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Life of an Ordinary Aussie Woman

Monday, 4 December 2017

Bone from my bone, flesh from my flesh: Christian Marriage & what redefinition can't change.

This weekend I awoke around 2:30am on Sunday morning in excruciating pain.

The pain was heavy and overwhelming so much that it awoke me from sleep.

There was no way I could ignore this pain and go back to sleep for there was no position I found comfort and relief from. The pain was in my upper back between my shoulder blades, and extended down into my lower back. I felt sick and my left arm felt a bit strange.

In desperation I awoke my husband and he got me some tablets. While crying in pain and confusion, we sought some explanation from Google, as I knew I hadn’t strained it!

With my symptoms aligning with possible heart attack for a female, and the pain not easing we called for medical help. I ended up in hospital, not returning home till around lunchtime.

I was given the all-clear for any heart attack, blood clots or lung trouble, and the only thing we can think of is a likely MSG food reaction, because we’d dined Saturday evening at a local Chinese restaurant which we later found out uses MSG unless requested otherwise. My older sister is allergic to MSG and it seems most likely I am now also. After returning home I slept and slept, awaking briefly on and off. I finally felt mostly better Monday morning. I am very relieved I have been given the all-clear medically. 

The biggest benefit for me personally however has been experiencing the faithful agape love of God through my husband, as we transition through the ‘honeymoon’ period into more and more becoming one…Bone from bone, flesh from flesh. Yes, the miracle God does through the covenant of marriage, where a man and woman from different family lines, join to become one. An illustration of what all people can become with God through Jesus Christ. For through Jesus all of us who are born separated from God, can be forgiven to become members of His family. A spiritual re-birth through Jesus Christ gives us the DNA we need to be God’s children.

Family and relationship are so important to God. Jesus healed people restoring them back into their community and as a way for them to see who He was – As a testimony that He was and is, the way for them and us to become reconciled as God’s children.

My eldest son said to his brother’s today, in regards to them needing to get along better, “We share 50% of the same DNA!”
It made me think again about how important family is, and therefore the sanctity and importance of Christian marriage…especially when relationships and marriage today have become anything but godly. It made me think more about what marriage truly represents, and what any skewed perception or redefinition cannot change...

It made me think of Adam’s declaration, “Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh” and of the scriptural command for husbands to love their wife as their own body.

For me the difference between worldly relationships (which in the past I have experienced) and the ones as a Christian covenant, is the first have a value but the second ones are beyond worldly value. Let me explain…

The first type of relationship is more self-serving like a commodity…even the ones where a piece of paper is signed with the mind, rather than the heart.

A worldly relationship expires when it no longer meets the needs of one or both people.

A worldly relationship often grows cold when circumstances change.

The second relationship is a marriage where a man and woman become one. They become family and therefore loyal to each other, irrespective of circumstances. 

Just like the Christian whose life changes after becoming a child of God, a Christian covenant marriage is a permanent family-bond.

When I left home in the ambulance, my husband could not return to sleep. He stayed awake and prayed for me, flesh of his flesh, bone of his bone…his wife. When I came home and slept he continued to stay awake and care for our boys, because we are his family. 

Now I am not saying that relationships and marriages that are not Christian-covenant ones are void of commitment and love...

The most beautiful thing about a Christian covenant marriage which no law can redefine, is that when the music and glamour of the celebration fades, in Christian marriage we are left with God’s blessing of the bond of family.

Worldly relationships where one person says to another, “I will not give you……..(fill in the gap)” are not true agape love. They do not represent God’s love which welcomes us as family who share in His love, and inherit everything.

My advice to those not married is to not treat yourself as a commodity, for someone else to purchase or use. Find peace and purpose in gaining a new spiritual DNA through Jesus.

If you are a child of God, remember you are royalty, and a part of a family that is beyond all the riches of the world. Therefore walk in dignity and graciousness.

Furthermore marriage is not the most important thing in the world – Family is. Becoming a part of God’s family is the most important and therefore Christian marriage should reflect this.

