brain farts, Life in youth ministry, Uncategorized

Incomplete

incomplete

Does the word ‘incomplete‘ stress anybody else out? Leaving tasks or jobs or assignments only half-done, or slightly attempted? This is something that really irks me – really pushes my limits. Even if it’s just the laundry – bringing in the dry stuff, but not going the next step and actually folding and putting it away. Bringing it in is only half the job. It’s incomplete. Blegh.

The last few weeks have been filled with assignments, readings, power-points and even some oral presentations as I squelch my way through an intensive Certificate IV. I worked my rear end off in the first 2 weeks to stay up to speed with everyone in my class who was able to attend face-to-face sessions whilst I was not. I submitted stuff, I worked into the wee hours and I bailed on things like vacuuming and doing the dishes.

This meant my house felt incomplete. It meant my weeks felt unfinished because I hadn’t done what I usually do.

Then I got – by the grace of God – to the final sections of this course (which has been a struggle at the best of times) and realised there’s a possibility I may not complete it due to some of the final requirements. So my house is back to being completed on a weekly basis, but now my assignments and my course may go incomplete.

Anyone else feeling that tension? Urgh. The very thought that I worked so hard for something that might now actually not eventuate brings on the tears and the panic and the guilt. The ‘incompletness’ of it makes me feel like I was never going to be good enough to finish it in the fist place, so why did I try? Why did I try something new?

During my latest episode of stress induced guilt and tears (or was it guilt induced tears and stress…?) over it all, this memory flashed into my mind:

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A lovely friend had this made up for my birthday. It’s one-of-a-kind. Hand-made. Unique to me and created for who she knows I am. And you know what? I got a little perspective. I am not this course – complete or incomplete. I am not the vacuuming – done or not done. I am not the washing or the folding or the dishes or the gardening…I’m actually none of the things that I put such incredible pressure on myself to have complete.

I’m the sort of person who gets lost, pretty quick, in the concept that my feelings or my actions or even my thoughts or what someone says about me is what I am.

God’s Word says the opposite though – there’s so much more to who I am in Christ than what I can complete. I am actually enough already, regardless of whether the washing gets done today or not.

And I am enough already regardless of whether I get a full course completion or not. Who am I performing in the course for anyway…? God? Me? The facilitator? My boss? At the end of the day, the skills and knowledge that I learned along the way aren’t forgotten because I may or may not get a piece of paper at the end. The people I met and the conversations I had during that time aren’t nothing. Every experience I have is worth it because I learnt something and it was were I was meant to be at that time…so complete or not, I guess what I’m learning now is that the outcome doesn’t define my worth or competence.

Completing the course doesn’t define my abilities and role as a student or an employee and completing the dishes or the laundry doesn’t define my abilities and role as a mother and wife either…I. Am. Enough.

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brain farts, Uncategorized

Dear me…

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Dear Me,
I’m future you! Fancy that. I want to tell you a few things that these years have shown me and taught me…they won’t change you in the past, but they can help you as the years roll on.

You are beautiful. You already are. You actually always were and it bums me out that you never accepted that. Your clothing size – doesn’t matter. Your university qualifications – not where you find your worth. Your job – not what makes you who you are. Having said all that, I want you to know that being a mother also doesn’t define you…you will love your new role as Little E’s mum and you will learn crazy-amounts about yourself, your husband, your family and your friendships…but it doesn’t make you who you are.

Dear past-me…enjoy life where you are because this version of you and the things you’re doing won’t exist soon. God is shaping and changing you with each new experience. Learn to love the you that you are today and lean in to the changes and the challenges. Don’t try so hard to cling to the past, to the things that you used to know…they served you well and were important for a time, but God is leading you down paths that you can’t even imagine! Adventures await, and if you hold on too tightly, you’ll miss them.

Don’t get so caught up in people-pleasing, following the crowd, doing things you think people expect you to do and trying to fit in…future you knows that those things don’t matter! Future you knows that your time and heart will be too full of better things to worry about the trivial. Stand out! Stand out and stand up – be an example to the daughter who is watching you so intently.

Don’t compare your journey with those around you…there isn’t another you and there isn’t a story the same – so why bother? Focus on where God is taking you, your family, your world and go there! Look up, look forward…

Read more.
Watch less.
Cook more.
Walk more.
Try new things.
Say ‘I love you’ all the time.
Hug more.
High five more.
Laugh more and be silly more…what do you have to lose?

That saying ‘dance like no one is watching’…? Yeh, actually do that, would you? Dance with Little E because one day, she’ll probably ask you to drop her off a block from her friend’s house and give you a nod while her headphones are glued to her ears instead.

Past-me, I liked you. But future-you will be even better because of Who created you. Who you are comes from Someone greater, so you know it’s good! Past-me, I hope you know I appreciate what you did for future-me…you’ve helped me as the years have rolled on.

