acceptable. When I hit 12 years old, I started to form my own ideas and perceptions about the world around me and even though some of these ideas weren’t the same as my parents they didn’t cut me off or judge me, they understood ‘she’s growing up.’ What if we’re all just growing up?

Ephesians 4:1-3 Says ‘I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,  with all humility and gentleness, with patiencebearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.’[ESV]

So, walking in a worthy manner looks like love that seeks not its own, with no strings attached, it looks like staying in unity so that when people look in and see a community of ‘believers’ they see people with differing opinions, views, walks of life and backgrounds yet find us living in such a rich love that none of those things even have a say in the matter?!

In our youth community many people would come, and then mention to us how wrapped up, seen, known, and loved without judgement they felt in our family. It’s the one thing we really ran after as a group of people. But it didn’t come easy, in fact it was costly. But a price worth paying. It’s the kind of thing that needs to be fought for, it requires risk, the kind of risk that the people around you might see something ugly and be faced with the choice – ‘do I really love this person without condition? Will I continue to call out the gold and destiny even when they’re not believing it yet?’ If we’re in Jesus, the answer must be yes.

John 13:35 says ‘A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’

When people look in, are they seeing a community – a family that genuinely loves each other? We actually have the power to make others feel safe around us! Through being entirely authentic and genuine in our love, we give others permission to be free in our presence – to be the best version of themselves possible. Yes. Love does that, but it also needs to grow in family. Where else can love be tested and proved genuine? It’s in family – the everyday testing where we have the opportunity to grow good fruit. 😉

‘Love looks like something.’ – Heidi Baker

Love, family, looks like something; and although I’ve had to say one of the hardest goodbyes yet, I have never been so wrapped up, and felt the embrace of family as I have now. The amount of phone calls while I’ve been on the road to ‘check if you’re still awake’, the messages, the song recommendations from students, the financial surprises, the airplane tickets from our youth family (just to make sure I come home) wow. And it hasn’t stopped! And I love it. I know at any moment, I could walk back into any one of their homes and be received as though no time had been spent apart. Our hearts vulnerable and open, willing to lay our souls bare before one another to love and be loved – just like Christ loves the church.

Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about ones achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honour. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyfully celebrates honestly and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. Love never stops loving. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a) [TPT]

[Selah]

Wait. Stop there for a minute, go back and read that verse again, except this time, insert YOUR name in every place it says the word ‘love’.

Doesn’t that feel good? You know why? Because it’s the truth about you. Even if it is a faith statement for now 😉 So if you’re up for it, go back and read it AGAIN, except this time, insert the word ‘family.’

[Brisbane]

Switching gears; I believe this is where the rubber meets the road. A space where the ‘I love you’s are tested. In family.

Although we aren’t together anymore, although we’re not on the same team or ministry anymore, although you’re not officially pastoring my kid anymore – did you mean it when you said you love me?

Is a family no longer a family just because one person moves location? Was Jesus no longer the Son of God when he left Heaven and came to earth? If I close my eyes does it mean the sky is made of skittles?

No. Of course not.

Family is family no matter the distance, and though I can’t comfort you with a hug, or be in the room when life gets hard, or be there to take photos when you win, it doesn’t make us any less family. It just looks a little different in this season than it did in the last. Instead of a hug, it might be facetime. It might mean surprise visits, hand written letters, consistent communication. But whatever it looks like – it looks like connection.

There is a level of investment required to sustain a family – a deep connection, the kind of ‘I’d die for you’ connection. It takes time, vulnerability, trust, confidentiality, communication, learning how to best love each other and choose to hang in there and allow conflict to strengthen relationship instead of damage it.

I can’t change my DNA, and I wouldn’t want to either. I love that I’m forever connected to my family. Just the same when we were born again into the family of God, we received His DNA and we’re now forever connected to each other. Like it or not… some of you know too much.

Am I an expert? Not by any means (just ask my family). Will I get it right every time? Probably not. Am I learning? Yes – I am committed to it. Forever a student of family, and yes, I do love you.

To the family of God, particularly my Brisbane and extended family.

Love Chantelle.

Darwin, a New Stake in the Ground

My parents couldn’t have kid’s, they were told by every leading specialist that it was in fact impossible. They were baby Christians at the time, so they held onto hope. One day, my Dad, Papa Wayne, heard the audible voice of God telling him it was time to move. It didn’t make sense in the natural – much like Noah building an ark for the coming flood due to rain.. Back then they had never seen water fall from the sky! Madness!

Mainly it didn’t make sense because they were debt free at the time, and moving would require a loan. But. They did. 5 minutes down the road to be exact, but our kind Father was teaching them something..

Blessing for obedience.

