Sunday, 16 March 2014

A Brand New Kind of Me....A Brand New Kind of Free

Late last year, my husband and I attended the Alicia Keys concert supported by John Legend in Brisbane. It was an amazing night with two phenomenal artists performing. I wasn't familiar with all of Alicia's songs from her latest album. During the concert she started to sing her song, 'Brand New Me' and I was awe struck. As I listened to the lyrics, it was as if she was seeing in to my very soul and sang about me. I closed my eyes and let  the words flow over me. So moved by the music and lyrics, I lifted my hand. Not in worship to God, but as if to say, "Yes!" to every word. It was a beautiful moment. And I determined in my heart that I would be brave, and embrace this brand new kind of me, and brand new kind of free. 



Monday, 3 March 2014

He calls me out into the water, the great unknown




“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.” ― Mary Oliver
The past 12 months turned my world upside down. Having found myself suffering from depression again, I can honestly look back and see that it was a gift. As I leaned into the darkness, instead of fighting it, a lot of things came clear. Two things in particular, became clear to me in the darkness:
1. I felt closer to God away from church
2. Going to church was bad for my mental health
And having been to church most Sundays for the past 20 years, these 2 things caught me by surprise! I know a lot of people that thrive in church, and I am in no shape or form saying that church is bad. I am just saying that for me, on my journey, it was doing more harm then good. Religion was killing my spirituality. 

As I started to step away from traditional church, I realised that I was entangled by religion. Each stroke I made into the new uncharted water was daunting, but at the same time liberating. It felt very much like going out into oceans deep, the great unknown, where feet may fail. I was trusting Holy Spirit to guide me. It is both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. Sometimes fear overtakes me and I feel like I might drown. Other times I swim freely, free from any entanglement of nets of religion to hold me back. It has taken a lot of courage to swim out into the unknown. Some days the old feeling of guilt, and "I should be doing this" thoughts consume me. I try to swim back to shore where it is safe. But I can't go back. Not now that I have had this taste of freedom. Is this what it is like to live life abundantly? To live daily listening to His whispers and promptings. To see God in everything, if only I would just open my eyes? Is this living in the unforced rhythms of grace?

Saturday, 25 January 2014

You've opened my ears so I can listen



I wrote this on my 'About Blog' page a few years ago:
 "I got to a point in my life where I was so sick of playing church and craved an intimate relationship with Him.
I am learning the unforced rhythms of grace and am now recovering my life. By keeping company with my King, I am learning to live freely and lightly. I have learned that my King is not interested in religion or what I can do for Him. He just wants me to be me - and that is so liberating."
Fast forward to now, and after stepping off the religious merry-go-round I found myself on again, I spent most of 2013 with my head spinning, wobbly, and not knowing what direction to take.


I was given the book The 10 Second Rule by Clare De Graaf, as a gift for being a long time customer of Sonlight, sometime last year. It sat on my shelf for months as I couldn't bring myself to read another Christian book at the time. I picked the book up a few weeks ago and have been working my way through it. I really enjoyed it and realised, that the 10 second rule (“Just do the next thing you’re reasonably certain Jesus wants you to do.”(and do it immediately before you change your mind!)), was what I was doing as a new Believer.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

A mustard seed of faith, a boy and a bearded dragon.

"Mum, how do we know that Jesus is the right way and not some other religion?" The question hung in the air for a moment and I think I may have stopped breathing. I was prepared for my sons to question my faith when they became teenagers, but I was not prepared for it at the age of 10. And yet, here I was, with my 10 year old son, with a question I wasn't quite sure how to answer.

When I finally took a breath, I said to him, "You know it's OK to question whether or not Jesus is real. I have asked the same question myself. God is big enough to handle our questions. I don't know what to tell you son, except that I know Jesus is real, because so many times over the years He has shown Himself real to me in a very personal way. Why don't you ask God to show you Himself?" I want my boys to feel safe as they wrestle with the things of God. I want them know that it is OK to question things. I want to create a safe place for them to find their own faith. 

