Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A little gift from an old friend

A dear friend just reminded me where I was this time last year and sent me this lovely poem with the words "THIS IS FOR YOU.///////"

Always pay attention to the dreams with in your heart,
Always have the faith to try or make a brand-new start…
I wish for you a world of joy, to share and pass along,
The gift of those who make you laugh and keep you going strong,
The knowledge that there’s meaning in the things you choose to do,
And the certainty you’re cared about for simply being you!

Today she gave me 2 gifts; the gift of reflection and progress and the gift of her heart..

I pray today that we will take the time to give someone the gift of our heart xo

One million places

My brain is in one million places today, part of it is already in Perth day-dreaming away, part of it is at home with my dog who whilst getting better is still sick and had a really bad sleep, part of it is wishing I was in bed asleep, part of me is thinking about the weird dreams I had last night, part of it is mentally packing, part creating a list of the things I need to do between now and tomorrow, part of it is making a list of everything I need to do at work, part of it is starting to process the work I need to do today. Argh! Today my brain is everywhere but right now I need it to be here in my office focusing solely on one task at a time..

If I look inward and focus on everything in front of me in the next 36 hours I will freak out but if I just put it all down and pick up one thing at a time then I think it will be manageable. Putting things down is not my strength I like to hold onto stuff, I'm used to stress and pressure and it motivates me in a sick/weird way but I've learnt that doing things that way, my way, that's the hard way.. holding onto it all, trying to do and think of everything at once; that's the heart racing, lump rising in throat, agitated way of getting everything done. It works but it also frustrates, aggravates and makes for an overall unpleasant day.

So it's time to say a quick prayer giving everything to God, exhale and then begin the mammoth tasks one bite at a time..

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I believe in a church

I believe in a church where the men and women of God arise to the challenge
A church where people don't just preach Jesus they live Jesus
A place where the word of God is preached in an authentic and practical way

I believe in a church where people don't just pray for solution but where people are the solution
A church where poverty, loneliness and illness are not problems but opportunities to serve
A place where people see a need and meet it

I believe in a church that lifts up the community
A church that steps out beyond it's walls and into the homes and lives of the people
A place where engaging in the community is a way of life not a chore

I believe in a church where families grow and children flourish under the love of the father
A church where family is about more than blood and lifelong bonds are developed
A place where people do life together

I believe in a church of real honest experience, where humanity lives
A church where the old take time to teach the young the lessons they have learnt
A place where the young take the time to honour and listen

I believe in a church of faith, of hope and of love
A church where inspiration and peace dwell
A place where love lives, where lives are changed and where dreams are built

I believe in the church, in my church and your church.. I believe that
A church as strong and mighty as the people in it who are willing to rise up to the call of God, it is
A place where miracles can happen, a place where you and I can be part of the solution if we just believe...

I believe in God's church, do you?

Monday, September 27, 2010

A little adjustment goes a long way

Ok so my journey is taking on a new dimension, health *cringe*. I am not healthy. I am not as unhealthy as I once was but I'm certainly not healthy. I was all good with trashing my body in whatever way I felt like and then I stumbled upon the realisation that my body is important, that what I put in and on my body matters. I decided that I liked me enough to treat myself better, to look after this body sooo for the last few months I have been making little adjustments to my life and I'm finding that these little adjustments go a long way..

Physically I feel better than I have in a long time. I have more energy, my skin is nicer to touch and nicer to look at. I feel nourished and alive. My head is clearer, I am more alert less blah and all because of simple changes in my diet like:
  1. replacing the white with brown;
  2. removing the sugar from my 5 bowls of black tea per day (knowing my love of tea some beautiful girlfriends got me a giant tea cup for my birthday) then slowly cutting down from 5 bowls of tea to 1 maybe 2 on a rough day and a little (normal) cup if any on weekends;
  3. waking up on Saturday mornings and heading to West End Markets for a lovely walk in the sun and top stock up on fruit and vegies;
  4. adding vegies to almost every meal I make from spaghetti to eggs on toast - in the last 2 weeks my food has had more vegies than anything else;
  5. choosing the organic option when I can - from eggs to flour to milk;
  6. eating fruit (for me this is something that I only started doing recently :s);
  7. cooking and baking so that I know what I'm eating;
  8. just thinking about what I'm putting in and not how it's going to make me feel right now but how I'm going to feel in 1 hr, 2 hrs etc.
Most people would read this and go "yeah of course you feel better" or "I know all of that" but for me this is part of my journey. It's about understanding my body and what works for it, not following some diet but trying different food combinations and seeing what works for me. For example I love carbs, carbs work for me but carbs with lots of farm fresh vegies works better. It's about making time to make the choices that mean I am looking after me and food is only part of the process, I am also taking steps to change what I put on my skin.

