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Life of an Ordinary Aussie Woman

Thursday, 27 July 2017

The Next Chapter

My ordinary Aussie life has been extremely busy since getting married last month.

I came to a decision to resign from my school chaplaincy position so that we all could live together as a family…and this required my boys and I moving to Bendigo!

Another move…And another moment of letting go and trusting God with everything…You see I had no job lined up this time to go to…

I admit, amongst the exhaustion of moving, cleaning, beginning the boys in a new school, cooking, unpacking, sorting, more cleaning and so on and so on…I have had moments of worry when I have thought, I have no job now…no ministry title anymore…

Yet the majority of the time I have felt absolutely free and so very loved!

I have felt a peace with knowing I am His, regardless of my job title, and I still see opportunities daily to show His love to others and my family. I am more than a job title. I am the same person, chaplain or pastor or not, as I was never anyone but my genuine self in these roles anyway!

I’ve applied for some jobs but really it was because I thought I should, not because I thought they were right for me. I prayed and asked The Lord to shut the doors of these positions if they weren’t His will for me, and you know what, I haven’t even received an interview!

I’ve been taking time to rest and serve my family and I’ve honestly loved every minute of it…

My boys have been going great too, the best they’ve been in quite a while which is wonderful confirmation I made the right decision.

Now for some news…
My new husband and I have begun a writing adventure together. It’s a bible study blog called, 'Zeal for Your house'!! 

While we're both committed to serving locally, and firmly believe in and support our local home church in Victoria, Australia, we also feel called and equipped to serve the wider body online. We understand the power of connecting online with others, and the importance of providing digital resources to encourage and build up the worldwide church for free! So we decided to start 'Zeal for Your house' as a free resource blog, providing sound, biblically based devotional posts for personal and group meditation and study.

I hope you check it out and let me know what you think!

Love Mel :)

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Who Am I?

Who am I, that the lord of all the earth, would care to know my name, would care to feel my hurt?
Who am I, that the bright and morning star, would choose to light the way for my ever wandering heart?

Not because of who I am. But because of what you've done
Not because of what I've done. But because of who you are!

I am a flower quickly fading, here today and gone tomorrow,
A wave tossed in the ocean, a vapour in the wind.
Still you hear me when I'm calling. Lord, you catch me when I'm falling. And you've told me who I am – I am yours!
(lyrics by Casting Crowns)

Sitting here today I cannot help but look back at the magnificent hand of God upon my life and feel so utterly awed and humbled. I cannot help but think of my own shortcomings and inabilities and marvel at the way He has made for me…I am in truth just an ordinary, Aussie woman.

When I stop and ask, “Who am I” that The Lord would bestow upon me such amazing grace? I stop and consider my own life and am faced with the reality of a life that falls short in so many ways – I cannot help but admit I am not worthy or deserving of the great gift of reconciliation, peace, joy and eternal love I have received, and am brought to a place of reverence for The One who gifts this to ALL who repent and turn their life to Jesus because of WHO HE IS. I receive because of WHO He has made me to be through The One, Jesus Christ – I am His and because He is so Good, I receive.

I found true freedom came when I was able to admit my inadequacy and my need for God to save me. I resisted and fought surrender and commitment for so long that I was actually breaking down bit by bit, piece by piece. I know there are many people who feel so emotionally broken, yet they don’t understand the freedom they will receive when they give it up and over to Jesus – When they let go of their self-control and hand over the reins of their life to Jesus.

It’s been talked about a lot, for some time now, that here in the West we have a whole generation of kids who have been pumped so full of self-esteem and acceptance that many are incapable of accepting loss in life, and lack the resilience to respond appropriately to set-backs. Far too many youth who have a grandiose notion of self-entitlement and self-actualisation, that borders on narcissism. Many youth who have no idea how to live in the real world, where credit needs to be earned. Numerous youth who have never heard the Gospel – and their need for Jesus who transcends self-actualisation to what we truly need – Self-understanding of who we are made to be in Christ Jesus which results in peace with God and discovering our purpose.

