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There have been times throughout my life when my faith has subsided into the depths of the pantry of life. Due to whatever factors that are piled in the front of the goods God presents.

School

Job

Man

Friends

Sleep

I know when I am pushing God into the back of the shelf “I’ll get to you again at some point….and I know that you’ll stay there with no expiration date.”

Perhaps God’s lack of expiration date and versatility is the biggest blessing and biggest omen. ‘Knowing’ that God is always there means that there are times when we can just push God back in order to entertain our lives with ‘other’ things.

What I’ve realised is that I don’t like the feeling of shelving God. It’s not fair to God, but more importantly it’s not fair to the relationship that I have formed in my own life with God and with the world around me. To justify the shelving of anything that grounds me for something ‘more exciting’ is trivial. It actually strips us of the inner grace and beauty that we have.

It’s also funny when you realise that a part of your life has been saved/persevered by the inner-workings of God..and you remember to bless his presence in your life. You realise that once again you like looking into your pantry and seeing God at the forefront of your life, sitting on the shelf as a reminder that indeed he’s a staple.

The panic that gets us in a tissy of putting other things in front of God have to be identified. I don’t think that you should ONLY stock your pantry with God…I think that’s unbalanced. You SHOULD have friends who are different from you, dare I even say people who don’t believe in God…have no God in their pantry. I think it’s important.

But what’s important is realising that what is in the forefront of your pantry of life are the things which you grab for….so what’s stocking your pantry?

~Farm Girl

I know that many times God is called upon when life is hitting the skids. When we don’t think that we can take anymore. In fact many times when people are going through tough times I will encourage prayer and/or silently say one for them. It’s customary to turn to God when things aren’t going well.

But what about when it’s going great?

hanging out with her is amazing

Do we just walk away from God? When we are getting what we want…do we forget to be grateful and praise?

I actually think that remembering to praise, to honour and to be grateful in prayer for those times in our lives that ‘things are just clicking’ is just as important as falling on your knees in hard times.

So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open, drinking in your strength and glory. In your generous love I am really living at last! My lips brim praises like fountains. I bless you every time I take a breath; My arms wave like banners of praise to you.
Psalm 63:2-4

Having the stance the God is part of your life no matter what, makes those days when the sun is shining from every angle even better. There are moments when I am so overwhelmed with how content I am right now that when I give my thoughts of gratefulness to God it makes those moments even more rich.

Enjoy those fantastic days…and remember to give a little praise.

~Farm Girl

Before I was a Christian I would stress out about life. I, admittedly, still do to some degree. In the midst of life changing activities in life: ending school, trying to sort out if Australia is where I want to , having my close friends talk about marriage, and watching my grandparents get older…the constant question of “am I doing the right thing” permeates and filters most of my thoughts.

It doesn’t help that as an expat you’re constantly surrounded about the question “So, is this where you’re going to live…forever?”

I have no freaking idea!!! I was only supposed to be in Australia for 1 year..that’s right I almost didn’t sell my car. At the time was an escape from not knowing what I wanted to do in America after I graduated from college. I just took in all that Australia had to offer, thinking that I’d move back home.

But alas, I am here for a longer than I had planned..and that’s where my growing faith is clicking for me.

I have it all planned out — plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for
Jeremiah 29:11

It’s so easy to fight with your life. To fight with God. Ask, question, be pissed off, in limbo while keeping God as a distance because life isn’t going exactly how you wanted it to go. I have spent the past two years pissed off at myself for having such intense issues with food/body image/relationships.

It was only when I honestly, went to New Zealand that my soul started to breathe. That God started to be heard in my own soul.

I got my smile back. It was as though the hopes and dreams that I have (go to Africa, volunteer overseas, work in the country, have a nice kitchen  ;), and maybe a husband/kids) are all stashed away in God’s plan. I have seen people get so angry with life and/or focused on one thing that they forget to live. They are angry that God hasn’t ended all of the anguish of not having the life you thought you’d have..right now..right now.

And when you stop expecting God to end all your troubles, you’d be surprised how much you like spending time with God. ~Donald Miller

I am in a hurricane of friends who are all in eweey-gooey relationships, people who have fitness routines, more money, kids, dogs, a nice kitchen, a trip to Africa to speak about. But honestly, when I stopped being angry at myself and stopped questioning God as to why I was going through pain and expecting God to come through the clouds and fix my life…my life transformed.