It all started with mineral make-up, it then moved to certified organic body moisturiser and most recently (today) certified organic deodorant (no more spraying aluminium right next to my breasts). I heard Holly Wagner say the other day that "if you can't eat it don't put it on your skin" (scary thought.. imagine eating your mascara or drinking your liquid foundation eww) but she has a point. How many of us stop long enough to think about what we put on our bodies and how much of what goes on our skin seeps in.

For me it's not about going through my house and throwing everything out and starting again but simply replacing products with smarter, healthier options. It's about education and manageable change. I am starting to investigate healthier option now so that when one product runs out I know what I'm replacing it with. For example I know the shampoo brand that I am going to buy in like 3 weeks when my shampoo runs out. I know it's organic, made in Australia (reduction in carbon footprint which is also important to me) and most importantly I know it does it's job and is nice on my hair because it's the same brand my hairdresser uses when I get my hair done. This is what I call a win, win, win change and it's easy :D
I guess what I'm realising is that we have options and that those options make a difference to us now, to our bodies in the future and to our planet. We are so lucky with the choices we have, organic products are in demand and are getting better every day and the information we need to make smart choices is at our fingertips so we are more informed than ever before.. it seems to me like now is the perfect time to start making little adjustments.

I pray that this week we take a moment to look in our pantries and bathroom cupboards and see if there are any little adjustments we can make to invest in a healthier future for our bodies and our planet :)

** for the sake of full disclosure I feel I should tell you that shortly after pressing "publish post" I purchased a bar of chocolate from the vending machine. I did resist the urge to make a cup of tea to drink with my chocolate and I will eat the chocolate over the next day or so but nevertheless I am currently allowing a small piece of dairy milk to dissolve into my tongue.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A quiet moment of perfection

I love today. I am not entirely sure why because it's 7.45am and I had a really bad nights sleep but it doesn't seem to matter because for some reason I love today. Maybe it was the quiet moment I stole this morning. I got off the bus at Southbank and walked over the bridge into the city. On that walk I fell a little bit in love with today.. I am sure that there is something different about the air today. It tasted different, it was lighter, fresher and easier to breathe. I can still feel it lingering in my body as I sit in my stale air conditioned office. The air seems to be softly swimming around my body and its lovely.. I can still feel the crispness of the gentle wind that kissed my face as I walked down the mall, it was that perfect spring wind.. you know the kind, it only happens after a few days of rain, it's not the cold harsh winter wind but the fresh wind of spring that seems to signify life after the rain. I allowed that gently life to kiss my body awake this morning, if I close my eyes I can almost feel it's touch.. Heaven. There was even a softness to the sky this morning, it was gentle, surreal as I walked towards my office.. perhaps it was because the sun had not quite made it through the clouds and had illuminated the sky a magical pale blue/grey. Beautiful. Truly beautiful. Hmm the peaceful serenity of a quick morning walk on a perfect spring day, does it get any better than this?

I pray that I can take this feeling and let it shape my day so that I don't get lost in the world as I go about doing the stuff that must be done but that I instead dwell in the peace of my quiet time xo

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My Sister

My sister is my best friend. She has been my best friend since she was born. I was at the hospital when she arrived and we've been somewhat inseparable ever since. She has that place in my heart that can only be occupied by a sister. Sometimes I love her so much that I think my heart will burst with joy, other times I love her so much I want to shake her until she sees sense but no matter what I love her completely. She is one of my favourite people to spend time with and one of the few people that I can do anything with and still have fun. She knows me, sometimes better than I know myself and I trust her with my life. I know without a doubt that she would do anything for me if it meant that I would be spared from pain and I would do anything for her. She is my inspiration.

