Friday, June 24, 2016

Never Far || an album

credit: Ryan Lucas

Good morning from the little lake town of Pepin, WI. Yesterday Luke and I had a grand old time releasing our first album, 'Never Far', on Bandcamp and debuting it to two of our biggest supporters: the friends who hosted us for three weeks while we were in Eau Claire, WI this month. And now, we get to share it here with you!



It's been a long time coming -- they say the first album takes the longest because its from birth til release day that youre working on it. Luke has been writing songs for over ten years. I first heard him sing on Christmas Eve of 2015. Whether youve known him since he was writing songs about grilled cheese sandwiches, you played in a band with him, or have only known him since we've been married, Im sure youve heard and been blessed by his music. Its such a beautiful purpose on his life. Im really happy to get to support him in it and work (read: sing) alongside him. He took a risk in sending me a private youtube video of a new song while he was overseas with YWAM this year. I responded in kind, compelled to record a voice memo of harmonies for it -- something Id never done before in my life, nor did I know Luke enough to know how he'd receive it. I didnt know then but that sealed the deal in his heart that I was who he would run with for his life. Now here we are, the first of many albums to come from Mid Air. He has lots of experience with performing and I have practically none. He had recorded before when he was at school at McNally Smith in the Cities, I'd sung into a mic maybe five times in my life. This really is just the beginning.

credit: Ryan Lucas

There is something truly special about these songs. It goes beyond the craftsmanship of Luke's lyrics or my harmonies or our friend David's masterful production skills. A friend said it best when they called it "anointed". And that's all we want: Holy Spirit to flood the atmosphere and awaken dead hearts, open deaf ears. A name, fame, fortune -- they may come, and, praise God, His grace is enough for us to steward those gifts really well -- but they wont last. Lives changed, and His kingdom come, will.

///

For those of you curious about a life update: We have recently moved into an apartment in Pepin. A mid-course correction on our way to the Cities, it looks like we will be here for the summer. Living by the lake, probably walking to work (Luke has had a few interviews), using wifi outside of the awesome 404 Coffee shop by the marina, and driving the river road to the Twin Cities now and then. Caught in the flow of Holy Spirit's perfect timing is a marvelous way to live. We're enjoying it all. You never know where we will be tomorrow. With the album officially out we will be playing house-shows, coffee shops, bars, and other venues. For updates follow us on Facebook and Instagram >> Luke @lukeborek + Chelsea @chelsea_pea or Mid Air @midairband

Friday, June 17, 2016

Transitions >>

Its been a season of transition essentially all year. Most memorable, of course, was becoming engaged to and marrying Luke Osicka. If youre reading this from Milwaukee theres a good chance that you were one of many beloved people that practically supported us with our wedding in Pere Marquette Park as well as in May as we moved out of our duplex unit in Shorewood. I had leased the space a year before and as our time came to a close we sought the Lord on whether to stay in Milwaukee or move somewhere else. We felt led to New York City for awhile and went that way for weeks before the Lord clearly redirected us to Minneapolis, MN -- mainly to serve our friend Blake in his business endeavors with kombucha.

What started as simply downsizing our wardrobes soon became selling all of our furniture. Once we had gone to that point it was a no-brainer to cut back on many possessions. We had a fun garage sale, nothing priced, all by donation, with everything we were presently willing to part with. On the final day we ended up giving away a huge load of things which was a great blessing to us and the recipient.


My Dad had come to town for an event and drove a pickup so he could take a load of boxes and our mattress to Eau Claire (where my family lives, less than two hours from the Twin Cities) for us. With one car load of items that had been bought from our sale online, stored in a friends basement for the next time we could come to retrieve it, we loaded up our car with our remaining clothes, our bedding, a guitar, fitting Barley in the trunk space. We drove to Eau Claire and dropped Barley off at my Mom's, where he has been living for the time being. Its the most stable living condition for him while Luke and I work and travel back and forth from the Cities keeping traction there. We have lived in our friends, James and Kelsey's, guest room most of the time since we arrived on May 31st, with occasional overnights at my Mom's. While here we have worked for my Dad's real estate company. Luke and my youngest brother Aidan have done a ton of manual labor together. That's been a treat.


