Wednesday, June 29, 2011

words I never thought I'd have to say.. Places you shouldn't have to go again part 1

Yesterday I got a call from my cousin, her sister had been admitted to hospital that morning so I was expecting an update but I wasn't expecting the update I got & I don't even know if I can explain the reaction I had or an having to it. There were two people in my office when the call came through, they were looking for something & at some point they must have left because when I got off the phone they were gone. I guess the world blurred like it does in a bad movie & all I could hear were the echoing words "mass", "bottom of brain", "transferring to Brisbane", "top of neck". Other words were spoken, I said I'd let my mum know, that we'd meet them at the hospital - all that logistical stuff but the words echoed. Those familiar words.

It has been 14 years & around 4 months since we first heard those words & to this day they haunt me. Those words changed our lives & we live in the reality of them every day. I remember where I was, I remember who I was with, I remember my mum delivering them to me as she spoke about what they had found was wrong with my dad. Yesterday I spoke them back to her & I listened on the other end of the phone as her heart broke for her niece and her sister, I heard it break again the way it once broke for her husband. I heard her cry out to my dad & listened the sound of a deep pain broke out from within her soul as her memories met this new reality.

Our hearts broke together & I longed to be with her, near her, to see my dad, to touch him, check he was real, to be together so we could go to the hospital together. We had done this before, we had done this before, my emotions spun out of control. Like a tiny boat in the middle of the ocean during the eye of a storm the emotions crashed down on me - this is how she must have felt when she told me all those years ago, hope, fear, doubt, faith, anguish: "she's only 19". Confusion. "I need to get to the hospital, how can I get to the hospital?" Life, responsibilities, commitments, "I have an important meeting in 2 hours & I'm going away next week". "mass", "bottom of brain", "transferring to Brisbane", "top of neck", reality: "I need to be with my family now!" This can't be happening again, I know these words, I know what they mean, as the final wave hit a deep calm washed over me. I delivered the news to another auntie, spoke to my boss & rushed to be at my mother's side. We needed to do this together.

The rest of my day is a blur. We met at my mothers mum, dad, an auntie, a cousin we drank tea & tried to distract ourselves while we waiting for word that they had arrived in Brisbane. We cried together & laughed a little but mostly we waited together. I spent the afternoon on the phone to my cousin on the coast as she sat with her mother & sister waiting for the ambulance to transport her little sister from one hospital to another. Each time we spoke it was as if time stopped as everyone froze & listened to my end of the conversation, no-one moved as I spoke, not even daring to breathe in case they missed something. Finally they were in the ambulance on the way. We fidgeted & fussed about for the next few hours while we waited for them to arrive. Would we go? Wouldn't we go? Who would go? Would they want us? Were there too many of us? Would they be here yet? Should we call them? Would they be waiting for a bed? I'll text. They were in the ques. Should we go or should we wait? Mum you should call. We're going mum, me & dad. More fuss as we got ready, said our goodbyes & got into the car. It felt like it took longer than it should. No-one wants to leave, we all want to go, we want to be together. This is about to get a lot more real. You can't un-see the things you see in hospitals, the images burn to your mind, you can't escape the reality once you are there, you can't escape the feelings & the helplessness can be suffocating if you're not careful or if you are alone - we must leave & add support to my auntie & cousin.

Hospital. We are practised with hospitals, we've spent a lot of time in them over the years. They don't intimidate us. We spilt up my mum to the ATM, I go to find out where she is & dad supervisors. We meet in the middle & I lead us to emergency where she is waiting for her MRI. MRI - the word makes us shutter, we speak it every 6-12 months. An MRI once saved my dad's life but it also changed it forever. We snap back to reality & proceed to the ward. We find my cousin; auntie; engulf them with hugs & kisses. We cry, we hug, we hold hands, we chatter, we hold each other; cry some more, we keep holding hands, we will do this together... to be continued

Friday, June 24, 2011

Innocence lost

I don't know old I was the first time it happened.. was I 13 or 14 or maybe only 12. It all seems like a blur now, a big giant blur that merges together and I can't see the beginning, the middle or the end. I just see one giant muddled picture and when I look at it all I feel is numb. Numb and a deep sense of hatred for the place where it occurred.

One of my friends said to me last night that I associate places with people and the memories I have from being there. She is right, that is how I see the world and the places I have been. I see the pictures, the memories and the people in them. I guess that's why I hate where I grew up so much because when I look at the picture I see a big giant mess. I used to think that it was because of me, because I never felt like I belonged there but tonight I realise that it was because of the people I loved when I lived there and the things that happened to them. The horrible, horrible things that are stored deep down in my core, the moments that shaped me and broke my heart.

It's funny because I can talk about it, I can matter of fact tell you about the bullying, the eating disorders, the abusive relationships, the girls who lost their virginity too young, the alcohol, the drugs. I can tell you about it all but I can't feel it, I can't access the emotions that go with the memories. I can tell it so that you can access the emotions, I can tell it like the sad, sorry story that it is, I could probably even make you cry but for some reason I can't cry. I can't reach back to any of those memories and feel them, I can't see any of those stories and weep for myself and my friends. My heart doesn't break for us like I know it should.

When I look at it I just feel numb. A deep still sense of nothing. No fear, no anger, no pain, no joy. Numb. White cold numb. I realised tonight that I have been numb for some long that I don't even remember the first time I decided to become numb. Was I 12? 13? 14 - I couldn't have been any older than 14 so I'm thinking it was more like 13 or 12. But I can't remember the incident! Was it the first time one of my friends was hospitalised? Was it when my first friend lost her virginity because she could? Was it when we started drinking? Was it when the girls I hung out with became so obsessed with being popular that they stopped eating during the day & started doing whatever/whoever it took to be popular? Or the time my friend cut her wrists in the bathroom while I was away? Was it when she dropped off the planet? Was it when the rumors about her started? Was it when a group of boys took advantage of a girl years younger than them and had her perform all sorts of horrible acts - it was definitely before then. I think I was in grade 11 when that happened and by then it seemed kinda normal and no-one really said anything to them, they just talked about the girl. It makes me feel sick in my stomach to think about it but I still can't feel it like I should be able to because in part I am still numb.

