Friday, December 4, 2015

Following, following, following //

He restored us to Himself. We didnt have to earn it. He would have done it no matter the cost. The joy before Him was always His beloved restored to Himself. So we're free, and we are pleasing -- no matter what -- but should we use this covering to sin, remembering that sin no longer reigns in our bodies as the children of Light? Heavens, no! What is the freedom for, then? And what does rule in our members now that sin doesnt? The freedom is to choose to follow, and as the Spirit of Christ is our life now (and Christ was the image of the Father) its safe to say that He is what reigns in us now. I believe that Jesus fulfilled the law in Who He was, and all the new commands He gave were not so much something to strive after doing in order to retain the Father's goodwill, but instead was the description to us of how our resurrected-with-Christ selves are built and born to function. Like a manual, we can read commands and say, "Oh! So before I would have sworn out revenge -- an eye for an eye -- but the new me blesses when cursed and loves -- is patient with, kind, polite, forgiving to, and long-suffering with, etc -- his enemies. Thank you, Jesus! Thats how I respond now." And this, I believe, is what it is to follow. We're freed for, filled with His life for, this -- yet we get to choose it. Even this is not forced upon but surrendered to, like a Bride to her Groom's kisses.

"Follow Me," He says and this is what I believe He means: I gave up my rights as Heaven's heir when I came to the earth to restore what had been lost. I am Love and My rights are quickly cast aside to allow Who I am to come through. This is losing your life, not loving your own life unto death. Denying yourself, picking up your cross, and following Me is just laying down your rights in order that Love might come through in every circumstance. Im your inheritance, your birth right, and I cannot be taken from you. Your "right" to possessions flies out the window when faced with someones lack, you treat what you have as the supply to their need, because thats what love does. Your "right" to be offended by someones hatred doesnt exist anymore to your mind because it would separate you from them and your desire is unity and peace, because thats what love does. You dont earn the badge of "picked up his cross" by scheduling good deeds into your life or devoting yourself to a mission field or selling all you have to live with the poor. Rather, as you live like Me, surrendered to My life and ways already written in you by My Spirit, in every circumstance what will come out is Love, the lavish generosity of heaven. And that might look like selling all you have to live with the poor or devoting your life to a mission field. Just remember that who you are determines what you do now, not the other way around.

Availeth Photography

Monday, November 23, 2015

Love, Me | 2.

Baby girl, I'm not regretting My choice of you, nor the length I went to to recover you. I didnt get into this relationship with you to test the waters out before deciding whether to commit or not. I'm not  looking for a polite way out. Youre not too needy for Me, never too clingy. I see you at your worst and still choose you, because you were at your worst when I chose you first. You cant scare Me away with a lack-luster passion or with a fury of tidal waves of affection. I'm not insecure. I dont need you to say you love Me back for Me to continue loving you. I don't get tired of wooing. I will never be unfaithful, never break My covenant with you. You dont disappoint Me. I'm not caught off guard or surprised by anything you do. Its not bad timing, its not "not meant to be", I will never break things off with us. You're not too complicated. I'm not unsure. I don't punish you with the silent treatment, or hope to "make you pay" when you wrong Me. I don't manipulate, don't try to control you. I never roll My back to you, saying "goodnight" in anger. There isnt unresolved conflict between us. I'm not unaffectionate or distant or awkward around you. Its not a labor for Me to get past your past -- I take delight in showing mercy and in forgiving.

I cant keep Myself away from you. My heart beats fast for you and My arms are most satisfied when wrapped around you, pulling you in close. I cant help Myself from talking about you to everyone I meets -- bragging on you, My love.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Meet Them // Meg

One of my dearest friends, Meg, is living & loving in Romania. Hear a bit of her heart below and read more on her blog, here: or follow her updates on Facebook:

Meg Murkli 2015 October Update from Sue Volpe on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Enough for today, bright hope for tomorrow

Daddy God's ways are so perfect.
He gave His ALL to reconcile us to Himself and abide in us by His Spirit, so His blood is mine now and I am His child. That means that all He is is what I am too. Generosity is "in my blood". So is mercy, love, joy, peace, hope, freedom, victory, discipling. We may think we dont look much like Him in the earth but take a look. Today when you saw your neighbor with a crutch your heart was moved for her because you know you have authority in the heavenlies to restore wholeness to it, so you went over and loved her that way -- as well as in giving affection to her dogs. Today when you were alone your mind wandered to truth about Jesus and your heart meditated on it. Today when you went to work you worked diligently at your job, as though it were your first day on the job, even though no one was around to see whether you did or not. Today when faced with a frightened mom's texts about her child, you didnt get defensive, you were patient and kind and honest and gracious. Today when you were short-changed on your paycheck and you really needed the full amount, you didnt raise hell, you raised heaven! You didnt say a word, were thankful for what you got, trusted the oversight would get sorted out in due time, and that your needs would be met by the One who knows them all. Today when you took inventory of your sparse pantry and fridge you found yourself rejoicing in enough. Today you spoke life and identity to your friends. Today you celebrated in prayer the living testimonies of faithful brothers and sisters around the world. That looks a lot like Jesus, it looks a lot like WHO YOU WERE [re]BORN AS; it looks like Love, on earth as it is in heaven.

You know what else looks like Him? Your mindset on provision. Youve been trained by the world (that doesnt know Him as Hope) to account for all that you will owe and to make enough to cover it all. When asked if you have enough for your needs your natural way of thinking would go, "do I have enough for all the upcoming needs?" All the planning ahead for the future, the storing up or saving, arent stable ground for placing hope in though. No one can see what tomorrow will bring. Just as likely an unforeseen expense will arise and that one little thing will totally shatter the hope we thought we had built so strong in our material wealth and resources. Daddy God is teaching me the natural way of my new nature, my in-Him nature; the way of real hope. I have a job that does cover all my needs, and then some. I ought to have enough for all the days to come. He provided both the things I pay for monthly as well as the job to pay them but its not those things that I hope in, its the One whose hand they come from. Give me that Hand and take all the rest away and Im still secure and satisfied. That is a real Hope! And its yours for the taking!

Because I look like my Daddy God, and generosity is in my blood, when Im face-to-face with another's need I give generously of all thats been given to me -- even if its money that was "meant" to cover a bill in three days. Each week that this happens I say, "Daddy, should I really give this time?" "Do you want to, baby girl?" "I do! But I should pay my bills." "Do what Ive created you to do; give. I will take care of your needs." So I give. And I hold my breath out of fear's habit -- as though, if I were to be let down and left without help, holding my breath would brace me enough for the fall. And then I marvel each day as a need arises and He meets it, over and over, day after day, until a whole month is complete and no matter how much was earned or given or required, I had enough.