“I’ll turn things around for you. I’ll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you” — God’s Decree — “bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on that”
Jeremiah 29:14

If you would have told me that four years ago I would be in Australia, healed from a binge-eating disorder, a Christian, blogging, smiling like I’ve never smiled before..I wouldn’t believe you.

But, having the faith in God to give me all that I can handle, all the I need to go through..RIGHT NOW…gives me peace to live the life that I think God all wants us to live.

~Farm Girl

 

I went home and chilled out with my family for three weeks. When I was there I got into some pretty powerful and life-changing conversations with one of my family members. She’s a woman with a heart for God and lives it throughout her whole life.

I think it’s easy to tell everyone how on fire your heart is for God…and not talk about your struggles. Or catapult certain people up on a pedestal in our minds as the ones who ‘have it all together’.

But I do think that every single person, no matter what, has or is having, a moment where they feel that God is not with them. Where God has left them. There are many instances when we feel as those God isn’t with us, we’re fighting alone and the idea of a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ is so incredibly far fetched that we can simply give up.

He shuts me in so I’ll never get out, Manacles my hangs, shackles my feet. Even when I cry out and plead for help,
he locks up my prayers and throws away the key. He sets up blockades with quarried limestones. He’s got me cornered.

Lamentations 3:7-9

My life is so CRAP right now, that God couldn’t possibly with me. In fact, God is against me. SCREW this religion crap. Screw it all!

RUNNING far far away is a logical response. If you’ve placed you’re faith in God, church, your church family, friends, etc. and then in the midst of it all you feel as though you’re not being heard it’s so easy to just give up. Lose your faith. Quit prayer, seeking ‘the light’ and isolating yourself.

I went through that. I hadn’t found my place in a church, a group of people that supported me.

More importantly I hadn’t found myself.

I have heard many times before that ‘you just need to let God in.’ And I wouldn’t argue against this. However, I would argue that you have to open your heart to yourself. If you can’t find your own love for yourself, or an ioda of worth…then it becomes incredibly hard to have God in your heart.

For me, I started listening to the idea that God will always be there. EVEN when I didn’t BELIEVE that could be possible. I held onto this faith, that not matter what God did have my best interest at heart.

Why? Because the Master won’t ever walk away and fail to return.

Lamentations 3:31

Once I wrapped my head around that, I started seeking God.

When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The “worst” is never the worst”

Lamentations 3:28-30

Why should I seek God when I felt that God was SO far away?

Because God’s love is healing and the relationship that you can have with God is so profound. It was only when I started to develop a relationship with God through prayer, shouting out in anger at him, crying through the pain that I felt..that my heart started to heal.

What got me to the place where I have exalted God over my troubles in life…is that fact that each and every single day is new.

God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness!

Lamentations 3:22-23

In those moments get down on your knees. Even if you don’t see God in your life, in your heart or even your own self-love. It doesn’t matter. Scream, cry, pray it out. I do believe that God is always there, but it’s a matter of finding that faith and love inside of your own heart to let God in when it feels as though it’s all just a bunch of dark.

It’s the one light your have in a dark time as you wait for daybreak and the rising of the Morning Star in your hearts.

1 Peter 1:20

What  has come into my life is not only the Love and Light of God..BUT my own sense of worth. The worth that was there the whole time, which has been shown to me by my growing relationship with God, my faith, and relationship to it all.

 

~Farm Girl

 

How many times have you gotten stuck in a rut?

I am going to raise my hand…keep it up straight until the blood runs out of it.

I am in a rut of shoving my face at night. I admit it.

More though, I have been in a rut about what I have found myself in. In a situation where I am no longer happy with the way that I feel about my current relationship with food, my body, exercise and where I am.

I have also felt incredibly stuck.

That I should just “give up, cause this is they way it’s going to be forever.”

If I stay that way, then I’ll continue to gain weight, punish myself with sporadic exercise and wear frumpy clothes, no make-up and crappy hair.

We are masters of our own destiny.

As I sat on the couch tonight, after eating and stuffing myself, I sat and asked myself “how do I want to feel in that tris that I am signing up for this coming year?”

