Friday, November 11, 2016

Created from the dust //

There is a lot of dust in the air after the election. No surprise, but what to do from here? The only way this much dust settles is with rain. 
Church that hears, hear. Church that is asked for help, I praise God for you because you won't turn that person away with a well wish. Church that sees, I thank God for you because you won't turn away and forget what you've seen. Church whose mind is on heavenly things, now is the time to bring heaven to earth -- it's always the time.

Snapshots of our country may look different to different hearts. You may see a community in mourning. Perhaps you see a people emboldened to speak as crudely as they desire because it's been modeled for them by the incoming senior leader of our nation. You could see chaos and hate and fear. Maybe you see a bunch of people overreacting and being pouty, entitled, and childish in their passionate outbursts. You might see your enemy and walk around watching your back in ways you never felt you had to before. The differences in sight yield differences in response. Protests, beatings, tears, caution, rolling eyes, praying Jesus comes back. Church, we have to say what WE see -- what the Father sees, what we see by His Son's Spirit in us -- and we have to respond the way He is responding.

He sees dust. He sees humanity that's separated from Him and the death and the pain and the terror and the destruction they live in because of it. He so desperately wants to embrace and cover and shield and fill and forgive and bless... He wants to resurrect every last soul -- the crying ones and the scoffing ones and the ones looking the other way. What looks like the Devil's time, God just sees as His time to shine. Church, He is here, right now, more than He even was in the flesh because now His Spirit is in ANYONE who believes that His death and resurrection counted for them 100% and is theirs for free. He is all over the place. We have eyes that see beyond what the world sees all around. We have ears to hear what our Daddy God is singing over this heart-broken and twisted world. We ARE His Body, all over the earth, and He has taught us how to do what He would do -- to love. See, step out, reach over, listen, respond with truth in love, worship in spirit and truth, overcome evil with good, put a hand on the sick and see them recover, raise the dead, speak life, call forth destiny.

All these dear, dear people with different eyes to see are created to be children of light and we are in their lives to help them know that. They have spirits behind them that are ugly but they don't need to be feared because all of them have been put under our feet, we have authority over all of them (not the people, the spirits influencing them). That doesn't mean acting as exorcists all over our friends and family and coworkers and social media connections, and if you've done that in faith God bless you, we are all learning, but we go on the offensive against the devil and we go after the very people he is wreaking havoc in and through. They don't know what they are doing, Church. They are literally yelling out in the streets for love, and we are the first-responders of heaven. I believe there are seeds of Good News already planted in all these hearts, just waiting to be watered and helped along. God is gracious to us, His Church. It's come to the point that the lost are literally seeking and ready to find, they are crying out and expecting a response, they are desperate for hope. We have it. We were made for this purpose: to administer Christ's reconciliation to all. The ones cursing their brothers and the ones seeking refuge and justice.

I don't believe this is the time that the true Church in America will go underground. I believe this is going to call them out of their places of preparation and hiding and into the destiny on their lives: to live as servant-Kings and Queens. This is the time of the Esther's who speak UP for life when it's the most risky to their own lives. (That does not mean just being pro-life and defending your position against the candidate that was pro-choice and calling that fighting for life. It means seeing the girl who wants to have an abortion and loving her to life, being willing to be spent on her behalf even if the only thanks you get is literally spit in your face.) This is the time of the Daniel's who do the right thing in secret and get exposed and targeted for it and become an undeniable testimony of the favor of God on His kids when they are submissively attacked and not only survive but come back with only blessing for those who tried to harm them. This is the time of the David's coming out of a season of being hunted to have their calling destroyed and stepping into that calling with a band of the world's outcasts who have become the mightiest of lovers and warriors and go on to serve and lead many, and see victory after victory over anything that comes against. (That isn't people of a sinful lifestyle "coming against" you in your holy lifestyle, but the devil and his armies coming against you the anointed child of God and your brothers and sisters in the Church who are walking in their high calling and tirelessly driving them out of long-held territory.) This is the time of the early Church filled with the Spirit and compelled out into the streets and to all the world with the power of God for emancipation from sin to all those that believe, those willing to suffer for this Good News knowing that no one can believe unless they hear and it's worth the cost of our own life to spread the news as far as possible. Remember that every single one of these was under the leadership of corrupt governments and honored those ruling, while being governed by God's authority. I truly believe that THIS is the time of a great revival.

