When I am tempted to take a bite of the forbidden fruit of comparison, insecurity, or hopelessness, I must return to myself. I must take a moment and recall that this fruit will always leave me hungrier and worse off than I started. I must remember which tree produces the fruit I need, the one that satisfies all my appetites.
In the Love tree’s DNA is my DNA. This fruit strengthens my identity and compounds the Voice that sounds like never ending wedding bells.
It always rings- “ I AM LOVED.” This tree knows my name and always sweetly beckons me to feast.
This tree cleanses me of competition, selfishness, or ever feeling the need to prove or beg. This royal tree reminds me that I was made from Love for love, and that is all that I am. This fruit is free and ready to be savored, just like the Love that is only for me. I can’t see where this tree ends and where is begins; its expanse too far to be measured. Its breadth reminds me that there is so much room for all to be full and happy.
Who will come and eat of this Loved tree?
To find their hunger cease and their joy full.
One of the greatest passions of my life is restoring intimacy on the earth. Innately woven into the fabric of every human is the great longing and desire to be fully known and fully loved.
When we hear the word intimacy, we often immediately make associations to sex, but sex does not necessarily include intimacy within itself. I have been on a journey, like the rest of us, seeking to be loved and to love. In this pursuit, I have been most impacted by the power of sex and the revelation of purity.
After experiencing a lot of brokenness in my sexuality, what I once thought was the greatest expression of love, I have been on a journey to discover what "true love" looks like. I've been asking God when He created sex- what was His intention? Where is sex a manifestation of pure love and why? How I can best love men with a pure heart? What does purity actually look like lived out? While I am still very much in process, I have certainly grown leaps and bounds in my journey to wholeness.
My ability to walk in purity didn't actually come from obeying a set of rules, more prayer, or completely hiding from the world around me. It actually came in the form of pure hearted men loving me without an agenda, and secondly, growing in my identity as a loved and beautiful daughter of God. When God was given the room to meet my needs to feel valuable, loved, and beautiful (which He showed in both Spirit and through people around me), I stopped using men as a means to feel worthy. Instead of needing something from men to validate my worth, I can now actually give to men as a friend, sister, and mother. I have realized that I actually feel most like a woman when I am championing and covering the men around me. Designing for men is an avenue in which I can advocate for purity between men and women, and can cover and call out the kings I see around me.
I designed this outfit to redefine how we view masculinity.
Pink is rarely associated with manliness. Pink often implies gentleness, loveliness, and softness. Yet, all of these attributes are found in the most perfect expression of masculinity- Jesus. Tenderness and vulnerability are actually attributes of true strength. Real men love like kind fathers, are moved by compassion, and their hearts are accessible and immpressionable. I chose to make the pants pink to make men feel like they have permission to men walk in this. Unseen is the waistband and the pockets lined with gold silk. I lined the pants in gold to communicate that the heart of man is gold, it is so good, even when there are times when we can't see it on the outside. My prayer was that the trousers would reveal the gentleness of Father God. Unbeknownst to me was that my model would later be chosen to act as a father on stage.
The shirt is multicolored to represent the fullness of Christ within. Rainbows are symbolic of covenant and faithfulness, and the shirt symbolizes that these qualities are also an expression of true masculinity.
Mathieu Rossignol was the perfect model, because not only was I clothing him in this, but he truly already exudes these attributes. He is a pure hearted brother to the women in his life, he is unashamedly in touch with his heart, and he carries the heart of the Father so beautifully for those around him. It was an amazing privilege to work with him.
We were created by the Designer, in His image, modeling His nature.
“You formed my innermost being, shaping my delicate inside and my intricate outside, and You wove them all together in my mother’s womb... You even formed every bone in my body when You created me in the secret place, carefully, skillfully, You embroidered me from nothing into something. You saw who You created me to be before I became me." -Psalm 139:13-16a, Passion Trans.
The incredibly talented Brienne Peetz designed this outfit specifically for me. Having someone design and create for me has been one of the most unreal expressions of love I have ever experienced… Katelyn Jones and her beautiful children created the colorful cape. They painted the garment dancing in joy, worshipping Jesus. It was chosen as a part of the outfit, but the top and skirt were actually born from the thought- Who is Shelby Cook?
When I put on this outfit, I am not sure I have ever felt more like myself in clothing. I felt so loved, known, and outrageously beautiful in my own skin.
This is the power of design. This is the power of releasing the heart of the Father through your gift and your passion.
There is a deep well of relationship between these articles of clothing and I. Each piece is a physical representation of who I am. This photo, this outfit, is forever seared into my memory that no matter what happens in my life, on the mountain tops or in the valleys-- my superpower is joy, I always have a fun job to do with my Father, and the Light and Song of my life will never succumb to the darkness that I encounter.
I am forever one with the Hero of the world.
