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Life of an Ordinary Aussie Woman

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Busy-ness is not godliness…

There’s a saying that goes something like, “If you want something done, ask a busy person”…Implying that it’s the busy people who get things done and keep things going, compared to the ‘lazy people’.

I don’t know if you’ve heard this saying before, but I have had it said to me, and I’m pretty sure it was said with the aim of pressuring me to take on more duties and responsibilities…and while I know I’m considered by others to be a ‘doer’ and an ‘achiever’, I honestly know I need a substantial amount of ‘down time’ in each week to recharge for my health, creativity and personal relationships.

How often does the pendulum swing too far in either direction in our lives, as we aim and strive for what we desire? This can be in any area. But in regards to our time, it can be so difficult to achieve the balance we need, when we desire to ‘achieve’ a goal.

I know I’m probably not saying anything here you don’t already know…yet I also know when I read something I personally relate to on a deep level, it can really help me gain some clarity and focus in my life.

We know how we use our time comes down to our priorities…So I think we should always come back to this when we feel overwhelmed…

Now this overwhelming feeling could be at either end of the pendulum. Perhaps you’re overwhelmed with no sense of direction, or motivation to even get out of bed most days and achieve more than getting through that day. Perhaps you’re so busy trying to earn money and care for your family that you are becoming physically and emotionally ill. Perhaps you’re so busy, that when your head hits the pillow you can’t switch off. Perhaps you desire the best for your children that you become so busy serving them, you neglect yourself. Perhaps you have an addiction that you serve that consumes your time at the detriment to your well-being.

The first thing I personally must do when I feel overwhelmed in any way before I can find any balance in my life, is come back to the premise that my relationship with Jesus is, and always must be my first priority – The wonderful thing about this premise is that it applies to every Christian. It is not based on gender, occupation, skill or personal circumstances or other relationships.

Jesus needs to encompass my life. He goes before me, is with me, and is my rear guard. He is with me in everything and must come before all things, for it is only in Him that we ‘live and move and have our being’ Acts 17:28 . Without Him everything else is just futile busy-ness that amounts to nothing at the end of the day. Without Jesus in prime position of my life I am leading myself which will result in no true Kingdom productivity, no matter how ‘good’ my intentions are, for I am guilty of idolatry if something else has my heart.

When I read the gospel accounts of Jesus’ ministry life I know just how extremely busy Jesus was, yet I also read of His priority to connect with The Father, alone each day for their relationship, to recharge and seek clarity and direction – We must not forget that Jesus who was and is fully God, totally became a human being and faced all that we do, and even more!

Yet when I also read the gospels, I take comfort when I read the stern words Jesus sometimes spoke to his disciples, and of His anger in the temple over their abuses, as I know its human to feel challenging raw emotions like anger, frustrations, tiredness and pain. I know if Jesus experienced these challenges yet never sinned, I can ask Him to help me with mine. I know NOT to expect a perfectly balanced life, even if my spiritual life and relationship with Jesus is in check, as challenges come to us all – But I know I will be so much stronger when I'm walking closely with Jesus.

When reading the gospels I am comforted and enabled to not feel ‘false’ guilt when I say no to some requests and put my relationship with Jesus first. For I have truly found, when I put Jesus first I have His peace, and I have more energy and love for others. With Jesus first I have actually found working less harder than before, as He always provides abundantly what I need to prosper…like creative ideas, helping hands and open doors…Let me be clear here, I don’t mean abundant money.

Busy-ness is not godliness, but neither is laziness and apathy.

No amount of busy-ness, or money gifted will ever proclaim the gospel of a restored relationship with God through Jesus Christ to other people, including our children. The only proclamation that will ring loud and true, is a genuinely humble and dedicated life.

If we feel overwhelmed, let’s remember the goodness of the Lord, and of how His mercies are new every morning (Lam 2:22-23)…So that we can repent of anything that has taken His rightful place to receive His peace, regardless of our circumstances. Then we can re-prioritise and begin afresh to love and serve Him and others, in work that will bear much fruit until He returns.

Love Melanie.

