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this is water is a brilliant and challenging speech by david foster wallace about the power of choice and perception.
“The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the "rat race" – the constant gnawing sense of having had and lost some infinite thing.”
here i am.
in my space.
in my world.
listening to my husband teach math with lego blocks with my daughter.
listening to my son commentate a rugby game in the hallway.
in a moment of quiet creativity amidst the busyness that here is.
homework is completed.
i am surrounded by those i love and that love me.
and most importantly, i am loved by God.
who has placed me
before i was born my here was before Him,
He knew me, loved me.
He called me wonderfully created, beautiful to Him.
At the cross, He rescued me, saved me, brought me peace.
my life is found here,
in this place,
with these people,
and my God.
today is an auspicious day.
today i turn 20.
it was 20 years ago today that i stood and went up the front at an easter camp, in a shearing shed, and said YES to Jesus.
it was 20 years ago today that i became a christian.
i grew up in what could be called a semi religious home. my mum took us to the catholic church. i made my first communion and confirmation. my dad stayed at home and cooked amazing roast lunches. i DID really want to know God though and there are several experiences that i know have shaped my faith, expression and relationship with God from childhood but church was boring and irrelevant.
In early teens though i decided that God must not be real, as He didn’t seem to be “there” – so I figured I would live my life without the “hassle” of thinking about Him and “His laws” (very catholic way of thinking) and so did that. i chose to live my own life my own way.
Our family moved quite a bit and when I was 15 we moved from Gore (the 5th place i’d lived already)… where I went from a 300 student co-ed school to Blenheim, where I had to go to a 1000+ all girls school! Talk about freak out! It was major culture shock! one of my new friends then casually asked me during classics class if i would like to go to youth group with her. I went along with her one night for one reason and one reason only. There were boys there! Great reason for going to youth group eh lol!
Anyway on that first night someone PRAYED and I KNEW God was REAL and I knew I wanted to know Him. i had seen people pray my whole life when i went to church with mum – and this was like it was real, and that he was really talking to a real God, that i could know, not far away, but near and personal, and not grumpy and angry, but loving and filled with grace.
i didnt really know what being a christian was and if it was diferent from what i had seen on a sunday growing up, but i felt there must be something more.
I waited until I went to their Easter Camp (about 3 weeks later) and there, not knowing what a Christian was or did, what the expectation was, what my life would be like… anything… yet I became one… I went up the front and responded to God, and encountered Him radically. By that i knew something was different – that i had given my life to God and became His child. sounds like a Christian cliché eh, but very real. i felt clean and new and forgiven. life had purpose and meaning. it was the start of an adventure.
so i went along to easter camp and i think for the first time heard clearly about who Jesus is and why he died on the cross and that you could have peace with God, peace on the inside.
i went forward when they asked if anyone would like to give their lives to God and had what can only be called a supernatural experience. i felt God. i felt a warmth and a heat that couldnt be explained by the room i was in. i felt happy and peace. i felt loved. i knew that i had crossed a line, that 10 minutes before i was not a christian but then all of a sudden i was.
it was more than going to church but about having a connection with God. a connection i have all the time. and that it was more than rules and being a nice person. i pray and spend time with God, in my real life day. i believe He speaks and guides us, supports us, encourages us.
there was a song that played during the camp that really spoke to my heart.
Don’t you know that i formed you, before you were born i knew you, don’t you know that my plans for you are good.
look and see I’ve engraved on the palm of my hand, look and see I’ve engraved you on my hands
Did you know that your name is tattooed on the palm of God’s hands?
Did you know that?
My name is engraved on the palm of the hand of God.
It is for sure engraved on the palms of Jesus’ hands – great big gaping nail hole wounds.
It was all because of love that Jesus died. It was all because of love that God sent Jesus to live and to die on the cross as the sacrifice that pays for our sins.
The Bible is a book all about God’s love for you and for all people. This love was revealed when Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into the world as a human being, lived a sinless life, died on the cross, and rose from the dead. Because Jesus died, your sins can be forgiven, and because He conquered death you can have eternal life. You can know for sure what will become of you after you die.
You have probably heard the story of God’s love referred to as the “Gospel.” The word Gospel simply means “Good News.” The Gospel is the Good News that, because of what Christ has done, we can be forgiven and can live forever.
The Bible puts it this way… Colossians 1:20-22 And God was pleased for Jesus to make peace by sacrificing his blood on the cross, so that everyone would be brought back to God. You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things. But his Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in his presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent.
