Norway

What words could capture the longest week of my life? Not even pictures would scratch the surface of the intensity that is moving a family across the world. Still I shall attempt.

Last Monday feels like an eternity ago. My life in America like a dream I just awoke from. And it’s only been five days since our second plane to fly on that day left American soil. From the moment we arrived at the first airport, the wrong one at that, life has been on fast forward. The little moments were baby steps to get us to the next, the goal being…Norway. That goal made the challenges seem smaller and the chaos feel peaceful. If the Lord was calling us to Norway, then we knew we would make it. As our small plane from London to Norway broke through the clouds in descent, my son was giddy whilst beholding the blanket of white across the mountainous land. I’d never seen him so thrilled. Watching him in that moment, I knew something big changed in our family.

I can’t quite put my finger on the shift. Each of us have transformed into a more brighter version of ourselves. Brenner and I, less anxious and stressed. Isabelle, more independent and tranquil. Lazarus, completely overflowing with joy in every moment. Lazarus being our biggest example of this transformation. Before we left the States, Laz was happy and funny. He was relational and smart. But as Laz ran down that staircase out of the plane and jumped into the first pile of snow he could find, something broke off of him. He became free in a way he never had been. And we let him. He is where God has called him to be in this moment. This newfound freedom we each have is what soul rest is; unlike any we’ve experienced.

Of course, we have felt this rest before with in the cracks of time spent wrecked in the Lord. We’ve experienced moments of rest, sometimes hours or days. But this soul rest is new. There’s something extraordinary that happens when you obey the Lord’s call. Is it a releasing or a grasping? Maybe it’s both. All I know is, by dying to myself completely and living my life for the adventure that is Jesus, I have entered some new territory within my heart that I can’t go back from. And it isn’t so much the place, as it is the promise. Though of course this country is beautiful, breathtaking, really. The promise that God is faithful to complete what He began in me (Phil. 1:6); He has plans for me that are good, to prosper me and give me hope for a future. And even greater than myself, that God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. He loves the whole world. Fully loving me and also not only me. Yet still He’s willing to partner with me to testify to the world a love that will move their hearts to believe. It’s the gospel, the good news; that though the world seems dark there is a greater work being done behind the scenes, a light so bright darkness has to flee. Jesus, the road that led us to Norway. Jesus, the truth that expels any lie. Jesus, the light that reigns in a season of night.

February 24th, 2019

The cold doesn’t cut us to the core anymore, the sun has pierced through the clouds, and the darkness is dissolving away. Four days here in Norway, and the peace of God upon us has proven for a fact that this is where we are meant to be. For now. So I say to you reader, be willing. And more than that, do the thing. Whatever that thing that God burns within you is…say, “yes”, take the plunge, go to the place, marry the person, foster the kid, support the ministry. Whatever it is, you know the whisper. You know the tug on your heart. Obey the call. Throw off the bushel over your flame and let your light so shine. Because my friend, there are good works that God has planned for you to do. Your works won’t get you into Heaven, that’s what Jesus did on the cross. However, your obedience to shine your light will show the world who Jesus is through you and maybe just maybe give someone that sees you an opportunity to choose to receive that light as well.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Matthew 5:16 KJV

Forward We Go

I think it would be an injustice to write on as if two months without any words written from me hadn’t just drifted by like a snowless winter wind. I’ve had the worst kind of writer’s block. And not simply just the sort that keeps you from writing blogs, but even the small tasks of responding to text messages and social media posts have all felt so taxing. Writer’s block is such a mind thing. Which is exactly what I’ve been experiencing. My brain has been so overwhelmed with todo’s and present jobs, opportunities and future ‘need done’s’. And don’t get me started on the heart hauntings of the past. Overwhelmed is an understatement. I have had my artwork to help me process through it all, but my words and my speech lacked the outlet. Outward communication, other than art, has been difficult if not nonexistent. Yet still the Lord has been at work internally-mending and breaking. Mending the old and new soul tears, and breaking off the fears and lies crippling within. The process of sanctification goes on without the standard of outward success one might think. Christ never stopped moving in me just because I felt like I was at a stalemate outwardly. So here and now, I am able to continue on at a spot that isn’t just picking up where I left off but is fully a forward place of newness and mystery. I was never stagnant though I felt it. And that my friends is the beauty of the walk of faith. With Christ, we are not subject to our feelings; we are not prisoners to our own emotions. We are free to feel, free to be still. We are free. And how amazing is it that the times of being still are not even still at all, but are moving us forward with leaps and bounds in every sense. Every breath, every step is progress. It’s all forward movement walking with Christ.

Yesterday an old friend sent my husband and I a picture of us six years ago. Our outward change is clearly evident, but the inward progress from then to now is what would really take your breath away. In the passed six fleeting years, we have been set free from drug abuse, addictions, and immoral living. We have experienced much death and yet also seen new life born. We’ve moved to new cities and moved into new places. We entered into a covenant of marriage with us and the Lord, had children, and started our family ministry as a party of four. All has been progressive, but the heart change has been the most miraculous of all. Christ made His home in our hearts and so much remodeling has occurred. To me, that is to be celebrated above all. The truth of resurrection. The truth of being a co-heir with Christ. The truth that Jesus meant what He said when He promised He would leave us with a helper,His Holy Spirit. That is the evidence of our faith- that Christ would complete the good work He began in us. This is our hope, this is our confidence-Christ in us, the hope of glory! My number one goal for this new year is to remember and stand tall on top of that basic foundation of my faith, Christ’s resurrection power in me.