Let me repeat marriage is NOT the most important thing in the world – Family is. And therefore I need to add, that as children of God – also known as the Church, or the bride of Christ – We need to treat each other as brother and sister with God’s agape love – AS FAMILY – whether we’re married or single!

When the music and glamour of good times fade, as Christians we are left with God’s blessing of the bond of family. As his children and therefore as brothers and sisters, single or married, we are family and should treat each other as such.

Christian marriage and Christian family, as a reflection of the covenant God makes with us to become His reconciled children through Jesus reflects the truth about life which no redefinition can ever change. Thanks be to God!

Love Melanie.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

No more Zest!

Sometimes we can be exactly on the right road we are meant to be travelling on, when the surface of the road changes, or what was a clear run becomes congested with traffic and we begin to panic…We may even begin to doubt ourselves and wonder am I still on the right road?

Suddenly those brightly lit exit signs which we didn’t take notice of before, catch our attention, becoming an option and only add another layer of confusion and uncertainty. Those of you confident enough to drive in big cities, I’m sure would know what I mean.

This experience however, I believe directly parallels that of a spiritual experience we can go through as disciples of Jesus…and I am speaking from experience.

Over the past nine months I have gone through some major changes once again in my life, specifically getting engaged and married. A major change that I felt made me consider other options for ministry…

I was working full-time as a school chaplain and knew between my husband and myself I was the only one of us that could re-locate for work. Where he lived was also much more suitable for us as a whole family and it made me realise it would be best for me and the boys to relocate. Due to my commitment to ministry, we still considered living apart on some weekdays and travelling to be all together mid week and each weekend. However we knew as a couple in their 40s with teenage children this wouldn’t be sustainable.

Every time I looked online and spoke to people I kept hearing that chaplaincy in the city my husband lives in would not be an option. I looked into hospital chaplaincy, parish ministry, and courses but none of these options seemed right at this time for me. I did not know how things would work but I just knew these weren’t right. I did not have The Lord’s peace to pursue any of these options. With no real surety it came about that I began to consider returning to my previous occupation of teaching performing arts. This time however it would be different. This new venture would be a performing arts school that was completely Christian in all aspects. Christian morals, values and content would be a prominent feature. Although I had some reservations about opening a performing arts school again and had no chaplaincy work (as I resigned so we could all be together) the boys and I all moved. 

When I moved I had no work for 2 months and although this was somewhat challenging as I kept looking and applying for work without success, I still had The Lord’s peace being sure that I actually needed a time of rest and this is what The Lord was providing me with at that moment…But as for what was next I still had no idea for sure!

I had heard from a local chaplain, school chaplaincy was impossible to get in this new city, months prior to moving, so when I saw a job in a nearby small country town I applied. The position was 3 days a week for six months, then in 2018 was to change down to 2 days. I thought, “Okay this could work and with 2 days next year in chaplaincy, I could perhaps teach performing arts on other days…”

Although I still didn’t have 100% surety and motivation to teach again, I decided to ‘test’ and see if this indeed was what I was meant to do next… People I spoke to seemed really excited about me running a Christian performing arts school. I had an offer of a building too.  These things really did seem confirming. However I just couldn't shake the question, “Why am I going off the road of full-time school chaplaincy? Why would I go this far to veer off?” I was confused thinking, “I have my degree and a lot of valuable experience, so why would I become married and need to change this?” 
I was however determined to be faithful to whatever I was being asked to do, or give up, so I pushed forward, all the time praying, with advertising for the performing arts school. My bank account got hacked and I felt awful, however again, I received a lot of ‘likes’ and the interest seemed confirming. This however was also alongside me beginning to have a wonderful ministry in my new school and the desire to engage in more chaplaincy and ministry. All I knew for certain was whatever The Lord’s path for me was, I would have His peace completely when on it!

I advertised through regular schools, waited and prayed. No calls came.

Again I felt confused.

