30.7.11

Letters.

Dear Best Friend. We had a long conversation which made my week. Can you please know, my dear, how truly inspiring, beautiful, sparkling and brave you are? I am endlessly proud to call you my homegirl. Dear children. You are the reason I love working at Pumpkin Patch so much...who knew that little brown bubs could steal my heart so? Dear Saturday nights...fist pump for the fact that you precede a long, drawn out Sunday morning! I heart you. Dear LAWS123. I think I get way too excited about spending 3 hours pulling apart one sentence of legislation to determine the meaning of a certain word. Dear family. I miss you. Dear salmon sushi and mini chocolate muffins. A truly spectacular Saturday lunch! Kudos to you.

28.7.11

FREELY GIVE.

Reason #654684 to LOVE Wellington..The Free Store.


Down the road from my little flat, in Left Bank off Cuba St, sits a little blue shed opposite my favorite second-hand book shop. The Free Store. This store was opened up by my friend from church, Ben Johnson, and his wife Elise at the end of last year, and has been such a success!


"The Free Store is a not-for-profit organisation that seeks to redistribute perfectly edible surplus food to those who self-determine themselves as being in need...
The Free Store is a team of people committed to the reduction of consumable surplus through intervention and reallocation. The Free Store is a universal social service, recognising that food is a basic human right, regardless of need or socioeconomic status. The Free Store is an expression of community, and seeks to nurture community."


I've recently stared volunteering here - the idea is basically that we collect surplus food, donated from a whole lot of bakery's, cafes and fruit and vege shops, and then distribute it through the Free Store to those who come with a self-determined need. Whoever comes to get food is given food. No discrimination, no regulation, no limits to the love.


Apart from a blatant advertisement (extra volunteers would be a God-send, and anyone who wants to come visit us and leave with a full belly is more than welcome), this post is also a note on a particular passion of mine. One thing I have fallen in love with about Wellington is the community, and the creativity. This little city is bursting full of people who are living lives of generosity. Lives full of a desire to do something different, to make a difference. 


 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written:
   “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
   their righteousness endures forever.”
(2 Corinthians 9)


Too often I am caught in a cycle of selfishness. Too often in our society, it is all about keeping the best for us, consuming as much as possible, and forgetting our calling to give freely. Gandhi said, "There is enough in this world for everyone's need, but not for everyone's greed." We are so obsessed with ourselves, with our own happiness, that we are blind to the pain right in front of us. The pain that we have the power to relieve, to God's glory. And even worse is the fact that every day, after we have fattened ourselves and stuffed ourselves, tonnes of leftovers are thrown away - food and resources that are perfectly ok for consumption, wasted. Because we can't see past our own selfish desires.


Not only is this waste an insult to those who can't afford to throw out bags of food every day, but it is also a hugely unsustainable habit that we cannot keep up with. As a global population, humans are living off 1.3 Earths - as in, the resources we consume and the waste we produce is more than our Earth can sustain. A significantly dangerous place to be in...in the last 20 years CO2 emissions have increased dramatically. By 2020, some 75 to 250 million people in Africa will face increased water shortages. We are already seeing this with the 12 million starving people facing famine in the Horn of Africa. Yields from rain-fed agriculture (dominant method) could fall by up to 50 per cent in some African countries. Widespread melting of glaciers and snow cover will create risk of flash floods and, over time, reduce annual melt water from major mountain ranges (i.e.: Hindu-Kush, Himalaya, Andes), where more than one billion people live (info here). It is scary. Yet we continue to live lives in complete ignorance of the heartbreaking devastation we are causing.


The Free Store is just one way of seeing this gap, and attempting to fill it by lessening the waste produced in Wellington city, and giving food to those who need it. But every day, we can make this choice. Use energy-saving light bulbs. Cut meat out of your diet a few days a week. Give someone on the street your lunch. Use public transport. Don't throw out your leftovers - eat them for lunch the next day, and save money and resources by not buying that next days lunch. Buy a little organic, support free-range, consume local produce. Freely give, and you receive. 


Your kids will thank you for it.

27.7.11

This girl has got me hooked.


My Manic and I (Laura Marling)



I wander the streets, avoiding them beats
The ring on my finger slips to the ground
I give to the gutter, give to the city
The veins of which have broken me down
And I don’t believe him
Morning is mocking me





24.7.11

(vulnerability) the state of being vulnerable or exposed

I've always had a real issue with being vulnerable. I guess, like many other people, things have happened in my life that hurt me, and as a result of those events, I built a wall around my heart...like a scar; a skin harder and coarser than the soft tissue that preceded the wound.

Vulnerable. adj. capable of being wounded or hurt.

“Loving is a feeling that brings both joy and pain to my heart. Joy from being with you, being filled with an emotion so deep and tender that no other feeling can compare. Pain from knowing that I'm so in love, that I'm more vulnerable than I've ever been.”

Jesus needs me to be vulnerable. He needs me to let Him in. But He also needs me to let others in...to let love in. Even though it is painful and scary. He needs me to feel, so that I realise that my feelings are not the totality of my existence.

We tend to think, in life and in our attitude toward love, that our feeling are all that is going on. And so the totality of love is what, how, we feel. 
But to really love someone requires commitment, fidelity and vulnerability. Mother Teresa wasn't always "feeling" Christ's love. She could have given up. But she was up at dawn, every morning, still writing to Him, "Your happiness is all I want."

I am allowed to feel. I am able to rejoice and to mourn. But those emotions do not define my actions, nor do they change who I call upon as the sun rises, who I praise as the sun sets. They will merely awaken my soul to the comforting hands tracing my scars, healing my heart.