  • Prepared
  • Focused
  • Like a machine
  • I gave it my all
  • Powered by amazing food
  • Proud

Then I sat on the couch, in the PJ bottoms with elastic that are too tight, and thought about how I wanted to look.

  • Smiling
  • Exhausted
  • Happy
  • Toned
  • Fit
  • Proud

I didn’t want to be rail thin. I didn’t want to be binging. I didn’t want to be a certain weight. I didn’t want to be obsessed.

I wanted to feel like a champion.
Like someone who had gotten their groove back.
Someone who harnessed the motto “just f**king do it”.

The point is, that we don’t have to see ourselves as what we are..stuck. We actually have the ability to see ourselves how we want to be. Yes, my image of myself was thinner than I am now.

But when you’re looking at yourself in a state of where you’d like to be..focus not on the thinness or weight. Focus on what you’re exuding, what you feel like, what people would think about when they’re around you.

Sear that image in your brain, and everyday make choices that make the image become real.

For me, it’s crossing the finish line with spandex on, a number attached to my racing shirt, strong voluptuous curves, ripped arms and a smile across my face.

What does your image look like?

~Farm Girl

The blogging world is littered with Moms, Dads, Perfectionists who are starting a journey down a road where they put themselves as number one. Where they are finding the voice within them that says “it’s ok to do things for yourself first.”

I have struggled with this.

In fact when I am having a ‘good day’ with food (this is a left-over mental pattern of being food/diet obsessed) I can easily find myself shriveling under the increasing pressure that the little voice/Devil throws at me in my moment of accomplishment.

For many of us, we need something bigger than us.

Previously this used to be a diet.
Previously this has been a man.
Previously this has been having my family proud of my weight-loss.
Previously this has been due to a comparison of myself to someone else.

The strength was outside of myself, because I didn’t think that I had enough strength within myself to actually do what I wanted in life..and that was to lose weight. It was sole focus for so long, but it was enabled by outside forces that had nothing to do with what I wanted. At least the reasons for losing weight, weren’t something that I found to be of sustainable value.

In my dire moments of struggle, I have really found a new place of strength…my relationship with God.

Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. […] Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before your Master, it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet. James 4:8-10

Food doesn’t give me internal strength.
A number on a scale doesn’t give me internal strength.
I pair of pants at a certain size doesn’t give me internal strength.

They have only given me obsession.

My faith, falling on my knees, praying, being present in my moments of obsession…give me internal strength.

If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. […] Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. James 1:5-6

It’s ok to cry-out to God.
It’s ok to get on your knees.
It’s ok to show God your weakness.
It’s ok to admit fault.
It’s ok to admit to God and yourself as to exactly where you are.

The most important thing, for me, is knowing that my strength…my undeniable, unshakable, solid internal strength no longer comes from my relationship with food, dieting, binging, exercise.

It comes from God.

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at your from all sides. You know that under pressures, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. James 1:2-4

~Farm Girl

I was speaking to one of my close friends today and she was asking how everything was going. I told her that my life, as I know it, is at the best place in my life.

Why?

Because I have been willing to suffer.

There’s a lot of suffering to be entered into this world—the kind of suffering Christ takes on. Colossians 1:24

So much of our life, especially in the modern context, is about alleviating suffering. If that’s finding quicker ways to make food, quieter buildings to live in, life-prolonging medications or addiction to alleviate any sort of discomfort.

We are afraid of discomfort. We are afraid of suffering.

I have used food, dieting obsession, body-image to alleviate a lot of emotional struggles that I have had…and I realise I not mine..in many instances they are generational.

What is amazing, and what has hit me, is that my wanting to ‘run away’ and ‘numb’ out my own internal inadequacies rear their ugly heads when I am farthest away from my faith.

So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious planet they are—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He get the last word, yes, he does. 1 Peter 5:9-11

In those moments of shoving cake down in throat, looking at my body and hating every single curve that God has blessed me with and/or choosing men who didn’t support my self-esteem à I wasn’t drawing close to God AND I was not willing to suffer.

In order to grow, we have to suffer.

In order to suffer, we have to draw closer to God.

In order to grow, we have to suffer.

In order to suffer AND find GROWTH we MUST fall upon God’s strength.