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Turning Heartbreak Valley into Acres of Hope

2013 saw me thrust into a wilderness of sorts. Not physically, but spiritually and emotionally. After 3 friendships collapsing in a matter of months at the beginning of the year, I soon fell into a depression, with the wounds being deepened when my church  failed to care for me in my dark state. After all, healing can only take place within the church walls on a Sunday right? If you stop going, well you are out of sight and out of mind. With everything stripped away, I found myself deep in the wilderness with nothing, and hope seemed to be but a distant memory. I was in Heartbreak Valley.

I have been reading Brene Brown's book "Daring Greatly", this summer. It has been a real eye opener to vulnerability and shame. In the chapter 2 I read:
"....there is one particular sort of betrayal that is more insidious and equally corrosive to trust.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

2014: {brave}




A new year begins, and I let out a sigh of relief, happy to say goodbye to a difficult 2013. I breathe in the freshness of a new page. A brand new diary and dream about what 2014 may hold for me. I speak a word over my new year - brave. 


brave

bre…™v/
adjective
adjective: brave; comparative adjective: braver; superlative adjective: bravest
  1. 1.
    ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.
    "she was very brave about the whole thing"
  2. verb
    verb: brave; 3rd person present: braves; past tense: braved; past participle: braved; gerund or present participle: braving
    1. 1.
      endure or face (unpleasant conditions or behaviour) without showing fear.
      "he pulled on his coat ready to brave the elements"


Friday, 8 November 2013

It's simple really....just let go!


Just sitting on the steps......having a coffee and taking 5 minutes to breath. I started to think about the year that was. At the beginning of this year, I declared the word, "simple" over the year. It wasn't a New Year Resolution, but rather a desire of my heart. I yearned for the simple life. My life was anything but simple and running away to an Amish community seemed very attractive. Fast forward to now as we enter November, and almost at the end of the year. I marvel at all that has taken place this year, and just how, well, simple life  is now!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Not all those who wander are lost

A love heart that naturally occurred in my coffee. A love note from Him.

A funny thing happened to me when I started to attend a church 3 years ago. This church was just like any other church I had attended over the last 20 years. There was nothing different about this one. But I was different. Having just overcome depression by relying solely on Holy Spirit to guide me through, I had for the first time in over 15 years since becoming a Believer in Jesus, an intimate relationship with God. I had learned through my struggle with depression to hear the 'God whispers' in my spirit that were just for me. I had learned to hear His voice in an individual, personal and unique way, tailored for one.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Goodbye 30s......hello 40! - {happy birthday to me}

This weekend I turn 40. This is no small thing! Having had so much happen in my 30s, I can honestly say, that I am looking forward to shutting the door on this decade, and look forward to all that my 40s will bring. As I pondered on this milestone, I started to think about the last decade, and all that I had journeyed through. The decade was jam packed with a lot of heartache and struggles, There were moments of joy too, but overall  my 30s were marked by a lot of hard times. I believe that these trials have not been for nothing and as Joseph said to his brothers, I say to the enemy of my soul, "You meant to hurt me, but God turned your evil into good to save the lives of many people, which is being done." I believe that my story will be a life line to those suffering from depression, chronic health, grief, hurts from people and self hatred. I pray that my story will give people hope.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

I have tried everything Lord, but if you say so.....



After what had taken place spiritually in my home, I had a real urge to go to church on Sunday. Having not been to church for quite a while, I had no idea which church I would attend. I googled my 'postcode and church', and a few churches came up. After browsing the website of a church, I clicked on the audios that were on the website of the previous Sundays sermon. The pastor was sharing about how someone had come forward for prayer to break addiction to cigarettes and ended up getting several spirits cast out of her. This peeked my interest, so I decided this would be the church that we would visit on Sunday.

It felt strange to be in church again after so many months of not going. During the sermon, the visiting preacher spoke on this verse: