All posts by rosemales

Laying A Solid Foundation

Sky Scraper

Recently I was having a day where I felt terribly discouraged by the reality of what lay before me: three and a half more years of theological study after the four that I had just completed. I felt trapped and frustrated by the lack of options and opportunities before me. I truly could not comprehend why God had me in this situation, and how I was going to find the motivation to keep going. I personally felt that I was ready to step into the plans that the Lord has for me, and I couldn’t understand why He was making me wait for such a long time!

The next day I was having a coffee with a new friend and she unknowingly spoke into this secret frustration of mine. She said, ‘Rose it doesn’t take much foundation to build a chicken coop, but to build a mighty Sky Scraper you need a very solid and deep foundation. It takes time, and a lot of effort to build that type of foundation. You are a sky scraper and God is building a solid foundation on which you are to stand.’ Those encouraging words brought so much hope to my situation, and in that moment I could see that it was God’s plan for me to have this extended period of study and learning, and that He has me right where He wants me. I realised that He wants to set me on a deep and solid foundation so that I can succeed and prosper in the work He has for me.

Think about a chicken coop: it’s relatively easy to build and it doesn’t need much foundation to stand, but if hit by a storm, a tornado, or a flood it will not stand against the stress nor will it protect ones it was built to look after. A sky scraper on the other hand needs designing, crafting, and it needs to be built down deep before it can start to stand tall. It requires an investment of time and hard work. It requires commitment. But once the job is done is can stand against the storms, the floods and the tornados. It brings glory to its maker and upholds those for whom it has been built to serve and protect. A sky scraper leaves a long lasting legacy.

I’ve decided that I want to be a sky scraper rather than a chicken coop, and therefore I realise that it is not good for me to run ahead of God’s timing and the work He wants to do in me. He wants to set me on a solid and deep foundation so that I can stand tall, and won’t be crushed when the storms, and winds hit. I now have a new appreciation for the study ahead of me, and I know that if I walk in God’s will and timing I will become the sky scraper that He wants me to be.

So I ask you, do you want to be a chicken coop or a sky scraper? Sometimes it feels like the situation we are in is hopeless and it’s tempting to short-cut, or run ahead of God’s timing. We might feel that we are ready for the plans God has for us, and we don’t want to wait any longer. But it is important to recognise that God is for us, He wants us to succeed in His plans for us. That often means that God first wants to build a solid and deep foundation in us. So if you’re feeling how I have been feeling recently I encourage you to trust God and His timing. He knows what He is doing. He doesn’t want you to be crushed by the weight of His plans for you, He wants you to stand tall. He wants you to be a Sky Scraper.

I’m stepping out of the Boat

boatA little over 14 months ago my husband and I packed up our house, our dog, and our dreams to have a family in Australia, and we moved to the U.S. It had become very clear that God was saying, What you’ve been dreaming about is a good dream, but I’ve got a bigger and better dream for you. So 2014 was a year of new beginnings. A new country, new house, new school, new church, and new friends.

It was an amazing year. I grew so much at school, each semester I was blown away by what I was learning and absorbing. I got involved in ministries at church that I never thought I would be involved in. I started to get the opportunity to preach, which has been a dream of mine since I was 16. I went on my first mission trip and built houses in Mexico for under-privileged families. I got to see country music bands that my husband and I had dreamed about seeing for years, but never thought we would. I started running again. 2014 was a great year…

And then 2015 started and the Holy Spirit said to me, Don’t settle – 2014 was a great year but the journey has just begun and I’ve got so much more for you!

And I thought, More… really? You are going to top 2014?

But over and over the Lord continues to say to me, Don’t Settle. And as the year has progressed my eyes have begun to see a glimpse of what He has in store. Dreams that I have had for as long as I can remember are going to become reality. But in all honesty I am scared, and not just a little scared… a lot scared. Its big and I know I don’t have the capacity or the power in me to do make this happen on my own. But I can’t ignore His command. God is calling me to be courageous and step out of the boat so I can walk on water just like Peter did in Matthew 14:22-33.  Its probably no coincidence that I have “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail” by Hillsong United on constant replay in my head… literally all the time!

All of this reminds me of a quote, which says, “Peter was not a failure because he looked down and began to sink. If anyone failed, it was the 11 who stayed in the boat, waiting to see if it could be done!”

I’ve let fear stop me for so long now… even with my blog posts. I’ve been so scared that I don’t have anything meaningful or inspiring to say that I’d rather say nothing at all than fail. But God doesn’t want me to be operating out of fear. He is a God of love and wants me to grow. He is calling me to be courageous and so that’s what I’m going to do, starting with this blog post. I’m not writing for you, I’m writing for me. I’m writing to be obedient to God’s command to step out of the boat. I’m stepping out… 

And If I sink I trust that God is going to save me. He always does and He always will.

