The Hunt for True Love

Love is really the thing isn’t it? I mean it was the thing back in biblical times, it was the thing back in the 18th century and it’s still the thing now. It’s what consumes so much of our money, time and emotional resources. We search for it. Fight for it. Live for it. Die for it. True Love. You’re kind of kidding yourself if you aren’t interested in it.

As a single Christian female, the hunt for true love is unique. In fact it’s basically the opposite to how those outside the Christian worldview search for love. We aren’t in a position where we can try, try and try again. Trial and error gives us a bad reputation.

It’s a really fine line between knowing what you want and writing down those all important characteristics and then allowing yourself to be flexible, open and acknowledging that sometimes God knows what we need better than we do.

Throw into the mix the whole confusing concept of God’s timing, your life’s calling and the slowly diminishing number of Christian males on the market, and girls begin to panic. We start lowering our standards, we stop letting guys make the first move due to fear of being alone and we push push push.

But I mean really? What’s a girl to do?

Evidently, girls don’t know what to do. They don’t know when to be bold and when to hold back. They don’t know when something’s right and when something’s wrong. They fall for the worst kinds of men and then wonder why they are unhappy and alone again. In fact, most of the time they just wonder why they are alone. What’s wrong with me? Am I not pretty enough? Is my heart too broken? Do I cry too much? Am I too outspoken? Casey Chambers anyone?

If you kept reading this post thinking that I’d have all the answers, then I’ll be honest like I always am and tell you right now that I don’t. I think people would assume I have it figured out.. so many of my friends are all married and settled and I seem pretty content so I should know right? Sorry ladies. I’m also in the dark.. BUT.. despite the fact that my last relationship was so long ago that I actually forget how old I was.. I know quite a lot about the Hunt for True Love.

I remember when I met my true love. I remember falling in love. I remember specific moments and I remember specific seasons. I remember bad times but mostly I remember good times. My true love makes me laugh, cry and fall on the floor so grateful for how much He loves me.

Oh I know it’s cliché.. Fall I love with Jesus and all your problems will be sorted? Really Steff? That’s your answer. Thanks for the help.

I don’t want to offend anyone, but if that answer wasn’t a good enough answer for you – then I’d hazard a guess that your quest for true love is unfulfilled.

I’m so rarely lonely. I’m so rarely confused or frustrated or concerned about timeframes. And that’s not because I’m overly confident, or I have a healthy relationship with my Dad or just because I’m busy and my life is naturally fulfilling. Trust me, I could choose to be unhappy and scared and alone. But I’m just not. I made a choice that God was enough. It doesn’t always feel like that, but I always know that He is.

Actually, maybe I do have it figured out. Isn’t that the goal? To really be in love with Jesus and to never live life afraid of being alone. I think God actually cries when His daughters feel alone. You are NEVER alone and you are NEVER far from His thoughts.

Pure truth.

Dreary dreams.

Realistically, there are a lot of reasons why today, while reading this blog, that you could be filled with sorrow.

Natural Disasters. Financial Difficulty. Death. Loss of a relationship. Unemployment. Family Breakdown. Physical Sickness. Emotional Sickness.

You could even be really petty and whinge about something like the weather. Or that you haven’t bought a new pair of shoes in months.

Who holds your joy?

If joy is found in wordly things, then the world holds your joy. If your joy is found in all the moments God gives you, then Christ holds your joy.

When you find yourself in moments of despair or sorrow – where do you turn? Do you turn to the world or to Jesus?

Who you turn to shows so much of who is in control of your life. Is the world? You’ll be dissapointed. Are you in control? You’ll be dissapointed. Is Jesus? He will never leave you or forsake you. His mercies are neverending and new every morning. Pain in the night – but joy in and through the mourning.

So, who holds your joy?

You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever. Psalm 16:11 NLT.

Blessings

It’s one of those things you know in your heart but is difficult to belive ALL the time, that I am always truly blessed.

Sometimes life gives you a tough run and you struggle to find the blessing in each and every day, and other times, it truly feels like your cup runneth over.

My life is currently a cup runneth over sort of time. Where I could count blessings on my hands and toes and maybe even the hairs on my head.

I’m so blessed to be in a job where after 2 months, I’ve already been promoted. My days are full, my mind is challenged and positive working relationships are growing every day.

I’m so blessed to live with two amazing bride to be’s. I get to experience their joy and excitement in one of the craziest best times of their lives.

