20 November, 2017

Dear Girl-Who-Feels-Deeply

Dear girl-who-feels-deeply,

I was thinking about you last night, as I lay in bed, and I wanted you to know: it’s okay.

It’s okay to feel deeply. It’s okay to be the one who cries over the news or the state of the world or the fact that disease and aging exist. It’s okay to feel the pangs in your heart while everyone else laughs it off. It’s okay to have to lift your head from the pages to blink away the tears. It’s okay to take a moment to stare out the window because you need time to absorb what you just learned. It’s okay to feel someone else’s pain and cry in despair of your powerlessness. 

Please don’t be ashamed of the wounds this world gives. Don’t try to hide the tears, the pain. Don’t let yourself grow callous and indifferent because that’s the way others appear. Don’t brush the feelings aside in an effort to be ‘grownup.’ Don’t pretend it doesn’t hurt when it does, it doesn’t matter when it does, and it doesn’t mean anything when it does. Don’t let other’s judgements make you hard.

Know this truth: God made you to feel. He made you to feel deeply. It’s not a flaw, it’s not something you’re meant to grow out of. It’s going to hurt sometimes, but it’s going to mean you understand His heart a little more, because God feels. He feels deeply. He has a plan for your sensitivity, a plan to use it for His glory, a plan to show through you a piece of His heart.

Please, please, stay soft. Stay impressionable, stay sensitive. Let yourself feel the pain, the sorrow, the hurt, the injustice, and the love and joy and trust. You’re a deep soul, and your vulnerability will mean people misunderstand you. But don’t let it sway you. You know who you are, and this world needs more people like you.

From my heart to yours,
The girl who knows what it’s like. xx

The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.  - Elie Wiesel

13 November, 2017

Why I Don't Answer to 'Single'

I was browsing a website some time ago, and there was an article about singleness. I skimmed it, like I skimmed the articles to marrieds. It wasn’t until I read the responses in the comments section I realized the post was written to me. I am the target audience – my age, my relationship status. But I didn’t answer to it. I didn’t see a post written for singles and think ‘Oh, that’s me!! I must read that!’ It feels strange to call myself ‘single.’

Why don’t I answer to single? I’m not in a relationship, I’ve never been in a relationship, I’m already out of my teens; I should be desperate by our society’s standards. But single is an adjective not a noun. I'm single but I'm so many others things first: loved, chosen by God, complete in Him, blessed, and Australian, female, older sister, writer, musician, nut. Single is a description, but it's not who I am.

We need to stop finding our identity in our singleness. We need to stop telling ourselves we’re single, single, single, like there’s something wrong with us, like we’re incomplete, like we’re lacking. Our identity is so much more. God calls us loved, chosen, worth dying for, of inestimable value, and complete in Him. (Colossians 2:10)

It saddens me to see people make their relationship status their identity. They feel they can’t be satisfied until they’re with their ‘other half.’ They feel there’s something wrong with them, because no one has noticed them. They change themselves to get someone’s attention. They fantasize, building up expectations which only lead to disappointment. You are so much more than what a guy thinks of you. A Man has already told you what He thinks of you, and demonstrated His love by giving the ultimate sacrifice. That’s who you are. That’s where your worth comes from. You can rest securely, because it doesn’t matter what your crush thinks of you – God says you’re beautiful and loved. 

Marriage and companionship is a beautiful thing. God ordained it, and I believe it’s God’s plan for some of us, maybe all. But it’s not who we are. The verse in Colossians I referenced earlier really spoke to me: ‘Ye are complete in Him.’ If we aren’t feeling complete, could it be we’re neglecting our relationship with God? He is the only one who can complete us; give us security and fulfilment. It’s normal and God-given to desire companionship – absolutely. But we can’t be looking for our worth and value and identity in it. We will be let down, because people are wonderful, but they’re not perfect.

I was thinking about God giving marriage in the beginning, and saying it wasn’t good for man to be alone. (Genesis 2:18) We use that verse, but God said this before sin and separation; humans were in perfect harmony with Him. A spouse for Adam was the only thing lacking, because his relationship with God was there. We might not have the companionship God gave Adam, but we’ve also lost the relationship with God, and that came first. That’s most important. 

I don’t have this down. I’m not writing because I’ve made it and you haven’t. I’ve daydreamed about guys and my future, had crushes, and tried to change who I am to be noticed. Temptations are real. But what I want to emphasise is: God can give us victory over those things. It’s hard, but it’s so, so worth it. Knowing who you are in God is the most freeing thing. And, if marriage is in God’s plan, the right partner is going to be attracted to you because of who you are, not who you’re trying to be, or who you want them to make you.

I saw a quote once that said, ‘If God could find Adam a wife when he’s the only human being in the world, He can get you somebody.’ Friends, this is not our battle. Our job is to give our lives over to God, and He will orchestrate marriage if that’s in our best interest. He has already given us everything we need for satisfaction and fulfilment in ‘singlehood.’ Let’s walk in that.

