Tuesday, August 31, 2010

for your viewing pleasure

Hello my fellow journeymen (and women) I put a couple of crazy vids up on youtube, here are the links.

Much love,

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Who's coming to Worshipfest Greenville this Saturday?!

Hey Chilhood!

The following are thoughts, prayers, journal entries, etc. since I left the Farm. Know that I miss and love each of you.

-On Sunday, August 1, 2010 I felt like I was in mourning. Especially since it was a gloomy, rainy day in Sophia. Missed you guys.

-Training at the Greensboro Pregnancy Care Center with MK: a lot to learn, but the Lord is amazing and has made me capable. Work starts this coming Monday, August 23!

-The movie Inception is insane. So so so good. What is your reality?

-You must subscribe to the Bethel Church i-tunes podcasts. These sermons--mostly Bill Johnson--will change your life. Listened to the sermon entitled "Transformation Series Really Saved" on 6/28/10. Listen, we are DEAD TO SIN. ALIVE IN CHRIST. Whoa. Say it out loud. Several times. Do you believe it?

-Laura Hackett's new album (from IHOP-KC) is the bomb.com!

-GRAHAM COOKE IS GOING TO BE IN HIGH POINT this September 10-12 for a conference!!! Who's going with me!? P.S. Who's finished the book? I'm halfway through. I try to read it every morning. This morning in the book, Graham dropped this nugget into my heart: I DO NOT LIVE IN MY CIRCUMSTANCES. I LIVE IN CHRIST.

-I bought a car today. Oh praise Him! 2007 silver Honda Accord. Whodathunk buying a car would be so overwhelming. Had a slight meltdown. It was necessary. And then the Lord worked everything out. He always does that.

-Whenever I mess up, sin, forget who I am, whatever...I say to myself Hebrews 4:16. "Erin, take the mercy! Accept the help!" Man, we really really need Him. We really do.

-Josif Walters did a perfect re-enactment of Papa Ken singing last night (Anyone remember "There's a place...in my heart..."?) and it was the funniest thing I saw all week. It made me laugh and think fondly of Papa Ken time with all yall. Bless.

-There's going to be a Chilhood Reunion this Saturday night at Worshipfest Greenville b/c Johnny's leading worship there. Who's in!?!?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

what a privelege it is to miss another.

so the other night I went to the farm late to move out my stuff. no one was there. like literally, johnny, mel, the kids, the boys, ken and linda, all gone. just me on the land where God has consistenly found me and spoken tenderly to me, convinced me I was worthy of His affection, and wrapped the arms of friendship around me.

I decided to take a drive around the lake before leaving. as I drove through the woods, my headlights highlighted a lovely white mushroom. I started to drive past it, and thought of josh. I stopped my car. I wasn't going to get out, but then I felt the Lord whisper,

"Who will look at my mushrooms now?"

I got out and looked at it. I let it judge me. It was clean. it appeared as a tall white round table, cloaked in a crisp white lace table cloth, it seemed ready for company. I had never seen one like it the whole summer. it was beautiful. complete. it told me I had completed my summer here, and it was beautiful, intricate and worthy of notice. I was clean. I was to begin my next season bearing no guilt or shame, but instead cloaked in the lace of my Father's pleasure.

He has hidden secrets inside the small things, not to keep us away, but to pull us close. drink up the small things. they will be a well in the desert and a kiss in the garden.

I asked God what it was like not having anyone there, thinking He would say something about his heart still existing in the land or just some profund statement of rest. instead He said,

"I miss everybody. I like it better when they're here."

to miss, means you have loved. what a privelege to know that we have loved and that He has loved.

I was in Nashville this weekend visiting some friends. I was sitting at a table with a group of people, some I knew, some I didn't and I felt strange. I felt a longing in me that I had not felt for the past 2 and a half months. People at a table, carrying conversation, moving from one to the next, eating food. I tried to introduce myself to this one person, he happened to get up from the table at the very moment I turned. totally akward moment one of my other friends saw. he laughed. I felt like a total dork. I just wanted to be known, to be understood. The revelation of the gift I had been given, of being in a place where people knew me, loved me, fought for me, and believed the best in me washed over me. I missed you guys so much. I also then remembered that if I felt that way, I bet everyone at the table felt that way. I got a new "history book" a week or two ago. Its just for august and september. its thinner, but same great paper. anyways I was doing a creative entry and I just thanked Him so much for letting me be known and help make others known. The He encouraged me that although that season was and is amazing, at the end of the day, I am known by Him. He holds my hand, He holds my heart. and He reminded me to not let insecurity engulf me, but to instead help them find their voices, help them feel known. The next day was totally different. and at the end of the night, a person shared a song he wrote and then offered th guitar up, a room full of amazing musicians, none of them really wanting to share their songs. I took a deep breath and said, "I'll play a song." I closed my eyes. wrapped myself in papa's arms and sang the song that says, "and you, you know me well, you hold my had, you hold my heart..." was itn't perfect by any means, but is was me. God came in that room. I know it. anyways after that other people started playing songs and it just lead to this joyful music time. but that wasnt the point. the point was that God helped me remember that I play because He loves it. its good do things He loves. it changes seemingly unchangable situations.

