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This past two weeks have been uber intense for me. I suppose it’s the result of many things, but I have add it all up to my undeniable growing faith.

Faith in not only myself, but in God’s ability to heal. God’s strength. God’s view that I am beautiful, complete, and cherished. There are many times when I find myself in a moment of quick prayer, breathing, thought about the power which God has given me through my continued understanding of my faith. It’s almost overwhelming at times to think that YES, I CAN give over parts of my life to God and it’s all just taken care of.

I have spoken about my baptism before and I suppose in some ways it’s when we actually open ourselves up emotionally to the whole world that God floods into our lives. I have to admit that I have been exhausted for the past two weeks and I have had a hard time focusing. I think it’s due to the fact that my mind has been pre-occupied with many things, namely getting through some past stuff that hasn’t been all that great for me.

The area of clarity that has washed over me in the past two weeks are

1. Listening to my True Self
2. Forgiveness

For me these two things go hand in hand. As I have perhaps mentioned before, me and weight have a long drawn out battle. It’s been abusive, euphoric and detrimental for so many reasons. I have started a weight-loss competition with another blogger and I had some pretty massive issues that I haven’t dealt with creep back up. Namely, the idea that ‘Thin Isn’t Beautiful‘.

I dated someone who said some pretty nasty things to me throughout our relationship inregards to weight. I recognise that for men, the whole idea of women’s weight is a weird/foreign/non-treading area of their lives. I appreciate that for myself and many other women weight/body image/sexuality is a hard thing to understand. However, that doesn’t mean that being insensitive to that is appropriate. What ended up happening is that constant replay of negative, self-depricating, weak thoughts penetrated my mind. It took me down to depths that I have not been down to before and I have since struggled desperatley with not only my weight, but eating patterns and mental talk that has left me in the depths of hell more often then not.

My baptism was the beginning of the healing process for me. I have prayed for almost six months solid that God would release me from the chains that have bound me down. My own internal dialogue, my own internal struggles.

I got pissed, SO ANGRY at my ex this past weekend, then something washed over me. Forgiveness.

Colossians 3:13

Bear with each ither and forve whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. // And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

I have a choice, we all have a choice to let those past angers, grudges, wrong-doings go. In that ability to let the anger of him and some stuff from my childhood go I felt at peace. I had a sense of calm inside of my heart.

Colossians 3:15

Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart, since as memebers of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

I went to church on Sunday knowing that my heart has been freed and I just wanted to continue to bring the peace in my heart that I knew was there. I just have decided that living my life to be pissed about something that has happened in the past and enabling that to hold me DOWN for the REST of my now and future is silly. It’s easy to do though, because as is written there are times when the ‘roar’ of the Devil is so strong. But this passage is one the I constantly go back to.

1 Peter 5:6-9

Humble yourself, therefore, under God’s might hand that he may life you up in due time. // Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. // Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour // Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of suffering.

I knew that I no longer has to fear the mental chatter, the anxiety that I felt about my body, the chains of oppressions which have held me down so hard-core for the past 1 1/2 years. I felt free.

I just let it out, tears flowed. I felt free. Not only had I forgiven those who have impacted my life negativley. I have forgiven myself.

1 Peter 5:10

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, form and steadfast.

~Farm Girl

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I have written about dating and Christianity. However, I was talking with one of my friends today via skype. I love skype.

The thing which I still wanted to talk about is the notion of ‘THE ONE’ and ‘THE CHECKLIST’

I have walked through so much of my life with a check-list.

  • Tall
  • Smart
  • Intelligent
  • Sophisticated
  • Can make my laugh
  • Good shoes
  • Good dancer
  • Nice teeth
  • Nice hands
  • Doesn’t walk funny
  • Wants to be a Dad
  • Someone I could see myself with
  • Doesn’t eat funny
  • Fit
  • Attractive
  • Someone I could take to see my grandparents
  • Knows how to dress
  • Smells good
  • Isn’t a Mama’s Boy
  • …..

I am not here to say through all of our ‘check lists’ out the window. However I am going to bring up a couple of things which it think suck Christians and Non-Christians into the ‘frustrated single’ ‘I can’t find anyone’ ‘I have given up’ ‘I have dating’ mind-frame

Having expectations that aren’t necessary

I have a friend who I go ‘He’s a great guy.’ To which they respond ‘He’s not really my type, he’s not attractive/hot enough’. Coming from a girl who has had major body issues, I cringe when they say that. I get that being physically attracted to someone is important, but what about the idea of falling for someone for who they are? I think that we put up ‘MUST HAVE’S’ and forget about the true, formative, foundational MUST HAVES.

