Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What I Will Tell My One-Day Daughter

You have a choice.

Nobody can make you feel any way without your permission. Your life does not depend on the decisions of a man, a parent or a teacher, you have the ability to make your own choices and choose your own destiny. When you say something, mean it and when something means a lot to you, say it. Don’t be silenced by the crowd, don’t play small to fit the box you have been given and don’t play dumb to make someone else feel smarter. Know your worth and value it. Never be afraid to require more, if you lose somebody because you respect yourself, that is a sure way of knowing that they were never meant to be there in the first place.
You are beautiful, stunning in fact, and you are a woman, but don’t use that to your advantage. Keep your heart open but don’t trade your sexuality for love, the currencies are never the same.

Don’t get bogged down in the formalities of our society, people don’t write songs about careers and superannuation funds. People write songs about love and heartache and family and things that really matter. So don’t be afraid to fall in love, some people will hurt you but some people wont and at the end of the day people are all we have. This doesn’t mean that what you do won’t matter so whatever you flourish in do it with all your heart and know that I always have a safe place for you to fall whenever you don’t quiet make it. Get up one more time than you fall down and never trample on anyone to get ahead.

Always be kind to strangers and never turn your eyes from injustice. Give more often than you receive and find joy in the small things. Laugh loudly and often, the uglier the better. And when you need to, don’t be afraid to cry. Don’t be afraid of silence; in fact enter it with wonder. Don’t be afraid of being alone, it is in the waiting that hope becomes your anchor. You must have the courage to live your life boldly so that others may have the courage to do the same. You were not a mistake, you are here for a reason, you have a purpose and your ideas are valid. Never be afraid to ask a question because ignorance serves nobody. Seek truth, hold onto hope and above all else: Love the Lord who created you and Love the people he created around you.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Easter - part one

Today is Good Friday.

It is one of only 2 days on the Australian calendar when the country takes a moment to rest. Shops stop selling, businesses close their doors and people take off to the country. I don't know what today means to you this Good Friday but for many Australians today is a time for family, a time to relax, unwind and have a few too many beers by the BBQ. These are all amazing things that I hope our culture never loses, it is a freedom so many in the world will never get and I have a cider sitting beside me as I write this.

But there is more to it than that.

Whoever you are, whatever you believe and whatever your thoughts are on Easter I want you to know I respect them and wish not to offend nor condemn anyone with what I am about to say. Please know that I love you all and think all opinions are valuable and encouraged so please don't disengage with me because of mine.

I have been attending church since I was adopted to a pastor and his wife when I was 5 months old. I became a christian when I was 4 years old and was baptised at 7. I attended a Christian school from year 1 to year 12 and I know all the bible stories back to front, so this God thing isn't new to me but there is one thing that gets me every single time.

Today I sat in an easter service with tears running down my face for the 22nd time in my life. You see, I cannot remember a single time that I have not been reduced to a blubbering mess at the realisation of the story of easter. So often I question my value, I look to men to validate my worth and I see myself mared through the lenses of society. I feel inadequate, awkward and unlovable most of the time and at the deepest part of my heart I wonder if I will ever truly be enough. I don't know if anyone else feels that way but today as I sat in that service I was overcome with a brand new wave of love. A love that has been washing over me since I can remember but a love that I so often choose to ignore. You see, today is not just about family or rest or chocolate, though they are definitely important parts (especially the chocolate), today is about so much more than that, Today is about God becoming a man and taking a break from the clouds to pick up the tab for the brokenness of humanity. Today is a story of hope, today is a story of rescue, today is a story that tells us that we are enough. We are worth dying for, we are not alone.

I don't know where you find yourself today, if you are surrounded by family and friends or trying desperatly to hold it together on one of the few days you cannot pretend you don't lack those very things. I don't know your story, I don't know the reasons you cry yourself to sleep a night or the insecurities that sit just below the layers of makeup you carefully apply every morning. I don't know why Good Friday may find you nowhere near 'Good'

But here is what I do know.

I know of both the divinity of God and the humanity of Jesus. I know that over 2,000 years ago a man laid down his life not only to buy you a golden ticket to some far off promise land but to take on the burdens you feel in your everyday. In your today. There is hope, and it is not whimsical or fleeting, it is strong like an anchor and rooted in the love of a saviour who cared deeply about not only your future but your present. He doesn't ask you to make a more regal appearance at a more appropriate time, he faced the pit long before we ever got there and this day 2,000 years ago he declared

"It is finished."

And in some ways it was but in so many ways it was just the beginning.

Monday, April 2, 2012


On Saturday I was standing in in my workplace on William street greeting customers as they walked in, probably 60% of them didn't reply, my friend turned to me and said
"Gee my career is so fulfilling" and that made me ask the question; Why?

Why do we do what we do? We spend our lives so very busy all the time always 'doing' but never stopping to ask 'why' we are doing.

Why do we work in jobs that bring us little meaning?
Why do we study degrees that stress us out and ask us to write essay after essay about topics we only sometimes, maybe, care about?
Why don't we all just give up, stay at home and watch movies with our friends?

It gets so easy to lose perspective when you are in the middle of the rat race. We are taking bite sized pieces as we make our way through to the end. Unless we are continuously redirecting our focus back to the question of 'why' it becomes all to easy to give up.

Tonight I was feeling kind of blah, I had been in bed with a migraine all morning, had to go pick up my stuff from my ex's house and came home to an essay I was only half way through that is very much due tomorrow. I was tired, I was sick, I was sad. I sat down at my computer, looked at the screen and cried. I didn't want to be productive, I didn't want to write about literature, I wanted to take a sleeping tablet and go to bed. I wanted to quit.

Then I asked myself the question.. I asked myself why.
Why is giving up not an option, why is finishing this essay critical, why is waking up and going to work tomorrow required, and here was my answer...

When I was 14 I started writing a diary, I have not stopped since, over 30 journals sit in my bottom draw and there isn't even 2 pages that go by without me saying, in one way or another, that I want to help people.

When I was 17, I graduated high school by the skin of my teeth. I never thought I would ever go to university, I just didn't think I was smart enough, but I was. I got into all the 3 courses I applied for and I am currently studying psychology, which makes me light up every time I read something new that makes a little pocket of humanity make just a little bit more sense to me.

When I was 18 I went to a facility to deal with an eating disorder and I found life through some of the most amazing women, who had sat up at night writing essays when they would rather have been in bed. If it wasn't for their own sacrifice, I don't know where I would be today.

Tonight I went onto some websites of amazing organisations around the world that dedicate their time, money and efforts to helping people. These are the organisations I hope to one day be a part of but there is a piece of paper I need to obtain first, a piece of paper I won't obtain without every little piece of the puzzle. A piece of paper I wont obtain without this essay.

The reason I have to write this essay, the reason I work in a retail job for minimum wage whilst I complete a degree, the reason I can't just quit and check out is because one day when I was 14 I decided I wanted to help people, no matter where that took me or what it meant, the road wasn't straight and there were times I didn't even think I'd get this far but I did and it is not an option, it is my responsibility to see this through.

After answering the why, suddenly I found my hope again. I wrote the last 400 words and I understood that it wasn't about the stupid essay or the customers that don't acknowledge you or the fact that I have one day off a week and only make $650 a fortnight. This life is a privileged, education is precious and these years are the incubation of my dreams. I like to think my 14 year old self would be proud.

What is the answer to your why? You may just find that it clarifies things for you and reminds you not to give up.

Smile often