always remember, God knows you. let that security overflow and watch it cover the insecurities of a generation longing to be known. He had told me that morning " Your Beloved is by your side" and indeed he was. indeed He is.

and I miss you guys because I love you.

jessica denise stafford of Jamestown North Carolina. lover. misser.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"hold onto the image of God"

Hey friends! I hope everyone’s been doing well. I’m sure it’s not been easy, but maybe easier than you thought, with Christ in you and all: he is the good news to every bit of bad news you encounter. He is alive. It’s a different life walking in the Spirit and not the soul/flesh. It is a new dance with everyone and even yourself sometimes (all the time?). And it is beautiful if you let him lead you first and join him in the dance. Believe! Let him lead you. He is so kind.


I had a dream last night that we were all walking down a road at night, and there was a detour, or more like construction on the road that wasn’t finished/didn’t get finished unexpectedly. It was sort of a crisis moment. But there were cops there to help guide people, and I assume others working on the road.

When we got there (the construction was near the end of this road), there was a white sort of blanket/huge cloth spread out to the right, off the side of the road. It was on a hill sloping down towards the road, and there were black, sticky chemicals on parts of the cloth and the road like tar that had something to do with fixing the road, but were very sticky and potentially dangerous. We did not want to fall into the road.

We were told to “hold onto the image of God” over and over again as we traveled, referring to the white cloth. So we grabbed on and started our journey. I was towards the front of the group in the dream. It took a bit of effort, but wasn’t impossible or treacherous. When I got to the end, my left foot got stuck in some of the black goo that was like a puddle on the cloth, and I was trying to ask the police officer for help, who was right there, but he thought I was asking questions about an MRI for some reason and wanted me to keep moving. But then he saw my foot, and pulled it out. It was just barely stuck, enough that I couldn’t get it out on my own.

I moved on and it looked like we were at a border of some sort, where you drive through the toll/service/inspection booth-looking sort of thing, which was white too I think. We were all going to go through after this. But first, I understood that those who got through—at least 5 or so would be needed to do this—could go back down the road and get back in to help others (which doesn’t make sense in the natural, but it made sense, and makes a whole lot of sense in the Spirit). We could either go back all the way and come through again behind, or jump in at places to come along side others to help them through. We had overcome, had authority, and encouragement to strengthen each other.


Unexpected things will happen in this time of transition. And the Lord is showing us that we are still together and meant to be to help each other and experience the last part of this road as a family. There will be help where we go. And the way we will make it through these unexpected detours and crises moments is to hold on to the image of God, grab hold of who He is--all by Himself, to you, and in you--and trek on together. You are made in his image. Remember who you are and who he is.

When we forget who God is and who we are, we lose our very foundation and will be tossed about and very confused and feel very lost. God’s nature and character, which are also in you, are the anchor for us in the storms. Don't listen to the voices that say, "He is not like you hoped." "See, I told you things would never change." "It was only a dream, you foolish child. Grow up, welcome to real life."

Your response should be, "No, things have changed: inside of me. I see God for who He is and I see how he sees me. And THAT changes everything. Things are, in fact, about to change."

From the inside out, the Kingdom can come. It has come. Believe and let it manifest. Dance in step with the Spirit.

If the enemy can blur you view, he will. He will lie to you and try to deceive you so he can rob you blind of what is actually true and truly yours: your free and open relationship with God, and your inheritance and place of authority and influence on the earth: your family, friends, work, school, church, strangers. You bear the image of God, and if the enemy can steal God's image from you, you will reflect what you believe to be true about Him, good or not so good.

What is happening is the enemy is challenging your faith. But my friends, "count it all joy when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness" (James 1:2).

God is working steadfastness in you. You overcomer you. You look like Jesus.

"Hold onto the image of God"

When one person got through, they could come back and help others. They overcame and had authority and encouragement in the goodness of the Lord to come through again behind others and to enter in at points of others journeys to come alongside and help. We are all gonna make it! Yes, we’re in war. But we’re not alone. I think 5 is the number of grace? Maybe God is saying that he will give us grace to make it through. Of course he is! That is good news!