It's been an adventure. Ive moved many, many times in my young life but never have I moved out of a place not knowing where we'd move to. To be somewhat homeless, a gypsy of sorts, has been a great experience -- one I believe that Luke and I will have many more times in our traveling missionary life -- more humbling than I imagined it would be. Its like camping, but indoors. We arent making much money, we still have bills and student loans and daily expenses. We're often fed by family or friends, which is a huge gift not taken lightly. Regardless of our financial circumstances, we are giving away resources as we see anyone (friends, family, the Church) in need. Especially homeless people. Doesnt matter how much or little we have, we give. That's what love does. Just a really fun part of living by faith.

Our first music album has been underway since our honeymoon. We recently finished our final recording session with our friend David. He's mixing and mastering and as soon as we have the final tracks we will have be releasing the first of many officially recorded albums by Mid Air. Super exciting!

We have been in the Cities for that but we have also reconnected and fellowshipped with several dear friends during our visits. We would have been more than happy to move right to the Cities with a mere pitstop at most in Eau Claire but housing hasnt come together just yet and we've been trusting the Lord's divine timing on that and what employment should look like for us in this time of our lives. Knowing that we are living as missionaries everywhere we go we chose to pursue living in an area of St Paul called Frogtown. There is a community of urban missionaries living all over throughout that neighborhood and theyre calling it Godtown. Meeting with the leaders of the outreach/training center we all realized what a great fit it would be for us to live there and minister with them. Our friend John has been seeking out an ideal housing situation for us since.


We know there are many people, locally in the Midwest, as well as around the globe, that love us dearly and would do anything to help us as we go where we are called and spread Hope like wildfire. You guys are key pieces of our life. Every time you pray for intimacy with Christ to be dearer, our marriage to be united, our minds to be renewed, our lives to be laid down, and any obstacles removed, youre literally partnering with heaven in championing the call on our lives. As far as practical needs, there are many and varied sorts. If youre compelled to bless us by contributing to these needs in any way, let us know. We'd be happy to talk about how the Lord would have us partner. He's excellent at those connections and directions.


Thanks for following along with our journey, friends! Its a whirlwind and marvelously challenging. We're abundantly blessed. P.S. Luke writes a fantastic newsletter each month. If youd like to subscribe to it send him a quick email: luke.osicka@gmail.com

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

He's Never Far Off. Are We?

Child laborers, child soldiers, child prostitutes -- child slaves. We're involved in enslaving them. Really. We buy products that are produced in sweat shops or from ingredients that are sourced from labor fields. We participate in pimping kids by only seeing human trafficking as a problem and not realizing that any support of the porn industry is directly tied to the sale of other people's bodies.

Why are children preyed upon? Like women, they tend to be most vulnerable. Easy to take advantage of. In order for us to truly advocate for them we need to stop sowing into streams of business that rely on taking advantage of that vulnerability.

credit: Blog for Asia

Spheres of people especially targeted are impoverished families or foreigners -- immigrant or refugee. When there is war, there are refugees. We are seeing an influx of them as a result of unrest around the world. That may seem far away but these are our neighbors, our brothers. To remove their vulnerability from them and intimidate darkness away from them with light... see, this issue and battle is a spiritual one that merely manifests in the physical... we get to bind the forces of darkness in prayer and advance and take the ground back from them, setting captives free, with hands-on love, in so many ways.

We may think the only way we can help surround people with care and support is to partner with relief services or ministries that are on the ground (Gospel for Asia, World Vision, Compassion Intl, etc). That's great but it isnt the only way. Every day purchases that we make are feeding either the advocacy of people in need or the misuse of them. So you want to be a part of ending child slavery? Slavery of all kinds? Make a stand with your purchases. Perhaps its inconvenient to order online instead of walking into a store. If its saving lives and setting them free its worth it. I know you agree. By employing dads and moms in refugee and other poor communities we are defending their children.

