Category Archives: SheBelieves

Risk in Adventure

 

“The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.“ 

Alvin Toffler

I finished high school and spent four years at bible college- I could argue spirituality, biblically and theologically quite well, in fact sometimes I opposed just for the fun of it. From a twenty-one year olds perspective with such little life experience, I had certain faith in a big God despite any circumstance. Then when we lost Emmanuelle I had to unlearn and relearn so much of what I thought I knew about Jesus. In most ways it was easy to accept the sovereignty of God and place our grief and loss in His hands believing it was a safe place. Yes there was hurt and confusion, but sovereignty; who can expect to fully understand that? The ending of hope and beginning of faith.

I spent months and years relearning what I knew about Jesus; to truly profess His goodness from the deepest darkness and valley. Relearning my understanding of sovereignty, faith, trust and goodness in the storm. My whole worldview, my faith and really my whole person became totally different, I changed. It has taken me years to chisel out of the cement casing of grief; a place devoid of my own identity and all joy to finally feel the light and live in the world again. But in that place I knew and trusted Jesus, so I emerged with Him as I had found Him there.

My struggle now is how much can I unlearn and relearn about Jesus…. again? I did that once before, through grief and so many questions without answers. Now, to move forward from here, I have to unlearn and relearn once again. But they are fresh wounds, some are still scabby….

In your first pregnancy your body doesn’t know what it’s doing, the uterus is stretching for the first time and it takes time. With our first I was smaller at 15weeks then I was at 7weeks with Steven (five pregnancies later). My body remembered what to do and did it.

For my pain and wounds, it is fresh, and gushing blood is what they remember how to do. I’m afraid to open those wounds and lose too much.

It was easier to unlearn about Jesus after losing Emmanuelle. Then relearn after months and months of longing and trying for another healthy child. To throw out what I used to know, keeping only the foundational truths, and spend over two years building upon those foundations with completely different perspectives and heart state. To so soon do that again, I’m afraid.

 

When Daniel and I were dating we talked and dreamed of a life that was anything but ordinary, we dreamed of an adventure. We craved travel, new things, hard things that would make us grow, children, joy, life, obedience to Jesus no matter the cost. We desired adventure.

Last week my friend shared this picture on his Facebook:

Pretty much, no matter how bad it got- broken bones, getting lost or attacked by a bear- so long as you didn’t die it could be counted as a good adventure.

I don’t know that I really want to put my life in a questions flow chart like this… I fear the questions being blunt and compartmentalized. Never what we imagined or hoped, but life has certainly been an adventure so far!

I think that is part of the struggle, once again we’ve been blindsided with pain, something contrary to our resolved belief. There is disappointment in the unexpected. Do I fear unlearning and relearning again? Do I fear adventure? Do I fear getting suffocated in the cement of grief? That cases me in a moment of time the rest of the world long leaves behind? Every new day brings so much uncertainty as I strip back what I’ve had to unlearn and relearn.

So what do I know is foundational? God is sovereign. God is love. God is faithful. God is good. God is there.

Now, deeper than ever before, those truths have to soak again.

 

What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord…when they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessing… When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of your wings…you keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle…. I waited patiently for the lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and mire. He set my feet on solid ground, and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing.

Psalm 84:5-6; 61:2-4; 56:8; 40:1-3

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Faith like a boat 

I drive over this creek mouth daily. Depending on tides the row of boats are either resting on the creek bed or on the right day bopping on the blue water that’s island blue like in the movies.
At low tide one particular little white boat rests there like all the others; it looks like a boat, acts like a boat; it’s a boat!


But then high tide comes and it does not float, it’s not functioning as a boat should. It’s the moment to shine, to back up all that talk with action and it just fills with water.


Faith is a boat.

It can look like, talk like, act like faith. But in the moment to shine- pressure, challenges, valleys, persecution, when you gotta put it in to action. Does your faith float or sink?
What does your belief in Jesus actually look like?