So I continued to wait and pray and asked specifically for confirmation with calls to come. 

No calls came.

Then my school’s principal spoke to me saying how happy they were with me and asked me if I could continue working for them for 3 days per week next year. My heart leapt inside and I said yes immediately.

Still no calls came. Somewhat confused and excited at the same time I decided to call my supervisor.

When I called I mentioned my school wanting me to stay on for 3 days next year and I also asked if there was any possibility of any school chaplaincy coming up locally in my city…

And then he said something along the lines of, “Well it just so happens…maybe this could work…what great timing…”

I have since met with this new local school and have been offered the position of being their school chaplain next year for 2 days a week. It was a great fit for both the school and me, and now I finally have The Lord’s peace…along with again having full-time ministry work.

I have cancelled the performing arts school endeavour and contacted the handful of people who had been interested. None of them have expressed concern the school is not going ahead, and all expressed their belief in the value of school chaplaincy.

Yet, it was a tough time.

I was indeed distracted and concerned by my change in circumstances and the brightly lit ‘exit signs’. And the truth is the exit paths weren’t ‘bad roads’...
2 bible stories which came to mind and have brought me comfort recently are Abraham and Isaac and David and Solomon.

The first was with Abraham when God asked him to sacrifice Isaac. God needed to be first, and Abraham needed to be obedient. Abraham was willing to give up a part of himself (his own flesh and blood son) in order to put The Lord first in His life. Through this experience I felt I needed to be willing to give up the ‘chaplaincy’ part of myself which I do love, in order to keep humble and The Lord as number one. This was a really tough experience for me but one I know helped my heart.

The second was when King David wanted to build the temple but The Lord said no it was for his son Solomon to do. You see, I believe having a Christian performing arts school is not wrong. I believe it is a wonderful ministry, yet I don’t believe it is what The Lord is asking me personally to do.

Discerning can be a rough time. No matter how much faith we have, it can be difficult waiting and processing. 

My husband Richard and I over the last few months have begun a new Christian website called, ‘Study Scripture Today’ and I have published a comprehensive guide-type post there on discernment using the word ‘peace’ as an acronym. If you need clarity and help with discerning The Lord’s will and path for you feel free to check it out: 'How do I know God's will'.

Love Melanie.

P.S: So much for school chaplaincy being unattainable in this city! Yes, nothing is impossible with God!

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Can A Woman Forget Her Nursing Child?

The Lord knows what love a mother can have for her child…

‘Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.’ Isaiah 49:15.

‘As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. The Reign and Indignation of God, You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice; your bodies shall flourish like the grass; and it shall be known that the hand of the Lord is with his servants, and his indignation is against his enemies.’ Isaiah 66: 13-14.

Recently one of my sons was ill, experiencing pain and blood loss. It was truly difficult to see my usually, strapping young and healthy lad, in such pain and discomfort. We needed to take him to the hospital twice for emergency assessment and as such, he was assigned a bowel specialist and booked in immediately for a colonoscopy.

I took a week off work to take care of him and we prayed, along with our Christian friends for healing. The day before the procedure I oversaw his bowel preparation. I had prayed the cleansing would be as painless as possible, and I was so happy when it was.

King Hezekiah was prominent in my mind, so I prayed for healing so that my son could go on to serve Jesus for many years to come, free from this pain. I also thought of a friend in ministry with Crohn's disease and how hard it has been for them…But King Hezekiah was healed through prayer and a poultice from figs (read it here), so I continued to pray, and each time I did I felt better and more confident.

Today we went to the hospital pediatric clinic for the results from the colonoscopy and biopsy taken. The doctor gave me the news my son is clear of any inflammatory bowel disease and cancer, both of which he was tested for, as these were the symptoms he presented with. The doctor said they do not have an answer for us, and can only offer us some further testing, such as a laparoscopy. However I declined at this stage, as he's been slowly improving and this is what everyone has been praying for…

While my son expressed gratitude after hearing the results, he still said to me, “But I want to know what I was healed from…” Such an inquisitive mind…I am just grateful I can hold him and say, “Thank you, Jesus”.