He's teaching me this way. One day at a time. And tonight I had a revelation of why. If I have it so firmly rooted in me that I will have enough for all that I need TODAY, and I live that way everyday, then I can say with assurance from today that I WILL have enough for all that I need TOMORROW.
Let your character [your moral essence, your inner nature] be free from the love of money [shun greed—be financially ethical], being content with what you have; for He has said, “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]!” So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently say,
“The Lord is my Helper [in time of need], I will not be afraid.
What will man do to me?” 
// Hebrews 13:5-6 AMP

So when I hold my breath now, its going to be in hopeful expectation of Daddy showing His glory all over again in my life, not in a bracing for being let down. He never fails. And He doesnt mind the time its taken to get there for me, to renew my mind in truth, because He wants this abundant life EXPERIENCED by us, not just known about. Taste and see, friend!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Celebrating the Persecuted Church //

This is a weekend to remember -- remember our brothers and sisters who live under persecution around the world and to celebrate their lives. They are not as those who hear the Good News of Jesus coming to reconcile us to Himself and abide in us by His Spirit forever "yet he has no [substantial] root in himself, but is only temporary, and when pressure or persecution comes because of the word, immediately he stumbles and falls away [abandoning the One who is the source of salvation]."
Matthew 13:21

We know that persecutions are promised... 
Jesus said, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, there is no one who has given up a house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, who will not receive a hundred times as much now in the present age—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms—along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last, first.”Mark 10:29-31 we need not be saddened or surprised by them. So often we pray for the persecuted as victims and we cant stand to think of their suffering. We ought to celebrate it! It was promised us because there will certainly be trouble for the children of the returning King in the world still by the Prince of Darkness. As always though, good is worked out of what the Enemy intends for evil, and our unshaken faith in the face of persecution shouts all the more loudly for the world the testimony that our hope is sure and steadfast and worth any suffering. Life abundant in Jesus is a more real reality than all the pain and suffering that can come. For "Who shall ever separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? ... Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us]. For I am convinced [and continue to be convinced—beyond any doubt] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the [unlimited] love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 8:35 + 37-39

So I am well pleased with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, and with difficulties, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak [in human strength], then I am strong [truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength].
2 Corinthians 12:10

From now on let no one trouble me [by making it necessary for me to justify my authority as an apostle, and the absolute truth of the gospel], for I bear on my body the branding-marks of Jesus [the wounds, scars, and other outward evidence of persecutions—these testify to His ownership of me].
Galatians 6:17

Therefore, we speak of you with pride among the churches of God for your steadfastness [your unflinching endurance, and patience] and your firm faith in the midst of all the persecution and [crushing] distress which you endure.
2 Thessalonians 1:4

DO pray for our brothers and sisters enduring persecution! Praise God for their testimony; for their living sacrifice and the way it advances the Gospel unlike anything else. Thank Him that persecution is always worked for GOOD to them that believe. Agree with heaven, and shut out the fear from the kingdom of darkness, by celebrating the lavish extravagance of lives wholly spent for our worthy King -- in secret and on public display. That kind of givenness looks too much like Jesus to be mistaken. Pray that the persecutors will get Jesus all over them as they squeeze our brothers and sisters, that they will taste and see the goodness of our Present Help + Comfort for themselves as a result of the testimony of the Church.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Love, Me | 1.

Baby girl,

I love you.

Im attached to you. I find pleasure in you.
And nothing you can do will change those truths.

This (love for, attachment to, pleasure in) you compels Me to actions:
I cant help but draw near,
cant help but sing over you,
cant help but give all of Myself to you,
cant help but reveal My heart to you,
cant help but share My plans with you,
cant help but be where you are.

Love compels to action.
I SO LOVED >> that << I GAVE.

Giving My Son was extravagant measure to go to just to be free to draw you to Myself again, to bring you into My presence, but it was merely the PRE-gift. I had to reconcile you to Myself through My Son SO THAT I could give you My Spirit. I wanted you to know Me intimately, to experience My love everyday, to know what I think of & toward you at any moment, to taste and see My goodness here on the earth as it is in heaven, to abide in My love.

As you live right here, camped in this Love, at My feet, in My presence, abiding with My Spirit in everything you do and say and think, youre renewing your mind to operate in the reality of your freedom (sound mind) + identity (love) + authority (power). Youre training your eyes on Mine.

Stable in My love, locked onto My unending gaze of pleasure with you, you respond properly to the world. Circumstances dont have to be right or good in order for you to KNOW that I am pleased with you, that Im attached to you, that Im for you, that I am yours.

When favor is seen + experienced, when seas part, when provision falls, when supplies dont run out, when bonds are broken, when increase is harvested it stirs up your wonder and you celebrate with everyone the public display of My love for you. This is right and lovely! But your heart doesnt NEED these times to know its loved by Me. (Though they will always come because I cant help but give good things to you!)

When youre out of food and dont know where youll get your next meal, your heart doesnt panic or become discouraged, it continues rejoicing in Love because it rests in hope. Not the hope that it will be given food soon, but the hope that I am who I say I AM and that Im yours. You have food to eat that the world doesnt know about. Your soul is delighted and sustained by one glance of My eyes -- beholding the never ending reality of My love -- in secret at any moment of the night or day, far more than it ever is by "big moments" of rescue or provision.

I love you
& you KNOW it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Qualified //

Are we only going to move when it's recognized by others? Are we only willing to live missionally when we're going on a missions trip, when people can pat us on the back for it and make us feel legit, instead of letting Holy Spirit be our legitimacy and live on mission everywhere? The lip service of men is an unstable foundation but the authority of Jesus-in-you is a solid one. If you only move when men recognize your actions then you'll fail to move with Holy Spirit in His missions when no one is looking or when men think what you're doing is crazy or when they are unimpressed. Who's voice determines your identity? 
I can walk with authority (in any country or business or school, etc), share love, testify to life found in Jesus, heal, disciple, bless, release, etc. not because it's my vocation to do so -- that I'm employed by an earthly master to do this and was trained or equipped or qualified by a program or organization -- but because it's my right as a daughter of God, it flows directly out of my new nature and identity in Him. I was [re]born for this!!! 

So I may NEVER be called a missionary (identity), never have a sending church (legitimacy or qualification), or a team of financial supporters (recognition and equipping). That doesn't matter because I know who, or, rather,  Whose, I am and in Him I have everything. Identity: I am Gods daughter so missionary is part of who I am by NATURE. Legitimacy or qualification: Christ in me, the Holy Spirit (which every baptized -- dead TO sin and raised to life IN Him -- believer has in them), the hope of glory... The way heavens kingdom is established on earth... Everything needed for life (which includes mission) and godliness. Recognition or equipping: Daddy God is Provider and He is with me always, as in never away from me. My hope is in Him, not in the provision themselves. If we wait to believe who He is until we see the provision our hope is shakeable, but if our hope is in Who He is we can walk forward unshaken before the provision even comes. 

Believer, brother/sister, if you're waiting for qualification, youve got it. That was done 2,000 years ago and released to you when you believed and received. If you're waiting to FEEL qualified, you just have to accept that it's true that you are qualified by the finished work of Jesus (reconciliation to the Father and the abiding of His Spirit in you) and walk forward in that renewed mindset, that correct perspective.
Lets go set captives free!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Home to me //

Maybe you're not ready for a relationship. Maybe God wants to do something still. Maybe the man is great and you're great and you love each other but the timing is off because one or both of you still need to grow, or because your current purposes don't line up (different paces or locations). Maybe it's not about being a bad match but it just not being the right time or place for A match. Maybe it's not so much that you're ill prepared to love someone and live together but rather that there are things Jesus wants to do with your life that can only be done while you're still single, therefore the time isn't right, therefore you're not "ready". Welcome to my world. 