The very first night they were in their new home, 5 minutes down the road from their old one, they fell pregnant with me. Praise the LORD! I’m so thankful they listened and obeyed as I’m sure many of you are – because you have ME! (I know, I know, you love me)..

Deuteronomy 28 says it well, ‘If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God…You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country… You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out…’

So from a very young age, I have valued obedience to the call and the voice of God, so when he says something, I put a stake in the ground and camp there until I hear Him say anything else. I’m stubborn like that (in a good way of course). I have seen first-hand the fruit that comes from obeying his voice which leads me to this, I have recently heard our Kind Father ask me if I would venture on the next leg in my journey with Him..

and I said yes.

In November last year, Holy Spirit started prompting conversations about Darwin, at the time I believed it was just to visit for a week or two to see what was happening in our Glory City campus and bring it back to Brisbane because I knew God had planted me and given me an assignment. However, when the New Year rolled over, I literally felt the a shift in the spirit, I felt like God had moved on without me and I was somewhere I should no longer be (I know God never leaves me but that’s the best way I can explain the feeling). I cried for 3 days because I didn’t understand at the time what was happening, it was the worst feeling ever! But during the course of the next few days, Father reminded me of the conversations I had shelved about Darwin and thus the conversation begun.

I’m the kind of person, I need to hear God for myself, I need to know it’s his best plan for me, not just Chantelle’s plan, or man’s plan, but God’s plan, God’s plan.. *sings* So I asked God for confirmation, I told Him I wouldn’t be leaving this place, this stake in the ground unless He confirmed to me that it was in-fact the right thing to do.

That night I had a dream, the dream was nothing parallel to a move to Darwin, but upon going through the dream dictionary and pulling apart the dream, He was clearly showing me it was the right thing to do. So I then brought this to my parents, my mentor’s and people who speak into my life – just to make sure I wasn’t crazy.. and what do you know? They all unanimously felt it was right.

It’s not easy for people like that to encourage me to obey, because we’re family – and not just by blood. So for them it means having to say goodbye, that’s hard! But at the same time it also means they get to see me fly. It’s not easy for me either! Over this past year, the Father has been teaching me about family, and what it means to really love and lay our lives down for one another. On this journey, I’ve found friends that have become family, people I know will be forever friends – I have to say goodbye to them too! That’s hard.

The biggest part of my family journey has been leading the Glory City Youth movement. It’s been such an honour and a privilege to have been able to watch each of you grow, learn, risk, receive and become more yourselves, and more like Jesus than ever before! Being able to do life with you guys has been the biggest blessing in my life, with you, I’ve learned to be vulnerable, that I don’t have to be ok all the time, that I can be real – but most of all (and best if you ask me) become more childlike. Let loose. Have fun and be a kid again. I’m so thankful for every single young person, leader and family that’s been a part of this journey to date!

I also know, that family doesn’t always mean we are in the same physical location, sometimes families live across different cities – even countries, but it doesn’t make us any less family. I will be calling, messaging, commenting and loving my family (extended) whenever I can, whenever I think of you. You have each buried yourselves deep in my heart and I’m also excited to see some of you step up into your own destinies with the new space you will have to dream new dreams!

I love each of you dearly, so I am sad but also excited. Excited to see what the next season will look like for me – and for you. To see how you too, will fly. I have no idea what lies ahead, what I will be doing, where I will live, but I trust the One who does. Because He’s kind.

I will be venturing on a big road trip on July 2nd! So let’s celebrate, love each other and take lots of photos to remember how good we looked in 2018.

So cheers, to putting a new stake in the ground, and giving you a reason to visit Darwin.

 

Hebrews 11: 8- By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. 

Hitting the ‘Reset’ Button

‘God, I don’t want to leave!..’

…‘What if you didn’t have to?’

Dedicated to Roman, for your 29th Birthday.

Sometimes we get to engage in moments that make us stop, wide eyed in wonder; moments that reset our souls and cause us to question, ‘how did I miss this?!’ These moments remind us of our true north and cause us to reflect on the meaning of life.

This happened for me in a field, with no light or noise pollution, in the middle of the night, with a treasured friend. We shared our hopes and dreams as we sat in wonder, admiring the Milky Way and enjoying the presence of complete silence.

That moment, was like hitting the reset button. I didn’t want to leave, and I told God that, but today I heard Him respond ‘What if you didn’t have to?’

I don’t think he means I should stay in the middle of that field by myself for the rest of my life – that wouldn’t be good for anyone.. (especially me). I believe He meant that space – a place of complete silence, peace of mind and soul, complete trust – having questions but being okay with not knowing the answers;  simply enjoying the wonder of His heart and knowing that He is, I AM. What if we could stay there?