God saw dust and He made something beautiful and deeply beloved out of it: man. We're made in His image. We too are hard-wired to see the dust and not just know the full potential for holiness in it, but to draw it out. 

Let it rain, Spirit pour out on all flesh, settle the dust that's filling the air with your overwhelming embrace, but let that water flow out of our bellies as you said it should. Out of us, Church, will flow rivers of LIVING water. And anyone who drinks this water [receives forgiveness freely offered and life fully given] will never thirst [from a place of death be so parched for just a drop of life] again. (Acts 2:17, John 7:38, John 4:14)

Please see my previous post for more on this time.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

This Year's Election //

This Election year has been unlike any I've seen. I've never wholly agreed with a candidates policies but this year has felt rigged to me from the start. I remember that the media was projecting Hilary and Trump to be the nominees for the year back at the very start of the races. I know so few people, Christian and non-Christian alike, who legitimately want to vote for either candidate that I don't truly believe that they were America's top picks. Either way they're the picks we have and my theory is that God has a desire of who should be in leadership for the following few years. The candidates' lives don't reflect one's of favor with God so getting to know His heart on this election has certainly been one found in the secret place with Him alone, not through "popular opinions" or any other voice. The right to vote isn't one to take for granted, still I can't bring myself to vote for either party. I'm not clear on who God would have me vote for. I am clear on a few things though. >>

Corrupt leaders do not tie God's hands or strip Him of His authority. There are spirits behind everything and our battle isn't against people but the rulers in spiritual places. A Prince has reigned in this earth since the Fall of man and his keys were stripped of Him by Jesus. The Kingdom has been coming on earth as it is in heaven ever since. Those left with authority over corruption in the earth? The Church -- individual born-again children of God all over the earth.

Jesus loves terrorists, prostitutes, and war lords. He loves Trump, He loves Hilary. All sinners are enemies of God and He has always loved His enemies. The saints are wired to do the same. He loved his enemies so much that He sacrificed Himself just for the chance at being reunited in purity and intimacy with every one of them. As His kids we have been commissioned to carry that invitation to all, not to argue politics or to be a religious people ready to throw stones. And, regardless of the leader, we are always meant to pray for them.

You are for the One true God, or you are against Him. He isn't against you, clearly He is for you, but there is a law and order set up that holds consequences for sin (separation now and for eternity from Love Himself). All of humanity is in one of these two camps: sinner -- separated from God, or saint -- one with God. There are sinners who know that they are sinners and sinners who think they can work out redemption for themselves, these are the religious people and today they're known by most as "good" people. There are also saints who know they are saints -- that sin is forever removed from them and they live free, in unity with God, and with purpose to represent Him in the earth and lead others to this same reconciliation with Him -- and there are saints who don't know they are saints because they've believed the religious people who tell them they can never get free except maybe if they try really hard, they don't realize that apart from God it's impossible to please Him and that as a saint they are already fully pleasing to God. The saints are the Church, the Body of Christ, and they carry the authority to bring life in place of death, healing in place of brokenness, peace in place of chaos, and freedom in place of bondage. If they will rise up and walk in God's favor by faith all this will happen. Jesus in us, that's the Holy Ghost, is the hope of glory -- not a good choice of candidate to vote into leadership of our fleeting government.

Throughout history we see corrupt leaders of corrupt nations be humbled, we also see corrupt leaders over the children of God be counseled and aided by righteous men (the Old Testament version of a saint, those in right standing with God by faith before the Holy Spirit was given to all who believe in Jesus) who either choose humility or are humbled. Tests, trials, tribulation, trouble, these and more have served to humble leaders and nations throughout all of time. We are in for some. This is good news! It is a mercy for all those separated from God and it is meant to be considered as pure joy, something to celebrate, by the saints because these things serve to strengthen and refine our faith -- which is more valuable than the richest treasures found in the earth. The hard times are the times when a saint's life shines brightest, they're the unshaken ones when everything in life is shaken. So we're coming up on some hard times? Bring it on! I'm excited for us. We're going to grow so much in understanding, in the deepest places of us, His goodness and power and favor for those who believe -- remember that's the open invitation to the world thanks to the Resurrection.