"He said:   “Blessed are the poor in spirit, 
   for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 Blessed are those who mourn,
   for they will be comforted.
 Blessed are the meek,
   for they will inherit the earth.
 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
   for they will be filled.
 Blessed are the merciful,
   for they will be shown mercy.
 Blessed are the pure in heart,
   for they will see God.
 Blessed are the peacemakers,
   for they will be called children of God.
 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
  for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

                                    (Matthew  5)

15.7.11

My dear.

You are ok.


You are messy. You are called.
You do not need others. You are not a product. 
Do not let yourself be used.
You are judged by none but Him.
Loved by none like Him.
My dear, do you not know? You are beautiful.
Girl, do not worry. You are worth everything to him. 
You are broken, you have been torn apart...
and you are perfect in your Fathers eyes.
You are known, abundantly, endlessly.
Loved so much, invited in to His being, called to be His daughter.
My girl, please know you can do it.
You are worthy. In your weakness, you are made strong.
And in your weakness, you are called to Him.

12.7.11

A cliff.

And semester two starts...


I enjoyed going home to Auckland for the holidays. I enjoyed relaxing. I enjoyed God, I wondered at His love and I sat at His feet. And now I am back in Wellington (back...home?). The familiar tightening of my chest and knotting of my stomach as I look at my university timetable next to the pile of readings on my desk envelops me.
I've always thought I was a very chill person. I've always been academically adequate; challenged enough at school and during my Certificate of Theology, but always on top of my game and getting high marks. Now Law school, a different story. Constant competition, constant challenges, constant expectations, readings, deadlines and it never stops. 


So with the freight-train of university abruptly smacking in to me, I Google 'stress' and hello, 542,000,000 results! A plethora of information, the abundance within a modern world. Stress...defined as a state of mental or emotional strain or tension, common somatic (physical) symptoms often reported include sleep disturbances, muscle tension, gastrointestinal disturbances, and fatigue. Behavioral symptoms include anxiety, changes in eating habits, loss of energy, mood changes...etc. And what causes stress? Helpguide.org suggests that stress can be caused by;


  •  Major life changes (check, hello Wellington!)
  • Work (yup)
  • Relationship difficulties (life is full of them)
  • Children and family (not yet...)
  • Financial problems (poor student syndrome)
  • Being too busy (I am studying a double-degree in Law and Development Studies after all...)
  • Perfectionism (imperfect, as human as I'll ever be)
  • Lack of assertiveness (nah...)
  • Inability to accept uncertainty (Jesus took care of that)
  • Unrealistic expectations (once again...I take Law)
  • Negative self-talk (as every girl does...)


In the last 6 months I have moved out of home, to a different city, I have started university, I have been uprooted from my home, emotionally exhausted, intellectually ragged...I have cried more in the last semester than I have in the last 10 years combined. I have been lost, I have been broken over and over. I have questioned my God, my purpose, my existence. I have probably questioned my sanity and I have most certainly had higher-than-normal stress levels.


But the truth is, every single person in the world is going to experience at least 10 out of those 12 causes at some point in their life. Who doesn't work, who doesn't experience relationships and heartbreak? Who doesn't ever find themselves in the middle of change and fear the worst? Who has never doubted themselves, doubted their competency, wished they could be better? That is what life is - hard and difficult and unexpected and painful. Our society is a cotton-wool society; we grow up knowing more about vaccinations than we do about what to do to treat a common cold, and we want to shield ourselves and our children from anything that could hurt or challenge them. We worry. I worry. But we cannot avoid it.


And then I turn to Matthew 6, and Jesus tells me,"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Jesus knows that life is hard. He knows that trouble affects us every day...He knows us, he knows our own personal troubles. He breaks for us. He broke for us. But I'm pretty sure, at some point, He also told us to harden up and get on with life. Stop worrying about everything, about stress, about ourselves, and start worrying about Him. About those who can't rest in the knowledge that He has them. About those who don't have the privilege and spare time to label the hardness of life as 'stress.'


I don't want my blog to seem as if I am just whinging about my troubles...there are quite a few posts in which I question myself, and life. Maybe it is tiring to read? The truth is, I write these words in an attempt to process the beauty and the pain evident in this crazy little world. I write in an attempt to reconcile the loving, just and Holy God I know and adore with the painful and broken world I see and weep for. I feel as if I am on the edge of a cliff, about to jump off and soar in to a thrilling new discovery, a realisation of something bigger than I've ever known before.


God is good, here and now. But there is abundant good to come, abundant love to be had.

6.7.11

You.

I love you like the sun embraces the earth in its slow evening slumber. I love you gently, with a warmth that grows as your hand covers mine. I know that I love you because I know of nothing but the need for your love, the desire for yours alone, and the comfort that your embrace is nothing but a part of my being, a joining of two souls awaiting the end of a day. The lover of my impossible soul.

My friend Ms Emily Rice, this girl has talent, that is for sure!

3.7.11

Matthew 8

'When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”
Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”
The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
When Jesus heard this, he was astounded and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith." .... And his servant was healed at that moment.'

I want to astound Jesus. I want to astound the world by not being astounding by their standards. I want to astound the rich by showing them the plight of the poor. I want to astound Jesus when I fall at His feet...I want my heart to grow so large, I want the joy and the pain I feel to overflow so much, that the overflow sings out praise to the Saviour of the world and I feel my seams bursting every moment of every day. I want my koha to be a love so deep, a love so wide, for every soul I meet, a love that astounds. I want my little, my nothing, to be a faith that is offered up to my Lord, my all. I want my faith to astound my God; to be real to someone other than me, to astound and inspire for the glory of God. I want my faith to bring healing and justice. I want my faith to be true. I want to astound Jesus.

Keats

bright star, would i were steadfast as thou art...


Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (1 Peter 3:3-4)