The Perfect Time

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‘There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:

A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace’.
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 || MSG translation

When we experience winter we often feel it will last forever, forgetting that spring is just around the corner. Caught up in the moment, it’s hard to remember that we ALL go through EVERY season in life.

Just a few weeks ago I got it into my head that I wanted to surprise my sister for her 18th birthday. I hadn’t planned on making the 14 hour flight  home and I wasn’t feeling home sick at the time but once I thought of going, I knew that I had to make it happen! The logistics all came together beautifully and I had a wonderful week back in Australia surprising my friends and family across the country. At the end of the week, as I waited to board my flight back to Abu Dhabi, I had time to stop and reflect… How perfect is God’s timing?!

When the thought of flying home originally dropped into my mind, I had no idea what kind of a week I would have had before hand, but God did. I had no idea how much I would need face to face time with my best friends talking life and laughing, but God did! I had no idea how much I wanted to hug my siblings and spend time with them, but God did. I had no idea just how much I needed to sit and talk through life with my Mum, but God did. That fresh revelation of God’s hand working on my behalf in the present and in my future brought a new sense of peace, knowing that I am forever in good hands!

Whatever season of life you are in, know that His timing is perfect, His plans are good and He can be trusted! For your Father knows what you need before you ask him (Matthew 6:8).

Ams xo

A lovely photo of my not-so-little baby sister, little (big) brother and Mumma…

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The Reprimand: 3 top tips for dealing with rebuke and disapproval

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You are trekking along, minding your own business, working hard and it happens. Maybe you did something wrong, maybe you were misunderstood, maybe it was an accident, never the less, you were reprimanded. It happens to the best of us. As a child many of us were reprimanded and although we never liked it, it was often an expected and normal part of growing up. As an adult however, it’s a whole different story. We are used to being autonomous, following through with our own plans, making our own decision. To be told you are wrong, or have done something wrong, stings a whole lot more and injurers our pride in a way it never did when we were children.

It happened to me recently. Something I innocently and casually said was interpreted as being rude and disrespectful and I was dutifully informed that my attitude had to change. I was mortified, I had not intended to be rude or disrespectful and couldn’t imagine how what I had said could have been so wrongfully interpreted. My first, internal response was one of indignation and a sense of injustice- ‘didn’t they know that anyone who knows me, would never accuse me of being rude and disrespectful or of having a bad attitude?!’. Even though my inner self was looking a little like this…

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Wisdom has taught me to push those initial feelings aside and respond in a different manner. Here are my top three tips for dealing with a reprimand…

1) Apologise…

Our first reaction to being told we’re wrong is often a defensive one. Our prideful nature would have us say- ‘how dare they tell us we’re wrong’, ‘ I don’t bring up all the things they do wrong’, ‘can’t they see all the hard work and positive things I’m doing?’, ‘how could they misunderstand me like that?‘.

Jumping into defence mode will only bring grief and trouble. James 4:6 says “God opposes the proud but shows favour to the humble”, I think the same goes for human beings too. You are more likely to meet opposition to your plea of innocence or forgiveness if you jump straight into defence mode, it will only bring more grief and trouble than the situation is worth. Humbling yourself and apologising (however difficult it may be and despite wether you were ‘right’ or ‘wrong’) will always calm and defuse a situation and help create open channels for communications

2) Reflect…

After the reprimand has happened, take some time to reflect. The saying ‘ you learn something new every day’ doesn’t just refer to classroom knowledge or random fun facts- every part of our lives is an opportunity to learn… Were you at fault? Was there something you could have done differently? Perhaps you weren’t at fault and the other person was having a bad day? How can you be sensitive to others needs and minimise future misunderstandings? Is this your issue or someone else’s issue?

Self reflection goes a long way in moulding us into strong, emotionally healthy people. It also encourages our creative thinking skills and helps prevent us from repeating the same mistakes over and over again (the definition of insanity, as the saying goes!). If you’re not used to self reflecting this can be difficult to start with. Taking a journal, finding some spare time and a safe, peaceful place to think are all useful tips to get you started. Forewarning: It’s not always pleasant to shine a light on your inner life and see whats hiding there, you may not always like what you find. Go easy on yourself, we are all on a journey and each step forward brings us closer to our destination and to becoming the kind of people we were created to be.