Let me leave you with Casting Crown, Here's my heart Lord!

Friday, 8 September 2017

Marriage: An Ordinary Aussie Woman's Contribution to the Marriage Debate in Australia.

With the current debate surrounding the notion to redefine marriage pretty much taking center stage in Australian news recently, and an approaching plebiscite, I cannot help but often reflect on what marriage means to me.

Each time I think about marriage, I am left with the reality that it is never about my own needs being at the forefront of what ultimately is a legal, and also to me, a spiritually binding agreement.

I needed to add ‘a spiritually binding agreement’ as for me marriage is a holistic union, which is why I also believe sex needs to be kept for after the wedding ceremony takes place. You see I honestly believe sex easily clouds a person’s good judgement, and creates such a powerful bond that when it happens outside of marriage often there is no protection for either person in the relationship…and really if people don’t need protection of their commitment to intimacy with one person why do they need marriage? 

But back to the legal side…For a long time over human history people have been happy to commit to another person without a ‘piece of paper’. However we know, marriage is an instituted, lawful binding contract established to protect the most vulnerable people in a family, and we know from history and current domestic violence statistics, this is women and children. 

Back a long time ago and even not so long ago, women and children were not considered (in many societies) to be equal with men. Many men had concubines and women slaves they had intercourse with, and could dispose of when they desired. We know the children were often not a consideration at all. Prostitution was often the only source of income for many unmarried women. Women and children were treated like property…But I’m probably not stating anything you don’t know, right?

Fast forward to today and here in Australia, I have equal legal rights as a female to any male. I have legal protection even without marriage, and so do my children, therefore many people, especially those with no faith, don’t bother about the piece of paper anymore…

Marriage today, is more of a public declaration of monogamous commitment, and the assurance that children know both biological parents…The husband and wife both being on the birth certificate, and mother, father and child having the same surname.

Marriage therefore is still an established legal right for the protection of the most vulnerable – it has nothing to do with our own desire to be loved, and declare that love to our friends and family – that is really done every day through the often unrelenting, tough sh*t you go through because of being committed, with or without a piece of paper! 

Marriage is not about looking flawless and spending thousands of dollars. It’s not about sexual attraction. It's not about equality or legal protection in Australia – cohabitating couples regardless of sex are recognised. Yes, we already have equality and legal protection here in Australia, irrespective of our gender, thank goodness! Furthermore, marriage is not about commitment, people can easily get divorced…yes even a woman can divorce her husband without his consent – It’s been this way for a while now...

The current legal definition of marriage ensures the protection of the child’s right to know their biological parents, and have shared custody, especially if the marriage ends in divorce. We who work with children and adolescents know the trauma a child experiences from feeling abandoned by a parent, irrespective of the factual circumstances involved…It is these children and youth, who so often grow up to be dysfunctional adults, crippled by the loss of their biological connectedness and cultural heritage.

As someone who has had a failed marriage and is now married again, I can honestly say marriage is always about the children, it protects their right to grow up knowing their biological parents. It certainly should not be a vehicle to service the insecurities of adults. For if it does this, where will the redefining of marriage for a ‘loving relationship between consenting people’ stop? We already are reading of cases overseas where parents and their biological children are being legally married, just to name one arguable situation…

Marriage is a legal binding agreement that requires our mature response for what’s best for our children and society as a whole. Again especially today, marriage is not about our adult needs. Over my life I have lived in a defacto relationship, and also as a married wife…I know legally I had the same rights, and equally could leave either if I so chose to do so…the document makes no difference. 

The truth is marriage shows us selfless love for those who are the most vulnerable and today that is still children…I know that I have given that right to my children who do know their biological father, and even though that union ended in divorce, they have that legal protection granted by the marriage and their legal birth certificate.

A society which ignores the voiceless, and bends to the will of any volatile mob will not prosper, history has proved this. Structured working societies that prosper are not ones that treat everyone the same – They are the ones that protect and give more to the most vulnerable…The unborn, the children, the disabled, the sick and frail…

In true love, respect and concern, Melanie.