Changes and challenges are GREAT indications that you are pressing forward! I have never experienced such accelerated change in my life. I'm learning to stay put in the faithfulness of His kindness towards me, His perfect Daddy love, no matter what evolving scenery is before my eyes. (My Jesus "bubble;" staying in the hidden place)
I'm learning that it is TOTALLY IRRELEVANT how bad my circumstances are! It is irrelevant what obstacles mat puff up against my destiny, they are only stages for my Father to woo my heart again. Every "problem" is simply a gift with ugly wrapping paper, containing the Father's priceless gold heart inside. It's up to me to actively open it, and walk through the process of unearthing the revelation of His kindness, to find the breakthrough! Sometimes... There is a LOT of tissue paper in that box! Sometimes it seems like there is absolutely no prize in it! But, KEEP digging. I assure you that there is a gift, a custom, perfect gift, just for you inside. Life is a series of unraveling these gifts, these mercies, these testimonies that lasso us into His lap.
It's amazing that He is teaching me in how to dig through that box quicker and more excitedly, rather than be discouraged by what it appears like on the outside.
I leave you with this- " I repeat, be strong and brave! Don't be afraid and don't panic, for I, the LORD your God, am with you in all you do." Joshua 1:9, NET
I love Jesus. I love the woman I can become because of the love He has shone... I'm winding down from a ninety to nothing sort of week, calmly reveling in what He is doing in my life. And I just wanted to share some new thoughts, share the gifts. Freedom. Joy. PASSION. Excitement. Peace. He has given me all I have ever wanted... I love that the Lord does not know limits. It is very important that we understand His bank account never runs out, His Spirit doesn't just satisfy but it actually is MORE. More than we can keep to ourselves and so much more than we thought we could possibly have in Him.
This week I am particularly pumped about a couple things. I LOVE what He is teaching me concerning the artist community! I never thought I would be one of those major advocate chicks... I don't mean any sort of negative connotation by that, I just never thought I would be so passionate about something I get on my microphone and monologue to the world! But what is particularly running through my mind is the difference between buying local handmade goods versus factory made imports. Like, ya'll... I am an artist, and trying to make a living exclusively from my craft has been challenging. Many people don't understand the amount of time it takes to make something unless they themselves have made it... Or the cost of supplies, or the percent of profit that different venues that sell your goods. I say all this to take you behind the scenes of your market. When you purchase a product from an artisan, you are supporting an individual's passions (their joy! to create); ultimately you are influencing someone's life journey. You are INVESTING in a person and what they stand for. In contrast, when buying mass produced commercial goods, the relationship between you and the producer is almost completely lost. Sadly, many of the items that we buy in stores are made by underpaid employees abroad. Although I am not the most educated (although I have some champion friends that fight against it) about modern day slavery, I know that SEVERAL major corporations use slave labor... It's become such a "diluted" problem that we aren't even aware of it in our culture... Sure, those foreign imports are 1/3 of the price... But trust me- for good reason I have become an advocate of owning fewer items, of higher quality, that are made by artists. Yes, I am becoming an Etsy junky. PLUS, I love that handmade items are NOT mass produced! Yes! You may have found the only necklace in the world with those stones, arranged in that design. YES! You are one of a kind, why not reflect your individuality and rarity with your exclusive goods? In all seriousness!
Let your fire out. You have a fire because it was given to you by your Father in heaven. He will keep it kindled, and in Him it will never burn out. The Creator of the world is 110% FOR your passions. Success is your inheritance.
What are you waiting for?
Top of the morning to you my dear blog readers! I am currently awake thinking about turning 24, paying off college loans, what my dreads will look like in two years, living out my dreams- you know- just figuring out what the heck I'm doing... As my mind is running, I thought I would finally post a sweet testimony from my travels this summer. I also realized it's about time for me to share a testimony because I was thrilled to see that nearly 300 people have looked at this site! How flipping cool... So, getting to the point of all this, what Papa God is up to (besides enjoying my restless, nocturnal self at the moment) ---->
One of my favorite stories from my time in Oregon was seeing someone healed of three infections. Yes, even though I prayed in faith, it was so awesome it still surprised me! Come on Jesus!
After spending several days at my sweet mama's house, in the woods, without seeing anyone new, I was aching to minister to a stranger. I know it may sound strange, but evangelism is woven deeply into my DNA, and I just don't feel like myself if I don't see the heart of the Father touch someone I barely know... Hungry to see heaven on earth (it can get so boring down here without Him breaking in!), I was ready to ask anyone if they needed prayer. I went to a leather shop in town pretty regularly to get supplies for jewelry. So, I asked the lady ringing up my leather if she needed prayer. And indeed, she said she could definitely use some. She had a bladder infection, a kidney infection and a urinary tract infection. I asked her 1 out of 10 what her pain level was and she said the pain was an 8. Wow, let's pray! I just thanked Jesus for what He paid for Karen- complete healing in her body. I asked her after I prayed if there was any noticeable difference, and she said there was slight improvement, but she was still in pain.
A week later, I came back to buy more supplies, and asked her about the infections. She said shortly after I left all the pain left, and the following day she had a doctor's appointment. She told me that when she got checked out ALL the infections were completely GONE! Come on Dad! So amazing... so simple. She relayed the story of prayer to her doctor and coworkers at Oregon Leather...
He is alive and well today folks. Come to Him for anything, anytime, anywhere, and you will find the kindest and most loving solution...
Blessings to you my friends! And to all a good morning, night :)