From the moment I set eyes on the wrinkly little creature with her big brown eyes, her head of dark hair and her tiny little face, I knew that my life would be forever changed. I knew that no longer was I Melinda the only child, I was now a big sister. Being a big sister has shaped my life, it has made me a better person.

At five and a half I knew that my life would be better because of this little girl and at 27 I know that to be true. For almost 22 years I have had this beautiful little girl watch my every move, I am her example, the person she watches to determine what to do and what not to do and that has driven me.

Sometimes it has driven me made like when we were playing barbies when at 8 and I discovered the joys of having a little sister who wanted to play with every doll I touched. At 8 I couldn't appreciate that she just wanted to be like me because she loved me, instead the madness of not being able to play with my favourite doll eventually this drove me to play with the crap barbie first because she would demand to play with whatever I had picked up first and if I played with the crap barbie first she would play with the crap barbie all day (clearly I was not nice at 8). It also drove me mad when I at 13 thought I was too cool to play with her anymore and I just wanted to be with my friends. At that time I discovered the joy of having a little sister who wanted to sit in my room with me and my friends while we read magazines and talked about boys only to have her later tell my mum everything we spoke about (oh the horror!). I have a million stories of how she drove me mad.

But amongst all the madness I never stopped loving her and I remember wanting her to know that she could do anything, that the only limitation was her mind. The only way I knew to teach her to do anything was to live it myself, so I did. I said yes to everything that looked fun, to everything that you were supposed to want. As a teenager I did drama and debating and art and all sorts of stuff. As a young adult I went out and got a career, I dragged her along travelling, I dragged her out to foreign films, to the theatre, to nice restaurants. I went out and achieved as much as I could to show her that she could do anything. That it didn't matter where we came from or what we didn't have, that we could do anything.

Then at 26 I showed her that it was ok to fall apart, that sometimes when we make the wrong decision it's ok to make a new one and she showed me that no matter what I do do or what I don't do she loves me just the same. In that moment in my life where I realised that I didn't like the person I had become, that I didn't like the example that I set for her, she showed me that she loved me even when I couldn't love myself.

I wish I could love me the same way that she loves me. I am now 27 and after almost 22 years my sister still believes I can do anything and when I allow the love she has for me to drive me, I almost believe that she is right. She has shaped and encouraged my faith, she has shaped the way that I love and the way that I live my life. My little sister is my best friend and being her sister is the greatest privilege of my life.

Old wounds need healing

You think that by now I would realise that God knows best. That by now I would be used to him taking my deepest thoughts, raising them to the surface (through all the hurt and pain that I had piled over top in order to bury them so deep) and helping me examine them. You would think that by now I would not be surprised when he dredges up old wounds in a bid to help me understand the wound so that he can heal it. It's something that he does so regularly that you would think by now I would get it but I don't.

I am still surprised by the things that get raised to the surface, things that I thought I had dealt with, things that I thought I was ok with but then when he shows them to me I realise that I am not ok. When I examine these moments in the light of his presence, when we look together at the decision that was made in response to the situation and the way that decisions has shaped my life, in that moment I am undone. When I look at my reaction and the way it has shaped my world, the way it has invited pain into my life.. I am amazed. Life happens and I get that but I find myself continually learning that the choices I have made when life happens those choices define me. They define the way I feel about myself, the way I feel about others, the way I feel about my past, the way I feel about my future, the way I feel about love.

As I walk on this journey with God and he shows me these choices I continue to be amazed at how a small decision that I made, sometimes as a child, has so dramatically defined my life. How I have taken those decisions and built on them, never questioning, always building and sometimes I discover that I have piled so much on top of it that I don't even remember what the first decision looks like.

I think this is something that we all do and I wonder if we took the time to examine the beliefs we hold as true, if we took a moment to look at them to question where they came from, to see how they had shaped our lives.. I wonder how many of them would still be true. I wonder how many of them we would keep? I wonder how many of them we would change? I wonder if we would feel differently about ourselves and our capacity to give and receive love?

