Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Walking it Out.

My friend, Seeking, recently wrote a blog post about a distance between herself & God & I began thinking, that if we were brutally honest, we all have those times.

I do ~ because I have trouble maintaining relationships, full stop.  They exhaust me ~ even good ones, ones I like & enjoy, people I love, people I actually want to spend time with.  That I still have a marriage in the light of this is something of a miracle!

My relationship with God also suffers from this & is further complicated by unhealed emotional wounds that satan likes to grab hold of to torment. It has nothing to do with faith or belief.  I decided a long time ago that even if someone could prove absolutely, beyond all reasonable doubt, that God was a fake & the turgid manifestation of someone's overactive imagination, I would still believe in Him because that is a far, far better option than a world without Him.  Without Him we have only ourselves & that is a truly horrifying thought. Left to our own devices we turn our world into a living nightmare. We do.  Not God. The world God made was good.  It functioned as it ought.  We were the ones who made the choice to change that.

So I was perfectly happy to chug along having my personal relationship with God & all was well, & all was well. I actually got to the point where I was no longer freaking out anytime God spoke to me ~ & then that all changed. He called me into ministry.

Now the weird thing about all this is that in many ways I had been in ministry for years & years ~ only we never called it that & it never really shoved me out of my comfort zone because all my training was in literature & words & even going to bible college didn't really change that.

 I never envisioned anything more than blogging away with the occasional preaching spot just to keep me on my toes.  What's more God never told me He wanted me to start a church.  He told the MOTH that & I got dragged along because as the MOTH pointed out caustically, He hasn't said no, has He? No He hadn't, but I have suffered constantly from the feeling God has made the most enormous mistake ~ please, I do know God doesn't make mistakes.  I didn't say my feelings were right or logical or anything but what they are: my feelings.

My feelings scream I'm the most wrong person for this sort of work ever.  Who in their right mind would ask a people shy introvert to step into a job that involves more people contact than most? I could bleat that it's just downright cruel. I feel absolutely inadequate for the job I have been asked to do & because I feel like I'm doing such a lousy job, letting God down, my flesh get in the way, yadda, yadda because we all know where that's coming from, don't we? it affects my relationship with my Father.

Now I know, just as you do, that this is all absolute nonsense.  I can sprook all the right bible verses ~ & plenty of them~ but the battle is real.   Satan has plenty of ammunition: other churches, other Christians, other people, friends & family hitting against an inherent weakness because he has been trying hard to take me out & in all honesty the only reason he hasn't managed to do that is because the MOTH is absolutely convinced I'm where God wants me.

All of which, surprise, surprise, sends me into covert. Satan is sneaky.  He points out our small numbers.  He points out how much we are gossiped about.  He points out the people who come & go like a revolving door.  He tries to point out that we have no voice, & make no conceivable difference.

I'm a person who likes things to be clear & understandable so not understanding why God chose me, out of all the people available to Him, all of whom I'm quite sure could do a much, much better job has devastated me. After all...see previous paragraph.

I was perfectly happy to have God show me the things He was going to do, to give me insight & revelation about scripture, to pray.  I was far less happy to be asked to act on all that! Are you ready for the crunch?

When God called me, He called me as a prophet.  I don't call myself that.  What the Church means by *prophet*, & what I understand God to mean by that term are 2 very different things. It has created a great deal of confusion & I am only now just starting to unravel the muddle because I wasn't raised charismatic & I have had to learn all this on the fly.

There are 3 aspects to this muddle.

The first is a series of things I saw in prayer while in Bible college & they were to do with a Great Awakening in Australia. I'm a Big Picture thinker & that's how I saw this so there is nothing specific.  No dates.  No times.  No places. I saw it multiple times in 2 different ways & years later I have been reading confirmation from others who have seen the same thing.

The 2nd thing was a vision I saw.  It was very clear, very specific & confirmed later by both the MOTH & Rabqa, who saw nearly the identical thing.  We thought God was showing us something about our church.  I now believe this is wrong & the why of that is the 3rd thing.