If I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it does me no good at all. || 1 Corinthians 13:3 AMP

My husband and I are passionate about not only partnering with fair trade instead of slave labor products and brands and companies but joining hands with people and places that are intentionally setting souls as well as bodies free, bringing liberty and justice and hope in the truest form as we practically see people empowered. A great example of this is Raven + Lily -- employing women all over, including refugee women in Pakistan. Hear the founder's, Kristen Dickerson, heart on Right Now Media. Another great example is Sseko Designs. Catch a glimpse of the heartbeat of their founder, Liz, below.



We see bands or celebrities visit refugee camps or go on trips with teams that bring relief. Im thankful for the awareness their influence yields. You have an even more powerful ability to influence people than they do though. You have deeper personal connection with a few people than their wide spread connection to many has. You've taken your personal stand with your heart and mind and mouth and spending for the vulnerable, youve partnered in freedom, youve been your brothers keeper, now you can activate your sphere of influence to do the same -- one small step at a time -- just by inviting them to make the changes you are making.

Daddy God's heart is so compelled by love to go and to wrap with comfort and mighty care all the vulnerable, all the poor. He's a Dad! He loves His children! He will do anything for them. He already has done everything for them and we're His Body. He is never far from those in need. We're His hands and feet though so if we pull back from our brothers everyone suffers. We literally get to love like Jesus. Lay down the right to your own life and truly consider others as more important than yourself and serve them willingly. Carrying them in your heart and lifted in constant prayer, advocated for and not abandoned we extend help and favor to them by empowering Gospel-filled fair trade companies who are employing the vulnerable and needy.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Losing your life to save it //

Affairs. Divorce. Despitefully used. Free will. Forgiveness. No record of wrongs. Freedom through death.
My parents have a past. They did before they were married. They joined their lives and became one flesh agreeing that no man could separate what God had put together. Together they worked and moved, raised four kids and dreamed big dreams. They loved each other. They loved us kids. They loved Jesus. 
Wounds from my Mom’s past weren’t let go of. Lust was fostered by my Dad. He chose infidelity. His justifications for this choice aren’t impressive. He had a couple affairs, wronging all of us, himself, and the other women and their families. He grieved Holy Spirit. 
I had noticed crazy tension between my parents and, having always been close with my Dad, I asked what was going on. He didn’t tell me the truth. I asked my Mom and wouldn’t let her blow me off. I was shocked by the news she shared. Shocked, betrayed, hurt, heart-broken, but my first response was, “Have you forgiven him?” I knew that freedom was precious and for all our hearts to be freed and heal we needed to forgive immediately and completely — to set my Dad free. He had admitted he knew his actions were selfish. He told me he never considered how it would affect us kids. Sin is blindly destructive like that.
The second time around I was far more shocked, believe it or not, and far more heart-broken. It ripped our family apart. It tore another family apart. Many wrongs were suffered. Dad carried himself like nothing had happened and all was as it had been. Destroying your own life and being destructive to the ones you love the most isn’t easy to face. Impossible even.
For months my parents went through the messy, rotten process of divorce. I believed for miraculous reconciliation. I fasted and prayed hoping to see breakthrough and deep repentance from my Dad. I spoke a lot of life and refused to agree with the anger and hurt my mom’s heart expressed. Unfortunately they finalized the divorce days before Luke and my wedding. Id been confused about how to interact with my Dad so I had avoided him. I wanted to walk uprightly but I didn’t really know how to do this thing called: “bless those who curse you, pray for those who despitefully use you.” Having him walk me down the aisle was a redemptive symbol of reconciliation through wonderful grace. 

