A story to tell

imageIf I was to create a drama what would it be? A fantastical, musical show or would it be a skit that leaves an impact.

If I was an author what would I write? A piece of creative fiction or reflections of a real life story?

I love a good fiction novel if it has a purpose, or it leaves me wondering what happened to the characters after the story has ended. Is there more? Will there be a sequence? You know it’s well written if it leaves you wanting more.

I love a non-fiction book if I feel that I can relate to the content within it. I especially love reading stories based on true events, or someone’s life, where it leaves me wanting to know more.

I have written a book called Created to Shine: A journey of faith through the storms of life that I hope will do exactly that.  In it I share from my heart some wisdom I’ve learnt from many years of struggles, mistakes and hardship. It wasn’t easy to write parts of it because it exposes portions of my life that I would rather forget. Yet it’s an open and honest account of my life and what God has done for me.

My hope is that by reading the pages within this book, you will find the keys to personal and spiritual freedom. I share it because I don’t want anyone else to experience the loneliness, sadness, frustration and consequences I’ve suffered. I came to the conclusion that it was worth putting my story to paper if it helps those struggling with the same things I have to experience victory and true freedom.

Watch my new promotional video Created to Shine

My book Created to Shine is available for purchase through Amazon.com, Amazon.com.au and yourbooksonline.com.au

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Storms of Life

Jesus save me (resized)

I’m going to start today’s blog by sharing a segment out of Chapter Three of my book Created to Shine: A journey of faith through the storms of life

The following section flows on after I talk about the radical turnaround the we encountered as a family, thinking that things were going to be better for the family, but we did not know the struggles that we would face in the years ahead.

……This took us on a whole new journey and for a few years things got better in our family. The church bought an old bus and painted the word “Jesus is Lord” on it. Dad drove that old bus around the housing commission area to pick up kids for Joytime Club and Mum would run it. A lady at church was teaching me how to play the piano by learning chord progression and I was able to play for Joytime, which was easy because all the songs were just a three chord progression. I started to gain confidence and make some friends. But my parents became unhappy and disillusioned with the Bendigo CRC church that we attended. They wanted to serve God, but felt that if they stayed, their faith would become stagnant. Apart from relationship complications and confrontations that were occurring too frequently. But all the problems that I’d experienced at that time were nothing compared to the upheaval that was to come…..

I’ve been thinking a lot about the storms we face during the course of our lives and also what we see happening around the world. When you look at the news it’s overwhelming and we don’t know how we can help. I have found that the only one who has been able to help me when I feel like I am drowning is God. He lifts me out of the stormy seas and puts me down on solid rock. It staggers me sometimes what others go through, and I wonder how they get to the other end. Humans are resilient, but there are terrible things that people go through that can scar them for life.

I’m hoping that by reading my book that it will encourage you to find your purpose, and that your future will be full of hope.

My book can be purchased at Amazon.com, Amazon.com.au and yourbooksonline.com.au

‘Tis the Season

IMG_0396I don’t know about you, but November and December seems to be the time when the stresses of life catch up with us, and just keeps on increasing to the ridiculous until Christmas Day. Then we spend the next week recuperating until we are finally able to wind down from a busy year.  It was November 2011 when I fell and broke my foot in five places. It was three months before I could go back to work and six months in all of physiotherapy. Through the many hospitals visits during recovery, I met people with casts or boots on one or both legs, and we shared our stories. A lot of people said that it happened because they were rushing or moving too quickly. There seems to be an extra tension in the air at that time of the year where there is more risk of injury than at any other time of the year. This year was no exception as I heard of several trampoline accidents in the weeks and days leading up to Christmas.

A friend told me of a little boy who fell off a trampoline onto his head just days before Christmas, sustaining head injuries, and was in a pretty bad shape.  Then we heard from our neighbour that their eight year old girl was in hospital recovering from surgery. She also had sustained a serious injury a couple of weeks before Christmas whilst playing on a trampoline.  Her accident resulted in a painful condition called compartment syndrome, which occurs when pressure within the muscles builds to dangerous levels. This pressure can decrease blood flow, which prevents nourishment and oxygen from reaching nerve and muscle cells. Such was the damage that the Dr feared if things didn’t settle they might have to amputate her foot. The Dr told her that she will never be able to dance again, which was devastating for the little girl, because she loved ballet and dreamed of becoming a ballerina. When we found out, we asked our church to pray for her. Thank God, the surgeon was able to save her foot and now the prognosis looks pretty good.