And if you're here too you know the freedom of it, the pleasure of it, the satisfaction of it, the joyful expectation of it. Jesus is more than enough and having your hope in Him is the most strengthening and freeing thing. If you're here too you know there's no place you'd rather be -- even the pleasure of a great marriage and family one day fade from your radar because you're so content for them to wait for their proper time and to simply be here, now. 

Here, now, our First Love is our only love and we know that the longer we spend with only Him the richer our someday-marriages will be -- because satisfaction in abiding in Him is the secret to satisfaction in every season and circumstance. Here, now, when our time and affections aren't prioritized on a spouse and children, they're free to be spent generously on others and to pursue the dreams He's made for us for such a time as this. If you're here too you know how glad you are not to have missed this, skipped it, or rushed through it. If you're here too you're probably one of the most eligible and desirable singles in your community but you've refused to settle for less than Gods best -- not just in match but in timing too -- and you know you've chosen the better part. We pray for our future spouse and we dream of those future babies, but we don't have to wait til we're there to experience fulness of joy, life abundant, nor do we have to have someone on our radar in order to have hope. Jesus is truly the joy and the life and He's here, now. His presence is home to me.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Friday Favorites >>

1. "Epic All-Nighter" playlist on Spotify for long stretches of reading (see #3) 2. Stumptown chocolate cold brew -- I tried it at an actual Stumptown coffee shop in NYC a few weeks ago but you can get these cartons of it at Target 
3. "Perspectives", a book I got for school five years ago and only read selected chapters of Ive now picked back up and am reading straight through 4. United Pursuit's latest songs on YouTube 5. Wanderlust's newest documentary "Holy Ghost - Reborn" which I havent seen yet but ordered a few days ago 6. Shea Moisture conditioner -- it does wonders for my curls 7. Alaffia foaming lavender hand soap -- because I love everyday products that give back 8. Pacifica lipstick is a moisturizing lipstick, unlike most lipsticks, and its good for these chapped lips of mine

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Not in a Hurry //

The Lord's life had purpose and promise all over it years and years before He was conceived and delivered. My life did too. Jesus grew up knowing the prophesies speaking of His life. How many times as He walked or sat eating or worked with His dad or lay in bed through His childhood and young adult years do you think that He meditated on them? Knowing His calling, knowing the day would come for Him to fulfill it all. His cousin, John, had known Him from conception. The night before do you think Jesus lay awake in excited anticipation of His time?

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan [River], to be baptized by him.14 But John tried to prevent Him [vigorously protesting], saying, “It is I who need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” 15 But Jesus replied to him, “Permit it just now; for this is the fitting way for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John permitted [it and baptized] Him. 16 After Jesus was baptized, He came up immediately out of the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he (John) saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him (Jesus), 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased and delighted!” -- Matthew 3

So it began. Before He had ever done one thing or said one word in His ministry, in His life calling, His Dad says He is well pleased with Him. And this is where I am right now. Ive known all my life in the depths of me bits and pieces of my calling. Ive seen them string together over the years. Ive meditated on the purpose Daddy God has for my life. Ive anticipated the day when its due time to fulfill.  Wife, mother, prophet. But here, on the eve of launching into it all, He keeps saying over and over, "I want to spend these last days just you and Me. I want to celebrate your life and show you what I see when I look at you. You're my beloved daughter, in whom I am well pleased and delighted. Let Me just shower you with love in these final days before your wedding [destiny]."

I am in no hurry to get to the next season. All my life Ive been itching to get to the day when I would be married and having babies and on mission. That sense of knowing it wasnt time but one day it would be and in my preparation that desire kept me motivated. But this season right before the fulness of time, the completion of years of preparation, where Im just WITH my Love and sinking deep in this truth that ultimately my calling is to be a child of God -- it has been before the creation of the world -- Im in no hurry to move past it.

Church, if youve thought that in order to be intimate with Daddy you had to be fulfilling His will... If youve been afraid of being out of His will, of mishearing Him, of disobeying, of lacking in ministry, etc... Youve had it backwards. You have been brought near by unity in Christ's death and resurrection. You ARE seated in heavenly places and have freedom to approach the throne with BOLDNESS. Its for FREEDOM that Christ has set you free. Intimacy with Him has been established long ago. You were [re]born into it. Its FROM intimacy that we naturally walk in His will, hear Him, obey him, minister. Its only from that place. Its an overflow of what we've been given. Who we ARE determines what we do, what we do doesnt determine who we are.
So then, believers, we [who are born again—reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for His purpose] are not children of a slave woman [the natural], but of the free woman [the supernatural]. It was for this freedom that Christ set us free [completely liberating us]; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery [which you once removed]. -- Galatians 4:31-5:1

You get to LIVE in this place! You never have to leave it! We live rejoicing because we live in the everlasting reality that we are free and we are children of God and He is well-pleased with us! Take all the time you need to just rest in that. Every day! Its never a waste of time to meditate on this and be renewed in your mind by this truth.
And dont fear making mistakes in hearing Him. He loves our boldness and He loves to correct us as we go because its part of training. He's not displeased with mistakes. Be encouraged!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Perfect Ways //

Two weeks ago I entered a new season of life. My twenty third year is already so marked by release, purpose and presence and I want to share about it. Basically, regardless of circumstances, Daddy God is faithful, He is mine, and in His presence is FULNESS of joy. 

Last summer I'd had breakthrough from my heart break that spring, I'd been given fresh vision for purpose after the future Id envisioned with Zachary was stripped away -- by mercy and perfect wisdom's plan I now see -- and at that time I was prayer-walking my city and listening for where I was to move. I was also investing in new friendships in other cities where we were cheering each other on in living the normal Christian life. Last October one of those friends revealed feelings for me and intentions toward me. I shared his feelings and was more than on-board with his serious and honorable intentions. I was so afraid of loss though and the fear was flavoring my feelings with doubt and anxiety. All the what ifs of another interest never becoming anything committed, of another envisioned future stripped away, of a loved man lost, of possibly having to endure the ache of someone having left instead of staying again. With all the patient reassurances of my friend, all his encouragement of this being a new thing and not what I'd been through before, of all the promise I saw written on the idea of "us", and simply believing that, whatever came, this man was worth the risk and I wanted it, I chose to begin again. 