Let me teach you what Ive learned, and am learning, about how it is done. 
- “Let everything be done in love.” I remember telling a friend that I knew I needed to continue to love my dad but I was finding it hard to because of how “unloveable” he was being. She corrected me with the wonderful truth that no one is unloveable no matter what they do. Even murderers and adulterers and abusers and liars are SO loved by God that He gave Jesus in order to free and cleanse and restore them to Himself because He deeply longs for them to be near Him. If He loves them, they can’t be unloveable. I had loved people who had done terrible things before. The fact that it was my Dad didn’t exclude him from such a grace.
- “Love keeps no record of wrongs.” I recently heard Kris Vallaton say that when you forgive someone you forfeit all right to hold or use that wrong against the person ever again. In fact it wipes the slate completely clean so that you may only operate toward them as though they never even did whatever it was that was wrong. Love doesn’t ever say, “Shame on you!” it only takes shame off of each other.
- “Whoever loses his life will save it.” Anger or fear are forms of self-protection… Being wronged and feeling owed a righting of those wrongs… The entitlement of bitterness or self-pity… Talking about my Dad shamefully instead of honorably… None of these are right, praise worthy, or acceptable. They’re all about trying to save your own life and they all lead, instead, to losing it. You do yourself, the Body, and unbelievers a great disservice by spending any time that way. The greatest realization of my life, daily, is Christ crucified. It frees me from me. The Bible says my real life is hidden with God in Christ Jesus. By believing in Jesus I reconcile myself dead in Christ’s death 2,000 years ago at Calvary. The most freeing truth is that Im not my own, the life I now live I live as dead and alive again in Christ alone. Being free from me means I am free from trying to save my life, self-protect or preserve it, and fight against flesh and blood whenever a wrong is done to me. Im freed from being compelled to deal out the justice of punishment (the glory of the Law) and instead get to deal out the justice of mercy, of living at peace with everyone, and of ministering reconciliation/wholeness (the glory of the Gospel) to others. I dont need God to fight my cause, He already defended me completely by giving me the new life of living laid down — free from me. I don’t need my Dad to be a good Dad or for him to be a good Husband to my Mom in order for me to love and honor him, because my well being and worth is not determined by his life lived, but only by Jesus’ sufficiency.

How to interact with my Dad has been made very free and clear by the glorious, scandalous Good News. How to interact with his girlfriend, another man’s wife, doesn’t need to be any less clear. All I know is Jesus, and what He sees when he looks at her is a daughter He’s longing to have reconciled to Himself through the freeing power of faith — for her to receive death to herself and life in Him, to be freed from all sin and brought close to Him by His blood. In His presence is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore. My Dad and her may not realize it but thats the satisfaction their souls are grasping for. They didn’t find it in their spouses and they won’t find it in each other. They can’t find it in their kids or incomes or possessions. They were made to be one with Jesus and as long as they are living separated from Him they’ll be lost. I get to present the key to their freedom, cleansing, reconciliation, and satisfaction with my life lived. That is my only right in all interactions with them — ’til Kingdom come. I love my parents.

Truly ALL things can be done through Christ whose strength is really shown perfect through our weak spots.



credit: Ryan Lucas

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Following the Servant Leader //

PLOT TWIST: As of one week ago, Luke and I are moving to Minneapolis, MN instead of Brooklyn, NY.
Remember, we havent known much, only that we had to move and that Jesus had that covered. He likes to co-create with us and the fact that we have dreams of living in California and New York someday is as much Him dreaming with us as it is us dreaming with Him. We had enough peace with Brooklyn as our heading to really go for it. We got a lot of detail-rich vision for what lifestyle would look like for us in the coming season and new city. There was also a lot of double and triple checking with each other that this was really what we had peace about doing -- because neither of us had a resounding peace yet. We looked for two-bedroom apartments believing God could make a way for us to afford that (it fit with the vision He had revealed to us). Nothing seemed quite right though. Not that nothing fit our taste or was "too ______" for us, we just had no peace about any place. In fact we didnt have peace about looking for or finding a place out there. Basically Daddy God reminded us not to think that we knew how long we'd be there for and that a lease, even a month-long sublet, may not be His plan. All along we'd been becoming less and less clear on what New York would look like, counting the cost of really going anyway, and welcoming God to totally blow up any plan we thought we had to do what He wanted to do.

