Tag Archives: Beauty
31. Oct, 2012

Breathe

Breathe

Some of you may have heard that at the beginning of October I injured myself when I was tackled by a teenager at work. From that time my hip has given me continual problems. Today as I sat once again in the physiotherapist’s office with tears in my eyes, I felt immensely discouraged.  She had just finished trying to get me to bring my knee to my chest as she gently pushed down on it; which consequently caused pain to shoot through my hip and made me cry out. Hence the tears. I have now been referred to have an ultrasound done on the muscles surrounding my hip as she believes I have torn something in my muscles. I sat there only hearing half of what she was saying to me because to be honest they thought they figured out the issue before, only to be wrong. I thought about having to get up in a few minutes and the way my hip would surely catch as I stood. I thought about how many steps it would be back to my car. I thought about how much pain I have been in the past weeks when I have sat, stood, walked, slept, etc. I thought about how much I don’t want to hurt anymore.

As I was thinking and sorting through my thoughts, I felt as though God was asking me for some time. Just Him and me, without any distractions. So I went down to the back of camp and laid in the grass for a while, praying and chatting with God, watching the clouds drift lazily by. God started whispering to my heart to just stop and breathe. He asked me to breathe without saying anything, without praying, without doing anything but breathe.  I’m not sure how long I lay like that, just breathing and feeling the warmth of the sun of my face but eventually He spoke to my heart again. You see I have been busy the last couple of months. I have run from one thing to the next without stopping for air, until I fall into my bed at night exhausted. Today Papa reminded me of the need to slow down and appreciate the life around me. I lay on that grass and quieted my soul before Him. I have been so busy that I have been missing God in the moments that surround my days. I have become so hectic and drawn into the lie that I need to fill my days with as much stuff as I can, that I have been missing my Papa whisper to my heart. I know that God will take everything and make it work together for the good of those who love them. Today I can’t help but wonder if God is taking this injury to my hip and asking me to slow down(not that I think He caused the injury or that He won’t heal my hip, I just think He is using it as a tactile teaching thing for me).

Today as I lay in that grass I felt at peace for the first time in a long while. I felt God’s Spirit wash over my soul and a quiet calm settle in. Does my hip feel better? No. But more importantly my heart is at rest and it feels better. As I got up to walk back home I was reminded once again by the gentle whisper to just breathe.

129. Moments where God so clearly speaks to my heart
130. Watching the clouds in the sky
131. Feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin
132. The feel of grass beneath my feet
133. The physio who is working so hard to find answers
134. The reminder to slow down
135. Friends and fun times at a BBQ
136. Elderly ladies wanting to chat and their sweet spirits
137. Finishing outdoor first aid
138. Sista’s conference starting tomorrow
139. A pool to swim in
140. Noodle canteen opening in Matamata
141. The birds singing outside my window
142. A fresh breeze
143. Bible reading in the morning to challenge and inspire
144. Making daisy chains on the field
145. Beautiful spring days

26. Oct, 2012

Two years on

Two years on

Sometimes I forget what a mess I was two years ago. I mean some days it feels so close that I have a momentary panic that I’m one slip from going back into that muck. There are days that I get my thoughts wrapped in the wrong direction and I can feel myself heading down a dangerous road. Thankfully in two years I have learned that the past does not own me; I am not who I once was. It’s in those moments that I can almost forget where I was at just two years ago.  To get to the point I am at now, God sure had His work cut out for Him. I arrived in New Zealand exhausted from my battle, weary of going to a place where I didn’t know anyone and scared that I would not survive. Two years later I sit on my veranda, soaking in the sun and contemplate the fact that my life had drastically changed.

I arrived at Totara Springs Christian Centre a week after I landed in New Zealand. I was petrified. I guess that fear showed in my very countenance.  Lately I have asked people what they remember about me when I first showed up here at camp and the response is a bit surprising. Many people didn’t think I spoke I was so quiet. While others didn’t believe I would last or survive camp life. Hardly ever did I start a conversation and when loud people were around I seemed to shrink and shy away. Slowly as God worked on my heart I started to come out of my shell of self-protection. I entered into camp life and started interacting with people more. As God did an overhaul in me, I was starting to realize that I was made for more than I had believed I was. So I started to come to work and made it a goal to speak to someone and remain in the conversation. I know it sounds like such a small thing but to me it was massive. I was allowing people into my life which meant the very real possibility that they would reject me. This of course would have given me an excuse to walk back into my pit and wallow there but rejection was not what I found.