There is FREEDOM when we are able to admit our failings and need – This is what repentance means…confession and making a 180 degree turn back to face God with our life. This is when transformation can begin, for the freedom from the bondage of sin. This is the first stepping-stone to sanctification - The Gospel never says come to Jesus and remain unchanged.

Proverbs says the beginning of wisdom is the fear of God – and this is truth as the fear of God is reverent acknowledgement of WHO He is and of our need for Him!

This humble acknowledgement is the beginning of wisdom; understanding WHO He is, WHO we are as fallen human beings and WHAT He has done to make the way for us to become His children for salvation.

I sit here today as someone in an amazingly, privileged position of working in ministry and I still think, Who am I? I sit here about to be married in four days to a wonderful Christian man, who I am honoured to call my best-friend, and I say to Jesus, Who am I?

But I know it’s nothing to do with me being worthy – It’s all about WHO HE IS. He is a good, good Father - It’s WHO HE IS and I am LOVED by HIM – It’s who He is and who I am in Him which is why I receive. 
Oh praise Him!

Love Melanie.

Let me leave you with, 'Who AM I' by Casting Crowns.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

How can I reach the younger generation?

Yesterday I received an email in response to my post, 'An open letter to church-going Christians in Australia from an Ordinary Gen-Xer'.  If you'd like to read it simply click here.

The email message was from an Aussie Christian who said my letter was helpful, as they had been wanting to know how to reach younger people. They then described themselves as 'older', yet one of the youngest in their congregation, and also without any close friendships at church. They wrote about being engaged with at church only when the others "wanted something done". This person expressed their desire to reach others who were seeking, and said they felt this is why they were placed by God in this church...To be there for those who are seeking. They then asked how do they 'reach' the younger generations without urging them to come to church or knocking on strangers' doors.

This is my response below. I want to share it here as a post, as I feel this person is NOT alone with their desire or struggle.

Thanks for your email. I am glad to know the post helped in some way!

I loved reading about your heart for 'reaching others' who are seeking, and I can relate to what you're saying about being in a church community where you feel without close friendships, and the experience of feeling only being engaged with when you're 'useful'. Yes, I know how that can feel. I personally don’t think people’s age is a valid reason for them not engaging with others of a different age. I have gone to church with beautiful older people who pastorally care for others. I also know however when certain age groups are missing from church communities, how the church as a ‘family’ is incomplete.

I want to preface this email by stating, I am not God and I do not want to take His place in your life. I’m happy to offer my opinion and perspective from my own journey and experience, but I urge you to pray and read scripture for guidance as this is the most trustworthy source. J  When I pray and read scripture first, The Lord uses secondary sources such as Christian books, sermons, and His genuine people for confirmation. (I’m not saying you haven’t been praying and reading scripture!)

Basically my whole letter is urging ‘the church’ – that being church communities – to reach Gen Xers. The advice I give relates to how the church community, with its individual members can reach others (specifically my generation). In the letter I speak about sermons (for those who preach). I speak about Sunday school (for Sunday school volunteers and coordinators) not babysitting our children. I speak to all members about being genuine and transparent with their lives, to elders and leaders about discipleship, for example.

My letter is to church communities, as a family of loving believers, and I feel this is your struggle. It seems you are in a church community where you are working predominately alone in your ministry to ‘reach others’ and you are in a church community that is incomplete in regards to the younger generations being absent to make the community a whole family. This is a problem because you are not being pastorally cared for by the church community yourself, and people will come to church to be ministered to by the body of Christ and for a church family; not just because one person is friendly. No one person alone makes the body, as I’m sure you would have heard before. It takes a family of believers with their individual functions, as His body, to minister to others and meet their needs.

Personally I know I cannot meet all the needs of others alone, and I don’t desire to do so. I believe Jesus gives us the model for team ministry in scripture; we see the core group of disciples ministering with Jesus, and we also read of Jesus sending them out in pairs. The early church gathered as a family, and when children, youth, young adults and gen-xers are missing the family is incomplete. This is not to say God can’t or won’t provide the growth…Just that a core family is usually necessary for a church community others will join.

