Celebrate GOOD Times

SO much life has happened.

I have no excuses or apologies but I will say that I absolutely miss writing – I miss updates and thinky thoughts. I miss having time and making time to do what I’m passionate about. This semester of school is full of doing things I need to do, which is fine haha I just miss the other stuff.

It’s so beautiful. I have the MOST beautiful friends here.

I think lately I’ve forgotten to celebrate the things that deserve a celebration. Life feels a whole lot like life lately and not quite like it’s exciting or BIG but honestly it’s freaking huge.

  • I’m engaged.
    Phill asked me to marry him a few weeks ago, or maybe it was a month or two – (Honestly this is my issue, school has been so full and fun this semester that it has been THE HARDEST thing ever to actually keep up with my own life.) So we are getting married at the end of November (just a few days before I graduate Hillsong College) and we begin more life together. He makes life feel like it was always meant to be this way, both very normal and very exceptional at the same time. He makes awesome feel like it is a standard that should have always been tied around my days, weeks, months… That is why I say we will begin MORE life together 🙂

[The Engagement: It was a Saturday and Phill and I were supposed to be spending the evening with a few friends but I text them to confirm and they bailed on us. The reason I didn’t think anything of it was because it had already happened the same way the week before as well haha. So Phill asked me if I wanted to drive in the mountains to go get some spring water (I don’t really think any of his requests are weird anymore although I realise how odd that sounds). So off to the mountains we went – we got some McDonalds on the way because we are really classy. I forgot to tell him I had to pee (this is relevant I promise) so when we pulled off in the middle of no where I told him he had to wait on the other side of the car which gave him the perfect opportunity to sort out the ring in his pocket. I did my business behind some bush and thanked the Lord for our Maccas (McDonalds) napkins. We walked down to this beach thing inside the mountains where we fist EVER hung out together. We weren’t even dating at this point although Phill was totally trying to date.
I saw a random fire set up and told Phill how irresponsible some people are to set a fire and leave it unattended. I didn’t drop this for a while. Phill told me this is where he knew he wanted to date me (no surprise, I’m pretty awesome) and said since this is where he decided he wanted to date me that maybe this is where I wanted to tell him I’d spend the rest of my life with him (awwwwwww). I was in disbelief, I knew the ring would be coming sometime but I thought it was still being built or designed or something, I believe my first response was “Wait you don’t have the ring?!” and then a few more sentences expressing my concern for the people who bailed on the fire pit. It all felt very surreal. I said yes and we sat out on the beach for a little while before decided to get pizza and celebrate with some housemates 🙂

The fire was set up by some of our friends and they even cut down a tree to build a seat.]

  • We had just about the most irritating month ever as soon as we got engaged; things just weren’t going our way (for lack of liberty to share the details).
    But if you can imagine the best soccer player you know was running straight at you but then instead of actually playing soccer he is just kicking you in the gut. It was like that for about a month. But thank the LORD for undeserved favor and stuff is getting back on track.
  •  Which brings me to my next thought: marriage counselling was awesome. We had the most amazing couple to talk us through all the marriage things and we did so well that they thought we cheated.
    ((Another thought: you deserve someone that you’re compatible with – so compatible that the online survey thinks you’ve cheated. I get that some opposites attract and as far as Phill and my personality goes we are quite opposite. But we ARE like-minded, more than I think we realised.)) It was such a relief to walk into conversations with a couple that had been married 35 years and for them to give us their blessing on our lives. I think too many people settle. Heck I’ve done it. We all have. So stop judging. But also stop giving up on the ‘someone out there’ who is perfect for you. I have as many reasons as many other to think otherwise but guys GOD IS GOOD and has stuff under control.
  • Another exciting part of my life is that 8 (EIGHT) of my family members will be here with me in a very short amount of time to celebrate this three-year journey of college and the lifelong journey of marriage. I seriously don’t know how I get to be so blessed. Seriously. I could cry. I feel very loved and honoured and SO EXCITED to show them this place. Australia has been so wonderful to me.

  •  Which brings me to my next point
    – lets be real this blog is an intro back into writing and the form is all over the place –

This one is a little nerve-racking.

I’m staying for a little while.

In January 2018 I will transfer into my Bachelors degree of Theology with a focus on Biblical Studies.

BIG GULPS HUH.

Australia has felt like home since the first few months of being here and although it still sort of throws my head for a spin I’m happy to announce that I’ll be here a bit longer. Phill and I will continue working here in OZ while I work on my degree.

  • FINALLY – PHILL AND I SIGNED A LEASE ON A COTTAGE!

