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Life of an Ordinary Aussie Woman

Saturday, 5 December 2015

20 Ways To Keep Stress-Free At Christmas.

So how does one keep their stress levels down during this Christmas holiday season – Or perhaps more adequately named the Silly-Season?

This is my tried and proven list of 20 very real things I do to keep sane and as stress-free as possible during this time of year:

1. Refusing to spend money I don’t have.
It can be really difficult to do things a new way in comparison to the way you’ve always operated as an adult; I do understand this, but truly if you can break free of using credit to purchase items, you will never regret it!

2. Celebrating the Christmas holiday season as Jesus’ birthday.
Or as a time to remember His birth rather than as a very extravagant second-birthday for every member of your family – that is just crazy! Feel ill-equipped to do this? Take them to church.

3. Planning ahead to spend time together.

Yes, this can be at home if you cannot afford to go away – so be prepared with games, books, crafts, movies, outings etc.

4. Eat as fresh and local as you can.
From your own veggie garden is obviously ideal. Keep food as inexpensive, fresh and as quick to prepare as possible.

5. Thoroughly clean your house before the week of Christmas arrives.
Do the jobs that are often left like, dusting, vacuuming the whole house, changing the bed linen. Involve the kids if possible and teach them to help keep the house clean too, to help their family.

6. Say no, refuse to compare, and get adequate sleep.
Don’t say yes to everything. Know your limits and don’t feel guilty if you skip an event – make sure you get adequate sleep and re-charge. Also say NO to comparing yourself to others and then feeling false-guilt when in your mind you are not as good! We all know what it’s like to look at other people’s posts, with their shop-like, home-baking efforts, and/or their luxurious family holidays…Simply say no, refuse to compare and hug your kids every day!

7. Be prepared in advance for special events.
It’s stressful when you’re trying to get ready for a special lunch or outing and everyone has a problem. I like to have taken steps toward avoiding this as best as I can. I make sure we all have had our hair done (even if it is a home dye and/or home hair-cut for my kids) and we all have some comfortable, decent clothes and shoes to wear out. This helps me stay calm and not get upset by avoiding pulling out something we planned to wear, only to find it is too small.

8. Have Christmas dinner out.
Is your budget really difficult? Plan ahead and find a community Christmas dinner if you can’t afford to do your own and don’t feel guilty – give thanks to God that these dinners are available for you and your family to enjoy.

9. Having kids’ friends over as a treat.
Explain to your kids the reality of having friends over – it can be simply expensive having another child to feed and you have less time together. Help your child/ren understand having friends over is a treat and not an everyday occurrence.

10. Make gifts or vouchers for friends.
I love to give but some Christmases for me have been challenging financially so I’d draw some art to give or bake some biscuits. Another idea I’ve seen is to give a ‘service’ voucher; for example, one free night of child-minding.

11. Be wise and honest with demanding people.
Many people struggle at this time of year and can become quite demanding, making your life more stressful than usual. Be wise with how you help demanding people and also be honest with them in a loving way; for example if they ask why you haven’t replied to their late night text, honestly say you were tired and it was late!

12. Have some quick gifts on hand.
Buying some small gifts like a bottle of wine or a small box of chocolates when they’re on sale, and having them in the pantry really helps when someone invites you over unexpectedly.

13. Buy yourself a special treat like some nail polish, a lipstick, or fragrance.

It makes us feel good when we’re well groomed for special occasions like the holidays – depending upon your style you could treat yourself to; a bright nail polish, lipstick, or body fragrance to put on for the holidays.

14. Avoid the shopping malls as much as possible.
Be wise with your day-of-the-week and time-of-day you head to the mall (if you need to at all). The parking, amount of people, queues and tension in the air is enough to raise anyone’s stress levels.

15. Do a bulk shop in advance.

Products like toilet paper, dish-washing liquid, washing powder, cleaning products, shampoo etc. can all be purchased in bulk and in advance so that you don’t run out over the holidays…or save your coins in advance for the laundromat, so you’re not inconvenienced by having none at the last minute.

16. Accept less clutter.
If possible say no to flyers, receipts and anything that will just end up in the bin after having sat on your bench for 3 or more months.

17. Intentionally switch-off and relax some nights.

Make yourself a nice beverage, switch off the television and WiFi and call an old friend one night to say Merry Christmas, or perhaps soak in the tub.

18. Ask the kids to be quiet.
Teach your children to be respectful of other people’s needs (this is of course dependent upon ages and developmental stages). For example teach them to be quiet if someone else is having a sleep-in or a nap.

19. Model manners and peace to your family and children. How much nicer would our communities be if this happened more? Let’s be intentional in raising children from families and loving communities, rather than more self-focused consumers.

20. Pray.
Last but really first, pray for God’s peace for you and your family, also for patience, love and wisdom to really relax and keep stress-free.

Melanie :)

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Luke-Warm Christians:

I will be honest, sometimes I just want to scream in frustration – the mounting frustration I can feel when I am met with half-dead responses from some Christians.

People who meet inspired ideas with responses like; I’m not sure that will help my budget; Oh you really need help – I thought that was running fine?; Wow it must be tough for those kids; I can’t speak with you right now, I’m not working at the moment; Well have fun trying to do that; Hey that’s a great idea, I hope you get someone to help; Isn’t that your job?

Do you know what I mean – Luke Warm Christianity?

Yet when I want to stamp my foot and shake these people into consciousness, it is then that The Lord reminds me that they actually need MORE LOVE – specifically more of HIS LOVE!

Some of these people have been hurt in their past, and sadly hurt by people whom they’ve attended church with. They may have even become burnt out in the past from continual, legalistic serving.

Our world is dying from drought – a drought from the lack of spiritual watering of the Word of God being poured out.

The world is blinded by the enemy and is trying its hardest to stop bible adhering, evangelical Christians from proclaiming the Gospel. It’s making headlines more and more often that sometimes I just want to cry…Yet I know the power of the Gospel and the faithfulness of The Lord, so I keep on, with Him, working at planting and watering the seeds of truth until He returns.