And so, here we have arrived at yet another year. 2019, the year of our Lord Jesus Christ. And won’t it truly be the year of our Lord? Across the board people are saying, “yes”, to the commission from Christ. Chains are breaking off, relationships are being restored- Salvation is here. Will you jump? Will you take the plunge into the mystery? This year will be a switching from the defense to the offense, a rising up from the timid to the bold in Christ. We, the saints, are stepping into a fearlessness like never before. We are taking new ground and crushing the serpent’s head with a new fierceness, new authority in Christ. Therefore surrender your will, surrender your self, and be willing to be uncomfortable. I sense that 2019 will be a year of miracles and divine power revealed through the saints like this generation has never seen with their own eyes. And through the saints’ obedience of stepping out in faith, there will be a heatwave that rolls across the planet and thaws the cold hearts of man. Open your eyes to see the Spirit move and open your ears to hear His call.

“For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said:
Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion
.’”

Hebrews 3:14-15 NKJV

Cling

The words escape my mind as steam from a hot shower evaporates on a cold winter’s day. Eloquent descriptions of what I view in my day to day appear in my thoughts like a blinking cursor waiting to be moved onward, a pen itching in my hand to be scratched upon paper, and yet the mere thought of acting upon the notion feels so weighty. One second I’m encouraging myself to journal the passing moment’s events, and the next I am resting nose deep within pages of a book. The presence of unwritten words hastily fleeting, yet the ghost of their absence lingering on my skin like a cold sweat. More. Do More.

Even merely describing this inner struggle feels so taxing. Maybe I’ve moved into a new season. Maybe writing has become a different extremity on my body; no longer legs holding me up, but fingers processing the touch and feel of what’s in front of me. Painting has become my release, my brain’s jigsaw puzzle of putting together the pieces of my life-my inhale with Jesus. I don’t know fine artistic technique. I can name historically famous painters on one hand. My artisan knowledge is minimal and maybe that is exactly why I can relax as beauty explodes from my finger tips. I can sit in silence and enjoy the hum of quiet whilst my own naivety births ingenuity.  There are no voices in my head criticizing my every brush stroke, because I know nothing except what I am doing in that moment. Pure innocence, purely child-like, pure faith if you think about it. Untainted by insecurity because there is no degree of comparison. There is no need to be the best, no pressure to get my viewers to love what they see, or even to relate- just pure product of self. Purity. It’s not always beautiful. I often hate what I see and, to my own dismay, I will paint over it or throw it out. But even that doesn’t discourage my creativity, because there is more paper, more canvas, and more paint. I can try again. Though many bumper stickers state it, that isn’t something we often believe. In contrast, we feel like we have this one chance to make it big or one moment to get it right. Failure or rejection in the face of that perfection ruins us. We have an exceeding amount of judgement for ourselves-and others- and yet very little grace. We’re drowning whilst delusional in thinking we are climbing our ladders to the American Dream. Stepping on the faces of those scrambling up with us, money clenched within our fists while elbowing anyone that gets in our way. Upward we climb for success. Success. Success. Success. Outwardly moving forward as a people, all the while inwardly shriveling up like a moth flying too close to a flame. It is a brutal, destructive way of living. If you can even call it life. What does Jesus call life?

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

John 14:6 NIV

Jesus is the ladder up to the success we’re after which is, relationship with the Father. Jesus is the abundant life we seek. He’s the beginning and the end. The answer to our questions. The answer to our problems. And He wants to do life with us. He wants more than a one hour prayer time slot with us. He wants us to walk with Him, to let Him walk with us. This is more than being a robot programmed to obey God, it’s more than a possession of spirit, this is relationship. The closer to God I get the more aware of my own humanity I become, the more evident it is that relationship is truly what it is all about. Jesus came to give us access to the Father. That is what the goal of salvation is. Relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ is the abundant life, the blessed life we’re after. From that river we can spring outward to reach a parched humanity.

Abba is our deep breath. Abba is our rest. In Deuteronomy 30, God tells us that He gives us a choice every day: life or death, blessing or curse. The choice is ours.

therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.

Deuteronomy 30:19-20 NKJV

I always believed that naivety was a downfall. Now I’m not so sure. There are many scriptures to support that Godly wisdom is a good thing-something to be desired more than the finest gold. I’m not countering that. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Where can we obtain it?Not found in books or speeches, no, this wisdom is found in the purity of an embrace. There is purity in not knowing who, what, when, where, why, or how. There is purity in the mystery; purity in contentment. There is purity in clinging to God and allowing His gentle yoke to teach you His ways.

Do you have children? If so, then like me, you have seen a new facet to the word ‘cling’. Both my son and daughter cling to me many times a day. However, my favorite moments are when they come to me with arms opened wide, I sweep them up into my arms, and they go fully limp against my chest as they cling to me in a warm embrace. This is what the Father desires from us. To run to Him with outstretched arms, to release a sigh as we rest our head upon His chest, listening to His heart beat while He holds us in His arms. This is vulnerable. It takes courage to let it all go in a shuttering exhale and find something new in the rest.  Still it is here, this warm embrace with Him, where life resides. It is here that I find myself, in His arms; with no expectations, only love. That love is what moves my hand in carefree strokes across a canvas. It’s what drives me to type these words despite my desire to read the next chapter in my book. You see, I must tell you about the love of the Father. The love that brings life from death. The love that moves mountains, and heals diseases. This love is more; therefore, we do not have to be. Hear His whisper to you now..

Stop your striving, child, just be.

 Enjoy the milk and honey found in His arms as He walks you through life. His goodness will move you to be like Him. Cling to the Father and breathe.