Preachers, like other occupations, have specialties.  Evangelists preach salvation; healers, healing; worshippers, worship, givers, giving.   I got holiness & the Holy Spirit.  Yes, I preach on other things but I constantly default to holiness & the Holy Spirit.

Some time back I got from the Spirit to preach on the Glory of God ~ which I did.  I'm no expert but I did my research, listened to revivalists, read my scripture.  Among the things that God turned up for me was this quote from Charles Haddon Spurgeon: "It would be very easy to prove that revivals of religion have usually been accompanied, if not caused, by a considerable amount of preaching out of doors, or in unusual places."

What I now think we were shown was revival/awakening, rather than our church per se. It explains a lot of the other stuff that keeps coming at us ~ & why we are doing the open air preaching: we were obedient to the call. It explains why satan is so desperate to try & grow distance between me & God ~ & all I can say to that is he never learns from his mistakes.  Every time he's taken on God he's lost, & lost badly.

So I'm doing what I always do: regroup.  I do get it is about doing what I'm called to do ~ I just get grumpy that it is so hard to do what is necessary & right.  I can't say I wasn't warned though.  As Jesus pointed out, If they hated me, they will hate you.  I'd best get used to it.

Talking the Garden.

I have talked about the kitchen because the kitchen [or lack thereof] is driving me crazy.  We are camped out in our living room & the mess is rising around us like a tidal wave because our home businesses [yes, we have 2] & our ministry & the need to eat sometimes has not ceased just because our kitchen is unusable. 

It is getting there. We have runners on drawers & doors on cupboards & next time OT is over he will cut out the sink hole & oven top spaces & if we are lucky get the benchtop on & as it is costing us nothing for his labour we do not complain.  We are very grateful ~ though we do think the lad has an ulterior motive regarding youth groups & young adults but so long as I can leave home when the hordes descend I am all good with that.

Meanwhile the MOTH & I have been working on the garden ~ & trust me, that takes the negotiation of the whole U.N council & then some!  We have very different ideas about what a garden should be & as I say, the man has the certificates in horticulture; I just garden.

Over the years our garden became quite a muddle because I wasn't the only one gardening in it.  All the kids, bar ODD, put in their 2 dibs worth at some time or another & as none of us ever had any money things were done from bits & pieces left over from when we first built & it could look like the local scrap yard in winter, when everything was bare & empty.  Now the MOTH is on the job that is changing rapidly.
 First things first.  The star pickets, rusty foundation gridiron, wonky wire were removed from around the veggie garden & the old oyster sticks holding all our really good soil in were pulled apart. While I was happily babysitting the MOTH put in our new raised bed.  It is slightly bigger than the old bed so we need to import soil & I won't be planting any time soon. You have NOOO idea how thrilled I am!

I was less happy about the ginormous bush house the man built but as he points out, he cannot garden normally due to a broken back; this he can do: air plants, orchids, & now established on boards outside, staghorns [which I like & make the atrocity less so] & a variety of tree ferns.
 The tree ferns arrive as frondless stumps requiring tender loving care & at least one is destined for the next raised bed which we are in the process of putting together along one side of the driveway. The man has 3 different sorts of tree ferns & a crows nest he wants to put in here ~ yes, I am happy with that ☺~but in thinking about it I decided there was room to shove a zillion or so freesias in as well.  I do love me some freesias & the man is in agreement so that is another section done.  Behind that we will have multiple bird baths.
 It is all a bit of a shermozzle at present with rubbish destined for the tip accumulating at a truly alarming rate & the tree ferns rapidly growing large fronds.  Aren't they pretty?

The garden itself seems a little confused.  I know Azaleas will spot flower throughout the year here but ours seem to have totally lost the plot & as soon as our super hot weather stopped they began to flower ~ & flower~ & flower... Um, spring, guys.  Spring.