I pray that this week we take a moment to allow God to step in and bring to the surface defining moments in our lives and that in that moment we allow him to show us how that moment has shaped and changed us, to allow him to heal us xx

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The freedom of forgiveness

We hear a lot about the need to forgive, about how forgiveness is not about the other person but about you and how when you forgive someone it frees something in you. I had heard this many times from people, books, TV shows, sermons, I practised forgiving others in the past and I had been forgiven. But this morning I learnt about forgiveness at a new level, this morning I not only forgave an old friend but I owned my actions and asked for her forgiveness then I forgave myself.

When we argue in our relationships, particularly our friendships, it can be very easy to point the finger, to get defensive and walk away. It can be easy to justify with comments like "this season of friendship is done", "we aren't in the same stage anymore, we've grown apart", "I'm giving and not receiving" and some of those comments are true and sometimes we really are told to walk away but sometimes we are asked to heal the wound.. 

Sometimes we are asked to own our actions and say sorry for them. Sometimes we need to take a moment to realise that we have used our words and actions to hurt just as much as we've been hurt. To realise that we were being selfish or defensive or spoilt. Sometimes we were just not thinking. Sometimes we were taking our day out on our friends and if they had found us on any other day the comment that started the fight would have rolled off our backs, forgotten before the end of the conversation. Sometimes we realise that the reason we reacted so strongly is because we weren't honest about our actual needs and feelings, because we didn't actually address the little thing that has been bothering us continually for 2 weeks.. Sometimes when we look at our actions we realise that we were just as much to blame..

Sometimes it's important to take a moment to appreciate the "I" and "me", the "what I need", the "what I'm not getting" part of the conversation because sometimes when we do that we realise that we are asking or worse expecting the other person to give us something that they can't give. Sometimes we seek something from them that we actually need to get from somewhere else and then we realise that we have been unfair.. Sometimes we realise that in fact their words were true and that we need to make a change and that our reaction was extreme because our precious egos were offended, because we don't want to accept what we know is true..  Sometimes the "I" and "me" gets in the way of truth and love and growth. Sometimes we need to put down the "I" and "me" and instead focus on the "us".. Sometimes that means saying "I'm sorry". Not "I'm sorry but you", just "I'm sorry".

I think owning our actions, emotions and needs is important in all situations but particularly in our arguments. Owning these things doesn't mean that you dismiss the hurt and pain or that you allow people to walk all over you but it means recognising what is you, looking at what's left and then basing your reactions on the actual situation. Sometimes you are not going to like the version of yourself you see.. It is really easy to feel guilty and like a bad person (particularly when you realise that a massive chunk of the argument was you :s) and it's tempting to take all of the blame and to go from beating the other person up to beating yourself up but that's not what forgiveness is about. Forgiveness is about forgiving everyone including you. You can't change the past and who you were but you can change the present and who you are and you can change who you will be in the future. Today I have learnt that forgiveness is a complete circle and that once you have owned your actions and emotions and forgiven the other person it is really important to complete the forgiveness process by forgiving yourself.

I pray that we will search our hearts for those people and moments that need forgiveness, in your mind they may not be big moments but they sure do weigh a lot and when you take a moment to forgive one of those moments completely then you will be lighter, happier and a little more whole xx

Friday, September 17, 2010

Choices that energise

This morning I am excited, I have just finalised my trip to Perth! I will have 5 full glorious days in the city for the wedding of one of my oldest and dearest friends, actually she is more like my sister than my friend. I am excited for her, for our friendship, for the wedding itself but also for me. I feel like I have lived 3 years already this year and it is only September so it will be really nice to take 5 days to escape and just relax..

If I am honest I feel like I have spent this year growing into me, I've been working on my spirit and removing all the toxic stuff and I feel strong again. Strong in who I am and ready to give back. I think this Perth trip will be the bridge between finding my feet in who I am and living that out. Does that make sense? I feel like so far this year I've been very self focused, the time and energy I have been investing has been into me, my healing, my family, my home, my friendships, my passions, being at home in a new but old city and now I feel like I am ready to give back. To invest in others, to contribute to my community and to move forward with my purpose.