When I was a child, I didn’t think about the things I think about today, like – if I don’t go to work, I don’t have finance to splash on others, or if I don’t do my washing, I won’t have anything clean to wear! Ew.. When I was a child, I didn’t have to think about those things because my parents had it all covered. So I could enjoy being a kid.

But somehow, there I was in the middle of a field astounded at the Milky Way and I wondered ‘how did I get here?’ See, we’ve adopted this mentality that when we ‘grow up’ we must be as productive as possible, have it all together, become a little more serious AND ALL THESE THINGS ARE GREAT… However if these things come at the expense of slowing down, resting, peace, joy, being childlike in our nature, appreciating moments, stopping for the sunset or laying in a field in the middle of no-where enjoying the silence and stars.. then I think we’ve missed it to some degree.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still watersHe restores my soul. Psalms 23:1-3

I don’t believe the Fathers best plan for us requires us to be SO busy doing ‘the things’ that we neglect the good Shepherd when He is wanting to love us by making us lie down in green pastures or leading us beside still waters to restore our souls.

So how’s your soul? Have you asked it how it’s doing lately?

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child and set him before them, and said, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless you repent [that is, change your inner self—your old way of thinking, live changed lives] and become like children [trusting, humble, and forgiving], you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:1-3

I so admire the way a child can be unfairly treated, shed a couple tears then get right back in there and play with the same children. Maybe there’s more to being childlike than we think?

I’ve noticed they don’t give much attention to what others think of them, if they’re hungry – everyone knows. If they have something to say, they say it without fear of being rejected. If there’s music – they dance. They play in the grass in a world of wonder like it’s the most incredible thing EVER. They are fully present in the moment. They enjoy pulling faces and delight in the pleasure of their parents over them… Maybe instead of ‘growing up’ we should consider what it would mean to ‘grow down’?

I don’t mean we should be insensitive in our child-likeness though.. For example, I wouldn’t run to my Mum and yell ‘FEED ME’ in the middle of a church service. *LOL* Like Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:19 –

For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

I mean this in the best way possible, like ‘may we never lose our wonder’.

In today’s age, it’s impossible to be out of reach – social media giving the world a play-by-play of our highlight reels, we’re on call all the time, we carry mobile devices so we can be reached anywhere, but when does it end?

My phone is always on silent, I cant stand the obnoxious sounds it makes to pull on me for my attention. After being in the middle of that field I have decided to be intentionally present – to enjoy moments, to love deeply and forgive quickly, to trust the righteousness of my brothers and sisters – just like a child; to follow when he leads me to green pastures, to respond when he asks me to be still; to appreciate rest and to love the one in front of me, to be ‘out of reach’ and be ok with it.

‘I don’t want to leave here!’..

…’What if you didn’t have to?’

There’s so much ‘noise’ in our day to day lives, why not take some time out in a field, or by the ocean, or on a mountain to hit the ‘Reset’ button with the Father and enjoy the wonder of life again?

Happy Birthday Roman…

Jesus, Jesus: Mother’s Day 2018

Mothers Day

Before I was even born,

You cried tears of desperate love as every month brought blood.

I couldn’t begin to imagine the Mother you would become,

Not just to me, and your little one – but every young heart needing love.

 

They say within a name is a world,

Describing the very nature of that person.

Well you my dear are light, peace, joy, understanding, mercy, safety and love.

 

You believe in the one whom has your attention,

You see Jesus in the eyes of the face you’re beholding.

You gently comfort the heart of the one who is hurting,

You call out gold as you partner with the Lord who is molding.

 

When I was young, I was afraid of the poking and prodding

But you held my head in your hands and told me to cry out ‘Jesus, Jesus’

Even back then, you built a foundation for me in the hard times,

Fast forward 20 years and I would draw on that foundation for strength –

In times of loneliness, heartbreak, distress, anger and injustice.

‘Jesus, Jesus, Jesus…’

 

When I was young and misunderstood,

You taught me that ‘it’s better to be a good friend than to have one.

Back then, you were teaching me unconditional love –

love like Jesus, without strings attached, without needing it back.

 

In my life today, the world can see the evidence of your love.

In the way – I – love people, the way I comfort, the way I smile.

People feel safe with you. People feel safe with me too.

People leave you running to the arms of the Father,

Because you are such a good Mother.

 

I had to learn how to share you. I didn’t like it at first.

Or second or third or fourth.

But I started to see how selfish of me it would be, to keep you to myself.

See dear, you have worlds inside of you, and the world needs what’s inside of you.

 

They too need to know that no matter what, you won’t change the way you love them.

You will still see the Jesus when they don’t feel so lovely.

You will hold their head in your hands and teach them to cry out ‘Jesus, Jesus.’

Knowing one day, they won’t need you, but they will always need Him.

 

Your love, a mothers comfort, has held me through so many moments,

Through heart break & through victory and I want you to know this.