What is there honestly to be afraid of with God on our side? What possible level of suffering can we NOT endure without God?

God is there, ready to help;

I’m fearless o matter what.

Who or what can get me?

Hebrews 13:6

When we run from suffering, from growth, from pain, from discomfort…and stay in our old ways…we are not drawing God close.

If you want to move to the place that you’ve always feared, you will most likely endure suffering of some kind…but you’re going to be ok. The scariest part is letting go of the stagnant place that you’re in.

For me, that stagnant place was a place where I kept God, my own self-love, and people at arms length. I was scared of God’s love for me. In fact I told someone else today “That as a new Christian, I was over-whelmed by God’s love for me. It was incomprehensible to me at the beginning.”

What I’ve realised is that GOD is there THE WHOLE TIME when we are suffering. That in moments of weakness, wanting to go back to old ways…it’s actually me not keeping my relationship with God in check. It’s not keeping my heart open to my own self-love, which I’ve garnered from my relationship with God.

So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you, he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God, hs is most careful with you. 1 Peter 5:6-7

Having the approach which enables you to truly take on the suffering that you’ve been avoiding to advance your life…with God..will get you to where you need to be.

Draw God close, he’s waiting to give you wings.

~FarmGirl

I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become. 2 Corinthians 12:10

When I first became a Christian last year I threw my whole entire social circle into the Christian culture that was part of the church that I went to. I have some pretty amazing friends out of it. I have learned a lot.

I have also gained a lot of interesting insight into the religiosity of people in the Church.

One of the first conversations that I had with someone who was a leader within the group that I was part of was that they would “never date a new Christian because they’re hearts aren’t on fire and they tend to backslide.” I left that conversation thinking that all new Christians would eventually give up, slide away into the abyss of the ‘have beens’ and the small insular circle that I was trying to penetrate would go on knowing that they were right.

I think that notion of backsliding is interesting. Does going to church make you less likely to backslide? Does not going to church label you as a backslider?

I used to get all worked up about these labels. What would my Christian friends think if they knew that I haven’t gone to church in that past 2 1/2 months?  If they knew that I took myself away from the group that I was aligned with. Would they think that the Devil was creeping in? That I was losing my faith? That I was “one of those new Christians?”

I am beginning and will continue to harness a faith that is my own. Sometimes it maybe in a glitzy, fake smoke filled worship service with flashy lights or maybe as small shed in the middle of the Kimberly or a front porch in an Aboriginal community or when I am looking after a dying patient on one of my nursing pracs.

Faith is fluid.

I think the tragedy with religion and faith is that has become so drowned down with what we should be: overly social, superficial at times, gossipy and for show.

My faith is my own. It’s my relationship and no one else’s.

I have done more faith building in my heart, letting God in, seeing God’s grace in me and speaking about God with my friends from a genuine place then I did in the nine months I was going to church.

Faith is fluid and I am NOT backslidding.

The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart ~1 Samuel 16:7

~FarmGirl

I should say that I am a new Christian, or as I would be labeled within the community, I have opinions and I have not lived a ‘Christian Lifestyle’ prior to becoming a Christian. I have lived with my partner, have had sex, have done naughty things, have lied, have said the Lord’s name in vain.

However, I feel as though becoming a Christian has been one of the most FREEING and CONFINING things I have EVER committed myself to.

One of my biggest gripes and ‘soap box inducing’ is relationship ‘guidelines’ in the Church. I find things like this, very confining: (this is an e-mail I recieved that was part of a mature adult group I belong to)

Honouring Jesus, Your Date, and Yourself!

Dating Tips to Grow a Strong Relationship!

  • Pray –Spend time asking God to help you honour Him and your date.
  • Talk a lot –Get to know someone by talking to them about a wide variety of topics.
  • Let’s be friends! – The person you are dating could be someone else’s future mate.
  • Pray in groups – don’t pray together alone as a couple too early in your relationship.
  • Choose to not kiss – Avoids unnecessary stimulation,
  • Avoid physical contact or being alone

Christian dating is not a subject heavily taught on in the church so we thought we would offer some tried and tested advice courtesy of Christian life advisor for those who are in this season in their lives

My response to this was:

Apparently as a mature Christian women, if I want to date I shouldn’t kiss. I am offended not only as a woman, but as a Christian because it pre-supposes that I have no control or commitment to my faith.