(image courtesy of pinterest)

brain farts

Dream on

It’s been a while since I tapped out a blog…it’s been a while since I read a blog too! Actually, if I think about it, it’s been a while since I’ve read ANYTHING…that’s not good. I love reading – always have. As a kid, I was so into books and stories and reading that I’d take a book just about anywhere! Every school holidays, I’d have a sleepover at my grandparents and my Grandma would take me to op-shops and second hand bookstores and we’d hunt for the authors and stories that I loved…they are some of my fondest memories!

My affinity for the written word carried well on into my teens and young adulthood. I took a creative writing class in University and have several – make that many – unfinished pieces on my laptop and iPad. I’ve been to meet-the-author evenings; I’ve had email conversations with several authors and have even had the odd short peice published here and there, just locally. I am now a qualified English teacher – specialising in teaching English to speakers of other languages – because I love words and how they fit together to create conversation, story, ideas and convey dreams…

Dreams…

This brings me to why I felt the need to write something tonight…and not just a blog. Today, while my Little E was having her afternoon nap, I found a quiet moment to brew a coffee, sit on the carpet and open a magazine I was given a while ago but never really had the chance to properly devour. Article after article I read spoke about dreams. Passions. Loves. Desires. All things that God has weaved into the fabric of His children…the dreams we have and the passions we’re sparked with are God-given and when we act on those, we bring glory to His name.

So it struck me when so many of the articles I was reading were entrenched with the writer’s passions and dreams…they spoke of following these and seeing them realised in the here and now which is so exciting! They spoke of seeing fruition come from pushing through the fear and the unknowns surrounding these dreams and seeing God’s hand on the outcome…and it made me wonder…what’s my dream? REALLY, what’s my honest-to-goodness dream?

It didn’t take long for an answer to come…I want to write a book and I want it to be published. Always, always have I had this in the very back, dusty corners of my mind…just whittling away the time until I would reach back and embrace it, ready to run!

Now, I have no idea where to start with this…because ‘start’ is a bit of a dark thunder cloud for me. I have started SO MANY different pieces before – different styles, different genres, different lengths, different points of view and even for different purposes in the end – and each has finished the same way…incomplete and saved to a folder I probably won’t open until I need to clear space and delete them. So if this truly is my dream why can’t I see it properly? Why is it so exhausting thinking about it? Is it because of all the failed attempts? Am I simply tired and afraid that it will just be another piece in those unfinished folders, waiting for the trash can click? Quite possibly. I get totally inspired reading articles like those from today, but then I go to put ‘pen to paper’ as it were for myself and I already have writer’s block! *grumble grumble*

There’s a quote that’s fitting here isn’t there? Edison I think – “I have not failed. I have just found 10 000 ways that won’t work.” Fitting. So fitting in fact, it’s like Kim Kardashian in one of those bandaid-tight dresses…so I guess I should listen, right? I mean, I’m hardly at 10 000 written pieces yet so I’ve got a ways to go 😉 blogging is a start, getting the juices going…what’s next? I guess I’ll just have to type and see!

What’s your dream…?

brain farts

Blogs, adventures, sailing & service

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Whose been on a cruise?
Hands up if you get seasick?
Ever travelled to a foreign land you never thought you’d get to?

I can tick off each of those, technically! For 3 months from 2010-2011 I spent time serving the Lord with other like-minded, passionate people onboard the Logos Hope ship. We sailed from through the Middle East, visiting cities and countries I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d see with my own eyes.

The Logos Hope is an incredible missions ship run through OM. It’s essentially a huge floating bookstore. They bring hope, healing and acts of service to places around the globe and some of my fondest memories are from my adventures onboard that floating home. You can read more about Logos Hope and OM here and discover the magic for yourself 🙂

A good friend of mine is embarking on her own adventure with OM in just a few short weeks. Se starts the amazing journey by heading to Africa before she boards the Logos Hope. If you’d like to read more about her travels, head over to her blog and say hi. Kathryn I’m sending you some readers hopefully 😉 I hope your trips are just out of this world, I can NOT wait to read about everything you get up to! God is up to some intense stuff!!!

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(Photos are actually mine!)

brain farts

The first blank page of a new year…

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It’s January 1st. We rolled over the calendars last night with party poppers, amazing food, a pig on the spit, games, music and laughter.
It’s no longer 2014.
2015 has arrived in full force.

Happy New Year!

How quick did 2014 seem to race by? I know sometimes it felt like it dragged on – there were some crushing lows and some tougher days than others, but on a whole I feel like we really only just had New Year celebrations from 2013! It was a year ago our family was getting excited for a big trip to the Philippines. I was psyching myself up for my final 2 semesters of my post grad course and the looming placement experience. 2014 was an intense, busy and memorable year and it’s hard to believe that here we sit yet again. Another January 1st on the doorstep.

