faith · life

Decision anxiety – leaving it to faith

I’ve been itching to write a post this last week, being I felt well overdue, and yet until last night I had no inspiration to use my spare time on this endeavor.

Finally I wanted to write, but no real topic came to mind….I found the start of this in my lengthy drafts vault….

 

As previously mentioned, I quit my job (2018) and it’s a little bit scary. I’m scared about having made the right decision, a Godly decision. Thankfully even amidst my fear I have peace that it is the right decision at this time, I just don’t know what the future holds, of course we never do. For the past 7+ years though I knew I had work as an occupational therapist. I don’t know if I’ll ever work as an OT again. I don’t know if I’ll ever work in a paid position again!

The last two days I’ve had ample free time and it’s felt weird, quiet, empty – scary!

Yesterday I asked God to let me know if I had made the wrong decision, I’m running out of time to change my mind. He answered my prayer.

Today I read a blog from The Godly Chic Diaries which shared ‘Life requires a total surrender, a flying leap of faith. Sometimes the tighter we hold onto life, the louder the message from the universe is. FAITH! It will all turn out as it should be, even if it doesn’t seem that way at all in the moment. Every experience is an opportunity to practice letting go and of grasping onto life as we believe it should be, and free-falling with acceptance into the life we have.’

Also ‘We’re human, we’re not meant to be perfect. It’s your journey. Own it. Bloom where God planted you. Be your most authentic self, all in. Honor yourself and make choices not because someone or society expected it of you, because they are right for you and consistent with your beliefs.’ ….

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Wow. I can use these same encouragements now! I’m still not in a paid working position and I’m very much considering letting my occupational therapy registration lapse but there are many new adventures in my life.

I finished a Masters in counseling and am supported by a local church to offer services locally.

I’m volunteering in the mental health space in my area, my biggest passion, including being available to help kick start a new exciting collaborative co-design process. I confess it’s keeping me busier than expected, that on top of trying to deal with a mouse plague in the house! Oh and scary primary school attitudes….I swear my parenting role is based entirely around managing snacks and screen-time – I have serious work to do to adjust this pattern in my home.

On top of this I’ve been trying to prayerfully considering a position of more responsibility at my children’s school. It’s been hard to read the signs, to trust my intuition but as above FAITH will be my best guide. I’m finding this easiest when I start my day with prayer and Bible reading. Again not an activity I always find myself inspired to spend my time on even though the rewards are obvious.

 

So here I guess is an update on my life. Daily decisions to be made and daily trying my best to let it go and trust God. Now off for church and footy. I wonder what decisions you are making today?

 

 

Books · life

Thankful for…

As is tradition (or so it sometimes feels) I’ll start my post my saying it’s been a rough couple of weeks with grief, depression, end of year busy-ness/slow-ness taking it’s toll. Each day ends with a significant sense of survival, I made it through another day. In between there have been small moments of wonder, joy, connection and….thankfulness

  • I’m thankful for good books

A Lifetime of Impossible Days by Tabitha Bird – a powerful read, with a gum-boot wearing Granny, a daring big sister and a big dose of trauma.

The Calling Of Emily Evans by Janette Oke – a re-read as I think about division in my church around women pastors. Janette Oke has written many sweet christian-romances and they are great go to, easy books – this one looking at the role of a deaconess

Up Out of Egypt by Helen Marsh – one of those books that sit on your shelves for sometime before appearing again at just the right time, a very personal autobiography.

Streiker 1 & 2 by Robin Hardy – I’d love to do a more in-depth review of these books, an analogy of Christ and his church with many poignant metaphors.

And tonight a truly Australian read Taking Tom Murray Home by Tim Slee – another great story told from the perspective of a young boy with a timely rural message. (Plese check out https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/13822335/posts/12677 for a great review)

  • I’m thankful for good tv shows

A Million Little things and I started The Handmaid’s Tale Saturday and have already binged my way a fair way through.

Along with the last book above though I wonder about their messages and the take-home points…

  • my children and the deep  love that connects me to them
  • Christmas shopping with my husband
  • meaningful distractions
  • puzzles
  • no judgement from others just myself
  • limited pressures
  • being trusted to listen to others stories
  • health and security
  • God
Books · faith · reviews

Six Degrees of Separation from Three Women to…Redeeming Love

Once again I’m going use this wonderful prompt the Six Degrees of Separation to share some of my recent, let’s call it holiday time, reads. This meme hosted by booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  gets you to take one title, and link through five other titles to see where you end up.