Shared faith, no kids, committed to family, makes you laugh.

What if we just shrunk our lists down to five things, what would they be?

I think that the five things that you need to focus are things that stand the test of wrinkles, lost jobs, family tragedies. They are the foundational MUST HAVES.

Looking for ‘The One’ and shutting people

Yeah, I won’t go out with them, because I know that they are not ‘The One’. Really? Do you actually know that they aren’t the one? How do you know?

I often think of this when I think of Jesus and his teaching. Jesus talked, spoke, taught those who were marginalized. Never turning away from those who needed to be loved on, never undermining people because they weren’t initially good enough.

Matthew 22:37-39
Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’ // This is the first and greatest commandment. // And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself'”

I am not saying that you should go out to coffee with creeps. What I am saying is keep your heart open, treat people with respect and quit thinking the coffee equates marriage. Shutting people out on a principle list that is so long that no one can fit it. Remember the good friends that you have, they may not have even been people that you liked and/or thought that you were going to like.

One of my dear friends, who is a short Asian woman, was someone when I first met her thought to myself: Oh, she’s a crazy Bible thumping Christian, there’s NO WAY that we’re going to get along. Low and behold she was the one who showed me my faith. She is the reason I am Christian. We have talked before about how we both almost shut each other out, because we didn’t think that there was going to be any connection, but we just learned to be open with each other and are now amazing friends.

The same thing has happened with guys for me. Albeit my ex was not someone who did much for me overall, the attraction was NOT because he was handsome. It was his intelligence, wit, thirst for life. It was who he was. It was the transcending values, initially, that attracted me to him.

How many people have you thought: ‘Oh, he isn’t the one, so there’s no use in going further?’

I get that there are people whome you’re NEVER going to work out with. But there are a lot of people out there that perhaps we could all keep our hearts a little bit more open to. To actually get to know them as human beings.

Hiding behind PERFECT

For me, this is for me. I feel like I need to be perfect before I can date. I need to be educated, smart, intelligent, thin, beautiful, funny, sending the right signals…changing for what I think that he wants? That used to be me. You see God’s grace is amazing, the beauty that you have right now, is one that has been instilled in your forever, it’s God’s Grace. As I have written before, you are beautiful in God’s eyes. Filled with his grace and purpose. Whenever I feel like I am not enough and/or not connecting and/or it just isn’t going my way—I bring myself back to God’s love. At the end of the day, that is where I should be living my life through.

Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! // Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. // Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, be prayer, and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. // And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

1 John 12-13
God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. // We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us his spirit.

Not enjoying the ‘butterfly stage’

Who said flirting is bad? So, you bat your eye lashes, make a smart-ass comment back, wink, get a tinge suggestive. I once had someone say to me ‘Don’t just try and define things from the beginning, just enjoy the stage that it’s in.’ I think that many of us, especially as we get older, rob the courtship of butterflies. We want to know RIGHT NOW if this is going somewhere. The butterflies are awesome. How fun is it to see them and think ‘wonder what they’re thinking?’ or get the cold hands or racing heart. I mean really, it means that you’re alive.

Just enjoy it.

Making a move

This is my last and final thing. Make a move. I have heard so many times that people sit in idle ‘friend’ stage forever. I am not one that is good at this. But I do think that there’s something to be said about making a move. Rmemeber dinner, coffee, run, movie outing doesn’t mean that you’re getting married. Rather, it’s just a friendly gesture to get to know someone.

At the end of it all, it’s about the following

  • 5 foundational and transcending values/beliefs that someone MUST have
  • Enjoying the courtship
  • Being open to people
  • Loving yourself, because you are God’s image
  • Making a move and taking the pressure off

Who knows…you may just find THE ONE!

~Farm Girl

This weekend at church I could have easily been a blubbering mess. However, after my episode of breaking down already in for the week, I decided to hold back. I do have to admit, that I do feel like showing a tearful emotion at church sometimes, but I hold back. Maybe I should just sit next to people I don’t know.

The reason that I was so moved is because of God’s Love.

For many of us, we do struggle and/or have struggled with letting people into our lives. That could start from US letting ourselves in and loving ourselves…or others.

