Wednesday, 24 September 2014

getting a bit personal

My brother and mother had lunch today and evidently talked about me and my relationship status. His is a thoroughly non-Christian perspective on relationships of course, but Nick thinks he’s worked out my problem. He says he’s noticed that over the years he’s had every kind of relationship with different kinds of women, but even though I haven't had that many relationships, I always have the same relationship with the same kind of guy. He thinks the problem is that my character is open and caring, but the guys I get involved with think so little of themselves that they think I must be a fool to care for them and so treat me badly (I think that’s the summary anyway). He said “I don’t mean that’s right, but I’m a guy, that’s how it is.”

He also added that a woman who’s a bit of a bitch will always have the guy running after them. That sucks.

The problem is one of judgement I guess. I take people at their word, when I should probably exercise caution. Call me crazy, but when someone tells me they care about me, I tend to come to the conclusion that…that person cares about me. Unfortunately I’ve never learned how to guard my heart and I jump in, boots and all.

There’s a Feist song that I love but always makes me feel terribly sad, called Let it die. The chorus goes:
The saddest part of a broken heart
Isn't the ending so much as the start
The tragedy starts from the very first spark
Losing your mind for the sake of your heart
I have never been able to tell, at the beginning of any relationship, that it would end the way it did. Of course you don’t get involved with someone expecting it to end in disaster! You have hope. You get swept up in feeling good, in thinking that someone loves you, in the excitement of it all. Then at the end of a relationship you second guess and doubt and think “did any of that mean anything?”, "did I make it all up?"

But although in any relationship you need to bend and adjust to accommodate the other person, you are still who you are at the core. I don’t want to make myself into game playing manipulator just to get a partner. I’d rather be alone. And really, it's a lie - I'm not alone. I have great friends and family and my life is full.

The older I get, the more I lean on Jesus, and that’s how it should be. The hope he offers is reliable and unchangeable. He will never disappoint me, he will never get tired of me, he will never despise me for loving him, he will never find me too much work. He loves me more than any human can. When I feel sad or despair about my past I turn back to him and remember that he has forgiven me for all of it and reminds me that he’s making me new.

And the joy of that sends me back to one of my favourite passages - Philippians 4:4-7:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
That’s how to guard your heart.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

weekend away

Just got back from the Wild Street weekend away at Port Hacking. Normally I'm a bit fearful of big church weekends away because I don't sleep well, you have to share a bathroom with half the campsite (slight exaggeration) and I just get exhausted and overwhelmed by all the people. Well those things all happened this weekend, but it was also really, really good.

Peter Jensen spoke to us on the topic of the Holy Spirit, and it was a real treat to have him and his wife Christine giving their time to us so generously. I was greatly encouraged and comforted to remember that although we humans have many problems - we're ignorant, lost, selfish and self-willed - God loves us. He loves us so much that he sent Jesus to take on our punishment, and gave us the Spirit to work in us day by day, helping us to become the people he made us to be and reminding us that we no longer need to fear condemnation. All we have to do to receive his promise - that we will be with him in eternity - is to trust.

The point that really struck me (made me cry and rejoice at the same time) was Peter saying the Holy Spirit's work is to assure me of God's love for me, because I've been saved by faith not works. Sometimes our consciences speak louder to us than the cross and we obsess over what we have and haven't done, that maybe we're not good enough, or we've ruined our chance for salvation. But the Holy Spirit applies the gospel to our consciences to give us God's peace.

Peter also said "you can't cleanse the conscience without the blood of Jesus", then quoted that wonderful verse from Rock of Ages:
Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to your cross I cling.
Naked, come to thee for dress
Helpless, look to thee for grace
Foul, I to the fountain fly
Wash me Saviour or I die.
I was leading singing for the whole weekend too (though we didn't sing that song), and I think people enjoyed the music. Paul K made a good selection of songs, and people were singing with great gusto, which is always a good sign.

The other thing that Peter said was never give up praying for people you know and love to come to or come back to the Lord. While they are alive, it's never too late for God to save someone. It renewed my conviction to pray for a few people in my life.

I had some good chats, prayed with people, got to know some people better, cried a little, laughed a lot. It brought home to me that, flawed and sinful though we are, I really do love my church family. I was talking to one of the girls about how I hadn't been sure whether I should change churches when we moved to South Hurstville and she said she was really glad that I hadn't because she loved being at church with me. How nice is that?!

We also dressed up on the Saturday night for spy-themed trivia. I'm not sure any spy worth her salt would wear a pink wig, but I was going for...I don't know, a manga French theme or something?

Friday, 12 September 2014


Came home from work yesterday to find my neighbours in the front yard, and half a retaining wall up! How wonderful is that?

Today mid afternoon A was back to finish the job. I helped screw the rails to the posts and dug up the liriope. And now, ta dah! "Looks like a bought one!" A kept saying. We're very proud.

I love that we were able to re-use the railway sleepers from his yard, and replant the liriope under the camellias. It only cost us the price of the rapid set cement and the long screws for treated pine. It's also really nice to work alongside someone and bond that way. I'll take the guys out for dinner when A is back from China; he's already put in a bid for going to a churrascaria.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014


We really won the lottery with our neighbour, A. He's a lovely guy, very friendly and gregarious. The best part is, he is super handy. He's basically got a life membership at Bunnings, and has done all sorts of amazing things to his house. We regularly commiserate over the strange things we find leftover from the previous owners (who owned the whole property then re-divided it into semis when they sold). Strange wiring, weird not-quite-legit things...but between the two of us we're putting things to rights and making two lovely spaces. He's always very proud of things he's done around the place and will tell me in great detail; I think his boyfriend isn't that interested in the detail so A's glad to have a willing audience in me.

My backyard cabin is going in next week (hurrah!) and I needed to cut some of the old timber railing away and move some plants. I asked if I could borrow A's chainsaw and muscles; he came over with his chainsaw and his boyfriend (I guess he's the muscle) and they spent a few hours replanting raphis palms and cutting down anything I asked them to and doing a much better job than I would have on my own. I gave him a bottle of wine to say thanks, but I don't think he expected anything. It's quite something.

I told him over the fence today that we're getting the driveway resurfaced in a few weeks too.

"What about the retaining wall?" he asked. He's been talking about building us a retaining wall in the front yard with the leftover railway sleepers from the deck he took up in his backyard. "You'll have to do that before the driveway. about this weekend? I've got some time. We can come over'll need rapid set cement and these long bolts...why don't I just get them from Bunnings for you and you can pay me back?" A quick chat with his boyfriend and they're all set to come over me a retaining wall.

But the thing is - he's going to China for work on Sunday for a month! So this is their last few days together and he's willing to come over and do stuff in my yard. I don't quite know how to repay him. He says he loves doing landscaping and gets a lot of pleasure out of it. But I'm still so grateful for his generosity. And muscles.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

I made some things to remind me how to be

Ella at work said I should make some Bible verse prints to auction at the trivia night last weekend (which went really well, by the way). I am nothing if not open to suggestion, so I gave it a go. And here we are.

I rather like what I came up with, and they sold at the auction with several bids each, so obviously others liked them too. So I decided to put them up for sale on if you like them too, you can get your very own gorgeously printed copy.