This month we are starting with Three Women by Lisa Taddeo a book i hadn’t heard about prior to the prompt. Goodreads starts with ‘Desire as we’ve never seen it before: a riveting true story about the sex lives of three real American women, based on nearly a decade of reporting.’ My first impression was that it sounded interesting, reviews left me a bit conflicted and I’ve yet to add to my TBR list. I do believe the world needs more frank and honest discussion about sex and this book could possibly be part of that discussion. My chain however takes the topic of sex to it’s evil sister rape in the form of…

Sadie by Courtney Summers. I can’t remember who but one of the bloggers I read has been raving about this book all year and it certainly lived up to its hype for me. From the blurb… “Alternating between Sadie’s unflinching voice as she hunts the [her sisters] killer and the podcast transcripts tracking the clues she’s left behind, Sadie is a breathless thriller.” The story covers Sadie and her sisters childhood in a remote town, with their drug-addicted mother and one (over?) caring neighbour….Sadie is a story about childhood trauma which has been a common theme in my recent reads…

Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton also had the commonality of drugs with two boy lives swiftly changed when their step-fathers drug boss comes to visit. Again from goodreads

‘A novel of love, crime, magic, fate and coming of age, set in Brisbane’s violent working class suburban fringe – A lost father, a mute brother, a mum in jail, a heroin dealer for a stepfather and a notorious crim for a babysitter. It’s not as if Eli’s life isn’t complicated enough already. He’s just trying to follow his heart, learning what it takes to be a good man, but life just keeps throwing obstacles in the way – not least of which is Tytus Broz, legendary Brisbane drug dealer…A story of brotherhood, true love and the most unlikely of friendships.’

The two books above also included mutism and stuttering, which along with childhood trauma link in with the title of my next chain The Words that Fly Between Us by Sarah Carroll. The blurb read, ” From the outside, it looks like Lucy has the perfect life. She has everything. Everything that money can buy. But money can’t buy Lucy the words she needs to stand up to her bully of a father, the words to escape her suffocating family life, the words to become the person she wants to be.” Again I really enjoyed this book  (perhaps a bit lighter than the two above) including it’s interspersing of texts and blogs.

The book I just finished also covered childhood trauma but unlike the three above written primarily from the perspective of the young adults, this book,  the latest release from my all-time favourite author, The Masterpiece by Francine Riverscovered the effects of trauma on the two main characters lives in adulthood. This ultimate romance, although predictable in it’s ending had so much depth in the journey, I was not disappointed. We are all God’s masterpieces and this book was full of christian grace and wisdom.

It seems fitting for me to end on another Francine Rivers book her classic, my favourite Redeeming Love which like the first book in this chain covers sex with a prostititute for the main character, along with sadly childhood trauma (all these books cover this real and ever present issue in our society well, but I confess it does seem somewhat wrong to follow this as a theme) and the all-important and powerful Redeeming Love of God.

Happy Reading All 🙂

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faith · social issues

On Euthanasia…

What a heavy topic to return to blogging on, hey?

Just quickly I would like to say thank you to my followers. I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus as I finish my study (just 30 hours of placement to go!) but this blog is nonetheless always there for me when I’ve got something I feel I need/want to share with the world. It doesn’t matter if those draft thoughts never leave my head, knowing I have this space and even better people who are interested, is a wonderful blessing.

But back to this topic, yep, I’m going there….Euthanasia.

It came up at bookclub last night, as the last dregs lingered on around the table discussing work, life, financial planning and end of life.

The state of Victoria recently passed assisted dying laws which came into effect this month. I do not support these laws and pray other states do not follow suit – why? Quite simply because I am a christian. Is that a good enough reason to support protests against these laws for other people, mostly non-christian? That is a very good question.

I believe God is in ultimate control of our lives, and despite a fallen world with pain and injustice, I believe God is good. Despite daily questioning of His will and ways I trust Him and am content (relatively!) to leave my life and death in His hands. This choice became very clear to me when I was presented with the option (opportunity?) to terminate my second pregnancy. Whilst the medical reality for my child was very scary, abortion was never really an option – life is a gift. A gift I believe God chooses the time for giving and taking away. A gift I am more than happy to put into His capable hands, placing my trust in Him.