Long distance, we took things slow in a sense, as we wanted to interact with each other and meet each other's "people" before making anything official, but we also launched, or fell, quickly into what I hoped never to recover from. For months I was reservation and caution. Then I was all-in. Then I was insecure in the amount of time we were taking between expressed mutual desires and a public commitment. In the midst of moving forward though my friend heard distinctly from Daddy God, "Wait. Don't get ahead of My timing." He wanted to ignore it because of his strong draw to me. He tried to ignore it but couldn't. Eventually he told me about the word and it revealed how much I needed some one-on-one time with Daddy. I pitched a fit. I kicked and screamed and told them both how not okay I was with this plan. "Daddy, don't you know that my security depends on things actually coming together and lasting this time around? What are You thinking asking us to wait? This messes with my heart so much." For months we went up and down this emotional roller coaster of limbo because my friend couldn't ignore the word and I really wanted to. When I realized afresh that I couldn't control the future, we spent some days apart. We prayed, talked, cried to our Daddy, and came back together on the same page: we needed to submit to this word and we thought the only way to guard each other's hearts while waiting to further pursue a future together meant disconnecting from each other for a period of time and then reconnecting afterward to reevaluate where we sensed things were at on Gods timetable and heart. So we did. 
For five months we avoided talking to and seeing each other, labeled ourselves "off the market", and opened ourselves instead to whatever Daddy wanted to do in us individually as well as with "us". 

Two weeks into our season of separation I got a call telling me that my parents had separated. My security depending on the faithfulness of loved ones and them not leaving had landed me on my face. The only one I had for intimacy in this confusing and painful time was the one who later would reveal himself to me as my Forever Love. 
Month by month, season by season, I walked forward with Daddy God and let him Father me, let Him love me. It wasn't about questions being answered or about circumstances being favorable or people being faithful. I was finding all I needed in the security and the hope and the steadfastness of Him. I was finding all I needed in the one who is mine -- forever. 

Time was drawing to a close in the separation season with my friend, a time for reevaluation was nearing. All the way through Daddy had assured me, "The man will know how to lead forward, and you will know how to respond to his decision." Then one week before my birthday a complete shift in my heart occurred and it wasn't my desire for my friend and I to pursue a future anymore. The man who had loved me well, led me patiently, walked through healing and confusion and obedience and silence with me, the one I'd thanked God for more times a day than I could keep track of, was very suddenly the man that I just wanted restored friendship with. I wanted so much to just begin again with him, after all the months of silence, as friends and just allow life to unfold before us as it would. 

In Daddy's perfect timing, my friend called, on my birthday, about a year from the date he'd initiated pursuing me, and what was the way forward that he'd clearly been told to lead in? Just beginning again as friends. Leave it to Daddy to get two of His kids on the same page without them communicating or seeing each other. I might add too, that although we were both sure this was the place to begin again and the way forward for us, our feelings for each other had come through the season still in tact. We still wanted each other as we had the whole year but we wanted other things more. My friend wanted healing from past hurts -- things that had been revealed to him during our season apart -- and regain the freedom of heart to be really vulnerable in a romantic relationship again someday. He wanted to continue in the callings and purposes Daddy had for him where he was. I wanted to be officially single again and have that freedom to run hard after all that Daddy had for me in the year ahead. I wanted to keep going through life's troubles with this security in my immovable Daddy and forget about romance until it was really time. We were so grateful and so glad that our friendship had been preserved. I was happy to have the possibility that down the road perhaps our hearts and Daddy's timing would line up and we'd explore a future together once again, but I also had so much peace that whether that happened or not is just fine. 

How is it that when it looks like all I feared came to pass that I came out so unwounded, so fearless, so secure in hope? Daddy is faithful and works everything to my good and won't ever leave me! Security that depends on anything other than Him leaves us hanging but security in Him leaves us soaring. 
My parents are walking through getting divorced, I've lost the hoped for future with my dear friend that we'd delighted over and prayed for, and through it all it is literally, to the depths of me and back again, WELL with me. This is the best year of my life so far. Bad news at possibly the worst timing -- my folks' separation right on the heels of my friend and I beginning our separation season, and then no restoration of hoped for relationship with my friend settled on my birthday -- has come to be just news that didn't shake me and that ended up being a blessing to me because my Daddy God reigns and hope in Him never disappoints. It's incredibly sad that my Dad left our family. It's sad that my friend and I aren't moving forward as we'd hoped. As always there's a season of mourning. But it was especially short for me because it was eclipsed by an extreme pleasure in the Presence of my Forever Love. 

I'm supremely satisfied. Perfect peace, an abounding joy, and supernatural strength are what I'm walking around in and it doesn't even make sense to me. By all "rights" I should be miserable or depressed or riddled with anxiety. But I'm a child of God and so by all heaven's rights I'm secure and satisfied and whole. I'm passionate about His presence, about abiding in fulness of joy, and in being the evidence of a God who is more than enough. He's really good. I can't even help it -- Im more in love with Him than ever!

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, does not faint or grow weary; there is no searching of His understanding. He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might He increases strength [causing it to multiply and making it to abound]. [II Cor. 12:9.] Even youths shall faint and be weary, and [selected] young men shall feebly stumble and fall exhausted; But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired. [Heb. 12:1-3.]”
Isaiah 40:28-31 AMP

I haven't had a release to write about any of this as it unfolded the past twelve months but the time has come. Praying for clarity as I begin again to testify of all that the Lord is saying and doing for and through me these days. The best is yet to come -- always!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Wild + Free //

Have you ever had a season end with unanswered questions? I have. Not KNOWING used to drive me up the wall. That lack of control, of having a handle on a situation, made me fearful. Fear isnt in my DNA anymore though.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.

Have you ever heard God clearly and followed faithfully but made some big mistakes at the same time? I have. The shame of failing used to feel like being buried alive. The accusations that came against me were like knives. Jesus doesnt say, "Shame on you!" though, He says, "Shame off of you!"

Who the Son sets free is free indeed.

Two years ago, this season, I was in the very beginning of a relationship that would flourish and fade as quickly as a flower's season. My heart position through it was one of submission to follow the Lord wherever He led. I didnt trust my own ways. I had to go way out of the box I had always expected a relationship to stay within. I took risks, was vulnerable, made sacrifices, all to love another person well. I have no regrets. Not one. I did make a big mistake though. My mistake was in expecting what hadnt been promised to me and then being resentful when I didnt receive it. An abrupt and complete end after nine months of faithful, freeing, death-to-self love for another, and then I blamed the man for not committing as I "deserved" him to. I blamed Daddy God for not keeping His word to me that this relationship would last. Then I had my perspective corrected lovingly, mercifully by my good, unoffendable, faithful Daddy God. "Baby girl," He said, "I never promised you would end up together. I told you you were meant to be in relationship. And you were. All along you knew it was for Z that we were there, loving well. You experienced my burning heart of love toward him every day. I pursued his heart through you. Had you been merely friends you never would have been so close, so open, so able to speak into each other's lives. I needed to show Z My love through a person and when I looked for someone willing to be used, I found you. You walked it out so well. Every day. Growing along the way. You knew how proud I was of you, baby girl, walking through this new territory each day. You shone with the reality of it, My strength evident where you only had weakness. The mistake you made was in putting your eyes back on yourself when it ended, demanding what Father of Lies whispered were your dues. Answers to questions, owed reward, the badge of honor that commitment brings, human affection. I have better things in store to give you though. You cant earn them and you cant lose them through failure to perform. I just want to give you good things because I love you so much I cant help Myself. All I have is yours. You really experienced that walking out on the other side of the loss of relationship with Z. You had thought that your identity was in promise, was in hope fulfilled,  in the purpose and the calling on your life, but you found identity where it really is: in Me. So even when you thought you were watching your dreams, promises, hopes, and calling die, you were really walking forward into all of those by leaning yourself into Me. The relationship wasnt a mistake. The ending wasnt either. The mistake was a self-focus."

