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Life of an Ordinary Aussie Woman

Monday, 29 August 2016

Lord, I am weary.

What are we to do as Christians when we get tired? But even more than tired; compassion fatigued, and/or emotionally damaged or physically ill, to a point where we've had enough? When we feel ourselves becoming stretched to a point of possible hardening...And if you think this is not possible for a genuine Christians due to the joy of The Lord, I would ask you to reconsider. Even when we are exhausted and may not feel joyous, we retain the hope of the Gospel which is anchored deep within our soul as an immovable joy, even when it is not bubbling over.

Lord, I am you know what it's like to feel this way?

Physical exhaustion: I know someone who believes in our work for The Lord we should never become exhausted...And while I understand their point, that The Lord does not want us to become exhausted, I also know this person has not had to raise four children under the age of four, and then have 2 more shortly after...just an example.

Spiritual exhaustion: You may not even think this is possible, but I know of times Christians can go through when they struggle to keep reading their bible, and find themselves praying less and less. Sometimes the persecution or rejection they endure is not understood and so they tire, and then withdraw from Jesus. Sometimes people continue doing their 'religious duties' but their heart is not in the relationship and therefore get exhausted, as they're connecting only with themselves, and are serving others in their own strength.

Mental Exhaustion: Mental exhaustion is when your head may feel anxious, depressed, overwhelmed, foggy, or even numb. It's getting to a place of where there have been so many hurts and burdens held onto, that one's mind is drained to an overwhelmed point of almost shutting down, or implosion.

Emotionally Exhausted: Getting to this place is often because we have not been able to say no to others, and guard our own self-care. This can result in compassion fatigue, where one becomes burnt-out from continually caring for others for an extended period, and they can no longer care for anyone for a time.

Lord, I am you know what it's like to feel this way?

Lord, I am so physically weary as I never have down-time; I seem to be constantly working.

Lord I am so spiritually exhausted, all I seem to be doing is leading others and not being fed myself.

Lord, I am so mentally exhausted, I feel like I cannot cope anymore.

Lord, I am so emotionally exhausted, I am at the point of giving up caring for others as all I seem to do is get hurt, time and time again.

Is it okay as a Christian to feel this way?

I believe that it is totally normal to feel this way at times...

You see scripture encourages us to not grow weary...but it doesn't say we won't.

Rather it urges us to go to Jesus, to find the rest and strength we need while we live expectantly, awaiting His return. Let's have a look at some helpful scriptures.

Matthew 11:29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Isaiah 40:28-31 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord, will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.

Galatians 6:9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

Revelation 2:3 And you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary

Hebrews 12:3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

If you find yourself weary brother or sister, please do not feel condemned, 'for there is now NO condemnation for those in Christ Jesus' (Romans 8:1). Rather be encouraged to take the rest you need with Jesus, to regain true strength.

Our reality is, that we live with mortal bodies still, that do grow weary and life is challenging. Sometimes it can feel like one thing after the next just keeps going wrong, and that our true allies are so few in number. However as born-again believers we have the living God inside of us, wanting to lead us so that we run our race and do not faint...We just need to keep connecting with Him, in not only the good times, but also the tough ones.

He must be our number one priority, and we must listen to His promptings...listen to our conscience when we feel something is not right, and keep seeking His guidance for what we should do. The good news is, that He wants to give us rest, and He wants us to succeed in being ready for when He returns. A wise mentor said to me recently, that we can have the mentality of needing to pray for more patience, more love, more peace etc, but the reality for us is that The Lord has given us all we need by giving us His perfect Spirit who gives us these things, therefore we just need to use the gifts already given as we live out our lives WITH HIM, not in our own strength.

To finish, in all honesty I have had a very challenging week. Different areas of my life have been impacted in different ways, one after the other, some overlapping. I can't share them here for good reason, but I want you to know that I have at times felt weary. That being said, I am sitting here writing this to encourage you to keep pushing into Jesus to find your rest, strength, and contentment in whatever situation you may be in.

Love Melanie.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Though The Seasons Change...

I may not know what you are going through right now, but God does.

I may not be able to be with you in your times of greatest need, but God is.

I may not have experienced what you have, but I do understand deep pain.

I do know what it is like to cry and have no-one available to comfort even feel numb from pain...depressed and anxious...abandoned and overwhelmed.

Yet I can and will testify to His faithfulness which has remained, irrespective of my circumstances.

I know what it is like to worship and praise my Heavenly Father in times of great joy, and also to still worship when I may not have wanted to...To worship in times of great sadness, anxiety, confusion and uncertainty...

If today, you are in a new season which has brought about new challenges and you feel somewhat lost, please do not despair, for He is FAITHFUL in ALL of our seasons and His LOVE is unchanging toward you!

