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Life of an Ordinary Aussie Woman

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