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Skipping Rocks

My family spent a September week in the woods of Colorado. While hiking a trail around our cabin we came to a lovely river, water clear as glass, flowing over a bed of stones. We began to show the little ones among us how to toss the rocks and observe the splash. Of course, this evolved into a friendly competition of skipping rocks between my husband and brother-in-law.

I’ve walked many a shore watching my husband skip rocks. So much so that I’ve become his official rock finder. I don’t have a strong arm like my husband but I can find the best skipping rocks, flat and smooth.

As we walked the bank outside our cabin, I laid eyes on it, a beautiful white stone, flat, wide, and smooth. It was perfect. I reached down, pulled it from the cold earth and placed it in my husband’s ready hand. He immediately released it across the water.The stone skipped gracefully several times before finally splitting into the water’s surface and sinking lightening hard to the bottom. We collectively awed with approval. A perfect throw.

“Nettie’s rock and Tucker’s arm,” my brother-in-law cheered.

In that moment the Lord spoke to my heart, “your rock, My arm.”

Immediately, I recalled Peter professing the identity of Christ. Peter says, “you are the Christ”…to which Jesus responds, “flesh and blood didn’t reveal this to you, but the Spirit of God, and upon this rock (this revelation) I will build my church.”

As I am faithful to gather the word of God to my heart (a treasure hunt on the Lord’s shore) whether I feel like it or not, whether I have perfect understanding of it or not, He will, by His Spirit, bring revelation. And with His strong arm, He will propel me into growth by way of the rock of His revelation.

We so often over-complicate transformation by believing our weak effort alone will be enough, failing to understand it is “not by might, nor by power, but by [His] Spirit” that transformation occurs. I only need to provide the rock. By reading His word in the simple faith that it will not return void of power, you place a smooth stone in His hand, and it will accomplish in you and around you what it is released to do.

Approved

For those endeavoring to begin a new Kingdom work:

Recently, while preparing to speak at my church for the first time since turning 30, I asked the church secretary for a private place to pray before service. She showed me into what is known as the count room. A tiny, hidden space, I had assumed to be a closet, was in actuality once the room where the tithes and offerings were taken to be counted. Quietly within, I knelt down to pray, and noticed a very large safe, bank slips, and money bags.

Turning 30 was a significant shift in my life. This age for me has marked the beginning of running my race in the Kingdom, putting my full weight on the promise and call of God on my life, holding nothing back. This night of speaking would set a precedence. What was I to teach? I taught on the subject of proximity, coming close to God. This is where it all began for me at 15 years old, praying in my bedroom, simply enjoying His presence, then receiving a radical call from God.

As I sat in the count room, pouring my heart out before the Lord, thankful to be 30, thankful to be here, and in a new year, He impressed upon me the significance of the room in which I was sitting.

The Lord is getting ready to take you into the “count room.” The place of first fruits offering, where as you lay your heart and intents before him, He will approve and confirm. Where you have awaited confirmation, and affirmation; where you have deeply desired to have it confirmed that you are where you are supposed to be, doing what you are supposed to be doing, He will evaluate, and take account of you. 

It’s important to understand and live humbly in knowing that you are and are not ready, and you must exist between the tension of the two. You are ready in that you have said “yes,” but you are not ready in that you have no idea what is coming. You are ready in that you have prepared well, but you are not ready in that you don’t understand what sacrifice is yet ahead. You are ready in that you have heard rightly to “go,” but you are not ready in that it will be the day-in and day-out kneeling before His throne that will be your source of strength. 

Paul writes to Timothy advising him to “study to shew thyself approved unto God.” Approved here refers to coinage and it being cut accurately, no sides shaved down. No cut corners, so to speak. A coin that is approved is the right weight in silver, worth its full value. 

In this season the Lord is drawing you into divine evaluation. He does not evaluate a child of His that can’t pass. You are ready. Take this opportunity, in His presence, to lay your heart and intent before Him without reservation. Put your full weight into the task He has assigned you. Ask Him all of the questions, and trust Him. Speak the vision He is downloading in your spirit, and hold it with an open hand before Him (ready at all times, should He make alterations). Receive His approval, and move with the utmost confidence in this new work.

Wild Wonder

I don't want to be a tour guide 
at the nature reserve called Abba, 
directing others’ attention 
to that cliff-face over there...
that ravine...
that bush...
that vista, 
fabricating wonder for guests 
but having in my soul 
completely lost touch 
with the landscape of my Father's heart. 
I want to see You, Lord. 
Fully. 
I want to feel the texture, heat and cold. 
To breathe Your air and discover 
the unseen tracks of who You are. 
I don't want to live a life that points to You. 
That is not enough. 
I want to live engrossed in You. 
Sweat on my brow. 
Dirt under my nails. 
Flowers in my hair. 
Utterly lost in the wild wonder.
-Antonette Weatherly

The Treasure of the Lord

3:00 AM February 18, 2020

This morning I saw a shovel digging deep into the earth and suddenly it struck against a treasure box. The SOUND of the strike was so loud it carried across the earth. The Lord spoke that across nations, across denominations, the body of Christ is STRIKING UPON THE TREASURE OF THE LORD. A sound like RINGING is resonating over the Church. The treasure that we have found is INTIMACY WITH THE MOST HIGH in the secret place. The deep yearning of the Spirit is compelling the people of God to find the true treasure of His presence and to REVERE it. There is a GREAT MOVE OF OUR FOCUS, a UNITY in the single pursuit of HIS FEET. 

