Category Archives: Freedom

Summer and the Microphone

This morning was rather eventful at church.

I had been in two minds whether to go. I was rostered on to sing in the band, but my energy had taken a dive this week and I was too exhausted to get there at 8am for rehearsal and wasn’t even sure whether I would have the energy for the whole church service. I was really bummed. I REALLY love singing. Kris was at Bunnings for a fundraiser BBQ with Josiah. And so the backup plan was to send our carer with Kiara, Sarah and Micah, and I would stay home with Summer. But I HATE missing church. If I couldn’t be there to sing, at least I would be there to WORSHIP. So the plan moved to coming for the first half hour, then leaving.

It got better. One of the young adults was asked to help in the special needs room with Summer and Sarah, to help our carer. So I didn’t have to leave early after all. She did a brilliant job. But as often happens, Summer decided she was ready to leave, before anyone else was ready for her to leave. It was 11:30am, after being in the room 90 minutes, so she did pretty well. But when Summer wants to leave, woe to whoever wants to stop her! The carer rapidly sent me a text to warn me. I didn’t see it until later, as we were all standing for the final song and altar call.

As I was worshipping with my eyes shut, I heard a familiar sound from far away, ‘mummy’. I’m well trained to respond quickly, and I must admit, with panic. What was happening? Where was she? Uh-oh. After a quick scan, I discovered her at the front grabbing the shoulder of a guy who was being prayed for. I think she thought it was Kris, as he is a similar size and similar hair. I was quickly out of my seat charging to the front, whilst simultaneously chiding myself for not being more discreet.

By this point Summer had moved on, wandered across on the floor in front of the stage, unsure where to go. I caught her attention and thought that would be it. Mummy found!

But no! Microphone found!

She spotted it on the front row, where the preacher had left it, in order to pray for those at the front. With speed, and before I could do anything, she moved to the microphone and with glee picked it up. Horror and humour set in. My face doesn’t hide emotion very well. I could only imagine the entertainment my demeanour would have given anyone looking on. I need discretion practice.

Summer wandered back to the middle of the front area with the microphone, holding it up to her mouth, then checking it, holding it back to her mouth. Then she studied it carefully looking for the switch. Uh-oh. I was in a bind. What do I do? Knowing what was coming next, I looked back at the sound guys. I don’t think they knew. I wanted to run back there and urge them to turn the sound off, but that would waste precious time and they might not know which microphone to switch off. I could only hope someone else would take the baton and do the right thing.

My brother Matthew to the rescue. Standing in the aisle, with purpose, I saw his position and gave him the cut throat sign. He headed straight to the back. In the meantime Summer had found the magic switch. Uh-oh. Did it have to happen right now? While everyone was praying? In such a holy and focused moment?

The switch was on. And she was live. I lunged and grabbed for the microphone. It was a dumb move. It was never going to end well. Of course she resisted and screamed loudly, right next to some poor soul being prayed for. I quickly let go and backed off to give her space. Thankfully the sound guys had done their thing and she was muted, after only 1 second of sound. She focused on checking that switch again.

I shuffled back to the front seat and smiled helplessly and knowingly at Darryl, who knew all to well. He and his family had spent many weekends hosting Summer at their house to give us a break. If anyone knew, he did.

I forgot myself and starting worshipping. It’s my default. I can’t help it. The music’s going. I can’t help it. Then I remembered myself and opened my eyes to check on Summer. The meeting leader, Chris was attempting to do the right thing and get that microphone back. Summer gave a snap, ‘No’ and then snapped back to her worship zone.

What can I say? This crazy mix. Summer defiant one moment, worshipping the next. Defiant. Worshipping. Defiant. Worshipping.

It kind of sums up what it’s like living with Summer.

Kris heard all about it. Four of the guys from church turned up at Bunnings. Kris was sharing with me later. He was crying. He was so touched at the love these guys had for Summer. Their pride in her. Their lack of embarrassment. I shared about the women’s response. Their humour, their love, their support. We both cried. We have a great church.

Summer took about 25 minutes to give the microphone back.

It talked to Niall, the sound guy. We have a plan. I’m buying Summer her own microphone. I’ll keep it in my handbag for next time. Hopefully for an easier switch. The photo, is the one I’ve ordered for her 🙂

Hero or Fool?

I keep thinking about the story of Chau, the 26 year old Christian missionary who visited the Sentinelese people in mid-November, in the hope of converting them, and was killed with arrows on his third visit.

There’s been much criticism of Chau, which I can understand – that he shouldn’t have gone there (it was illegal), he shouldn’t taint an ancient civilization with other religious ideas, he shouldn’t expose them to possible germs that could kill them and he shouldn’t have put the fishermen who transported him at risk (they have now been arrested). And that he was a fool (or crazy) for putting himself in danger which got him killed.

On the other hand some Christians would see him as a martyr. He died for his faith.

I can understand all those points of view.

What is sticking in my gut with this story, though, is the response of some Christians. The response being that Chau was misguided, that he went too far, that he lacked wisdom, or that he had mental health issues. I can understand that response from a non-believer. But it agitates me that a believer would think this. It makes my spirit cry out that maybe they don’t know the Bible. Maybe they don’t know how valuable Jesus is. And that he is worth even dying for.