Whew! That was quite intense! I hope it’s clear I share not as one who has arrived, but because I care. I’m passionate because I see people struggling in their singleness when they could be walking in the freedom of who God says they are. What do you think on this topic? Is singleness something you've struggled with? And non-singles, it’d be great to hear your perspective too! Is there something I’ve missed? Most of all, friends, stay strong. You’re complete in Him. xx

09 November, 2017

Thankfulness Thursday - Spring Buds and God Working Despite Me

Grace Anne from Totally Graced is hosting Thankful Thursdays this month – it’s about taking extra time to remember and share what we’re thankful for. I realized the reason for thankfulness in November is probably due to thanksgiving, which we don’t celebrate in Australia, but it’s always a good time to be thankful, in my opinion. :)

I’m thankful for God working even in comfort zones. Last week, I was going out for the day – volunteering talking with homeless people and doing their washing, then some shopping and teaching. I was praying on the way, asking God for strength; strength to acknowledge Him even though I didn’t feel like it. I didn’t ask for opportunities to talk about Him and witness, because I didn’t want those opportunities. I didn’t feel like stepping outside my comfort zone. I was tired. It was a lame prayer, honestly.

After I did the volunteering shift, and I was sitting in a carpark eating lunch, I saw God answered my prayer without me even realizing. I got to share my faith with three people directly through the shift, and indirectly with the others who were listening. Two people asked what I was studying, and when I answered ‘Christian counselling,’ it led to more discussion. One man apologised for anti-religion stuff he’d said earlier, and I was able to share what he'd said didn’t offend me, because it’s more about my personal relationship with God rather than structured religion. They were natural conversations, not forced, or awkward.

The third opportunity came when I was talking with another guy, and he told me I was not like other twenty-year-olds he’d known. I didn’t seem like the type of girl who’d spend time in nightclubs, and do drugs and stuff. I was able to give God credit, and say it’s because of God and my Christian upbringing. 

As I was sitting in the car thinking about those situations, it made me laugh. Here I was scared, tired, praying safe prayers. And yet, God still gave me opportunities and used me, and I didn’t even see it coming! So this week, I’m thankful God works, even through my weakness and fear. 

And I want to encourage you: if you’re feeling low, like you have nothing to offer God, and you aren’t worthy of being His witness, be honest with God. He’s not limited – comfort zones and tired hearts don’t stop Him. He can still use you, and the best part is when He does, it ignites His enthusiasm in us, and we get the biggest blessing. Stay strong, friends, and let God use even the little bit you have – He’s a God of miracles. If He can work through my inadequacy, He can absolutely use you. xx

What are you thankful this week? How has God been surprising you recently?

06 November, 2017

How to Know God's Will

I first thought seriously about knowing God’s will when I was getting close to finishing school. Everyone asked what I was going to do next, and I didn’t have an answer. But in my mind, God would reveal what I was meant to do, and I’d be set. I would have direction for life, and the dilemma would be history. I would know God’s will once and for all. 

That’s not how it turned out, of course. God gave direction on what to study, and I believe it’s His will for me to be studying now. But there are more questions: what am I going to do when I finish studying? Where should I be working? How should I be spending my time? And knowing God’s will isn’t reserved for big things like what to study or where to live or who to marry; it comes into everyday decisions too. It’s wonderful to think God is so involved in our life. But how can we know God’s will? I haven’t found a magic formula (current decision + God’s will = ?), and I don’t believe there is one. But I learned some things recently which help me navigate this desire to live in God’s will, and I want to share because I know it can be hard and confusing.


To recognize God revealing His will to us, we have to be familiar with His voice. You know when you’re a crowd of new people, there's a steady hum of voices, and suddenly you hear someone you know? You pick their voice above everyone else’s, and you don’t feel alone anymore? That’s what it’s like with knowing God’s will. There’s lots of noise – people’s opinions, social pressures, media, and expectations. If we don’t know God’s voice it will blend in, and we’ll be confused and bombarded. 

We become familiar with God’s voice by spending time with Him – in prayer, in the Bible, in His creation – the same as we get to know someone else. If we’re in communication with God, we’ll recognize His voice. The Bible reveals what God is like, and what His heart for us is. It’s also important to know, because Satan can mask himself and present things which seem like God’s will. But if they don’t line up with the Bible, they can’t be from God because He doesn’t contradict Himself. So knowing the Bible helps discern who the suggestion comes from!


When Christy, in Christy by Catherine Marshall, struggles with knowing God’s will, Miss Alice Henderson gives her this verse: ‘If any man will to do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.’ (John 7:17) My reaction was similar to Christy’s: how is that relevant? But as I thought about it, it became clearer: if anyone will to do God’s will, then they’ll know. We have to be surrendered and willing to obey whatever God tells us. Will God reveal His will if we’re only curious about it? If we’re interested in knowing, but not ready to lay down whatever He asks to do it?