Meanwhile we've been learning how to pray. Luke says, "Dont pray a prayer unless youre willing to be the answer to it." The same heart, different words, is: Pray the wild prayers, and be willing to become the answer to them. We've seen the purpose on our friend Blake's life. The man is anointed for business, along with a number of other beautiful and brilliant things. Luke and I have prayed multiple times over and for him regarding an endeavor of his with kombucha. We've been cheerleading for him in it -- but thats just a reflection of Daddy God's advocacy of it. You may see where this is going. (Its not about being able or not able to see it coming, its about walking in perfect peace and perfect timing -- then you know what you need to know when you need to know it.)

credit: Fresh Vision Freelance

Monday morning, 3:30am, Luke and I were on the road. We had a four hour drive and during it Luke began to vision cast something coming to the surface of his heart regarding Minneapolis. This wasnt random. About a week into our heading with Brooklyn I, out of "nowhere" (read: Heaven's divine mysteries revealed), thought of Minneapolis and remember asking Luke, "Could you see us living there?" Sure he could. He had lived there before. His incredible community there had become mine as well. The partnerships and fellowship and discipleship are unparalleled. He didnt push it forward though, he left it sitting with me. In my heart's eye I could see that it would either be New York or Minneapolis. I was open to it. However we already had a heading we were going with and it wasnt being shut down so I had more peace about seeing that through to whatever point Daddy God had. Long story short, we did. And here we are: long car ride, Luke's vision, the seed of Minneapolis instead of NYC planted in me weeks before. Luke and I had a lot of alone time that day, after the drive, and while I was by myself I got a sweet download from Daddy God in my spirit. Bit by bit He wove together all the vision He'd given for our upcoming season with the momentum He had established for us in the Twin Cities. I told Luke about it. He was absolutely in. There was much to it but what I opened with was, "I think we're to be the answer to our prayers for helping hands for Blake." You know, if Holy Spirit wanted to head us toward New York, revealing a depth of surrender and humility and faithfulness in us previously untapped, just so that He could lead us to the hilarious generosity of literally dropping all of that on a dime in order that we might go and lay our lives down for our brother, championing him with Heaven in the fullest way possible -- yay, God!

credit: Ryan Lucas

As the vision manifests and pieces divinely fall into place in the coming weeks it will be shared. What God is doing is always praise-worthy and glorious and edifies the Body. He is a master of details, an amazingly good Father, and whimsically inclined Author. Right now we're all about: Christ alone, enjoying the journey -- of telling a story or starting a business or remodeling a building or being unified in marriage or growing a baby, and deep unity (see John 14-16).

this is just the beginning.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

He is calling >>

This generation in the Body is growing in prophetic maturity. Im part of the generation. Yay!
Daddy God delights to give. Its how He is. Spiritual gifts are meant to be desired by us because He wants to give them to His kids. As obvious as it is in the title we can always stand to be reminded that gifts arent earned theyre just received. We arent entitled to them, or by them. Inheritance goes to the ones who bear the title of kin. By our born-again nature we have been titled His own flesh and are therefore the heirs of all that is His. We have received, not earned that. Gifts are for receiving, they are also for stewarding well.
So, yes. Maturing in the gift of the prophetic. Very biblical. Thank you, Jesus. Moving on.

God speaks things to me through dreams, pictures, words, and visions. Ive been learning for years to be responsible with these, to communicate them accurately, and to interpret them properly. Its been a journey. It continues to be.
A few visions I received and relayed to Luke over the past few weeks were just confirmed and interpreted through becoming tangible and real yesterday. It was really encouraging. The way that experience fed my faith and intimacy with the Lord was unexplainable. Ive been after nearness. Daddy God had given me an agenda in the month of December and it became the word over the whole year of 2016. He said, "BE WITH Me."
At the start of the year Luke and I began to talk. In the blessed unfolding we thereafter fell in love, planned our wedding, he put a ring on my finger, we got married and became one flesh. That was three wonderfully intense months of intimacy, unity, and closeness. Now we are quickly approaching two-months-in of being with each other nearly all day, every day, and learning a new level of nearness with another soul, part of which has been times of us going after God's presence together.
We're co-stewarding each other's gifts. Seeing vision fulfilled yesterday moved us deeply and knit us anew in hidden places. Last night as we went to bed I told Luke the only thing I wanted to hear as we fell asleep was Jesus, and Luke's breathing. We've watched a movie almost every night in bed and Luke had planned to do so last night as well but as soon as I said what I said, Luke scrapped that, grabbed his Bible, soaked in a passage and we turned off the lights. So simple, so powerful in unity. Momentum. Dont grieve Holy Spirit by brushing Him off in these little moments.