In saying this, I’m not trying to say The Lord has not wanted you to be where you are, or that He desires you to leave your church community at this time. I believe you need to seek His will on this matter for yourself. I believe through Jesus we become Children of God, and as His Children He parents us to grow more like Jesus as we journey along. He lovingly works to mature us in our faith and relationship with Him, and this can result in us finding ourselves in challenging situations where we really need to push closer to Him, praying for wisdom and to hear His voice for guidance…and this is not a bad thing, even though pruning and growth can be painful at times. Ultimately we must desire to be in His will for our lives first and foremost, for this is how we will bear fruit for His Kingdom and glory.

I believe when church communities, as the body, work together in loving unity and respect they will grow and gain church members. I know from experience just how challenging it is when we feel isolated within a church community and this is not how it should be! We should have our own ‘cup filled’ by Christ and His body, and then minister to others out of the overflow.

Younger people, which includes Millennials, as well as my generation, need reaching through acts of love and kindness and this can take many forms. I don’t believe there is a formula as people are individuals. We must be led by God’s prompting and then people will respond and ‘come to church’ when The Lord makes a way and softens their heart to your loving outreach. When we reach new people, we would not disciple them on our own and this is what getting people to church is about…It’s about them hearing the gospel, responding, and then being discipled…It’s not about doing religion. When The Lord makes a way for us to reach new people and we are able to invite them to church, it should be to a family community of authentic, genuine, loving people who will minister to the new person, and each other, as His body should.

I appreciate this is a long response, but I do genuinely care about my fellow sisters and brothers. I hope it does not make you feel pressured in any way to leave your church. I just hope it gives you something to think about while praying and seeking a scriptural answer from God. We all have needs; no matter how spiritually mature we are. We all need a church family. Even though genuine Christians today may be the minority, The Lord is always faithful to provide, and meet our needs. So keep positive and prayerful. Be expectant that He will guide you to meet your needs and heart’s desire to reach others for His glory and Kingdom. I am praying for you.

Love Melanie.

Monday, 15 May 2017

My story so far...

Over the last six or so months I have been blessed to meet many new people through my fiance. Our upcoming wedding this June will be conducted by my fiance's pastor and as he wanted to get to know me better to personalise the service, I said to him I would write down something about who I am as a person. This post is what I wrote today for the pastor. Interestingly, I began this blog in 2013 and over this time I have written posts which give an insight to my story, yet I don't think I've ever provided a full testimony. Well, this post is my testimony from when I was a young girl up to today. Of course it doesn't provide every detail, as that would make a book too big to write! For those 'other stories' you'll just have to read the other posts...But here it is thanks to God!

As promised I said I’d write down some things about my life to help you get to know me a little better. So here goes.

I first met Jesus as a young girl around the age of 8 through His people in a small country town here in Victoria called, Merino. Although I did not understand everything about the Christian faith maturely, I knew I wanted to commit my life to Jesus and asked to be baptised. I loved everything about church; the people, services, Sunday school, hymns and fellowship.

We only attended church for a short time (probably 2 years) and my dad moved us to Melbourne. It was then my parent’s marriage came to an end. We had already stopped going to church and after my dad left we didn’t return. My weekends became dedicated to the performing arts. I was a talented dancer and soon was teaching classes, I also sang and acted a little. My teenage stage of life was very common, being that during my transition into autonomous adulthood I rebelled and chose myself over God. I often fought with my mother who had also disconnected from God, and I left home during year 12. I was lost and this came through in the poor life choices I made. I didn’t pursue university even though I was talented enough. I chose to settle for a life that was much easier; teaching dance and settling for the first guy who was willing to commit.

Fast forward a decade and I was 28 with 3 young boys. My youngest had been born in April and I had three children under the age of 3 at the time. I presented as a ‘model citizen’. A married woman, with 3 children, a home in a lovely small town, and my own performing arts school. What people didn’t know was I suffered terribly with anxiety, and had done so from around the age of 21. Furthermore my marriage was anything but healthy.