But to let GOD in…now that’s just a different level all together. When people ask me why I became a Christian it’s because I felt for the first time the real possibility of someone loving me..and not having to have my heart stamped on. In fact, it was after a talk that a guy gave about how he repented his past (mainly poor sexual decisions) and how his life turned around.

I grew up, as many have, with an ‘all or nothing’ approach to God.

‘I can’t be a Christian, cause I am not a virgin’
‘I can’t be a Christian because I don’t know enough about the Bible’
‘I can’t be a Christian because I struggle to find God in my life’

But I remember that day, in church, when I felt that pumping/energy/holy spirit in my heart. BOUNDING out of my chest. I had finally decided that for me, my relationship with God, God would take me at whatever shape I was at that very moment.

I have this realisation for a long time and it got some much more intense for me last night.

I have never thought of and/or comprehended the notion that God had me in God’s image before I was born. That God’s love for me has been with me forever. That no matter what God is always ALWAYS loving me, nurturing me, waiting for.

The perfect man 😉

This passage almost made me into another blubbering mess.

Isaiah 43:1-2
But now, this is what the Lord says–he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have summoned you by name; you are mine. // When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep you over. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

God has called me by name?
I am God’s image?
God is ALWAYS there for me?

I don’t want to sound crazy, cause I can’t even believe that I am writing this, but I had this sentiment the other day when I was in the shower (yes, in the shower) that I had to keep my heart open to God. To make God at the center of my life ‘then you are cured’ is what raced through my head.

To know that God has been waiting, patiently, to say ‘Michelle, I made you, I have been with you. I am here. Waiting…ready?’

‘Yes!’

~Farm Girl


I have been thinking about writing this post for a long time, because it’s something that has been bothering me for a long time.

Being Christian -AND- dating/sex/flirting/courting/abstaining/doin’ your thang

You see, I am not a Virgin. That’s right kids, I cashed it in.

I have not slept with many people, in fact, only one person.

Does that make me non-pure? I have no idea, and quite honestly I don’t care.

But what I have observed, being the fresh Christian that I am, is an approach to dating/sexuality that has taken me back.

Dating

I don’t know if it’s who I have surrounded myself with…but there’s A LOT of single men and women. In fact, more single men and women in the upper age groups that in any of my other friend groups. I hear nothing but ‘Christian men are cowards, they never ask girls out, they are soft, it’s there job to ask us women out, I am not going to do it!’ from the Christian women.

I have sat, pondered, wandered through the maze of Christian dating and have yet to find the end. This can also be said for non-Christian dating as well. However, I would garner at mentioning that Christians date to get married. Whereas, a lower proportion of people, who are non-Christians, do not approach the opposite sex with the ‘The One Check-List’.

Here me out. Imagine if you were a Man. A Christian man, educated, good job, house, and the idea that he’d like to be able to share his life with someone. You, as the man, decide that there’s a woman that you’re interested in. She’s someone who has peaked your interest.

1. You know that odds are, she’s looking for ‘The One’
2. You have already asked three girls out in the past six months to coffee, and little rumour swirls are floating around that you like to ask girls out.
3. You don’t want to start people talking, so you don’t flirt with her. Even though you’re busting to get to know her better, but don’t want to
appear interested because a) what will people say b) will she even want to do coffee, because I may not be ‘the one’ for her c) I don’t want her to think that I am crackin’ on her
4. So, what do I do? Do I take the leap of faith in front of not only her, but also the community to 1. Get shot down or 2. Get a Yes?

The point I am trying to make, is that I think women (non-Christian as well) need to KEEP THEIR HEARTS OPEN!!!!!!

Yes, there are men who are ‘pigs’ and who are ‘cowards’. However, to sit back and start painting every single Christian man as ‘worthless’ and ‘incapable of dating’ is exactly why they don’t ask women out. Why would you? Would you ask yourself out if you project what you’re wanting and demanding in the opposite sex?

I know that this a very counter-cultural stance on dating and I am calling upon women to relax and go out for a damn coffee with a guy..even if he isn’t the one you want to have endless-post-marriage sex with, make 10 babies and die next to. But, what is the harm in loving on someone by show a little grace and enjoying a good coffee? What if, in fact, he’s more ‘the one’ then you thought?

Sex/Intimacy

Now, if you’re still reading..I have need to be honest here. I am torn about sex and intimacy. I waited a LONG time to have sex, and it was for my own personal reasons and had NOTHING to do with religion. I wasn’t a Christian then.

However, coming into the Christian circle, the comments about sex, intimacy, ‘getting down with yourself’, oral sex, cuddling all come up.

