Gratitude and Tea

IMG_5926

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

IMG_5859

Who else tries on their outfits before they pack them?!
IMG_5929

Oman, what a view!! ❤

Apologies

Belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I hope you have all managed to squeeze some fun holiday and family time into your busy schedules!

My apologies for my lack of correspondence over the last few months! My laptop died a sad and tragic death towards the end of last year and I am yet to replace it! I have however, decided to get a little creative with where I type up posts and continue to bring you regular posts this year.

As a little update I’ve attached a link to my Christmas article published in the Salvo Magazine  Women in Touch. You’ll find the article on page 21, titled ‘The Royal Birth’.

http://issuu.com/salvos/docs/wit-dec-2013/21?e=0

Happy reading. I look forward to sharing life, thoughts and challenges with you as we trek through 2014. It is going to be a great year!

Amy xo

Made For Now

esther“If you keep quite at a time like this, help will come from heaven to the Jews, and they will be saved, but you will die and your father’s family will come to an end. Yet who knows- maybe it was for a time like this that you were made queen!” Esther 4:14

Who knows- maybe it was for a time like this that you were put on earth!

I love that noble and grand decree made to Esther all those years ago and I love that it still echoes truth to us today! Maybe, just maybe, you were put on this earth at exactly the right time, that you were made specifically with ‘now’ in mind and you were designed with a purpose!

A few weeks ago, I sat in an emerging leaders seminar for CMA (Christian Ministry Advancement) and listened to a man by the name of Don Ankenbrandtt share some of his story. He highlighted the fact that in church life there are only so many ministry positions available (kids, outreach, worship etc), yet we are all called to participate and minister in the body of Christ. We all have a purpose to accomplish for the Kingdom, here on earth. Out of this knowledge Don realised his passion and purpose was helping others discover theirs! He (and others) started the 210 Project to help people discover their place and purpose in the Kingdom of God! The project looks at your gifts, abilities, strengths, passions and more to help guide you into an understanding of where God has called you to be.  As he shared some of the stories of people who had worked through this project, I felt excitement stirring in my heart.

One man came to the end of the 210 Project and realised he had a passion for apartments. ‘What the heck do you do with that’, one might say? Out of his passion came a ministry call Apartment Life. A church adopts an apartment complex and the owner offers up one free apartment and in moves one missionary family or couple. The missionaries in conjunction with the church, help people move in and out the apartment. They hold social gatherings, offer day care, financial help, support and prayer! They now have 6 apartment blocks operating under this initiative.

One guy discovered he had a passion for fishing and orphans. What does he do with that now? Runs summer fishing trips for business men to third world countries and takes them to visit local orphanages while they are over there. As a result, their hearts are stirred and orphanages gain financial assistance. How awesome!

Imagine if every believer, and indeed every person, discovered their passion and purpose in Christ and pursued it whole heartedly! Can you imagine what the church would look like, what your life would look like, if you were passionate, excited, joy filled and living with purpose everyday?   Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.

You can check out the 210 Project here: http://www.210project.com/

Two more sleeps until I fly out and make my way to Honduras. I have been packing, making lists and checking them off madly for weeks (very unlike me, I am a last minute person to the core!). I think I used up all my excitement over the weekend and now I am in a state of calm! I look forward to sharing with you when I return!

Much Love,

Amy xo

Complete confidence!

I am a Christian and I have been for some time now.19th Faith street sign

Growing up, I attended church and had a faith from a young age. In my teenage years, I wandered away from the Lord and did what, sadly, many teenagers are still doing today – drinking and partying. I re-encountered Christ the year I turned 20 and have had my life turned around. I barely recognise the angry, rebellious, insecure young girl I used to be.

As a christian, I personally know and can attest to the transforming power of the gospel in my life! I have experienced God’s love, forgiveness, grace and redemption. I have discovered a deep joy, a place of refuge and the giver of life. I know now, that I was born for such a time as this and with an eternal purpose at hand (blog on this en route). Yet still, my simple mind struggles to grasp how those around me can discover these same truths and come to know Jesus personally.

While I have helped lead people to the Lord, I normally come away excited that they have come to faith but confounded as to how the heck it even happened. A few weeks ago I was walking with a beautiful friend and I tried to explain to her the hope and joy I have in Jesus…epic fail…I fumbled to find the words to explain what was in my heart and I was so disappointed in myself.

