Tag Archives: faith

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

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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?

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depression | anxiety

Day five and six. Depression and anxiety. Big topics.

Some days I didn’t want to get out of bed. Some days I was angry. Some days I had no patience for our firstborn. Some days I was rude to Daniel. Some days I was rude to strangers. Some days I was sad. Some days I could smile and mean it. Some days I just ate ice-cream and cried. Some days I read novels or binged tv just to escape my mind. Some days I survived by prayer and the word alone. Some days I tried to turn from God. Some days I thought things I would never admit again. Some days I was ok. Some days I was good, some I was not. But I survived, breathed through the 24 hours to get to a new day. And then somehow, one day it just started to get easier.

Two days when we should share about how loss affects our mental health; there is so much… but for me two things.

I knew God was right there with me in my broken darkness. Faith was the fortress of my heart, it protected me, my marriage and my family.

The Awesome God You Are” Matt Redman

Let Your majesty speak peace to me


And chase my fears away


To my heart I preach Your sovereignty


And the power of Your Name

I’ll stand in awe of You alone

 

God let hope arise

And faith become the fortress of my heart

I will lift my eyes

And see You as the awesome God You are

Believe You as the awesome God You are

 

 

 

steady heart” by Steffany Gretzinger, Amanda Cook

Though the sky is dark


And the wind is wild


You’ll never leave me, You’ll never leave me

For me, God is the only way I made it through.

** In October, for Pregnancy and Infancy Loss Awareness Month, I’m participating in #iwanttotalkaboutit #YellowRosesCQ project with daily writing prompts.

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Hope

When I was twenty I stood freezing in my jackets and boots in nearly knee deep snow on a field where; only a few generations previously, men, women and children in thin rags would stand for hours on end while the Nazi soldiers would count and taunt them. Visiting Dachau Concentration Camp is one of the most eye opening experiences I’ve ever had.

 

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I remember walking through and listening to a guide talk about how important hope was. In many cases, hope is the only thing that kept people alive. Hope… In spite of everything… I’m interested in the holocaust period and one thing that I’d never really thought about was what their hope might have looked like. That it wasn’t just for a war to end, but for some they might have still found hope in God.

How would they do that? In such circumstance hope for years?

Faith is the confidence that we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we can not see.
Hebrews 11:1

 

Faith- that what we hope for, will happen even if we don’t see it. But do we dare to hope in the invisible? Am I brave enough? Are you?

 

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He always does

I used to preach weekly, sometimes more than once. At our youth ministry, in “grown-up church” on Sundays, I’d special guest.

I was so sick with Emmanuelle’s pregnancy I slowed down a little, then I had her and physical recovery was enforced upon me. Last Sunday night I preached for the first time since I had her last October. I don’t really have words to describe what this photo means to me.
It was a God-defining season, you know; come out with greater faith or with none at all.

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Before we moved to Yeppoon, I felt God say two things He was going to do in 2013; one for Daniel and one for myself. For me, I heard Him say He would make me a mother. Of course I excitedly interpreted this as having another baby at some point in the year.
I had two children last year, but neither stayed on earth with me.
Looking back though, I am more of a mother from our losses than I would’ve been with one healthy pregnancy. I’ve learnt a depth of love, compassion, patience and joy that could’ve only happened how it did. God made me a mother; it didn’t look how I thought it would. Which meant I wondered why God hadn’t done what He said he would. Then in reflection, I realised He did exactly as He said He would, it just wasn’t how I first interpreted it to be.

sneaky.

forever faithful. but sneaky.

What are you waiting for God to do for you? Is it possible He’s just doing it a different way? Because He always does what He says He would. Even if it’s not in our time frame, or how we think it will look.

God is not a man, so he does not lie.
He is not human, so he does not change his mind.
Has he ever spoken and failed to act?
Has he ever promised and not carried it through?

Numbers 23:19

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Purpose in the roundabout

I’m not really one for taking the long way round. Unless I’m stuck in peak hour traffic; then I will take every which way and side road to just be moving rather than stationary. If I know where I’m going I like to get there, especially on long trips. I do not have a desire to stop and see a giant vegetable or crustacean (FYI: there’s a whole bunch of giant side of the road things in Australia).

Four hundred and thirty years the Israelites had lived in Egypt. 430 years, it was the last day of that last year the bible tells us (12:40-41) when God fulfilled His promise and bought His people out of Egypt.

Then comes exodus 13:17-22

 

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Rather than leading the people on the shortest route (through five cities, about 3-10 days) to their promise, God leads them in a roundabout way through the wilderness to the Red Sea. At this point in the narrative it’s like Moses pre-empts the question of the readers and says- because God knows His people best, He knew that if it was easy to return to Egypt they would.

We have to trust God’s directions. Even if it means we take the long way round, because He knows us best.

More than that, the short route didn’t take them to the Red Sea…so let alone all the lessons and miracles found in the wilderness, the miracle of the Red Sea could not happen on the short route. There is so much meaning in this miracle, though I won’t share it because I know not everyone loves the Old Testament as much as me.

The short route may be quicker and apparently easier- but somehow in Gods wisdom He knows that actually what will keep you best on track to the promise is the round about way.

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Certain as a seventeen year old

I would  have to check with my parents to confirm but I’m pretty certain I’ve been independently stubborn and strong willed my entire life. They deserve a medal for still loving me today.

When I was seventeen (and young, with a purple tinge in my hair) I decided to change all my after school graduation plans three weeks out and go to bible college. I had no real reason to… And plenty of reasons to not. But I just had a small speck of certainty in my heart that it’s what God was asking me to do.

blog seventeen

So I did. One of the Best decisions I ever made. Life transformed by the Spirit, my heart learned to have friends and I got foundations for faith and ministry.

There has been maybe five occasions since then that because of a speck of God certainty, I or we (with Daniel) have acted. And because I’m independently strong I do what God says as the only reason when all else makes far more sense and seems a lot safer. Even when it isn’t the grown up decision. I get this determination in me that what He said He is capable to do.

When I was seventeen no amount of doubt or concerns would affect my stubborn belief in the faithfulness of God. No one, not even the negative voices in my own head could talk me out of it. Side note, isn’t it funny yet ridiculous how sometimes the actions you take that are God inspired are often the most questioned and critiqued?…

A lot of kids who came in my first few years of youth ministry are now starting to graduate high school, begin serious relationships, make life decisions…. Firstly it makes me feel really old. Secondly, you ask them and they have a certainty that Jesus says it’s ok…they remind me of myself. I just hope that I’m not now one of those negative voices in their heads. I’m so proud for their certainty when they act on what Jesus has told them.

Somehow seven years have passed and I’ve lost my seventeen year old certainty on the small speck… My personality can’t even get me through. I realise now however, that it only had very little to do with personality. And much more with vulnerability…. To the strong, sound voice and calling of God. A faith that takes Yahweh at His word, which is born out of a passionate, intimate, growing relationship with Him.

So I’ll stop wishing to be seventeen for my certainty now.. And just pray for a 24 year old faith that’s certain my seventeen year old God will come through on the small speck again. And again. And again.

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