20 years ago i discovered that God really is real.
and i discovered His love is amazing, everlasting, unchanging.
i discovered freedom, peace, hope.
i was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now i see.
today: i had no light therapy because i got burned at wednesday’s session. so feeling a bit sore and fragile.
want to be: healed. whole. strong. faith filled. faithful.
blessings: my lovely Leading and Loving it community group meets today online. these woman fill my heart and spirit with joy and strength. and today i am leading it! scary/exciting. our usual wonderful leader liz has had something pop up, so she asked me to host ) fingers crossed aka praying the technology side goes well! i do so love these women and what God is doing!
thinking: about growth, change, transformation.
planning: a holiday!
writing: my message on jonah for 14th April Sunday AM, and a housegroup message on leadership
listening to: just discovered WORSHIP CENTRAL so being spotifying them a bit… loving GUNGOR… loving KIM WALKER SMITH… loving WILL REAGAN…
reading: unglued by lysa terkeurst
loving: my children. my son turned 11 this week and is off to a super 14 rugby match tonight at eden park and my daughter got 3rd place in the school talent show last night dancing with some friends. they fill my heart.
grateful: for grace, both human and divine
inspired by finding joy
Some people know that life is short, and they make their time count. Gladys Aylward, for example. ‘Gladys who?’ People thought the same about a hundred years ago. Gladys was an ordinary working girl in London, doing nothing particularly glamorous apart from saving her wages. Eventually she saved enough to boat over to China, where she founded her own inn. She took in orphans and risked her life to intervene in prison riots. In 1938, Japanese forces invaded, and dear old Gladys led 94 orphans across mountains to safety, despite being wounded herself. In the last 20 years of her life, she founded an orphanage in Taiwan, dedicating her last days on this earth to helping the poor and needy. Her life story was so inspirational that Hollywood made a film about her.
Talk about making your life count! Gladys understood what the psalmist meant when he spoke about life being brief. But it wasn’t any big, grand, flashy life she embraced. It was quiet, unnoticed dedication and intentional care for others. Shane Claiborne said, "Get ready, God is preparing you for something really, really small…" And we need to realise that making our lives count doesn’t necessarily mean making ourselves a big deal. In fact, if we make our lives count Jesus’ way, it means the exact opposite.
Many lessons will be taught to you before they’re profitably taught through you.
well farewell 2012! its the last day of the year today!
you were challenging, joyous, different, filled with the unexpected and filled with blessing.
at the end of last year (2011) the one word i used to describe 2011 was CHANGE. or TRANSFORMATION.
2011 was the year was also totally characterised by tony’s dads ill health and many hospital visits, incl one from april till august, subsequent heart problems and then going in to say goodbye to him december 5th and his passing into glory early december 6th. 2011 will always be his year and a year that changed our family greatly.
so we entered 2012 tired and emotionally depleted and wondering what the year would look like. most of our focus of 2011 was on tony’s dad and family and we had a different normal that involved a lot of hospital visits and weekend time as caregivers and his death at the end of the year.
i entered into 2012 with little expectations. it was almost survival mode, but not quite. i was breathing.
apart from the usual expectations.
God would move greatly.
we would serve God.
hear His voice.
build His kingdom.
again lots of changes happened in 2012. again.
i was constantly physically exhausted and couldnt put my finger on any reason so went to the dr and after a barrage of tests and possibilities we found out i’m allergic to wheat. sounds simple – better than some of the alternatives, but not as simple as it sounds. i’ve been gluten free for 9 months now. it began a process of seeing specialists (immunolgy, dietian, dermatology) and having lots of blood tests and doing various exclusion diets. next year i’ll have some chemical patch testing and have phototherapy and see a sleep specialist, on top of my usual other specialists. i’ve had blood sent to a university in australia and am awaiting on some special molecular results to do with allergies. on the other end of the year i feel more energetic and more alive. but its still a work in process. the process has very much defined my year. it defined what i could eat, what i could do socially, how my body feels, how much money i spend. it’s being an adventure in the kitchen as i’ve had to relearn how to cook and bake. even the simple sandwich isn’t so simple anymore. the reactions i’ve had to food have been more extreme and severe, i’ve felt the lows, and i’ve felt more normal at other times. normal wasn’t something perhaps i felt in the years leading up to this year.