Paul says in Romans chapter 1 ” I have complete confidence in the gospel; it is God’s power to save all who believe..”. What an awesome statement of faith!

As I prepare to embark on a mission trip to Honduras, that is all about saving a nation in one day. I am seeking the Lord to ready my heart and increase my faith that I can say ‘I have complete confidence, not in my own ability…but in His!

Where do you put your confidence?

Ps. For those who haven’t seen it yet, I’ve attached a link with the video advert for my trip! I will be going as part of the medical team…18 days and counting!!! http://www.1nation1day.com/vision

Slow and steady

I wrote a song a few years ago and the chorus went something like this,

Never knew what’s on the inside of me,
till I saw it on the outside ’round me,
live it up, live it out, live loud.

Never knew that I was made for big things,
didn’t know that that could look like small things,
love a little, sing a little, live loud.
From the inside out.
(insert own tune ;))

I think I must be a slow learner, it has taken me a long time to realise that it is the insignificant, routine and sometimes mundane small things that make the impacting, lasting and big differences!
Let me explain. It’s putting that little bit of money diligently aside each pay that makes for a good savings account. It’s paying your bills on time that leads to a good credit rating. It’s building exercise and healthy eating into your youth that sustains good health as an adult. It’s praying diligently that brings answers. It’s reading your bible daily that builds faith and wisdom. It’s worshiping Jesus daily that instills awe and wonder into our hearts.

Value the little things and watch God turn your consistency and integrity into a mighty Kingdom impact!! “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones: (Luke 16:10, NLT).

P.S It’s loving unconditionally, bringing correction when needed and laughing lots that builds lasting friendships- Caught up with these fabulous friends and their husbands the other day, SO MUCH FUN! friendsbest

But…

I would love to, but…
You are probably right, but…
You should do that, but…
I want to help, but…

Have you ever noticed that the word ‘but’ is often used with a negative connotation? ‘I really want to help you, but I’m busy today’…

Last week I received a letter that included this sentence,‘It’s been a really hard week, but God has been helping me through it’. The word ‘but’ really stood out to me in this. Instead of being used to bring a negative voice, it was used to bring a positive one. I LOVE that!! I think it is time we turned our buts around and started using them to declare truth!!

But, God is still in control
But, his grace is sufficient for me
But, by his strength
But, I am here with a purpose

What did you all get up to for Easter? I hope you had a lovely weekend.
I camped up a storm with some incredible people 🙂

Easterfest 2013

Easterfest 2013

At the Mainstage

At the Mainstage

I LOVE carnival rides!

I LOVE carnival rides!

Much Love,
Ams x

Hindsight

hindsight Last night I had the honour of being a guest at a Salvation Army youth camp. Myself and three other awesome women formed a panel while paper and pens were distributed among a group of young women aged from early teens to early twenties. The girls were asked to write any question they liked and we were asked to answer them in light of God’s word and personal experience!

The questions ranged from ‘how do I deal with pimples’, to ‘how do I deal with life’. ‘Is it wrong to date non christian boys’, ‘what is an appropriate way to dress’, the list went on. One question in particular struck me, ‘during growing up, becoming an adult, was it hard?’. I turned the question back on the girls and asked if anyone thought growing up was hard…the majority flung their hands in the air, to which I said ‘me too!!’. There are a lot of things to juggle as we grow up: responsibility, self awareness, independence, consequences from our actions, people and the age old question, ‘what am I going to do with my life’. As I looked around the company of women it was nice to know that we are not alone! A lot of our own struggles are ones familiar to those around us. By opening up, sharing and being honest with those in our world we find validation and the comfort to keep moving forward one baby step at a time!

As I have ‘grown up’, I often felt as though I was making no progress, that nothing ever changed, and that I was still struggling withe same insecurities, fears and issues. I would get frustrated at myself, frustrated with life and frustrated with God for not doing more and doing it faster. It is not until I stop and reflect in hindsight that I can see just how far I have come; my successes, progress and the hand of God working steadily behind the scenes.

As I drove home, I cried and laughed simultaneously in the privacy of my car. So grateful for the work he has done in my life and the opportunity to share and encourage those navigating the early years of life. I wouldn’t trade one moment, one painful memory, one bad decision or one experience in my life because thanks to God’s redemptive, restorative power, all those pieces of my life can be used to bring Him glory and point others to Him!

xo

What’s one piece of advice you wish you could tell a younger you?