It meant the world to me when you saw how deeply I was hurting,

Yet you wanted me to be happy so you let me keep on going.

And when my heart finally broke, each time due to my own decision,

You sat quietly with me and let me sob, moan and grieve.

I know in those moments, it was you that cried out ‘Jesus, Jesus’ for me.

 

There are times I look back on and see,

Just how deep is your love for me.

When I left for Jarkarta ‘Mum, that’s where the Lord needs me to be!’

And you let me go.

Breathe in, breathe out. ‘Jesus, Jesus.’

 

 

In your day to day, you’ve showed me how to choose connection,

To choose love and give up my need to be right, my need to fight.

You taught me to keep my heart right, to quickly forgive for the sake of my own heart,

Even when the injustice done towards me, caused your own heart to hurt.

‘We won’t pray until you’re ready to forgive..’

‘Jesus.. Jesus.’

Back then, and even now at times its hard,

but I find it gets quicker and shorter in-between my moments of pain and freedom.

You taught me that it’s my privilege to love no matter how I am treated,

And at the end of my life I know people will be able to say

‘She never changed the way she loved me.’

Not everyone will know, but those who know you will say it’s true,

That a big part of this in me, is because of you.

 

You are so patient and kind.

You nurture – everyone.

You are generous beyond compare.

You love and keep on loving.

You pursue.

You bring joy where there’s been deep sorrow.

You allow people to be raw.

You are creative.

You are bold.

You are strong.

You are fire.

You are passion.

You are teacher.

You hear the voice of the Father.

You bring hope to dry places.

You bring light and life.

You add colour.

You are righteous.

You are Holy.

You are peace.

You are wisdom.

You are fun.

You never change your mind about people.

You are constant.

You are steady.

You are wild.

You are free.

You are everything the Father hoped you would be.

You make people feel safe with you.

You look just like the Father, which is why we all come to you.

 

Sharon is large and incredibly patient. Sharon is gentle and consistently kind to all. She refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Sharon does not brag about her achievements or inflate her own importance. Sharon doesn’t traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek her own honor. Sharon is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Sharon joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Sharon is a safe place of shelter for she never stops believing the best for others. Sharon never takes failure as defeat, for she never gives up. Sharon never stops loving.

2 Corinthians 13:4-8

You, have done very well, you have become love. I believe at the end of our lives, the Father will ask us if we learned to love – and you have not only learned how to, but you’ve demonstrated and taught the world around you how to love as well. There is so much more I could say about you, but if the world catches wind, Ill have no time with you!

I love you so much Mum. You are one of a kind. My best friend.

Happy Mother’s Day.

To Know, & To Be Known.

Family

Jonathan David Helser says,

‘The more Heaven comes to earth, the more earth looks like family.’

“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” John 13:34-35

Family, the climax of Heaven revealed in creation – love. Yet somehow the deep affection the Father desired His people to have for one another has been skewed, distorted and tainted. We’ve been taught that we need to have boundaries around our hearts to protect us from what could happen, ‘I wouldn’t want my brother to get the wrong idea’ or ‘what if I cause my sister to stumble? Or even ‘What if we fall into sin?’ Yet – that belief system by default implies that we are not assuming the people around us are walking in righteousness or their God-given nature!

We have been created with this innate desire for family – to know, and be known, to love without reserve or fear. Whether it’s acknowledged, or if it’s pushed down in an attempt to ‘be ok without it’ we have all been created for family because we’ve been created in the image of our Heavenly Father. We long to know the answer to the question ‘Do you really want to know me? Do you value me for who I am, or just what I can do for you? Do you really want to know me?  If I open up and show you my heart, will you receive me? Or will you run away?’

I am a youth worker, and part of my job is walking with the young people to help them carry out community service orders. The amount of times I’ve had conversations with them where they’ve revealed ‘I just wish Mum or Dad had more time for me..’ is heartbreaking. I’ve watched as a young man has been devastated for a mothers’ lack of being present, asking the question ‘why can’t you just be a better Mum?’. The Fathers design for humanity was always to be loved and adopted into family, and so fairly, this is the one area I see the enemy going after more fiercely than any other.

I’ve always been one to love deeply and quickly, I was the kid who ran to the side of the friend who’d fallen and skinned his knee, the one who stopped for the lonely or left out. Yet somehow over time, I learned that loving deeply can hurt – I mean really hurt, and more than just a skinned knee.

I was told ‘Chantelle, you need to protect your heart, otherwise you’ll always get hurt!’ and so I began to build walls, not realizing that in protecting myself, I was also keeping love out.