Yep I definitely still feel numb and it bothers me that I can't remember when it happened, I can't remember when I first did it and it's frustrating. I can't remember the first time I turned my head away and decided to feel nothing. I can't remember the moment when I accepted that these things were a way of life - when did I accept that young women were to be exploited? That drugs, alcohol and sex were a way of life? I wasn't raised like that at all - my mother would be horrified - yet at some point I became a person who could look at it and simply feel numb. It bothers me that I can honestly say that I can't remember the first time I looked at a lost broken little girl destroying herself and her body and felt nothing but I know it happened. But it's worse than that because I look back at my past and it still happens, I can't feel it! As I write these words it's like there is a big black door between my eyes and my heart and I can see it and intellectually I know that it's wrong but I can't feel it. I can't feel the emotion that goes with what I'm seeing. I still feel numb, I look back at the place, the people and I just feel numb and I don't know how to feel anything else.. I'm scared to feel anything else.

I'm scared that if I were to sit down and look at my past, my teenage years, if I were to look at my life and the lives of my friends with the eyes I have now.. I'm scared of that emotion. I'm scared to let out the cry that I am sure is in my heart.. I'm scared to let the deep, deep sobbing that I'm sure is in my soul out. I'm scared that if I left it out that I won't ever stop.

As I write this my eyes begin to fill with tears, my natural reaction is the try to stop them, to squash this emotion. There was a reason I stopped feeling the choices that my friends and I made, it was because it hurt, it hurt so much that sometimes I couldn't breathe. It was easier to feel numb than to feel the hurt but I can't feel numb anymore. I stop and I close my eyes for a brief moment and let myself feel it, the pain I feel is so great that I cannot move, I am paralysed staring at my computer, a soft tear runs down my left cheek and I bite my bottom lip.

I snap back to reality. I am afraid of these emotions, they hurt so much but I can't escape them anymore I need to let them out and so I begin to let them come free and the blur is not a blur anymore, it is people. My friends, I see their faces in my mind and I just cry and cry and cry. I wrestle with myself and try not to cry, I try to capture these emotions, to lock them away and feel numb like I used to but I can't, so instead I give in and I cry. I cry for our innocence, for foolish decisions, for the years of pain.

I don't know that any of the people I went to school with were still sweet at 16, I cry for their lost souls, stolen and robbed of joy and love, robbed of the innocence of youth. I look at the destruction of our choices. The seperations, the lack of purpose, the addictions and I weep for them and I weep for all of the children like them that are currently stuck in that cycle that we were stuck in.

I have spent a little over 10 years journeying through the mistakes I made in high school and I wish I could tell them what I know. I wish I could tell them that love and acceptance isn't in being skinny or popular or in having a cool boyfriend or career, that numbing your pain with drugs and alcohol is like putting a bandaid on a deep cut that needs stitches, it looks like it might help but when you take the bandaid off the next day the wound hasn't healed and you still need stitches. I wish I could tell them that they are loved beyond measure, that they are worth more than rubies and gold, I wish I could tell them that their life has meaning and purpose and that it wasn't too late to be happy. 

I pray for the courage to tell them what I know, to share my journey, to show them how God has healed my pain.. I pray for the courage to be the difference for someone that someone was for me.. I pray that God would take this pain that I feel now and that he would heal it, that he would heal it not only for me but for them and for those on the path that we were once on..

Each of us has a story and I pray that this week you have the courage to let your story minister to someone else..

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I made it to the end of today

I sat down - correction - I flopped down on the bed, unzipped my boots & breathed I made it to the end of the day. Suddenly a big smile covered my face, my body. I made it to the end of today! Praise Jesus I made it to the end of today! He is real. Miracles happen because I made it to the end of today!

Do you ever start a day or a week feeling like there is a mountain in front of you, not necessarily a bad mountain just a mountain.  The kind that goes as high as you can see & is as wide as you can imagine. The kind that makes you feel really, really small & really, really ill-equipped. Ill-equipped like you were prepared to walk over a hill or not even a hill, more a slight incline but then you get to the incline & realise it's a steep incline & it's definitely more mountain than hill. Yep it's a mountain. A big, ginormous mountain. A you can't walk around me, you have to climb me mountain. That was how I felt at the beginning of this week. I was at the foot of a mountain & at the beginning of today I was still really at the foot of the mountain.

Yeah I had Monday & Tuesday so you would think that by Wednesday morning I would have made progress but honestly by this morning I still felt like I was at the foot of the mountain. I guess I had made some plans, packed some of the equipment I needed, maybe touched the face of the mountain but I hadn't really done any climbing. I talked about climbing but I was still at the bottom looking a long way up to the top. Yuck!

This morning I had that cranky, argh feeling I get when I am beginning to feel overwhelmed. I had the "nothing is going to go right" humf/sigh thing going on. By about 10am (after our 1 hour so what have you been doing team meeting) I was at the photocopier & could actually feel myself beginning to stress out about everything I had to do. I actually looked at our secretary & said "Deb, I can feel myself beginning to stress out." She looked at me surprised & we both had a giggle. I walked back into my office silently saying to God "I can't do this. I can't do this", I took a deep breath, made a cup of tea & began climbing the mountain that stood between me & the end of my day.

I didn't do anything differently to yesterday or the day before. I just did one thing at a time, one application at a time, one advice call, one meeting. I just stepped one foot in front of the other & before I knew it it was 12 & I was stopping for lunch & doing it all again... One foot in front of the other, one task at a time & suddenly I looked up & the mountain didn't look quite so big. I had reached a different level. I had crossed something substantial off the never-ending to-do list that sits on my desk. I felt great. I stopped & enjoyed the new height I had reached, I breathed in the cool crisp air before jumping in the car & heading to evening college.

I arrived to find a smaller team than we're used to plus a few technical  logistical issues thrown in for good measure :s for a second I felt like I was at the bottom of the mountain again but then I looked down & saw how far I climbed.. Instead of looking up at the mountain in front of me, I put down my bags & got about the business of doing what needed to be done. Slowly more team members arrived & the night fell into place & before I knew it I was sitting on my bed taking off my shoes to the realisation that I made it. I made it to a new level, a new plateau. I don't know what I did to get here, to get to the end of this day having climbed a significant chunk of the mountain but I'm here & I made it & it feels great.

Hmm I guess the turning point in my day was when I stopped trying to be superwoman & realised that I couldn't do this day all alone, that I couldn't do it all at once, that I needed to stop, lean on God & just take one step at a time. It was when I stopped trying to do it all on my own all at once that the shift happened. It was when I let myself be human when I stopped for a moment & went I can't climb that mountain in one giant leap but I can read this application. Ok I've done that now I can do x. Ok I can do y. It was when I changed my focus.