The last few weeks every time I’ve driven over the bridge and seen the boat, fully submerged, looking like a competent boat, half and half; every time God has spoken to me about my faith in Him.

I felt like this challenge had to be shared  with someone today.
In the moment to shine, is your faith a boat? Or just looking like one?

Tagged , ,

Jesus affects my personality

We’ve just turned all the lights off and it’s pitch black. It’s been just over an hour since we’ve sighed our victorious relief at bedtime finally being over. When you have two young children it’s a real tag team effort, especially while big brother is still adjusting to mummy not always being able to take part. It’s pretty early, when we were dating we might not have even met yet for our time together that evening. It’s just after 9pm and I’ve already being struggling to stay awake for an hour or so.

 
I’m going through a deeply raw process with Jesus at the moment and I’m loving it! Honestly, He’s helping me see just how beautiful the mess of my heart is. How He’s stitched it back together with great intricacy by His Spirit. I’m learning and relearning things and feeling the best I’ve felt in a long time.

My revelation today was this: Jesus affects my personality.

The illustration in my devotion was given that when being served by a grumpy checkout lady one could guess her children woke before she could finish her time with Jesus. Just as we have physical expressions of hunger; beginning with loud, grumbly tummy, progressing to sickness from starvation; our spirits hunger has expressions too; bitterness, anger, irritability, among others. The hungrier it gets, the more prominent a change of expressions/fruits.

My identity, who I am as the best version of me, comes about through a closeness with Jesus. A satisfied spirit; full of the Word and His presence emulates the Fruits of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control. My personality, who I am, is best when I’m close with Jesus.

 
I laid in the dark and apologised to Daniel, apologised that the girl he was dating five years ago has got lost somewhere. See I’ve experienced a whole lot of pain, grief and darkness. All perfectly good reasons to be a person lacking in the Godly fruits.

He said it was ok. He’d read somewhere that when wives become mothers they change more than husbands. Days become full of so many selfless acts, unending love and patience for little children that we have to change. We become second.

Then add-on top of that the effects of our pregnancy journeys…He’d made the decision just to love the person I was, whoever that was. (Did I marry a great man or what!) But that’s not what I was getting at.
I always thought it was my external experiences that had such a grave effect on my personality; on feeling like I’d lost myself. But what I learnt, is that it was more than walking a thorny dark road — which actually grew me — what made me lose myself was losing prioritising me and Jesus. Not me as a mother or me as a wife. But me as me.

As just Yvette.

As a twenty-one year old girl I was fresh out of my fourth year of bible college, oozing with passion and full of a certain faith in the goodness and sovereignty of my God. I lead with compassion and understanding, with vision for a great future.

Then I got married, then I became a mother, then I became a full-time pastor, then I experienced great loss. I was busy connecting with God through or because of experiences that somehow I lost the simplicity of my relationship with him.

The simplicity that He loves me and offers me a gift of grace and mercy that I don’t deserve. That as just Yvette I don’t have to strive or achieve anything to be His child, to live fully in the abundant life offered to those who believe. To know Him intimately and have him refine me into the best version of myself, become the me He created me to be.

 

See in the pitch black and safe arms of my husband that’s what I was apologising for. For being a wife, mumma and leader before I was me. A me who is just a girl in love with Jesus.
Don’t get me wrong, being all my “roles” is really important. But I’m a better wife, mother and leader when I prioritize being a woman in love with her Saviour. You will be too.

11182756_10152683855276370_2168017778836695859_o

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Embrace the Journey

Apparently, I’ve grown up. I attended my first women’s camp over the weekend. I won’t lie, I miss the paint throwing and worship of youth camps… but really they are not comparable. They are different.

The theme for the weekend was “embrace grace.” The sessions were about journeys; inconvenient, challenging and unwanted. Perhaps the highlight for me was at the end of one session the fifty women were invited to choose from maybe seventy different postcard size pictures that were stuck on the walls; pictures of forests, creeks, roads, pebbles, bridges, deserts, etc. Asked to choose a picture that depicted our current position on the journey.