I’m so blessed to have a mother who cares about me SO much. Not every mother would buy their daughter a new ghd when the old one died because she understands and appreciates the importance of hair, at least to someone like me.

I’m so blessed to go to church that believes, firstly in Jesus Christ and his resurrecting power, but that believes in nourishing the potential of an individual.

I’m so blessed to know couples that are so excited to include me in their life that they create special date nights. How exciting to be a part of the epic romance that is Laurilliam. One day when those two win a ‘we saved the world and we’re married and cute and stuff’ award, I can totally say that I knew them. (Yeh, I said epic, deal with it).

I’m so blessed to have lived at Suez Street for the last year, but am so excited to move back home. Hazelnut Close is a place that is warm, well lived in, wi fi friendly, stocked with dvd’s and endless makeup resources and my two favourite ladies, Mumma and Georgia.

I’m so blessed to be a recipient of grace. I’m honestly the worst person in the world, but Jesus loves me so so completely that most of the time it leaves me quite speechless. And knowing my fondness for words, His grace means a whole lot.

I’m so blessed to live in a country that I can so easily study and learn. This semester at uni has been relatively easy almost stress free.

I’m so blessed to have friends that consider me a good enough friend to share in their special day. This year I get to be a bridesmaid at the wedding of Tegan Churcher and Blaine Swanborough. These two are massive favourites of mine, and after knowing them a combined 22 years (which adds up to my whole life) I’m so happy these two found each other. I also have the priviledge of being a bridesmaid at the wedding of Laura Fraser and William Swanson. These two are a seriously kick butt couple and such amazing friends on their own as well. I’m so so excited. Nicole Steers and Elliot Kidd are also getting married this year, in the mania. (What Tasmanian’s, or mostly just Nicole, call Tasmania) At this wedding, I shall be the MC for the reception. It will basically be the best party bar none. I’m secretly calling it the ‘Steffany Spectacular’ and charging admission. I’m so so honoured to play this role on their wedding day, to me the MC is basically the most important decision in the wedding process.

I’m so blessed to have Peter Willis as a Dad. I got so teary after writing that sentence because I love him so much, and he’s had the biggest impact on my life besides Jesus. My life is better, richer, warmer, happier, crazier because of him. No one has taught me more about the love of Christ, sacrifice, moral integrity, forgiveness, justice, cars, finances, public speaking, self confidence, righteous living and how to serve the kingdom. If I find a man in this world, that is half the man my Dad is.. I will be SO happy.

I’m so blessed to have so many new-ish friends lately. I’m overwhelmed by the amount of amazing people that fill this world. People who aren’t perfect, but that each have something amazing they can contribute.

I’m so blessed to have stunningly good health. After a rough patch a couple of years ago, I’m so blessed to only come down with a flu every now and then. God has been amazingly good to me considering how awfully I treat my body.

I’m so blessed to have access to many many books. I’m currently reading 3 different books. I’m so blessed that I can read whatever I want.

The best thing about blessings is that I’m actually blessed 100% of the time. Even when it doesn’t feel like it. Even when everything feels like it’s going wrong. I have access to food, clean water, shelter and a God who loves me. I’m truly blessed.

Snuggling

If you live in Brisbane, Australia – you probably had a difficult time getting out of bed this morning. It started raining last night as I fell asleep and was still raining when I woke up again this morning. I don’t know about you – but I like to sleep when it rains. I’m not exactly sure whether it’s the rain itself that actually makes you want to sleep, or whether we’ve convinced ourselves over time that sleeping to the sound of rain is relaxing. Either way – I want to do it all the time and sometimes I catch myself praying “Jesus, make it rain while I try to sleep tonight”. Naturally I find it difficult to sleep – so I think perhaps this prayer isn’t too ridiculous.

This morning I wanted to snuggle. Not with any person, but with my doona. I wanted to snuggle deep deep down, perhaps lift the cover over my head and just lie there. I don’t know if I even wanted to sleep, but I definitely didn’t want to get up. You know how some kids sleep right down in the bottom of their beds, they roll up into a ball with the doona all around them and just lie there. It’s pure delight.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how much everyday life relates to Jesus. Lately all I feel like doing is snuggling deep deep down into the presence of God. Pulling the covers over my head, curling into a ball, immersing myself into his sweetness while the reign of heaven pours down all around me.

