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.

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?..

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

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.

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.

To Know, & To Be Known.

Family

Jonathan David Helser says,

‘The more Heaven comes to earth, the more earth looks like family.’

“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” John 13:34-35

Family, the climax of Heaven revealed in creation – love. Yet somehow the deep affection the Father desired His people to have for one another has been skewed, distorted and tainted. We’ve been taught that we need to have boundaries around our hearts to protect us from what could happen, ‘I wouldn’t want my brother to get the wrong idea’ or ‘what if I cause my sister to stumble? Or even ‘What if we fall into sin?’ Yet – that belief system by default implies that we are not assuming the people around us are walking in righteousness or their God-given nature!

We have been created with this innate desire for family – to know, and be known, to love without reserve or fear. Whether it’s acknowledged, or if it’s pushed down in an attempt to ‘be ok without it’ we have all been created for family because we’ve been created in the image of our Heavenly Father. We long to know the answer to the question ‘Do you really want to know me? Do you value me for who I am, or just what I can do for you? Do you really want to know me?  If I open up and show you my heart, will you receive me? Or will you run away?’

I am a youth worker, and part of my job is walking with the young people to help them carry out community service orders. The amount of times I’ve had conversations with them where they’ve revealed ‘I just wish Mum or Dad had more time for me..’ is heartbreaking. I’ve watched as a young man has been devastated for a mothers’ lack of being present, asking the question ‘why can’t you just be a better Mum?’. The Fathers design for humanity was always to be loved and adopted into family, and so fairly, this is the one area I see the enemy going after more fiercely than any other.

I’ve always been one to love deeply and quickly, I was the kid who ran to the side of the friend who’d fallen and skinned his knee, the one who stopped for the lonely or left out. Yet somehow over time, I learned that loving deeply can hurt – I mean really hurt, and more than just a skinned knee.

I was told ‘Chantelle, you need to protect your heart, otherwise you’ll always get hurt!’ and so I began to build walls, not realizing that in protecting myself, I was also keeping love out.

Someone who quickly became family is my little sister, Areta. A beautiful creative, a compassionate friend who snuck past my walls and showed me what family could be. We met in Indonesia when I was on the mission field serving in a high school. The only Aussie there who understood my humour and laughed at all my jokes when no one else ‘got it.’ We went through life together. We would laugh uncontrollably, dance like lunatics in the shops, see movies every weekend, pray and debrief about life. She knew what would make me cry, what got me ticking, what was important to me, and I knew the same for her. I would lay down my life for her still today, because she is buried deep within my heart.

This past weekend, I got to witness a dream come true for her – competing in the Australian Hip Hop International competition which would send her and the crew to world’s if they won. I knew she would smash the choreography and ‘wow’ the judges, but what I didn’t expect to witness was the depth of family that’s been cultivated within her crew and the entire dance community.

Before the performance, I met individuals, her friends, people who are important to her in this season of her life; but what I witnessed after blew me away. Her crew ‘Kingdom Culture’ laid it all out there and didn’t just dance, but left their hearts on the stage with many weeping at the end of the performance.

I came outside to meet them afterwards and walked over to a dance circle where they were just having fun –celebrating each other, loving each other. One would jump in the middle and pour out their heart through dance – movement, and the entire family would celebrate them for who they are and what they bring. The whole crew would cheer, shout and holler at their family member who was given permission to shine. There was no competition for they understood, we are family and we’re all needed. Once one had finished dancing, the whole circle would move and surround another family member, celebrating them and encouraging them to step out and shine. It was beautiful. They see each other. They know each other – deeply, and despite the risk of pain, they choose to stay connected, they choose relationship, they choose love.

They choose family.

I walked away profoundly impacted – seeing the desire of the Fathers heart for his family, his kids. Which leaves a heart provoking question – what about us? In our busy western culture, I’ve noticed we’ve sacrificed family to the demands of work / ministry life. But what if this was never meant to be? What if we were created to do life together, to know and be known by the people around us? To boldly open our hearts to one another, as the righteousness of Christ – without it being tainted by the world’s view of ‘love’?

In my own life, as I’ve begun to understand the high value of family in the Kingdom of God, I’ve seen that I am the best version of Chantelle when my heart is open and close with my family. I need them, so much. Over the past year I have intentionally cultivated a deeper relationship with my earthly father and this has directly impacted my emotional + spiritual health and growth as well.