The tip of the unearthed treasure box was covered in soil and time-worn on the outside, but those digging knew the YET HIDDEN GLORY of what they had struck. 

The SOUND of the shovel hitting the treasure was like that of RINGING BRASS. 

“And [Jesus’s] eyes were as a flame of fire, And his FEET LIKE UNTO HIM FINE BRASS, as if they burned in a furnace,” (Revelation 1:14-15).

Don’t stop digging! You have FOUND HIS FEET. As we make our dwelling at the feet of Jesus in the SECRET PLACE, we too are being PURIFIED IN THE SAME FURNACE of Yaweh’s love. His feet are the PLACE OF EXCHANGE, where we receive MORE OF HIS MANIFEST GLORY as He burns up all impurities. 

The SOUND OF RINGING BRASS is the words of David crying, “ONE THING I have desired of the LORD, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, And to inquire in His temple” (Psalm 27:4).

The sound is His invitation over us to the MOST INTIMATE PLACE OF MEETING, where He transforms us into His own likeness, PLACING THE TREASURE OF HIS HEART into our hearts, making them cry out, “I will be satisfied when I awake in your likeness,” (Psalm 17:15).

As we live in this deep place of intimacy by the Spirit, we will carry His feet with us onto the main stages of the earth and into the recesses with GREATER POTENCY, making every place we enter a THRONE ROOM FOR ENCOUNTER with the King of Kings. 

At His feet He releases HIS SECRETS—secrets that release HIS WILL (the very ATMOSPHERE OF HEAVEN) into the earth through the individuals that carry them. The SOUND OF RINGING BRASS over us is resounding with the words, “There’s a private place reserved FOR THE LOVERS OF GOD, where they sit near him and receive the revelation-secrets of his promises” (Psalm 25:14-16 TPT).

Rejoice with those who Rejoice

Years ago I worked as an Inclusion Aide in Special Education in an Elementary school. I love the kids I worked with. I love that they taught me to laugh at myself and daily gave me a lighter view of the world. Throughout my short career in education,  I had the privilege of spending hours observing and engaging in relationships with children.  I especially gleaned from their interactions with one another.

One little girl, Savannah, was so enthusiastic. The books her teacher read, the videos her class watched, her teachers instructions, her peer’s stick figure drawing, all blew her away, evoking her most expressive “Wow!” “Woah!” “That’s awesome!” “Did you see that?!”

She was a fount of encouragement. She’s the voice you’d want cheering in your congregation as you preached. What I liked most about Savannah was not simply that she was encouraging, but I believe she recognized quality in others and had a sensitivity to the efforts of others. When her peers, or her teacher for that matter, presented quality to her, she’d applaud it. “Good job Ms. S!,” she’d shout to her teacher.

One day, Savannah was coloring in her fire station workbook. She pulled out a freshly sharpened color pencil and brought it within inches of my nose. “What color is this Mrs. Weatherly?”

“Aqua!” I replied. Her eyes lit up and she let out a screechy giggle.

Immediately, she went to coloring her fire station dalmatian pup, aqua. When she had finished she was immensely proud of the work she’d done. I told her it was fabulous and she beamed, but sometimes approval means more from your peers. So, she showed her work to those at her table.

“Dogs are black or brown, not aqua!” the first girl said. Disappointed, but not deterred Savannah took her masterpiece to the neighboring table.

“That’s wrooooong!” another girl declared. Savannah sunk.

“It’s pretty,” I heard her say under her breath.

I wanted to scoop her up and explain that sometimes people don’t recognize the beauty that is so obviously within in you. That you have to receive approval from God alone. I wanted to shield her, to protect her. She couldn’t understand why she wasn’t shown the same courtesy she so readily bestowed to everyone else. I sat there feeling as deflated as she. I told her again what a great job she had done and then it was time to clean up.

There are times in my life I have been guilty of the same treatment those little girls showed Savannah. And there are times I have been Savannah, eager to please and to celebrate a job well done but swiftly rejected by those with whom I thought to celebrate. We all have to learn the hard way that approval comes from the Father. We have to know in our heart of hearts that we are “accepted in the Beloved,” Ephesians 1:6.

At the same time, I wonder. Can I, in my day to day be more like Savannah, quick to recognize the quality in others and eager to applaud it? Can I be sensitive to other’s efforts and join them in their celebration of a job well done? I understand that the gift of encouragement may not come so easily to us as it does to Savannah, but my prayer is that we not allow any excuse or insecurity within ourselves keep us from learning love.

One of my favorite passages says in Romans 12:10-15 “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord…Rejoice with those who rejoice.”