Someone who quickly became family is my little sister, Areta. A beautiful creative, a compassionate friend who snuck past my walls and showed me what family could be. We met in Indonesia when I was on the mission field serving in a high school. The only Aussie there who understood my humour and laughed at all my jokes when no one else ‘got it.’ We went through life together. We would laugh uncontrollably, dance like lunatics in the shops, see movies every weekend, pray and debrief about life. She knew what would make me cry, what got me ticking, what was important to me, and I knew the same for her. I would lay down my life for her still today, because she is buried deep within my heart.

This past weekend, I got to witness a dream come true for her – competing in the Australian Hip Hop International competition which would send her and the crew to world’s if they won. I knew she would smash the choreography and ‘wow’ the judges, but what I didn’t expect to witness was the depth of family that’s been cultivated within her crew and the entire dance community.

Before the performance, I met individuals, her friends, people who are important to her in this season of her life; but what I witnessed after blew me away. Her crew ‘Kingdom Culture’ laid it all out there and didn’t just dance, but left their hearts on the stage with many weeping at the end of the performance.

I came outside to meet them afterwards and walked over to a dance circle where they were just having fun –celebrating each other, loving each other. One would jump in the middle and pour out their heart through dance – movement, and the entire family would celebrate them for who they are and what they bring. The whole crew would cheer, shout and holler at their family member who was given permission to shine. There was no competition for they understood, we are family and we’re all needed. Once one had finished dancing, the whole circle would move and surround another family member, celebrating them and encouraging them to step out and shine. It was beautiful. They see each other. They know each other – deeply, and despite the risk of pain, they choose to stay connected, they choose relationship, they choose love.

They choose family.

I walked away profoundly impacted – seeing the desire of the Fathers heart for his family, his kids. Which leaves a heart provoking question – what about us? In our busy western culture, I’ve noticed we’ve sacrificed family to the demands of work / ministry life. But what if this was never meant to be? What if we were created to do life together, to know and be known by the people around us? To boldly open our hearts to one another, as the righteousness of Christ – without it being tainted by the world’s view of ‘love’?

In my own life, as I’ve begun to understand the high value of family in the Kingdom of God, I’ve seen that I am the best version of Chantelle when my heart is open and close with my family. I need them, so much. Over the past year I have intentionally cultivated a deeper relationship with my earthly father and this has directly impacted my emotional + spiritual health and growth as well.

While it’s not possible for everyone to have this kind of relationship with their natural parents, it highlights the need for spiritual family in the church! We need you! We need what you carry, we need to know the miles your feet have walked and how you’ve become the woman or man of God you are today! We need spiritual Mothers and Fathers to adopt us and bring us into family so we can all experience the richness of pure love within the Kingdom – so we can love you back, and bury you within our hearts!

I believe there is a level of love – the Fathers heart – that can only be experienced within the paradigm of family. What if, instead of building walls ‘just in-case’ the one we are loving ‘misinterprets’ our love, we chose to believe that we are in-fact righteous. That there really isn’t anything impure left in the hearts of our brothers and sisters that we need protection from? What if we began to open our hearts with holiness – trusting the God in us, and the God in each other?

This kind of life has the power to bring out the best in the people around us, this kind of love causes others to begin to see themselves for their God given, created value and not what the world has told them they are. What if, like Kingdom Culture, we celebrated one another and encouraged each other to step out and shine?

Its time we stop shying away from cultivating deep relationships for fear of pain or rejection. It’s time we know each other – deeply, and despite the risk of pain, choose to stay connected, choose relationship and choose love.

It’s time the world knows us for our love. (John 13:34-35)

The Heart Journey: Land of Promise

When I was younger, my family and I lived in a caravan while we waited for our home in a different town to sell. My family used to make fun of me because other families would come to the caravan park on holiday, I’d make friends with the kids, then 3 days later when they had to leave – I’d bawl my eyes out. I loved so quickly and deeply it just didn’t make sense… But now it’s starting to..

A few days ago, the Father said to me ‘Chantelle, I give you permission to love wildly and deeply again.’ For those of you who know me, you might think HOW!? Mainly because the way I love is already pretty crazy. But this is the journey I’ve been on where it all started to come together.

Melissa Helser said ‘the Promised land is not the end destination,

it’s the moment the Father heals our eyes to see Him rightly’

In Numbers 13, Moses sends out 12 men to spy out the land God had promised to them. For 40 days and 40 nights they saw the same things, tasted the same food, walked the same roads.. Yet 10 spies brought back a bad report, and 2 spies brought back a report of hope, future restored, promise and freedom!

The report you believe will either empower you to possess the promise, or paralyze you with fear & keep you stuck in the wilderness.

Last year I was coasting along, and somehow it felt like this deep sadness pressed in on me everyday, everywhere I went. It was horrible. And no one would have known outside of my family because I believed the lie that ‘I’m a leader, a leader has to have it together.’ And so I shut down my heart and believed that being emotional was not allowed.