Luke-Warm Christians are often just trying to survive in this hard world and we evangelicals MUST forgive every offense that hurts us – as we too need forgiving for our shortcomings which we can be blinded to.

LOVE conquers all and it is by continuing to love others, while walking our own journey as honestly and faithfully as we can that we speak, (without words) of another way to live – yes LIVING rather than just existing. 

In Revelation Jesus warns luke-warm Christians, because He loves them - He just doesn't spit them out instantly and we need to follow His example.

Sometimes I get frustrated, but then I need reminding that my frustration is really due to my own self-focus and needs rather than continuing to LOVE and TRUST The Lord!

May we continue to LOVE even when it makes us uncomfortable!

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Keep away from weirdos: Yes, I say this to my kids.

Okay, so in this political-correctness-gone-overboard age, I am being game in admitting that I say to my kids and their friends, ‘Keep away from weirdos’ when they go out and even when we’re all going out together…yes, even to a church event!

Kids have good discernment, as their parent it’s YOUR JOB to each them to use it and trust it.

My mum set this example for me while growing up, she was proactive in her guidance as she knew that there would be times she simply wouldn’t be with us. She told us age appropriate stories that had made headlines and spoke about ways to get out of those situations…She was ahead of her time compared to so many other parents I knew – today in counselling it’s coined an 'action plan', but really shouldn’t parents be the most trusted and wise-counselor a child has??

So, Yes I say to my kids to, ‘Keep away from weirdos…’

It’s not that I think I am better than some people or that some are beyond God’s healing power. It’s simply that some mentally unwell people and can hurt my children and me. I actually like the word WEIRDO, because usually the first thing we notice about someone who could hurt us is their strangeness; sometimes it’s difficult to put our finger on, but we sense something is not quite right with the person. It could be an intensity a person is emitting, an over friendliness focused toward one person (possibly us), erratic behaviour or even super-slickness – the behaviour can actually be so diverse which is why I like the word 'weirdo'.

And for those of you who think this will create name-calling children, I have to say that my children know it’s not cool in our house to name-call anyone and they’re pretty good about it. But I do use the term weirdo because it simply means someone, yes ANYONE, who is acting weird, period. I love and care about people but I will do everything in my power to stop evil acts and protect others…And this involves giving permission to my kids to say about someone else, that their behaviour is not normal, it is WEIRD. That certain behaviour is WRONG and BAD and UNACCEPTABLE - to grow into strong, secure adults who will stand up for themselves and fight for justice.

Yes, my kids know I will call a spade a spade but they also know that they can TRUST me - Kids confide in people they TRUST and weirdos stay away from well protected kids!

Talk to your children all the time – raise kids who know their worth and won’t accept less than great relationships, by being confident to call out immature and abusive behaviour from others and unashamedly seek help when necessarily.

Let me finish with a remark about social media because this is a medium for predators sadly, which can be masked behind very well: People who send your child a friend request (whom obviously know you) yet are not friends with you on social media by their own choosing should not be trusted...simple, end of story. Parents openly hack your kids’ profiles often and unashamedly! Be just as proactive in protecting your kids online as you are in public places. True, trustworthy people are transparent...

And, if a teenager can't be friends with their parent on social media then there is an issue - perhaps neither are mature enough to be on social media?

Melanie :)

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Green Eggs and Ham and a Call for Modesty.

The famous Dr. Seuss book ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ has 2 characters, the happy-go-lucky ‘Sam-I-Am’ and the unnamed protagonist, resistant to eating Sam’s green eggs and ham.

The usual reading of this famous poetic children’s story reveals to hesitant and suborn kids that it’s okay to try new things, like a new food. This teaching is fine, but today I want to talk openly and frankly about modesty, especially as it is now almost summer here in Australia, and want to use this book as a basis for what is now a controversial topic, seeming to be awkwardly avoided by many.

I do love to discuss topics that are important for the church. I get tired of the same old conversations about the weather and like to offer perspectives that may not be generally added to many conversations. I will warn you however that my traditional, now considered by some to be politically incorrect view, will perhaps challenge you but for that I am unapologetic. So let’s get back to ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ for a different perspective…

Sam’s entrance at the very beginning of the book is regal. Sam is standing on the back of another character being carried around while tipping his hat like royalty to those he passes, holding a sign stating his title, ‘I-AM-SAM’. I AM is the name God calls Himself when speaking to Moses, it is written without vowels in Hebrew to English as YHWH, from which when we add vowels for pronunciation we get Yahweh. In English Y also gets substituted with J and W for V, which is why we also have Jehovah…so Yahweh and Jehovah both are the same name meaning; I am who I say I am…I AM…like Alpha and Omega; the beginning and the end.

So right at the beginning of this story we have a character who presents himself as a wise king or as someone equating themselves with God. The second passing by Sam immediately does is on a second new beast, while holding a new sign in red, ‘Sam-I-AM’. This rightly infuriates the moral protagonist. We could think even more creatively and imagine Sam as the false prophet in Revelation riding the 2 beasts mentioned.

Okay so now you have a choice to either stop reading, as this may be too much a stretch for you, or to keep reading and see what this has to do with modesty…I hope you stick with me a little longer as I don’t think I’m really too crazy!

So, after the 2 passes by, Sam immediately begins to tempt the moral protagonist. Immediately we think ‘yuck’, green eggs and ham are rotten and understand why the unnamed character refuses the offer. We can identify that Sam is now the false prophet as God NEVER tempts us (James 1:13) and know that the enemy tempts us just like Adam and Eve in the garden and Jesus in the wilderness. The unrelenting pressure for the moral protagonist to concede to eating takes up 28 text pages! The weary protagonist does cave-in from the pressure and eats – yet when he does it is not a simple, ‘Oh you were right, they’re okay!’ It is like an immediate addiction, he will now eat them all the time and anywhere!

I can relate this pursuit to what the enemy and the world is doing today to all people, male and female, young and old in regards to morals and modesty.

I am frustrated to see even in the church so many people getting worn down and giving in…I see it from frightened parents, scantily-clad teenagers, and unwise immoral relationships from regular church attenders.