I don’t know if I have a clear answer. I know that God speaks of sex and intimacy.

1 Corinthians 6:18
Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, which is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor your God with your body.

I think that it is interesting that earlier in V. 6 Paul is quoted in saying

“Everything is permissible for me”–but not everything is beneficial.

I know and respect that there is HEAPS about how saving yourself for marriage and/or the right one is important. In fact, the popular Christian thought is virgin til your married.

I am not here to argue that.

However, I am here to argue that having intimacy with someone is not terrible. That being intimate, ie. close to someone physically is not going to ruin you.

In fact, I remember when I was told that I should not stay in a same house as a man, because I might cross the line. I was thinking about this today.

1. Since when can two adults not be in the same place and not be able to control themselves?
2. Since when can two adults not discuss the potential attraction, if there is any, and deal with boundaries within the context of the Christian beliefs?
3. Since when did strong Christians lose their ability to fall back on their strong Christian values/beliefs and not give into sinful acts?

I find that this scared approach to showing affection, limited and appropriate physical intimacy, which has been bestowed upon me currently and in previous experiences to be detrimental to the development of a relationship and self-awareness.

I am NOT advocating for everyone to go out and through themselves at people and bathe themselves in sin. What I am saying is that relationships have a natural progression…with pre-established boundaries–are so important. You need to be self-aware, you need to explore relationships, you need to be mindful of your convictions.

However, starving yourself of letting people in emotionally and physically (whatever that means to you) is I believe actually starving your potential relationships of a depth and awareness of spiritual growth.

You have to make your own choices. But what I am getting at is, be open with God. be open with people around you. be open to touch/intimacy at the level which is appropriate for you.

Stop shutting people out. Stop equating people as the means to an end. God has NEVER done that to you, don’t do it to others.

~Farm Girl

I went to an ‘New Christian’ course this weekend. I would have NEVER EVER done this, even six months ago. Going to learn about the Bible? God? Christian teachings?

YEAH RIGHT?!!?!?!?

I was talking to one of my friends about praying.

Me: ‘So do you feel connected when you pray?”
Friend: ‘It’s hard for me sometimes. It feels like a brick wall, like I am talking to air.’
Me: ‘I guess that’s a true feeling. I remember feeling that way as well, sometimes. I guess the biggest thing is that it’s whatever you make of it. Everyone prays to something different, experiences God in different ways.’

I remember before I was baptised feeling like prayers were last ditched efforts to get my crush to like me, get my crush out of my head, to repair my parents relationship, to help me lose weight—they were moments of desperation. It wasn’t about creating a relationship with God, it really wasn’t about fostering a connection whereby I was keeping my heart open. It wasn’t about letting God in.

I remember when I went to the alter, before I was baptised, because I had this RADIATING thump in my chest. Like it was about to explode. I couldn’t describe it, except to say that I could feel it. It was like nothing I’ve felt before. (in fact I can feel it right now). It’s when I connect my mind to God. When I pray. When I let GOD IN!

On the night of my baptism I couldn’t actually focus on anything else except that radiating energy in my body. My hands were shaking, I was sweating and my hands were cold. It’s like all my energy was focused on this feeling, this urge, this LOVE that was God.

The ‘teacher’ this weekend said to the affect that when you accept and believe ‘the holy spirit enters your body’. I totally agree with that.

When I pray, the only way I think I can describe it, FOR ME, is a white (glaring) cross that is over a mountain that’s inbetween my eyes. I also feel a radiating energy in the middle of my chest. I remember be SCARED out of my gourd when I first felt this. WHAT THE HELLZ BELLZ was happening to me? Why was all this energy radiating through my body?

I actually remember ignoring it many times previously, because initially it made my incredibly emotional. It made me lose control of being in control of my emotions, the pain, the shame, etc.

But now, I CHERISH the relationship which I have with God when I pray. I love tapping into the holy spirit in me. I know that every single person responds differently to the holy spirit. It manifests itself differently physically, mentally, and spiritually.

However, what it comes down to..it’s letting God into your life. Letting the brick wall down, so that God can walk in with his gift.

~Farm Girl

It’s honestly amazing what you can feel, see, experience when you open your heart to God.

I haven’t been to my church in forever. Why? Cause work has been  “getting in the way” of me getting to church.

How many times have you let work get in the way of church, exercise, dating, eating well, studying, etc. ? It’s the  “whipping boy” for so much of our daily excuses for not doing the things that we need to be doing.