During the day I kept things under wrap, however during the night I would awake from sleep in panic. It wasn’t every night but it was often enough. I didn’t tell anyone, I thought they would think I was crazy. I knew things weren’t right between Jesus and me. I was scared Jesus would come back and I wouldn’t be saved, and I was afraid of losing my marriage. I’d awake thinking I was separated from Jesus, and I’d see shadows on my bedroom wall and felt almost frozen. Yet I’d call out to Jesus to help me, and He did every time! But stubbornly I still refused to give my life to Him…

My third son had been born in the April of 2005 and I was living a life where I was ruled by fear. My marriage was in a cycle where we’d have a big fight about once a month, and I still suffered silently with anxiety. I remember my birthday that June and the awful time I was having in my marriage. I think it was the next month in July we spent a night in Moama at the Maddison Spa resort, as we’d had our house painted and it smelt awful. In the room was a Bible placed there by The Gideons. If you had of asked me at that time what led me to open it, I would have said I had no idea. This was because I wanted nothing to do with Christianity! This is not an exaggeration. Christian people, even Christmas carols, were too challenging for me to even be around, or listen to…Let alone open a bible to read!

Yet thanks to God’s amazing mercy and power I was led to open it. I opened to a passage of Old Testament scripture I have never found again…or perhaps never read the same again. You see, I read a section of ancient scripture in which God was speaking to a country about their desperate state, but as I read it, I knew it described me perfectly…The me I tried to hide from everyone else…The me nobody but God alone could describe.

I was convicted there and then of my rebellion and knew I had an eternal choice to make. I knew my life had come to this point in time, where I was standing at a precipice. I was either going to choose myself and be separated from God forever, or I was going to call upon His grace, to receive forgiveness and reconciliation by surrendering all of myself once and for all.

With my cheeks burning, I went into the bathroom and knelt down in the corner of the room, upon the tiled shower recess floor and repented…I called out to Jesus as I had done many times before, but this time counting the cost of what it truly meant to receive salvation…Offering myself back in love, to The One who is love Himself which is nothing in comparison to His gift of life and peace.

Shortly after I went and bought my own bible and began going to church. My whole life changed. I gave up teaching performing arts as my eyes were opened to how sin had infiltrated my own life and the lives of others. So many good gifts from God are ruined by sin and dance when it becomes secular is no exception. I knew however that nothing would be wasted, and that I must use the decade of experience and skill of working with young people for God’s glory and Kingdom.

The next year with hardly any scriptural knowledge yet a desire to be obedient, I began volunteering delivering Christian Religious Education in state schools. The following year in 2007 I had enrolled in a theological degree with Ridley College in Melbourne. I also volunteered in many church activities for example; Sunday school, a local Christian Kids’ Club, youth group, worship leading, running a choir along with other things…I had a great time! My mother even recommitted her life to Jesus. I remember often just being amazed, thinking that nothing was impossible for God; for if He could reach my cold heart, and raise up a simple, dance teacher to serve Him, what couldn’t He do!

My two biggest fears were, Jesus coming back and not being saved and my marriage ending. Jesus took both of these fears and dealt with them.

After repenting and committing to Jesus I don’t think I've ever woken up during the night in panic again. I still battled with anxiety, and sometime still do, but it’s not been the same. The second fear, Jesus dealt with so lovingly and gently, after I’d been a committed Christian for around seven years. I became single. I lost my marriage and it pretty much happened over night. At the time I knew things weren’t good, they hadn’t been very good for around 2 years, but I still didn’t see it coming. You see, after I had been saved we’d had a much healthier marriage for around 5 years. I remember when we lived in Echuca I saw my ex harden his heart to a gospel message one day, and it wasn’t much longer after then that he left.

