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.