As my time here at the Springs has gone on I have found that people are odd. Meaning we all have our quirks about us, but I guess what I have also learned is that in the quirkiness beauty can be found. I have heard a lot of stories of people’s lives and it never ceases to amaze me that somehow against all odds, we are here, and we have all ended up at the Springs at this moment in time. I think our stories are meant to collide with each other and that we are meant to live in the beauty of community. To awaken our hearts to the love God has for His people.

The other day I stood watching the waves at the beach and was overwhelmed by the grace God has shown me. Two years ago I was trapped in a cage of addiction, wrapped in chains of shame and loathing.  Today I can throw my head back and laugh in the simple beauty of the day. I can speak to those around me, joke around and make mistakes and still be okay. I no longer fall completely apart when I am criticized or someone makes a suggestion to me. I have seen the darkness that this world can offer and I have come out the other side a free woman.  God has been so good to me.


“Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I’m found
Was blind, but now I see
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed
My chains are gone
I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy rains
Unending love, Amazing grace” ~ Amazing Grace, Chris Tomlin

115. Celebrating being in New Zealand for two years
116. Spontaneous car trips to random places by the flip of a coin
117. Laughter of friends
118. Standing on a beach and feeling so small
119. Listening to the waves and remembering all God has done for me
120. That I am not defined by my past
121. Casual seagull wars with another car
122. Music and how it breathes to your soul
123. Freedom
124. Seeing childlike faith in those who came to Elevate
125. Friendships
126. The prayers of my family
127. Instead of a broken rib, just having very deep bone bruises on hip and rib
128. Temperatures that are starting to warm up

06. Oct, 2012

The story behind my tattoo….

The story behind my tattoo….

Tattoos are one of those things that most people have some sort of opinion about. Some see them as art while others view them as an act of rebellion. There are many different views about tattoos and I guess I can’t hold a completely unbiased opinion seeing as how I myself have a tattoo.  This is not a blog to encourage or discourage someone from getting a tattoo. It is not even a blog to try to get people to change their opinions one way or the other. Rather, simply put, this is my story and the reason behind my tattoo.

For those of you who have not seen my tattoo, here is a picture of it (It is a before and after shot due to the fact that I needed to get it fixed which happened today):

 

I waited for a long time to decide exactly what my design would be, five years to be exact. I knew the basic idea of what I wanted but for some reason it wasn’t hitting home. Maybe I am wrong but I reckon God cares about everything about you even down to what you do to your body, which would explain why for 5 years my drawings never felt quite right. It wasn’t until I came out the other side of a very dark time in my life that I was finally able to draw exactly what I wanted as my tattoo.

A lot of people won’t know this but I struggled pretty drastically for quite some time with an eating disorder. I grew up with a mom who was both bulimic and anorexic, meaning the little food she did eat she quickly threw up. In my family we never talked about issues or things that were happening within our family.  So I watched from the time I was little until the day I left home my bio-mom slowly starve herself and deplete her body of any nutrition. As you can imagine I have a pretty warped idea of what healthy eating is and it can be quite a real struggle for me to eat properly and not worry about food or weight.

When I left Australia I was pretty wrapped up in the clutches of anorexia. I felt like I wasn’t measuring up to who or what I was supposed to be. I started trying to fit into the mold of what I thought was perfection. I would obsess about everything I ate and how much exercise I would need to do in order to work it off. I even somehow had it in my head that my curly hair was unacceptable so I would cut it in a way that was short and spiky in the back and straighten my fringe in the front. I was trying to erase any sign of curl because it didn’t fit into what I perceived was beautiful.  A lot of my ideas of beauty came from things I heard while growing up and what others had spoken over me. I finally felt like I was at an age where I could take matters into my own hands and take control. The not so funny thing about eating disorders is that you actually lose control the further you sink into the disease because it takes over you. You then fight harder to take control because you can feel the little control you had slipping from your grasp. Many people are of the opinion that once you struggle with an eating disorder you will never really recover and that you will always struggle with it once the opportunity presents itself. My family (this is my adoptive family…for those who are confused feel free to ask me about it but to put it simply I now have a family of my heart) was of a different opinion, they were convinced that I could break free from the grips of this disease. They started pouring truth from God’s Word into my mind believing that it would begin to reach my heart eventually. I’m not going to lie I was a wreck and I am very stubborn so it took a very long time for my heart to start to receive the truth. I was clutching onto the lies I had believed about myself for so long and it made it difficult for me to understand what truth was.