Yet Jesus was with me through the pain and tears. I felt Him so close. It was a really challenging time, but He took me on a journey of regaining confidence and learning whom He had made me to be as His daughter. I knew I couldn’t control my ex, but for the first time in my life as a single person, committed to Christ, I knew I could make my own healthy choices. I was determined to do things differently, and I had a reservoir of amazing second chances He’d already given me over the previous seven years to focus upon.

I didn’t get angry at God. I gave Him my tears. I loved my children to the best of my ability, and I picked my study back up at the beginning of 2013 that I had taken a break from. I took up art, began blogging, and later the guitar and Christian songwriting. During this time I had a number of close people in my life pass away. It was tough but The Lord was faithful through it all. I had His love and the support of my family and church. I was also incredibly blessed to have witnessed my youngest brother also commit his life to Christ.

At the end of 2015 when finishing my degree, I knew The Lord was asking me to 'let go' and trust Him for the future He had planned for me. It was challenging as a single mother, but I took a step of faith and gained employment for a church in Adelaide. I worked there for a year in a dual position of Children’s/Family Pastor and school chaplain. Then The Lord opened a door for the boys and I to return back to Victoria. Around seven months ago I began working in 3 state schools for Access Ministries as a full-time school chaplain. I wasn’t long back in Victoria when I met Richard.

I had reached a place of wondering if I’d ever find a suitable, godly man, who would love and embrace me for all who I am, and all whom I’m called and made to be in Christ. A mature, Christian man whom my boys and I would be a great fit with. I knew what I wanted and needed, but I also knew it was a specific and long order. When I first saw Richard I needed God to speak to me about him, as due to being hurt I projected stuff onto Richard, and I didn’t even know him! That being said, I’m glad it happened this way, as I had God’s peace going forward with Richard, and The Lord kept providing us both with confirmation after confirmation.

I know I do not deserve the blessings my Heavenly Father has continually poured out on me and my boys. I am certainly not perfect. I am a work in progress. Sanctification is a journey that God takes us on, as we continue in our relationship with Him through Jesus. Once I was afraid but that was a delusion from the enemy. I have found love and peace and His Name is Jesus. Living my life with Jesus is one where He lovingly matures me through His love and grace – fear is replaced with peace through forgiveness and reconciliation.

I believe that every good and perfect gift comes down from God, and this marriage I am now entering into is such a gift. To experience being loved by a man, as Christ loves His Church. To feel so cherished and secure is such an amazing experience. To feel God’s peace and not worry is balm for my heart…
I simply want my whole life to forever sing His praise, for He is so Good.
I hope reading my story helps you get to know me a little better. Without Jesus I have no story and this is why I live the way I do. I simply want my whole life to forever sing His praise, for He is so Good.

This is my story so far and I am looking forward to the good plan God has for me, Richard, and the boys.


Tuesday, 2 May 2017

I Can't Take Any More!

I'm not strong enough, I can't take any more...

Have you felt like this?

I have. Fear. It can be crippling, yes even for 'The Christian'.

I'm not strong enough, I can't take any more...It's not a message we often hear.

Fear. Irrational or rational...does it really matter?

Crippling debt. Marriage infidelity. Defiant, rebellious children. Cancer. Mental Illness. Job loss. Addiction. I could go on and on...

The only solution I have ever found to trials and valleys has been total surrender of the problem to Jesus Christ. And I am writing this post to address what this actually means...Because how many of us have heard, “Give it to Jesus” without understanding what this truly means? And because what happens when we know the scripture, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”, yet feel totally incapable of victory? What happens when we feel so low and afraid because we've reached the end of ourselves, and are scared of being cut off from Jesus forever? What happens when we've confessed and repented and still struggle? What happens when we cannot control our circumstances and are so confused? What happens when we say, “I'm not strong enough, I can't take any more...”?

The only solution I have ever found to trials and valleys has been total surrender of the problem to Jesus Christ...But what does this mean?

It means when I reach a point where I know I am utterly helpless and have no strength left to change anything, or ability left to change anything, I cry out; “I cannot do it. I have tried and I have failed. I need you Jesus to intervene. Please take control and intervene, I am helpless without you taking over, I need your super-natural help. I lay it all down and give this situation to you. Forgive me and help me.” Then I fast and pray and wait for His intervention and strength to equip me, and He does.