When it rains, I like to lie in bed under the covers. But sometimes, I like to do the very opposite. One day, maybe a year ago, it poured rain. Maybe for about 10 minutes, but it was some of the heaviest rain I’ve ever ever heard. Whenever I run in the rain, it makes me laugh. I tend to giggle a bit. I’m not exactly sure what’s funny about the fact that you’re clothes are now going to have that wet damp smell, or your hair is going to immediately fluff and frizz – but I laugh all the same. So on this particular Saturday, housemates all out and busy doing things. I changed into an old pair of clothes and ran barefoot out the front door. Instantly I was soaked. I cacked myself laughing. I ran all the way down the end of the driveway and back.. the rain was so thick and heavy that it didn’t even take long to achieve what I’d set out for, pure joy and delight. I left big puddles all throughout the house as I made my way to get a towel.

Not only do I think the presence of God can be described like snuggling in bed on a Saturday morning – but I think it’s also like a big run in the rain. It’s crazy and a little bit stupid – but it makes you so happy. Sometimes it’s about enagaging and actively immersing yourslef in the holy reign.

I think there’s no right or wrong way to experience God’s presence. But I really hope you’re getting a varied experience of the sweetest thing around. Next time it rains, snuggle deep down in the covers with Jesus and let fear, guilt and the worst stuff about life melt away. Next time it rain, run around outside and get soaked, saturated and let God’s joy overtake you.

In the glory of your presence, I find rest for my soul

In the depths of your love, I find peace, makes me whole

I love, I love, I love your presence

Running in Raining by Kentoku

 

Confessions

2 weeks ago I started watching Alias and I’m already half way through the entire series.

I’ve been using the work photocopier to print out uni notes.

I actually had a dream the other night about Zac Efron.

Sometimes I worry that I think a lot more about clothes and shoes than I do about Jesus.

But.. I really do love Jesus.

Really going through a stage where I appreciate my girlfriends.

I really enjoy snacking on frozen peas.

I hate most heeled ankle boots.

Right now. I’m loving tumblr more than I love wordpress. But at least I’m honest.

Last week, I think I had a maxibon ice-cream, nearly every day.

I miss reverb.

I miss my best friend.

I honestly don’t like any boys – but am struggling not to flirt with randoms, like the Subway guy.

For the last six months I didn’t display the correct registration sticker

I believe in a thing called love.

I’m yet to complete anything off my List of 100 things to do while I’m still Single.

I listen to the Jonas Brothers.

I’m shocked when I get uni marks back and I did well.

My showers always take more than 15 minutes. Sometimes 20. Every day.

I care more about what is right than what looks right.

I think Laura should be getting paid for her blog and Emily should be getting paid for her art.

I often forget about other people’s feelings and focus on my own.

I like writing about myself.

My list

Things I do to make myself feel better when I kinda need feeling better:

  • Buy shoes
  • Drink milk
  • Listen to something you can scream along to
  • Take a bath
  • Take a nap
  • Paint my toenails
  • Watch Gilmore Girls
  • Talk to Tegan
  • Make up new words to Elton John songs
  • Read the Jesus words
  • Just read
  • Eat the chocolate, or lollies
  • Get a hug from someone
  • Do some ironing

Love

In an effort to overcome my naturally negative disposition. Here’s some things I love at the moment.

List of things I love

Making lists. I started this ‘100 things to do before I’m 30′ list last weekend. It’s a pretty fun thing to just write. To think of all the things you want to do in life.

New music and old music. I’ve been doing a fair bit of downloading (all legal of course) and a lot of copying of old cd’ onto my itunes. I just put an old Stephen Curtis Chapman christmas album onto the itunes. Pretty cool stuff. Downloading some of The Almost. Can’t wait to see them live.

Planning holidays. I’m believing that I will be able to get a particular weekend off work, so that I can go on this amazing trip. Details to come.

Photos. My new camera is going well and taking some great pics. Takes wonderful photos at night, and is so ridiculously light, that I forget I’m carrying it.

Nando’s Salads. I really love the mediterranean chicken salad. I’m not sure if its the dressing or the classic nando’s chicken  – but it’s delicious.

Ruth Limkin. A living breathing legend. If you combine Nando’s and Ruth – what an evening!

Art. Emily and Laura (basically the only people who really follow this blog – haha) I’ve started work on my entry again. You should hopefully see it soon.

Jesus. He’s been a pretty great source of strength lately. I kinda really love Him.

