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Life of an Ordinary Aussie Woman

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Searching For My Kind of CraZy!

I am at peace.  I am at peace knowing without a doubt, the wait was worth it and I have found ‘my type of crazy’ man in a world full of ‘nice’ people, who are great but just are not ‘my kind of crazy’…

Do you know what I mean?

I am sitting here after a massive half-week which has included amongst other stuff, 2 trips to the emergency department of our local hospital for my eldest son…

I am sitting having just finished the dishes for dinner, while my hubby is out getting extra groceries I didn’t buy earlier today with one of the boys in tow…and I sit here content and at peace, even though my eldest son is still in pain awaiting a procedure next week, because I know Jesus provided me with ‘my kind of crazy’ man to help carry these burdens…

‘My kind of crazy’ man is my bbf - My best friend forever. He really is. 

And I sit here writing this, not to boast (cause I didn’t really do anything), and not to praise my hubby (‘cause he isn’t perfect)…I sit here writing this to encourage you, yes you who are waiting and wondering, “In a world full of people, will I ever meet the one who is my type of crazy?”

I want to tell you this. Pray. Wait. Be patient and do not settle.

Oh yes, and one more thing – If you have truly loved before, do not despair and think it could not happen again, because it happened to me.

I have finally found ‘my type of crazy’ man after heartbreak, and what seemed to me to be, a difficult wait.

So pray. Wait. Be patient and do not settle…and while you do, work on yourself! Take time to process your junk with God, so you become a holistically healthy person ready for marriage. And while you’re at it, mingle with all the ‘nice people’ to learn what it is that you actually desire in a spouse…for there is so much more to being equally yoked than both of you being ‘church goers’!

From my humble observation, the best marriages I have seen are the ones where the couple didn’t settle. They prayed, waited patiently and did not settle. Now when I write ‘not settling’ I don’t want you to think I am talking about anything as shallow as physical appearance…They did not settle on being truly equally yoked or in modern-day language, being a great match!

They didn’t settle because they were firstly secure in their singleness and relationship with Jesus, so they could wait patiently (although this was still tough) and learn from their Heavenly Father who they were, and the type of person whom they would be a great match with. They knew what they needed in a spouse, and so when they recognised this person they saw God’s hand, and had His peace…

Being a great match comes down to being a great match holistically, so here are seven areas to consider:

·        1. Are we compatible spiritually? For example as a Christian one may ask…Do we have the same views about God and the Bible? Ideas about marriage and raising children in church? Do we think the same about Christian education and how our family will operate in regards to prayer and decision making? It is not wrong to ask yourself, is this person spiritually mature, or am I possibly struggling from some sort of ‘saviour complex’?

·        2. Are we compatible socially? For example you may consider…Are we able to enjoy some activities together that are important to me? Do we complement each other when socialising with family and friends?

·        3. Are we compatible financially? For example it’s important to notice how the other person values work, spending money, and financial stability. Is it in line with your financial values and work ethos?

·        4. Are we compatible mentally? Now while some great couples don’t necessarily have the same level of formal education, they do spark each other’s interest and will be able to communicate and relate on a similar level. Do you have a common vision?

·        5. Are we compatible morally? This is really important as this is often where relationship problems come from. What are your standards on things like cheating, lying, sex outside of marriage, volunteering and giving for example?

·        6. Are we compatible emotionally? A good test to discover your own emotional love language (how you feel most loved) is the 5 love languages test by Gary Chapman (It is available online). You need someone who will commit to you emotionally and meet this need for you, and vice versa. For example if you need cuddle and a chat each night and the other person likes to go for a run, shower and go straight to sleep, then that’s not a good combination.

·        7. Are we compatible sexually? Sexuality is bigger than sexual attraction and physical intimacy. While sexual compatibility is important in a marriage it is only one of these holistic areas. But there does need to be some chemistry, so don’t feel false guilt if you don’t feel it…Just don’t ‘try before you buy’ and ruin that person for their ‘my kind of crazy’ spouse who will totally desire them! 

I really do want to encourage you to pray. To wait patiently…

Marriage should reflect the love of Jesus towards humanity and Jesus modelled that His perfect love is intimately entwined with friendship…and this is why I write, do not settle…wait to find that precious jewel who is ‘your type of crazy’.

It is worth waiting for that special someone you are a great match with, so you can laugh, cry, and strive together, while cuddling each other every day…Don’t lose hope, it’s happened for me, I just had to wait and keep growing until it did!

In Christ's love, Melanie.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

dysfacebook: social dysfunction

It’s my opinion that the extremely fast uptake and acceptance of social media over the past decade, has come to a place of causing more dysfunction (here where I live) than its aim of greater connectedness.

I am writing this post as I know some people who have been really struggling recently. Here’s some examples.

I have heard from mature adults about people within Facebook groups shaming and hurting others, and while we know there’s always been negative people and trolls, it doesn't seem so long ago they were the minority, weren't they? Yet it seems this year (again from my perspective) it’s getting worse and worse…

Then there is the ‘great unfriending’ that also seems to be going on.

So many people I know are either intentionally ‘culling’ their friend/acquaintance list, or feeling the brunt of being ‘unfriended’. And while I don’t assert people need to inform others about their ‘unfriending’ decision, I am concerned for the people who are hurt by this.

I am concerned about how our need to connect with others now-a-days seems to be so warped.

Back before social media, once we all left high-school it seemed we also left behind the negative, immature rubbish of social teenager dysfunction. We all breathed a sigh of relief (unless we were the queen bee) when we left behind the inescapable interaction, and rubbish of the school yard social scene so in our faces, to pursue an adult life where we mostly felt okay about ourselves, and interacted predominately with our family and close friends, in person, and to arrange this also over the phone.

