A Wrestle with Fear 

“’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,

And grace my fears relieved;” 

– John Newton

We’ve all heard the song a thousand times

Amazing Grace. How sweet the sound!

But those lyrics struck me light a lightning bolt to my heart as I sat in church this morning.

Those lyrics articulated a profound truth about my story and the anxiety I have wrestled with my whole life.

I’m sure the author would forgive me if the original meaning of those lyrics meant something completely different but please allow me to indulge.

Fear in my heart 

Something I’ve known well since I was a little girl

A sense of unrest, the palpitations, fretting in the now and constantly worrying about the future.

Always and relentlessly

After 26 years of the same thing over and over, I’m realising that I am grateful for my fear.

Strange and unorthodox I know

We’re taught to fix our fear, to drive it out. To pray it away, control it, manage it, medicate and meditate it into submission.

But fear has brought me to a place of courage

Fear has kept me awake at night, long enough to dream

Fear has stirred me to break free

Fear has taught me how to survive

And ironically enough, once I made peace with my fear, it no longer held any power over me.

It’s like the man behind the curtain in The Wizard of Oz.

You rip the curtain wide open and all you find is a trembling, insecure little person trying to feel important and in control of something.

”Twas Grace my fears relieved.”

For so long I’ve beaten myself up for what I suffer. I’ve wrestled and writhed around with my fear to the point of exhaustion.

Until I could no longer.

I’d run out of solutions

I’d run out of prayers

I’d run out of the willingness to live

I just wanted the torment to stop

And last year

I collapsed into the arms of Grace.

Amazing grace

It’s relieved my cares

It’s saved me

Grace can look like many things

But for me

It was making peace with my fear

It was asking for support from safe people

It was truly trusting the divine power that cares for me

It was getting professional help

“’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,

And grace my fears relieved;” 

I invite you to make peace with fear

And allow amazing grace to relieve your cares whatever that might look like for you

Be free my friend

X Gem X

Fortune Favours the Brave 

“The conditions aren’t ideal ya know”

“It’s tough out there”

Look at those rain clouds on the horizon 

Better stay put

Better stay comfortable 

No thanks

That’s not for me 

I went trudging down that hill, away from what was safe 

Into the valley 

What would I find there?

I didn’t know myself 

Is this nothing but a really dumb and risky idea?

Or could I discover something magical amongst the narrow and unworn path?

When I was a child my favourite thing to do was to go on adventures with my sisters. We lived on acres of bushland and we would run around to see what magic we could find!

A really old coin 

A strange bird 

A pretty leaf to press 

There was always this sense of wonder

And a freedom that lay in a lack of reasoning

Those were the happiest times of my youth

Then I grew up and this thing happened and did what many of us do. We buy into this idea that straight paths and manicured gardens are what’s best for us

 So we did what all our gurus, our parents or our teachers told us. We got degrees and day jobs and started living for the weekend

And we stopped trudging around the bush for no reason
We stopped believing in fairies, Santa Claus and the Easter bunny
And we stopped believing in our silly little dreams 

A few weeks ago I quit my job

With nothing else lined up 

I put myself out there 

Nothing yet 



“What’s next for you!?” Was a daily inquest.

And I had no answer at all

I’m supposed to be functioning adult right!?

How could I just quit my job like that? How odd.

Well, I am odd. Always have been. And the little girl inside of me longed to adventure into the unknown again.

I couldn’t say no to her any longer 

The other day my husband took me away to a farm down south 
A much needed rest for our souls after a challenging month

And we walked down into the valley 

Not knowing what we were doing or what we were going to find 

And it felt like a metaphor for my life 

Puffed and wheezing and unsure of where we were

Had I made a huge mistake? 

What if I can’t get back up that hill again?

We went the wrong way but it didn’t matter because we were together 

We hit dead ends, but it was ok we just turned back and found another way

And then we hit the most beautiful green field, covered in mist and an old farmhouse 

I remembered what my friend said to me a week before

Fortune favours the brave Gemma

What if we treated our uncertain seasons with a sense of childlike curiousity?

What if we got more comfortable with not really knowing and not having a well formulated answer for every single facet of our worlds? 

And what if we let go of the straight and narrow path

and instead embraced a trudge into an unknown place

I wonder what you might find?

I have a feeling there’s more treasure to be found there.

Be free my childlike friend 

X Gem X

Self Care Muffins

I have this thing that I do when I have a low day.
I peel myself out of bed and head to my local shopping centre and I get myself to muffin break. And I do not order the healthy one. I get the biggest, chocolatiest muffin with a big dollop of cream cheese on top with a flat white to boot.

Now some might say I’m self medicating my emotions with food however I have gained different perspective around this little outing.

Us westerners are not so good at rituals of any kind. We have the standards like birthdays, Christmas, funerals, weddings et cetera. But when it comes to marking the bigness of life and the struggle of it all…we don’t to know what to do. It’s fascinating to look into the rituals of collectivist cultures. For example Jewish people have lamenting rituals when a loved one passes away, Egyptians wail together in the open to grieve.