I spent 2 days looking at everything I had to do this week & feeling overwhelmed by it, feeling inadequate & not good enough because when I looked at it all at once it seemed too much & yes I got things done early in the week but it was hard & it didn't feel like I was getting anywhere. Then today I shifted my focus from everything that was in front of me this week to the one thing that was in front of me in this moment & honestly I got more done today than I have in weeks & I feel great. I feel alive & energised, ready to take on the world & all I needed was a shift in attitude, a shift in focus. So simple.

It made me wonder where else in my life do I need a shift in focus? Where in my life do I need to stop looking at the mountain & start stepping into what's in front of me, one step at a time on the path that God has lit in this moment..

We all have our mountains. Everyday there is a new one, some are big, some are small. What are the moutains in your life? What are the things that you look at & say "but God I can't"? What if instead you looked at them & said "God I can't do that but I can do ......."? How many mountains would you climb if you stopped looking at what you can't do & instead focused on doing what you could do? What kind of a difference would that make in your world?

Praying that you stop choosing to look at your mountains & instead choose to boldly walk on the path God lights for you this week. Be blessed Min xoxo

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Paralysing pain

My heart hurts so much now that I can hardly breathe. My head is pounding, there is a deep numb pain behind my eyes - it starts just above my eyebrows and goes down to my puffy cheeks. I want to cry but I don't know if I can or worse, if I do cry, I'm not sure I'll be able to stop. My eyes feel heavy, I want to close them and go to sleep, go to sleep and wake up and have it all be some crazy dream. I just want it to not be real but it is real. This is all real and I just don't know if I can do this again..

Have you ever loved someone so much that you can feel their pain? Feel it as if it were your own? Have you ever felt like the agony that you heard in their voice was so strong that it felt like it came from your very own bones, like the anger that bubbled in them followed by the despair of their tears came from your very own soul, like every drop of pain they felt dwelt in you? Have you ever felt what someone else is feeling so deeply that you can't feel where they stop and you begin?

That's how I feel right now in this moment. All I can see, hear and feel is her pain, her deep, dark pain. Her voice is in my head like a song on repeat, she only said a few words but the sheer emotion of them has captured my mind, my heart & right now I am gripped by the sadness and fear. I can't see anything else, I can't see anything but her pain & it breaks my heart, over and over again, it just keeps breaking my heart. I breathe in a short shallow breath, fiddle with my nails, touch my fingers to my lips - of I were a biter, I would bite my nails but I'm not, so instead I slide my fingers away from my mouth to below my chin & rest my head on them - thinking. I am frowning I can feel it on my face. My skin is tight. I fiddle with my nails some more. I do this over & over again but it doesn't stop the pain. I am stuck here in this cycle again.

She is sick & I am helpless. I sit & watch as she makes choices that hurt her. I watch as she self-destructs again. Right now I hate this illness. I hate the way it takes hold of her mind. I hate the things it causes her to do. I hate the way it is destroying her life. As I write those words the hate disappears washed away by my tears as I mourn for her. I mourn for the days that she has been robbed of, the life that she doesn't get to live, the opportunities that have been lost, the woman she isn't getting to become. I cry for the lost joy, the lost love, the lost life. I cry because I miss her, because I love her, because I want nothing more than for her to be happy and right now in this darkness there is no happiness. No happiness, no joy & no peace. Just darkness.

Suddenly I am released from the situation, it's paralysing hold over me is broken. I can breathe again. It was like the overwhelming size of this was released with each tear, it was as if I needed to cry through what I didn't & still don't understand. The pain is now my own & it is more like a soft sadness that rest on me as I realise that I am not the solution. I cannot save her. I cannot fix her. There is a certain peace that comes with that realisation.

Sure I cannot save her, I cannot take this away from her, I cannot feel it for her but I am not helpless. I can love her, pray for her & be with her. I can have faith for her. I can take my eyes of the situation & look up, I can look up & remember the dark places God found me in, the pain that he healed, the miracles he performed. I can believe those things for her. I can believe in who I know my God to be & I can rest in the comfort of knowing that this is not bigger than my God. My God specialises in dark places, he's the God of miracles & he has overcome this. I can not save her but I can believe in what I know & that is I don't need to save her because Jesus already has.

I pray that when darkness sets in & pain paralyses you, you will remember to look up & see the light xo 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The gift of my mum

Today is mother's day and at church this morning one of our amazing female pastors Rachel asked us to think of the gifts of the generations before us, to consider what we had been given by those who came before us and it got me thinking about all of the gifts that my mother has given me. My mum is an amazing woman and there are pages and pages of things I could write about what I have learnt from her but perhaps the biggest gift she has given me is her heart.

You see from the moment my mum gave birth to me she loved me with everything she had, with her whole heart, there is not a piece of love that my mum has that she wouldn't give to me and it is in the safety of that love that I live. I can do anything or nothing and I know that it doesn't matter because she loves me as much today as she did yesterday and she will love me that much tomorrow. She loves me like God does, there is nothing that she wouldn't do to see me happy because I am her daughter and she delights in me. For her my being born was enough and I don't know what it is about her or my childhood that means I know that but I do, I feel it all the time whether I am with her or not, I can feel her love for me. When I speak to her I hear it in her voice, when I am with her it radiates across the room and fills me with joy. She loves me and the older I get the more amazed I am by her and her love.

I look back over her life, our life and I see the trials and tragedy, the things that would make others give up in despair and I realise how for me it never felt like that. It didn't matter what was going on because we were a family and we had each other and loved each other and at the end of the day it would all be ok. So despite all the bad stuff, I look back and all I remember is the joy, the laughter and the love. My childhood, more than that, my life has been full of peace and love and joy because of the home my mum created, because of the woman she is and the love she gave and continues to give. My mum is amazing and the gift she gave me, access to her whole heart, is one of the greatest gifts anyone could be given. I love my mum.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

and breathe

I feel like my life is out of control. Like I am spinning and spinning and spinning and spinning and if I don't just stop for a minute, I'm going to get dizzy and pass out. I feel like I just need to take a brief moment to catch my breath. The last month has been one moment of unbelievable joy after the other, it has been great, it is great but I just need to take a moment to check out of it and into me. Don't get me wrong my life is wonderful, glorious, amazing and I only have good things to say about it. I am so happy, so very very happy. I don't actually remember a time in my life where I have been this happy but the joy of this season comes from something other than the romance of it all, it comes from discovering me.