Yet these days it seems so many grown adults live their lives back in the ‘playground’. Grown adults who mentally are unable to disconnect from their adolescent need to be liked and accepted by people, who never really will like or accept them, as they themselves are mixed-up and deluded. Those people are the kind who mistreat and abuse others in order to remain being the ‘queen bee’ in their own mind… “Treat them mean and keep them keen” as the old saying goes, is simply translated these days into “Present yourself as flawless and unattainable and they will follow you on Insta!”

It’s like insects drawn to the bright light. People today are obsessed with celebrities, and desire to imitate them. So many present lives on social media that scream, “I am successful, now please validate this!” And yes, this is from grown adults…

Take it back a notch, and we hear of teenagers committing suicide from social-media pressure and bullying...this is just wrong!

Were we ever meant to have so much interaction with hundreds and sometimes thousands of people each day? Were we ever meant to ‘air our dirty laundry’ in such a public space? No wonder people can’t sleep at night, let alone turn off their phones.

Now I don’t want to write as someone who has everything worked out perfectly and never gets hurt. I have experienced not only ‘unfriending’ from acquaintances and friends, but also family members, and I would be lying if I said it did not hurt. Yet I haven’t deleted my social media accounts as I need them for not only this blog, but also my work. Furthermore I have actually felt mentally unwell from some things I’ve seen and experienced online, and have necessarily taken ‘breaks’ from using these sources for information and connecting with others.

It seems to me, the most immune people to this social dysfunction are the ones who either don’t use social media for connecting with others, or are the ones who gain their affirmation and validation from quality sources.

For me, I remain strong and resilient as I receive my validation from my relationship with Jesus Christ and His unchanging truths for me as His daughter found in scripture. Secondly I receive real, tangible love from my husband, children, family (church family too) and a really small group of friends. Equally second, I feel good about myself by what I give out and achieve…For me this is loving my family, serving others, my work and academic achievements. These are all my quality sources.

I read a really helpful devotional today by Bob and Debbie Gass in The Word for Today. It reminded me of the scripture that says, “A man of too many friends comes to ruin” Proverbs 18:24. 

Friendships and interaction require a huge investment of our time and energy that can actually sap and drain us. Let me ask you, how are you sleeping at night? Are you limiting your online interaction?

Furthermore, we should be ‘picky’ about who we have as friends/acquaintances so that we are not led astray. We should have people on our lists who inspire and encourage us onto better living and greater loving. We should have people on our list who truly care, and are there for us in real life. We need true, godly people who build us up and give us good advice, for there are many wicked people who will try to pull us down and lead us astray. 

I have read many times that we become like the people we look up to and the ones we surround ourselves with. 

So, who do you want to be like?

You may say, “But I have no quality people in my life…” Well as Bob and Debbie wrote, George Washington said, “It’s better to be lonely than in bad company”.

Furthermore, each day is a new opportunity to change your reality…True, good quality relationships take the effort to change our habits and even the places we frequent, and they take time to grow. No one grows by being fixed to a screen…

So for those who unfriend me or treat me poorly, even though at times I would like to retaliate, I will choose to obey Jesus and pray for them. I will pray for those who mistreat me, persecute me, or scorn me…

I will still love and pray for others by keeping my eyes on Jesus and His love for me which is an overflowing fount for me to draw upon each and every day. Love overcomes everything in the end which is why we are to not judge and we are to pray for our enemies who often don’t know any better…it’s just how they are.

Let go and let God take it for you.


Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Lamenting Prayer

In recent professional development for work, we were asked to consider the importance of lamenting for our own Christian lives and ministry.

We were guided to reflect upon psalms of lament in scripture, and upon the role lament has played in past worship. Lamenting is a heartfelt cry unto God; a genuine expression and cry for His intervention upon our behalf, often when we feel we’ve reached the end of ourselves. 

I have found sometimes we can feel a false guilt over expressing our frustrations and agony, for we may believe this is faithless to do so...yet lament is in both scripture and in the psalmists' songs of worship, as it is the heartfelt cry and prayer God both hears and responds to! I cannot help but think of the story Jesus told about the ‘sinner’ who cries and beats His chest, as one who is indeed heard by God and forgiven, compared to the Pharisee who scoffs at him. You can read it here.

We were also given an exercise, to write our own lamenting prayer based upon the structure of lamenting psalms. A basic guide for that structure being; opening address, the lament (problem), the confession of trust, request/petition and sometimes why God will answer, praise, proclamation/conclusion/prophetic statement. 

So the following is my lamenting prayer/psalm I wrote today. I found it to be a good devotional exercise and I’d like to encourage you to also give it a go! Begin by reading some lamenting psalms (links provided) such as: Psalm 3, 6, 13, 22, 28, 56, while thinking about the above structure for a lamenting psalm, then sit, reflect, and write from the heart and you won't go wrong!
My Lament Psalm ~

Oh Lord, our God, how great and awesome You are. How great are Your works, hear me now as I cry out from my heart to You,

You who made me. You who sees all and knows me and the pain I feel.

My heart is heavy from the burden of bearing the gospel to a people with hard hearts, distorted vision and blocked ears,

A people deluded by lust and love of self, rather than You.

Yet in You I trust. For You have made the way for all to become new through Jesus Christ,

So again I trust You still today, to make the way for the harvest to be brought in. For only You can do the impossible.

I will continue to praise Your Name and Faithfulness even in the dark, because You are the wondrous Light that always breaks through,

You melt the hardest of hearts, make the blind see and deaf hear, Oh beginning and the end.

Bring in the harvest Lord before Your great and marvellous return, 

Where every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that You are LORD!

In love, Melanie. 

Let me leave you with 'In Christ Alone' By Stuart Townsend.