I'm not saying that I have my life together or that I'm going to stop working on me or my relationships but more that I feel like I have been stretched and that those things are flowing quite naturally so now I have space and capacity to take on more. I also feel like I know me enough that I can make wise choices about what to take on. I know what energises me, I know what ignites my spirit and where my passion lies which means I know what to pick up, what to say no to and what to put down (I don't always make choices that reflect that knowledge but I'm working on it). I think as people we have amazing capacity and potential and that if we chose wisely most of us could do more than what we do. I think the problem is not how much we try to fit into our lives but what we try to fit. We try to fit things because we "should" not because we feel a "need' in our spirit. When we choose to fill our lives with things that speak to our spirit we have time and energy and it sparks up a different life inside.

I feel like this is a lesson I am in the process of learning. When I look back over the last 7 weeks, my world somewhat fell apart at the exact same time as I decided to facilitate at evening college. Now generally it would be wise when facing such a season to put down things rather than pick something new up but I'm just not cut that way so that's not what I did. Facilitating was something I was excited about doing and after the first night I knew that it was exactly what I needed in this season.

It didn't matter what had gone on in my week or my day or how tired I was when I was because as soon as I was in that room leading my small group I was alive! Being there fed me and it sparked a spirit for life that flowed over and into other areas of my life. I got stuff done when I got home at 9.30 pm, I slept better, I felt peaceful and energised, I looked forward to Wednesday. In spite of everything going on in the rest of my world or the fact that I was giving my time and energy and bearing my soul to the people in that room I was still being me and it was the breath of life I needed. The experience has inspired me to try to choose like that more often. I want to try to choose to put down and say no to the stuff that drains and to pick up the stuff that breeds life.

As we approach the spring/summer season of bbq's, Christmas parties and end of year celebrations, I pray that we can take a moment to listen to our spirit and to put down the things we should do and pick up the things we need to do xo

Thursday, September 16, 2010

time to shake it off

Lately I find myself struggling with my age. Not the number so much as the season of life in which I fit or more particularly the seasons in which I don't fit. I guess I noticed this strange season that I appear to be in the other day as I was getting ready to go to the youth at church and debating whether or not I was too old to go. I wasn't number wise too old as they had recently increased the age limit from 25ish to 30ish but I felt too old. The increase in the age limit was a recognition that the definite line between young adult and adult was not the same as it used to be, people are living at home longer and marrying older, travelling more.. there was a recognition of the need to cater for those who had passed the mid-twenty deadline but who hadn't yet entered the next phase of life. People like me, I guess. Anyway as I was looking in my wardrobe disregarding things that were too young and feeling like a nanna I began to wonder about the choices I had made in my life to date and how those choices had aged or not aged me.

My career choice has definitely made me feel older than I am. I think it's partly to do with the level of responsibility I was given at such a young age plus the culture of legal profession. Career wise I have been a full-fee billing grown-up, running and attending client meetings, managing my own files and delegating with all the budget/billing pressure for years. My work life is so serious, so adult and sometimes I think I get caught up in that and take it home, I wear the heaviness and responsibility all the time. I am pretty sure I choose to live that way (wow that's a frightening and depressing thought!).

I'm not saying that I didn't get to be young (or that I don't have moments like that now) or that I didn't party and be stupid when I was young but I think early on in my career I had to put on this mask of being all serious grown-up and together for bosses and clients and then it became a habit and now I'm not sure how to take it off :s I don't want to keep wearing that heaviness and responsibility I want to take it off! I want to be my age, not older, not younger but my age. This confusing no season age not a young adult awkwardly working out how to be comfortable in my own skin but not settled with the husband/house/kids/minivan. I want to have fun and go to youth and be smart without being destructive. I want to jump around in the dark to music that was too loud and just enjoy being free but still have my quiet time with a cup of tea and a good book before bed. I want to enjoy the benefit of wisdom with the freedom of my youthful lifestyle so it's time to shake it off, to get rid of the heaviness and responsibility. Time to just be me and enjoy this season!

I pray that this spring we shake it off, that we shed the heaviness and responsibility of winter and allow ourselves the freedom to live x

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Jesus is ________ .

Quick Post: this morning as I checked twitter I saw an awesome tweet from Pastor Judah Smith (Lead Pastor at The City Church in Seattle) about an initiative his church is running called "Jesus is ________." The initiatives website really got me thinking about who and what Jesus is to me. It also allowed me to see who and what Jesus is to other people and to agree or disagree with their comments, interesting stuff. You can check it out at

I pray today as we muddle through hump day we will take a moment to think about who Jesus is to us and to allow the love a stranger feels for Jesus to inspire us.