I think of these passages from the Bible…

Matthew 16:24-25…  Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

Acts 21:13… Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”

There’s heaps more Scriptures on that theme of persecution/death for your faith. Plus heaps of examples of disciples breaking the law by preaching the gospel. And then ending up in prison, because what they did was illegal. And most of them got killed in the end.

This was normal in the Bible. And they were willing to pay that price, because they knew the value of the gospel. It’s worth more than anything, as it is the doorway to reconciliation with our Creator. Our response to which determines our eternal destination. From this perspective, sharing the gospel is even worth more than maintaining the status quo of an ancient untouched civilization. After all, eternity counts for more than our short time here on earth.

So my spirit burns inside. Burns to see saints that will follow Jesus whatever the cost.

When I go to heaven I want to meet Chau and shake his hand. And thank him for his sacrifice that reminds us all what following Jesus is really about.

Some quotes from Chau’s journal…

“Lord yet you will be close. If you want me to get actually shot or even killed with an arrow, then so be it.

“You guys might think I’m crazy in all this but I think it’s worth it to declare Jesus to these people.”

Four Glimpses of Possible

God gives me glimpses of things. Of what is possible. Of what it would feel like to be transformed by him in some specific way…

  1. How it feels to have absolute peace in my gut and how this dissolves stress in those around me
  2. How it feels to react with powerful love instead of anxiety in stressful situations
  3. How it feels to have an absence of pride
  4. How it feels to have body and mind vitality, through eating the right diet for me

These glimpses have been momentary, but profound. Tastes of what is possible. So now I’m wrecked for anything less. How can you be satisfied with the ordinary when you’ve experienced freedom in a certain area?

I’ve heard countless sermons about having peace, of having love, of having humility and of eating right. But nothing has motivated me like the experience of feeling the momentary freedom of what it is actually like to live in this zone. Honestly it became real, incredible, beyond my ordinary dreams of what is possible. They say Jesus is the best. Haha he actually is. And way better than you think.

So what do the ravings of this Jesus loony amount to? How did the glimpses happen? What did they feel like? OK one at a time…

  1. Peace in my gut

With five kids, two with special needs, the stress was extreme and had impacted my body to breakdown point. I lost my energy, like someone pulled the plug. My husband stopped work to take care of the kids while I tried to recover. After six weeks he couldn’t cope so we reached out for a DHHS package for carer support. Six months later we were operating with carers in the home 15 hours per week. My husband was back at work. But the stress didn’t disappear. And I was in a weakened state to handle it.

It got to the point, where wise advise from a close family member was to put Summer (our middle daughter with moderate intellectual disability and autism) in a home for 6-12 months so we could recover.

I was desperate. A dear saint urged me to rest in Jesus.

So I determined to try.

I sat in my lounge chair. I was too tired to pray. I just shut my eyes and sank down deep into a posture of rest. But different from normal. I imagined myself resting in Jesus. And then I remember that Jesus has no weights for me, but wants to unburden me. Then I relax deeper, with relief that I didn’t have to strive. Then I start to laugh and cry and laugh and cry. It just kept bubbling out. My friends call it craughing.

I did this on and off for three days. I would feel myself getting filled with feelings of relief, and of spiritual living water going inside my gut. Hard to imagine I know. It wasn’t long periods of time. I would get distracted, then concentrate again and do the inner posture of resting in Jesus. Trying to do this did nothing. It was when I knew Jesus was my rest, that the faith switch went on, and then the craughing would start. So good!!!

After three days, I felt peace in my gut. It felt wonderful. I can’t describe what a relief that feeling was. All I remember is always feeling uptight in my middle. But I couldn’t find any uptight feeling, even though I was looking hard for it. Just peace. And this feeling of living water.

So then the kids came home and I braced myself. No help from carers or hubby that night. How would I cope! Well the kids came in all manic, bubbling over through the door. They came near me and I watched their energy dissolve. They became settled and at peace without me saying a word. I’ll never forget that. I’ve read about that. But I actually experienced it.

That’s what I need every day. God give me that glimpse back. God help me build that as consistent reality.

  1. Love overflowing without any striving

Another day, I’d had a full-on hour managing Summer in the context of a car trip with all five kids, after an outing in the city where Summer refused to go back to the car. Then I got home and the three youngest ones were full-on. I felt the stress and anxiety peaking. This battle started raging inside me. I was at ‘too much’ point. My mind was telling me to go upstairs and hide and tell my husband I’d had enough. But something in my spirit was battling this. I felt it. I stayed put, feeling and watching the inner battle from outside myself. My inner spirit was wanting to overcome. It was wanting to rise above the status quo of stress overload. This almighty groan emerged from deep within me, shocking me and my kids. And I burst forward to the kids with arms outstretched and blurted out ‘I love you Summer’. And then I poured love out all over the three kids. I felt filled with immense joy and love. I was overflowing, without stress or anxiety. The situation was transformed. I was transformed. I didn’t have to rest and recuperate from stress. I was energised and inspired.

I need and want this all the time. The status quo is so ordinary. This was extraordinary.