Then, I was reading John 8:31-32: ‘If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed: and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’ It’s after we continue in God’s word – obey and live out what we already know – He reveals more truth to us. So, another part of knowing God’s will is obeying what He’s already shown us.


The most fascinating thing I learned about God’s will was from a sermon by Ray Comfort. (I recommend watching it here, if you get a chance! Thanks, Paige, for recommending it to me! :) He points out that God expects us to use initiative. God has given plenty of knowledge in the Bible about His will. For example, Galatians 6:2 tells us to bear one another’s burdens, which fulfils the law of Christ. We don’t need to ask whether helping someone is God’s will. Ray illustrates by saying if we saw an elderly lady fall in the street, would we stop and ask ‘God what is your will for me here?’ No, we know His will is for us to help the lady. Maybe He stays silent sometimes when we ask to know His will, because he’s already revealed it. If it’s sharing salvation and the hope of Christ, if it’s helping others, if it’s anything He tells us to do in His word, we know it’s His will. Our job is to trust Him, and do it. The Bible often talks about knowing God’s will in past tense. So, the third point to knowing God’s will for our lives is taking initiative in areas where His will is already revealed to us (which comes back to knowing His voice through the Bible!).

Sometimes I’ve gotten frustrated with knowing God’s will, and questioned: why can’t God make it obvious what I’m meant to do? He could send a letter, or write it in the sky. But God isn’t a machine to give us answers. He’s our Father, and more than anything, He wants a relationship with us. If He gave us missives from heaven every time we wanted to know something, we would treat Him like google. Have a question? Just God it. But we can’t have a relationship with google. I think the struggle to know God’s will might be part of His plan to us draw closer to Him. Even when He doesn’t reveal the answers, we can rest, because we know Who He is – our Father who always, always wants what is best for us.


Have you ever struggled with knowing God’s will? What would you add to this list? Are there other ways we can learn to recognize God’s voice? Do you think God sometimes asks us to come closer to Him before He shows His will?

Also! The giveaway is still open - if you missed it, enter here! And, thanks to feedback from my survey, I’m going to begin posting on schedule! Expect a post every Monday (or maybe Sunday night if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere). They will be inspirational/spiritual/(what genre are my posts?), and if I share anything lighter or more life-y, it will be inbetween. Please pray I’ll grow in time management, and be able to keep my word!

01 November, 2017

31 Hugs Challenge Conclusion and Giveaway!

I was browsing in a shop today, and when I walked past the lady at the counter she said ‘I like your shirt.’ I said a quick ‘thanks,’ but the incident didn’t leave my mind. I was in the middle of a busy shopping centre in the city and a stranger took the time to compliment me. It made me smile, and feel a little lighter. And then I realized I’d just received a hug. :)

The 31 Hugs Challenge was a challenge for me, but it was a blessing. There were times of discouragement, but God’s used it to teach me a few things:

 - Busyness leads to self-centredness. I have been busy with commitments and time pressures –they’re good things, but it’s all what I need to do. Having to stop and think how I could invest in someone else showed me how much I haven’t been doing that. My thought space has been filled up with myself, not others or God. 

- In giving, we often receive. There’s satisfaction in giving to others with no hope of return, both when I saw a happy surprised reaction, and when I didn’t get to see their response. But I found numerous times, when I took the time to give to someone, they gave it back to me. One word or action can start a cycle, a chain reaction. All it takes it one person to begin.

- Investing in others takes effort, but it’s do-able. I may tell myself I don’t have time, but that’s proven to be an excuse. It takes extra focus, but I can fit more giving into my days. I want to continue with this attitude, not pressuring myself ‘one hug every day,’ but cultivating a mindset of looking out for others and how I can brighten their day. 

- Complimenting gets easier with practice. I’m not an outgoing person (although my family may disagree), and it takes courage for me to say to someone’s face: you’re amazing, you look nice, you have great organisational skills, you’re my role model, etc. I think those things, but I get nervous when I say them. But it’s courage that I can develop. It’s a habit I can cultivate, and it will get easier. 

To conclude the challenge and say a massive thank-you for the blessing and inspiration you are to me, I made five key tags to give away! I’ve dubbed them ‘truth tags’ because I want the messages to remind you of the truth that you’re are loved and valuable, thought of and cared for. I wish I could make you all one. 

The giveaway is open worldwide, and closes seven days from now. If the winners don’t respond one week after I contact them, I will choose another winner. I will be sending one tag to five different winners.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 Also, huge thanks to each of you who filled out my feedback form. It’s given me helpful insight and direction, and also amazing encouragement. :) Thank you. If you haven’t filled it in yet, you can do so here. Your thoughts matter to me!

I’m eager to hear your 31 Hugs experiences! How did you find the challenge? What did you learn from it? Did anything stand out to you? Thanks for joining in this month of sharing hope with the world! You kept me going. :) Stay awesome, stay strong, friends!