While all this has been happening, a dear friend of mine had a breast scan and they found a lump in one breast. I went with her for a follow-up biopsy, and began praying. My friend also found out today the lump is not cancerous and for this second answered prayer I am also praising Jesus! 

There is more to come for both my son and friend, and that is enough for my heart to bear today…

I am writing this post and sharing this news publically for two reasons:

1. It is right for us to give our thanks and praise publically for who He is – All He has done for us, and is continuing to do in our lives each day.

2. To encourage you. To encourage you to pray, and also to praise Him for every silver lining in every situation. While I awaited the results, I was still praising Jesus for the fantastic medical attention we received. We may not know what the outcome and answer will be, but we can always look for His hand of mercy and comfort and invite Him into our tough situations and be grateful.

May we always praise Him, in all circumstances for His grace, mercy and steadfast love! 


Tuesday, 7 November 2017

49 Ways to make each moment and day beautiful.

For some weeks now I have had upon my heart the desire to make each moment in my life beautiful, to grow and become more Christ-like. And although for many years now, since giving my life to Jesus, it has been my heart’s desire to show His love that is within me to others…This longing to make every moment beautiful, seems to be a new form that is with me throughout each day.

To make each moment beautiful.

This thought has been with me in quiet times of reflection, and remains in the background as I face difficult situations. Situations like fatigue, migraines, sick children, impatience, stubbornness, back-chatting teenagers, rude adults, non-empathetic friends, irritating situations…

To make each moment beautiful.

Jesus spoke about how foolish it is to store up treasures here on earth, when we could be gone at any moment. He spoke about the importance of being ready. Ready to meet Him face-to-face; either when our body dies and we’re taken to heaven, or when He returns to earth for the final judgement and we’re swept up to be with Him.

I want to be found faithful. I want to be ready. 

I want to have made a difference in the lives whom I am in relationship with. I want to make each moment beautiful, as a living sacrifice.

I do believe Jesus expects us to live out our faith in Him beautifully, while bearing our cross just as He did, as a faithful testimony to others of His power and strength to carry us through while we await His return.

The truth is I don’t always get it right. I don’t always succeed in making each moment beautiful, or in bringing His beauty into each situation, to be somewhat of a reflection…but it is my heart’s desire to do so, and so I continue on to try with His help, and repent when I fail.

To make each moment beautiful, I think is so much upon my heart at this time, as there seems to be so many negative things going on outside of my control. And while I cannot control others and all situations, I can work at making my own life as beautiful as possible for myself and others. I hope this post encourages you to work for the same.

Well today is my husband’s last birthday in his 40’s, so I have decided to sit and write some of the these things upon my heart in the form of this post: 49 Ways to make each moment and day beautiful. I hope it inspires you!

49 Ways to make each moment and day beautiful.

1. Prayer. While we can’t control much in our world and lives, we can choose to pray. Praying makes that your heart in that moment of surrendered humility beautiful. Prayer invites The Lord into the situation and to at upon our behalf…Pray enables The Lord to be active in the situation we have asked Him to work in. Pray enables The Lord to go before us and make a way where we cannot. Pray invites His healing hand, sometimes to soften our own heart, and make a way for repentance, or forgiveness that we need. Prayer is a beautiful moment in our day.

2. Reading. Reading the Bible or a daily devotional is an intentional effort to focus your mind on something beautiful – His unchanging truths.

3. Cook or bake something special for no reason. Making your spouse’s or child’s favourite dinner, or baking a cake for someone, for no other reason than seeing them smile is a wonderful way to make an evening beautiful.

4. Get outside. Intentionally get outside and get some sunshine if possible. You may like to sit in the sun or shade with a nice drink or go for a relaxing walk in a park, taking in the beauty of creation.

5. Create something. We’re all different but you could make something around your interest and skills. You could use a pen, paper, paint, wood, a recipe, an instrument, plants…you could even create an event. Life is what you make it, so why wait? Make something beautiful.