Christmas. I’m a super big fan of Christmas. It’s coming and it’s coming soon. I get two wonderful weeks off and I think I’ve started to drool just thinking about it.

Tegan Maree. Talking to her is the best part of my day.

Faces in the Crowd

If it is true that a picture paints a thousand words, then there was a Roman centurion who got a dictionary full. All he did was see Jesus suffer. He never heard him preach or saw him heal or followed him through the crowds. He never witnessed him still the wind; he only witnessed the way he died. But that was all it took to cause this weather-worn solder to take a giant step of faith. “Surely this was a righteous man.”

That says a lot, doesn’t it? It says the rubber of faith meets the road of reality under hardship. It says the trueness of one’s belief is revealed in pain. Genuineness and character are unveiled in misfortune. Faith is at its best, not in three-piece suits on Sunday mornings or at V.B.S on summer days, but at hospital besides, cancer wards and cemetries.

Maybe that’s what moved this old, crusty soldier. Serenity in suffering is a stirring testimony. Anybody can preach a sermon on a mount surrounded by daisies. But one one with a gut full of faith can live a sermon on a mountain of pain.

No Wonder They Call Him the Savior – Max Lucado

 

Really enjoying getting into reading more again during this 21 days. I think Max Lucado is an amazing writer. He writes about amazing things but his writing skills are also top notch. Something about the way he weaves words together makes you want to read and read and read. As if I needed any incentive!

Friendship

Friendship is possibly the great thing in the world. Lately I’ve been reminded just how lucky I am.

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art.. it has no survival value; rather it gives value to survival. C.S Lewis

On Sunday night I got to see 3 of my best friends. They are not the most perfect people in life but they are perfect for my life.

.Tegan.Laura.Emily.

.Tegan.Laura.Emily.

Tegan Churcher

I met Tegan Churcher when I was 9 years old. I moved to a state called Tasmania because my Dad was becoming the minister of Devonport Church of Christ. Tegan’s mother, Sharon, was in charge of all things creative there. So that’s how we met. Unfortunately we’re still friends to this day and she can still remember that I wore a nightie the first time I met her. Tegan Churcher is my bestest friend. We have been friends for 12 years now and it’s a bond we’re proud to say is a little bit freakish. Tegan loves interior design, Jesus, trying new things and thankfully, she loves me. She has great taste in music & in fashion. People say we look alike. I think that’s a lie. We are the same person, she is just 10 times better looking than I am.

.Tegan.Churcher.

.Tegan.Churcher.

Laura Fraser

I don’t recall the specific time and place that I met Laura Fraser, although it was much later on in life than when I met Tegan. Laura and I started to become friends in Science class. We actually really bonded over this little personal joke we got going which was N.E.R.F’s. It’s basically a nerdier way to be a nerd. But let’s face it.. I gave up being a nerd or a nerf a long time ago, LF is still going strong. Which is actually one of the the things I love about Laura. She’s really intelligent. Sometimes she misses jokes but don’t let that fool you. Laura Fraser will do great things. Laura Fraser is crazy, I love crazy Laura. Laura is a brilliant writer, artist, dancer, speaker, thinker, photographer and friend.

.Laura.Fraser.

.Laura.Fraser.

Emily Averill

I never really met Emily Averill. She’s one of those people that everyone that you know, knows, so then you end up knowing her. What I will say is though, that from the moment we started talking and hanging out.. give us like.. 3 months.. and we were at best friend status. Laura, Emily & I did so many things together and I think the 3 of us sort of became a thing. Emily Averill is different. I think she processes the world differently than the rest of us and I really like that. She’s an insane artist. She should really be making a lot of money out of what she does. She’s a brilliant singer, although she really doesn’t think so. She’s a little more than insanely good looking. Track pants & baggy t-shirt or a lbd – she’s stunning. She’s a great friend, girlfriend, sister & daughter. Her relationships are fresh and exciting, and despite being two years younger than me, I have learnt so much from being in her life.

.Emily.Averill.

.Emily.Averill.

Rebecca Mumberson

I really clearly remember the first time I met Bec Mumberson. Clearer than the three girls I’ve already mentioned. It was at Grade 9 camp on a bus. I’m very pale and had put sunscreen on my face and rubbed it in, and then put another layer on my face sort of like zink, just to be a little bit weird, but also for extra protection. Bec looked at me with utter disgust as she rolled her eyes ‘Look, do you realise you have sunscreen ALL over you face?’. I told her yes I did, and went on my merry way. Our friendship has frown over the years despite the rough start. Rebecca is kind, thoughtful, persistent, clever, gorgeous, engaged, creative and a really great friend. So many of my happiest memories are filled with this wonderful lady. I can’t wait to be a part of her wedding day.