  1. Absence of pride

When living in Sydney I had this moment. Totally unplanned. I felt the absence of pride. I know that sounds weird. But it was very distinct. I had an immense clarity of mind and uncluttered panoramic vision. I could see far and wide in my spirit, without cloudedness or confusion. I realised in this moment that this was the space I needed to live in, in order to make wise decisions in ministry and if I ever wanted to lead effectively in any sphere. I willed the clarity to stay. But after maybe 5-10 seconds it left and I went back to my immersion in my own personal level of pride. Which as a continual presence, becomes unnoticed and normal. But now I noticed it. This robber. This thief. This pride! How I despised it and wanted it gone. It clouded my vision. I couldn’t see very far ahead. The difference was immense. Like trying to walk in a fog.

This experience prompted me to pray on three occasions in my life for God to do whatever it would take to get rid of pride. Within a day or week after praying each of these prayers, I subsequently experienced the three most humbling, difficult and painful events/seasons of my life. One day I may share these stories. One of these was the adrenal crash I have referred to. This was the least painful.

Before praying the second time, I experienced the glimpse of the absence of pride again. It was in our ensuite in Dingley Village. In that moment I recalled the glimpse I had experienced years earlier and savoured the moment, wishing it would stay forever. That gave me the courage and motivation to pray the second time for God to get rid of any remaining pride. I wanted to live in that space. I don’t want to live in any other.

I have learned much, but I am still on the path.

  1. Body and mind vitality

God led me on a fast. I hate fasting. I get really grumpy when I don’t eat. And I can’t afford to be a grumpy mum. The demands are strenuous enough without adding that in the mix. So I decided I would fast everything except fruit and vegetables.

After one week, I felt amazing. I guess it was like a de-tox. But I was starving. I did a little complaint to the Holy Spirit about this and I felt him say to add rice. I was happy. For the next two weeks I had rice and fruit and vegetables. I felt full and I felt great. Then in the last week unexpectedly I felt him say to add meat, then a few days later to add eggs, then on the last day to add cheese.

My body felt clean on the inside. It felt refreshed. My mind felt clear and uncluttered. I felt alive in my body.

The day after I finished the fast, I concluded that God never let me eat flour or sugar.

I decided I would like to continue eating like this.

I failed and went back to my old ways. But I never forgot how good I felt and have wanted it ever since.

Last year I gave up flour (mostly) and made it a lifestyle. It’s now normal for me. Then in November I watched ‘That Sugar Film’ and that gave me the impetus to drop sugar. I went cold turkey and I don’t want to go back. I love being sugar free. My emotions are lighter. No depressed feelings. My head is less clouded. No cravings.

Big wins dropping flour and sugar. But I still need to have a higher proportion of vegetables, to experience the reality of the earlier fast where God taught me how to eat. Isn’t he smart. He knows my body better than any doctor. And he knows yours too. We are all different.

So I’m not fully there yet, but I’m on the path. I’m seeing change. I’m building one step at a time. And the glimpse is becoming a reality.

Conclusion

So just recently I had this awesome thought. God has given me glimpses of magnificence spiritual transformations – peace, love and absence of pride. Maybe, just maybe, these also can become my everyday reality, rather than one-off tantalising experiences.

If I follow the logic of the food experience, then it is just a matter of taking small steps every day, in order to build a lifestyle, which then becomes my everyday experience. I can do this!

So I’m starting with the peace in the gut. I’m practicing this every day – 20 minutes X 3. This is doable. I already have 20 X 3 as my normal rest routine, which I have been practicing for years. Now I just add Jesus to the rest in this same routine.

I’m going to win. I’m going to overcome. God has shown me how. And I just have to decide to do it – and I have – and then do the hard yards – and I am.

I’m going to be the peace queen. Not a pride statement here haha. Just a joy statement. Hehehehehehe. The peace queen!

And then wait until I become the love lady.

And then – wow – the absence of pride. I don’t know to walk that journey yet. I’m praying God builds humility more and more. He can do it. He can. He can. He doesn’t give glimpses for nothing.

It’s awesome walking with Jesus. He knows the path. And his path is brilliant and full of surprises that are out of this world. He gives glimpses to keep us going.

What glimpses does he have for you? What is he wanting to build in you? What has he done already?

Love to all

Truth, Lies and Anxiety

question-mark-2I have a theory. Does this resonate with you?

When people lie to us, and we have no evidence that they are lying, we have two different responses from two parts of our being. Our mind listens to what is being said, and finding no evidence to the contrary, agrees with the lie. But our spirit senses the lie at a spiritual level and is grieved. Whether our spiritual awareness is small or great, an incongruence now exists between our mind and spirit. Our spirit and mind are not resonating in unity and this creates discomfort in the emotional realm. Anxiety and mistrust are the result. We don’t understand any of this in our mind, but it happens anyway – the fruit of experiencing an unknown lie.

Think of the spouse who is betrayed by infidelity. They don’t know, but they do know. Anxiety, mistrust and turmoil grows. Or the boss who fires an employee, but gives a soft reason instead of the real reason. The employee’s mind is relieved, but the spirit knows otherwise. Anxiety results.

The solution to this angst is truth.

But for many, this is a problematic solution. Truth is often deemed too painful and therefore must be disguised or hidden. But if my above theory is true, then lies do greater damage in the long run, as they destroy inner peace. The best solution may be speaking the truth (with love, not hate). Truth accepted by the mind creates a united resonance with the spirit, and our emotions are therefore more at peace. And don’t we all want peace!