I'm telling you, even sharing your stories so far about how God met you guys right where you went to and helped you in your honesty and being real, and how he changed everything, how it's different with your family, telling stories like these builds faith in me and I know will in others. Come back to us after your victories and encourage us. Come alongside again, share the grace of Jesus that you experience. Lavish it on us, and on the faint of heart. Put courage inside each other. Don't let the enemy's lies rule in any one of us and steal us blind from all God is and has for us.

There were some other scenes along the way of my dreams last night. One was in the woods, the last few days of the school, Johnny pulls up in the Tahoe and does some funny exit from the vehicle, and encouraged me aside that if we didn’t go to DB’s house for a movie Thursday night that we should definitely do something together, like go to Raleigh (a previous plan in the dream?), but not just be scattered and about our own business. It was the Lord I believe.

Again, if what we planned on happening changes or doesn’t happen, the Lord is encouraging us in those moments to plan to stick together, intentionally stay together, and not be alone when things don’t happen like we plan, or expected.

The name "Raleigh" means, "red clearing" ("ra" from an Irish-Gaelic word, "rua," meaning "red", and "leigh" meaning clearing, meadow, wood or of the forest). Interesting. Helser: "Of the Woods." :) Remember that moment with Johnny on the coffee table?

Everything was brown. Lots of brown colors in the trees, obiviously, but the vehicle, and Johnny's clothes. All light brown. Which can mean humility.

The phrase, "red clearing" makes me think of the passage in 1 John that talks about living together in the light and the blood of Jesus cleansing us. The power of asking for help, and confession, and praying for one another. Humility, asking for help. Community. Things can shift inside quick if we agree. Don't let things fester any longer. Don't let doubt and confusion rule you for days. Ask for prayer. Confess your struggle. There is power in agreement. There is power in confession. Cadence gets this. And he finds a lot of stuff he lost really quick. God wants that for you and me too. We're not to be tossed around and unsure about who he is and who we are. God wants us to know and experience this new life. When you lose something, ask and agree with someone to get it back. God will fight for you, and in and through you to find it again. He will bring you back to it. He really does move when we ask him. He's just waiting for us to ask. It's half the battle to recognize we lost our peace, confidence, joy, courage, belief, love and ask for it back. Because it means we recognize God wants it for us. He is good.

Chris was looking through my journal at one point in a dream, totally reading my stuff! I have been sharing things with the Lord that are personal! Gosh Chris! ;) And he has been the past few nights in my dreams :) Ha!

Maybe the Lord will give you encouragement that is specific to someone’s journey right at this moment that will rock them and lift them up. Don’t be afraid to share it with them. Don’t be afraid to keep on prophesying. Choose to release the Kingdom inside of you. Fight for me. Fight for us. Fight for who we really are. You see it. Tell me again who I am. We all need to remember what life is like in real community and the power and light of encouragement.

Don't be afraid to invite others into your journey. What a gift is a friend. God in flesh.

Well, the rest of that James passage goes something like this, applied to this transition: If you need wisdom, direction, advice, ask God for it, and believe He will give it to you. Don't be double-minded, unsure if God is really wanting to. You can't receive good like that. Be grounded in God's goodness and desire for you and His leadership of your life. Believe because of what He did this summer. Stand on those things and approach God with faith, because He is still the same. Let that Kingdom break into where you are. Change everything. Little by little. You can! May the many moments of God working towards you and for you and in you and through you this summer be like seeds that grow and bear fruit into this season, filling your garden and bringing a harvest for the rest of your life. (1:5-8)

Much more simply put: hold onto the image of God. That will be your anchor and foundation when things go differently than you expected. Don't let old lies replace what God has showed you He is like. Let that be more true than any why question you have. Your trust is your greatest worship.

Love you guys,


Monday, August 9, 2010

The Love you Soar...