I did this painting for the little girl to give her hope, and to say that, even if she doesn’t dance, she will still be able to use her talents in another way. I told her about my own daughter who also dreamed of becoming a ballerina until a specialist told her that she would never be able to. This devastated her at the time, but she instead learnt other forms of dance and took up singing. She has been the lead singer in a band for about 10 years now. I love watching her perform, because she puts all of herself into the songs. Even I haven’t given up on dancing. Even though my movement is restricted because of the metal in my foot, I can move with a certain amount of rhythm.

I gave this picture to the little girl to give her a fresh determination to try new and exciting things, and to let her know that she has a great future ahead of her.

Shelter through the Firestorms

Psalm 91 (compressed)Since the end of November last year, within my family and close friends, there has been a wedding, funeral, Christmas, New Year and then the fires. Thrown in the mix were other incidences, some of which were stupid and unnecessary, but were out of my control. There was little to no break between each and it seemed that every day brought something else. This was bordering on the ridiculous and I wondered how much more I could take. I wasn’t the only one going through it, most people I know were going through a similar type of storm.

Then on  Friday 2 January a firestorm began in the foothills not far from our home. We were watching it develop, took some photos, but didn’t ever think we would get the call to evacuate. But on Saturday at about 2 o’clock in the morning we received the message from the CFS. We packed up our cars and went to a friends home near Gawler. Another couple arrived as well about an hour after us. In all there were nine people, one cat and two dogs in that house. None of us slept that night as we listened to ABC radio wondering if we might need to evacuate again. At that stage the fire seemed to be travelling toward us but still a reasonable distance away. We were so focused on keeping watch that we didn’t pray or do anything – we couldn’t. It was all consuming. We are now home safe and secure and the storm seems to have passed. Visions of devastation and stories of experiences are beginning to unfold, and I thank God that no one lost their lives from the fire.

After we arrived back home on Sunday, I remembered a dream I had back in 2010. I didn’t fully understand what it meant at that time. In the dream there were firestorms all around our neighbourhood and we had to keep watch and be alert. Then later I was in a house with other people a safe distance away. It was night time and we kept going outside, watching the sky for fire clouds. Then I saw to my left what I thought was a large dark rain cloud, but as my eyes adjusted it became clearer and seemed to have a pattern. This became larger and as it was filling the sky it came closer and closer until I could touch it. I looked again and saw that this was coming from a distant tree on a hill. As I reached out and touched one of the patterns, I discovered that these were large purple feather-like flowers. I picked one and pinned it on me. and as I did, I perceived that these were the blessings of God.

Now I know the full interpretation of that dream because we had been living it the past few months and the firestorms became a reality. Yet through it, I felt a deep peace. I knew we were going to be alright. And this is why we didn’t need to pray for ourselves. We were already sheltering under the shadow of God’s wings.

For about a year the Lord had been reminding me of Psalm 91 and I knew that there would come a time when I would need to rely on this message of hope to get me through whatever it was that would come. Psalm 91:1-4 says, “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.”

All those who had gathered together in the house that day had already made this a lifestyle. Even though our focus was totally on what was going on around us, we could do nothing accept keep watch, be alert, and do what we had to do. It was when we came back home that, because we were already living in His shelter, we realised we still were. Because we have been in that lifestyle, we know that God will bless us and protect us through all that stuff. Its a good lesson to keep going like that. When we live in that lifestyle the Lord responds to us with blessing and favor. It doesn’t mean that we don’t feel the experiences or go through the storms but the Lord hears, honors, and delivers us when we are in trouble.

There’s a story recorded in Mark 4:38 which tells of when Jesus was asleep in the hull of a boat he and the disciples were in when they encountered a fierce storm. The disciples were panicking in the storm but Jesus wasn’t. Why? He knew that they were going to get to the other side. Because He knew that – He was in perfect peace. And that’s what he wants us to have. This story was written for our benefit so that we can look at it and realise that’s what Jesus wants us to have – perfect peace.

Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you.”

Last night I remembered some of the words of a song by Hillsong called ‘Anchor’ which says: I have this hope as an anchor for my soul; Through every storm I will hope to You. In endless love all my fear is swept away; In everything I will trust in You.