At this time in my life it also became really clear to me why people might choose differently to me. Without faith in God, given the option of a life of likely pain and challenges for your child versus regulated safe termination (death), I can see how it could be  a decision of love rather than perhaps convenience.

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So when at the other end of life and someone is facing certain death, via painful disease or illness, yes the loving choice could be termination. I still choose however to believe and trust in God. I don’t understand why he allows people to linger in pain but I do believe He is all-loving and all-knowing and I do believe there can be continued purpose and meaning in life.

I have not experienced constant pain and I have no idea what it’s like, so it can easily be asked, what right do I have to say how a non-christian chooses to end their life?

I’m not sure I can justify my beliefs….I DO wish for all people to come to know God as I do and to trust in Him….but I also acknowledge free-will. So I guess I don’t think that my choice is anymore valid than yours but I do believe I have the right to express it and continue to make decisions based on my faith, even if they affect others with different beliefs.

I have experienced the death of two grandmothers from bowel cancer. Both had lived long and blessed lives. My Dad shares what a privilege it was to be sitting nearby as his Mum took her last breaths. My mother cared for her Mum at her home until her death, which she too experienced as a great honour and privilege. It was interesting to hear an uncles perspective, who also helping with care saw it as cruelty for his Mum. I’m sure my Mum didn’t find it pleasant and wished for the suffering to end but I believe she also believed the care was dignified and an appropriate way to die.

I guess I wonder why we assume death should be painless? I think many are afraid of death and wish for it to be as uncomplicated as possible….I don’t think that’s realistic, as with all of life, the real picture often isn’t pretty but nonetheless invaluable.

I’m wondering now how to end this…..I feel I’m done.

Would love for any thoughts, alternative views, questions to be shared

GJ

family

My Family Haven

Doing an 8 hour drive while grumpy with your man, and two beautiful but oh so annoying children in tow, truly is not a recipe for success. But we are home, the kids are in bed, husband has disappeared and I get peace and quiet to reflect on the whole mess.

It follows what has actually been three of the most lovely days of my life. My super fantabulous older sister decided to celebrate a milestone birthday with her parents, siblings, outlaws, nieces and nephews altogether at a secluded Lutheran beach side camp. We had an amazing time making life-long memories. Between us we have 9 children 8 and under, who were spread over two of the dorms with grandparents and their aunt keeping watch and us parents (mostly) getting a room to ourselves. There were cuddles, games, tantrums, even a teeny bit of sharing. We had early mornings keeping early risers quiet and fed, and late nights competing with each other at cards. I absolutely adore my family. To go to bed each night after looking in on all those gorgeous kids was true bliss. There were beach walks, freezing cold swims (crazy kids not me!), horse carriage rides, table tennis competitions and LOTS of yummy food. I want to go back and do it all again.

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Back however to the troubling return home. I guess I’m just sick of farm life getting in the way of family time. And I’m sick of my husband not seeming to care.

He must  be acknowledged though for driving us there and back, helping with the cooking, interacting and I even saw him doing dishes.

I guess I haven’t been very understanding either…

So home again we are, back to the mess, back to ABC 2, back to real life which when it boils down, ain’t too bad either.

Praying that I keep all things in perspective, that hubby and I communicate and show care to each other, thanking God for the overwhelming blessing of wonderful family and praying that I can show His love to my family and the world around me.

Holiday isn’t completely over – off now to finish my vacation reading 🙂

 

political · relationships · social issues · Uncategorized

Opinion post: Legalising Same-Sex Marriage in Australia

Haiku for the religiously observant via On the sabbath — poemsinseason

Freed by Jesus’ words,
standing upright, rejoicing;
giving praise to God.

Religious leaders
speak to defend the sabbath
from such outrages.

Six days for working!
The seventh’s not for healing;
come another day!

Get real, says Jesus.
Common sense and compassion
must rule ev’ry day.

Living is empty
if love no longer shapes us;
Embrace its freedom.

 

Is our faith empty if we are not ruled by compassion, by love? Or is our faith empty if we pretend that everything is ok, sin is not really that bad, love (not forgiveness) is all you need?