Monday, September 13, 2010

She called me a mighty woman of God

Last night, after debating with myself about whether or not I, at the ripe old age of 27, was too old to go youth/young adults gathering at church (which in itself is a whole other post) I found myself standing on the deck eating too much sugar while mingling with new friends having a lovely time. Out of the corner of my eye I saw one of the adorable girls that is in my evening college group. At some point we made our way with our respective friends to the same place; where there are hugs, greetings and the usual commotion that happens when a group of girls get together. Then in the middle of the introductions and hello's my adorable young friend proudly introduces me to another one of her friends as "A mighty woman of God".. in my head the music stops, the voices around me fade into silence and the ground under my feet spins as the words "mighty woman of God" echo in my head... those words are still echoing in my head today and I don't quite know what to do with them..

I feel honoured that she thinks of me that way and it is the most amazing complement that anyone has ever given me, I mean my girlfriends and I talk about becoming mighty women of God but to actually be called one is weird, awesome and lovely but weird. I guess am shocked because I see myself stumbling along this faith journey making mistakes but taking steps to try to learn and grow and walk with God, I see a girl learning to be a woman of God but I don't see a mighty woman of God. The idea of being called one sits awkwardly in my spirit.

Obviously this label doesn't change who I am and I know that we should not define ourselves by labels, particularly labels that others have placed on us but that doesn't change the fact that those four words are out there describing me and for some reason they don't feel comfortable attached to me. I'm curious by that and by my reaction.

I feel like I did when I was little and I would wear my mum's high heels and stumble down the hallway, they didn't quite fit but I so desperately wanted to wear them and walk confidently in them. Trying on the label "mighty woman of God" feels like I'm trying on something that is not me right now, something that I might one day grow into, something in the future, something far away. It feels like it belongs to someone else but now here it is and it is attached to me and.. what now?

I am confused. Does this mean that I am closer to becoming the kind of woman I want to be or dare I say it that in some respects I am her? Does this change the way I see myself when I look into the mirror? Does it change some of the not so nice labels I use for myself? Does it encourage me to live my life better? But most importantly why do I find it so difficult to accept that someone in my world thinks of me like this?  Why is it so hard for me to believe that perhaps I am living in a way that inspires someone else? I find inspiration from simple, everyday things and from most of the people in my life so why wouldn't I be able to inspire someone else.

I guess my prayer for this post is a selfish one, I pray that I find peace with this label, that I wear it for a few days and that I use it to encourage me to step up and into being this "mighty woman of God". For those of you struggling to see yourselves through the eyes of the people that love you, I pray that you will take a day to try on the nice things they say about you and to see if you can get comfortable in being the person that they love xx

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I am wrong - learning to challenge the lies I tell myself

Generally I would call myself a confident person. Overall I like myself, I live a life that I am happy with and I make decisions based on the information I have on hand. Yep if you asked me last week I would say that I am confident but then something happened that made me realise I wasn't so confident after all..

So earlier this week I found myself in a not so pleasant situation which was very similar to a not so pleasant situation I was in last year (you know those moments when you do something not quite right and are supposed to learn a lesson but then you don't learn the lesson and 12 months later you find yourself in the same place re-learning the lesson you should have learnt the first time) and in despair I rang one of my girlfriends to freak out. I babbled on and on with the "Oh my gosh how did this happen/I'm doing it all again/I see it so clearly now" stuff that one says when they find themselves in such a situation when I muttered the words "I am wrong", along with something along the lines of "I was wrong then and I'm wrong now". My very wise friend stopped me mid babble and said "Wait what did you say?", to which I replied "I am wrong again" and then she said that life changing word "Why?".

What followed was a massive discussion during which I had the realisation that 12 or so months ago at the end of a messy situation I had announced to myself that I was wrong and had been wrong all along and that other people in my life had been right. What I didn't realise at the time was the impact that that announcement "I am wrong" would weave it's way into my spirit and dictate the way I lived my life for some time..