In other words, be like Savannah.

-Antonette Weatherly

Deeper

As a kid I loved to nab one of the few pair of goggles at a pool party so that I could dive down deep into the water. Below, all of the laughter, conversation, delighted screams of children splashing were instantly muffled and distant.

As you’re introduced to this new space beneath the surface, everything you know about breath and balance above the surface are changed. I remember being mesmerized by the strange quiet and the way the light shone through the endless blue and how everything slowed down.

Losing track of time I’d emerge from the water, made anxious by the thought I may have missed something going on at the party. Why didn’t everyone want to dive in? Isn’t this what we came for?

I believe in life we are often reluctant to fully surrender to God because of what we may miss. We are made anxious by this need to follow the crowd and as a result we often sacrifice depth for relevance. But what could be more relevant than time spent diving deeper and deeper into the Father’s presence?

I’ve realized that there will always be something else to do instead of worship. There will always be tasks to perform and people to see but we can’t live satisfied with surface level revelation of the person of God and miss the beauty of the depths of His heart. We must learn the rhythms of daily surrender.

-Antonette Weatherly

History with Jesus

“I thought I was going to die,” reads a journal entry I wrote following my first experience climbing in the Colorado Rockies. Trincherra Peak sits at 13,517 feet and from tree line to summit you feel every inch of it. With every step, your breath grows increasingly more shallow, you hope, sometimes falsely, that the rock you’ve chosen to cling to doesn’t give way beneath you, and all too frequently you pause to relieve your aching legs and throbbing feet.

“Why did I think this would be fun,” you ask yourself.

But slowly and steadily, 1000 ft become 50 ft, becomes 1 step and you’ve summited the peak. The rush of relief and joy you feel are enough to knock you off your wobbly limbs.  As you stand (or collapse) in breathless wonder, basking in your achievement, you feel both strong and so very small in the vastness of it all. And there, to commemorate your success is a monument of stones placed by climbers who have made their own journey to the top.

As I proudly placed my stone on the pile commemorating my journey to the top of Trincherra that day, I was reminded of those old testament believers that built similar altars to commemorate the good things God had done on their behalf. For instance, Genesis 28:10-19 tells the story of Jacob having a powerful prophetic dream and being transformed by the presence of God, he lays up a stone in his camp site and calls the place Bethel, meaning, house of God. Forever after, that stone would be a reminder to Jacob of his encounter with the living God.

We are daily building just such altars in our lives. Sometimes, we build these altars without even knowing it. It’s only when we look back we see stone after stone, moment after moment where seemingly insignificant connections to the Father, were mountains we summited by His grace. When I’m faced with new challenges I return to those monuments I’ve built over the years, those places where the Father rushed in like a flood to save me, when obedience to him paid off, when he comforted me through pain, whether I caused it or not.  My life is a series of monuments built in remembrance of the goodness of God.

So, what monuments have you built as a response to God’s goodness in your life? What memories of His working in your life do you hold most dear? I encourage you to make a list and if you’d like to share, please leave a comment!

-Antonette Weatherly

Jump

There was only the hint of heat in the morning air as I sat in the amphitheater with my pen in hand and journal laid open. My heart was ready for whatever the Lord desired to do. I was deep into a summer of church camp internship and I’d found a few moments to steal away and quiet my mind. I savored the time, taking in the beauty of the trees overhead and the lake in the distance. Then, like warmth on the summer breeze, that still small voice whispered, “Go jump in the lake.”

“What?” I sat bewildered. Then again the whisper came, “jump in.” As I sat quietly, I began to picture the whole scenario. I’d stand up, cross the amphitheater, descend the path to the cliffs along the beach, take my stand above the murky waters below, and then, fully clothed yet compelled beyond control, I’d jump into the lake. By now my heart was racing. The urge became so strong to follow through with this strange plan I thought my feet might involuntarily carry me to the water’s edge. I imagined my team asking, “Where’s Antonette?” Then the reply would come, “Oh, that crazy girl, she jumped in the lake.” Drenched, I’d step into the lodge before my peers, feeling and looking pretty silly.

“I can’t jump in the lake,” I told the Lord with a bit of an attitude. “I don’t even know how deep the water is.”

Then, understanding my hesitancy He replied, “I’ll catch you.”

Now picture Jesus, standing in the water, hands outstretched, looking at you with absolute love in those deep brown eyes that know you beyond words. In that moment of connection he is drawing you to a deeper place of intimacy and to a greater place of dependency. Sure, there’s really no telling how deep His glorious love is. And to surrender to the depths of His grace would mean living drenched, forever feeling out of place and more than a little silly on dry ground. Oh, but how can you resist once you’ve locked eyes with Him?

This blog is one ripple in the wave I created the day I said “yes” to Jesus in that amphitheater 7 years ago. No, I didn’t literally jump into the lake that day if you’re wondering, but I did make the decision to live out of my depth, to discover a life lived in over my head. This blog is dedicated to that journey, and to those who are wading the depths of His grace with me.

Have a nice swim!

-Antonette Weatherly