The truth will set you free.

Arent His ways wild?! Isnt His heart outrageous?! Resentment fled at the revelation of my mistake. I hadnt been cheated. I hadnt misheard. I'd made a rookie mistake. And Daddy God's mercy covered it. Z had been loved well. All the promises for my future had been preserved. Faith had taken new ground. Id experienced the freedom of walking in death-to-self. Its a really free and really fruitful place. I kid you not, it was the most beautiful and joyful thing Id ever experienced. But it didnt end there. Im continuing to learn what it is to walk in the freedom of being alive-in-Christ. He set me free from sin and death and shame -- glory! But it was FOR freedom that He set me free, BECAUSE He so loved me. Right in the same season of revelation about my mistake, as I was being disciplined (receiving correction to my perspective), guess what else was being revealed to me? A forever-Love. 

"Baby, Im ALL IN. Im not going anywhere. Im your forever-Love. Follow Me, stumble, I'll hold you up, humble yourself under my Love, receive. I want to walk through every single day of your life with you, baby girl. Have you misread John 3:16 as, "For God so full of mercy sent His only Son" or "For God so wanted to wash His hands of you He sent His only Son" or "For God was so determined to forgive that He sent His only Son"? I so LOVED the world that I gave My only Son. I WANT, DESIRE, ADORE you. I keep you like I lost you, because in the Garden I did, and from then til the cross I was working out the way to get you back, that we could again be ONE, forever." 

Guys, He didnt leave! My mistakes and blame-shifting and selfishness isnt a turn-off to Him. Nothing can make Him run from me and no matter where I go His love pursues me. He chose me before the foundation of the world and He doesnt regret the choice He made, or the price He paid. He doesnt want to let me go, never has, never will. He's pleased with me even when Im not pleasant. He knows me through and through, to the deepest depth and back again, and He adores me. Knowing I had Him even after I lost "everything else" in the break-up was my hope, but its become my life -- the breath I breathe, the blood in my veins. I have all of Him for forever. It was enough in a season of death. Its enough in seasons of life. He IS all.

Freedom from fear, from shame, from death, from the Accuser, from yourself. This word is for you too: Its for FREEDOM that He has set you free. Daddy God is wild.
Run, rest, live -- free!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A successful night //

I went in, this was the second time, and even though two months had gone by since the first time things were much the same. What had changed was that I knew what I was walking into, I knew faces, I knew that we never know what the night will hold. Last time I'd been anchored in my chair, processing everything, learning faces and holding onto bits of the girls' stories as I heard them shared. This time I was up and around, going over to sit near girls that were alone, waiting for customers -- much like I pull up a seat next to someone new at church on Sunday's to communicate how wanted they are and how worth it they are. Its a funny dance, our group, the dancers, and the patrons, all together and shifting around each other for a few hours on a Sunday night. When we leave the shift carries on just like it did all the days and nights before, but that doesn't determine the "success" of a visit to the club. We're greeted with sincere smiles and trusting hearts, like good friends, when we come into the club. Its hard work, its statistically traumatizing and heart-breaking work, and from what Ive heard, none of the girls want to work there. Its complicated and hard for them to find other work. Whether they ever leave or not, whether they ever believe us or not, we are there to love them and to show them they're worth much more than they dare to believe. Brining Jesus' presence and love into a dark -- literally -- place consistently and without condition, not expecting anything in return and not growing tired of doing so, that determines a successful night at the strip club. We'll keep going, whether or not we ever witness change, because the people in those four walls are WORTH it.

Friday, July 3, 2015

I'm there to know them //

Last Thursday I showed up in the 'hood for an after-school program and neighborhood cookout. I knew the people putting it on but I didnt know the people in the neighborhood that showed up. But that was the point of me going, to meet them. I stood on the side-lines of the games. I talked with some moms and grandmas that walked their kids down. I went over and said hi to a girl who was standing off to the side just watching. She scowled at me and ignored me so I just stood near her.

During the cookout I was asked to man the prayer table. Its just a station set up with a sign for free prayer. Some kids came over to me and asked me to pray for their food. I was able to pray a blessing over a grandma that Id been by during the kids' games. Mostly, though, I just sat there and smiled and greeted people that passed by. One woman showed up by bus just for the cookout. She sat at the prayer station with me and talked all about her family and church community. She was encouraged to be in the company of brothers and sisters in an area that has had several shootings recently.

Monday nights I go to prayer and worship at the same location. I join an eclectic group of brothers and sisters who love the Lord, love Milwaukee, and agree in prayer and action with what God is doing in the city, starting with their own block.

As I was leaving the kids from the neighborhood were playing basketball in the street. I recognized many of them from the after-school program, though I hadnt yet learned their names. "Stranger! Stranger!" one of the boys yelled, pointing at me. I laughed, "You know me! I'll see you guys on Thursday!" They smiled and cleared out of the street.

Yesterday was Thursday and I went back. The kids were playing as usual and I was in and out but they recognized me. One of the boys wiped out on his bike and was crying. I helped him get cleaned up and after that he would ride past me saying, "Hi Chelsea!" He knew me. Just like he knew the people who have been serving there, across the street from him, for years. I'd been accepted in. Same with the other kids. They started to talk to me, engage with me, high five and hug me. The girl who had scowled at and ignored me last week, when I said hello to her and called her by name, burst into a smile and said hello back with a mouth full of potato chips.

I was manning the prayer table again this week. No one stopped by it except for staff members. They just wanted to fellowship. It was nice. Several old friends from the prayer and worship night showed up in the line for food and getting to see them, mixed in with my new friends (the neighborhood kids), as well as various men and women from the community who just happened by, was glorious. See, its one thing to meet someone once and be kind and generous toward them then. Its another thing to intentionally be a consistent presence in their lives and to continue to show kindness and generosity and genuine interest in them.
These neighbors of mine, over on 30th and Burleigh, they matter. Theyve been through hard things. Theyre beautiful people. Im there to know them. And as I know them, itll be my privilege to love them with patience, with persistence, and, Im sure, with provision. Because when you know your friend has a need, its your joy to help them meet it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

An MKE update: to make up for the months of my silence //

Purpose moves me. Not people or a paycheck, purpose. People ask what brought me to Milwaukee — school or work are the typical assumption — and while I know there is much purpose behind my placement here, ultimately what brought me here is Jesus. So thats what I say. Im in love with Him, He’s at work and He purposed for me to be part of that work in this city, at this time. How that looks is still unfolding. 