While it’s not possible for everyone to have this kind of relationship with their natural parents, it highlights the need for spiritual family in the church! We need you! We need what you carry, we need to know the miles your feet have walked and how you’ve become the woman or man of God you are today! We need spiritual Mothers and Fathers to adopt us and bring us into family so we can all experience the richness of pure love within the Kingdom – so we can love you back, and bury you within our hearts!

I believe there is a level of love – the Fathers heart – that can only be experienced within the paradigm of family. What if, instead of building walls ‘just in-case’ the one we are loving ‘misinterprets’ our love, we chose to believe that we are in-fact righteous. That there really isn’t anything impure left in the hearts of our brothers and sisters that we need protection from? What if we began to open our hearts with holiness – trusting the God in us, and the God in each other?

This kind of life has the power to bring out the best in the people around us, this kind of love causes others to begin to see themselves for their God given, created value and not what the world has told them they are. What if, like Kingdom Culture, we celebrated one another and encouraged each other to step out and shine?

Its time we stop shying away from cultivating deep relationships for fear of pain or rejection. It’s time we know each other – deeply, and despite the risk of pain, choose to stay connected, choose relationship and choose love.

It’s time the world knows us for our love. (John 13:34-35)

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!

Hello Heart, Part 1

Dear heart, I’m so sorry. For shutting you down, for quieting your voice and for being so hard on you.

The Heart.

Human beings are phenomenal creatures, we have the ability to understand logic, to feel, to reason and respond. When I was working in my first clothing retail job, a young girl had stolen over $200 worth of clothing which had security tags still attached. When she went through the front doors, the alarm went off and something different… superhuman may I say… came over me! I LEGGED it after this girl! Kicked off my shoes and RAN! I chased her through the whole center at full speed until she went out and jumped over the guard rail at the other side of the car park! I was so close to catching her however, when I stopped I realised she also had friends with her, and I had no idea what I would have done had I caught her! She could have dropped me in a second if she wanted to! Sometimes we do crazy things without even really understanding the ‘why’ behind it.

In Jeremiah 17:9 it says

‘The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?’

I used to live with this mindset, never understanding the reality of the cross and what was accomplished there. I never would have said it because I knew it sounded ridiculous, however I believed there was still some dark corner of my heart that Jesus hadn’t reached yet, I believed there was still something wrong with me, there was always something to repent of and I desperately needed Jesus to save me from myself.

Imagine this: You’re taking a casual stroll round the neighborhood and turn a corner to find a woman – mid-twenties, verbally abusing a young child ‘How could you do this to me!? You should know better than that! You’re already 7 years old! You’re not a good leader! You’re never going to make it. You should give up now! You are a waste of my resources, all you ever do is take!’  

What would you do? Most of us would run to the child’s defense, we would make sure the child was safe and wasn’t in a dangerous or abusive situation!.. However what we don’t realise is, we do this to our own inner child! If we’re not careful, our self-talk can be this damaging! Yet we don’t rush in to defend or protect our hearts?!

‘The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?’

I didn’t realise just how destructive this belief system was.. until my heart tried to reach out and tell me something was wrong, something wasn’t lining up with what I knew to be true, and it was time I listened.

In June of 2017 I was about to embark on the journey of a lifetime. I had been accepted into Bethel’s 2 week worship school, I was going to visit some good friends in Germany, attend ‘Awakening Europe’ and surprise my family and friends in Jakarta Indonesia on my way home. However my heart was not as excited as I knew it should have been.

Until May last year, whenever I would go through a struggle or trial, I often didn’t want it to be fixed with logic straight away (as men are wired to do), so I’d go straight to my mum without even thinking. I had no idea how this made my dad feel or how it had affected his heart.

At church one night in June of 2017, we had the recognized Prophet Nate Johnson ministering who carries an uncanny anointing for dealing with the heart and bringing healing and freedom, restoring families and relationships along with it.

He spoke. I listened. My heart responded. I was a mess. I began to recognise – I deeply needed my dad, I was longing for significant relationship with my earthly father and didn’t even know it. For me I am blessed that this is possible, an easy fix due to us both being lovers of God!

Mark Greenwood says,

‘If it sounds ridiculous coming out of the mouth of Jesus, it should sound equally ridiculous coming out of yours.’

(If you haven’t yet, I HIGHLY recommend reading his book ‘Awake to Righteousness’ it will challenge the way you think and believe about yourself and the goodness of the Father).

