Dates & Waves

Dates. There’s always dates, moments – momentous spaces in history where significant hearts collide with existence on earth.

Waves, I’ve learned to ride them. Not with a surf board (although one day I will) but with tears that expose the great depths of love we have for another. They expose the impact one soul has had on another, the pain one feels with the absence and space that person once filled and the memories they’ve left behind. Memories that once brought immense joy, now hold with them a sting that reminds us we’re still here, we’re still breathing, we’re still alive.

We’re still alive.

And so is she. She is more alive than she’s ever been, more alive than we are right now. Alive in the arms of the one who created her and forever holds her heart and affection.

Some days.. most days I feel like Paul when he addressed the Philippians:

‘For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live..’ Philippians 1:21-24 NLT

And so I live.

My heart misses her, my bestie, my partner in crime, my Nutella eating, movie watching, adventure seeking, bike riding, Jesus dancing – everything buddy. And that’s ok. Why wouldn’t it be? She loved like Jesus, and that changed me. Watching up close how she forgave, pursued, surrendered, loved and enjoyed Jesus and the people around her first hand. She was the real deal.

Her life was a gift that collided in a moment with existence on earth. June 4th, the next set of waves.

I found myself saying ‘It hurts so much! I don’t want to feel disappointed but I’m SOOO disappointed!’ And all at once I felt the Father correct me saying ‘It’s ok to feel this way, you love Kimmy deeply and that kind of love looks like something. I’m a good Father and Ill sit here and hold you till you’re finished.’

I do know the truth, and that’s where I live my life, its where I’ve set up camp and anchored myself – the truth is SHE MADE IT. She’s forever safe, more alive than me! The truth is we don’t grieve as the world grieves (as those who have no hope – 1 Thessalonians 4:13) we have hope because we KNOW we’ll be gloriously reunited one day. It doesn’t mean I don’t miss her everyday, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt, it DOES mean I will not use that as permission to stay prisoner somewhere Jesus died to set me free from! ‘Though I walk THROUGH the valley of the shadow of DEATH I will fear NO evil!’ (Psalm 23).

This week I started wondering whether I was ‘too much,’ if the way I love is ‘too intense’ or ‘over the top’ but I found myself in John 15 where God reminded me that actually I just look like a really good reflection of Him!

“So this is my command: Love each other deeply, as much as I have loved you. For the greatest love of all is a love that sacrifices all. And this great love is demonstrated when a person sacrifices his life for his friends… So this is my parting command: Love one another deeply!” John 15:12-13, 17 TPT

Love, that kind of love, always looks like something. It’s kindness in action, it’s always present and endlessly patient. If you were to ask me what Kim was like, I would tell you she looked like love.

She also looked like a whole heap of mischief, cheeky, authentic, deep, joyful, contagious fun. Kimberly, my tiny dancer – the colours of your life continue to dance through ours and into the next..

See you soon..

until then, we’re alive.

A letter to my Hero

This is not how it should be.

This is not what it should be like, this is not what we expected and nothing like what we pictured. It’s not ok, and it IS ok to acknowledge that. Life is different and that is an understatement. Where her colour, love and friendship used to be, there is space. Nothing and no one could ever fill that space – the comfort of our Heavenly Father is the only thing that comes close to filling the void and even then, the embrace and nearness of each other is still deeply needed, more than ever.

But – we are ok.

We’re not broken, in fact we’re far from it. We are experientially grounded in the goodness, nature and character of our Kind Father. We are whole. We are strong. We are FULL of joy because we KNOW it’s ‘the thief [that] comes only to steal and kill and destroy. But HE came that we may have LIFE and have it ABUNDANTLY!’ John 10:10 – and abundantly it is for Kimmy now!

Never have we doubted His goodness and only by His grace are we able to stand – stand firm then in the truth, knowing that she has won the race, she is safe forever, eternally in the arms of Jesus, forever free from the grip of satan. Free forever from fear, pain, anxiety and torment.

Forever enjoying her Endless Summer – ‘[her] 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 fiber of [her] being from every ounce of fight… and turns [her] heart to fight for others.’ – Endless Summer – Kimberly Wilks

And fight we will. For the lost, the lonely, the hurting, the widow, the orphan – we will fight till our dying breath for each one to know how wide, how deep and how high the love of the Father is for them! Worth the death and resurrection of His one and only Son Jesus! We commit to standing at the gates of hell and redirecting traffic. Fight – we will, Kimmy.

Mum, you are my hero. You have made a decision to stay, to be present, to be real, raw, vulnerable. To let it out when it comes, and to enjoy every moment it doesn’t. You invite everyone you meet into family. You don’t just embrace people with your hands, you embrace them with your heart. You are Jesus with skin on. You amaze me with your strength, the way you choose to be quick to forgive, slow to speak and the way you fight to understand. You have demonstrated life with Jesus on mountain tops, but I have been even more impacted by the way you have walked *through* the valleys.

Your answer is yes. Your weapon is love. You don’t care if anyone ever knows your name, but I surely pray they do. You don’t seek position, acknowledgement or glory and that is why HE is so clearly seen in and through you.

He trusts you. He hasn’t changed His mind.

Your yes, your life, your love, is changing the world.

One person at a time.

 Starting with me.

I love you, with my whole heart.

Thank you. For everything – every prayer, every moment, every laugh, every tear, every mountain and every valley. Thank you for walking with me through them all, for teaching me what life with Jesus should look like and pointing me towards Him when I forget to look up.

What a Wonderful world – because YOU are in it.

I adore you.

Happy Mothers Day.

