Lines in the Sand


“Tell us what to believe!”
The people shout from the crowd

The small still voice replies

“Much of this is for you figure out”

“Tell is what to hate Lord! Tell us,

Who is in and who is out?”

The small still voice draws silently in the sand

Pause 

“Are you without sin?

Don’t I accept you?

Didn’t I make a way for you when you had utterly failed me?

Did I not include you?”

Stones

Dropping

One by one 

To the floor

“Do a mighty miracle for us! Show us you are King!”

The small still voice gave no reply

Instead he stretched out his arms and finished it all

“I did this for you

One who doesn’t belong 

Who’s shut out of church doors

Who’s tolerated with clenched teeth and fake smiles 

Who’s not quite welcome

Politicians and clergy argue

Who’s right?

Who’s wrong? 

And the saved ones despise you

As if you had some contagious disease.”

The small still voice

Oh how he is grieved

When his children throw stones

When they could throw parties 

Invite the last

The least 

and the lonely

Open the gates wide for all to be welcomed to great table 

Let’s feast together!

Instead we made a club with an application process 

It shut you and me out 

But fear not

The small still voice is always making a way

Coming is the day 

When he’ll confuse us all 

With his radically loving way

Then our rules and our clubs will fall

And Love will win once again.

Oh I ache for the day when love will win once again.

x Gem x

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Catalogue of laughs 


#Work laugh edition 1. Colleagues 

#Work laugh edition 2. Customers

#Fake laugh 

#I’m trying to impress you laugh

#Genuinly funny laugh

#Monotone laugh 

#So funny I can’t breathe laugh

#So funny my collar bones hurt laugh 

#The heriditary snort 

#The mean cackle 

#Laugh that ends in life threatening asthma attack 

#Cute mouse laugh 

#Little girl laugh (cousin of the cute mouse laugh)

What laughs do you have? I’d love a demonstration sometime 😉

Be free my friend.

x Gem x

Doubt

Do you doubt?

I know I do.

I doubt myself

I doubt my purpose

I’ve doubted my choices..most of my choices

And other people’s decisions

But I’ve never really doubted God or anything he has said.

Up until recently anyway

How I  ended up in that position is a long and complicated one I am yet to unravel

But I found myself on a normal Saturday morning doubting God’s existence for the very first time

“What if this is all just a big bunch of BS?”, I said to myself.

And it didn’t really make me feel panicked…Just kind of…sad I suppose.

I carried on with my day but internally I kind of, let go of my need for God to be real.

Let go of certainty

Let go of my need for the bible to be true or “The inherent word of God.”

Let go of any striving on my part to “fix my faith crisis”

I didn’t meditate and my only prayer went like this:

“stuff it” I said. God, if you are real, I’ll trust you’ll show up soon enough.

“Do not test the Lord your God”, my inner critic sternly pointed out.

“Shut up, I’m not listening to you today either.” 

The only thing I’ll be listening to is another episode of Will & Grace.

Sunday morning came around and my husband reminds me he is coming to church with me today.

Ok. I’ll show up I suppose.

I found the liturgy soothing in its ancient rhythm

The warmth of my husbands arm comforting

The hugs and the greeting of peace, a handshake and a wink of the eyes of a friendly stranger defrosting my cynical heart

The reverend talked about the parable of the vineyard owner and the notion of everyone getting to go to heaven, Us “holy” ones sitting in the pews and the ones out for coffee that morning, or sleeping in. We all got the same reward. How would we “good christians” feel about that?

I felt excited by this notion. I felt fed in my soul.

The eucharist left me in tears of joy. I forgot that I am apart of all this for one reason.

Because I am loved.

And there’s nothing I did to earn this love. It just is.

My position on substitutionary atonement doesn’t matter, my doubts on the bible, instituionalised religion, cock ups by myself and other Christians, my hurts, my failures, my inability to keep my spiritual disciplines to any sort of schedule pales in comparison to this kind of reckless love.

I had a revelation of grace all over again.

On a normal Sunday morning. As I dipped a cracker in some wine.

God loves me.

All the other stuff is ok to Doubt.

“Relax!” I hear a small still voice whisper to me. “I’ve got you!”, there’s a voice I remember.

The hound of heaven found me again.