When I was moving here I had this fresh passion for homeless people and, knowing that the city had a population of homeless, I assumed Id immediately take the practical step of finding a shelter or an intersection or square of the city where homeless gathered in community and just make myself a consistent presence there with them. Instead I had some heart-to-heart times with my Father that resulted in something else. He reminded me that the point is to love my neighbors, to make disciples — people growing in knowing the Father. I didn’t move here to create a ministry. I didnt even move here to join a ministry. I moved here to live intentionally in community with the local church and the people in this city. 

Relationships require consistency and investment of time and emotion. The church as a Body is spread out all across the city, we don’t have the exact same neighbors. Thats good. One family lives in an apartment complex and they love on their neighbors there as they rub shoulders and cross paths. Another family lives in a quiet neighborhood and does the same with their neighbors. Some people are students and they’re loving their “neighbor” in the seat or class next to them. Others are loving their coworker “neighbor” in the hospital, at the gym, in the coffee shop, or at the grade-school. 

The church Body of Milwaukee is diverse. Im seeing it come together as One, rather than separate members and that is beautiful. But as one of the white members of that Body, with the unfair privileges and favor of my race in society, and the unconscious, ingrained race-related biases we are raised with, I know that there are groups of “neighbors” we (white people) avoid. Homeless, prostitutes, low income, etc. Its a shame that we have made people that are meant to be our brothers and sisters, our neighbors, into our enemies. Our struggle isn’t with flesh and blood. The separation that there was between mankind and the Father was dealt with in Jesus. No one needs to be held to separation by our judgement when everyone has freedom to the Father by the Son, who died once for all, available to them just like to us. 

In my own neighborhood there are families and couples and singles. There are white and black and Arab people. There are Christians and Catholics and Muslims. Ive met some of my neighbors in their driveways or yards, walking down the sidewalk running errands. Ive met some at the libraries and post office and pizza shop. Im not out on-mission, I don’t have an agenda, Im just aware and I care so my eyes and ears are open to them.

In like manner Im aware of my marginalized “neighbors”. I perk up at the sight of someone who lives on the streets or has been subjected to racial prejudices or who feels helpless to make money any other way than by selling their body, just like I perk up at the sound of someone saying my street address or neighborhood name. I choose to be more intentional about making sure I spend time around the neighbors that aren’t in my immediate neighborhood. There still isn’t a program, its not a mission, there isn’t an agenda. Its still just loving my neighbors, being a consistent presence, growing in knowing the Father beside them. I keep my eyes and ears open, I build community with other people who are being Love and making disciples as a lifestyle too, and I let the Spirit guide me to the specifics of where and when and how of “stepping next door”, both one yard over and across the river, each day.

We look for big things to happen though, don’t we? Well, for six months no big things have happened here. Life has been quite small and usual, although, as Todd White would say, “You’re a divine encounter everywhere you go.” And we know that thats no small thing! But it comes out in lots of small things. 
- Investing in the community I have at church — going on Sunday morning and spending the afternoon going out to lunch with people afterward (even if you don’t get any food because your budget won’t allow it), being at small group consistently, hitting people up from that group throughout the week to hang out or attend other events together, being available to say ‘yes’ when someone reaches out to ask for help. 
- Connecting with other area church members who are like-hearted — which means going to their prayer meetings and worship events (which may be out of your way), it means looking a little crazy and walking to the front to introduce yourself to someone after an event, it means going to Chipotle with a bunch of strangers/new friends,  it means actually following up on Facebook, it means GPS navigating to their home and sitting in their living room with them some afternoons -- normal relationship building things. 
- Being the best nanny. Being the most punctual, efficient, honest, encouraging employee at my part-time gig. 
- Going to the same coffee shops, the same post office, the same stores, the same bank, the same grocery stores over and over and taking time to smile at and be kind to the tellers and cashiers. Encouraging them with life-giving words, praying for their injuries (wrist braces, casts, slings, bandages, canes, crutches, apparent stiffness or soreness… these are all obvious and theyre easy to ask about and pray for quickly while your transactions are completed). 

Ive connected with area leaders without even meaning to, and with such ease and favor it could only be God. I ended up at events that they were at and we had opportunities to connect and to hear each other's hearts. To be known and not only accepted as a friend but respected as a co-laborer in this community that Im so new to, so quickly, by people who I have high regard for is humbling and inspiring. I created a Facebook group called “UNITED community - MKE” and have been adding them one by one as we cross paths and get connected. There are the staff members at my church (who’ve become more like friends than church staff to me), the eclectic group of individuals who makes up the team at Adullam — a ministry that meets in a warehouse in the middle of the ghetto — who’s heart beat is for that area and all their neighbors, a couple who moved here from Florida because of Jesus and as a resulted many are following suit, some men you will always find at any area prayer or worship event, a young mother of three and a handful of other women from her church who have been going to the same strip-club every month for almost five years to build trust with the dancers that work there and to love them with Jesus’ love, a pastor + his wife of the most ethnically diverse congregation Ive seen so far in this city, two pastors who were born and raised in all-black communities and have come back in order to pour back into them, women who are single mothers and who walk in the Spirit and are divine encounters everywhere they go, stay-at-home moms who are raising their children to know the Father and to bring heaven to earth and set captives free through love and the authority they have as God’s children through Jesus. 

For several months now Ive just been posting information about area gatherings of believers on this FB page, an open invitation for all these people from different bodies and parts of town. As One Body, and compelled by One Love, we have been gathering in various ways. We’ve been expectant for the Lord’s thoughts to unfold before us the ways He wants for us to reach out as a united community to our city. With my transition from the school work schedule to the summer one I am also transitioning the rest of my life here for the summer. Im jumping into outreach with already established groups, in neighborhoods they’ve been serving consistently for years. I intend to be a consistent face in these places and to establish relationship with the people I meet while doing so. There are dreams of where that may lead but for now its just the next step. We will just wait and see how the Father unfolds His dreams from there.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Make Disciples //

Because there is some raw skill, some biological hard-wiring, and some years of training, but you never actually know what youre doing completely. And thats really a good place to be. So we keep stepping into new territory, branching out a little, taking new routes to familiar places, going deeper, and growing together.

A child is a disciple [follower, student] being made. Children of God are disciples being made. And part of the purpose of our growth is to reproduce, to bear fruit, to MAKE disciples. No matter how you live you are an example, an influence. People who no longer live but Christ lives through them stick out as examples in the earth like a foreigner in any country does. This family is a melting-pot of races and cultures, a crazy mix of stories, so diverse and yet unified as one because we are His.

Walking in this new life, knowing our Papa more, and growing in sanctification by the Spirit as individuals engaging intentionally in community with the Body and all others around us, this is the making of disciples. A follower influencing another to follow, to become. A student being an example to someone else to come and know, to taste and see.

So an invite went out to the area, any who follow or want to, to gather together and become more like-minded and to sharpen each other. It wasnt about studying or about displaying knowledge, it was about meditating on truth and sharing what it stirred in our hearts. Calling forth identity and encouraging each other in the walk. "Its the best kind of competition", this pursuit of knowing Him and of holiness through His righteousness. Remembering Whose we are and living according to that joyous freedom and through that steadfast power.