on the ministry front our housegroup has grown and we’ve loved every minute of it. we love the new people God has brought into our lives and the priv it is to walk with them. next year the catchment of people eligible for our group has expanded so much with school leavers that we’ve had to create a school leavers age group housegroup and send some of our current people into another group. growth and squishiness is a good problem to have!
i’ve loved the opportunties to speak at church, both at our women’s conference and the 10am and 7pm services. i feel most alive up the front and feel i’m living the dream.
so i’m not sure there is a defining word for 2012. GROWTH perhaps.
i have grown personally, spiritually, characterally, physically.
this year as 2012 closes i am filled with expectation for 2013.
i am filled with excitement and the tangible feeling of possibility.
again we will serve God, love people, take opportunities, hear His voice, draw closer, know Him and make Him known.
He is faithful, always.
worthy of all glory and honour.
some other random happenings and highlights/lowlights:
family holiday to blenheim, matt chandler philippians series @ housegroup, new childrens church pastor, His Presence church conference (yay!), book buying, the kirby, the weekender, len buttner, ballet, school rugby, school camp, ann’s 70th birthday celebration, cross contamination, blood tests, botany community day outreach, street healing outreaches, praying for people in waiting rooms, housegroup 80’s night, the vow girls night, justone leading and loving it online conference, leading and loving it community group, ballet performances at school galas, field trips, norovirus, 10kg, civilisation…
Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield-bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. He looked David over and saw that he was only a boy, ruddy and handsome, and he despised him. He said to David, Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 1 Sam 17:41
David said to the Philistine, You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands. As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly towards the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground. So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him. 1 Sam 17:45 – 50
Good thing that David had unshakable faith and wasn’t influenced by the words an opinions of others. Just as he had fought a bear and a lion he had overcome the words ment to shame and scorn him by his brothers so the insults of Goliath didn’t affect his faith or self confidence, his God confidence.
David defeated the giant. But first before he even picked up those stones he defeated doubt and fear in his own life. He had an attitude of faith and confidence in God. He had resolved issues and learned lessons on the way to this epic battle that equipped him. And He took God at His Word. The battle was Gods. Naturally there was no logical reason why a 16 year old kid armed with a stone and a sling should defeat a fully grown fully armed freak of nature. But with God ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.
Remember, fear and doubt arent conquered by confidence in our own giftings or abilities – but the reality is that doubt is conquered when we know the greatness and power and almightiness of God!
You can be a giant killer.
You can be a nation deliverer.
You can be anything and everything that God has called you to be.
Today you can have an extraordinary life and be used by God to make a difference, to change the world.
But it will come down to your attitude and openness for God to work in and through you.
Remember the twelve Israelite spies. Ten doubted. Two had faith. The ten that doubted caused a millions to die in the wilderness. The two that had faith split the Jordan river and walked on dry land into The Promised Land and victory. Attitude. Choosing to believe God.
Today you have a choice.
Will you listen to the voices of “your brothers” – people who put your down and want to make you doubt? Will you listen to your own voice of doubt?
Or will you make a decision to have faith and trust God and overcome doubts? Will you be determined to have a mind shift from fear to faith? Will you defeat the lions and bears in your life? Will you feed your faith?
last week it was my son’s last game of rugby with the school team for the season, and a home game. they all played brilliantly and have so grown since the start of the season (where for some of them the goal was to TOUCH the ball once in a game!) and though they didnt win they were valiant and determined! also a bonus was that my husband had the day off work in preparation for our church conference and so got to come along for the first time! my son is #4 and the hooker in the scrum, very exciting (though hoping he becomes more of a half back or wing and avoids cauliflower ears!)
and as always. i love Jesus with all i am and all my heart and all my soul and all my days. For His glory and the building of His kingdom and the rescue of the lost.
so what are you totally loving this week?
… check out what other peeps are loving whatever day of the week it is over at MNM’s BLOG
last night i was inspired (driven to madness) while watching masterchef australia to look up gluten free flatbread. bread is something i so miss being gluten free. the ability to have a burger of some shape. simple things like that.
a woman on it had a failure with her loaf and the masterchef chef taught her how to make flat bread in 5 minutes flat. i reckoned if she could, i could. yes with GF flour. so i googled. and came across this: A LIFE IN FOOD FLATBREAD
today me and the kids made flatbread. and ate it. because it was simple and yummy. it made my heart happy! yay for a great adventure in food!
click on the link above to get the recipe!