In this moment if I am honest with myself and look back over that the last 12 or so months, I can pinpoint a number of decisions that I have made from the starting point of "I am wrong". I can see myself people pleasing and asking opinions of others when I know what I should do. I can see myself second guessing what I know in my heart. I find it extraordinary that something I said to myself in the heat of the moment could change so dramatically the way I felt about myself and my life but from little decisions to big ones I can see how those three words have shaped my life. 

The irony of the entire situation is that I wasn't wrong at all, the decision I made at the time was exactly the decision I needed to make and that the choices I made leading up to that decision (which were based on trusting myself and not what others were saying), those choices were exactly the right choices for both me and my partner at the time. So this life changing self-talk of "I am wrong" which changed the course of my life was said in the heat of the moment about a situation where I wasn't wrong at all!

Ever since we had the discussion I have been very conscious about examining the things that I say both out loud and in my head and whenever that "I am wrong" thought underlines something I am making a conscious effort to question it. The frequency of how much I have had to challenge myself this week has shown me just how deeply that innocent comment has shaped my life and it hasn't stopped there.

I then had the pleasure of facilitating a small group for the evening college at my church last night (as I do every Wednesday night) and the topic we were discussing was the strongholds of our minds. The very first question challenged us to write down the negative thoughts we have about ourselves and then examine and challenge these thoughts. As we discussed and worked through some of the negative thoughts we had about ourselves as a group last night, I realised how many of us have said harmless little comments to ourselves which have then shaped our lives.

My prayer for us is that this week is that we listen to ourselves, we pay attention to the way we speak to ourselves and about ourselves keeping an eye out for the innocent little lies that we tell ourselves. When we discover those lies I pray that we look at where they came from, recognise them for what they are and replace them with truths about who we really are. Much love xo

Developing Faith - a whole new world

I love to travel! I love to visit new places, to explore new cultures. There is something so magical about being away from home, I don't know if it's the lack of responsibility or the fact that no-one knows anything about you or the freedom I feel when I am in another part of the world.. whatever it is, I love it! I can honestly say that there is not a country that I would not visit (provided of course that such travel was relatively safe) so I jumped at Cambodia. I had never been to the third world and it really was a whole new world and in it I discovered a whole new me.

Cambodia is an amazing country but it is also vastly different from Australia, I think Cambodia was the first time in my life where I had no choice but to trust God. I mean I had no choice. From the time we woke up and got on a bus that wouldn't be allowed on the road in Australia for our trek out to the rural village where people didn't speak English along roads made of dirt with pot holes the size of ponds spattered along it to the time that my head hit the pillow at night, every moment of every day required a whole new measure of faith. Daily decisions like trusting that I could be of use on a building site, trusting that I could learn how to lay a brick (FYI I can) or make a brick from mud or carry buckets of water in 35 degree heat. Trusting that the food I ate would nourish my body and not result in me being in bed for 3 days. Learning that dirt is not a defined term but actually has to do with your surroundings (Praise God for hand sanitiser). Trusting that it was safe to travel with this Tuk Tuk driver or to get onto this Moto or walk down this street. All those things that we do to function and live became an exercise in faith and in trusting God. But it wasn't just these daily physical things that required faith it was my mental and emotional well being.

Trusting that I could sit with a little orphan boy on my lap who is the same age as my nephew and is just an ordinary 3 year old who likes hand puppets and balls but who happens to have the HIV virus which resulted in him being abandoned by his whole community. To run around with water bombs and play with him and not burst into tears, to wish more than anything that you could bring him home and give him the kind of childhood that all little kids should have.. it required an emotional strength that I just don't have and I had to trust God for that strength.

I had trust him for the strength to watch and listen as a beautiful little girl who was about 6 and her sister are delivered to the orphanage because her parents separated and remarried new people and neither of them had space in their new families for this precious little girl and her baby sister. To watch her stand quietly in a corner not quite sure why she is there or how long she will be there for too nervous to play with the other kids but trying to be strong and protective of her baby sister. To sit there while your heart breaks into a million little pieces for all of these children because the only thing you can give is your love and time and that is limited by the fact that you are in the country for a limited time.