It is then I experience victory because of His grace and mercy.

Fear. It can take many forms but often I have found it is linked with our own feelings of failure and inadequacy...But this is just the point I am trying to make with this post. We are totally inadequate and will continue to fail without surrendering all of ourselves, not just at the moment of salvation, but moment-by-moment to Jesus as we journey with Him.

Life does not stop. I don't believe bliss lasts super-long for anyone.

We will feel weary, even as Christians. We will struggle. But there is a place where your fear will have to face the God you know, and that is on your knees in a prayer of surrender and commitment to Him taking control. You will find strength and healing through prayer, fasting, and devotional scripture reading while you WAIT for Him to make the way.

Yes, we can receive comfort from other people and we can make our own resolutions, but being a Christian is about relationship, and that relationship is ongoing...moment-by-moment and day-by-day.

Remember, there is freedom in humility, and sanctification is a lifetime journey. Love, Melanie.

Let me leave with 'Oh my soul' from Casting Crowns:

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Easter 2017: Resurrection & Trust.

For me there is no Easter without Jesus' resurrection and furthermore there is no faith without complete trust.

I have been thinking about the importance of the resurrection and trust with Easter approaching. I am contemplating the truth of Easter holding no relevance for many when they don't understand or trust in The Resurrection.

You see, truly without Jesus' resurrection from death, we have no hope. We have no hope in anything after this life. So, we may as well continue to celebrate Easter in the pagan tradition of eating lots of 'fertile promoting' chocolate...You know, eat, drink and be merry because we're all just going to die anyway...

The Sadducees (a group of Jewish religious zealots in Jesus' time) tried to deny resurrection was a part of God's plan. They believed that this life was as good as it gets, and could not see God had a salvation solution. They tried to stump Jesus by asking an obviously preposterous question, regarding how marriage after multiple spouses would work after people are resurrected. Jesus simply told them they did not understand the scriptures or God's power...

Jesus never denied the resurrection. While many believe this is because we all will go to heaven, Jesus spoke of a resurrection consistent with the Bible. A resurrection of ALL PEOPLE for final judgement...A resurrection where we will pass into eternal joy or condemnation.

Now this may sound scary to you. And I will truthfully tell you, if we really understand that we can never measure up to God's holy standards, we may well panic. I really think this is why deep down, many people today struggle with anxiety...I believe they're stuck in their rebellion and sin from trying to live life without being forgiven and committed to Jesus, and when they're not distracted by life, their anxiety begins. I honestly can write this because I have personally experienced it, and know many who struggle the same way.

The good news however is, the anxiety can be replaced by God's peace when we confess our sin and need to God, and accept His gift of forgiveness and new-life through Jesus Christ! You see faith or a belief, that Jesus is the Messiah, or God's Saviour/Christ is still incomplete, unless we understand that faith requires the active-action of fully trusting in Jesus' death and resurrection being imparted to us. This happens when we repent and make the decision to give our life to Jesus Christ.

I have been thinking about how fully trusting God (whom Jesus is) is possibly the hardest thing for most people...

TRUST is really hard. I mean people may fully believe in Jesus. They may fully believe in His resurrection from death. But do they TRUST in it becoming their own???

I have been faced with the decision of late to trust or to not trust – and this has just in my own personal life, and truly it's hard, and it has me thinking...

We want the answer to everything we not? Yet if we understood everything it wouldn't it be hard to trust would it? Yes it would not be hard as trusting would require no faith, for faith is believing and trusting even when we don't see some parts or know some details.

Many people may say, “Yes, I believe in Jesus!” But do they really TRUST Him? Do they trust that His death and resurrection can be theirs? Do they trust that His death, (the loss of His life) can be the death their sins would have inherited and therefore His resurrection due to their sin being gone would also be theirs?

Do they TRUST in Him to be their Saviour – fully trusting that through Him they pass through final judgement, from death to life, because of His death and resurrection becoming theirs?