How adorable is that sentence? Phill moves at the beginning of October and I’ll move after we get married. I forget what a miracle life actually is. What is my life that I get to live in Australia in a cottage and marry the man who spoils me with breakfasts on the weekend and support for all things my heart dreams up.

Life should be celebrated and I am thankful.

Thanks for letting me update.

I’m organizing my chaotic life to let me do what I love (actually writing more than once a year). As I said… no excuses, no apologies. It’s just how life has been

(ABSOLUTELY FREAKING CRAZY… and so SO wonderful)

Isn’t She Lovely?

I feel like I haven’t written a post in this style for a long time now, but something has been on my thoughts and floating around my heart lately that I thought I might share.

I’ve been thinking about Brides… 

**First I feel like I need to make an authors note to my parents and anyone who thinks they have the gift of reading between the lines to clarify that I am currently NOT betrothed. I didn’t elope. I’m not secretly planning some ceremony and picking out dresses.

Y’all chill.

I just have a LOT of friends in the old Facebook feed who are either having children, or on the path to make that happen (engaged/married). I wish I could fully understand what it is about bridal pictures that have everyone secretly creeping through the shots. We as a culture tend find beauty at its purest form when our friends get dressed in white and commit the rest of their lives to their loves.

I personally think that the reason brides are so stunning is the time they put into the wedding day. They carefully planned every detail, from trim and the flowers, to making sure crazy Aunt Sally wasn’t sitting next to anyone she could get into trouble with at the reception.

Brides spend hours picking out their dress, how they will wear their hair, what shoes they want and testing out what makeup style is most flattering. Finally, it all comes together in the moments sweetly exchanged between families, now forever united.

The result?

“You are the most stunning bride!”

“Simply gorgeous!”

 “The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen!”

I have a feeling that what sets apart the brides from everyone else that day is the preparation. I think brides are beautiful because they are prepared.

 “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:25-27

Scripture shows us some beautiful imagery of Christ and the Church being His Bride. I feel like maybe we also have a role to play in being prepared, and in that readiness I think we carry an attractiveness that the world wants. I think G-d shows up in the everyday things and I very much see Him in the holy commitment of matrimony. Brides have to prepare themselves, but we as the church have the blessing of trusting the bridegroom to be a big part of our preparation.

 “And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more.  And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy.  I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord.

Hosea 2:16-20

 

I hope I’m preparing the Church to be ready – I hope I’m adding to the attractiveness of knowing Jesus AND that I’m trusting Him when He says that HE is the perfector, He is the one keeping me in commitment and in preparedness.

There is so much of His story that I want all over mine and I guess that’s why I’ve decided to commit to this all these years. I know that if I join with the creator in a sweet exchange to be united forever that I will carry His name.

I will be His and He will be mine.

// I like the idea of belonging.

 

Am I Hipster Yet?

My housemate Krysia and I have had coffee dates every semester since school started specifically to discuss what we are expecting for the semester coming. As well as the ‘pre-semester expectations’ that we set up we have follow up meetings to see how those expectations went. I’ve had ‘themes’ and sentences impressed on my heart for the semesters that have tied with different scriptures that have carried me through the very crazy seasons that emerge at Hillsong College.

At the end of last semester as I was thinking about what I wanted for this semester it wasn’t an opportunity or to even grow in a particular area of college or church leadership. I simply want to know G-d more this semester than I have in a while. I want to focus on the Word like I haven’t in a while and spend time learning about the Lord. The songwriting and lectures and learning curves will happen and somehow everything will get done this semester that needs to, but my desire is more Jesus and more of the Word in my heart. 

On a recent trip home for my brothers wedding I inherited my dads Nikon camera. Short of having another ‘Daddy teach me’ blog I will say that trying to figure out how to use it today has made me realise a few things:

  1. Learning new things, and more than that, learning ALL about new things involves more reaching out to people who know more than it does you trying to just guess. 
         By this I mean, I went ham on Youtube tutorials for this specific model of Nikon and watched all the things. I didn’t rely on and can’t rely on myself and my thoughts on how the camera should work in order to take the best pictures but I SHOULD research and see how people have used it and how they’ve best figured out to take those classic hipster shots that get so popular on Instagram (shameless plug). But really, learning is best done in community and I don’t see how that differs to learning about G-d. We should be discussing what passages mean to us and the best that we understand how it applies to whom it was addressed to and to us. We should be reading and researching what the scriptures are actually saying and we should be giving them a chance to say it. 
  2. Learning involves time – but the learning goes quicker if you focus your time. 
    I’m the QUEEN at multitasking… and by multitasking I mean today I did laundry, watched youtube, did make up on half my face, finished my laundry and then washed my face, straightened 1/3 of my hair before I realized I didn’t like the texture of my hair so I washed it then redid the whole thing and blogged. I also took one photo I was proud of but it was with my iPhone. I tend to get bored halfway through whatever I am doing so it sometimes takes me a while.In other, more related words, sometimes getting to know someone or something intimately involves time given up to focus JUST on that thing or person. This is more just a reminder for myself of what is required for my expectations
  3. I would love to have a number 3 because 3 points is good but I’ve really said what I wanted to.