 

From a Human’s of New York post

“I call them clobber verses. There are six of them. They’re the verses that get used to hammer gay people… I had tried so hard but nothing worked [therapy, straight marriage etc. etc.]. I got so angry with God for not keeping up his end of the bargain. But after some time, I finally realized why he wouldn’t change me. He never felt like he needed to.”

Let me just talk about me for a minute – what I find so difficult to understand is why I should get so blessed to not be plagued with such a sin as same-sex attraction, not having to live with it makes it incredibly easy to get on my high horse and when I read of people such as above who try so hard to fight this sin it seems so unfair. How do I resolve that?

 

From my understanding of the Bible I do believe that homosexuality is a sin, just as when I lie or say or think mean thoughts, it is not the way God intended the world to be. But there is sin in this imperfect world and we need to find a way to live with it. Through resurrection and grace of my saviour Jesus Christ I live with it in constant forgiveness and a promise of eternal life. In gratitude I try my best to lead a ‘good’ life, attempting (and constantly failing but forgiven) to avoid temptation.

I do not believe same-sex marriage should be legalised as to me it promotes temptation. I do not fight same-sex marriage for this reason though. I’ve come to a belief that just because I as a christian hold to certain beliefs does not mean I can force society to live according to those beliefs, I can simply promote them (and also use my political vote to do this).

Now for me it comes down to semantics, which sounds a horrible reason and yet…. Marriage by definition is the union of a man and woman therefore same-sex relationships are different. Many argue that it’s all love and the difference is unimportant (see a previous post I’ve written on love for an opinion on that topic) but I believe if merely from a biological point of view it IS different. Because I believe they are different does not mean I believe one is better than the other.I consider it a issue around equality and equity

Equality doesn't mean Equity

Psalm 98 v9 He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with equity

(an aside  -read this recently as with above haiku parable it doesn’t quite fit but does show the Bible talking about equity.)

I don’t think society needs to be quite so concerned with equality (at least in this example) as with equity so straight marriage is different from LGBT marriage however we can ensure there is equity between the two.

 

 

(I actually prefer this image from here as it shows not only different heights but different people with different and equally valuable personalities)

 

 

I strongly support civil unions and for same-sex couples to have the same rights as current married couples ( I do not argue on the basis of the needs of children as there is already so much sin and despair in family relationships across Australia I don’t think straight couples can claim any moral high ground in that area – although I do believe children should ideally have a mother and father there are no guarantees in our society such a family unit is any better than any other). I have long meant to look into whether same-sex couples who are recognised in civil unions receive the same rights as married couples in Australia, please inform me if they don’t as I would certainly work to rectify that.

 

Thus ends my first hopefully regular ‘issue’ post, next – netball in small communities.

I imagine they may be many who disagree with me, I hope I have been respectful and would love to hear any responses.

 

 

 

faith · life · relationships · Uncategorized

Beyond the Best of Times

Of course after my last post things wouldn’t just stay the same. It’s been two weeks of struggle town, although mostly just a few off days with the fear that this could be the beginning of the slide d…

down.

This poem by Moira Neagle a fellow country South Australian really struck me (via Beyond the Best of Times — Moira Neagle’s Word Addiction)

 

There are times

when you are running with hounds

Each day presents its own delights,

the air is warm,

the grass whispers

as you leap frog ahead,

friends bound with you

the sky is deepest blue

 

(My life before the past two weeks!)

 

Your run is halted

A wall, fence, barrier

stops your energetic flow,

the spring in your step

 

(A bad day and the fear of more to come)

 

Time must be taken

to pause

to trot along the extent

to consider options

to look for the narrowest

of possible openings

 

(I had to try hard to stop the fear, let go of the day that was, forgive it and find the best possible opening for moving on)

 

Beyond is beckoning,

the view enticing,

the opening impossibly constricted

 

(I knew I would jinx myself, in stating my joy sure enough the feeling started to squeeze away)

 

The light,

the breeze

the fragrances

fade

in the face

limitation

 

Limitation struck me this week, I got tired, grumpy and emotional. I was hurt, I was stuck – I gave up some of my pleasures knowing I was close to falling asleep at the wheel. Yesterday I was particularly tearful, angry with my husband. Last night I told him, I explained and he apologised.

This morning my ‘acts of service’ man got up, kept the children away so I could sleep in and even got them dressed. The best of times may be fleeting but God keeps sprinkling amazing moments throughout my days. I pray that He continues to give me the resilience to step back and see them.