It’s almost summer here and I see girls and women showing cleavage and thighs. I hear men saying it’s their job to look away, yet also feeling sad that they need to. I see parents not parenting – scared their child will not attend church with them anymore and projecting their family’s problems onto others.

Yet I say to you young people today want to follow people of conviction!

I would NEVER say to you that it is okay to hit or name call your daughter if she is dressed scantily – I would ask you why have not you not loved on her more so that she does not crave this attention and taught her better? Also if your son in not modest, I would wonder why and what example you’re setting?

If a young person has a problem with what I am saying I would like to simply ask them, ‘How would you feel if I was at church with cleavage showing and was speaking with your dad?’ ‘Do you think that is me caring for my brother-in-Christ or his wife, your mum, my sister-in-Christ and their marriage?’ Let’s be honest.

Jesus said to even look at another with lust is adultery/fornication…See Matthew 5:27-30.

Scripture says to ‘flee sexual temptation’ in 1 Corinthians 6:18 which is why Jesus said to pluck your eye out if it causes you to sin! Of course Jesus doesn’t mean literally – But He does want us to know that we are to take lust seriously!! For once we get a taste, we can so quickly become addicted just like the protagonist in ‘Green Eggs and Ham’…The enemy does not want you or I to thrive in healthy married relationships, and enjoy our husband or wife the way God intended.

There is no freedom in wearing revealing clothing or going naked as that just makes you the object of someone else's sexual fantasy - true freedom comes from being grounded in Christ and educated to understanding the unconscious, biological responses to nakedness that occur and making wise choices to be treated as an intellectual equal to others!

If as a parent you are challenged by what I say, I would like to say to you that I am not saying anything that is not scriptural and that God is so gracious, every new day is a new opportunity to lead our families in God’s grace and love. Furthermore, I am not saying we need to go back to no pants for women, hats, or full-length blouses in summer! I am saying that we need to live in awe of our Holy God – I think we could do well to think of the priests serving wearing their albs in high church – We need to put on Christ and make no provision for the flesh (Romans 13:14), shining out His purity into this sadly hyper-sexualised world.

As always am always open to discussion, your sister-in-Christ, Melanie.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Are you being called into church leadership: 6 Questions to help know if the time is right.

This post is for anyone who may feel The Lord is calling them into church leadership, to gain some clarity to reflect further prayerfully with The Lord, to help know if it is the right time to pursue things further. I think of David being anointed for his vocation as King of Israel long before the appointment came.

You may already be in some sort of leadership position by serving in some way and know that The Lord is moving within your heart, letting you know that there is more of this still yet to come…and honestly this may have you feeling somewhat uncomfortable at the moment.

Uncomfortable because you understand the gravity of church leadership and this is a GOOD thing!

For if someone has an attitude along the lines of, ‘let me at this so I can do a much better job…’ then I’d have to say that if they’re facing shut doors at the moment, then that’s probably best as they need more time to spiritually mature.

You see, you could have the best grades at seminary, or the best musical skills compared to anyone else in your church, the best attendance or the least problems, but until you’re grounded in spiritual maturity of love and humility you are an easy target for the enemy. If you have never read 1 Corinthians 13 from the perspective of Christian maturity for church leadership I suggest you read it now…seriously, and try your best to shirk off the notion of this passage in relation to marital relationships, due to its use at so many weddings!

St. Paul acknowledges the fact of the real need for spiritual maturity for church leadership by saying new converts should not be church leaders as pride can be an easy tool of the enemy to pull them down (see 1 Tim 3:6) and repeats it in chapter 5:22 warning Timothy not to ordain anyone hastily. While we can read this scripture I want to make it personally applicable by offering six questions for reflection:

1. How easily annoyed do you become with the shortcomings of others? For example their slowness to learn a new song or to clean up the kitchen after an event?
Read, Proverbs 14:29James 1:19.

2. Can you bite your tongue? Can you give people the space to speak and be heard without being quickly shut down; to think things through for themselves without feeling condemned? 
Read, Proverbs 18:21; Mark 9:42; James 3:1-12.

3. Do you realise you need to lead by example? The local church is not always a place of mature saints; it is a home for spiritual growth with leaders in a position similar to parents. If you become easily frustrated with the spiritual immaturity of others, expecting them to be the same as you, you will struggle in a position of leadership. Church leaders face all types of things and need to be maturely grounded in Christ to lead by exemplifying love and purity. Furthermore you must consider your wife/husband and children in relation to your example; they are your first ministry.
Read, 1 Timothy 4:12; Titus 2:7-81 Timothy 3:12.

4. Are you well composed or do people often remark otherwise? While church leaders can receive beautiful welcomes and respect, the reality is there will be moments or people who try you. Some people will come out with remarks that are totally irrelevant and hurtful. Unless you understand this is more an insight to where they’re at you could do damage with your position of authority. Understanding human psychology is a great advantage for church leaders. You need to really understand grace and have a thick skin. 
Read, Luke 17:3-4; Ezekiel 2-3:11.

5. Can you work in a team? In my opinion a great leader is a combination of a visionary and facilitator. A leader leads from amongst the people, comes alongside, builds up and encourages. They do not charge ahead declaring, ‘this is the way, keep up or find another leader!’ 
Read, Matthew 20:20-28; Luke 22:24-27; 1 Thessalonians 5.

6. Do you like yourself and spending time alone? Ministry is both awesome and depleting. If you’re called to serve Jesus and His body this way, I don’t believe you will never feel complete doing anything else. You must be aware however that you will need time out from people to spend alone time with The Lord, for your sustenance and well-being. If you have deep hurts and baggage from the past, spending time to heal from these hurts is necessary for you to be able to minister to and lead others. If you cannot spend time alone, take the time to find out why. You will need to know yourself well to recharge and avoid burnout. You will also need trusted close friends but they can’t come before Jesus. 