Sometimes I don’t know why I post stuff on my blog that just belongs in my journal.

Thank you if you’ve read this – and if you will just pray that I focus and get what I’m expecting this semester. Love you all.

 

Love On Your Little Ones

Live your life with children, explore faith with them as well as the back yard. Love them innocently and fiercely because they get it. This #ThinkBackThursday brought to you by 5 years ago – Feb 2011
I can’t explain a lot of the feels I have in my heart for my sister. Sometimes one of my friends will bring her up because it changes my demeanor instantly. I wonder if G-d’s face changes when He thinks about us…
Be blessed, be new and thank you for having a look into the stories that make up my life.

Today was a day that Oklahoma decided to have good weather. I enjoy those. You could hear kids playing in the neighborhood as their parents called for them to come inside for washing up. I had a few friends over and for whatever reason I was parked behind them, so when it was time to say goodbye I had to move my car for them to get out. I pulled my car back and was about out of their way when I see my little sister running down the driveway crying. I’m a softie for her firstly, because she is my sister, but also because when something breaks her heart it usually breaks mine. This wasn’t a scared cry; this wasn’t a hunger or a pain cry even. She was running down the sidewalk shrieking, so I jump out of my car and run to her and hold her.
“Gracie, what’s the matter? What happened?” I start to cry simply because I can see in her 6 year old body, brokenness. Something is eating her apart inside and I can’t do anything. In a painful, sobbing voice I hear her scream, “Why don’t the little ones belong to Him?”

I couldn’t answer her.

Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so

little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong.

She was torn apart because she knew the kids in the neighborhood didn’t belong to the Saviour. The kids who most people just want out of the road, the kids who people look over and wonder what their parents are thinking letting them play in the street.

Gracie has taught me more than I could ever explain about life and about G-d. The story above was a dream I had one night and woke up crying to. Children have such a precious heart; they have such a strong faith that when someone tells them something is they believe it. One day Gracie wanted to stay home and watch TV while everyone else was leaving… I told her that it wasn’t safe and she had to come with me because no one would be there to watch her. She told me G-d would be there to protect her.

How do you argue with that?

I told her that if she got hurt there would be no one to take her to the hospital. She said that if she got hurt G-d could heal her. Who am I to tell her she’s wrong? That the faith she has isn’t always true? (I didn’t leave her alone but I had a hard time convincing her that she just WANTED to come with me).

I want child like faith. I want to have passion for the little ones who don’t yet belong to Him. I want more G-d… 

As We Tarry There

((Maybe don’t read this one at work, or maybe grab a tissue.


It’s really hard for me sometimes to say that I miss my grandparents, when I don’t honestly remember that much about them. My grandma (on my mothers side) died when I was about 4 or maybe 5 years old. I remember that she was heavy set and soft. She had white hair and my own mother has the frame of her hands, they’re rounded and not harsh. They are soft and always in need of physical contact to show love. I have those same rounded hands too; my fingers and features are soft. So while I can’t say that I miss her because I don’t remember much about her I do know her. I remember her Bible being filled with so many highlighted and written in words that it was like 17 devotionals in one. This is a part of my heritage. I remember that when she died I cried because I saw my cousin Ricky crying, and I knew that something bad was happening if he (in my eyes at the time a ‘big kid’) was crying. I remember Precious Moments coloring books at the hospital. I remember telling my brother that I was sad and I wanted to see her again, he told me that if I wanted to see her I would need to go to heaven. He brought me to my mom and I got saved that day (so that I could see Mee-Maw again).

So although I don’t remember her well – I know that she knows me and I know that she has molded my life without being in it.