For many of you, who know me; you know that Psalm 139 is my favorite passage in the Bible. Throughout my struggle with anorexia I kept returning to this passage and wrestling with God about the words within. I had loved this Psalm for a while because of the very intimate images that were displayed throughout it. It was impossible for me to continue believing I was not good enough when I saw God’s heart echoing out of the words of this Psalm. Just have a look at some of the words that captured my heart.

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in Your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
 How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God.
They cannot be numbered!
I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
You are still with me!” ~ Psalm 139:13-18

Very slowly I started to allow these words to penetrate my heart. I’m not going to say it was an instant thing that happened but God started to open my heart to the fact that He had made me and thus I was exactly as I was supposed to be. Psalm 139 is very dear to my heart as it is the passage that helped pull me out of my eating disorder.

Another thing you need to know about me is that stars have always been really important and special to me. This is simply because they remind me of how much God loves me. Did you know that God has named each star by name and still He takes a personal interest in each of us? Even though I am so small in comparison to the galaxy, God still sees me and loves me. If that is not mind blowing I don’t know what is! I can stand looking up at the stars and just get lost in the wonder of God.

So what does this all have to do with my tattoo?  For me I need to have a very real reminder of what God has said about me. You see, my tattoo reminds me of what God thinks about and says about me. I never know when I will be attacked with doubt and often times I am caught off guard. I needed a reminder of Truth that I could instantly look at and start battling against the invading thoughts or lies that filled my head. Hence why I got my tattoo, it is an incredibly tactile way for me to remember God’s Word. You may or may not agree with tattoos, but for me it’s just another way to fight the battle of my thoughts. If you get nothing else out of this post I would just encourage you to go look up Psalm 139 and let the words wash over your heart as they so often do for mine.

28. Sep, 2012

Living through the ups and downs

Living through the ups and downs

Today has been one of those days that I have needed to open my eyes a little wider to catch a glimpse of the beauty around me. It has been a trying day to say the least. After having a camp of about 370 kids and somewhere around 35 adults all week, I think it’s safe to say everyone is tired. I had moments today where I was stressed to the max which of course resulted in tears. There were also moments when I actually thought I could throttle people if I didn’t care about my job so much. I even walked away from one of the adult clients as he sat yelling at me. I figured after I had my shower that it was time to blog and remember the beautiful moments of today.

44. One of the staff seeing my distress and praying for me for that moment and the rest of the day
45. The campers that would just call my name and say hi to me throughout the day
46. The smiles on a lot of the campers faces
47. Volunteers that gave so much of their time this week simply to help us out
48. A night to just relax and watch a movie with my friends
49. The ability of our team to pull together and accomplish what needs to be done
50. The fact that the tiredness of everyone shows what a great camp it was
51. Taking a moment to watch the cute ducklings as they cross the grass
52. Seeing the two beautiful parakeets that come back every year to camp in the spring (apparently they aren’t really parakeets so maybe they are lorikeets? I don’t know I just know they are stunning!)
53. A friend choosing to send a care package from the States for me
54. Re-connecting through facebook with the man who saved my life…literally.
I have to share the story behind number 54. When I was in High School I was pretty messed up and somehow I ended up in the office of Bob and Chris. Both were teachers who had  hearts for the kids in the school who probably wouldn’t survive High School. Meaning they cared about the kids everyone else thought were too much. Chris pulled me into her office one day after one of my friends told her about me. From that day on I traveled a rocky road to graduation with Bob and Chris. I will never forget the day I came home to find out that Bob had come to my house and waited for me to get home. You see he knew that I would not survive the night and so he came to make sure I did. He waited awkwardly with my grandma until I came home from my movie. Thus he knew that I was safe, and would not harm myself that night. The next day of course I was furious with him but the thing about Bob was that he could take it. He believed in tough love and that is exactly what I needed.

