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…”

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.

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.

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.