If this theory is true, then this has important implications for our lives not only as individuals but also as a society. For anxiety is rampant and we need to understand its causes. It begs the question – how much of our anxiety is the fruit of lies? It could be minimal, but I suspect it is enormous. For lies do not just come to us from individual relationships, but they also come from society as a whole. If the philosophy that we build our lives around is simply not true, then how much greater the anxiety and inner turmoil. We are building on sand.

As a deeply personal response, I believe that truth is found only in Jesus Christ. He is my ultimate peace. This is not theoretical for me. This is my experience on a daily basis, to greater and lesser extents, depending on the day. His truth brings me much peace. It slashes misconceptions, which may initially be painful, but also bring enormous relief.

My quest is to keep seeking God’s truth and to challenge every part of my life that does not flow with his life giving Word! “The truth shall set you free” (John 8:32).

The Faith Switch

faith-switch-2In the year 2000, I gave up trying to improve my Christian walk and I asked God to grow me. Since then, his work in my life has blown me away. I’ve learned that God is a brilliant mastermind, and that he can be trusted if I will have faith and patience.

This faith is a journey and I’m learning its power and activation. Here’s what happens to me over and over…

The Process

When I’m struggling with something… worrying… wrestling… wallowing, there’s no freedom. No power. But then suddenly I remember God. Hahaha. And then I KNOW he can deliver me from my turmoil. I KNOW he can turn my situation around. I KNOW he has a way to make the impossible possible (in the immediate and/or long-term). This KNOWING is called faith! It’s like I’ve just turned on a big switch – the power generator goes on and VWOOM… there is LIGHT!

Faith is a special type of knowing. It is supernatural. It is bigger than plain belief and beyond science. And it is not to be confused with hope, positive thinking or emotion. It is powerful.

Faith Is Bigger Than Belief

One can believe all sorts of things – that we evolved, that global warming is a problem, that one’s religion or absence thereof is the most accurate position. But such beliefs are not faith, even if they are religious in nature. Faith has a different switch.

Belief may be formed through education, reason, cultural or family heritage, etc, such as believing in God because of one’s upbringing. But this is not the faith I’m talking about. Faith is an alive explosion of inner knowledge that something is absolutely true, with no doubt whatsoever. Some call it assurance. Mix that with life and fire and we are getting somewhere.

I think if we could see both belief and faith, then belief would be like a smooth cold grey rock, sitting solid and still, and faith would be like a pulsating red hot rock, dangerous and alive.

Faith and Science

People of faith may or may not operate in the realm of scientific empirical evidence and facts. Scientific knowledge is useful and practical, but it has no bearing on faith. Faith is separate and distinct. Faith knows things that science cannot. Faith is an inner spiritual switch that everyone has, but not everyone knows how to operate. Those who have used the switch are more able to use it again. And those who use it frequently become adept at using it across multiple situations. And some amazing people live in this space most of the time.

Faith Is Not Hope

Faith can sometimes be confused with hope. Yes, hope is good. Hope keeps us going. We hope things will get better. We hope God will intervene. But faith is different – it KNOWS! The Bible says that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is not nebulous – it is itself a substance and an evidence. This is why someone who has faith needs nothing else to convince them. Faith trumps any other intellectual argument.  Faith is its own argument.

Positive Thinking and Emotion

Some may think faith can be conjured up through positive thinking. It is the other way around. Faith may inspire positive thinking, but it is not the same thing. The difference is like costume jewellery versus gold and precious stones.

Some may see faith as a strong emotional feeling attached to belief. Again, it is the other way around. Faith may inspire strong feeling, but it is not the same thing. Strong emotion with belief can sing the worship song, “Bless the Lord O my soul, O my soul, Worship His Holy Name” and agree wholeheartedly with great emotion. Faith can sing the same line and each word starts living and breathing on its own. Life and energy flows. It’s like your spirit has woken up and arisen.

Faith is Massively Empowering

Faith can operate in any environment. It is not dependent on life being great and it is not disabled by life being difficult. In actual fact, difficulty can inspire faith to become stronger and more resilient. And in turn it empowers one further in the difficulty.

Faith changes the way everything looks. It reignites hope. And it crushes fear. It enables going forward and it disables paralysis. Everything lights up, not just one’s vision, but one’s whole inner being.

Faith shuts down destructive thoughts. One might have no idea how to handle a problem, but faith says, “I know my God is bigger than this problem and he will show me a way through. Whether today or tomorrow, I know he is faithful and I trust him with the timing and the method.” And then peace comes. And God is moved to action on our behalf.

How Do I Find The Faith Switch?

How do you activate faith? How do you find a switch that you’ve never pressed? I’m here to say that it is more than possible – and it is quite possibly the next chapter of your life.

What I’m about to say might sound simplistic, but it’s actually profound and involves an action which opens a new doorway. Here it is… (drum roll)… You find the switch by listening to God’s word… and somehow at some moment something profoundly ignites. The Bible says, “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Anyone can do this…

  • Start reading or listening to the Bible. (I suggest starting in the book of Mark).
  • Google ‘Jesus gospel message’ and read/listen.
  • Listen to people of faith talking about God.