It is NOT one person’s place to put blanket ‘rules’ on what should and shouldn’t happen between two consenting adults. In fact, I think that it’s incredibly dangerous and pompous. I was highly offended by the advice (and I have included the whole of what was written) because I think that it makes a sweeping generalisation that all Christians can’t control themselves. That all dating Christians will give into temptation.

Yes, some of them do/have/will do.

What annoys me the most is that NOTHING was written about the idea of discussing why we give into temptation. Ways of being intimate with someone that maintains the Biblical teachings (which are also debateable for some) and what it is like to discover and enjoy the dating/intimacy/sex/relationship experience.

Instead, just incredibly conservative, confining, stagnent guidelines.

After posting my comment I had people weigh in on their thoughts as responses. Some had abstained from kissing their partners, other atheists, others reformed from past experiences. I spoke to friends who, in my opinion are in some of the MOST healthy relationships I have EVER seen (kissing included), and their response was ‘well, I have gone against those rules already’. I mean, COME ON…to put such standards on people negates all of the fabulous relationships out there.

What I think that these type of condemnations do, is take away the beauty of the evolving relationship. The connection. The physical touch. The intensity. The passion. The boundaries. The needed communication. It puts a normal and progressive process between two people into boxes that are so tight, either people conform out of the immense guilt they would feel, rebel because they feel oppressed or walk away from their faith.

Although, perhaps there are people who need to check their physical endeavours with others (I have been there)…it wasn’t conversations with friends who told me I was doing terrible things and needed to go cold turkey. RATHER, it was friends who gave me their opinons, how they overcome temptation and found a happy ground. It was open, honest, non-judging/confining discussion.

I detest that these types of things are being sent out to hundreds or already stagnant Christians daters who are struggling to sort out how to date…as yet more guidelines to shut out the natural flirtation and progression of relationships.

I am not saying got shag or even get naked.

But a kiss…I think I can control myself.

~Farm Girl

The whole journey of becoming a Christian has enabled me to really think a lot about the idea of resistance. Why would I choose to resist God, myself, others at times?

Because I wasn’t ready to let myself, God, others in. One of the areas which has been the biggest struggle for me, is the idea of Love. Self-love, Others loving me, God’s love for me. I can’t wrap my head around the idea that others would actually love me. That GOD would love me!

I have heard OVER AND OVER again in Church and through friends:

  • “Just hand it over to God, he’ll take care of everything”.
  • “Can’t you see the beauty that God has for you, since you’re beautiful and made in God’s image, look at the love and beauty God has for you”
  • “You are made in the image and likeness of God to be JUST the way you are. So be glad”

BUT IT COULDN’T and didn’t understand these things. In fact they annoyed the bee-geezes out of me when people said these things to me, because I just couldn’t see it. I couldn’t feel that love and it felt syruppy/unattainable.

What I did, was stopped trying to see God’s love for me. (can I write that as a Christian) Instead, I started working on myself. I started working on the love that I had for myself. It was fleeting and then has become more solid. I knew that the walls around me heart had to be chipped away by me first. God, couldn’t do that directly by me seeking him, because my heart wasn’t opened yet. I knew that God was chipping away on the other side, but it was my effort as well to draw new him.

Yet, the idea that God LOVED me was still foreign. Appreciate, like, understand, appreciate me..all made sense. Love me? Yeah RIGHT!

I went to a worship conference last night. I love to sing.

I love to just be in the place where whatever I feel is through music. I was in the middle of worship and there was just music playing. No words. Just suspended musical arrangements.

Hands folded I stood there swaying along to the beat.
I was in a moment where I felt connected and surrendered.
“God”
(I look a breath, a complete exhale, a surrender, a calm) “I love you”

It was weird, because I think that I have wanted to say it for a long time but I was afraid. I was afraid of letting someone else into my world, because I hadn’t let myself in yet. I was afraid of having someone run away from me, or tell me that I wasn’t good enough or feel inadequate.

None of that is what I felt in that moment.

I get what my friend was talking about. I think that I could have thrown around the idea of Love before this moment. However, the peace of saying it was effortless and right.

It happened, because I first started loving myself.

~Farm Girl

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