I just swirled naturally into this new life, this beautiful magical world of romance and joy, the ease of the transition from single to couple surprised me, he surprised me. It was like one day I woke up and there was this amazing man in my space and he just wanted to love me, all I needed to do was say yes. I thought it would be hard, I thought it would mean losing myself in him, in our relationship, I thought he would want something from me that I couldn't give but it wasn't like that at all. I thought I would feel trapped, stifled, bound, like the freedom to be the woman I was created to be would be taken away but it wasn't like that at all. I thought I would need to put on a mask, to play a version of me that suited him, to pretend I was happy but it wasn't like that at all. I thought I would have to compromise who I was and what I believed in, that my relationship with God would suffer, that all of my relationships would suffer but it wasn't like that at all. It's so different, so strange, so far removed from anything I have ever known and I LOVE IT!

I love it. I love this life. I love this man. I love the woman that this relationship allows me to be. I don't pretend here, I don't pretend to be something I am not, I don't pretend that things don't matter to me when they do or do matter to me when they don't. I don't try to create a space for myself to fill in a life that I don't belong in. I just turn up and be me. It's like there is a different space here, a space that belongs to me, space in his world that only I can fill and space in my world that only he can fill. Everyday I am learning something new about myself, about the way I care for people, about the way I love, about the way I think, about the things that are important to me, about the woman I am becoming. Everyday he shows me another part of myself that only he can see, it's amazing. I love it.

It is extraordinary to watch as your dream comes true. To sit inside the middle of the biggest prayer on your heart coming true and to watch it unfold around you. I have almost been afraid to look in case it wasn't real so instead I have been spinning and swirling and twirling but now that I have stopped and can breathe, I am fascinated by what I see. I see a man who is my best friend, a man who cares for me, who cherishes me, a man who at the end of the day just wants to love me, I see a man who is seeking God, a man who loves God, who honours God. I see a man that I am learning and growing with, a man I want to keep learning and growing with. When I look some more I see myself, I am a woman coming alive, letting my heart be free to love, a woman allowing myself for the first time to fall in love with a man who will love me back, giving myself permission to be happy. I see our future and I see me and when I see all of this I am happy and free...

It's amazing what you can see when you stop to catch your breath. We all get lost in the twirling and swirling of life, whether it is good or bad, our lives are so busy that we can get lost in the stuff, we are so busy trying to live that we forget to take time out to breathe, to sit and stop, to be still and look at the dance we are in, to check whether the life we are dancing in is real, to see if we are being ourselves or poor versions of someone else.. I think it's important to stop, to sit and to look, to take time to appreciate this season, to look at the lessons you are learning, to see whether the dance you are dancing is helping you to become the person you were meant to be.

I pray that this week, as Easter approaches we take the time to stop and look at all we have been given by God. Time to look at the dance we have chosen, to see whether we are dancing closer to or further away from the people we were created to be xx

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Choosing rest instead of chaos

Right now I am dancing in the chaos after months of change and movement and stepping up, I feel like I am constantly spinning and twirling and whirling around. I am laughing and joking and having lots of fun but at some point I need to stop, at some point my feet will start to hurt, at some point I will need a drink and some fresh air. At some point I will need to walk off the dance floor, out of the chaos and into the cool crisp air. That is where I feel like I am right now. I feel like I am walking off the dance floor, the chaos is still there and people are still dancing in it but for now I have had enough dancing and I am ready for a break.

I allow God to take my hand and lead me off the dance floor, through the door and into the garden. As I walk outside, I feel tired weary, a little like maybe it's time to go home but then the cool air hits my body and suddenly I am alive. The joy of dancing lingers in my body and a smile overtakes my face as I bask in the freedom of dancing the night away. When I was dancing, it was as if I was dancing to my song, a song written just for me, for my life and as I fumbled through the chaos trying to learn the steps I slowly, awkwardly began to roll with it, at some point I started to dance (kinda). It was magical, a dream come true and a part of me can't wait to get back out there but right now I want to be still.

Right now I want to sit on a bench wrapped in God's arms looking up at the stars he created, silent, peaceful enjoying the beauty of the dark blue night. A stalk contrast to the chaos there is no spinning here, no twirling, no dancing around. Here there is peace, purpose, rest. Here there is joy. As close my eyes I lean into him and allow his arms to wrap around me, I rest my head on his chest and I can hear the beating of his heart, as I listen to it the night gets lost, I get lost, I am consume by the tender thumping in his chest I listen to everything it is telling me. I am overwhelmed by his love.

In this moment I feel completely lost and undoubtedly found all at once. For this is the only place where I am truly free to be everything I was destined to be, in this moment I am doing everything I was called to do, in this moment I am his precious, loved daughter and I know without a doubt that I am completely loved, completely safe, completely protected and that nothing I can ever say or do will ever change that. I smile in the security of his love, a deep smile that consumes my entire being. I almost fall asleep but his soft voice gently wakes me. There is more dancing to do, more lives to touch, the night is not finished and they are playing my song again. Would I like to dance some more? He reaches out his hand and I take it.

I rise slowly to my feet and let him lead me onto the dance floor once more. As we approach the dance floor the chaos seems to have disappeared, I see people dancing now, I kinda know the steps, as we get closer he asks me if I will let him lead this time. If instead of trying to work out all of the steps for myself I will just look up into his eyes and trust him to lead us? Will I partner with him, following his lead? Will I look up, will I look at my feet or will I look at the chaos of couples dancing around us? Will I trust his feet? Will I give him control? Will I allow myself to relax into him on the dance floor like I did outside.. will I lose myself in him and allow him to make sense of the chaotic dance floor.. will I look up and dance with him

I pray that as I get up to dance again I will choose to rest in the arms of the one who created the dance, the one who wrote my song. I pray I will gaze up into his eyes and allow him to lead me around the dance floor listening only to the beating of his heart as he spins and twirls me along to my song x

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Cluttered space

The space around me seems very cluttered at the moment. In so many areas of my life I feel like there is more in the space than the space can handle. Whether it be time, place, my emotional & mental space there just seems to be whole lot of clutter going on. I find it frustrating, the clutter. Nothing is more frustrating than feeling like there is too much going on in the space whether that be in a physical space or a mental space & I guess right now I feel like there is more going on than can fit in the space. I feel like my life is full to capacity  & that what I need is for God to expand my boundaries, to expand my territories, to add another room or something. That's not true. That's what it feels like but I know that that's not true.