What I didn’t realise was that emotion, pain, was my hearts way of trying to tell me that something wasn’t quite right, something was hurting and there was in fact greater freedom I had access to but in shutting down my heart, and believing a detrimental lie, I was unable to possess that freedom.

REALLY long story short, Nate Johnson preached a word one night about heart healing and the Fathers love wanting to walk us through pain and not debilitating our hearts right to come alive any more. That was the very beginning of God pulling on what I call ‘the Golden Thread’ of my heart and bringing me into freedom.

A couple days after that, I flew out of the country of the trip of a lifetime and I desperately wanted to enjoy it but my heart was so hurting and in deep need of the Fathers love.

Fast forward. I’m in Germany attending one of my best friends wedding’s and I’m doing great. I haven’t cried – I shed a tear but I was holding it together. However I could feel something right beneath the surface that was ready to burst if something poked at it.

I’m in another country and I can’t speak German, so I’m already feeling a little isolated. And what I didn’t know was that Germans really, I mean REALLY celebrate weddings. They don’t see it as an event to get through and leave, they see it as a day to enjoy family, celebrate with close friends, have deep conversations, eat together and start all over again. A normal German wedding would last well past 5am the next day.

At the reception I’m sitting across from some of his German friends and I’m doing ok, it’s now 10pm and I’m like – I need to get alone with Jesus. However the people I’m sitting across from started asking me questions about my personal life and started speaking into some things I was feeling pretty sensitive about at the time. My heart was so hurting. And then it started. And I couldn’t stop it!

I started to cry, from deep in my belly, they prayed for me. I said thank you – really – thanks for that *sarcasm intended*. Then I went to the bathroom to collect myself, came back and some more people I love and respect checked in with me asking if I was ok. ‘I’m fine (insert fake smile).’ They poked the bear again.. I tried to collect myself, but I bumped into my friend that got married and he asked what was happening.. and that was it. I grabbed the keys to my friends car, excused myself and high tailed it out of there – locking myself in the car.

I wailed. I don’t mean politely shedding tears. I mean I wailed. The kind of gut wrenching grief that escapes when you least expect it. For 3 hours. I was due to fly out of the country the next day so that means I didn’t even say goodbye to anyone! (It’s pretty funny to lock back on, but at the time…)

 I sat in that car while I got it out, all the grief, disappointment, despair, hopelessness, and the father sat with me and comforted me, but He didn’t shut me down. He wanted me to get it out. And he just sat with me and loved me while I did!

What kind of Father is this?! That he would love us that much, he wasn’t disappointed that my hope had been misplaced; or make me take responsibility for the fact that my heart was in deep pain of my own doing. He just loved me.

That kind of love changes you! When you experience this kind of love, you can’t help but overflow with wilder love for the people around you!

Over the course of that holiday God showed me a picture of my heart, parts of it were alive and other parts were dead and black and needed his breath to breathe life into it again.

He showed me that I had believed a lie detrimental to my freedom that was so offensive I never would have said it out loud because I knew it wasn’t true. But the lie was this:

He left me.

This little lie had infected my belief systems and changed the way I viewed the world, people and ministry. And it was shutting down my heart. I was so disappointed that I was 28 years old and ‘this’ or ‘that’ hadn’t happened, that He had promised ‘this and that’ and it still hadn’t happened yet. That he said, his call over my life was ‘this’ and yet, here I am and nothing had changed.. I was absolutely gutted.

I was living from the belief system that my Father had left me.

Hebrews 13:5b) says “I will never [under any circumstances] desert you [nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless], nor will I forsake or let you down or relax My hold on you [assuredly not]!”

I had tried to ‘truth’ my way out of this deep grief, however I had missed part of His heart for me! See, the same Jesus that turned the tables in the temple, is the SAME Jesus who put Thomas’ hand in his side to pour water on the fire of his fear!

He’s such a good Dad – he’s made us in his image. We reflect his glory in every way! He is emotionally passionate, wildly free and fun, and recklessly loves us! We were created just like him! And when we shut down our hearts and invalidate our emotions, we’re shutting down a part of who he intended us to be!

In the old covenant, the spirit of God dwelt in the holy of holies in the temple. In the new covenant, the spirit of God dwells in the holy of holies – our heart – we have become the temple.

I’d like to propose that maybe in the new covenant, the promised land is not a destination, or the sum of his calling or certain things coming to pass in our lives, what if the promised land is us being able to walk in the fullness of freedom he died for us to possess he on the earth?

