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