.Bec.Mumberson.&.Nathan.Whitecross.

.Bec.Mumberson.&.Nathan.Whitecross.

Some of the other gorgeous people who I’m lucky to do life with..

.Emma.Kelly.Jess.

.Emma.Kelly.Jess.

I love birthdays and I love birthday parties. I think the greatest thing about birthday parties is how self centered they can be. For one night, it can pretty much all about you. There’s sometimes nice about showing a person how much you care about them, but choosing to stop being selfish for one night. Plus there are presents and cake. Two things I’m rather fond of.

Kristen.Amy.Aj.Steff

Kristen.Amy.Aj.Steff

.AndyWilliams.BlaineSwanborough.

.AndyWilliams.BlaineSwanborough.

.Chloe...Casey.

.Chloe…Casey.

.Rachel.Atwood.Matt.Jensen.

.Rachel.Atwood.Matt.Jensen.

These two are engaged. These two are pretty cute. Alone they are lovely people, but together they are maybe even lovlier. I love lovely friends.

SteveLimkin.WillSwanson.RuthLimkin.

SteveLimkin.WillSwanson.RuthLimkin.

This photo is at the airport. I love that friends support you. That’s what friendship is I think. If you set out on a new adventure, in God, in your career, in life – friends are there to support you.

..Sarah..Holmes..Sarah..Starrenburg..

..Sarah..Holmes..Sarah..Starrenburg..

Friends celebrate life together. They get dressed up and they dance together.

Jess.Emma.Shannon.Chloe.Chris.Steff.Liz

Jess.Emma.Shannon.Chloe.Chris.Steff.Liz

 

 

.Friends.

.Friends.

 

 

 

.My20thBirthdayParty.

.My20thBirthdayParty.

 

A friend hears the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails.– Anonymous

I think I’m pretty lucky. The greatest thing about this post is, there’s a lot of amazing friends of mine who aren’t on this page right here. I’m lucky to have them in my life as well.

Shopping for labels, looking for love

A couple of days ago I arrived home from a weeks holiday in Sydney. Ages ago Bec and I booked a holiday that started off with a couple of days shopping and culminated with the Hillsongs Women’s Conference, Colour. Overall it was a great holiday, shopping and Jesus, always a good combination. I’ve noticed some things about Sydney that I’d like to share.

1. Labels, labels, labels! There are fake labels everywhere in Sydney. I’ve seen them from time to time here in Brisbane, but they are seriously everywhere in Sydney. At markets, stores, Chanel, Versace and Dolce as far as the eye can see! Bad fakes, good fakes. We had a lot of fun shopping in the real stores though, and when you see the real prices (actually.. most fancy stores don’t show you the real prices, because when you’re rich you don’t care) and compare them with the fake prices, you’re really getting a bargain.

2. Sydney smells! I mean not everywhere, it didn’t smell inside of Jimmy Choo or Chanel, or Escada…. but almost everywhere else stinks. We’re walking through the markets.. it smells. We’re walking down the street.. it smells. We’re walking through Bondi.. it smells. Seriously, why does it smell so much in Sydney?

3. Sydney really is the place for the foreigners to reside. I actually think there are more foreigners in the CBD than there are original Sydney dwellers. By the end of the week I’d gotten quite good at deciphering foreign accents.

4. Sydney on a whole, is better looking. Females are better looking.. seriously, the amount of good looking women at Colour – WOO!! And let’s just say.. that the men in Sydney.. are better looking also. Maybe I just got used to the guys in Brisbane? Who knows.

5. The travel home from Sydney is a pain! We got charged like $50 in excess baggage.. although on the way down we had excess baggage and didn’t get charged. Bec got random drug tested.. which is a pain. Our plane got delayed by an hour.. and we had the bumpiest plane ride I’ve had in ages. Although that was kind of Brisbane’s fault.

Overally though.. it was a great trip. Filled with lots of good photos and even better memories. Maybe I’ll post some pictures later!

Sorry to the Syndey CBD and any proud Sydney fans.. but your city really does smell.