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.

Mountain or Molehill

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

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

But what about today?

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

Yeah cool, thanks for that Lord!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why? Spoiler alert: WE WIN!

AT THE END OF THE BOOK – WE WIN!

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

That’s something to be happy about!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Practise joy today!

Keep an eternal perspective!

Remember WE WIN!

HAVE THE BEST, JOY FILLED DAY!

                                                                               🌻

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.