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.

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.

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.