Only saints who don't know they are saints will fear for their children's future with these coming times. I'm expectant for our children's future -- those raised in faith and those that will come to faith in these testing times. Shining as light in the midst of darkness, holiness in the midst of crooked ways and corruption, we are living beacons of hope and encounters of life in the world. We should expect certain persecution but be grateful when it comes, receive it like a gift, because our Lord suffered as well when He came with the invitation to life, now and forever, and complete freedom from sin and its consequences, and He endured it because of the joy ahead of possible reunion with even just one person. I believe we are going to leave nothing but an excellent example of resurrection from death for our children and the greatest inheritance -- the riches of all that Jesus is. It's a great time to be alive and having kids.

God can handle any fear that you may have regarding the future so don't be ashamed to bring it to Him. Just know that His way is to remove that fear from you by your encountering his almighty, grave opening, sin removing, saint birthing, Satan defeating love. Go to Him with it all. Leave it with Him and walk ahead with His freedom and wholeness and wealth and security. He is faithful and He is not finished with all He began here. We're going from glory to glory. The best is yet to come. There's a Kingdom to advance, Good News to share, and a Good Father to know. Praise Him!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Over Tea //

That old saying about life beginning over again in the fall? It's ringing especially true this year. This summer was hard. Not bad, big difference, not even without pleasantness or rest or delight, just hard. There is so much worth in a journey, great growth through trial -- whether suffered well through or not, and much to learn by looking back once youre on the other side of it. I'm truly grateful. Just as I remember being as a young teen looking back on how I was disciplined as a child. Luke and I are thriving.

A few weeks ago we spent my birthday at a friend's wedding. We had the privilege of singing in their ceremony and, a first for me, I led the first worship song we sang that day. Of all the songs it could have been it felt so hand-picked for me. "It Is Well" by Bethel's Kristene DiMarco is anthem like, a modern-day Psalm in heart. The ideal first sentence in a fresh chapter of my life, but also of our life together -- Luke's and mine. I truly believe that Twenty-Four is the year of double blessing for me and a friend nailed that with her birthday wish to me: "I pray this year is even more blessed than the last one." Considering that my Twenty-Third year was possibly the very sweetest of my single years and an intense one in regard to heart break and healing, as well as the year that I met and was pursued by and became engaged to and married Luke Osicka, as well as the year that I became a mother -- two things (marriage and motherhood) I had faithfully waited my entire life to step into, knowing I was called to them from the earliest ages -- it's hard to imagine it getting better from here. But the Word says we always go from glory to glory. So I'm stepping in.

The love story, the wedding, the life, the pregnancy weren't all as I had always imagined and wished, but I loved them. I wouldn't change them. The past five months (of the seven we've been married) living with other people and having unreliable income have been very challenging. Luke responded far better to the stretching. He responded the way I'd like to say I did. I grew nevertheless, which is the gift of trials, and with the next ones may I be found rejoicing at the outset of them knowing that that gift is ahead of me again. We've been promoted in a sense though from utter debters, practically homeless, to Luke being employed on the spot at two of the three top restaurants in Eau Claire and moving into a friend's beautiful and spacious home on our minimal budget while they're overseas. Everything that needs to be paid is being paid, we've found a rhythm to our living at Luke's mom's house north of town, him working in Eau Claire, and me seeing my family more than I have in the past two years combined.