One lady chose a picture of a giant rock that took up all her path and, well, nearly the whole picture. Her husband is in the early stages of dementia, which could be the rock blocking her. But instead she said the rock was Jesus, her solid rock. – wow!

I saw the one I’d choose when I first stood up, then walked and looked at all the others but then came back to it. I can’t tell you how wonderful it felt to have something depict what is so often indescribable and challenging. My current position on the journey is just…. indescribable and challenging. But this picture, as I sat there God spoke to me about how all these things, situations and feelings, can be represented in this picture. My emotions and things He’s speaking to me about all can be seen in this picture.

 

This is what I chose (not the bible and background):

10560462_10152325928861370_6312251400175682793_o

 

I encourage you, do some googling for pathway pictures, instead of Pinterest and Facebook- scroll somewhere else, and allow God to speak to you. I found it such a refreshing and encouraging exercise. While maybe not for everyone, I really believe there is someone out there reading this that God has something significant to say to you when you find the right one.

Side note- while I didn’t stay at the campsite- so I was home for mornings with our boy- I made it a priority to leave so I’d still get the personal devotions time after breakfast. God led me to a passage and spoke deeply, kindly and intimately to me.  I checked the time because I didn’t want to be late back, it had only been ten minutes- I had forty more to go! I couldn’t believe how encouraged and loved I felt by my saviour in just ten minutes. So mums- I know your busy, I know you try, I know you sit down to journal exhausted…but somehow, find some time to walk away. Get out of your house where there is mummy and wife and cleaner jobs and interruptions; go somewhere different and just be, just listen, our Father has so much He wants to say to you that really makes an impact if we really listen.
(really anyone can do that, not just mums…and if I’m close enough to anyone to help make this possible- I want to! )

Enjoy the journey…I’m trying to. It’s something I’ve started to write about, so it’ll come soon.

Yvette

 

Tagged , , , , ,

fear | is this my story ?

About six weeks after I had Emmanuelle my hospital visits had not finished and the complications of her pregnancy were still greatly affecting me. After an incredibly discouraging doctors visit the day before, I was not in a good state that next morning. My mother, thankfully, could tell from my texts that I needed her and she rung. I’d never spoken to her like that before… I’ve never spoken to anyone like that before.

In between the sobbing and her asking a few times for me to repeat myself, deep truth oozed out…. Why hadn’t God answered my prayers, and would He ever again? But the greater fear, “what if this is my story?”

What if this is my life; the woman who wants to have another baby but never can? The mother who longs for more children but just journeys through greater levels of pain and grief time and time again.

A fear that this is my story.
A life where my heart is constantly longing. Trying to live with acceptance rather than disappointment that God had some reason to not answer my prayer.

I had desert for lunch with a lovely friend who’s known me nearly twenty years (which makes us both feel older than we’d care to admit!); we talked for over three hours. I was sharing some of this with her, which is a big deal, up till now I’d really only been so honest with Daniel and my best friend. Paula offered some great advice and was very encouraging; she also asked me this question- “so what if this is the story God has for you?

 

10474219_10152087849861370_573752505304802154_n

 

I replied with such a simple sentence that had never really occurred to me till I articulated it then. A truth that I’d known in my heart but had never clicked in my brain. I don’t believe in Jesus because He blesses me with children. So if He does or doesn’t, it doesn’t change my belief in Him.

I believe in Jesus because He saved me, when nothing else could. He offers unending love and grace, neither of which that I deserve. My faith cannot be based on if or when He fulfils my desire to have another child. Nor can it be based on the story of my life.

My fear was that my story would be that of the woman who longs for more children and never has them. One miscarriage nearly seems easy to recovery from, but two losses in a row, its tough. Paula then said something else, that despite my fear of it forever being my story, it is your story, at least for now.