Today is my first day in the new home in Charlotte. I have unpacked, rearranged, and made this house my new home and I like it. This past week I have visited Charlotte, gone home to Georgia, and gone to the beach. While I was at the beach I slowly started to realize just how much I was missing everyone from the Farm. I figured the farther I got away (time wise) the easier it would get. Wrong. It has gotten harder for me. A few nights ago I was texting our good old friend, Jessie. We were talking about "Airbender" and how much we missed each other. I ask her What do I do about missing everyone? She replied with this, "Smile, cry a little, thank God you're where you are, and do a little bending moves." Once again Jessie has said it perfect. I realized in that moment I hadn't let myself cry. I had been pushing myself all week so hard to keep a smile and show everyone how happy I was. Because I am happy but I am also heart broken with missing all of you. Is it possible to have both emotions at the same time?
Yesterday I attend my first church service at the Queen City Church (the church John Mark and Robin started together). Through out the service I found myself having a hard time to connect. On the third song, John Mark did his new one. The one he did at our school. "Harbor me in the eye of the storm and I'll hold on to the love you soar." Right when the song started I just began to weep. I was back in Johnny and Mel's house with all of us singing that song together. Waves upon waves of missing everyone flooded my heart. I let myself be real. I let everything go and show how I felt before the Lord. Then when I opened my eyes and began to sing. Sing my song! All of you were there. Standing through out the room singing the song with me. It broke something in me.
From releasing to the Lord how I felt about missing my brothers and sisters he showed me something so awesome. You all are in my heart. Everytime I sing. Everytime I speak. Everytime I paint. Everytime I write. You all are with me. So to answer my question from earlier and maybe the same question some of you are having, "Is it possible to have both emotions at the same time? Joy for the new place you are at, and Heart broken for the ones you miss and love. I say Yes. So let your heart feel. Because in that same moment of heart broken the Father is coming to heal and lavish on us. Lets allow ourselves to be lavished on.
I love you all so much!


Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I didn't know coming home would be this hard or this beautiful. When i got home i walked up in my room i laid in my bed with my arms wrapped around my history book, sang Jessie's song and wept. I watched my little 9 year old brother peek his head in my doorway, and instead of yelling at him to go away i just let him watch me and listen to my song and my heartbreak. There was a moment where i felt my heart tell his heart "see little brother, its ok to cry." (Crying is something that is considered a weakness in our house.) I'm not afraid to be myself around my home. I didn't put any shields up when i walked through my front door. I was just the lover that i am and the lover ya'll spoke over me on Thursday night. I have had SO many arrows shot at me in the past 4 days, but instead of putting up a wall to protected myself, i have buried myself in the fathers arms and let him protect me. And in doing that, not one family member has received the reaction they were looking for to rise out of me. There is nothing the feels better then making my heavenly father proud and watching the faces of my family members when i just walk away from a situation with a smile and singing my song. I see everything and everyone SO differently. Its so beautiful. I never thought i would be able to do this on my own. I have surprised myself. I love and miss ya'll so much!

OH and i just want you guys to know that my best friends mom (who is a nurse) looked at my ankle and told me i definitely tore and bunch of ligaments and stuff but she said that it is extremely, EXTREMELY rare that someone dislocates their ankle without a break. She said its a miracle. And i told her "No, it was the healing prayers from my brothers and sisters." :)


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

They tamed him and the color of the wheat was different.....

I am sitting on my porch the night after our school the "18 inch Journey" ended. I feel super emotional...I keep reflecting on a moment I had with Cadence, my 8 year old son last night...we were at our house eating freshly made pound cake, with a lemon glaze sauce drinking coffee and getting ready to do our last night of encouraging each other. By that I mean we were sitting around one by one telling each other the things that we love about one another and speaking life into each others hearts. You don't realize how much you crave encouragement until your sitting in that chair. Cadence asked to stay up and I said no its time for bed, he called me into the pantry closed the door and said, "Please mom." I started to say no again...but I quickly saw tears streaming down his face. He looked me in the eyes in a way he never has before and said, "why does it have to go by so fast, it was like a flash of lighting. I am going to miss the students so much." In that moment I realized that my little 8 year old son had received a revelation from heaven. He really felt the pain of love. He began to tell me that all day he had thoughts of the first day they arrived, he remembered waking up and being so excited to go down to the farm and meet them all. His new family for 2 months. So many memories he said as he uncontrollably cried in my arms. I know it would seem that I am exaggerating the moment but it was so intense I cried and cried with him, not knowing what to say. I realized in that moment that my 8 year old was really learning how to love. They tamed him and the color of the wheat was different. [taken from the Little Prince a children's book we read this summer] We sat in our living room all 25 of us circled up one by one loving on one another, and Cadence Zion laid down in the center and fell asleep surrounded by love. For all of you who don't really know what we do in the summer...Here is a simple picture. We have a school in June and July for 60 days. Where we have about 15 students and 10 staff and a lot of the Holy Spirit. In this school we don't teach them how to be amazing worship leaders or incredible artists we don't even teach them how to do ministry really well. We teach them how to love...love each other, love the Lord and love themselves. We teach them how to live lives of extravagance and give themselves to the dream of God over their life. Yep in the middle of no where in Sophia, NC we took twenty-five, 18-25 year olds on a journey, an 18 inch journey, to be exact. The longest journey we ever make is the journey from our heads to our hearts. I could blog all day and all night about the little moments that made up the journey but I would subject myself to a lot of tears and I think I have run out. I cry because I am alive. And tonight I am swimming in a river of thanksgiving for the overwhelming love of the father. He came so intentionally this summer and I can't believe it is over.