I'm built to make beautiful things and am ready to have a space of our own to do that in again but there is so much more. I want to dress my ever-changing body beautifully, to take aesthetically pleasing photos of my everyday again, go to beautiful places and get to enjoy beautiful foods and drinks on our own dollar again, create a new area of our life that's beautiful just for Baby O. I want to make and sell and promote beautiful things. But just as there were so many years that I couldn't control the timing on my getting married or having children, I'm now in a season where I'm very limited to the beauty I can cultivate. And in that place of wrestling and wishes the whispers break through that Papa God is more focused than ever (an oxymoron with our never-changing God, but He is always doing a new thing) on making beautiful things in my life -- mainly in me. So while I now have the time and the space for this creative outlet it won't be for the posts I've been dreaming of these past months (making a new home, changing our wardrobes as a couple, picturesque travels, enchanting gatherings, or homemade baby things, etc) they will be posts I am as delighted by I'm sure because they're going to be birthed in the secret place and collect vision for the future and tell an untold story of a Beloved's faithful presence through the wilderness (see Song of Solomon 8). The new song (read: life) growing inside of me and the whole life I've lived with the Father of Lights and the real example of a life of faith I have in my husband are more than enough reason to sing -- in any circumstance -- and the best is still always yet to come.

P.S. I'm fixed on this portrait. The laughter that bubbled out of me continuously during the ultrasound I never want to forget. Such victory through Jesus. Seeing our little dancing babe squirm and scrunch and flip about and kick at the edges of me was a pure, pure joy. Of all the children I have loved, it's still surreal that this one is actually my own.

What the Littles Wore //

Babies don't need as much stuff as most have and parents don't need as many gadgets to take care of them as they think at the start. Clothes are tricky because styles change and hand-me-down's are pointless if they are worn through and most figure "why would we spend much money on clothes when babies grow so fast that they only wear each piece a few times". Yet babies spit up and wet themselves and have blow out diapers so they end up in more than one outfit most days, requiring a good collection of pieces. Ive done childcare for my whole life and learned a few things but I think parenthood is as much a journey of discovery, of trial and error, as childhood is.

Luke and I are choosing to invest in fair trade, eco-friendly, organic things for our first child, and all gender neutral clothes, trusting that the high quality will make them last through many kiddos' use and are, therefore, worth the price (beyond the established principle of valuing life enough to be sure that seamstresses and factory workers and farmers are all treated well in the process of the making of the goods we support with our purchases). Our Baby List (online registry) reflects this. That being said, there are so many adorable items that aren't gender neutral -- little vests for boys and dresses for girls. Here are some pieces I can hardly resist.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Month Three-Five // our journey

JUNE we were hosted for two weeks by the friends who had originally introduced Chelsea to me before I began my DTS (discipleship training school) at YWAM (Youth With A Mission) Northwoods in Weyerhaeuser, WI last fall. With no lead on a place to live in the Twin Cities and no feedback on sent-out job applications Chelsea’s Dad then offered us a rental unit of his to live in temporarily in Pepin, WI. We only spent a week there before transitioning again but in many regards it was like another honeymoon — although I say that we’re always on our honeymoon. Unrevealed to us, until weeks later, Baby Osicka joined our journey during this time. Our album “Never Far” was released digitally via BandCamp on the 23rd and was on Spotify, Google Play, and iTunes, etc. a few days later. Its best found in searching the net with the adding of our band name, “Mid Air Never Far.”

JULY we moved into a community house, our own bedroom and all the living spaces shared, in Dinkytown Minneapolis. I was hired by a former YWAMer to do construction work — mostly painting. Chelsea and I reconnected with my first home church, Sojourn Campus Church, where I had been discipled after my life was forever changed by Jesus in 2011. We also spent much time with the folks at KPA, the community house I had lived in back then. Following our album release party at 420 Cafe in Eau Claire, WI and our move to the Cities, Chels and I continued to play live shows, even getting to perform with my old band and dear friends of mine called Fox and Swallow.