3) Let it go…

Now that you’ve apologised and reflected, it’s time to move forward. I know this seems a little harsh, but ultimately non of us are perfect and we all make mistakes. Our minds are powerful tools and if allowed, will wreak havoc on our internal life. It will replay situations and dredge up old feeling until they become bigger than Ben Hur (look that one up in Urban Dictionary if you need to!) and appear as reality.

When those thoughts and feeling start to surface you have the power to tell your mind to let it go, consciously make a decision to let go of the offence, hurt and anger. A useful tip for doing this is thinking or speaking aloud the good things about the person in question, or telling yourself the valuable lessons you learnt from this situation etc. Philippians 4:8 tells us that thinking about what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable is one of the ways we can have inner peace and joy. There will always be trials, disagreements, hurts and disappointments but if we carried around baggage from every encounter, we would never be able to stand up under the weight of them. Let it go.

Nobody likes to be reprimanded but at the end of the day you can’t let bumps in the road throw you off course, ruin your day or week or year. Apologise, reflect, let it go, then dust yourself off, get back up and keep moving forward. You have value and purpose and a unique contribution to make to this world. Being buried under your failures, mistakes, hurts or resentments only holds you back from reaching your full potential. Breath and smile, the emotions of today will fade tomorrow and in the years to come, the mountains you see now will look far off and insignificant.

Much Love,

Amy

Ps. Please feel free to comment below. I’d love to hear your experiences and advice for dealing with reprimands and other tough situations!

Gratitude and Tea

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Last weekend I took a little trip across the border to Oman with some friends from work. To be honest, I was actually dreading it. It had been such a busy week ,I just couldn’t get my head around leaving the country and spending the weekend away from the comfort of my home, but…I’m so glad I went!

As I woke to the sun rising, I stretched and smiled… a night of sleeping on the beach, under the stars, snuggled under blankets, feeling the ocean breeze whip around me. Bliss. After breakfast we eased our way into the cold water and braved a morning swim. As I floated in the clear, cold water, looking about, it hit me…I am in OMAN, swimming in the ARABIAN SEA! How in the world had I, a little country girl from Australia, ended up living this life?! It was a life I had always wanted: travel, adventure, new friends, challenging job. Yet it was a life I never thought I would have.

My primary school teacher had told my parents that I was a nice friendly girl, but that I wouldn’t amount to much. Maybe he was right, I probably shouldn’t have amounted to much. I didn’t come from a wealthy family, I came from a broken family with alcoholic parents and a house that held lots of anger, fear and resentments. But I have also belonged to another family, a heavenly family with a heavenly Father. A Heavenly Father that loves, protects, defends, guides, blesses, cares for and calls me out of darkness and into light.

As our journey through Oman continued, I felt overwhelmed with gratitude. Tears kept filling my eyes (behind my sun glasses, thank goodness) as I thought about all the wonderful things that have taken place in my life over the last 12 months. A few days later, I was sitting at a dinner table with friends (new friends, but friends I feel as if I’ve always known). We were drinking tea, playing music and complaining about the taste of Stevia and the same thing happened- it hit me. An overwhelming joy and gratitude for life, all of it! The joy, the pain, the disappointment, the rejection, the uncertainty, the anger, the fun, the adventure, the laughter and the people. The people that shape us, challenge us and add a rich blessing to our lives.

As I survey my life, I look about my family and marvel! We survived the trials and we are succeeding. There is great love and affection and a fierce loyalty among us. I have an amazing Mum who fought for consistency, diligently took us to church and taught us Godly values even in the midst of chaos. I have siblings that I love and whom inspire me. I have a Dad and extended family that are resilient, caring and always put family first. I have friends that love me just as I am and make me want to be a better person…What the world said was ordinary and destined to fail, God has turned for good.
You never know when the next answer to prayer is just around the corner. So no matter where you are, what challenge you are facing or what success you just achieved, don’t forget to stop, have a cup of tea and be grateful. It might just be the re-focus you need.

Love
Amy xo

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Who else tries on their outfits before they pack them?!
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Oman, what a view!! ❤