What do we do? We crack a cold one, say something like “Mate everything happens for a reason” and carry on.

Why do you think we all just “keep busy”? And why do you think we’re some of the most medicated and increasingly anxious people on the planet?

My somewhat off kilter logic has concluded  that when I go to muffin break on a grey day. I am doing two significant things:

1. I am acknowledging my current state, choosing to be present in it and give it space. I am not fighting how I am that day. Have you ever tried to swim against a current? It’s exhausting and completely futile. I choose to accept the fact that today I feel sad, today I probably won’t get a lot done. but I will decide to get out of bed and sit where I like to sit when this day appears.

2. I’m practicing Self Compassion. Do you know what makes your mental health spiral? When you beat yourself up about your mental health. Ironic right? These days I’ve decided that’s a completely pointless place to go. It only extends my grey day into the night…which never goes well for me or anyone around me. So I treat myself like a dear friend. This morning I lay there consumed with sandness and blanket. I had to make a choice…The old voice would say: “Look at your life Gemma, it’s fabulous how dare you be so sad, don’t be so sensitive! Go do something productive you lazy loaf about”(Sound familiar?) 

Instead I had a little chat to myself that went like this:

 “Hey there friend. I can see you’re really sad today. That’s so understandable because your friend left for a year to another country. And you know what you haven’t had a sad day in a while so that progress from last year! Let’s go get a self care muffin! How does that sound? You know you are so loved right? Adam loves you, your dog loves you, you have lots of great friends. Don’t worry today will pass. Let’s get out of bed and get that muffin!

And I did.

I’d love to know your thoughts.

Do you have a special ritual for yourself when you are having a hard day?

Do you practice self compassion?

Give it a try. It’s completely changed my life and the lives of those around me.

Be free my friend,

X Gem X

#6 Reasons I Stopped blogging



#1. There was too much to say.

Sometimes life hits you like a fire hydrant. That has been my experience over the past 6 months. I had so much stirring within me, so much changed so quickly for my life and others around me that it all became a bit too overwhelming. How am I supposed to process all this? How am i to have any answers or existential meaning to give from all of this? I just white knuckled it and I feel like I have finally come up for air.

So with the help of a few assertive friends, I’ve decided its probably best to start somewhere rather than hiding in a blanket watching a shameful amount of Will & Grace.

#2. I had nothing to give.

There are times in life where you just cant fake fine anymore. And I had well and truly had enough of trying to keep going in my current path with no fuel left in the tank. I have made drastic changes to nearly every facet of my life in the last month. Now my tank is slowly filling up again and I can begin to give, to process and to share my journey with others, which I do so enjoy.

#3. I was afraid.

The longer I didn’t blog, the more I built it up into this huge deal in my own head. I have a little person inside of me that simply cannot make mistakes or fail. She had the wheel for a while and perhaps it was good protection from blurting a bunch or stuff I might regret however, I fired her and Courage is now the new managing director or my writing world.

# 4. I am wrestling with my “Why”

I’m in this season at the moment where I am question the purpose of everything and anything. Questions like “Why should I bother going to church?”, “Why are christians (including myself) so crap sometimes?” “Is organised religion a big sham hell bent on controlling people and helping leaders feel important?” ” Why do I need to have a career to be successful?” swirl around my head all day long. Nothing is certain to me anymore and I actually love it! It’s so expansive to hold everything in a place of curiosity. (That’s another blog for another time! But the point is, I couldn’t pen anything down because I wasn’t sure why I should or what conclusions I had to draw.

But I’ve realised, blogging about that could be fun and interesting too. And I will probably never be certain about anything.

# 5. What do I have to add anyway?

There are a bagilion voices out there competing for attention. What on earth was I supposed to contribute? Yes I know I am unique snowflake, no one is like me blah blah blah. But I just couldn’t see a point to me bothering anymore. I don’t have any prescriptive advice to give, I don’t see myself as very profound, nothing I say is new at all, I have been authentic and raw in the past and all I got was private messages from people I never see asking “was I ok”. Ugh it just seemed pointless I tell you pointless!

But the more I avoid writing, the more wrestless and fidgety I feel. So perhaps the goal is just to freely write about my world and my experiences just for the sake of it and let go overthinking the whole thing. Its a little like picking the petals off a flower to analyse how pretty it is. My life is a beautiful mess and I this is the place to write about it. That’s all there is too it.

# 6. I worked for a church

Any good leader knows that people look up to you whether you like it or not and people are always watching you. This is just the way it is. And unfortunately that left me censoring and overthinking alot of my writing.

It was one of the most fruitful and fulfilling seasons of my life. But with that, came certain expectations. Now I am in a different season and different job completely. I no longer have to censor myself or my experiences.

So pop by sometime and do life with me.

or not, that’s cool too 🙂

Be free my friend,

Gem xxoo