AUGUST brought continued steps of faith. As I sought a change of job we took a day to reevaluate vision for our future. Our friend’s business was still a year out from launching and we were released from that, Chelsea was desiring to settle somewhere and make it home as we anticipated a baby joining us, and so our season in Minneapolis swiftly wrapped up. We had only seen it lasting until the end of the summer and couldn't explain why, but here we were in August and that’s what was happening. Packing our room’s worth of belongings into a storage unit Chelsea and I, and our Great Pyrenees, Barley James, headed to New York City. We stayed at YWAM bases along the way on our five day road trip and were greatly blessed by those times with the Body. We had incredible favor on us during our journey out and, while God held us during our total of five days in the City, no doors for the long term ever opened up. Therefore we made the return journey, praying all the way for wisdom, guidance, and provision. During the drive Chelsea asked me what I’d think of staffing at YWAM Northwoods for their upcoming school. That’s all I needed to hear. We were in Eau Claire, WI through the end of the month with our sights set on serving in Weyerhaeuser, WI at YWAM for the next two years. We were awaiting confirmation from the leadership at the base that they wanted us on staff but we were also moving forward in faith and support raising while we waited. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Still //

Something beautiful about blogs is that they wait. Having a space that grows with you and is so open to the flow of creativity -- heavy or sparse. Like a lifelong friend who you dont see or even speak to for a year but then you catch each other for a few hours and pick up right where you left off, that's a lot like this space. July is an update in and of itself but here we are in August and I have new news. Sometimes I dont write simply because I dont know what is happening or where we are going or what we are doing, Im just taking one day at a time. This past month in Minneapolis has been that, certainly, but its also been a wonderfully still season and Ive been soaking in that. News always gets out eventually and it will be exciting but for now Im still savoring the final days of stillness before another wild adventure ensues. This is the life. 
Little life glimpses can always be followed on Instagram: @chelsea_pea

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Month Two // our journey

Our car full of things, staying in guest rooms, living on a prayer, quite literally except for the generosity of friends, family and the blessing of some work-for-hire jobs here and there. Forty days like that was not easy -- the only resource we had most of the time was gas in our car and with all the miles we tracked between Eau Claire, the Cities, and Pepin we ended up driving a lot of miles on empty and then Daddy God would give us enough to put some more gas in. Luke thinks this is not even half as crazy as the life we will lead in years to come, traveling or being on the road for months at a time, but it was plenty challenging for now. In the midst of it all we took moments to just be. Going swimming with Barley in the river in Eau Claire, a short film showing in Minneapolis with friends, a week long "second honeymoon" in Pepin (the first chance we had to stay in a space all our own in almost a month since leaving Milwaukee and where we were so broke we could only afford ramen and eggs for every meal from the dollar store but we splurged on a shared cup of coffee a few times), and an evening cookout at a friend's lake house. Luke worked as much as he could. I took the chance to rest as much I could. We learned so much grace for people who are on the road a lot. You cant hold a steady job like that but, boy, do you still want to work and meet your needs and bless others. Encouragement was so needed. We clung closer to each other through that, thankfully brief, season than I could have imagined. Finishing our album in that time was a great breakthrough and celebration. Showing it to friends and family was precious. 

Transition that seems perpetual is taxing. Not being able to take care of your own dog much is challenging. Being broke is really rough. We saw Daddy God be so faithful to us, even sweet, through the forty days of no-home and essentially no income. Luke handles it all much better than I do. Im so glad he leads us -- rejoicing always in the opportunities we're provided by circumstances to grow and to see God move. We arent where Id ever thought we would be, but faith in the midst of the journey is what counts the most. Saying no to depression or anxiety or anger and instead cultivating hope, because it doesnt disappoint. P.S. Love is free.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Month One // our journey

In May we were wrapping up the short season of shared life we spent in Milwaukee. We worked together a lot -- at my job, getting Luke to work, at coffee shops, trekking back and forth to the Cities to record our album. We sold lots of our things so we could travel much lighter, packing up and moving out. Luke was blessed by how willing I was to part with the life Id spent years building to bless my future husband with. We went to weddings together -- first time Ive had a date to a wedding, and now I have one for life. We ate out, got coffee, walked our dog, ate ice cream, watched basketball, gave what we had to all the homeless people we saw. These are some sweet memories in the midst of the just-getting-started craziness that our life together was becoming.