My grandfather died when I was 10, I remember a little more about him. I remember him eating Ritz crackers with peanut butter on them every time I was over at his house. I remember that he would tickle you until you shrieked and then act like he was going to let you get away but as you ran his arms would catch you and pull you close again. I remember his big funny glasses that now remind me of the guy from Up (or a hipster). I remember his skin being terribly thin and me being afraid of hurting him when I hugged him later on in his life. I remember mom waking me up the day after a celebration ceremony I was a part of for having read the entire bible and memorized a zillion scriptures (seriously a zillion) and maybe learnt how to build a fire? It was pretty much girl scouts for Christians. She woke me up to tell me we were off to Georgia because my grandfather had passed away. I remember his favorite song was In The Garden. A few of the cousins, my mom and myself sang it at his funeral and THAT I can never forget – I can never forget this song.

I may have not known much about my grandpa but I do know that he had a heart to be with the Lord, he was good at sitting with Him.

I don’t remember much about my grandparents, but I do know them.

memawThey’ve been apart of molding who I am since way before I was conceived. I’m so thankful for my heritage that has since passed on and I’m thankful for my grandparents who are still with me.

I love my Grandma Cheri (dads side) more that I could ever explain and I hold part of her personality with me always. I know that without her realizing she has an inflection in her voice when she speaks and emphasizes different syllables. And I know that she has already forgotten how to log in to her Facebook. My love of dogs comes from her and I’m fully convinced that as soon as I can, I won’t be able to keep away from having those lovely fur-babies in my home. I do things that she does without even realizing they probably came from her, like mass cooking awesome food and loving to decorate cakes. We enjoy sushi and being feisty and stubborn as.

But, G-d reminded me of this song this week, as I’ve been so focused on what’s coming this year, what is the next thing I have to do I’ve forgotten too quickly how to tarry with G-d.

I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.

Refrain:
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.

To tarry is to stay longer than you intended, or delay leaving a place.

Time spent with G-d cannot come back void and you can never be there ‘too long’. Life happens all around you and all around the world without you, the worries and tasks will be there after the morning and after you’ve sat with the Saviour.

He walks with me. He talks with me. He tells me I am His own.

Lately my prayer has been that G-d would restore to me the joy of salvation. I’m not unhappy, but I want more joy. I want more peace regardless of circumstance and joy that is simply based on what Christ has already done by saving me. No greater joy have I found than to sit and be in His presence and have Him tell me that I AM HIS OWN.

And the JOY we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.

Although I didn’t know my grandparents enough to ‘miss them’ as much as my older family members – I do know my Saviour, and sometimes I just miss tarrying with Him.

Sometimes you need extravagant moments with Jesus. Sometimes you just need to sit and hear Him calling you His own. Sit and listen to the melodies He is singing over you, let it echo through your being. Learn to seek Him and find the characteristics you have learned from Him that you might not realize are in you.

We truly come by them honestly.

Scrabit Adultery

#ThinkBack(to)Thursday
so… I posted late. It happened. 

I had a BEAUTIFUL get-to-know-you coffee with a wonderful woman who I have no doubt will be in my life for a long time and then family time. I remembered that it was Thursday around 2am (Friday) as I was drifting to sleep.

Life happens. Sometimes I write about it.

  • November 2010, I had no idea what was coming

 

If the first thing G-d spoke to you was to love someone who would constantly be unfaithful to you, could you follow His call? Would you be alright with knowing that your whole existence was to be used for
G-d’s love to be shown?

((G-d, I’m picking Hosea back up, maybe because I’ve seen myself
not being as faithful with my time. I’ve just been thinking through all you had him do.

“When the LORD began to speak through Hosea… “Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of (( the vilest adultery in departing from the LORD)).”  Hosea 1.2 emphasis added

G-d, this was when You FIRST called Hosea, not much warning or development towards trusting You that I can see. Would I, even now have the ability to follow that call?

The closest thing I’ve been to marriage (thus far) is just a boyfriend-type relationship and couldn’t imagine the pain of living with him if he cheated on me. We’d probably break up and never speak again. But to Hosea, You G-d, kept after him to LOVE Gomer. To fight for this woman and her children that he wasn’t sure if were his. And what was G-d’s reasoning? “because the LAND is guilty”… No, Hosea, YOU did nothing to deserve this – you were just willing to listen to G-d.

Adultery is defined as * voluntary sexual intercourse between a married (a committed) person and a person who was not his or her spouse. I’ve never been married and have never had sex, so again I can only imagine – but I have seen the affects of adultery on families and the bitterness it leaves. Of all this pain and of these horrible stories, G-d said the VILEST form of this act is when it is His people departing from Him.  … “the vilest adultery in departing from the LORD.” The worst, most offensive, shameful, loathsome, hateful, wicked, evil act we can do is walk away from G-d; or, to depart from Him.