What I need to do is accept that my life has changed and that I with that I need to change to. Don't misunderstand me I don't need to become a different person but the way I do things needs to change. I can't put the same amount in but give 4x more out. I can't squeeze extra stuff in without moving some of the old stuff around & I can't take something big & new & exciting & plop it in the middle of my life & try to move around it. I can't open up new parts of myself & not move some things around in my head space. I'm not sure I'm explaining myself.

So if my life were my bedroom & I suddenly decided that I wanted my desk to be in my room I wouldn't just drag it in & leave it in the middle of my bedroom floor & then move around it when I needed to get from the bed to the door or the mirror to the wardrobe. No if tomorrow I decided that I was going to move my desk into my room I would stop and consider the space. I would sit down and look at the room, look at what was in there and where it was placed. I would look to see where the spaces currently were and if the desk would fit in them. If there was no space big enough to fit the desk in then I would look at how I could move the furniture around so that the desk could fit in. I would shuffle things around so that it could find it's place.

I feel like that is what I need to do right now. I feel like I need to take some time out to clear some of the clutter, to have a good look at everything that is in my space & work out how to make it all fit together. I need to spring clean my life, my time, my energy, my heart, my mind. I really feel like right now I need to stop and clear the clutter so that I can see the space & appreciate everything in it.

I pray that before we go rushing & adding things into our space we will take time out to see what is currently in the space, to move things around & to lovingly place the new things in our space xo


"a restoration of the feminine expression within the body of Christ" Bobbie Houston

my heart stopped and joy filled my body when I heard those words. The kind of joy that comes from hearing someone express the desire of your heart, the kind of joy that can only come when your spirit hears the expression of it's purpose articulated clearly for the first time, the kind of joy that captures your life and takes you on a journey with God, the kind of joy that overflows and infects the world around you, the kind of joy that inspires.

It is an inspiration that connects with what is being birthed deep inside, it feeds it, nurtures it until it has no choice but to come out. It is true inspiration, soul inspiration, God inspiration.

I pray that you will allow life to stop you, that when you hear something that speaks to your heart, when you hear something that opens you eyes, in that moment I pray that you will stop, stop and listen to the words. Chew on them, digest them slowly savouring the flavour all the way to your soul xo

Monday, February 28, 2011

a shock to the heart

I hung out with a friend tonight and ended up sharing a large part of my testimony with him.That is not extraordinary in and of itself because I frequently share parts of my testimony with various people but what is extraordinary is the way that I see one part of my testimony now. I realised tonight that not only have I been given a new heart, I have also been given new eyes. For the first time in a long time as I shared some of my less flattering experiences I allowed myself to honestly remember the joy that I felt during that time & I allowed myself to see God's hand in that space. Tonight I let myself remember the love I felt and surprisingly it didn't hurt because now when I look back and I see that love I see it for what it was, the jolt that I needed to open myself up to true love, to real love..

Before I loved this man I was lost in the whirlwind of my life, I had completely sold out to the lie, to the career, the parties and the people were the games that I played to entertain myself so that I wouldn't notice that I was bored and hadn't myself and my life. I lived in the land of make believe playing dress-ups like a little girl and I was awe struck, too busy looking at the pretty dolls and the shining lights to realise that I was empty. I danced along, sipping on bubbles and posing for pictures, lost in the land I had created.

He was lost in it too, we had both forgotten how to be happy, what that looked like, what it felt like. We had also forgotten what it meant to be honest, to be open. We lived in a land of lies, our days were consumed by fake niceties. We were friends, best friends. We weren't when we first met, I didn't like him, I thought there was no depth to him, he seemed like a boy and not a man but somewhere along the line that changed. I think we were in a car on the way to pick up a woman we both loved when suddenly some honestly slipped out and into our conversation. Once it was there, the honesty it grew, it was addictive. Looking back now it was like shining light of freedom in the darkness of our day and all it was was honesty. Being raw and open with each other. There is great freedom in honesty, when everyone in your world expects you to play your part having one person who lets you be you changes everything.

Looking back now I realise that that was what he did, that was the gift he gave me. He gave me a space to be me, he opened that space, he invited me in and as I walked into that space and allowed him to know me, I began to know myself, I began to shed the costumes I wore. I also allowed myself to love and trust and for that I am thankful. It was right there in the middle of it when I loved him so deeply that it all came to a head, I knew that I had to leave him, the other option was to stay and die in my pain and I had just come from that place and wasn't going back there. It was there in that moment that I opened myself fully and completely to God, I caught hold of that realisation tonight and I find it extraordinary that God would use such an experience to bring me closer to him.

I remember at the time being completely heart-broken yet there was a peace about ending our relationship, I realise now that the peace came from knowing my God, from knowing deep in my bones that he was a good God and that he would replace this love with a great love. I realise now that it was in these moments that I received a revelation of who my God is and what he wanted to give me. It was in those moments that I chose to give my heart and my life to my one true love forever.

There is so much freedom and healing in that realisation. For the longest time I have stopped myself from thinking about the man I loved before I loved God, for the longest time it was painful and shameful and I didn't want to face it or me. Part of me wanted to pretend like it didn't happen and the other part of me was afraid to look at it. I choose to remember it as beautiful but know in my heart that it was wrong and I thought that revisiting it would change it and I didn't want to change it because I needed it to be beautiful. Now I realise that it was beautiful but that the beauty in it was God, I realise that this relationship was the shock I needed to surrender my heart to God. Before I met him I was dead and he shocked me back to life long enough for God to sweep in, pick me up and carry me away to my destiny. He brought me back to life long enough for me to know real love when I found it in God and for that I am so very grateful.

Our God is amazing, he will take the stories that you have lived, the ones that have shaped you and that you have told a million times before and if you let him, if you dare for just a moment to look at that situation with the new eyes he has given you.. well then you may just see the love and the grace of God in that situation, you may just see the way he lovingly swept you off your feet, the way he knocked you "head over feet over heels" in love with him.