It was 5:38pm and I knew that I needed to go to church.

I got on my scooter and headed off, running as I heard the worship starting. I instantly felt  “at home”.

At the end of the service they had a  “Linger” session of worship and prayer. It was interesting to note how much I have changed since letting faith into my life.

We were called to the front for prayer, a  “break the chain” prayer, if people wanted it. I have been struggling with my job recently and honestly am looking for as many ways out as I can. However, I feel like I am being called back to it time and time again. (this is another post).

I recieved my prayer from a senior pastor and walked over to the other side of the auditorium and got on my knees and prayed.

Then I heard her crying, sobbing, shaking.

A young Asian girl was sobbing, crying out to God. I knew, for some reason, in that moment that I NEEDED to offer to pray with her. I have to admitt that a moment of self-doubt crept in  “am I Christian enough to offer this woman prayer? shouldn’t the pastors being doing this? is that going to be ok that I do that? will I get in trouble?”

Then I just didn’t care. I scooted back and said  “would you like prayer?”

Through her glassy, bawling eyes, she shook her head yes.

I got right next to her and just held her. Prayed with her. Felt her body calm down.

Her English wasn’t great. Her emotions raw. Her desperation for God s strength evident.

What I realised in that moment is that there is no stamp that says  “you’re ready to give someone prayer”. There is just the openness in your heart to reveal your own struggles, your insight and love of God to those around you.

We hugged. She thanked me.

I got up and lost it.

My heart felt soft, open, honest, thankful, healed.

If someone needs prayer, a hug, a conversation… be open and let your faith, exerperiences and compassion rain.

~M

I remember sitting in my Grandmother’s twin cab two toned navy Chevy Pickup.

I was 10. She was driving me to school. We were about to pass the little cattle barn, a run-down shack on the side of the road. It was the mental and physical beginning of the three mini bridges that you had to cross over before coming to an open field. The first and last bridges were wide. The middle narrow on a curve.

I was sick to my stomach. Ready to assert myself.

I stared out the window. The butterflies fluttered. I suppressed them with my new found courage. My new found independence.

Before the cows  I told myself.

I sucked it up looked out the windows on the impeding cows and said  “I don’t believe in God!”

Thats right & I said it.

My Grandma, in her unwavering German stoic stance, snapped by “Yes you do.”

————–

I sat in Church, a place where I have found a new found peace. Solace. Radiance.

“We are having water baptisms today. If you’d like to come up, please do. We have heaps of towels” the pastor said.

It was as if I was in a movie. His eyes focused on me, as though they were the camera lens he was speaking into. I couldn’t shake it.

“But I can’t. I promised Anne that I would only get baptised if she was here” I said to myself. Trying to suppress the radiating, insurmountable drive to walk up in my red dress.

It was earlier that morning that I dropped off Anne’s car. As I hopped on my scooter I said to her “I am going to church tonight at 6pm if you want to come along. I know you’ve never come to mine, but yeah I’ll be going.”

Thinking nothing of it, I scooted off.

I tried to shove the pull/urge/drive to jump in the baptism pool. It was me, the Pastor. Me and God.

But I can’t Anne isn’t here.

I couldn’t concentrate on the song. The stage lights blinding me. My heart racing.

Wait, what was that. Who is touching me?

I looked down.

Anne. She came to the service.

Shocked.

I lean over, euphoric  “I am ready. I am ready Anne” I said.

She looked at me. With a smile on her face. She took my hand and led me to the front of the church in my red dress.

“Please write your name down” the lady said. My mind was spinning. My hands trembling. I just knew that I was meant to be doing this. It was me. Me and God. The 1,000+ people watching me didn’t mean anything to me. It could have been a million or 1 and I still would have done it.

I walked up. Peace reigned over me.

I slowly walked into the pool. I was ready.

“Before we start, I have to ask you a question” the man said. I was being held by two lovers of Christ. Of God. They were strong.

“Do you accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour?” he says into my ear. The worship music kept going. Suspended to watch me take a huge step in my life. To inspire others. To show that faith isn’t planned, that sometimes even music/worship is to be modified.

“Yes” I said holding back tears. It was my final release.

Forgiveness for my sins. Forgiveness for hating my body at times. Forgiveness for my 10 year old profession.

A profession. A cleanse. A statement.

I leaned back.

I was baptised. In my dress. In front of Anne.

In front of God.

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