365 Days.

I can’t believe it’s been one year without you down here. 365 days without hearing your voice or being able to tell you how much I love you, your wild freedom and joy that lifts anyone who comes near you. That’s about 912 ‘I love you’-s, 200 adventures, 52 dumpling dates, 365 belly laughs, 100 dance off’s, 365 cuddles, 1 season of MAFS, 121 cries together, 1 birthday and SO many new friends and incredible young people you didn’t get to meet – BUT YOU WILL because I promise to stay standing at the gates of hell to redirect traffic until the day I come home too!

I miss you more than words would ever be able to say, my heart has lost a best friend, a partner in crime, a confidant, a cheer leader but most of all – my sister. There are so many moments the loss of your friendship creeps up and breaks out of my chest, moments I least expect. Moments I have to excuse myself and sit in a toilet until it passes. Moments I have to be real and open my heart to the people around me. Moments I have to ask myself why I’m being prickly. Moments no one else is there and I need to communicate my need for support and moments I also don’t and I have to remind myself I’m gently held by the hand of a loving and infinitely kind Father who promised to never leave me alone – ever.

Loss is a tricky thing, it can’t be tamed, it can’t be calculated or put in a box, it’s different for everyone. In the beginning there is lots of people present, but as time goes on and life goes back to ‘normal’ for everyone else, I’ve found that life in fact is NOT normal anymore, it’s not normal for me, it’s not normal for anyone who was deeply connected and affected by her love. Life is different, it will never be the same.

There is space now where there wasn’t before. Space where she used to be, space her friendship used to occupy in my heart, space her encouragement isn’t there anymore, lots of space that people don’t see and may not understand. And that’s ok, those spaces are the spaces I’ve learned to collapse into the arms of God. Those spaces are the ones I’ve learned to call people into because I know I can’t make it through them alone. Those spaces have taught me the deep need we have for family, for relationship with each other – and not necessarily the masses, but the one or two who will be there for life. I’m so deeply thankful for those people who have come close. Not just when I’m not ok, but when I’m doing well too. I’m so thankful for the ones who have shared and understood the moments, the significant dates, the birthdays and the anniversaries. Thank you.

And then there’s Mum and Dad. You will never know just how deeply your forgiveness, unconditional kindness and love, gentleness and embrace have impacted me. I have met the grace of our Father through your lives. I will never be the same for the way you have both loved me even in the midst of your own hearts grieving the space where Kimmy used to be. Every time something bothers me, I remember the great grace you have shown me and have NO excuse to hold onto anything – ever. You have both been Jesus with skin on to me. Thank you for holding me in the breaking even when your own hearts have been breaking too.

Grief is normal, it’s the heart pouring out all the love we have but aren’t able to give anymore. I have learned that there is a beautiful tension, the tension between allowing our hearts to speak, and staying grounded in truth in the midst of the loss.

The truth is Kimmy is more alive than we are now, she is forever safe from the torment, sickness, heartbreak and pain of this world – and the grip of satan. The truth is we don’t grieve as the world grieves – as those who have no hope (1 Thes 4:13). We HAVE hope! Thanks to Jesus, we have hope that we will be reunited with her in glory when we put off our earthly tent and take up our crown of life! (James 1:12 / Rev 2:10).

When I was on holiday in America, my friend asked me ‘Do you miss your parents?’ ‘Not really’ I said, ‘Why not?’ ‘Because I know I’m going to see them again soon’ I said, ‘It’s the same with Kimmy!’ He said ‘You’re going to see her again soon! Remember that! Just ask yourself, is the grief producing fruit? If not, you’ve forgotten the truth, and how to grieve with hope.’ That’s the beautiful tension. Being anchored in truth, and allowing our hearts the space to speak when they need to. There’s no formula, no ‘end’ date – just waves to ride out as they come. I encourage you, let your heart speak. Don’t shut it down, just ask yourself the question ‘is this producing good fruit?’ If not, just get back into truth!

I’m not afraid to die. I know where I’m going and it is FAR better than this present reality! I so look forward to joining you in our Endless Summer Kimmy! But until then, like I promised, I will stand at the gates of hell and keep redirecting traffic, for I know, He’s wildly better than we could ever think!

I love you Kimmy and I miss you everyday.

See you soon, your bestie and partner in crime – Elle xxxxx

Mountain or Molehill

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

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

But what about today?

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

Yeah cool, thanks for that Lord!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why? Spoiler alert: WE WIN!

AT THE END OF THE BOOK – WE WIN!

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

That’s something to be happy about!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Practise joy today!

Keep an eternal perspective!

Remember WE WIN!

HAVE THE BEST, JOY FILLED DAY!

                                                                               🌻

It’s a Choice – Life is Short.

How do I even start?

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

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

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

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

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

It’s actually not ok.

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

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

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

Why?
My internal dialogue was this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KEEP AN ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE!

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

THATS grace. THATS the gospel. THATS Jesus.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Truth about Pain

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

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

You belong to me.’ 

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

Here’s what I’ve discovered..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Psalms‬ ‭34:18-19‬ ‭TPT

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

He intends to stay.

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

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

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

Maybe it’s about our perspective.

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

Moments

Everything changed forever, the day everything changed.

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

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

Blog link by Kimberly Jade Wilks:

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

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

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

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

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

So what will we do when it doesn’t?

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

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

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

1 Peter 1:5-7

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

I can choose one of two options in those moments:

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

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

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

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

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

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

What if our passion and fire never grew cold?

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

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

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

Choose Jesus today. Choose love now.

Bless you,

Yours in Christ, Chantelle.

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

James 1:2

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

James 4:14