In His service, Melanie.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

A Blank Page:

I don’t think I’ve ever felt as ‘grown-up’ as I do today…

Bear with me a moment, I know that may sound a little crazy given it won’t be too long until I am 40 years old, but it’s true.

Reflecting upon my adult past I know I made decisions, but I never really had a vision for the future…I thought I made good choices but they never got me anywhere – I was existing rather than living with purpose and I did not know how to change that...but that was until I called out to Jesus.

Yet having now settled here in our new home in S.A and also with my mum now gone, knowing I am here for The Lord's purpose I have a new sense of living for a purpose much bigger than myself. It’s an exciting time as I feel as if He has given me a blank page…or rather I am the new, blank page…

Yes, a clean, crisp and new blank page, ready to be written upon. His plan for me is like a beautiful watermark embedded into the page. Yet I am not scared to begin writing my new chapter, as even though I am in a totally new place and with my mum gone I feel somewhat alone; I know He will establish me and sustain me! I feel such a peace and know I am His precious daughter and that He alone has provided for me and my boys…and I know I have His written Word to guide me…not forgetting my Christian family I can call upon.

I feel like He is saying, “You’ve been faithful with the task I gave you of finishing your study so now here is what I promised. I know it is more responsibility but don’t worry, just trust me, I’ve prepared you…”

If I can leave you with any encouragement, it would be to continue being faithful with whatever task He has given you…even if it may seem small when you compare yourself to others – It helps me to think of the parable of the talents (you can read it here), as we are to be found faithfully stewarding whatever He has given us when He returns.

I believe He gives us tasks we can handle; this doesn’t mean they won’t challenge or stretch us, for this is the only way for spiritual growth and that He will only give us more at the right time.

When we walk in humility and thankfulness for LIFE that He has given us for all eternity, we can carry out whatever the task with JOY. It’s when we forget the BIGGER PICTURE of the free gift of eternal life that we can become too focused on the temporary to our own detriment. We serve those who have persevered longer with the respect they deserve when we keep a humble attitude.

Remember God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble, (James 4:6) which is why Jesus said “But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:43-45).

So let us walk with JOY while we seek justice, love mercy and humbly walk with our God (Micah 6:8) in whatever season we're in or task we have to do! 

God bless, Melanie.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11).

Let me also leave you with this beautiful song, 'Write Your Story' by Francesca Battistelli:

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

The Unsettling Of Settling...

The title says it all really, of just how contradictory we people can be…I’m sure you know what I mean! Even when we know with all our being that we are EXACTLY where God wants us to be, we can still struggle with self-doubt and insecurities…

To be honest I’m still amazed to be writing this post from my new home in South Australia…8 hours drive west of the area I have called HOME for a long time now. One of my sons while cuddling on my bed last night remarked, ‘We are a loooong way from Victoria Mum…’ He was unsettled and I had to reassure him that things would be okay.

Over the last week while decluttering, packing, cleaning, driving, unpacking, more cleaning and more cleaning…I have literally escaped what has been my routine for so long and been thrown into what at times seems like a whole new world.

I no longer have the security of being hid away in my little country house next to some Jerseys…going to church, doing some outreach, working on assignments and making ends meet for the boys and me. The study is done. And now here I am with the perfect job I knew he’d provide me with, my boys have a great new school and all of us a wonderful new church family.

I reflect upon the hard times I’ve have had over the past four years and of how much good the pruning has done…And yet while I feel totally ready and prepared for this new chapter, I can relate to the Israelite's coming out of the wilderness and saying, ‘Those people are giants, we’re scared!’ (Read Numbers 13). And while I’m mostly feeling secure, at times I still find myself thinking up irrational scenarios - it is then I mentally kick myself in the rear and focus upon the words He has given me that say HE IS ENOUGH and HIS PLAN FOR ME IS RIGHT and therefore reminding myself to stop overthinking and just be myself; for I believe it’s only when we’re secure in Him that we can be secure in ourselves and of benefit to others. He has provided me with this opportunity to serve Him, so I can trust Him with the details.

I hope you know me well enough by now, that I don’t write just to be heard…I am sharing this post because I know we’re all human and we all can feel vulnerable; in being honest we can encourage one another. So whatever season you may be in, or whatever may be your current circumstances, keep TRUSTING Him with the details.

You may be in a new situation like me, and although you know without a doubt you are in His will, you may still feel like a fish out of water. 

Keep in the WORD, keep fellowshipping with encouraging Christians and Trust Him Regardless. 
You may feel lost, like you have no direction or the ability to hear His voice. 
Keep in the WORD, keep fellowshipping with encouraging Christians and Trust Him Regardless. 
You may be so deep in grief that you cannot see a bright future. 
Keep in the WORD, keep fellowshipping with encouraging Christians and Trust Him Regardless. 
You may feel so lonely and isolated compared to everyone else posting their amazing pics online. 
Keep in the WORD, keep fellowshipping with encouraging Christians and Trust Him Regardless. 
You may feel so ill and wonder 'Why me?'. 
Keep in the WORD, keep fellowshipping with encouraging Christians and Trust Him Regardless.
You may feel down with door after door shutting.
Keep in the WORD, keep fellowshipping with encouraging Christians and Trust Him Regardless.

Scripture says we should give thanks in whatever situation we find ourselves in and it is truly godly advice! 

To conquer the spiritual battles we face each day, we need to keep having our perceptions changed, not by our reality, rather by The Word of God. 

No person can change your perception or demeanour - Only The Word of God can change your reality by giving you spiritual wisdom to see beyond the temporary. 

There are many things I could grumble about but am choosing not to. Today and every day I can choose to give thanks for the blessings I have rather than focusing upon things I do not.

Today I am thankful for my mum helping us to move, my boys being safe and well, our new church family and home, for work and schooling and the unsettling of settling in. But most importantly I am thankful that I have a heavenly Father who loves me and has redeemed me for eternity.

May you also experience His peace by Trusting Him regardless of anything else.


Sunday, 1 November 2015


To all of you whom I connect with here via the blog...I have some amazing news and I want to share my joy with you!