And while you’re reading and while you’re listening, ASK GOD to give you faith. Ask him to reveal himself to you and turn that switch on. You actually can’t turn it on without him. (So – none of us WITH faith can boast and say we’re better than anyone else (Ephesians 2:8-9)).

And if nothing happens what have you lost? Some time and effort. Plus you’ve gained some extra life experience and knowledge.

But what if you actually activate the faith switch for the first time. I’m telling you – you will never be the same again!!!

Open the door!

An Open Letter To Australia

Australia map 3Dear Australia,

We are an incredible nation. From the natural Uluru to the master built Opera House, we display outstanding beauty. From the original inhabitants to the British settlers to later immigrants, we epitomise diversity, and enjoy its benefits. We are passionate, yet easy going, hard-working, yet know how to celebrate. We despise facades and welcome gut level honesty. So I probably won’t surprise you when I also say… we have some serious problems.

We see never ending domestic violence in the news. The victims suffer in body and soul, robbed of their safety and human dignity, tortured by ongoing emotional turmoil. The perpetrators also suffer – their inner freedom is destroyed by their own hatred and lack of self-control. We are also robbed of their exceptionality.

There is an increasing and pervading darkness. It is most obvious in the atmosphere of our movies – every decade is darker than the one prior. Compare a 1950’s movie to one today. This increased darkness is also obvious in our faces, in our eyes. There is a loss of innocence which stands out.

Our nation is blistering with porn addiction – a huge percentage of particularly men and boys are addicted to lust, driven for a hit, minds altered, innocence lost, robbed of intellectual creativity and freedom because of the addiction that stalks them. And we as a nation are robbed of their finery, of their purest contribution to family and society. Not to mention the many partners who suffer silent anguish.

We see a tsunami of depression. It’s everywhere. Depression sucks the life out of people, robs them of their capacity, their ability to flourish and change, learn and grow. THERE IS NO FREEDOM! We never get to see their best.

I could go on. Each one of us have our own story.

I have to ask… Why are we suffering? What is diminishing our capacity? Where is our inner freedom?

I would like to suggest that as a society we are reaping the fruit of walking our own way.

We sing the song, “I Did It My Way” and “It’s My Life”. We believe that no-one can tell us what to do. ‘It’s my life, my choice.’ And this is true. But we are reaping the consequences. And the consequences are too much!

There must be another way.

Our problems are too big for the government to solve. They are too big for the universities to intellectualise. The media can bring them to our attention, but they can’t change anything? We have millions of different opinions, but which voice do we listen to amidst the cacophony on the airwaves? Nobody has a monopoly on national perspective. Not one of us qualifies for the job!

I put it to you that there is only One who can fix our nation’s problems…

And that One is God.

He’s the only one that sees everything at once, every person, every problem, every pain and the interaction across the globe of all of these things, impact now and impact across the generations. The God that was smart enough to create the intricacies and inter-relatedness of life on the planet is smart enough to restore order, if we will listen.

When we want something done properly, we ask the experts. If God is the creator of our world, our brains, our emotions and our communities, then he is the ultimate expert, so why not find out what he says. Why belittle our potential by following our own myopic vision when we could follow the one who sees everything?

God’s way is very different to ours. The ancient Scriptures read,

 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9, NLT)

 But what are his ways? And how do we walk in them?

I challenge you to find out.

God’s way leads to inner peace, hope and personal freedom. And on a larger scale, to national peace and prosperity. God is good and his ways are right. He personifies love in its purest form, whilst standing firm on justice and truth. He is both holy and revered, gentle and personal. He holds the keys to abundant life and gives us freedom to grab a hold of them… or freedom to choose our own way.

Let’s use our freedom to grab the keys and change our direction. Let’s humble ourselves and admit we are wrong.

I challenge my country, from the politicians, to the workers, from the business owners to those living on welfare, from the students to those serving our community – let’s stop living life our own way and start living life God’s way. It’s a change of perspective. It’s a change of priorities. And it’s therefore a change of consequences.

Let’s be a nation that learns to seek God’s truth and apply it in all areas of life, in every sphere of the community, with all the fruit that entails. Let’s see every individual released into the uniqueness and brilliance of who they have been designed to be. Why wouldn’t we want this? Why wouldn’t we sacrifice everything, including our own false freedom for the true freedom that is available.

In the words of Isaiah, the ancient prophet:

 “Seek the Lord while you can find him.
Call on him now while he is near.
 Let the wicked change their ways
and banish the very thought of doing wrong.
Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them.
Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously.” (Isaiah 55:6-7, NLT)

Please share this on social media and get the message out!

Mumma’s Wrath

IMG_1162OK this is not going to end up where you think…

I can have patience for a while with things that are out of order. When my kids do the wrong thing, they can get a gentle warning or reprimand. Then if they do it again, the intensity builds and maybe they get an annoyed telling off. Then if they do it again, well the fire heats up. And eventually, without an intervention from the interior grace department, mumma’s wrath comes to the fore!

Same thing with irritating things around the house. I can put up with the leaky tap for a while. My patience deals with it, as there are far more important things to put my attention to. I don’t want to waste time dealing with it. But it niggles. And over time it builds up. And then it gets to the point where – something’s going to happen or else!