Last year, I made New Years resolutions. Yep – for the first time I made a conscious decision to set goals and attempt to follow through on them in 2014. Did I keep those resolutions? No. Am I surprised? No. Haha! How can I be?! I’m terrible at follow-through when it comes to habitual change for myself. It takes 30-60 days or something they say to change a habit…I barely last 3-6 DAYS! So unfortunately, I have no resolution accomplishments to celebrate today and I’m hesitant to set new ones for this year…

Nonetheless, I will. And I’ll keep it short, sharp and simple – spend more time with my Creator.

Out of that resolution I hope that other changes will flow…and that way, rather than forcing myself to keep track of all the things I want to change or do, my focus is where it should be and my motivation is shifted. Maybe then, other things I want for the New Year will happen in their own time rather than forcing them.

So my word for 2014 was ‘CRAVE’…and I’ve decided that my word for 2015 is ‘CHILL’. Sounds cliche, right? Silly, lame, impractical, childish? Well for me, this will be a very important word for my year. I struggled with the thought of 2015 approaching as I knew what sorts of journeys lay ahead…and now that it’s here, I don’t want to be bogged down for 12 months in apprehension and depression just because I’m so highly strung about it all. God is in control. God is in charge. God has gone before and He will walk with me. I simply need to chill out. Stress less. Shove the worries away. Focus on His strength, peace & truth and carry on as I have been called to do. Chilling out from all the concerns and ‘maybes’ of 2015 will be a big challenge, but I hope that this time next year, I can high five myself and know that God stretched me in the best way possible.

So I hope that as this new year unfolds for you, your resolutions are easy to keep, practical and important to you so that as you complete them and fulfil them and tick them off you know you are where you are meant to be. Many blessings for all the journeys and adventures and trials and tests and joys and excitements that await you this year – may God be the reason for EVERY ONE of your seasons.

brain farts

It’s Christmas! 🎄

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Christmas 2k14 has been today and gone tonight…it was a day filled with good food and awesome family!

but did I once consider the real meaning, reason and purpose for today’s festivities? I don’t think so. Not nearly enough. Isaiah 9:6 is my verse for today and I only read it once. There is so much depth and gravity to that verse – to all verses really – and the only thing I really thought about today was that someone seemed to get a better gift than me. Crap. That really is not a good enough effort, especially considering the weight that today holds.

Isaiah 9:6 Hope of all hopes, dream of our dreams,a child is born, sweet-breathed; a son is given to us: a living gift.And even now, with tiny features and dewy hair, He is great.The power of leadership, and the weight of authority, will rest on His shoulders.His name? His name we’ll know in many ways—He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,Dear Father everlasting, ever-present never-failing,Master of Wholeness, Prince of Peace.

What do all these words mean when they’re read in context and through the filter of the Holy Spirit and God’s true breath? God gave His creation the strongest and greatest ‘glue’ to fix what had been broken. He loved what He had made so ridiculously much that He sent a part of a himself to earth in a tiny, screaming baby so that we would always have the opportunity to be in real relationship with the One who truly loves and knows us the most. What greater love could there be?! God wanted so much for each of us to find solace and life in His arms that He became physical and real to show us how and why.

THAT’S what today is about. The true love of an incredible Creator and His woman-born Son who came to reach out and simply love as we need it most.

Happy Christmas, it is indeed because ‘hope of all hopes, dream of our dreams, a child is born…

Blessings.

brain farts

Work at it

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Do you have hopes? Dreams? Desires? Unplanned adventures lying semi-dormant in your imagination…?

Do you wake up some mornings with a sigh and think I wish I was living that dream or adventure…?

Do you make amazing plans and fill up on what you think is complete motivation, but find later on that it’s all drained away and your plans are collecting dust in the corner?

I can answer yes to all of the above…I have so many dreams and hopes that I probably can’t list them all anymore! Some are more practical and straight forward than others, but they’re still dreams nonetheless. At first, I kept getting overwhelmed by the sheer number of my dreams – no joke, I told myself to stop living in a fantasy world! Then I felt like I should only dream dreams that are somewhat achievable…as in, I could actually live that dream if I got to a certain point in my life where it would fit in.

…but then I thought, why? Why do I have to wait to get to a certain point in my journey to live out a dream or a see a desire realised or a hope fulfilled? God has given me these desires and dreams and hopes for a reason – and He completely knows them! My journey is filled with twists and turns and leaps and bounds and highs and lows – and God is guiding me through each, allowing me to feel the things I feel. But if I sit back, coast along and just get by with the bare minimum I will never see these dreams come to any kind of realisation.

Nothing worth having comes easy

Your hopes, desires and dreams are so worth having, pursuing and fighting for because they are important to God, but you and I – we need to do our part.

The more I think on this, the more my motivation to see my dreams come to reality rises…I need to put in the hard yards because it will be so worth it!