A decade ago Jesus welcomed me home. I had become someone I never wanted to be…inevitability from a rebellious heart wanting to have total dominion of myself. From the outside I appeared to have a great life; a husband, kids and a great career working with kids as a local dance teacher…But I did not have peace or true joy. I busied myself with project after project because I could not be still.

But when I surrendered all of myself to Him as my Lord and God I experienced the joy and peace of being back in the home and arms of my Father…Like the joy of a perfect Christmas day after being reconciled to your family.

Tears of joy and the release of carrying myself for so long and the damage I had done to myself with one compromise after another. Yes, a dramatic transformation occurred…But that’s the power of my Father! As I began to journey with Him as Number One…I learnt to hear His voice and all I heard Him say often was ‘follow me’. As you know I continued to work with kids and began Bible College while raising my own 3 blessings.

Then so many difficult things occurred around me… My brother Darren died, my ex-husband left, my friends Deb and Sonia* also passed. My dad took his own life and my ex remarried…Yet I have felt so loved, held and protected throughout them all.

As I sit here working on my final assignment for the Bachelor of Ministry I am overjoyed to announce that The Lord has provided me with a F/T ministry position with a church and Christian school in Adelaide. The position is an associate pastor’s position - the Children’s Pastor and School Chaplain. An amazing arrangement for the boys and me – one I could not have imagined.  I am awed and amazed, yet not surprised…

I’m sure we all know the famous line from Dirty Dancing, ‘No-one puts baby in a corner…’ And while people applaud at this ‘Eros’ love, I know the true love of my Faithful and Sovereign Father who loves me freely even when I do nothing to deserve it and He says, “No-one will crush my daughter!”


And I while I await His return I will continue to praise His beautiful, perfect Name…and I encourage you to do the same for He truly is the firm and faithful foundation in all seasons!

Thank you for your love and friendship, Melanie and boys.

* A pseudonym 

Friday, 23 October 2015

All My Life

“Hey, I've looked All my Life for you, And now you're here...Hey, I've spent All my Life with you, All my Life, All my Life…”
"All My Life" is a hit song written by Karla Bonoff and performed as duet by Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville…

I cannot help but connect with the love of Jesus when I listen to this timeless classic!

Of late I’ve been feeling like I am falling in love with Jesus, my Lord, my God, my Everything even more deeply and it is the most amazing experience of my whole life! One that I could have never imagined or created…I know it is only possible by His miraculous hand.

Even though I have been born-again for the last decade, I am continuing to come out of the wilderness I’ve been in for around four years since my ex-husband left. I have been experiencing of late a fresh perspective and appreciation of God’s wondrous ways. His sovereignty, mercy, grace, faithfulness, protection, timing and promises being revealed as I feel so loved and held in His unmoveable peace.

I write as one who was once a prodigal. As one who threw an amazing relationship with my heavenly Father away…I was a little ‘Jesus girl’ but the enemy got to me and robbed me of my relationship and peace…

I know what Jesus meant when He spoke about those who are forgiven much, loving much…I was just like the sinful woman and still am awed at His grace and mercy…I love Him so much. You can read the bible story here, well worth a few minutes of your time.

But of late as I see His hand over the lives of mine and my children’s moving so strongly and lovingly I am honestly left, simply speechless.

Here I am just an ordinary Aussie woman, yet living an extraordinary life of grace and peace because of my extraordinary, amazing, heavenly Father, all because He loves me and I accept it.

Someone I know suggested to me yesterday in relation to possibly selling something it would be best if I said only half the truth to ensure I got the best price for the benefit of my family…

I was not annoyed at their comment because I know that’s how I too once thought and I actually felt nothing but peace and joy in knowing that I had no desire to do what they suggested.

So I shared with them that before I was born again I was ruled by my flesh and money...but I did not have intimacy and peace with God...So now I don’t want to do something my conscience doesn't allow and thereby block that closeness.

You see, I know my God is Holy and Perfect and gives His children hearts that want to walk in His goodness and purity. I know God says liars shall not inherit the Kingdom of God and this is once how I was, but I suffered terribly with anxiety in my rebellion. 

There is so much freedom in Christ for all eternity. I know my heavenly Father loves me and owns everything - there's nothing He can't give me. If I live faithlessly and begin to again be ruled by the dollar I will not have His peace as I'll be trying to control everything and no longer trusting Him! The devil wants me anxious and fearful not my heavenly Father.

I would much rather be struggling to make ends meet if The Lord allows it, as I know even in that I have His peace as He can use even that for His Kingdom and glory! I would much rather make a new friend and have peace with God above an extra $1,000. I want to shine the truth that peace with God through Christ brings wellness...not a devious woman who leaves a wake of hurt and regret through dishonesty, cause I know what that's like. It's like betraying your parent to buy a Subway franchise and your Father says, "Why, when I would have given you the whole family business?"

Intimacy and relationship with my heavenly Father leaves me singing…

Am I really here in your arms, It’s just like I dreamed it would be
I feel like we're frozen in time And you're the only one I can see.

Hey, I've looked All my Life for you, And now you're here
Hey, I've spent All my Life with you, All my Life

And I never really knew how to love, I just hoped somehow I'd see
Asked for a little help from above, Send that angel down to me
Hey, I've looked All my Life for you, And now you're here
Hey, I've spent All my Life with you, All my Life

I never thought that I could feel a love so tender
I never thought I could let those feelings show
But now my heart is on my sleeve and this love will never leave
I know, I know

Hey, I've looked All my Life for you, And now you're here
Hey, I've spent All my Life with you, All my Life, All my Life!

To be back in the arms of my heavenly Father who will never leave or forsake me is where I want to always be…I was looking for Him in all of my rebellion and didn’t even know it…and even when I left Him He never left me, He spent each day still protecting me and waiting for me to return to Him. I looked all my life for Him and spent all my life with Him…but now He’s here with me, all my life, all my life!

In His love, Melanie :)

Saturday, 17 October 2015

More Than A Coincidence!