While it’s not true for everyone, I’ve often found that my relationship with my earthly dad – directly reflects my relationship with my Heavenly Dad. Therefore, I was subconsciously operating from the belief system that there was distance in my connection with my Heavenly dad. I felt like He had abandoned me, that He had forgotten about me and that His promises for my life were far out of reach. I KNEW this wasn’t truth though so I had never said it out loud, and didn’t even realise I was believing it!

The day after Nate Johnson spoke at church, I was very aware that the kindness of God was still unraveling my heart as I was on my way to a breakfast date with my dad. My heart was still feeling quite raw yet I was determined not to let that spoil the morning. I was going to enjoy breakfast with dad… However, I can’t even remember what happened but all of a sudden I started to cry. Not just the normal tear rolling down the cheek cry, but the deep, heaving, ugly cry. Right there in the middle of the café, with lots of people around. It started to come out, and I couldn’t stop it.

That moment with my dad marked the start of a journey that would bring healing to both our hearts, connect us with our Heavenly Father in a much deeper way, and bring us both into truth. As we shared our hearts with each other, we began to realise how we had unintentionally disconnected from each other and how that had affected our relationship. But for me – that was just the beginning.

The Holiday.

In June of 2017 I ventured on a trip around the world, solo – but meeting people along the way. Thrilling, I know. The first part of my trip landed me in Germany where I was to spend some time with an old friend celebrating his marriage! I usually cry at weddings because I understand the Heavenly gravity of the covenant being made, I am a softy. However in light of current events I was believing for God to help me not to cry at all – for fear of not being able to stop if I started.

The entire wedding was beautiful. Jake Hamilton himself led the ceremony with a deep teaching on the sanctity of marriage. I was doing so well. Shed a couple of tears – as you would, nothing major. We made it to the reception. I hardly knew anyone there being in the middle of Europe and all, but I was good. I was grounded in the Fathers love, or so I thought.

It turned out to be the longest wedding I had ever attended. See, Germans believe in celebrating with family, taking their time. Having lengthy conversations, eating, doing ‘family’ and then starting all over again. I quickly learned that on average most German weddings will go well into the night, some finishing as late as 5am the next morning.

At one point during the night, some prophetic people I was sitting across from began asking me questions about my life and future, and then it came… that wave of emotion, disappointment, and grief that I couldn’t quite get a lid on. They prayed for me regarding some things the Lord showed them. I went to the bathroom trying to compose myself. I came back out, ran into some more prophetic people who had clued on to what I was going through in the deep of my heart, loved on me, and there I went again. It was like the plug had been pulled and the deepest depths of my heart was crying out for help.

Due to fly out of the country the next day, but unable to pull it together, I grabbed the keys to my friends’ car and locked myself in, wailing, the ugly cry. There was no going back. I still don’t understand why it had to happen there, but I do know that my Heavenly Father was most concerned about the freedom of my heart and was waiting for me to realise he wasn’t afraid of the pain, and wanted more than anything for me to allow him in, to love me in the pain, in the process – unconditionally.

I cried for 3 hours in the back of that car, letting out the grief and disappointment I had no idea was hiding itself just beneath the surface. I learned that disappointment is a silent –but deadly thief, and if undetected – has the ability to rob us of hope, joy and expectation for the future. I was so disappointed that I wasn’t where I thought I would be and hadn’t accomplished the things I believed I would even as a little girl by that stage of my life. I felt like God had abandoned me and wasn’t playing an active role in my life even though I knew that was a lie. I struggled to understand why some things had turned out the way they had, and why at 28 I was still facing battles I thought I had conquered years ago.

I was disappointed.

Those 3 hours in the back of my friends’ car in Germany showed me just how close the Father really is, and how concerned and passionate he is for the freedom of our hearts.

The next day I trekked on to Redding California, meeting strangers and hitching rides that would lead to even more healing than I realised. During the course of the worship school, Father showed me a vision of my heart, parts of it were black (where I had allowed hurt and disappointment to hide) and needed His healing breath of life. I gave Him access to all areas and gradually the vision changed and my entire heart was healthy, healed and full of light.

God revealed to me that what I saw as His absence, was actually his very present activity in my life. That sometimes withholding something we think we want, is not His absence but the evidence of His very active presence.

He was there the whole time.

He’d never left.

This changed everything.

 

To be continued...


For those of you needing extra keys for managing your heart health, check out this message by Steffany Gretzinger called ‘The Unfiltered Life.’