6. Call someone. While digital/text connection is good, there is stills something extra special when hearing a person’s voice, or seeing their face. Often we find ourselves switching off (due to business) and not making the time to speak with others in person…So even if it’s not face-to-face, pick up your phone and call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while – You will find you will feel so much better afterwards for making the effort. Stop being the person that always says to others, “Haven’t heard from you in ages!”

7. Forgive and make peace. Forgiving others is not only a command, it sets us free from inner turmoil. When it is safe and reasonable to do so, we should also work for peace with others. Now this is not just friends and acquaintances, this is also our family and spouse. The Bible advises to not let the sun go down on your anger and also to not leave your gift at the alter until after you’ve made peace with someone you need to. Forgiveness and reconciliation make way for beauty.

8. Host a meal. Host a meal or barbecue to make an ordinary day a beautiful one, but remember Jesus challenges us to invite not just our friends, but those on the fringe. Blessing someone else with no return favour is truly beautiful.

9. Write a note. Why not make the effort to write someone a note or message to affirm them as a person? You could make a card, write a letter or pop a short note on their desk. Oftentimes words of affirmation are infrequent for many people. Receiving encouraging words is truly a beautiful moment.

10. Go to a café. Schedule time to have a coffee or drink with someone at a nice café. Treat yourself and them. Switch off your phone or device and spend time together.

11. Plant a plant or tend a garden. If you don’t have a garden to enjoy, consider making one or buying a plant and repotting it, to enjoy its beauty. You could even join a local community garden and enjoy growing and sharing healthy vegetables. This is a very therapeutic way to make your day more beautiful.

12. Clean. Making your living space/s clean can help lift your mood and literally makes your home more beautiful and pleasant for everyone in it. If you wished others would do more, you could ask them to help, or just set the example.

13. Do an act of service. Bring beauty to your community by helping with a task. Volunteering has been shown to not only benefit others but also improve the quality of life for those who give their time freely. Do you know someone who needs a hand? What about your spouse, is there a task they’re hoping you finish?

14. Give Something away. Stop trying to earn a dollar for every item you no longer want. De-clutter and give something decent to a charity. 

15. Re-decorate. Colour brings life. You may like to spruce up your bedroom to help create a calm and safe place to rest and recharge in.

16. Take a bath. Take time to unwind and relax…even a nice warm shower helps.

17. Listen to inspiring music. Make a moment more beautiful by playing some uplifting music. Not sure about this? Why not get online and find a playlist on Youtube?

18. Have a get-a-way. While this is not always practical or affordable, when it is take the opportunity to get-a-way from your usual surroundings and experience a new place, taking in all its culture and beauty.

19. Have a laugh. Make a moment more bearable and beautiful by making someone laugh, or take a moment to watch some wholesome comedy.

20. Have a cuddle. We all need touch. After a long day, take some time to hug a loved one, or to cuddle your pet.

21. Visit a relative. Sometimes we make more time for friends than family. Make your life beautiful by taking the time to visit a relative, and this may be someone you struggle with.

22. Give a gift. Is it someone’s birthday, or do you have extra of something you can gift to someone else. Make the day beautiful by giving a gift, even when it’s not necessary or expected.

23. Make a new friend, or invest time into a young person. Why shut others out? It’s a big wide world, and there are many people out there whom you can make a difference to. Life can be lonely, but oftentimes that can be from choice. We often need to make an effort to make our own life more meaningful and beautiful. There are often mentoring programs that need volunteers.

24. Don’t shut the door. Don’t make rash decisions to shut people out of your life, unless they’re dangerous. Oftentimes people make the decision to limit their acquaintances, and while it’s true we don’t need 100’s of friends, when we shut the door and choose to cut people out of our lives, (or unfriend them on social media), we shut the door on further contact perhaps later on. A life that has others to call upon and vice-versa is more beautiful – God doesn’t shut the door on us, so be careful with this decision.