Chris and Bob were the first people to take notice of me and really see the hurting heart I held inside. They fought for me in such a hard core way.  I didn’t realize until the last week of classes my senior year just how much they worried about me. The last day I had class with Bob he looked me in the eye and told me that I was the first person that he had ever come across that he honestly didn’t know if I would be there the next day. Meaning he didn’t know if I would kill myself in the night. I will never be able to truly say thank you enough to this man because honestly I would not be here today if it were not for him. I would never know the beauty of New Zealand or the beauty of being able to truly live. He opened my eyes to the huge possibilities around me and showed me that there would be life after High School but that I had to reach out and take it. I owe a lot of my strength and perseverance to him. Man… to find him on facebook was awesome, it really made my day!

p.s. since I was talking about Bob from High School I figured I would throw in our High School logo so that is the picture for the blog today :)

20. Sep, 2012

When your eyes are opened…

When your eyes are opened…

 

This is day two of the dare and I have to say that already I feel this stir in my heart, that maybe in my life I have seen things through cloudy vision. As I worked and laughed through my day yesterday, my eyes were opened up to the fact that God was in every moment. Simple concept right? Maybe not.

I am challenged by the  idea that I have separated out my life into God moments and not God moments. Meaning I have somehow looked at my life and decided points where God was present and others where He maybe was looking away for a moment. As I walked around last night trying to get the campers quiet I realized I have been seeing things backwards. Somewhere along the line I had chosen to see God in the pleasant moments and not in the tough moments. Without even realizing it, I have somehow allowed my heart to believe that in the tough moments, God must be busy and not truly have my best interest at heart. Whoa… that is a hard realization for me. Sure looking back I can see how God has used the crap situations in my life but at the bottom of my heart I do not believe He was there in those moments.

In this idea, all I am left to believe is that I have allowed the enemy to rob me of a very basic truth. God is everywhere and in everything, no matter the circumstance.  And maybe this is where the rubber meets the road. I imagined this dare would challenge my heart. I never imagined that after one day of looking outside of myself and seeing the world around me that God would speak so clearly.

As I sat outside in the dark, He whispered to my heart, “Do you see Me now?” I see Him better yes, but not completely, not 100% clearly. Somehow  I think He is okay with that. This dare is a journey and I am excited yet petrified to see where it leads….

7. Gluten-free chocolate chip brownie : This is something at camp that is consistently good! Coming from someone who doesn’t even like brownie you have to realize it must be good :)

8. Co-workers who are friends: I had many conversations yesterday that filled my heart with joy. Moments of laughter, moments of prayer and moments of just sharing life.

9. Reconciliation of friendships

10. Spring days: I can not say enough how happy I am that the sun is shining and starting to warm up the days! I feel like throwing my head back and letting the sun kiss my face, just so I can drink it in. It also makes me feel like finding a field of flowers to lie down in,making daisy chains and drinking lemonade :)

19. Sep, 2012

Truth or Dare?

Truth or Dare?

I came across a very interesting concept from one of my friends today and it challenged me into action. Today I will embark on a game of truth or dare. You remember the game from your younger years? I was not particularly fond of the game. I was always trying to weigh up in my mind whether or not I could simply slip into the woodwork without doing anything. I shied away from dares because I knew the minds of my friends (no offense guys but we were crazy!), but I also did not want the risk of having to answer a question about myself truthfully. It’s a terrible game of risk and either way it reveals something about you to the others playing the game. I guess for me I hated the feeling of vulnerability the game left you with.

So then, why would I choose now to play the game of truth or dare? I am choosing to embark on this journey because I believe I need to. I believe this game will require me to become vulnerable to God and to those around me and share where my heart is. I think this game will change this heart of mine for the better. It will challenge me to see the good in the ins and outs of everyday moments.

What then is this game of truth or dare?  “The dare is: record 1,000 gifts of grace and beauty. The truth is: grace can be found in every moment – happy, sad, scared, sacred, frustrating and beautiful. The risk is: exposing myself to testing and change.” (Julia McMahan)  In this it becomes more than a game because it will cause a real life change, which is hopefully for the better. This dare is asking me to record my thankfulness and through it I pray that I become a more grateful and thankful person.  You see I struggle to be thankful in difficult circumstances. My instant reaction is not to look around and see the beauty that has been bestowed upon me but rather to dwell in the muck of the circumstance. Somehow I don’t think God would want my heart to be like that.  He has been challenging me lately to move away from my learned response of negativity and to start living in the beauty of the moment.