Rediscovering Play

I watch this video and I can’t help but smile: it’s of my dog – Koby – chasing bubbles made by some girls down on La Jolla beach. What I love about Koby, and animals in general, is that they are wholeheartedly present in every moment, and will find joy in even the simplest of things. Koby wears his heart on his sleeve, and when he is having fun you can see it written all over his face. 

Watching Koby reminds me of how important it is to have fun and to play, for physical, emotional and mental health. It can be easy to forget about fun when life gets hard, when work pressures build up, painful emotions catch you off guard, family responsibilities become monotonous or boredom sets in, but without fun the tough parts of life can overwhelm us. We need to find activities that energise and renew the mind, body and soul. Activities and experiences that make us blissfully happy; this is what I am talking about when I use the words “fun” and “play.”

My husband, Chris, likes to remind me that even Jesus would have had fun while he was here on earth. Chris likes to think that there was probably a moment when Jesus was having a drink of milk and got caught off guard by a funny joke made by one of the disciples, which caused milk to spurt out his nose! I think Chris is right, because if Jesus was fully human then he would have experienced playful moments as well as tough times in life.

So I want to encourage you, that if you’re not having fun on a regular basis to consider scheduling it into your day. Think about it… we schedule in dentist appointments, meetings with clients, and weekly food shopping, so why shouldn’t we look to schedule in fun? Why shouldn’t we prioritise play?

Each one of us needs to make fun and play a priority – for our own sanity. And yet I think fun and play looks different for everyone, therefore it’s important to find the things that are fun for you. For instance, an extrovert might find fun in playing paintball with a group of friends, while an introvert might find reading a book on the porch more fun. Someone passionate about the outdoors might enjoy mountain biking, whereas someone who prefers the indoors might be more inclined to knit a sweater for fun. I think it is important for each of us to figure out what is fun for us personally, and then make sure we do those things regularly! I know that I have definitely rediscovered fun since moving to San Diego. Not that I never had fun back in Canberra, but now I find myself actively seeking out those things that I enjoy doing and doing more of them. Those moments of fun sustain me when life gets hard or overwhelming. Well, fun… and the LORD of course!

RM xx

P.S. Check out this TED Talk for some scientific research on the importance of Play : Click here

Life Interrupted

helping-others

While stopped at traffic lights on my way home from yoga last week, I noticed a man wringing out his t-shirt and socks, and hanging them over a roadside railing to dry. Judging by the state of his clothes my guess is that this man was homeless and had just washed his clothes in the San Diego River (which by the way is not the cleanest river i’ve ever seen). My first thought as I watched him dry his clothes was ‘I should go and buy that guy a new t-shirt and a pair of socks,’ but then I hesitated. Running through my head were thoughts like: I’m dripping with sweat and I’ll disturb people as I shop in Target… What if he’s not homeless and he gets offended by my assuming he is… He might not be here by the time I get back from going to the shops… I’ve got to get home and make lunch…
And so I drove on by and didn’t bother to stop and help a man who clearly looked like he was in need.

Have you found yourself in a similar situation?

Why don’t we stop? Why don’t we let our lives be interrupted?

For a life worth living is a life interrupted by indelible moments with others. There are numerous examples of people willing to let life be interrupted, giving their time and their resources for the sake of others: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Sir Nicholas Winton, Mother Teresa, Shane Claiborne, Jesus of Nazareth.

Now our interruptions don’t have to be as radical as it was for these people. We could start with simply stopping to buy a homeless guy a new pair of socks, or being late for class because you’re making yourself available for a friend who needs to talk. It could be missing the bus to help an elderly lady get her groceries into her car, or opening your home to someone who needs a place to stay while they get back on their feet. Whatever it is, big or small, we were not created to live life in isolation from one another, rather we were created to share life with the people around us and be a blessing to them. Real joy is found in being willing to let our lives be interrupted and shared with others, especially when they are strangers who cannot return the favour.

In the situation above I could say that fear for my safety stopped me from giving to that homeless guy, but I know its just an excuse because there were plenty of people driving past so our interaction would have been public. Not wishing to disturb shoppers around me because I was sweaty is also not an excuse, nor did I have anything to do that day other than make my lunch because I am on summer break. Truthfully I have no valid reason for why I didn’t let my life be interrupted for half an hour to buy that guy some new clothes, and I regret it. I’ve thought of that guy everyday since I saw him. I wish I’d let my life be interrupted in that moment. But while I can’t change the decision I made in that moment I can learn from it, and so I am going to endeavour to stop for the people around me from now on, to let life be interrupted so that I can share indelible moments with others.

Will you join me?