This morning I woke with fresh vision on something Holy Spirit had been whispering to my heart for some time and I just hadnt known how to properly speak out or discern. Im thankful for the job I have. Its amazing and its what I deeply enjoy doing. Luke is so ready for a season of working after a year of fully supported missions work and discipleship but because of the short remains of our time in this location he's only pursued odd jobs and temporary work. Its humbling to have our living expenses covered largely by my nannying job. Like my husband, I'm able-bodied and have a lot of ambition and drive. However, Ive felt a few times this month a longing to not be working a job. Remaining faithful at work and, now, my job coming swiftly to an end, Ive still been anticipating getting hired along with Luke in the coming season in our new city because that's logical when you have a lot of debt to pay off. Often times logic and calling dont line up though.
In past weeks a couple of girlfriends, all in different language, have expressed essentially the same thing: a desire not to be working right now. This morning this word was unlocked and I perceived that what is a physical manifestation in each of these four God-fearing and Holy Spirit-loving hearts is coming from a deeper spiritual shift in focus for the Bride, at large, right now.
The Bridegroom is calling His Beloved to come away with Him. To, like Martha and Mary, leave the kitchen behind in pursuit of the better thing that wont be taken from us: just sitting at the feet of the Rabbi (Master). Four hearts have caught it and while not every prophetic word begs a literal walking out, I believe that this one does and that, at least the four of us, if not many others in the Body around the world, will be that example and picture for the rest of the Church to catch this word: He just wants us to BE WITH Him.

My husband is amazing. He loves Jesus and is full of faith, willing to do anything, praying every day for Holy Spirit to possess us and blow up our experience. For however long it is meant to be, he is 100% behind me not having a job and pursuing intimacy alone with Christ. The other ladies I know have taken similar steps in faith even before sharing this word together. All of us have financial obligations or debts but Jesus is King and we arent slaves to fear. When He calls your name to leave your work and come away with Him, go. This is less about everyone in the Church quitting their jobs and more about going after unity and close fellowship with Holy Spirit whatever the cost, not waiting for tomorrow. Because look, we are all here on the earth for a purpose. We are. There is work to do and to be done. Thats a marvelous thing. An honorable thing to be involved with. We have "callings" and theyre legit. Its all about this though: reconciliation to intimacy with our Father, through the blood of His Son, for us and every other person.
He told us to "be fruitful and multiply", to "go and make disciples", but also, "apart from Me you can do nothing." Friends, without my husband I cannot conceive a child. I never became pregnant as a single, virgin woman. It wasnt possible. Without abiding in Christ, being one with Him, we will not bear fruit -- we arent able to apart from Him. So if fruit is the goal, the union must be the focus. But the radical thing is this: the union is the goal, and fruit is just the glorious, life-reproducing byproduct of it. When my husband asks me to come away with him to our bedroom I dont go because it could result in us conceiving a child, I go to BE WITH him (and yes, a child will be a beautiful, wonderful, blessed fruit of our intimacy). Church, Bride of Christ, hear His heart. He just wants you to come away with Him. Let Him wrap you in His love and fill you with Himself, whatever the cost.
“It is when you become immersed in the love of the Father that you truly begin to love like Jesus. He wants to immerse you. He wants to hold you. He wants to take you to a place where you are so far over your head in the river of God that miracles happen all around you. He wants to fill you entirely with His Holy Spirit.” 
― Heidi BakerBirthing the Miraculous: The Power of Personal Encounters with God to Change Your Life and the World

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Spyhouse in Minneapolis, MN //










Luke and I had planned to head straight to the shuttle and get back to Eau Claire this morning. We ended up sleeping in so late though, at our friend Blake's house, that he just brought us along to a meeting he had at Spyhouse coffee in Minneapolis. It turned into a Holy Spirit collaboration party with Luke, Blake, our friend Nate, and I. Wonderful and completely normal Christian life -- flowing with Holy Spirit, catching what Daddy is saying and receiving it. Luke bought a guy's drink and he ended up coming over to say thanks again. We all got to talking with him and he was majorly encouraged in the Lord. So good! To be sure there will be some powerful endeavors unfolding in the future with these guys. #thebestisyettocome #glorytoglory #JesusisKing