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.

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.

The Heart Journey: Land of Promise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He left me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Numbers 13: 1-2 NKJV

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

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

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

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

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

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