Hopefully it’s not for forever, but now my story is that I’ve experienced pregnancy loss. A lot of my friends have too and thankfully talk to me about it. I’m currently living this life, right now. Sometimes when it comes to this blog I feel like I’m harping on and should stop talking about the same topic. But its what’s in my heart now. I can’t speak about the joy of pregnancy, I can’t speak about life without freshly healed pains, and I can’t speak about being a mother of two children.

Because now- our sons personality is changing as he continues to grow without any siblings. I feel like others see me stained with sadness and when I go places I bring a giant invisible elephant on a leash behind me that no one cares to acknowledge. My relationships are different and changing because of our journey last year. My experience and relationship with Jesus is one that not many understand or care to talk about. I know people who experience pain and lose faith. I know I experienced pain and have questioned faith. I heard a statistic the other day that compared with couples who have successful pregnancies, those who had a miscarriage are 22 percent more likely to break up, and those who experienced stillbirth were 40 percent more likely to do so.

 

Am I afraid that this will forever be my story? Yes. Am I going to continue avoiding the fact that for at least this season it is my story? No. Why- because…

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die…a time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance… a time to tear and a time to mend.
Yet god has made everything beautiful for its own time.
He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.

Ecclesiastes 3:1,2,4,7,11

 

So this is it, where I am. And there is so much more happening in my heart, life and world at the moment, more than what can be said here. I hope I don’t come across as living in the valley and refusing to leave it. Because that’s not true. Though I know that’s what some people see when they look at people like me and myself. See I’ve made a choice to embrace the slow climbing out, the steep incline out of the valley and do the only thing I can do.

I read this passage a few weeks ago, after it had been a few days since spending some good quality time in the Word, which happens sometimes in life. I opened my bible reading plan to this, the words have not left my heart since.

 

Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside.
I was so foolish and ignorant—I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.
Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny.
Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth.
My health may fail, and my spirit may grow week, but God remains the strength of my heart;
he is mine forever.
Those who desert him will perish, for you destroy those who abandon you.
But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter,
and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.

Psalm 73:21-28

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

broken before

I’ve been broken before. Like really broken. It was a few years ago now. All kinds of emotions– sadness, pain, hurt, loss — oozed out of the cracks in my heart for a few months. The worst most evident place this happened was the presence of God, worship experiences- I became an uncontrollable wailer. I would sob from a deep deep place, loudly. I couldn’t help it. I felt like I could never utter prayers, but somehow through my tears The Lord worked and put me back together. Then my heart was better than ever.

I don’t feel broken like that now, but I do feel something. Which I suppose would come after the year we’ve had. Our personal and ministry life has not looked at all as we expected. This time I’m not crying and my English is understandable. Though I sometimes struggle to form the sentences to Jesus that make sense, that articulate my place, my feelings, and my desires. Which is difficult because then you sometimes struggle to say anything at all (- I’m not the only one, right?). I’ve slowly been realizing that doesn’t matter. All that matters is I let Him in. Allow Him to see the truth of my heart and allow Him to work. His work is beautiful.

I realised something just a few days ago- I’d forgotten some important things. I’d forgotten that I’d been broken before. I’d forgotten that I’d had to wait for God to be faithful before. I’d forgotten what it felt like to wait for The Lord. As soon as I remembered it became a whole lot easier. Why? Because I have been broken before, and God repaired me then. Because I have had to wait for God to fulfill His promise before, and He did. Because I have had to wait for The Lord before, and at the exact perfect time He acted.

 

image-2

 

The Israelites… ah the Israelites. Their journey was full of- “oops, we forget who God is and its getting tough now so lets built a giant gold statue…. Oops, we forget what God has done so let’s turn around and go home.” They were constantly not remembering what God had done for them.

 

Remember every road that God led you on for those forty years in the wilderness,
pushing you to your limits, testing you so that he would know what you were made of,
whether you would keep his commandments or not. He put you through hard times. He made you go hungry.
Then he fed you with manna, something neither you nor your parents knew anything about,
so you would learn that men and women don’t live by bread only; we live by every word that comes from God’s mouth.
Your clothes didn’t wear out and your feet didn’t blister those forty years.
You learned deep in your heart that God disciplines you in the same ways a father disciplines his child.

