All posts tagged: faith

Trusting Jesus with my self-worth is a daily decision

This article is part of the #flamfaces series. Say hello to Sarah Haberle of Launceston. My life is a tapestry of God’s love – He has been present throughout every challenge, hardship and joy. I have experienced miracles and bear testimony to the truth that Jesus is alive. My early and late teenage years were up and down times – one minute Jesus was my everything, the next I was enjoying a life spent completely on myself and on whatever I wanted to do. One night, I was out at a pub. It was around 1am and I suddenly felt myself snap into the sober. I looked around the room and realised I hardly knew these ‘friends’ and just as suddenly I knew I was done with a life of emptiness without Jesus. I drove to a friend’s house at 2am and they welcomed me, clothed me and held me as I cried and made the decision to leave that life behind for good and choose Jesus and His love. God is always, always, with me I grew up …

What is #FLAMfaces?

Hello. I just want to let you in on something that’s about to come to fruition in this space in coming weeks. It’s based on this verse: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15. God has been whispering, nudging and hip-and-shouldering me lately towards this project that gives ordinary, everyday people a platform to share about their faith; about their extraordinary God. When I’ve read that verse in the past, I’ve felt somewhat overwhelmed. I’m much better with the written word than the spoken word! But the verse doesn’t specify, does it? It just says, be ready! And anyway, writing helps to cement new thoughts and learnings in the brain, so it comes to mind more readily in conversation. So, I have started asking local folk who live with Jesus as their saviour to do this: to speak  (write!) gently and respectfully about the reason …

Turning dizzy into delight

She’s spinning. Spinning faster and faster. Red tulle flounces and tubby pink arms are flung wide with abandon. She is squealing. A bubbling, gurgling, ecstatic noise that begins to rumble in me too. We are laughing together. Her spinning. Me laughing, but not. Laughing and cringing at her freedom. She is slowing. Tussled hair settles on shoulders. Tulle lights on knees. Arms drop to sides. And she staggers. “Me so busy, mummy,” she says. “You mean dizzy?” I laugh. Busy. Dizzy. Same difference. I’ve just spun out of a Megasaurus week where events and responsibilities merged one into another into another. There was a fair whack of troubleshooting, of costume changes, of finding a replacement here and a stand-in there. When people asked, “How’s your week been?” it would have been perfectly appropriate to reply “dizzy” instead of “busy”. Same difference. Lately God has pressed a word into my mind. Stamp into wax. Finger into clay. Cutter into cookie dough. The word is DELIGHT. “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the …

A poem. About God. And I’m no poet.

I wrote a poem this morning. I did it during my quiet time. And this is no brag, friends, because I’ve been absent from daily hangouts with my Maker lately. Confession is liberating hey. So I was perusing the scriptures and there was this compulsion to pull out my journal and write. So I did. Interrupted somewhat by a little person who wanted to be on my lap. Then off. Then on. Then crying because I said no. Anyway. This is what resulted. I’m sharing it – not because I think it’s any rival to the likes of Tennyson or Keats – but because it was a creative act of worship, of honesty and oneness that you might like to try. For me, it was just a matter of picking up the pen and letting it lead me somewhere. How do I describe you? You are vapour, whiff, mirage, question mark apparition, something my head so swiftly calculates as void. Sometimes you are here, deep in the core, flame, heat searing outward, flushed face, scalding …

Reading the raunchiest book in the Bible.

I’ve been reading Song of Songs these past few days. I wanted to better understand the concept of my faith being a romance with Jesus. Reading this short book of the Bible always made me feel uncomfortable, confused even. Like watching a steamy love scene in a movie with your parents sitting on the couch beside you.