The line has been crossed. The decision has been made. And this mumma has HAD ENOUGH!

Well. This is what I call the breakthrough the moment. The moment where change is going to happen. The moment where my will becomes very powerful.

And I apply this to the battles within my mind.

Sometimes I can have stupid thought patterns or habits that are like annoying background music. I put up with them because I am used to them. And I have far more important things to attend to. But there comes a moment – and this is gold – when I have had enough.

As an aside here – I wonder if this is why we get put through the pressure pot sometimes. Because God in his grace knows we are not going to let go of some of our junk, unless we have ‘had enough’. And he wants us to enjoy the freedom that he has on offer. So he sends some challenge our way to artfully guide us to the place of overcoming.

So back to the thought grind. Mumma bear starts growling and says to herself. I have had enough of this junk in my mind. I’m not tolerating this anymore. NO MORE! I’ve had enough.

Well I’ve done this recently with disrespect. I’ve been far too disrespectful in my attitude to my husband. I’ve been trying to change this for a long time, but I’ve just always gone back to old attitudes of thinking. And I’ve observed in my journey with God, that breakthrough doesn’t usually happen until I get to this point of ‘had enough’.

Well I’ve had enough of turmoil in our home. We have five kids, two with special needs. And we get a lot of turmoil at different times. It’s so challenging that I need to get rid of every stress that I can. So I’ve been praying for more peace. And this is what God is bringing to my attention. Respect. Ouchy ouch. Well, I decided I’ve had enough of being disrespectful, I’ve had enough of trying to change and failing. I want God’s way. And I want it to change NOW!!!

So now I’ve been turning the corner. I’ve been practising a new attitude. I’ve been practising respect. I read a short article recently about a Jew in a concentration camp who determined to respect their abusers. And I thought – well  – what excuse do I have? It’s not about whether my husband’s actions or words deserve respect, but it’s about who I am as a person inside.

Well on this path, I have to admit that it is actually bringing more peace. Not only in our marriage. But it has done something in me, so that I interact with the kids now more respectfully, which brings more peace and less turmoil, as they respond better. And the fruit of this down the track will be that the kids will be more respectful to us and each other, and this will in turn bring more peace. It’s like the opposite of a vicious cycle. Keeps getting better and better. I’m on the path now – it’s onward and upward.

What path do you need to get on? What’s it going to take to activate your will to make a stand. Enough is enough. Here’s the line. No more!

Ten Scriptures For Freedom

Brussel sprouts 2One of my absolute smashing favourite Scriptures is “I will walk about in freedom for I have sought your commands”. Haha. It seems like a crazy juxtaposition. Like saying I will be in raptures eating brussel sprouts! Are you kidding me?

But that’s what the Bible is. Crazy when you have no revelation. Well much of it.

But when you have revelation, it is gold and it is life and it turns everything on its head!

Here’s ten Scripture commands off the top of my head that bring freedom…

  1. Forgive seventy times seven (Matthew 18:22). Unlimited forgiveness means unlimited freedom. You’re not bound in bitterness. And your body doesn’t suffer as a result.
  1. Pray for those who mistreat you (Luke 6:28). Switches your focus to wanting your enemies good and their highest good, instead of ruminating on how awful they are. Path to freedom.
  1. Confess your sins (James 5:16). Aaaah. Get that guilt out. Get that load off your shoulders. Give it to the one who died for all of that dark stuff. Jesus can handle it. FREEDOM!!!
  1. Consider trials joy (James 1:2-4). Oh yeah. This one’s inspiring. Change your focus off the pain of the pain, to the gain of the pain. You get perseverance, maturity, completeness. Stuff that isn’t formed any other way.
  1. Remember the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8). Then you your body and mind will be rested, your spirit rejuvenated and you will function at a higher, more free level. God created us and wrote the manual for how we function best.
  1. Love the Lord your God (Matthew 22:37). Don’t just respect him. Don’t just obey him. Hahaha. LOVE him. Totally different. And not just the lipservice love. This is heart stuff. What do you really love? What gets you in the core of your being? What prompts your love? Now you know the answer to that, then learn to love God like this and then more and more and more. And as it happens more and more, God will give you grace to experience more of his love, and then you will love him a whole lot more. This is unlimited peoples. Wherever you are at, there is so much more. So much freedom in true love. Different motivation for EVERYTHING!
  1. Don’t commit adultery. Don’t look at a woman lustfully (Matthew 5:27-28). Oh man. So much pain, hurt, suffering, chains, bondage down that pathway. Looks great. So enticing. But so many lies from the enemy in baiting people here. Not the path for freedom. Heed the Scripture and you can walk in freedom. Flee from all this darkness and junk!
  1. Don’t lie (Colossians 3:9). Ooh yucky awful stuff here. Trust is eroded by lies. Trust of others, trust of yourself. No honour or freedom here. Heed the Scripture and let your lips speak truth. Freedom here.
  1. Don’t be anxious (Philippians 4:6). What did you say? You mean I have a choice? Yup! Not easy at first. But when you realise the power of your own will to boss your thoughts, there is liberation coming your way. Keep practicing. Imagine freedom of anxiety. Hahahaha!
  1. Worship the Lord your God and serve only him (Luke 4:8). Nothing greater than to express your adoration of the greatest. Single eyed, not compromised, all for one. 100% Jesus. When I was worshipping God during Sunday service this morning I imagined being in heaven and then I unleashed even more exuberance. Cos there is no shame there in giving him our utmost. What delight to worship him with everything. Freedom unsurpassed in this place. The only miserable thing about writing this, is reading back over it again and realising that unless you experience this it just sounds like an excited fan. How lousy to not be able to use words to describe the heights of intimate communion with God himself. Personal connection at the deepest place in our spirit and soul. It goes way beyond mental acknowledgment. Here I’m not only legally free but my whole being FEELS free!