When he hung on a cross and said “It Is Finished.”

I’d like think he really meant it.

Do you doubt?

Welcome to the club.

But don’t lost sight of how loved you are in it all.

Be free my friend

x Gem x

 

 

Self Care Now! 


Self care is a pretty big buzz word these days.
I think it’s great that we are all learning to take care of ourselves better, to refill our tanks intentionally before we burn out are no good to nobody. 

A short while ago, I stumbled across a profound truth when I was kneeding bread:

Self care is less about refilling an empty tank and more about digging a deeper well. 

Example.

If you living your life at a ridiculous pace, leaving no margin whatsoever to be present at any moment to allow yourself to enjoy anything, then self care may look like remaining horizontal from ‘TGIF until oh no its Monday again’. You might take a bath, eat a whole tub of icecream, take several naps and constantly crave the next holiday. Is anyone truly and deeply content living like this? I know I wasn’t.

Many Mothers struggle to find anytime to practice what we know to be “self care” because…you know….children. So how are they supposed to conform to the notion of self care being yet another list of things you’re supposed to fit into your day? 

I have a sneaking suspicion that there is so much more to self care than outward practices. 

But yes. Please. For the love of God. 

Slow the F down. 

The world will keep spinning without your constant involvement. Sorry #notsorry. But it will.

Self care for me lately has been in little moments where everyday life is inviting me to dig my well of contentment a little deeper just by savouring the moment I’m in. 

I’m reading this great book called “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle and it has helped me shift my mindset. 

In it, Tolle poses a very challenging question: 

How much mental energy do you spend thinking about the past or considering something in the future?

Watch your thoughts for half a day and you’d be astonished. 

I saw that hardly any of my energies were placed in enjoying the gift that was in the present moment. 

So I’ve come to believe Self care is found in the Now

How liberating would it be to just allow your emotional and spiritual tank to be filled in the everyday, just by changing what you give you attention to? 

How much more joy might you feel? What would a catch up with a friend be like if you were 100% immersed in the gift of just being with them? (Rather than thinking of what you’re going to say next holaaa!) Would you love better? Would you be less anxious? 

I think Mr Tolle is really onto something divine.

These are the little moments of “now” that I have found recently: 

Particles of dust dancing in a sunbeam

Breathe entering and leaving my lungs as I woke up to the sound of my alarm

The warmth of a hug from my husband 

Sounds of birds chirping in the morning as I stepped outside my door 

The feeling of my heart pounding inside of my chest as I drove to work 

The smell of baking when I was cleaning the lounge room 

Looking into the eyes of a new friend sitting next to me at church 

A wafer dipped in wine hitting my lips during communion 

The feeling of pastel smudging underneath my fingertips when I drew a picture 

The warmth of the sun hitting my shoulders as walked to the grocery store 

Self Care is easy when you are in the Now

Self care is being content in the beauty that and love that already surrounds you.

Will you dig a deeper well and let your eyes be opened?

Give it a go! 

I commend you to try it.
Be free my friend 

x Gem x 

Counting the Cost

waiting for rain

In a blog not so long ago I told you about how my whole world has changed in a very short amount of time. See blog: Fortune Favours the Brave 

I made the decision to go for what I wanted in this season rather than hang around trying to make something work when I knew my heart wasn’t in it anymore.

Sounds romantic huh?

At first it felt like an excerpt from Eat, Pray, Love.

“Elizabeth Gilbert would be so proud of me!”I cooed to myself.

What the self idealisation and heart flutters forget at the time of your great leap of faith is the inevitable crash at the bottom.

Usually at about 6 weeks.

According my swearing psychologist (See last blog)…its a ‘thing’.

I didn’t just make all these changes because I was bored or that I wasn’t happy.

I made changes that I genuinely knew that I was ‘called’ to make. And I’d spent a good amount of time considering the cost.

The cost would be friendships

The cost would be literally….costly..like dolla dolla bills costly

The cost was security in a career

The cost was losing the community I had spent the last 10 years being immersed in

The cost was a sense of identity

I had alot riding on my decisions

But faith propelled me forward

and grief helped me come crashing down to earth

The cost was felt deeply

and I felt naked

vulnerable

and I little bit lost

Thankfully I keep a little folder in my phone and when I’m lying there at 4am wondering what the hell have I done, I open it up and read the thought and encouragements of people who have cheered me on the whole way.