The Year in Books (2016)

This post is more a personal record than anything else. A look back at the books I’ve read in 2016, the learnings from them, and the way God has used them to expand my Christian worldview. I’ve explained before that I am part of a book club. We call ourselves The Romans 12:2 Project, meet every five weeks or so, and read books that will expand our understanding of God, faith and what it is to be a Christian today. These are the books we read this year… of course, I did read beyond this selection, a few leisure reads (Maeve Binchy, Paullina Simons and even Lee Childs!) and additional recommendations from friends and family (Annette Mace’s book, and I can highly recommend The Grace Outpouring too, by David Roberts and Roy Godwin). But these are the books we discussed: The Gift of Being Yourself by David G. Benner Love, Tears and Autism by Cecily Paterson The King Jesus Gospel by Scot McKnight A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller Farewell Four Waters by Kate …

I Never Thought I was a Cynic… Until I Read This Book.

A Praying Life (Connecting with God in a distracting world) by Paul E. Miller NavPress, 2009 Every so often you read a book that completely reboots the way you think. A Praying Life has been that kind of book for me. Don’t be turned off by the title – or the cover for that matter. This is a book with the potential to change your perspective on every level, not just the few minutes you grab with God each day, running through a list of pleases and thank yous in your head. Paul begins by defining prayer as “interconnected with all of life”. Such an important distinction right there. He continues, “Because prayer is all about relationship, we can’t work on prayer as an isolated part of life. That would be like going to the gym and working out just on your left arm.” With an easy turn of phrase, Paul grounds his teaching with stories, many from his own family including the trials and triumphs of his daughter Kim who has autism and developmental delay. Paul and …

The Focus of a Dancer

When I was a slender young thing in pink ballet tights and pastel leotards, my dance teacher taught me about balance. Holding the body with poise and presence is as much a discipline as flexibility, turnout, musicality and strength. With a leg in arabesque – that is, high as possible, straight as possible in the air behind me – she would say, “Claire, imagine there are strings attached to your fingers on both hands, to the top of your head and to the big toe of the foot you have lifted. Those strings are pulling with equal force.” Imagining the invisible forces at work, I would stretch my arms further, elongate my neck and straighten my head, push that leg a little higher and plant the heel of my supporting leg firmer into the floor. Then, with a calm that belied the screams of a thousand muscles, I would lower into a fondu or chasse, arms soft, face serene. Sigh. How I miss those dancing days! I recognise this same tension in my life today. Invisible …

Why We’re So Intrigued By Injury

Every parent knows that a Bandaid on a child is so much more than an adhesive strip to mop up blood and keep dirt out of a scrape. The power of these magical stickers should never be underestimated. What’s more, the colourful cartoon characters printed on the more expensive varieties are a novelty du force. The humble Bandaid is a gallant defender of the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ maxim that most parents cling to. Have you noticed how the fine motor skills required to tear open the packet, peel away the fiddly leaves and then smooth the apparatus across the lesion without touching the site of grief brings a beautiful distraction from the trauma of the incident itself? Wonderful invention. But the most perplexing result is observed beyond adult supervision, in the playground, with another little mate seated beside. They are peeling the Bandaid away to, “Come look!” and “Awww!” and to boast “I cut it on dad’s fishing lure!” Yep. There’s the little blubbering mess suddenly dry-eyed, ripping off the dressing to show …

The NY Resolution that Exceeded Expectation.

Flicking to my journal entries from this time last year was a deflating exercise – not only because there were so few pages to flick through, but because the scribblings under the heading New Years Resolutions were largely unrealised. I made some feeble initial efforts, but life shouldered in on these well-intentioned plans to build character, skill and achievement. Oh well, there’s always 2016! But I want to tell you about the one aspiration that did become a reality – and so much better than I could have anticipated. I love reading. For me, the holiday sensation comes when I am diving headlong into fiction narrative – from the comfort of an armchair, banana lounge or hammock. I read to escape. Which is why, pre-2015, were you to espouse the merits of so-and-so’s latest autobiography, self-help book or account of lifechange, my eyes would have glazed over. I wanted to like those books. I wanted to allow my life to be altered by them. I wanted to rave with friends over the way those books had opened …