Thursday, 20 April 2017


Those who know me know I don't do people ~ not unless I know you, & know you well.  Strangers leave me tongue~tied.  The inanities of casual conversation make my eyes glaze over & while I am insatiably curious about all sorts of things they tend to be the sort of things that don't interest most people while those things that do interest them I know nothing about: fashion; current music; most

Most evangelism entails people contact. No surprise that I am very bad at it. So was my co~preacher. As a church, people were not our strength.  Obviously this is not good news when you want to reach people with the gospel. However the Holy Spirit, being the cluey person He is, gave us a way round our inadequacies.  He gave us Church in the Park & for the best part of 4 years we turned up with music & a message, prepared to pray for anyone unfortunate enough to stray our way. In all that time we missed just one Sunday when we should have been there.  It was just too cold & wet & as a church body we mutinied.

Then suddenly a whole heap of events conspired against us.  We started getting badly harassed;our co~preacher disappeared, whisked away to family; Cyclone Debbie bucketed Queensland in flooding rain; the park power inexplicably disappeared & despite repeated phone calls to council did not reappear.

At first all I felt was relief.  The MOTH & most everyone else enjoys the park outreach.  I do not.  Despite the presence of the Holy Spirit & the knowledge God definitely wants this to happen it has always been an act of obedience for me, not one of enjoyment. Having a legitimate excuse to abstain was wonderful! I didn't feel guilty.  No power & wet enough to drown a duck. Sadly it did not last.  Guilt arrived with a vengeance!

The MOTH continued to ring council.  I grew guiltier by the week ~ & just for good measure, to ensure I understood how Contrary Mary I could be, one of the other churches announced they would be using the park early on Resurrection Sunday.  I was appalled.  Their teaching walks a fine line to heresy.  Besides, the park was ours.  God gave us that ministry & having someone try & ride on our coat~tails got my dander up.  Not Pauline in my outlook~  No indeedy. After all the trouble we'd had, having someone else stir the pot infuriated me. However, as there was still no power it looked like neither of us would be able to use it.

One of my problems with the park is simply, despite being a garrulous sort of a person, I am introverted & quite reserved & I don't like feeling I am getting in people's faces because I don't like it when it is done to me. So I was caught between a rock & a hard place when the MOTH returned from a foray into the park on Friday & announced we had power!

The moral of this story is that often things are never as they first appear.  We had a rocky ride for a few weeks with a small minority working overtime to try & get us shut down.  They harassed the council.  They harassed other islanders.  They harassed the police. They got in our faces & abused us.  A lot of my energy got expended dealing with it. *sigh*

Then for 6 weeks straight we had no power & that was that. No~one had to be upset about us being in the park preaching Christ & Him crucified.  No~one had to put up with Christian music. No~one had those crazy Christians in their faces. Everyone should have been happy, right?  Not so.  As the MOTH wended his way back to the car after a power check he was confronted with: They haven't chased you away, have they?  Why aren't you in the park?  You will be back, won't you?

Yes, we are back. And round the perimeters where our second church has always hidden itself, the people gathered.  What's more, there seems to be a second lot of teaching going on with regulars instructing the curious about who we are, what we do & what we teach.

And because it was Resurrection Sunday & not about Easter eggs we did Communion in the park ~ & that was a show stopper! As for the other church, I have no idea. Their track record indicates they haven't the stamina to go long distance so it was probably a one~off. It shouldn't matter & the silly thing is I am perfectly happy to preach.  I'd just be happier if it didn't involve people.

Our Little Man.

 Our Little Man is growing up.  He has been rolling all around the floor for some time; now we are about to crawl & life will change forever.

I was asked over to help out for a few days ~ though in reality they have so many extra hands in the house I don't really think they need mine.  Mind you everyone else works ~ even ODD though she keeps extremely odd hours. The bonus is I do tend to be an early riser.  I can do early & I can do late; it's the inbetween daylight hours I have trouble staying awake, so I got the Little Man as the menfolk left for work.