Do I think this challenge will be easy? No, I am not naive enough to think that changing an old habit will be simple. I know without a doubt that hard times will come. Times where I will think this game of truth or dare is more trouble than it is worth. Yet at the same time I think that if I am able to cling to God and keep walking forward in obedience, that He will meet me there and teach me new things. I believe that when we get to the other side, the risk of this game will have opened my eyes to the grace and beauty around me. And that my friends, will make this game worth it.

Here goes:
1. A beautiful spring day in which I am allowed to work outside
2. The fact that so many people come through these gates that we have a chance to show God’s love to
3. Laughter from a friend
4. A quick note of encouragement
5. Sunglasses that make the colors all around look clearer and brighter
6. Coffee…always a good thing!

24. Jul, 2011

Precious Moments

Precious Moments

I had an amazing God moment this morning when He splashed His creative beauty across the Kaimais and I was reminded who He is. He is Elohim, the brilliant Creator of this earth and of me. He is El-Roi, the God who sees me. He is Jehovah-Rapha, the God who heals not only physically but emotionally. He is the first, the last, the beginning and the end. He is my strong tower, the fortress I run to when I need shelter. He is stronger than any power or authority in the seen and unseen world. He is my King, the One who I pledge allegiance to. He is the Author of my days, He knows my todays and my tomorrows. He is my Abba, Father, my Papa, my Daddy who comforts me and disciplines me in His ways. I am His child, adopted into His kingdom and He turns His ear to me to hear my cries. He is love beyond anything I can ever imagine, all of Heaven stops when I call upon His name. My God is powerful and personal. My God is forever. He is the whisper in the wind and the rhythm in the rain. He is the light in the darkness, guiding me home. He is the keeper of His promises, never will He break them. He is worthy of all praise and honor. He is not silenced by the world’s demands, for He is greater than the world and the prince that rules it. He is the air that I breathe in the morning for He is the giver of life. He is the one I will bend my knee to, falling flat on my face. He is the one who reminds me of a greater calling and purpose. He is the one who wraps me in His arms and comforts me. He is Victory. He is GOD and He is my Master, I no longer have to serve another. THANK YOU PAPA!!!!! Thank You for being good. Thank You for taking a chance on me. Thank You for never letting me go. Thank You for drawing back to You arms. Thank You for the hard lessons. Thank You for allowing me the chance to start again. Thank You Papa for being my King….

11. Jul, 2011

Shattered Mirror

Shattered Mirror

The mirror is shattered
glass pieces scattered
across the ground
with the shards of the past
distorting every angle
when did beauty become defined
by what you see
instead of who you are
when did we replace
God’s value
with the world’s insane ideal
can somebody tell me
what is real
we poison the minds
of our future generations
destroying their worth
with impossible standards
reminding them daily
they will never measure up
where did we go wrong
and how do we keep
letting it go on
wake up from your apathy
look around and see
this vanity crisis
is devastating
when did significance
start getting measured
by a number
found on a scale
how dare we destroy
the hearts and souls
of these beautiful creations
rise up now
and start a revolution
it’s time to stop playing the game
and start teaching them
about true beauty
and learning to believe it
ourselves.
July 8,2011

19. Jun, 2011

Rhythm of the rain

Rhythm of the rain

I watched the rain today.  And not from my normal position, watching it run down the window panes like a quietly trickling river as I sat curled comfortably and warm inside. No I watched the rain slip from the sky and connect with my face. I felt the shock of cold wash against me and demand my attention.  I was entranced by the beautiful vibrant rhythm it created against the surface of the pool.  The rain was dancing around me and for the life of me I could not tear my eyes away.  I got lost in the explosions of each precious drop as it found its resting place silently exchanging its uniqueness for oneness with the others around it. And for a moment I found myself lost in the simplistic beauty of God’s creation. I was overwhelmed that something as small and innocent as a rain drop would be formed and commanded by Elohim to fall at that moment and connect with my face.  I watched the rain today… and it was breathtaking.