An Open Letter to You

Gold FrameI often say to my kids, ‘how come you’re so gorgeous’. Sometimes they remember the answer… ‘because God made me’. Then I like to say, ‘God did a good job when he made you!’

And that’s what I want to say to YOU – ‘God did a good job when he made you!’ He didn’t stuff up. You’re not a half attempt. He’s the expert at making people. He’s the ultra creator, the masterpiece maker. And that’s what you are – a masterpiece.

So why hide? So why look down on yourself? Why try and fit in with everyone else. You are unique. You are amazing. You reflect the extravagance and amazing mind of the greatest being EVER.

Be who you have been made to be. Be all of it. Don’t hold back. Don’t let fear hold you back.

Unleash you. Hahahaha! YES!!!!!

Personally I find myself most free and most authentic in God. When I live and breathe in him, I get free. I become myself. Because God is my source, my creator and my enabler.

Why not draw from the life source. Connect with him. That’s where true freedom is! That’s where you find out who you really are.

*Lovely gold frame picture from www.doodlecraftblog.com 

Refusing Fear

angry cat

I’ve got an attitude towards fear. I’m cross with it.

Fear robs people of joy and robs people of peace. That’s very, very destructive. What a miserable party pooper!

I’ve observed something about fear. It starts with something that is true or partially true and it builds on it. This gets the person in agreement. And from this point it can build a nice little castle in the person’s heart. It gets bigger and bigger, bit by bit, slowly by slowly. Until eventually the fear can be quite irrational and overpowering.

I got cross with this fear. It’s not from God. It’s from his archenemy the devil, who actually exists and who wants to rob our lives of everything precious and wonderful. He twists truth and seeks our agreement.

ENOUGH!!! I’ve decided to stop agreeing with the fear. Hahahaha. This has been wonderful and part of my liberating process. So now what happens is… I see a fear… and then I think, but but but… it’s possible… this could happen… so I’m worried about it. And then I see – I’M GETTING ROBBED OF MY FREEDOM!!!!

Cos I realised something really powerful. Hahahaha. I DON’T HAVE TO AGREE with that fear ANYMORE!!! So I get an attitude. I get stubborn. I say NOOOOOOO!

Sometimes a conversation may go on in my head. I refuse the fear. Then it might pester me. At this point it actually gets fun, because I get like a little kid who is digging their heals in. “NUP. NUP. NUP. I don’t care what ‘truth’ you are telling me fear. You are not from God. And you are robbing me. So I don’t want A BAR OF IT.”

When I persist in my disagreement, the fear weakens and eventually goes away. And then I am FREE!

And the next time fear comes, I am stronger to face it. My fear refusal muscle is growing.

No Guilt

Jesus baggageIt’s a lovely feeling – the absence of guilt. Instead there’s freedom. And therefore joy. And relief.

Guilt is a horrible plague. It sucks the life away and keeps one in misery land. You can never achieve perfection and the guilt just rubs it in and rubs it in endlessly.

The guilty thoughts are based on truth so they are easy to embrace and believe. I should be a better parent, a better wife, a better friend, a better citizen. And so you should! Hahaha what a miserable answer! But you won’t be able to live up to your ideals no matter how hard you try.

Sometimes a perfect day appears. I’ve had them. I’m the perfect mother, responding with grace, wisdom, love, joy. Soothing everyone’s pain and dissolving arguments, cooking a great meal, perfecting household cleanliness and even managing sex at 11pm at night. So the standard is set and this must be maintained.

But it’s IMPOSSIBLE!

The next day you’re tired. You’re grumpy. You start off patient, but one of the kids tips you over too far and you yell. Then you feel guilty and so you act a bit kinder. But then later you feel guilty because you were too soft. You remember all the parenting rules you’re breaking and you feel guilty for that too.

I have a secret to tell. I’ve had God helping me he he he. And he’s an expert at taking away guilt. He’s been rather intent recently on bringing me to a place of freedom. It’s a really nice place to be. He gently challenges my ideals and teaches me to trust him and let stuff go. One thing at a time. He is pretty patient and very loving.

When I trust him to grow me I don’t have to feel guilty about how I am or am not being. I just focus on trusting him to bring me to where I need to be. He’s responsible. I just work with him and understand he has immense patience with me. I trust in his patience and in his love.

When I trust him to grow my kids, the pressure is off me. I’m not the ‘be all and end all’. Lots of people contribute to my kids’ development. And I see God’s hand directing things in their lives. Without this guilt, I’m a better and more loving mum. Still not perfect, but free. And I’m happy for my kids to have a free mum.