To have faith that God is raising up good men and women like Mr Leng and his wife all over the world to run safe, happy orphanages where these children can go and be loved. To know that all of these beautiful precious children are not forgotten, that everyday ordinary people are entering their lives and meeting their needs from buying a big bag of rice to raising funds to build another room for the kids to sleep in. To know that God is using you and that the few hours you spend with them makes a difference changes your life and then once it is changed you have no choice but to remain changed.

For me Cambodia changed my life, it changed the way I saw my God, the way I relied on him.. But the most important thing Cambodia gave me was faith that if I let him God will use me to change the world, maybe not the whole world but the world of one or two people and that realisation has changed me forever...

I pray that this week as we go about our lives, we take some time to ask God to show us how he wants to use us to change someones world and that we would then have the courage to be the change xx

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Keeper of the Keys

Keeper of the Keys
Guy Gilchrist

You are the keeper of the keys.
You are the guard at the gate.
Waiting in line to get through that door
is LOVE, and also HATE.
In line to enter is GENTLE  PEACE.
and also VIOLENT WAR.
You must choose who may, and who
may not come through the door.
INTOLERENCE rises to sneak through
on wings of FEAR, or PRIDE.
It hides behind DREAMS of BELONGING,
and tries to sneak inside.
Oh! Be alert! You're the Guard who decides
who GOES and who may STAY.
You are the keeper for the keys to your mind,
who will you let in today?

I pray that we will take a moment to appreciate the value of our mind and to consider what we allow in because what we allow in will ultimately come out. I pray that this week we spring clean our minds throwing out all that doesn't belong and then once we are uncluttered and clean, I pray that we will be wise keepers of the keys xx

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sometimes a girl just wants to have fun..

My world is so serious at the moment :( life is just full of stuff that's messy and complicated or sad and confusing or all of the above and I find myself spending much of my time crying or feeling overwhelmed or sleeping.. It is just one of those seasons where my life is full on and demanding and I constantly feel pulled in one direction or the other. At first my reaction was to stop my world and invest my time and energy into all that was going on, into the people that needed me.. but I am not the answer to anything that's going on, they're not even my problems so trying to be the solution just left me feeling exhausted and cranky and unsocial and blah. Then this amazing thing happened, the world intervened and pulled me out of hiding and back to me..

Over the last week I realised something incredibly important, I realised that sometimes a girl just needs to have some fun. Sometimes I just need to do a dance class, to go to a birthday party, to do a workshop, to spend Sunday afternoon in bed. I realised that no matter what is going on in my world, no matter how sad or frightening, I still need to be me and I still need to get out. I realised that time with old friends laughing and dancing the night away can be more restoring for the soul than an early night at home. Sometimes all you actually need is some bad RnB, a cute dress and good friends, sometimes that is the solution. Sometimes it's about reconnecting with the people you love and who love you, not to talk about what's going on, not to cry on their shoulder but to dance, to laugh, to hug, to be silly, to smile.

I realised that in the midst of all the pain and frustration there can be joy and happiness in simple things like seeing your best friends face light up when you arrive at her birthday party because even though the room is full she has been waiting for the two of you to arrive. Like feeling your soul leap for joy when you realise that no matter what is going on these friendships remain the same, you remain the same and these friends don't need anything from you except for you to be there with them and being there is easy, being there is what you need. There is nothing quite like the realisation that these people who have known you forever truly know you even when you feel like you have lost yourself in the seriousness of your life and their love has the power to bring you out of yourself and back to life.

After a night of dancing with my best friends I feel like me again. After what felt like weeks of staring at a blank page I am writing, yesterday I wrote for 5 hours, stopping only to feed my dog and I could have written all night if wisdom hadn't intervened and sent me to bed. My hand is even itching to draw. I am engaging in my life. I am investing in me and for the first time in a long time I feel free. Yet the seriousness of my world has not actually changed, the mess is still there, the sad situations are better but still remain.. what is interesting is that they don't feel as heavy or as big, they don't consume me and I don't feel as sad. I guess what has changed is me. I am me again and I am so thankful for my beautiful best friends who took the time to dance and laugh and love me back to life.

It is so easy to get lost in your life, to get lost in the world when times are hard but if we let it life will bring us back. If we let them our friends will love us back to ourselves. If we allow it joy will sneak in and save us from the sadness. I pray that this week we will take a moment to find an old friend and spend time with that friend doing something simple, something fun xx