Deuteronomy 8:2-5 (MSG)

Following this passage Moses again says to them, make sure you don’t forget God… “God who…” and lists numerous things that He has done for His people.

—————————-

God who has put me back together before when I thought I was broken irreparably.

God who always fulfills what He promises. (Numbers 19:23 would have to be up there as a favorite!)

God who acts at the exact perfect time, not the perfect time I see, but the perfect time He sees, which is far more perfect because He sees all time.

God who led me down the right path when I had numerous options in front of me.

God who blessed with me with a husband who is more than I ever imagined or prayed for.

God who blessed us with a healthy little boy who brings me the greatest joy.

God who regardless of how I feel, regardless of if I see Him at work or not, is always right with me.

—————————-

 

I don’t know where you have been before and I don’t know where you are now, but what list could you write? What can you remember about God that would give you courage now? What can you proclaim about God in faith now that you are still longing to see?

 

Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. Psalm 27:14

Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. Psalm 37:5

Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act. Psalm 37:7

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. Psalm 40:1

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. Romans 12:12

Tagged , , ,

Getting There | Part two

So much of life is spent just trying to get through and survive until the next thing. I mean honestly; senior years of high school, just want to finish. University, just want to finish so you can get a job and have more than $2.17 in your bank account. The other big one I think is the season of singleness- especially if you waiting for the right one (which is the path I’d recommend). Though it’s hard when everyone around you is getting engaged/married and you’re the odd one out.

 

per·se·ver·ance [pur-suhveeruhns] noun

1. Steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

 

Countless times I have listened to people speak about Joseph (Genesis 37-50) the dreamer who waited 22 years to see fulfillment. Though it was not all peachy in his waiting… he was thrown in a well, spat on by camels (I’d assume), a servant, accused and jailed! I found this verse in Psalms a few weeks ago and it has stuck with me.

 

image-5

 

So often in the Genesis narrative we read, “But the Lord was with him…. But the Lord made him…. But the Lord showed him his faithful love.” Hindsight. It’s a beautiful thing. I’m sure at the time when Joseph was trailing behind the camels or sitting in a jail cell he was not thinking about how this was a perfect next step for him to get there.

 

But if you are obeying God, which sometimes might simply be the act of not running away and persevering by standing strong. If you are in a circumstance because your obedience to God led you down that path than regardless of how tough, difficult, painful or hurtful it may be (that’s an overwhelming thought when you tally the scars sometimes isn’t it?)… The type of path doesn’t affect the character of our God.

 

It’s so easy to ask “why”- numerous times in my life that is the only question I’ve had of God. If only He would answer why I had to sacrifice, move on, work hard, experience, struggle… it’s like I feel that I would cope so much more if I knew why. One time in my life he answered my request—“Because I said so. Don’t you trust me?” That answer didn’t really make any difference. Why, if I’ve got a dream or thought of what there may be, that may even be God given, can it not look like how I thought, and must look like God’s plan- with valleys, torrential rain and hard work?

 

That verse, “Until the time came to fulfill his word, the Lord tested Joseph’s character.” Instead of asking why, perhaps we should ask what? What are you doing God? What are you teaching me? What are you working on in me? God isn’t just holding out on being faithful watching us run towards it on a treadmill getting nowhere. He’s busy doing things in our life so when we get there, our path is full of “But God” stories and we are ready to be there.

 

I lost two babies, I suffered and cried, but God let me be angry with Him and my relationship with him has grown…

One of the great things about when God is testing you- there is no pass or fail. His way of testing is refining.

 

Use hindsight- look back at your journey, instead of asking why, see what God has done in you. Let’s not be too busy persevering, or too busy getting through, or too busy asking why God’s path looks different or takes longer than our plan… instead ask what.

 

So… getting there… not why the turmoil, pain, delay… but what are you doing within me God? And expect miracles; expect “But God” moments – because no matter the path, He is always faithful and good.

Tagged , , , , ,