What if the promised land is – your – heart – you, being fully you, totally free, choosing to believe with everything you have that he is faithful, He is trust worthy and true to his word. Us being childlike and in humility receiving what we had no part in earning – being totally free here (heart) so we can be totally free here (with people) to love, to be Jesus on the earth, to need nothing in return, to owe no man anything except to love them? That He would receive the full reward of his suffering? That we would be free?

Melissa Helser said ‘the Promised land is not the end destination, it’s the moment the Father heals our eyes to see Him rightly’.

Father showed me that I had viewed his lack of answering as absence, when it was really his very active presence at work in my life, he healed my eyes to see him rightly when I stopped and listened to my heart!

See, he cares more about our hearts, what matters to us matters to him, and if our hearts are hurting, he’s not so worried about us ‘being effective and doing.’

In the midst of my heart pain, while I was Youth Pastor, the Father said to me, Chantelle, I care more about your heart, than about you running a youth ministry of hundreds. Come here, let me love you. That’s all that matters right now.

Numbers 13: 1-2 NKJV

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel; from each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a leader among them.”

Send: H7971 Let loose, stretch out, let go, set free.

Maybe the promised-land isn’t a destination, maybe its Jesus. Maybe it’s not a place, maybe the promised-land the Father wants you to possess is your heart. Maybe He’s not so worried about what you will achieve for Him, maybe he’s more concerned that you know just how deeply you’re loved, so that you can experientially and intimately know and live in the fullness of the freedom He paid such a high price for you to have?!

Maybe it’s not about ‘getting there’ maybe it’s about enjoying the journey. Daily being held by the hand that created you. Embracing the moments of joy, and the moments of pain – with Him. If it was just about getting there, we’d miss the intimacy and joy of truly knowing Him through it all!

Today I believe he’s shifting perspectives, He’s revealing lies that’s held us captive in the wilderness for too long. I believe he’s giving our hearts permission to come alive again and enjoy him daily.

To possess and walk in the fullness of freedom he paid for us to freely receive – so we can freely give!

Hello Heart, Part 1

Dear heart, I’m so sorry. For shutting you down, for quieting your voice and for being so hard on you.

The Heart.

Human beings are phenomenal creatures, we have the ability to understand logic, to feel, to reason and respond. When I was working in my first clothing retail job, a young girl had stolen over $200 worth of clothing which had security tags still attached. When she went through the front doors, the alarm went off and something different… superhuman may I say… came over me! I LEGGED it after this girl! Kicked off my shoes and RAN! I chased her through the whole center at full speed until she went out and jumped over the guard rail at the other side of the car park! I was so close to catching her however, when I stopped I realised she also had friends with her, and I had no idea what I would have done had I caught her! She could have dropped me in a second if she wanted to! Sometimes we do crazy things without even really understanding the ‘why’ behind it.

In Jeremiah 17:9 it says

‘The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?’

I used to live with this mindset, never understanding the reality of the cross and what was accomplished there. I never would have said it because I knew it sounded ridiculous, however I believed there was still some dark corner of my heart that Jesus hadn’t reached yet, I believed there was still something wrong with me, there was always something to repent of and I desperately needed Jesus to save me from myself.

Imagine this: You’re taking a casual stroll round the neighborhood and turn a corner to find a woman – mid-twenties, verbally abusing a young child ‘How could you do this to me!? You should know better than that! You’re already 7 years old! You’re not a good leader! You’re never going to make it. You should give up now! You are a waste of my resources, all you ever do is take!’  

What would you do? Most of us would run to the child’s defense, we would make sure the child was safe and wasn’t in a dangerous or abusive situation!.. However what we don’t realise is, we do this to our own inner child! If we’re not careful, our self-talk can be this damaging! Yet we don’t rush in to defend or protect our hearts?!

‘The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?’

I didn’t realise just how destructive this belief system was.. until my heart tried to reach out and tell me something was wrong, something wasn’t lining up with what I knew to be true, and it was time I listened.

In June of 2017 I was about to embark on the journey of a lifetime. I had been accepted into Bethel’s 2 week worship school, I was going to visit some good friends in Germany, attend ‘Awakening Europe’ and surprise my family and friends in Jakarta Indonesia on my way home. However my heart was not as excited as I knew it should have been.

Until May last year, whenever I would go through a struggle or trial, I often didn’t want it to be fixed with logic straight away (as men are wired to do), so I’d go straight to my mum without even thinking. I had no idea how this made my dad feel or how it had affected his heart.

At church one night in June of 2017, we had the recognized Prophet Nate Johnson ministering who carries an uncanny anointing for dealing with the heart and bringing healing and freedom, restoring families and relationships along with it.

He spoke. I listened. My heart responded. I was a mess. I began to recognise – I deeply needed my dad, I was longing for significant relationship with my earthly father and didn’t even know it. For me I am blessed that this is possible, an easy fix due to us both being lovers of God!