I pray that we will have the courage to move past ourselves and our fear so that we can see God's hand tenderly working in every situation, that when God opens a door for us to share our journey we will let him but more than that, I pray that we will be wise enough to realise that he may be having us share for us and not just for the other person! I pray that we be open enough to allow him to show us our old story with new eyes.

May you all be blessed with hearts to receive the love God is waiting to give you xo

Thursday, February 10, 2011

For the record this is not something I would generally post here..

When I started this blog I made a commitment to myself & anyone reading it that this is a space where I would be honest & real & raw & share about what I was dealing with & how God was moving me through the space. Today's post makes me wish I had decided something else because I don't want to write this. I don't want to be honest about this & I don't want to share but at the same time I know if I don't write about it, well it will eat me up & I also know that if I don't write about it here I won't write about it properly. You see if I were to write in my journal I would gloss over what I was feeling & sweep it under the rug but I can't do that here because I made a commitment & so it begins..

Over a year ago I made a promise to a man that I had allowed myself to love & a man who loved me back. Actually it was a promise we made to each other. You see life meant that we could not be together, it meant that our love affair had to end so we made a promise that if ever our life circumstance changed then the one who's circumstances changed would find the other & we would be together. I told him I loved him & promised that if he ever came looking then.. I meant it, every single word of the promise we made to each other, the promise of our future together. We both cried as we spoke it. I remember in that moment feeling like someone had torn me apart & no matter how hard I tried I couldn't escape the pain.  

I had accepted the end of our relationship & went about finding myself as a woman of God. We let life happen, I moved away, built a wonderful life & I am happy. My life is amazing & right now there is nothing I would change. I hadn't thought about him for a long time until today.

I was reminded of our promise today & for the first time in a really, really long time I sensed him. I remembered the words, the emotions but most of all the utter conviction with which we spoke & it scared me. It scared me because I realised that on that day 15 or so months ago I gave away a piece of me, a piece of my future & I accepted a piece of him & a piece of his future & what if what we spoke became true? What if he appeared on my doorstep (for the record he doesn't have my address but that is beside the point, we have mutual friends, he could find it & besides he is one of those annoyingly resourceful men who always get what they want)? What if he rocked on up & told me that life had changed, that he still loved me.. What would I do with that? How would I clean that up? I had made a full on heart felt promise, I had actually given him me & he had taken it & stored it away for later & what would I do if later came? Even the thought of it left me paralysed in fear as I sat at my desk trying to read ASIC papers, getting up to get a cup of tea didn't help either. I was shattered to the core with utter fear that the words I had once spoken would come to pass.

This may seem a bit dramatic but I realised today what that promise meant! I realised that I gave him something that I didn't have & something that wasn't mine to give. Firstly I gave him my heart (or so I thought) but if I'm honest I was so messed up & broken & confused that I didn't even know what my heart looked like or how to use it! You see my heart was frozen solid wrapped in ice cold self-hate & even if you could thaw it out, it was hidden behind the walls I had built up to try to stop myself from getting hurt ever again & just to be sure I had placed in front of the walls an ocean of disappointment which I filled with words & emotions from the hideous relationships I had chosen in the past.. My heart was inaccessible yet for some reason I thought I could give it away. It was almost as if I mistook the warmth of his body & the excitement I felt for the beating of my heart. I realise now that I had deprived myself of love for so long, I was so frozen that I would have given my heart away for any kind of heat, anything warm! That's not fair, it makes our relationship sound trivial, it makes it sound like we didn't care for each other & we did but at the same time our relationship was wrong & I did give away something that I didn't even have access to & for me that realisation is huge!

You will be pleased to know that my heart is all thawed out, it works & I use it all the time now but to realise how little I valued it, that hurts. I hurt for the woman I used to be, for her pain, sadness, loneliness. It hurts to know the consequence of hating myself, to see how I would give away so much so willingly just to feel some love & warmth. wow. I kinda feel like I've been punched in the face by myself.

I also realised today that what I gave away wasn't mine to give. My heart & my future those things belong to God. He created me, he gave me my life, he guards my heart & my future is in his hands. My life never has & never will belong to me yet I foolishly gave a piece of both of them away. Ouch. I don't even know what to do with that.. I shake my head at myself & blink a few times but the words of the promise are still there staring back at me in black & white. Yep I really did try to give them away.

Sooo back to the big hideous, scary question.. what would I do if he rocked on over all ready to cash in? Honestly I don't know. I don't love him anymore, I know that. I am a new creation & he doesn't know me at all, I know that. What he accepted from me was not real so he can't cash it in, it would be like taking the money you won at monopoly & trying to buy something from the shops, it doesn't work, the store won't accept it because it's just not real. I guess that answers the question, he can't cash in what he doesn't have..

It is so easy to make a promise, to give ourselves away but promises are bigger than we think, they are important. I guess today I have learnt that a promise will never return void, you must clean-up that which you have promised. I pray that in the future I will value my promises xoxo

Monday, February 7, 2011

Standing still - I'm so not used to this!

Right now I am standing still. I am peaceful, quiet, wanting in anticipation for what is next. I am on the cusp of a completely different life. I am on the very edge, I see where I am going, I see exactly what it looks like but I can't access it yet. It is like I am in a big glass elevator, I have jumped in and pressed the button, the doors have closed; the lift has begun to rise. I can look down and see where I have been, I can look up and catch a glimpse of where I am going, I am on my way, so very, very close but I'm not there yet. So I stand still and wait..

Praying that I can get comfortable waiting xo

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Reflections: letting go of the golden child

"Dear Father, I am sad so very, very sad. I feel sad & alone & uncertain if my future. I feel like my dreams have been shattered into a million little pieces. Like my future is no longer mine. The dreams I once had seem so very far away like they belong to another. I feel lost Lord. So, so lost. So far away from my own happiness, so far away from understanding my joy.. once more I feel broken, hurting & afraid. Perhaps I am this sad or perhaps I am just afraid. Afraid to let go of the dream, the wonder, the title. Am I afraid to take off these ill-fitting clothes, this armour of sorts? Well yes I guess I am. I don't Like being the golden child but it sure is easier than not knowing. It's easier to be who I'm expected to be, to push myself around, to fit. At least I know these rules. I understand this game. Love Min 6.47pm, 11 October 2009, Sydney"

These words seem so far away, they are so removed from my current space that I almost can't believe I wrote them but I did, that was me and my life. That was the cage I lived in. I was the golden child, one of the chosen few, stamped with the future senior associate stamp by the powers that be. I wore the crown of my career proudly on my head, I let it define me, I let them define me. I built & shaped my life around my work. I became trapped in my own success & that success had a high price. I sacrificed everything on the alter for my career. I laid down the things that made me me, friendships, writing, dancing, relationships, I even sacrificed myself. All for my career. I became a workaholic superwoman, I ate in the places you were supposed to eat, with the type of men you were supposed to marry, I went to "THE" places to be, I was living the dream and I was miserable. I was empty. I was lost.