When I trust him to take care of my husband, I’m free from a lot of stress. Hahaha. That sounds really bad. But my interference never amounts to good anyway. My husband is way too free spirited and independent and very resistant of my attempts to bring him to my standards of perfection. And a good thing too. Hey, sounds like I’m talking from experience haha. Trusting God helps a lot.

When I trust him to direct me, I don’t have to feel guilty about what I am or am not doing. I’m free. And I know he directs and prompts me, so I can relax knowing I can trust him to steer the ship. My heart is set on him and walking in his ways. And I pray that he will keep me from falling. And I trust him and I don’t trust myself.

Perfect Scripture about guilt is this one: “Therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). All our guilt has been wiped away. It got put on Jesus. That’s why he died. He did mighty thing in that moment so we could be free. When I put my trust in him, the guilt dissolves. He’s big enough to take it all. He’s big enough to handle my trust. So I am free.

Love, Freedom, Truth

 

Musings mum and Summer outsideThere’s so much wrestling going on in my mind. Love, freedom, truth. Over and over.

God is love. His love is SO good. It’s beyond our human experience. The Scripture oozes with examples and direct conveyances of his love. “How wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (Ephesians 3:18); “this love that surpasses knowledge” (Ephesians 3:19); “this is how we know what love is, Jesus Christ laid down his life for us (1 John 3:16). Etc, etc. Just google and you will find a GOLD MINE.

It hurts to know even a smidgeon of this love, and to know that so many have ABSOLUTELY no idea of the depth and the richness and the spiritually overwhelming goodness of this. It’s actually upsetting!

And the life giving Scriptures tell us that the world will know who Jesus’ disciples are by their love for one another (John 13:35).

That one upsets me too. Even though God has placed his love in our hearts, we often do a really lousy job of conveying this love. When we are in his presence it is easy. But then we can so easily slip into our old bad habits. We get cross, we get grumpy, we are not loving. SO frustrating!!!

But then we get his love dose. And when this happens, the outcome can be amazing. We can overlook the judgments, the insults, the kids’ bad behaviour, the stress. And love conquers all. It actually does. In moments like these, our soul is deepened in God’s strength. We become mighty overcomers.

I remember when my three youngest children were milling around me in the kitchen. Summer (the one with microcephaly and autism) was agitated, Sarah was whinging. They were all noisy and demanding. I felt pulled, I felt stressed. And it was after a really stressful car trip with all five kids, having to sit next to Summer and manage her behaviour full-time for about 50 minutes. I was really stretched! I felt like I was about to snap, like a war was going on inside me. And then something rose up from deep within me. Something erupted that shocked me. A groan came from my inner being and I unleashed the words, “I LOVE YOU SUMMER!” The kids looked at me shocked. And then I swiftly moved and embraced Summer and poured out love from my heart all over her. It just oozed from every pore of my being. There was such joy and freedom. And I knew this was the place that I wanted to live life every day. I had energy to move forward. I didn’t want to escape anymore. It transformed that moment for me and the kids.

If only we could live in this zone 24/7. How different life would be! I believe God gives tastes of heaven, of his goodness of his love. And then he teaches us how to live like this more and more.

And then I think of truth. God’s truth. Not the twaddle of relativism that we’ve been spoon-fed by our culture over the last few decades. I love God’s truth. It is liberating. God’s ways are the ways of freedom. If only I could shout from the city’s billboards how amazing truth is. Some luscious Scriptures come to mind… “Jesus is the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6); “then you will know the truth and truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

But truth on its own can often come across so weakly for those who do not agree. There is so much variety of opinion in the world, that to talk about truth from the one who made it, is not received so well. And it can come across as hateful, especially when you quote verses on homosexuality, etc. It makes me sad that what is so precious and so life-giving, can seem so corrupt. And it is not!

I wrestle with how do we present this truth. I see Christians who just tell it like it is, straight as an arrow. And I see Christians who despise this approach and emphasise the need to come from love and no judgment. I look at the Scripture and I see a loving God who is straight down the line with his speech. But he oozes love 24/7 and so when it comes, it comes from a place of love.

One thing I have learnt from being married, is that skill is important to some extent. I can learn relationship skills, I can learn better ways to phrase things so that conflict goes down better. This is hard but can be worthwhile. But what is SO much more effective is when my heart is in the right place. When I ooze God’s love and I’ve been in his presence and my heart is wanting freedom for my husband as well as myself, without condemnation or judgment or unrighteous anger, THEN IT IS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT and it doesn’t matter how I say it, because what is read is far beyond words. Maybe not all of the time. But even if it is not received, I am still free. I am not fuming. I am full of love and joy. And it is certainly a lot easier for the other person to hear.

This seems all wonderfully ideal and there is lots of truth here. But I’m not 24/7 living out Jesus. And so I wrestle, with love, truth and freedom.

One thing I will finish with. When I have spoken hard stuff to people and it’s come from my own sense of timing, it hasn’t worked very well. I’ve not seen good fruit. But when the Holy Spirit has prompted me to speak hard stuff, and even though I’m scared I do it, it’s completely different. It’s been received, not necessarily followed, but seen as love.

At the end of the day, I conclude I trust God and I want him to grow me. And I want him to direct me. Because his way works. And mine doesn’t. And I want to speak his truth with love and power. That I hunger for so much!