But, G-d… we do that all the time. Remember G-d? all that time we get “too busy”? Remember when we’re just exhausted and too tired to spend time with You? And, yet, You sent a Son, YOUR Son to love a world like ours. You let Your Son pick this world to be His Bride and I am guilty of causing a pain I couldn’t even imagine because in my selfishness – I’ve been just like Gomer. And with my actions at some point I’ve taught children to be unfaithful. I’ve shown them some form of justification in my actions and that is something I can never take back.

(1.14) “Therefore, I am now going to allure (draw) her; I will lead her to the desert and speak tenderly to her.”
((I’m bringing My bride back and regaining her attention – says the LORD))

(1.16) “In that day,” declares the LORD, “you will call me ‘my husband’”, you will no longer call me ‘my master.’”

G-d is coming to restore our broken relationship and reunite His Bride to Himself. Just because He loves us and wants us to be set free from our unfaithful ways, I don’ t know how to hold onto my stupid decisions anymore because of His love.

I can’t.

 Drawn to redemption by the GRACE in His eyes… Oh, how He loves us so…


 

This was when G-d taught me about being His bride. When I was 20 years old G-d had already been explaining and laying on my heart what it would require of me to be close to Him and to accept His forgiveness and care. The Lord began burdening me to teach other women what it means to get ready to be a bride. I had NO idea that a year later I would be engaged and on my way to be married and walk through this very thing, my heart was broken because I was betrayed and I never wanted to hear the words, “You are enough” again.

My G-d is a redeeming G-d. I wouldn’t trade my past for anything because now more than ever I realize the prize that it is to still be loved by Him.

And we are SO loved by Him.

As You Do – Think Back Friday

I sort of shoved #ThinkBackThursday and a new Friday post together… You know, because it’s New Years and I’m cliché.

1 January //

I’ve now lived through 25 of these and probably for the last 13 of them I’ve wondered where on earth time has gone. It seems that time has a preferred method of transportation that it enjoys, and it’s always the one you wish it wasn’t on. It grabs a Delta flight, a free miniature bottle of wine and sticks its feet up for the joyful moments. They go so fast that you hardly remember all of the details even when you’re trying. Without a shadow of a doubt I believe that it grieves with us in the hard times and it too finds it difficult to pull itself out of bed and move when we cry – making our sorrow seem even longer.
Misery loves company.

But, then you look back and realize there was 24 hours in each of those days and 7 days in your weeks and that you just wasted 1-4 hours of your today realizing that you’re still here. You still never know when moments to be remembered are happening and you never know when you will finally heal.

But you have the moments, and you heal.

I’m currently in Oklahoma for the holidays, which brings up loads of memories in the 17 years I spent around this town. It’s impossible not to remember the great, good, bad and regretful. And as odd as it can be to grow up and see that nothing is ever the same year to year, the obscurity of it is shadowed (for me) by remembering a few things:

  • My Good Friends are GOOD – I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for a handful of very, VERY good people in my life. They’ve believed in me, pushed me, prayed for me, let me cry, let me fail and still told me they loved me and that I can make it. Hometowns can sometimes bring a sting along with comfort when thinking about the ‘used to be’ and ‘could have been’ relationships, adventures and journeys; G-d has been in the redeeming business of reminding me that the people I have now are who need to be in my life NOW. He knows all things, He knows my heart and who builds it, He knows what’s coming for me and He has been blessing me more and more with like-minded lovelies who care about me.What and who HE allows in my life is more than enough.
  • He has ALWAYS been faithful – this has been so overwhelmingly in my thoughts this last year or so. I’ve always known it but G-d has connected this knowledge to my heartstrings and veins and has literally flooded my being. The knowing physically weighs on me and can often, easily and frequently bring me to tears. Guys, He cares so much and loves so deeply and IS SO FAITHFUL. And not just for me; this is for you and I’m sure if you take time to let the Saviour and comforter help you look back you’ll see it to.
    ((Please take the time to look back))
  • Discipline is hard, sacrifice is hard, they both suck and they’re both mandatory – reading and writing daily is a choice and no one will tell you to do it once you pass the age of 17. I’m a routine and schedule person and it’s extremely difficult for me to cram a devotional or blog into the end of my. Mornings are my zone and when I don’t allow myself that time I feel like a pretty crappy person. This one is really just a memo to self // Be An Adult.
  • Reading is very important – I am not an educational or approved resource to quote. While I’m overjoyed that you’ve read this blog or any of my other blogs I’m not the end all… heck, I’m not even good at ending blogs real good.

Find a book and learn something.

 

Art above by: Mindi Garland (That’s MY bloodline)
Title: “Jenine Races Down the Path Less Traveled Without Fear of the Future” (That’s my middle name)