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

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. 

My Journal

An excerpt from my journal..


October 18, 2018

Today is Brenner and I’s fourth year anniversary! I love him so much. More and more every day. Last night I tossed and turned most of the night. I was so tired, but I couldn’t sleep. My mind was racing. We spoke to ****** yesterday and they were quite discouraging [in regards to our missionary decisions]. Doubt, fear, worry, and anxiety riddled me. Then I finally heard the Lord tell me that He is The Sea Splitter, that He makes a way where there was no way. I saw the sea before us part and the Lord surround us fully. Yesterday I also had a vision of Jesus lifting me up and putting me on His shoulders: Shepherd and lamb. I began a painting of the split sea today.

Exodus 14

The Lord leads them [the Israelites] to a dead end. Though this position may look foolish to peopleGod uses “the foolish things to confound the wise” [1 Corin. 1:27] and from there they [onlookers, enemies] will know that YAH is Lord. Those in bondage will attempt to keep us in bondage. But who the Son sets free is free INDEED [John 8:36]!

When the enemy [oppression] draws near, lift your eyes to YAH. Draw near to Him alone.

“And Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.'” [Exodus 14:13-14]

God’s response to them [the Israelites’ fear]: GO FORWARD. You lift your rod and stretch out your hand to divide the sea before you. You have authority to act, and I will respond with my power.

The Angel of the Lord, Jesus, is before and behind us. We are hemmed in [Psalm 139:5-6]. 

Moses stretched out his hand by faith over the sea and God caused the water to part. He moves when we move.

The Lord fights for us.


I wrote that at daybreak yesterday morning. Later that same day I got into a car wreck that honestly could have been avoided had I been paying closer attention. I turned too sharply on to a road and side swiped another car. I was completely embarrassed by the mistake, but mostly I was convicted. Pay attention. That was more than just advice in the moment from a Father to His daughter’s flooded brain. The Lord wanted me to hear a deeper message in those words. He wants me to be more aware of my surroundings in the spiritual realm as well as the physical. I am constantly “driving” around life, if you will. Constantly making decisions, going here, going there. And the enemy would love nothing more than to distract me. Recently those distractions have looked like fear and worry, and sometimes even seemingly “holy” tasks. This is why aligning ourselves with God is so important. The enemy is looking for an empty house to enter. When we, instead, fill ourselves up with the fulness of God (Philippians 4), there is no room for the author of confusion to spin lies.

The Lord is faithful, and He is good. He reminds me where to look and what I am being called to. Despite the impossible tasks before me, He is able. I will not be afraid. One battle strategy being that I will prayerfully journal my way through this life. Not for God’s sake, but for my own fragile humanity. Because in my intense emotions, I can forget what He said. I can be distracted. But the Word of God never returns void. I am standing on His promises today. And pray that you will to. So suit up, fellow warrior. Let’s not be naive to the warfare going on around us, and let’s also not be afraid. Instead let us boldly chase the lion and conquer it. The victory is ours. And though we may physically feel cornered and surrounded by enemies, this is an illusion. The true reality is that the Great I AM is hemming us in. He is behind us and before us. We can boldly obey the Lord’s command, lifting our hand before the impossible with the authority of Christ, and He will split the sea. Go forward in faith. He is there.