Of late I’ve really been getting a fresh insight into God’s sovereignty over my life while deliberately trying to be obedient to His voice saying ‘slow down, be still and trust me…’

Truth be told, He has been saying… ‘Be still and know…’ to me for quite some time now, but I can have trouble being still. I was hearing ‘be still and know…’ from so many sources that I even considered writing a book on the topic but each attempt fizzled…Hmmm maybe because I wasn’t being still?? Yes, I can be slow at times, yet He is so gentle and patient with me.

However slowing down and being obedient each day to the smaller, softer promptings over my own good ideas has allowed for more of His peace to fill me and for more encounters to see His hand at work over my life which has been an amazing blessing…I hadn’t realised how long it had been since I’d seen this…

Let me tell you about one of my recent encounters…

Recently I needed to drive to Melbourne (a two hour trip) to collect my children from the airport. The first hour of the trip was fine but then my car began jerking and making a strange sound like it was struggling to get fuel…this happened just before I left a main town, the last one on my journey until the city.

I was concerned so I called my local mechanic who suggested it could be the fuel filter and I should get it checked out; so I did a U-turn to head back into town. The first mechanical person I approached seemed to have no desire to help me at all, and honestly I was shocked thinking something like, ‘Why is this man so unresponsive?’ He pointed me up the road, so off I set to the next mechanic. The second man although he wanted to help, informed me he did not have a fuel filter for my car and also pointed me up the road… Feeling somewhat concerned and frustrated thinking that I’d have to now cancel an appointment I’d also arranged, I pulled up to the third business and walked into the office.

I then had to repeat my dilemma to a third man. This man however was quick to respond and in no time had the dirty fuel filter replaced. I thanked him and quickly got back on the road. After around 20 minutes the car began playing up again and the helpful 3rd mechanic willingly gave me advice over the phone. The car once again came good after a short time and then I made it hassle free the rest of the way to Melbourne. I was left feeling very blessed that I had encountered such a helpful person!

The next day I collected my children and set off. The car ran perfectly all the way to where? The exact same town! And although it was late on a Saturday afternoon the 3rd mechanic was still at his garage due to a local person needing a job done before work on Monday. However when he test-drove my car it would not repeat the problem! So I had to set off once again, to only find myself needing to call and receive advice on how to get home safely…

I was exhausted and felt like car trouble was the last thing I needed but at the same time I was also really impressed with the Christian character this stranger had displayed…I could not help but know there was no coincidence I had car trouble twice in the exact same town and was helped each time by the exact same mechanic! I could not help but realise that The Lord was crossing my path with this man’s for His own good purpose.

I sensed God had been taking note of this man’s heart for others and was putting me across his path to get his attention…

I have since found out that this man helps passing drivers when no-one else is open; he regularly visits his friend’s sick wife in a Melbourne hospital and regularly drives his apprentice home which is around 45kms from his workshop…what other good deeds, who knows? But God does…

The mechanic told me he knows our meeting is not a coincidence and that God is trying to speak to him; that he swears too much for Jesus’ liking but is trying to be better…

I told him that St. Peter (previously called Simon) was a swearing fisherman before he encountered Jesus and said to Him, "Go away from me Lord, I am a sinful man..."

I cannot help but think of the god-fearing Roman Centurion whom God led Peter to, to share the Gospel of Jesus with in Acts 10. God works in a spiritual realm we do not understand, but wonderfully get to be a part of as His children re-born by His blessed Holy Spirit!

So the next time you find yourself in an unexpected predicament, my advice is to be patient and quiet to see what He’s wanting to do through you. For we are not the Saviour but shine the truth of Jesus to others. People will sense we are different. We may only be a seed that someone else will water but this is how it should be, as He is the only One who deserves glory and the acclaim!

In His service, Melanie.

Let me leave you with a wonderful message of truth, 'God works in mysterious ways'...An hour of your life well spent!

Monday, 5 October 2015

Why the shedding of blood – Why is a blood sacrifice even necessary?

Sometimes it’s difficult for us to comprehend things of God and I am not excluding myself in this statement by any means. But what I do enjoy is the journey I believe God is taking me on, to understand Him and His ways more and more, as I walk with Him each day through Jesus Christ.

For example I used to struggle to comprehend that God, (Yahweh or Jehovah) has no beginning and no end – how God ALWAYS existed. It wasn’t until I came to a place of understanding God was not a part of our created order, yet time is, that I could begin to fathom God’s immensity and sovereignty over ALL of creation including time which we personally are constrained to as a part of creation.

I’ve had some really cool conversations with a beautiful friend of mine recently discussing her question as to WHY God requires a blood sacrifice at all. She asked openly and honestly why God couldn’t just absolve sins without any blood sacrifice? I loved her question and said that I too had pondered this question in my own mind – I even know of some who believe this theological understanding of God or doctrine to be non-Christian and stemming from pagan rituals. That Jesus died only because of corrupt people.

Yet I believe if I asserted this I would not be holding onto the belief that scripture is inerrant; (see 2 Timothy 3:16-17) or to the Gospel that Jesus' death and resurrection to life are true and necessary. For scripture states Jesus was the perfect and needed sacrifice for the atonement of sin – It is by His blood alone that we are cleansed and His righteousness that is imputed to us when we repent of our sins and call upon The Lord God in the Name of Jesus. Here are some foundational scriptures for consideration:

A segment of Isaiah 53: ‘But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.’ NRSV 53:5-6.

Romans 4:25: 'He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.'

1 Peter 2:24-25: 'He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.'

 Hebrews 9:22:‘Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.’ And remember Jesus did not come to do away with the Law but fulfill it see Matthew 5:17.

This blog post is not intended to be a thorough paper I would write for Bible College, as my blog has never intended to publish such works like that of mine – Rather on here I write predominately for non-church people, to give them some things to ponder in an easy to understand manner. Therefore I would highly recommend reading all of Hebrews 9 for a better understanding of the Old Testament sacrifices and Christ’s final one.

Okay, so if I take the New Testament as God’s Word that Jesus was allowed to suffer under the hand of man to die the death my sins rightly deserve I still then have the question of why…Why is blood necessary, why isn’t a wash in water like a baptism of repentance enough? Is God bloodthirsty? Yet how could this be when God is called LOVE?