25. Go on a camp/retreat. Or perhaps take in a workshop or seminar. Intentionally taking time to recharge with a Christian camp or seminar can bring more of God’s beauty and encouragement into our lives.

26. Go somewhere breath-taking. Trips like this may be few and far between in your life, but when able take the opportunity to take in the splendour of creation and thereby some of God’s majesty when doing so – So beautiful and inspiring.

27. Visit a sick friend. Make a beautiful moment for someone else by taking the time to visit a sick friend at home or in hospital.

28. Make a time capsule. Make a beautiful memory of your life with a time-capsule or photo album for example. Capture the moment to reflect upon later down the track by you or someone else.

29. Make a donation to a charity. Why leave all your money to someone else who will make the decision of what happens to it. Jesus said give and store your treasure in heaven. Spread some love and beauty through giving to a charity.

30. Give someone a make-over. Treat your friend to a facial or if you’re unable perhaps give them a gift voucher for one. You could spend sometime with a young niece and paint their nails, or make a piece of home-made jewellery to brighten their day.

31. Start a new hobby. Why wait any longer to try out that hobby/interest you always have in the back of your mind? Who knows what doors it may open.

32. Connect with your neighbour. Bring some beauty into your life and the person’s next door! So many people today suffer silently not even knowing who lives next door.

33. Have a games night. Turn off technology and the television and spend time with others. Having a fun games night is a great way to do this!

34. Learn a new language or musical instrument. Make your life experience more beautiful by engaging in a new cultural experience like learning a new language or musical instrument for example. What else can you think of?

35. Be adventurous and join a group. Search what local activities or groups are running in your neighbourhood, or ask other and be brave!

36. Cook yourself a healthy dinner. Take in the beauty of good healthy food. Make the effort to make your day beautiful by enjoying some freshly prepared produce! Even taking some good multi-vitamins can be very beneficial. Not sure? Why not go see a nutritionist?

37. Avoid arguing online. Less is more. Quality over quantity. Limit your online time and be selective in regards to the quality of your interaction. Sometimes negative interaction is unavoidable, yet we can still choose to how we respond or whether or not we reply at all. We need to ask ourselves, “If I respond, will my response be edifying for myself and the other person?”

39. Spend time doing a quality bible study. We need to take in good spiritual food through studying The Word. This will positively impact our well-being immensely by transforming our minds to be more in line with The Lord’s through scripture. Do not engage with ‘pop culture’ non-biblical type studies.

40. Take some photos. Get outside and capture some beauty.

41. Bite your tongue. Be slow to respond and bite back with rash remarks. Make each moment more beautiful and graceful by guarding your tongue. If you have lashed out, apologise quickly.

42. Be grateful. Spend some time quietly reflecting upon the blessings in your life and be grateful.

43. Give a massage. Make a beautiful moment by offering a loved one a good-old shoulder rub. If it’s your spouse this could lead to some more loving affection which could be needed.

44. Avoid gossip. There is nothing beautiful in slander and unnecessary complaining. Avoid this filth at all costs.

45. Watch something decent. Take in some beauty by watching something inspiring or a great message. Turn the television off.

46. Start a new project. What are you waiting for? Need money? Make the plan, save then go for it. Remember projects can always include others…spread some beauty around!

47. Set a goal. Aim to succeed. Set a goal to achieve something positive and of worth to improve your life and those around you. Aim to make a difference and make your place more beautiful.

48. Eat a treat. Sometimes something delicious will always brighten a day and make for a special moment. Chocolate…need I say more?

49. Encourage someone. For this final one, let me ask you, how do you want to be remembered? As someone who brought love, joy and peace into the lives of others by encouraging them? Or as someone who just existed once? It only takes a moment to encourage someone rather than tear them down. Be present with people, rather than being focused on your phone. Be present and listen to them. Then be an encourager and bring beauty into the moment!

In His love, Melanie. 

Remember if you ever have a query, you can email me at