Do they TRUST Him for imparted wisdom from His Word, the Bible when the world says differently?

Do they TRUST Him to do a good work within them and to change their life when they surrender all to Him?

Do they TRUST Him to help them fight their sinful nature daily and to confess their sin when they stumble?

Do they still TRUST Him when they find themselves confused and hurt?

There is no Christian faith, or celebration at Easter without the resurrection and there is no Christian faith without complete trust in the final work of Jesus Christ; that being His death and resurrection being imparted to His followers.

TRUST is hard. But when I look in the mirror really honestly, or when I stop being angry and look at myself, I know I fall so short. I know I'm so limited and am so glad I can TRUST The One who always makes the right judgement, and has given me so much.

So I continue to believe and fully trust in Jesus' death and resurrection...

I pray you daily do too, love Melanie.

Let me leave you with "Jesus Paid It All" Being performed here by Newsboys.
"Oh praise The One who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead!"

Monday, 3 April 2017

To The Ends of The Earth...

Jesus told us we are to go out into all the world and proclaim the gospel of salvation to all people. With Him living inside of us, we as His children, are to go to the ends of the earth...

When we give up ourselves, handing our lives over to Him, He gives us a new heart and a new desire. This new heart is one which desires to live according to His will, and to live a life that serves Him because of the love we receive. We are transformed from autonomous, self focused people, into new creations who take love out into the world by His enabling power, and therefore fulfilling this great and wonderful commission.

But sometimes the world pulls us down...

Yes, pulls us down, for we are still in our mortal bodies while we await His return and we get tired and overwhelmed and confused...sometimes it seems this great commission must only be for the Super-Spiritual or the super-gifted missionaries...I think we believe we don't have the resources to fulfill this great commission. I think it's easy to look at what we have, or where we are, and only see what is lacking...

So I want to ask a question and it's a question for me, as much as it is for you.

What if we took the 'macro' perspective and drew it in more closely to contemplate what “the ends of the earth” may mean for us 'everyday' people? What if “the ends of the the earth” was not even our country or state or neighbourhood...What if we began to look at this great commission from a 'micro' perspective?

What if 'the ends of the earth' was our own home...Seriously...and if you think I'm crazy answer me this...Do you live anywhere near where Jesus spoke these words?

I want to be really honest, sometimes I think really 'macro or big' when it comes to this commission, and while there's nothing wrong with dreaming big, sometimes I just end up feeling discouraged.

I have always believed that my first mission or ministry is my own home.

I have had stirring on my heart of late, the desire to encourage others to simply act upon the 'micro' thoughts they have upon their heart for the Kingdom of God. To commit these thoughts and plans to Jesus, then step forth in faith and act upon them. Furthermore, to keep doing this faithfully and watching for what God will do with these acts-of-love.

I'm not saying God won't do big and amazing things through you or me...but I do think it's a scriptural principle that God entrusts more to us as we journey along, being faithful at first with the little...

We are called to be humble and self-giving just as Christ has demonstrated. Sadly when we forget about our own family this is the opposite of what Jesus did. Jesus began 'micro'. Jesus' first miracle was in the presence of His own family at the Wedding of Cana. Jesus began His ministry work by proclaiming to His own family, neighbourhood, and the Jewish people.

The Church needs to spread organically and grow disciples to live peaceful lives ministering to their own family first and community second (see 1 Thessalonians chapter 4;  1 Timothy chapter 2-3; Romans chapters 12-13.)

I was really encouraged today with a reading from 'The Word for Today', By Bob and Debbie Gass called, “Use what God has given you”. This reading spoke about the woman anointing Jesus with the costly ointment of nard...she did not hesitate to use what she had in worship of Jesus and Jesus said what she had done would be remembered wherever the gospel is proclaimed and indeed it is! This woman loved Jesus with what she had, where she was, in her own neighbourhood!

How are we worshiping Jesus with what we have, and where we are? What example are we giving our own families and then communities?