I had never considered what sort of a grandmother I would be but I don't seem to be the doting sort. I do seem to be the *Let's get out of here* sort but that may be just because I find suburbia so dreadfully confining & it's awful to still wake early without the compensation of a splendid sunrise.
 So it was into the stroller for an early morning walk ~ not brisk.  I do not walk for exercise. I walk so I can gawk at other people's gardens [like the strange concoction of sand & grasses dotted with cut off poles & trailing mooring rope miles from the water ~ kudos for at least being original], & get my bearings in strange environments.

Like so much of our area this was once farmland ~ market gardens mostly but not now.  What farms there are  have horses.  Now it is broken into small allotments with boring modern houses. Lots of brick, a paltry excuse for vegetation & a great swath of green lawn to gobble up your water allowance in the dry.  House after house with not an original idea between them & yappy dogs throwing themselves at the fences as we passed. Ick.

But in amongst the red tiles & solar panels we found acres of green corridors that the MOTH had put in when he was in charge of Parks & Gardens & small playgrounds with a swing or two, verdant spaces of wild that the Little Man & I can explore together when he gets bigger because I don't think I'm a neat & clean & everything in it's place grandmother either. Let's face it, I wasn't that sort of a mother.  

My mother tells this story of my first holiday away from home.  When we returned I marched around the house declaring: My bed! My chair! My table! I still dislike the sense of dislocation that comes from being in a strange environment. Where do they keep the bread? The sugar?  The COFFEE!!! How does the gas work? Whose bathroom can I use? Is it rude to nap because I don't sleep well at night with all the cars & trucks hooting down the highway, the trains, & the street lights seeping through the shutters?  I miss my dopey cats & the cry of curlews under the moon, the plop of fish & the strong tang of salt in the air. 

 And I have this terrible aversion to conservative suburbia, so neat & tidy & conforming.  It always makes me think of My Brother Jack [George Johnstone] ~most of which I don't remember having read it only once a terribly long time ago, but there is one unforgettable segment.  Davey Meredith, drowning in urban ennui, plants a blue gum out the front of his place knowing perfectly well it is big, fast growing & destructive.  It is his way of thumbing his nose at his neighbours as that tree pushes up the cement footpath, invades the drains, drops limbs on roofs & leaves in pools until ultimately council forcibly cuts it down. I understand what drove him to plant that tree.

To say nothing of the fact I leave my computer behind & plowed through a rather strange book: Lake of Sorrows, which ODD picked up for sixpence at the thrift shop one year expressly for me & which I had never read. Now I have.  I wonder why?

Sunday, 16 April 2017

A little of this...

When the cooler weather arrives it is worth getting up early just for the sunrise.  They never last long but they are brilliant & intense for just a moment ~ if you are lucky enough.  In summer the sunrise, like the sky itself, is limp & washed out, leached of colour by the shimmering heat but winter is different.

 On Sunday the sunrise was an infusion of colour that engulfed sea & sky & land right around so that you felt as if you were sitting in a liquid pot of colour, but Monday was very different.
 Monday the colour was dark & dramatic, the drifting clouds reflected in the still water.  OT, who is here at present, was out on the water already & it would have been bitterly cold for all its beauty.
 The MOTH, who never does anything by halves, & having decided the rather motley bromeliads we were given looked rather well under the palm trees, went ahead & ordered more.  Hmmm... He got some expensive but mixed varieties as well as a bunch of cheapies.  I may grow to like them better than I do at present. They at least provide the undercover which was never going to be easy to fill in this particular spot.
Much more to my liking & great satisfaction, he ordered some tree ferns.  These grow to about 4 or 5 feet high with a wonderful arching spread of feathery foliage. They arrive as denuded stumps but  after just a few days the fronds grew, unfurled, & you can just see the first ones in amongst all the other green.  I love tree ferns.  They are such a lovely lush plant without being all in your face about it.

And then there was Sunday ~ but I think I will leave that for another post.

We are still kitchenless.  OT is picking at it but days like this are for fishing & he doesn't get so much free time. I don't blame him.  Our Autumn days are simply too lovely to waste indoors.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Little things...