I urge you to practice your faith...To put into practice what you believe, above what you currently feel.

Feed your soul upon what is GOOD.

Even if you do not feel like practicing your faith – Do it anyway.

Read your Bible upon rising and before going to sleep.

Pray and do not cease doing so...Even if all you can manage is The Lord's Prayer or Psalm 23.

Meditate quietly upon scripture and/or Christian hymns/songs.

Give Him your pain and ask Him to help you forgive, forgive, and to keep forgiving to heal.

Let Him take you to a place, where His seeds in you will be watered by experiencing His Faithfulness we read about in The Word. Let Him grow the seeds in you, so that He can use you to plant more seeds in others, or become a vessel to pour out His spiritual water upon others. If you persevere there WILL come a time when you WILL have a new testimony of His faithfulness and find yourself being more able to minister to others.

We can also be encouraged by Jesus' example, as Hebrews 5:8 tells us that as a fully human man Jesus learned OBEDIENCE through SUFFERING...He knows suffering, and has overcome so that in Him we can too.

Don't push Him away...Let Him be your loving Father...For though the seasons change, His LOVE remains, He is forever faithful, Melanie.

Let me leave you with the song...

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Actions Speak Louder Than Words!

I'm sorry, the nice things you said earlier are now being drowned-out by the volume of your contrary actions...” Actions speak louder than words...Do you know this saying?

Sadly this can be an experience many of us endure, and it smells of hypocrisy.

We live in a day-and-age when for most people, image and one's exterior is EVERYTHING!

We all know what posts score the most likes; Family-time pictures, along with 'body transformation' ones, and posts of oversees trips or shopping sprees...

Sadly we live in a love-deprived world that works so hard to manufacture LOVE!

We desperately try to manufacture love, creating our own 'perfect' life so that we get the praise for having a great, and successful life...Yet God is LOVE.

Now I'm not saying that we shouldn't strive to love one another...that's a 'no-brainer'! What I am saying, is when we try to take God's place and manufacture our own love, we fall extremely short. We are NOT God and God alone is LOVE.

I believe this is a real problem for even Christians, and is one I don't hear spoken of very much.

I know a Christian man who wrote about his deceased wife, saying that all she focused upon was presenting a 'picture-perfect' image of herself and family to other people. To do so, she constantly posted pictures online which depicted such, however sadly in real life, she was nothing like what she posted. This woman became obsessed with her image and was seeking validation from others by creating her own 'perfect life'. Frequent cosmetic surgery and being a tiny-size became a must...

I wonder, am I guilty of trying to project a 'perfect-life' in order to produce my own version of love?

The love I see that we produce, is one that is ultimately selfish and we must aim to guard ourselves against this worldly imitation.

The love I see that we produce without God, is one that has a fleshly aim of gaining admiration. It is not a godly, self-sacrificing love that expects nothing in return.

The love I see that we produce when we don't stay close to God, is not brave and fearless. It does not help people repent and find salvation. It is a love that wins friends, above brothers and sisters, or encouraging others. It is shallow, and is ultimately self-serving as it makes us feel good all the time - it doesn't really cost us anything as it never challenges us, or anyone else.

Photo credit to Instagram user: @God1st_life2nd
Some days I feel tired. I am emotionally tired of fakeness...of superficial love. To be totally honest, I have thought about how easy it would be to just 'fit-in', to never challenge anyone, and have EVERYONE love me! But when I draw close to Jesus I know this is NOT the way He lived, nor commanded me to live. When I again choose Jesus over my obey His Word above how I feel, to walk differently as His daughter, I am again strengthened.

I had a very honest chat with a young woman recently. We spoke about her fear of 'being different', even though she was a Christian. You see, our desire for relationships is a very real human need! We are made for relationship with God, and each other...Yet He must come first, and Jesus said that if the world hated Him IT WILL HATE US TOO.

Jesus also said, “What does it profit a man to gain the world, yet forfeit his soul?”

Our actions DO speak so much LOUDER than words.

We should be walking with Him so that we have His love in us, and then shine out His LOVE which is NOT like the world's...

We should aim to not have worldly love. Worldly love is a poor imitation of godly love, and is all we can offer from our flesh without Him. Worldly love comes from selfishness and fear; fear because we are afraid of not being liked if we dare to be different and selfish because we choose our own want over God. 

But the truth is He will never leave us or forsake us, and I have found that even if I do not have what I want in terms of relationships, I have what I need. I always have at least one person. So, if we find ourselves beginning to become more worldly, we can be reassured by knowing there is His grace to repent, and re-calibrate our focus and attitude once again. Do not despair, we can take time out from the world, spend time alone just with Him, to do the necessary maintenance to repair our foundation before we fall.