So I come to a place of wondering, even scientifically about blood and about God’s character.

When I read scripture I see God as good and just. I see our created universe as good by having order, yet broken by the consequence of sin.

I see a loving creator who wanted relationship with those made in His image. He made us immortal, immensely creative, with our own free will and with the ability to pro-create to steward this world…How awesome is that?

I see our Heavenly Father as One who is Holy and perfect (by the standards He teaches us) and as One who is therefore a just judge. We know that justice is right by our own conscience. We know for example that harming the innocent needs punishment…Yet we struggle when we have to look in the mirror at ourselves thinking; surely my sin isn’t THAT bad? Yet to God’s standards sin is sin, it is ultimately rebellion and results in separation from Him as He cannot have sin near Him – think of those who touched the arc of the covenant where God’s presence was – they died instantly. Remember the need for the huge curtain veil covering the holy of holies in the temple? You see sin = death. It’s like a math equation. It’s a part of our created order and a good judge doesn’t bypass established law.

So if I understand that God cannot have any sin in His presence, yet desires a relationship with us as He intended from the beginning of creation, without taking our free-will away from us and will not disturb our created order and sin = death; I can understand why Adam and Eve HAD to leave His presence in the garden and of why mankind became mortal and therefore of WHY God made the first blood sacrifice in the garden when He killed the animal to make clothing for Adam and Eve before they left, for blood is the life-source of man, not water; see Deuteronomy 12:23 and Leviticus 17:11-14.

Blood is the life source of mankind and animals. Yes we need water to survive, food too, but white blood cells contain our DNA!

Losing blood results in the loss of life and sin = death, the loss of life.

It helps me to think of how a woman sheds blood after ovulation if she doesn’t conceive. Blood is shed for cleansing. A new lining replaces the old for a new cycle of ovulation and a possible new life. The womb needs cleansing for new life to grow there, the blood ‘life’ lining is shed to cleanse the woman internally, for the blood contains life and in my opinion is a way of God showing us that blood cleansing is necessary. It stumps evolutionists as to why human females menstruate when the vast majority of animals do not.

A woman sheds blood for new life to grow inside her, what a wonderful gift that is.

God is not bloodthirsty. He is LOVE and loves us so much He became a human being and shed His blood for us, for the forgiveness of our sins when we call upon the Name of Jesus, resulting in NEW LIFE a cleansed spiritual re-birth which results in life for all eternity in His presence.

One more point relating to the necessity of blood. Because blood is a person’s life-source, it is also an oath. Think of how as children some people used to ‘blood swear’. The shedding of blood is like the ultimate oath or signed agreement. This is why when God in the Old Testament made His covenant agreements there was an animal sacrifice He passed through as Spirit (see Genesis 15) and this is why Jesus blood is God’s promise of the new covenant He is openly offering to ALL people by simply verbally acknowledging their need for forgiveness and re-birth – we don’t need to swear by our blood, the blood’s already been shed by God Himself when He became a physical human being. It’s like the ultimate contract is sitting on your kitchen table and all you have to do is commit – yet the enemy tries to hide it under your bills and junk mail…

Yes, God is a good judge and He is waiting for all His children to repent and trust in Jesus as their God before He returns to judge righteously all those who reject Him and belong to the enemy.

I hope this post has been helpful, especially for my beautiful friend whom asked me to write it and is easy to understand. 

Love Melanie.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Why Jerry Maguire is a terrible movie and no man will ever complete me: A non-feminist post btw.

Okay so we all know the famous line delivered by Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) to Dorothy Boyd (Renee Zellweger)… 
‘You complete me!’ Right?

Yet this is such a terrible movie and does such an injustice to women… And no, this isn’t a feminist rant…So please don’t get annoyed at me just yet for calling out one of your all-time-favourite movies; hear me out for a moment because I too once LOVED Jerry Maguire!

I mean who wouldn’t right? It plays right to our feminine hearts…

A 26 year old single mother who is living with her sister ends up with a very good looking, messed up guy, whom she gets to rescue from himself with her love! And that line… ‘You complete me…’ It’s honey to a woman’s ears right? It’s like the romance in ‘The Breakfast Club’ where the princess falls for the rebel and the broken girl ‘transforming’ into a princess in 5 minutes at the end and wins the jock!

It’s exactly this type of storyline that feeds the minds of young impressionable women with wrong expectations and can lead them down a path of misery…I’m serious.

Call me wrong if you will, but from my life experience and a failed marriage I have learnt that no man will ever complete me. Rather at best they would complement me, be my best friend and truly love me…You know the kind of love that would show itself by them caring for me after I had a caesarean birthing our child for example.

Yet women listen up, you cannot get this love from a broken man…He is unable to give it to you as he is an unwell person and you CANNOT change another person. If the guy you like is emotionally withdrawn, or a hoarder, or lazy for example he won’t change just because he gets with you. Now really us women are smart, we know this deep down, it’s just we’re naturally nurturing so we love to help and we buy the lies of movies like Jerry Maguire then we can get stuck in bad relationships.

A broken man is really still a boy and the truth is you cannot rescue a man because a true man doesn’t need rescuing!

Believe me only a man will treat you and your children right…

I really do appreciate men and I love their unique traits, I am not a feminist…But I also love women and get sick of seeing women getting hurt by poor relationships. The truth is no human being will ever complete another. This is Hollywood hype and sells movies.

Only Jesus fills the void created in us for worship and connectedness with God.

No one does us any favours when we don’t get taught this and we’re raised playing Barbies and being babysat by Disney movies. We’re told go out and find ‘the one’! And when ‘the one’ isn’t appearing and we tire of working on improving ourselves, what do we do? We look for another person to ‘fix’ and what do you know? Hey there’s plenty of those guys around…

Now to the ladies I’m not saying that God doesn’t have a great person planned for you as your future husband, or to any men reading that He doesn't have a wonderful wife planned for you. But I am saying that person, when they’re ready for marriage (include yourself in this) will be secure in themselves as a man or woman in God, and won't need another to complete them. They then will become your closest friend whom complements you and truly loves you unconditionally in sickness and in health, in good times and bad, and vice versa and that is so much better than Hollywood hype!