It is hard to read those words, hard to accept that I had chosen to walk that path, hard too look at the person I was, to hear the voice of fear that trapped me. It breaks my heart but then I turn the page in my journal and read the cry that sprung forth from that sadness:

"Dear Lord, I pray for your guidance & love. I pray that you will open my eyes to your wisdom. Unlock the fear that blinds me. Open the doors & lead me down the path you have laid for me. Give me the courage to press on & the wisdom to make the right decisions, Amen."

Such a simple prayer. Short & simple but from the deepest part of my poor lost soul. I wanted so badly for my life to be different but I knew that I couldn't make that happen, I didn't have anything left to give & even if I did I didn't have anywhere to pour into anymore, my career was nothing, my life meaningless, my relationship was over, I was worthless. I was stood in a valley when I looked behind I saw a wall of failure & pain, when I looked ahead I saw a wall of hopelessness, a life without love, purpose or direction, I couldn't see me anymore, I was lost & sad & paralysed by my choices.

I am amazed that in the depths of sadness, trapped in my own darkness, I could pray. It was such a simple prayer but it was all I could pray. And man did I pray it, during those days I prayed that prayer & a million like it, I didn't know what else to do. My soul cried out for guidance, for love, for wisdom. I didn't even know if he would hear me & if he did I wasn't sure that he would listen. I wouldn't have. I knew what I had done, I knew who I had been & I felt a deep sense of hatred for myself. It felt like the misery & pain was exactly what I deserved. But he did hear, he did more than hear, he walked right into my darkness & met me there.

He walked into my fear & pain & anguish, he scooped me up into his arms & he carried me home to my family. He gave me guidance & love. He opened my eyes to wisdom. He removed the fear from my eyes & showed me how to see with eyes of faith. He opened the doors, took my hand & led me down the path to this life of purpose & meaning & love.

It has not been an easy journey & the journey is not over, everyday I am faced with something else, a mindset, a wrong belief, everyday I am uncovering pieces of me that if left alone could have the power to trap & destroy me so everyday I make a decision to hand it over & live in his grace. Everyday I make the decision to accept his love. It's not easy to accept his love, especially when I am used to working so hard for everything, when I am used to hating myself. Right now he is challenging me to love myself. I love him, I love my life, I love the people he has put into my world, I like myself now, I am nice to myself & sometimes (if I am honest rarely) I love myself but I don't love myself like he does. I don't value myself like he does. I don't look in the mirror & see a woman who is worth far more than rubies..

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Boxed up emotions

Do you have no access spaces? You know those areas inside that you know about but pretend you don't? Like the relative no-one sees at Christmas, you kinda pretend they don't exist until one year they show up drunk and you remember why you pretended they didn't exist but have no choice but to deal with them.. That sounds horrible but you get the point. Back to the no access areas, do you have them? If so what are they for you?

Mine generally relate to past relationships, they are possibly my biggest no go to zones. My theory is they ended for a reason put them away and move on but unfortunately it's not that simple. Unfortunately the drug addict, the affair, the friend, the high school sweetheart each of them left an imprint, each in their own way whether good or bad or both, they shape who you are and how you interact with members of the opposite sex. I would rather forget about them, look for the lesson in them, be thankful for the lessons and then move forward but lately I've been realising that you can't move forward while you are still tripping over your past and that until you will keep tripping over the same emotions until you let them heal.

You see I am one of those annoying life goes on people, the pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep moving kind. I am generally so busy moving forward that I neglect to feel the full emotion of all that has happened and end up putting it in a box and labelling it "junk - do not open". Lately, I find myself in situations where these emotions or the relationships that they stemmed from are re-surfacing and after years of locking them away I am looking at them with fresh eyes. Eyes of love and not of hate. Eyes of healing not of hurt. I am amazed at what I am seeing... besides seeing how one little decision made in a moment of heart-ache can result in years of poor relationship choices I have seen the power that fear gives a situation.

You see when you are afraid of feeling the hurt of a break-up and you quickly put those emotions in a box and lock them away, you give the emotions a strange power over you. Something happens when you don't even look at them, when you just go "wow this hurts" and lock them away, it's like you are so busy being afraid of getting hurt that you don't take time to see how big the hurt really is. Now I find myself opening up the boxes after all these years and the main thing I am discovering is that the hurt I was afraid of isn't even that big. For years I have been locking away these emotions, too afraid to see them because the hurt would be too much to bare but all this time it was a lie. The hurt wasn't what was big, the fear was.

All this time and it was the fear because the emotions themselves, the relationships that ended, when I look at it instead of hiding it, when I stop being afraid and I lay it all out in front of me.. well it all seems so much smaller. So I've decided to keep taking the lids of the boxes, I am reaching in and taking out the relationships and the emotion and I am looking at them and letting them be healed.  

We all have no go areas, spaces inside that we don't access, each of us have these little storage compartments deep inside where we store all the stuff that we don't want to think about but the longer we store them there the bigger they get and the more afraid of them we become. So my prayer is that this week we will have the courage to take the lid of at least one box, that we carefully and lovingly lay it's contents on the floor and then we look at the contents with eyes of love and allow God to heal the pain that only he can heal. Be blessed and let your emotions free xo

Monday, January 17, 2011

How much can life change?

How much can life change in a week? In a month? How quickly can we be catapulted from one season to the next? How quickly can we awake from our holidays into the harsh reality of life? How quickly can the world as you know it change?

I wasn't going to post about the floods. I specifically recall thinking earlier today how I was going to make some time to get here tonight but that I wasn't going to talk about the floods.. yet now I am here and I don't know how not to talk about them so I will break the deal I have with myself and talk about them, maybe less them and more how I feel about right now but nevertheless the floods will get a mention.