Little notes, emails and texts reminding me to keep going as tears stream down my cheeks.

A thin moment

#sidenote. Tears are prayers too

Things haven’t worked out the way I wanted since quitting my job

I just got let go from the work opportunity of a lifetime

and I’m still counting the cost of those things I had to give up to chase my dreams

But you know what?

As I drove away from the “dream job” failed today…

I thought…

“Wow, I’m actually ok.”

There was a peace that surpassed understanding

I can give up everything I once thought I could not live without,

Be rejected and chose not to take it personally

See shit literally hit the fan

and be ok.

The world keeps turning

and the birds kept singing.

It reminds me of a great truth given to us by Jesus:

If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.- Matt 10:39

I hope that you chase your dreams even if you have to count the cost

I hope you choose to try again and again knowing full well you cannot control the outcome

But that is truly life

and life abundant.

Be free my friend,

xx Gem xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Eyes 

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

 My Mum is one of my best mates.

We call each other every day and hang out whenever we can. 

We do DIY projects together, talk about life and sometimes she strokes my hair while we plonk on the couch to watch Downton Abbey.

But it hasn’t always been this way.

Growing up, I was a bit of a Daddy’s girl.

My Mum and I clashed a lot!

I was often angry at her for decisions she had made.

And she was bewildered with the fragility of my emotions.

I didn’t understand her lifestyle.

And I had religious people whispering in my ear constantly.

I was made to believe my Mum was going to hell.

Pretty hectic for a nine-year-old!

As the years went by and my teenage angst began to settle down.

A friendship began to form.

I remember one night my Mum came to me after a long term relationship broke down with my step-mother.

She sat crying on her patio and she said she was sorry. 

Sorry for not standing up for us. 

Sorry for not putting us first. 

Sorry for not seeing the wood through the trees. 

Sorry for not protecting us from mistreatment.

We hugged it out and wiped a slate clean that night.

It began a beautiful, healing journey for us.

Yet I still struggled with the fact that my Mum lived a lifestyle that many people of faith would say was ‘sinful’ and for years I still found myself conflicted.

And I know that she felt it.

My Mum has been in a loving, monogamous relationship with the Leanne for eight years now.

Someone I trust, look up to and whom I see as a second Mother to me.

They got engaged at the Taj Mahal just last year.

Cue a wrestling match between my religious, fundamental voices with the new faith I was forming.

Then a small, still voice whispered to me…

“What would love do Gemma?”

And I knew the answer straight away.
This is not to convince you of any political or religious viewpoint.

This is a story of the love between a mother and a daughter.

So I’ve let go of the religious voices.

Love is the voice I listen to.

I no longer see my Mum through the lens of pain and fear that so many people did and projected onto me.

I see my Mum with new eyes.

and I call her beautiful.

I call her strong.

I call her my biggest fan and advocate.

I call her my friend.

Because that’s what Jesus calls her.

And I will walk with her down the aisle on her wedding day,

With my sister on the other arm.

And I will stand with her as her daughter.

In love and unconditional acceptance.

To my Mum,

I love you.

Just the way you are.

Love Gemma

 

Confessions of a slightly dysfunctional millennial 

Here’s some fun confessions of weird little habits I have. Holla at me about some of your funny habits!! I know you’re out there and you my friend are just as weird as me..(if not weirder)

Peace!

#1 Sometimes I eat on the toilet if it’s a really delicious snack 

#2 I hit the snooze alarm atleast 3 times in the morning 

#3 I ate a cheeseboard in the bath once 

#4 I clean my car on a biannual basis 

#5 I sit down in the shower. It’s relaxing and I can muse about life..or cry and feel really dramatic. How do you think I come up with these blog ideas!? 

6. I apologise to my dog every time I have to leave for work. 

7. I leave my laundry in the the washing machine too long…then I have to re-wash it and so the vicious cycle continues.

8. I’ll hoe into a Big Mac with a Coke Zero one night and the next day I’ll make a wilted kale salad blessed by Benedictine Monks.

9. I dust…when there’s a solar eclipse.

10. I never iron. ANYTHING.