Sometimes I honestly think, what can I do? I am just an ordinary Aussie woman with limited resources and talents...But when I look for the 'micro' I see so much more...

I see a woman who is blessed to have children to love and show Jesus' love to. A woman, who by gender alone is therefore often trusted by other women. I see my functioning hands which can adeptly cook and clean to serve others. I see my laptop, instantly connected to the world at the press of a button by which I can then use to encourage others...hence this blog!

I really want to encourage you today to look more 'micro' at what is around see that God has brought 'the ends of the earth' to your own doorstep in so many ways and to act upon the 'micro thoughts' you have for His Kingdom and glory. To stop waiting for what you think is necessary and to simply do...

Let's all be more like the woman who anointed Jesus with the nard...Let's use right now what we have, right where we are in worship of Jesus, so that others may know what an awesome God we love and obey!

In love and service to Him, Melanie.

Sunday, 26 March 2017


When I entered my wilderness season, The Lord led me to read Jeremiah 29:11; “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.”

Perhaps it's a little strange given it's such a well known verse of scripture, but I really don't think I knew the verse at the time, even though I had been a Christian for around seven years. What I do know however, is that the timing of reading this verse was perfect, and even though I was suffering, I knew I was not abandoned. I knew He was with me, even when it seemed no one else was.

Soon later and over my years of singleness, when I felt so alone and weary, He continued to give me promises. Verses of being rebuilt and refreshed; I knew there would come a time when I would be a joyful bride. I knew that He knew how I felt, and that He would provide for my children and I a godly man to be the head of our family...even when I could see no suitable ones for us around. Sometimes it was difficult to hold onto His promises when I looked around and most everything I saw was still barren, but I held onto the hope of everything being able to change in one day with The Lord...I knew nothing was impossible for God!

“Again I will build you, and you shall be built, O virgin Israel! Again you shall adorn yourself with tambourines and shall go forth in the dance of the merrymakers.” Jeremiah 31:4

“So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten...You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, And praise the name of the Lord your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you...” Joel 2: 25a;26a.

Psalm 68:5-6 says, “Father of orphans and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. God gives the desolate a home to live in; He leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious live in a parched land.”

God is such a good Father. He loves us, His children,
more than we can comprehend.

I believe, without a doubt, that even during difficult times He is working things out for our best interest. For we know from scripture that He works all things together for the good of those who love Him, and nothing can stand in the way of His will for those He loves.

There were times when I cried, feeling like the world had made me a widow. Rejection and loneliness at times seemed to be a taunt, and there were times when I was quite weary. Yet it was in the wilderness The Lord ministered to me in a way I had not experienced before. Just like Hosea says, “Therefore, I will now allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.”

The Lord provided for me and my boys, time and time again in both a super-natural and very personal way and it was more than enough, so much so that there were times when I wondered if I really needed a human husband...yet the desire for one remained. But most importantly it was the desire for His planned man for the boys and me I desired most, as I knew that making the wrong choice with this matter was not a part of His plan for us.

There were times when I'd see the happy faces of people going home as families together with their loved ones after church, and I'd wonder, “How long?” But psalm 68: 5-6 not only says He cares for the widow, it also says He gives the desolate a home to live in...another translation uses the word 'lonely'.

I know what it's like to be lonely for a complete family. I loved my boys but struggled with a piece of my heart being empty and a part of my family missing. I knew we needed a Christian husband, I just didn't know who he was or where I'd find him, so I waited...and prayed...and waited and prayed...

I know The Lord is good and truly does want to heal our broken hearts and bind up our wounds. I encourage you today, with whatever you're hurt is to be patient.

Keep prayerful and hopeful. Don't rush into anything.

Be wise about all matters of the heart. As children of the One most high, trust Him with your precious heart for that is exercising true faith.

Become strong in times of weakness by prayer and reading the Bible. Remember being patient in times of suffering produces endurance and godly character, if we let it...

God does restore, so keep prayerful. Be strong in The Word and do not lose hope in the One who never fails!

Love Melanie.