Today was our first day back at work. After almost a week of being shut down Brisbane city resumed operation as the commercial hub of our State. It was extraordinary and surreal. I don't quite know how to explain it but something is different, our city has grown up a little, a shift has happened and you can feel it in the air. Maybe it's like the water washed the crap off.. the pretty, perfect, polished facade that was fast growing up over this beautiful, big country town we call home has been washed away and what is left is magnificent. There is this earthly beauty to our city, a unity, we have resurfaced stronger, together. Wait! I can't quite capture this and I kind of don't want to.

I'm not sure why I find this difficult to write about.. maybe it's too soon, maybe it's because if I write about it then it becomes very real, maybe because writing about it makes it sound like it is over and it's not. It's almost like writing about it makes it yesterdays story but in reality it is very much our today and will be for many days to come. I guess I feel uncomfortable about going back to work. It seems kinda wrong to be going along with my life while so much of our city is in ruin. I feel like it's insulting to be resuming our normal lives while thousands of peoples homes remain unlivable and their lives are so insane.

I guess the biggest issue for me today was that there was no meaning in my work, I looked around my office and at the day ahead of me and it was empty and unfortunately this feeling was a little too familiar. After spending 2 days at church actually making a difference sitting in my office was more difficult than I imagined. Deep inside me burns a desire to use the skills God has given me to help the people who are suffering. It just seems like a waste to use my brain and hands in the office when they could be used to help, I could have been helping to mobilise and support our volunteers or even better I could have been out in the field but I wasn't. I was at work and for me that was hard. It was coming home from Cambodia all over again and suddenly the emotions of that time in my life came flooding back...

I can still feel them now as they simmer under the surface, they come from a pure place, from a desire for more, a desire that my life have meaning, a desire to live a life of purpose, from a heart that is breaking for the things that God's heart breaks for but I know the destructive power of these thoughts and emotions. I know how if left in the wrong hands they turn from healthy desires to a seed a bitterness.. I know how quickly I can go from enjoying my life to seeing it as empty, how quickly I can despise the choices I have made to date. How quickly thoughts like I chose an empty career, I chose to pour myself into the lie, I am a waste of air can grow, the list of them goes on and on and I can get so lost in them that I begin to hate my life and myself until I self-destruct.. Somewhere deep inside the pure thoughts were still alive but last time I got so lost in them, the truly consumed me, it was like they were twisted and manipulated until I drowned in the swirling pain of a life with no meaning. It sounds dramatic but at the time it was.

How much and how quickly my life has changed. A little over 12 months has passed and in the wake of the greatest tragedy to face my country during my lifetime the same thoughts and emotions have surfaced. The desire for more, the desire for a life with meaning, the desire to live for a purpose.. all of these desires burn brightly inside but this time the swirling pain has been calmed and the deep throbbing to do more simply fans the flame. This time I see the choices I have made that have made a difference, I see how God used my poor choices to shape me, how the things that made me feel empty now inspire me to keep walking on this path.  It's amazing how the same thoughts and emotions will result in a completely different life when they are placed in the hands of God. My heart is still broken but this time I have hope.

So today I am thankful. I am thankful that the fact that life appears to be returning to normal disturbs me. I am thankful that my heart is broken but my spirit is alive. I am thankful that I have enough faith to know that my returning to work will ultimately help our economy which in turn will help those who are suffering the most. I am also thankful that the desire to live a life of purpose and meaning gets stronger everyday but most importantly I am thankful that this time my thoughts and desires are in the hands of my God and I am thankful for this journey xo

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

faith bigger than fear

I am a woman of faith. I believe in God. My God is merciful and kind, loving and generous, my God is a God of life and not of death. I have been afraid before, afraid of giving up my career, afraid of the unknown, afraid of the future, I've even been afraid of myself but no matter what my faith has always been bigger than my fear. In the last few years my faith has been tested, I feel like I have indeed walked in dark places only to find God there willing me to come home, to believe in him but right now it is facing it's greatest test yet. My father is sick, not just the mental issues that he was having earlier in the year (which were devastating) but he is now physically sick, not the chronic pain or side-effects of medication sick that the doctors talk about but emergency room, fast track tests sick.

My father has been sick like this before years ago so we have walked this path as a family. Last time he came away better than the doctors expected - not himself, not whole but better than expected. I guess perhaps on some level this should bring comfort, we've done this before we can do it again.. except it doesn't because this time we know what the words "we've found something in your blood and want to do an MRI" mean, after annual MRI's for almost 14 years we know how hard it is to get an MRI, these concepts that were once foreign are now familiar. I know the look of fear in my father's eyes, the need to have us close, the frailty in his shoulders, the colour of his skin, I've seen these things before.. From experience I know that everything before my eyes points towards a tumor. Then there is the fact that he is not walking into this as a healthy man in his early 30's with a young family to fight for, he is walking into this as a man in his mid 40's who has survived on a cocktail of prescription drugs, chronic pain and virtually no sleep for the last 14 years, a man who feels like he's aged 10 years in 2 days (more words which are familiar). The fear inside me is big, I feel it bubble to the surface as the tears begin to stream down my face.

Is it too soon to cry? Too soon to let the fear stain my cheeks with lines of black mascara? Too soon to sniffle as I write? Am I giving into fear when there is still hope? And there is hope.

I feel like a little girl again, 13 and afraid. I feel uncertain, unsure, powerless and sad. Maybe even a little bit alone or at least scared of being alone. I love my father more than I love myself, he is an amazing man, a kind and loving father with a gentle spirit and a fight in him like I have never seen. An overcomer as the scriptures call it, one not content to listen to the word of the world he walks when they said he wouldn't, he is determined to live a normal life rarely limited by the pain. He is a gift and inspiration. Just the thought of him makes me smile.

I guess that's why this hurts so much and why the fear is so great but the question now is, is my fear greater than my faith? I hope not. I hope my faith is bigger. Is my fear bigger than my God? I know it is not. Can I look beyond my fear to the hope promised in the scriptures? Can I see the light of my God in the darkness? Are the promises of my God enough to get me through? In this dark hour can I say "I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the Land of the living (Psalm 27:13)"? Can I say that I will "wait for the Lord: be strong take heart and wait for the Lord (Psalm 27:14)"? Can I allow my faith to be bigger than my fear?

My prayer is that I will be able to look beyond my fear in the coming weeks to see my God. May my faith be bigger than the fear xo