Monday, 14 September 2015

Is Jesus My Addiction?

I recently had a very cool conversation with an old acquaintance.

They knew I had become a Christian since they last knew me, and felt free to openly share some questions with me they had been pondering for quite some time…I loved our conversation because it was honest and real!

Some people without knowing me can think I do not want to hear any other opinion than my own; yet this is sadly very far from the truth. I get tired of small talk. We all have the same red blood running through our veins, none of us are immune from the realities of our lives…So why not stop assuming and let go of the fa├žade? Well this is exactly what happened the other night and has led to this post…Is Jesus my addiction?

During our conversation my old acquaintance told me about a friend of theirs, who recovered from alcoholism after becoming a born-again Christian. Now don’t get me wrong they were extremely glad their friend was no longer an alcoholic, but had a real thought that perhaps their friend had just replaced one addiction with another. Their friend was now passionately consumed with Jesus. My peer asked me what I thought about Jesus being their friend’s new addiction…I loved their question!

What a meaty question to ponder. I totally appreciated my peer feeling comfortable enough to raise this issue with me, so I did not want to give a response that was not seriously considered.

I had quite a bit to consider because firstly I have someone very close to me who has experienced the same recovery as my peer’s friend. I therefore know personally what my peer is referring to, and secondly I have to consider my own personal journey. There are many who assert Christianity is just a crutch after all. I told my old acquaintance I would take some time and write a thoughtful response down as a blog post; so here it is…

Is Jesus my addiction?

There is much research available on addiction. We now understand people become addicted to something due to a chemical response in one’s body to a stimulus. People can therefore become addicted to unhealthy things due to the way they make them feel. The overwhelming desire to feel that way again is what causes continued use or habitual use and creates the addiction cycle.

So I began to seriously ponder could I be addicted to Jesus? Is He my addiction? Have others substituted their past addiction for a new one with Jesus? Is Jesus their new addiction or fascination even?

These are personally very challenging questions but I do love raw honesty. There does seem to be evidence to suggest that meditation can be addictive. What I found was that some suggest a ‘spiritual bliss’ can become an addictive state for some.

This leaves me to ponder if this describes my spiritual life, or the life of others I know who have been actually addicted to substances prior to conversion. I have to say I honestly don’t think it does. I do spend time in Christian meditative thought about Jesus and prayerfully talking to Him whenever I like, but this is far from a spiritual bliss. Now I am not saying I never have spiritual experiences that are blissful because I honestly do; but the truth is they are sporadically dispersed and I don’t have withdrawal symptoms or negatively adverse reactions if I don’t have them on a regular basis and I believe the same is safe to assert for other Christians I know who were addicted to substances before addiction.

I also need to acknowledge I do know what addiction is like, as in my early adult years I was addicted to smoking cigarettes for more than a few years – but quit years before I was born-again.

So I found myself asserting that no, Jesus is not an addiction because He is a real person, with whom I and other born-again Christians are in RELATIONSHIP with. I then thought of my other relationships and of how I am not addicted with those whom I choose to connect and share life with…
However then I thought about people in abusive relationships who don’t leave and I wondered are they addicted?

Can relationships be addictive?

What I found is there are some who adhere to the premise that relationships can be addictive for some people. So then wanting to address all possible concerns, even though my relationship with Jesus is by no means abusive in any way, I needed to look at a new possible scenario.

Is it my relationship with Jesus that is my addiction?

Okay I said I love raw, so let’s be totally honest for a moment. I am a single, divorced woman, so it would be very easy for someone to say that I use my relationship with Jesus as a crutch; that this is my addiction given I am possibly a lonely and broken woman…

So I therefore must ask myself, as my relationship is not in any way abusive, what do I gain from it that could possibly be addictive because I’m not craving spiritual highs? And my answer is LOVE.

I receive pure, perfect love from my relationship with Jesus.

Now let’s think about love for a moment from a human perspective. We know how wonderful human, loving relationships can be and of the initial high people can get from the whirlwind of a new relationship. So is this the same for my relationship with Jesus?

Writing from my heart, I can say that my relationship with Jesus is so far above any human relationship possible – for His love for me is untainted and unfailing…it is deep and sustaining not like that of human love. You see God is LOVE and with Him living inside of me because of my re-birth by the blessed Holy Spirit I am now totally fulfilled as a human being…Not that human relationships aren’t important or good, they’re just fallible and limited.

So I’ve come to a place from contemplation, to acknowledge my relationship with Jesus is the best relationship of all and that I do love spending time with Him…Yet to realise that simply Jesus is not my addiction, He is my SUSTENANCE.

Scripture says, it is in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28) and I have come to a place of tangibly experiencing this. To experience true love and fulfilment that sustains me daily as I await His return...No life is not a bed of roses as I wait, for our world is still marred by our own free will choice of sin…But I have received forgiveness and now live in peace, transformed forever just like my brothers and sisters who were former addicts and are now drastically different, living lives in the freedom of Christ.

Before I surrendered to Jesus I knew love and had love – But it was honestly selfish love for myself. I was not fulfilled and therefore I tried so hard to fill the void with wealth and possessions...I don’t know if they were my addiction or obsession for sure, but I do know they were my sad substitution.

However thanks to God I now know true love and look forward to Jesus’ return when He will deal with sin and the enemy and renew all things for His children who love Him…I pray you too will experience Jesus as your sustenance for all eternity!

No, Jesus is not my addiction; He is my sustenance I cannot live without!

And as for my old acquaintance's friend...I believe the same is for them; that they haven't replaced one addiction for another, rather they have received the power to overcome the addiction and the sustenance to live a life of freedom in Christ Jesus.

Thank you to my old acquaintance for making me think and this post!
Melanie :)

Let me leave you with this song that really covers all of us, 'Hold Fast' by Mercy Me.