 I love living where we do.  There is always something lovely to greet you.  The other morning it was this kookaburra taking the sun on a verandah table but one morning I heard the unmistakable boom boom of wallabies & 3, mum, dad, bubs, shot out of the bush along the tideline.  Little things amuse me ~ but honestly, so much nicer than anything in the news these days.
So happy with the way our green walls are looking ~ & Marlow is thrilled to have so much cardboard about ~ & all those lovely deep drawers to snooze in.

While we await the arrival of OT to finish the job off we are paddling in the garden.  Today the MOTH pulled out all the bits of metal & wire & rotting timber that held my veggie patch together & we have marked out where the lovely thick timber edging will replace it. We are going to put some trellis up for the defunct passionfruit vine & hopefully a new grape vine as well. Sadly we have taken so long to get this far I can't see me getting in a winter garden this year though I may opt for things like silverbeet that will last through into the summer.

Despite the onslaught of cold weather on Cyclone Debbie's heels the mozzies are not discouraged & working outside is something of a nightmare due to the black hordes threatening to carry us off ~ or at least as much of our blood as they can get at.  I hate mozzies.  And midgies. I'm sure they're the devil's pets. Only ticks are worse.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Round Up.

 All I can say for TC Debbie is she provided some spectacular scenery.  The mop up is ongoing. Bit like our kitchen...

We have reached the stage where we are neither one thing nor another. OT will be here over Easter ~ hopefully to finish a job well begun.

Having reefed everything out we found our timber walls were 3 different shades & as the MOTH & I had no desire to sand everything back we opted to paint.  The cupboards & drawers are light but the only colour I even considered for the walls was a dark green gloss ~ unusual perhaps but most people who've seen it have liked it despite it being a rather unusual choice ~ though as one friend pointed out it is a *heritage colour*, & therefore suits our timber walls rather well.

The cats have decided the whole exercise is for their benefit.  Kirby has taken to sleeping on the microwave, Marlow in the drawers. Marlow, an incurable sticky~beak, has supervised the whole proceedings with utmost curiosity & so completely underfoot he was in danger of being squashed.

Meanwhile 2 computers crashed forcing me off~line... *sigh* All my sermon notes & links etc live in my computer.  Not a happy camper. A wonderful friend took them away & sorted out the webular mess. Now I have to transfer my handwritten sermon notes ~ if I can read them... Preaching ~ well, notes are just that~ notes.  I can ad lib to some purpose but putting them up online they do have to make some sense to someone besides me.

Of Rain & kitchens & other things.

Tropical Cyclone Debbie crossed the coast  on Tuesday wrecking havoc as she went ~ but she is not gone.  She is moving down the coast as a tropical low.  Brisbane has flooded & all the schools in the S.E section of Queensland have closed due to the number of roads now under water, closed or just flash flooding across vast areas. We have severe weather warnings in effect & are tuned to the local tv station for as long as we have power.  Not everywhere does...

At least one of my boys decided now was a good time to go prawning...*sigh*

Meanwhile I am seriously dismantling my kitchen.  It could be worse...though not much to my mind.  A job I am seriously disliking.  I have solved a lot of my problem by simply chucking stuff out.  I never use plastic so farewell to all the plastic containers.  Most of my baking trays & pans have rusted & are not worth the work to revamp them. In the bin they went! 

Just about at the tail end of the nightmare now.  I have friends, conscientiously minimalist, who  remove 3 items a day for 30 days,  every few months or so, or who don't buy anything new without removing one item.  All they need to do is renovate.  I have no desire to keep anything & have culled drastically.  I'm not a gadgets sort of person so my kitchen implements are few & well used: a nutrubullet; a mixer; a blender; the toaster & kettle & an electric frying pan.  Most of my pots & pans will be replaced after 30 years & 5 children.

 However as I began I found I have a terrible weakness for gardening in my kitchen.  This is what had to go outside before I could start & the hanging stuff has yet to go. Um...yeah...