Our actions do speak so loudly. May they only confirm our words of genuine love, because we understand that HE is LOVE! May our prayer continue to be, "Lord more of You, and LESS of me!"

This image speaks volumes, does it not?

"Rio de Janeiro is an increasingly troubled city, known for its sprawling favelas, where the poor live in zinc-roofed shacks, rivaled only by the slums of India. Yet some $4.6 billion has spent already in creating the facilities for the 2016 summer olympics, which will be used for just two weeks, then forgotten, and when all other expenses are factored in, some $12 billion dollars will be spent on the show. Meanwhile, the average monthly salary in Brazil is around $778, which explains why so much of Rio is so desperately poverty-stricken."

"Father, break my heart for what breaks Yours! May my actions match my words and honour You, Melanie..."

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Just One Thing...

Have you ever wondered what your purpose was?

Do you, as a Christian, ever feel uncertain...Uncertain as to what God wants you to do with your life...Uncertain as to when and how to share the Gospel with others...Uncertain still in regards to your own salvation...Uncertain if God knows your pain...I could go on and on...

If you ever feel like this...if you ever feel are not alone. Let me assure you, even Christians who seem to be so sure of themselves have times of uncertainty...

Being uncertain is actually very normal; we live in a world where unexpected things happen and if we had no uncertainty about things, would we require faith? But uncertainty needs to be harnessed and pulled into line, before it takes hold and causes anxiety and even disillusionment.

When we find our purpose we can walk out our life with The Lord with more certainty...even if we can't see too far down the track. You see, if The Lord told us His whole plan, there would be no beautiful tender moments with Him to surprise us, and take our breath away. If we knew His whole plan, I wonder if we would we stay dependent upon Him and even follow it?

If we want to know our purpose we need to know what The Lord requires of us. Do you know what The Lord requires of you?

Micah 6:8 tells us the Lord requires us, “ do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God .”

Now isn't this just the same as Jesus saying, to love The Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and others as ourselves?

So let me break it down again...The Lord requires us to love Him and share that love with others.

This is our purpose as Christians! This is the meaning behind the Great Commission to go out into the whole world.

When we repent of our sin and turn to Jesus as our God and Saviour, giving our whole self to Him, we find our PURPOSE...which is simply to love Him and share this love with others.

Before we repented we were lost. We were born into sin, separated from God, and our end was to be death and permanent eternal separation from God. But now through Jesus, we are no longer separated from God, we now have Him living inside us and our purpose is to live like this, in communion with Him and to share this love and good news with others.

You see, it doesn't matter how nice a person is when they're not a Christian...they are living separated from God and belong to the devil. It doesn't matter what good deeds they do...they lack one thing...they lack restoration to God, peace with God for eternity they will obtain when their inherited sinful state is dealt with.

So if our purpose is to love God and share this love with others, how can I hold back the Gospel (the good news) of how people can be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ? How can LOVE be silent?

If we're uncertain about anything (as I have been at times) I think it's because our focus is on earthy, fleshly stuff.

When we focus upon our own relationship with Jesus, the storm settles and we become more firmly anchored once again. Jesus said unless we abide in Him we can do nothing...we can bear no fruit!

You see, life is NOT about what we can do...Life is about Him and us...and then walking with Him.

When we focus upon Him, we strive less, and worry less. We have faith to walk on securely and we are less scared by uncertainties. The Gospel will flow easily out of us and it will be our testimony because WE KNOW HIM! It's like when Jesus said to those He healed, “Go back and tell what God has done for you!”

Can we say in love to the people He puts in our lives...”I want you to know what Jesus has done for me, so you can experience it to...I love you, you are awesome...but you just lack one thing!”

God wants to use you today...If you have repented and are born-again you do not need to wait for just need to share the love you have with God with others...this is your purpose now you have become a child of God.

Perhaps you're uncertain about the future and what lays ahead...Perhaps you're wanting a long-term vision rather than focusing upon Him and what He's asking you to do NOW?

I don't often hear today that it's natural and fleshly to ponder upon possible future exciting ventures...So often I hear assertions to “dream big” and so on. Yet where are the people walking humbly and reaching out to their family and friends with the Gospel, volunteering in Sunday School, helping by serving in the you know what I mean?

Where are the people sharing the Gospel so people will be saved, rather than putting band-aids on fleshly problems? Oh, don't despair they're still out there...They are the people who love Jesus and share this love with others...They are the people who just don't want to be His hands and feet, they are the ones who are His hands, feet and words.

May we be so in love with Jesus and His salvation that while we offer the practical help we find a way to say, “Let me tell you about a time when I lacked just one thing...”

Love Melanie.