Mark Greenwood says,

‘If it sounds ridiculous coming out of the mouth of Jesus, it should sound equally ridiculous coming out of yours.’

(If you haven’t yet, I HIGHLY recommend reading his book ‘Awake to Righteousness’ it will challenge the way you think and believe about yourself and the goodness of the Father).

While it’s not true for everyone, I’ve often found that my relationship with my earthly dad – directly reflects my relationship with my Heavenly Dad. Therefore, I was subconsciously operating from the belief system that there was distance in my connection with my Heavenly dad. I felt like He had abandoned me, that He had forgotten about me and that His promises for my life were far out of reach. I KNEW this wasn’t truth though so I had never said it out loud, and didn’t even realise I was believing it!

The day after Nate Johnson spoke at church, I was very aware that the kindness of God was still unraveling my heart as I was on my way to a breakfast date with my dad. My heart was still feeling quite raw yet I was determined not to let that spoil the morning. I was going to enjoy breakfast with dad… However, I can’t even remember what happened but all of a sudden I started to cry. Not just the normal tear rolling down the cheek cry, but the deep, heaving, ugly cry. Right there in the middle of the café, with lots of people around. It started to come out, and I couldn’t stop it.

That moment with my dad marked the start of a journey that would bring healing to both our hearts, connect us with our Heavenly Father in a much deeper way, and bring us both into truth. As we shared our hearts with each other, we began to realise how we had unintentionally disconnected from each other and how that had affected our relationship. But for me – that was just the beginning.

The Holiday.

In June of 2017 I ventured on a trip around the world, solo – but meeting people along the way. Thrilling, I know. The first part of my trip landed me in Germany where I was to spend some time with an old friend celebrating his marriage! I usually cry at weddings because I understand the Heavenly gravity of the covenant being made, I am a softy. However in light of current events I was believing for God to help me not to cry at all – for fear of not being able to stop if I started.

The entire wedding was beautiful. Jake Hamilton himself led the ceremony with a deep teaching on the sanctity of marriage. I was doing so well. Shed a couple of tears – as you would, nothing major. We made it to the reception. I hardly knew anyone there being in the middle of Europe and all, but I was good. I was grounded in the Fathers love, or so I thought.

It turned out to be the longest wedding I had ever attended. See, Germans believe in celebrating with family, taking their time. Having lengthy conversations, eating, doing ‘family’ and then starting all over again. I quickly learned that on average most German weddings will go well into the night, some finishing as late as 5am the next morning.

At one point during the night, some prophetic people I was sitting across from began asking me questions about my life and future, and then it came… that wave of emotion, disappointment, and grief that I couldn’t quite get a lid on. They prayed for me regarding some things the Lord showed them. I went to the bathroom trying to compose myself. I came back out, ran into some more prophetic people who had clued on to what I was going through in the deep of my heart, loved on me, and there I went again. It was like the plug had been pulled and the deepest depths of my heart was crying out for help.

Due to fly out of the country the next day, but unable to pull it together, I grabbed the keys to my friends’ car and locked myself in, wailing, the ugly cry. There was no going back. I still don’t understand why it had to happen there, but I do know that my Heavenly Father was most concerned about the freedom of my heart and was waiting for me to realise he wasn’t afraid of the pain, and wanted more than anything for me to allow him in, to love me in the pain, in the process – unconditionally.

I cried for 3 hours in the back of that car, letting out the grief and disappointment I had no idea was hiding itself just beneath the surface. I learned that disappointment is a silent –but deadly thief, and if undetected – has the ability to rob us of hope, joy and expectation for the future. I was so disappointed that I wasn’t where I thought I would be and hadn’t accomplished the things I believed I would even as a little girl by that stage of my life. I felt like God had abandoned me and wasn’t playing an active role in my life even though I knew that was a lie. I struggled to understand why some things had turned out the way they had, and why at 28 I was still facing battles I thought I had conquered years ago.

I was disappointed.

Those 3 hours in the back of my friends’ car in Germany showed me just how close the Father really is, and how concerned and passionate he is for the freedom of our hearts.

The next day I trekked on to Redding California, meeting strangers and hitching rides that would lead to even more healing than I realised. During the course of the worship school, Father showed me a vision of my heart, parts of it were black (where I had allowed hurt and disappointment to hide) and needed His healing breath of life. I gave Him access to all areas and gradually the vision changed and my entire heart was healthy, healed and full of light.

God revealed to me that what I saw as His absence, was actually his very present activity in my life. That sometimes withholding something we think we want, is not His absence but the evidence of His very active presence.

He was there the whole time.

He’d never left.

This changed everything.

 

To be continued...


For those of you needing extra keys for managing your heart health, check out this message by Steffany Gretzinger called ‘The Unfiltered Life.’