The group that came together today was different than the group that gathered last week, I suspect it will continue to ebb and flow. I love the open-arms of it, the way life is shared through it, how seeds will get scattered and carried far and wide, and the opportunity to consistently water them week by week. Anyone who showed up today could have led this gathering. This unified gathering can continue with or without me. It needs only a coming together of family.

You dont even realize that youre making disciples this way everyday. Youre discipling your family by the example of Jesus coming out of your words and heart motives and choices. You disciple your friends when you listen to them and they see your life. Youre discipling the people you work around, shop around, drive around. Who you are influencing them to follow is what depends. There are only two kingdoms, dark and light. How you treat, think of, speak of your family, your leaders, your followers, your neighbors, the strangers, represents either Heaven's kingdom or the Enemy's. Remember Whose you are.

Youre no longer a slave but a child. You need no longer live as a slave but have been counted as forever free and granted bold access to all you need to walk free. The Blood was sufficient before God, we must count it as sufficient as He says it is, and remember always that any accusation of guilt the Enemy brings against us is answered by the sufficiency of His Blood. Hallelujah! Rejoice, Church! We arent surviving until heaven, we are living in celebration thats a stark contrast to all still living bound -- our freedom draws eyes and its our privilege to spread the Good News that freedom has been bought for everyone, not just me, that this celebration is for all who believe. "Silver and gold, I dont have, but what I have I give you: In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, stand up and walk."

Monday, April 13, 2015

Knowing Him More //

God, a community in and of Himself, three in one, desired a people to draw near to. Angels wouldn’t cut it. He made the pair, He walked with them, they made a choice that led to separation from Him. Two kingdoms now existed, for while the Lord had created all and ruled over all, His Enemy now had dominion over the people God had made for Himself and over their habitation. God is Love though, and Love doesn’t give up. His heart was still set on a people and He put a master plan to work in the world immediately to regain the object of His affection. 

While the Enemy reigned in the earth, taking all the territory in hearts and lands he could, sowing destruction in the unfolding of a reconciliation plan, God tirelessly and mightily worked redemption again and again through great mercy. When He had written His heart in the very dust of the ages, made Himself known, and foretold His mysterious coming victory, recording it all by the hands of a faithful few and preserving it for every generation, His Spirit entered into the body of a woman who had never been entered by the body of a man, and His only Son was formed and brought forth from that fleshy home. The only Son came to restore relationship with the Father to all in order that the "One child" might become the "first born of MANY". 

The kingdom of heaven had advanced on the territory of its Enemy. With the unjust death of one perfect Man, filled by the Spirit of God, three silent days of death over His still body, and the dawning of one morning that would forever mark the changing of the tides for humanity, authority in the Earth was transferred by perfect justice. Instead of “you shall surely die” looming ahead of every life from its first breath, humanity was now offered afresh: “eternal life; life abundant” and the “Holy Spirit without measure”. The Prince of Darkness has roamed and ruled defensively and ruthlessly ever since, knowing his thrown is promised to be removed, knowing that life can now be worked in any life he has effectively held in death, that light can drive out the deepest darkness he has surrounded or filled anything with, and that the call of our Father’s love resonates with our hearts more deeply than his most torturously rooted fear and it holds the key to release the tightest-wound bond from any soul. 

The King has reproduced after His nature and His children, filled with His powerful love, and given authority over all, walk the earth with the purpose of being fruitful and multiplying -- not merely by the flesh but by the Spirit. No longer living of ourselves, no longer children of the Evil one, but living by Christ alone, with everything that is available to Him available to us and subject to nothing His own Father didn’t subject Him to or that His Enemy claims to have authority to subject us to through lies and deceit. Secure in this identity, in Whose we are, as the Beloved and rightful children of God by the blood of Jesus which we profess -- having been baptized by the water signifying the recognition that our death was bought when He died and that His resurrection bought our birth into new life -- we live and move and have our being. Living as pleasing sacrifices in this most reasonable service to our King. Counting all other lives above our own, knowing we are seated in a place we can never be removed from by the Enemy or by man, and that the most fruitful way we can live is to die that others might live. We are marked by favor, by presence; known by love, by the very essence of Him. 

Is it possible for our fleshly life to continue without rest or nourishment or the strengthening exercise of its use? No. Is it possible for our spiritual new life to continue without the very blood and breath, the very Spirit, of God flowing through us, or without the communion with Him by bold access through prayer, or without the every word in every book of The Book He recorded for us to renew our every fiber in the truth of Who He is, what He did to make us who we were meant to be and tell us how to live? No. 

Did we free ourselves? Certainly not. But since He has set us free are we indeed free? Completely. Walking in freedom every moment of the day, all the old ways passing and the new ones replacing by the Spirit, as your mind is renewed by the Word... Can your mind be renewed any other way? No. So is it satisfactory or safe to rely on another to read and relate to you all you need to know from the Word? Was it not given to all because we need it for ourselves as much and as regularly as our very body needs nutrients? Isn’t His heart to know and be known intimately? Hasn’t He revealed Himself to us through His Word and indwelled us by His Spirit that we may experience Him as well as know Him? A true knowing, a real intimacy in the perfected freedom of covenanted-oneness between a Lover and His faithfully, relentlessly pursued Bride? So to search Him out and become ever more familiar with Him are we not meant to have our face in the Book? We are. We are! 

He is not far off, He has not hidden Himself. Quite the opposite. As soon as we had set ourselves far off from Him in the Garden, He was already pursuing afresh. As soon as the veil was draped between us to cover our faces from His, He was planning to tear it in two and restore our bold access to His presence. When we seek Him we will find Him for He is both available and more willing than we ever will be to be found. 

Can anyone utterly know another after one day? One year? One lifetime? Is it not a continual seeking to know, reading the heart of another as it is written out by their every move throughout their life -- even for a spouse with their spouse, the one they are literally two-made-one with? It is. It is! [Ive been through the Bible cover-to-cover twice in my twenty-two years, and thats more than many that make up His Body, but that doesn’t mean I'm through. Does my heart, mind, soul and strength know every word? Is my every fiber familiar with the Word's every piece and part? Do I KNOW it cover-to-cover? Not yet. So Im in it again; seeking His face afresh, newly familiarizing myself with His tone. One book per day, one day at a time, for sixty-six days. And were I to repeat that every sixty-six days for a year I would meet every page in the Book from front to back five and a half times over. If I repeat that every year for the next eighty years of my expected life, I will have seen His written heart in its full context four hundred and forty times. Perhaps, by then I would have a glimmer, a taste, of intimate, deep familiarity with Him. Is it worth the time? Is that a joke? To know Him and be able to make Him known is the point of the time that makes up life itself.] 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Stitch Fix >>

Stitch Fix nailed it.
Every "fix" has been delightful but this one, "fix" #5, this one takes the cake. I wanted to keep every single item in the box. That's never happened before.

Mystree Hobart Sweater >> M
I cant even describe it, I just felt so at home in this item. I probably would never have picked it out for myself but I loved it. The fit was perfection, the style marvelous.

41Hawthorn Trinidad Chevron Striped Henley Top >> M
The stylists know that Im a sucker for henley top. This was my favorite one for fit and fabric style by far.

Mystree Andria Maxi Dress >> M
Ive been drooling over Anthro's spring line so when I opened up this maxi dress I did a very happy dance. It was the dress of my dreams!

Urban Expressions Trevor Woven-Top Hobo Bag >> brown
Seriously, how did they know that hobo bags just like this one are my weakness?

Honey Punch Wakeman Crochet Open Cardigan >> M
I have a cardigan very similar to this one but I like this one even better than the one I already own. The weight of the crochet is heavier so it falls nice and long.

There you have it. Hands-down my favorite "fix" yet. When you purchase all five items in your box you get a 25% discount. A really nice perk to falling in love with everything they send. 

not sponsored by Stitch Fix

Friday, March 20, 2015

naja >>

"Pretty panties make you feel pretty." Ever since I was little Momma and I have said that. Its no less true as an adult. I'm a single gal, no one gets to see what Im wearing but me, but I like knowing that pretty things are underneath. One day when I get to share myself with my future husband itll be even more fun. All that to say, there are lingerie companies that make quality pieces and that are fun and lovely, but they use slave or child labor, and Im just not cool with supporting that. You know that I believe we are either helping or harming people with every purchase. I've had my eyes open for a lingerie company that employed people in poorer areas of the world, giving them a leg-up instead of taking advantage of them, a place I could really get behind to supply my basic items as well as exciting splurges. I found one! Naja employs single-moms, teaching them to sew their gorgeous line of bras and panties. 

I would love to transition my whole undies-drawer from my Target "5 for $20" bin buys to all Naja. It'll be an investment. A very worthwhile one. To get it started I made my first purchase with a $15 off coupon you can get here: As if the products werent gorgeous enough, the packaging it comes in is totally drool-worthy. I can hardly stand it!

not sponsored by naja

Monday, March 16, 2015

What a year can change //

April 4th will be one year since a death of sorts occurred in my life’s circumstances. [If you have no context for my life a year ago you can catch up here.] A long awaited promise, a future full of hope and purpose, suddenly died. The Enemy kills. But I guess he still hasn’t wrapped his mind around the fact that Jesus has the last say in my life, not him. I will have trouble in the world, but my life is hid in the One who overcame the world — I live and overcome by the same power that raised Him up from death. Even in the confusion and distress of the loss, I knew I was held secure and that it wasn’t an end altogether. I knew joy comes after, I was assured that new life came next. Step by step, faith has prevailed and hope has been realized, the promise not undone, merely increased, doubled. If the Enemy thought he was crippling my ability to advance the Kingdom by his theft in my life, or hinder my love for the Lover of my soul, he was mistaken. The One who is in me is stronger. His resurrection power trumps the power of death. I literally experience it.

“Grand adventure and a happy-go-lucky" joy would return, I prophesied over myself last spring. Here we are. I live in a war zone. Every day is a wild, wonderful adventure. Seeing Jesus overcome, seeing impossible things accomplished in His name, seeing His glory proclaimed in the midst of enemy territory and His kingdom advanced there by the faith of the Saints. I operate on the earth, but I see in the spiritual realm -- more and more clearly all the time. On the outside the life I live seems ideal, probably quaint, but it is what I am called to and there is power working through it. Relationship, discipleship… doing life in community together, sowing seeds in hearts and watering them in others… Encouraging the believers, speaking life in places of death… Being faithful where I am, doing all I do with excellence… I came to serve. I came to invest in lives. I came to influence for freedom in Christ. I didn’t come to create a ministry, but I did come to minister. Im not an out-going person, quick to introduce myself and become acquainted with others, but Jesus is quick to reach out and He has done so so much through me that Ive gained a reputation for being in-my-element when interacting with and engaging people, whether acquaintance or stranger. 

Many know my heart for Milwaukee is especially focused toward the homeless, the poor, the discriminated, the prostituted, so it could rise as a question why my schedule isn’t marked by any devotion of time to peoples in these circumstances after nearly three months of living here. The answer is two-fold. First, that it is my intention not to build a great ministry organization around this mission but to simply operate in it in my everyday life, to embrace the opportunities that present themselves intentionally and to seek to make myself available by always challenging my comfort zone, not settling into a routine of isolated living. Second, as someone with little life experience in the acknowledged deeper or darker issues of the world, Im aware that I have need of knowledge and wisdom in order to fulfill the vision the Lord is shaping for my lifestyle of ministry, of Love in action, in this city. Faithfully proactive in this time of preparation and training, I am reading constantly, am in prayer individually and corporately, and am gleaning from born-again men and women trusted and respected for their service here. In due time the vision will come to life and many will see it. For now, ground work is being laid. 

I am incredibly grateful for the Body operating as the Father intended: together. The intense beauty of the great diversity of giftings and callings and personalities and tribes in powerful unity through Christ is a force to be reckoned with. No wonder the Enemy is so keen to stir up disunity among believers. Ive had the great joy of establishing true community and a partnership in mission with people from a number of different congregations in the area, several represented races, and all different seasons of life. It builds up and enhances. I get to serve many in little specific, personal ways throughout my weeks, and many others serve and bless me in specific, personal ways. Its awe-inspiring how our Father made His family to operate. He is all goodness.

I love my life here. I love the sights, the secret workings, the community, even the climate. I am not of this place identified as Brew City, but I am surely in it, I have called it home from day one, and its a privilege I take delight in to seek the peace of this city. Ive experienced the victory I foresaw, of life after death, in my life’s mere circumstances, and I know the same victory is available for the city of Milwaukee at large. The King is among us. #thebestisyettocome

Thursday, March 12, 2015

SoapBox Soaps >>

Its no surprise then that I jumped at the opportunity to partner up with SoapBox Soaps for this sponsorship, and I'll share more about their products in the weeks to come, but lets start with my two favorite things about the brand: A) a natural brand of soaps + B) a good cause to benefit from their sales.

Ive been a natural gal for most of my life because of an unidentified allergy/sensitivity to artificial scents as well as chemicals. Both of these things are found in most health care items, just about anything we put on our skin, and our skin would be a lot happier if that wasnt the case. Im also a firm believer that we get to support the building up or the tearing down of people by our purchases. Everything we buy is made somewhere, by someone, and the profits are benefiting someone, somewhere. We all have a say in who we are investing in every time we pay for something. My mission is to run a simple home, with only what is needed. Consequently I'll be investing my money intentionally and its my goal to do so with products that give back to people, build up people that society has torn down, and products that I can be confidant are helpful and healthful for my body, inside or out, not harmful.

I recently received my shipment of a body wash, a liquid hand soap, and a bar soap in the mail. I love mail. Especially packages. Seriously, as much as I love the experience of being in a shop and the atmosphere of a well-curated space of products, I am so much more delighted by online shopping because the anticipation of getting a package of good goodies is unbeatable.

As you can see each product supports a different cause through a couple of SoapBox Soaps' partners. I like that. They dream big! And, hey, I sure dont want you to feel like you dont get to jump in on these goodies. Here is a coupon code for 10% off your total order from SoapBox Soaps: SOAPEQUALSHOPE