The Moon

When someone graduates from being a friend, to being a really great friend to being one of your best, a number of things are typically involved. These are; mutual interests, shared values, respect, honesty and a whole lot of time. You really have to invest your time into friendships to make them truly valuable. One of the side effects of such an investment is what I like to call ‘friendship synchronization’ or to make it plain ‘tracking’.

It’s the interesting and sort of beautiful point in a relationship where you realise you’re on the same page and you like the same things. Whether or not you liked those things before the friendship is a little bit hard to decipher. Did you already love it? Or did your friend love it and somehow you ‘synced’ your interests. Whatever you want to call it, the reason for this current obsession is a result of friendship synchronization.

I LOVE the moon.

I have this friend and we love the moon together. I’ll be honest and say that I think she loved the moon first and subconsciously through the process of tracking, I grew to really love something she appreciated. The same goes with another of my friends who is a florist. I used to always ‘like’ flowers, but now I REALLY like them. Tracking.

I never disliked the moon but I never really paid much attention to it until recently. I find myself driving to scenic locations and moon gaze discussing and trying to ascertain how it all works up there. I now keep track of time via the moon and find myself saying things like ‘How can it be New Moon already?’ and I’m not even talking about Twilight you guys. And by twilight I obviously don’t mean the most beauteous time of day, I mean Edward Cullen and what not. Which I’m not talking about, to be clear.

I think I like the moon for a few reasons, it’s beauty of course, but also it’s mystery. To me, it’s a puzzle I’m still trying to figure out. No matter how many articles I read or how many times I try and recall primary school, it doesn’t 100% make sense to me. I need someone to create me a working solar system model because I just can’t fathom the craziness that is the moon.

Maybe you know this.. but the moon is always there. Like, always.

Lunar phase or phase of the moon refers to the shape of the illuminated (sunlit) portion of the Moon as seen by an observer, usually on Earth. The lunar phases change cyclically as the Moon orbits the Earth, according to the changing relative positions of the Earth, Moon, and Sun. The half of the lunar surface facing the Sun is always sunlit, but the portion of this illuminated hemisphere that is visible to an observer on Earth can vary from about 100% (full moon) to 0% (new moon). Wikipedia.

The moon is actually dark. I know it looks like the brightest object in the sky, but it’s not. Ever heard of the phrase ‘dark side of the moon’ or watched the Transformer movie? Yeah the moon is the dark, go figure.

The far side is often called the “dark side”, but in fact, it is illuminated as often as the near side: once per lunar day, during the new moon phase we observe on Earth when the near side is dark. The Moon has an exceptionally low albedo, giving it a reflectance that is slightly brighter than that of worn asphalt. Despite this, it is the second brightest object in the sky after the Sun. Wikipedia.

I gave you the technical facts so as to balance out how terribly I’d explain the solar system to you.

No matter what I know technically about the moon and its constant presence, I know that I view the moon as a temporal object. It comes and goes, it is full and it is crescent. I state things like ‘look the moon came out tonight’ when in actual fact, the moon is just visible tonight.

Don’t you think that’s a little bit like our relationship with God? Sometimes we can see him at work. At His brightest, his fullest. Our lives have ‘Christ at Work’ stamped all over it. Other times it’s just alright, we’re like a crescent moon where things are steady. Not crazy, just alright. And then there are times when it feels like God has gone and left us. That we are alone and we can’t see him, or feel him and that he has left us to fight on our own. And that, is a lie.

I think I love the moon because it reminds me that God is like the moon. He is always there, we can’t always see it but he is. It’s just a spiritual fact.

I think I also love the moon because of the way it confuses people into thinking it’s a bright object. It’s not and I love that it has us all fooled. The moon is a reflection of the sun.

God is like the moon, but He actually isn’t. He’s actually the Sun.

We are like the moon. We are a reflection of his light. We are not in ourselves capable of crazy feats of greatness and courage and wisdom and hope, however we spend our days attempting to reflect just a portion, a slither, a crescent of the brightness that is God.

 That’s why I love the moon. That’s why I love the Son.

Like the moon we borrow our light. I am nothing but a shadow in the night. If you let me I will catch fire, to let your glory and mercy shine. Paramore.

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#valentinesdaypost

Have you ever been in love?

I don’t know about you, but love is all I can really think about on Valentines Day. I don’t know if that was the original intent, I thought the whole day was probably set up to make you think about flowers and chocolates for the one you love. But either way – you win. Here I am, February 14th and as I already spend a great deal of time thinking about flowers (best friend is a florist) and chocolate (addict) instead, I’m thinking about love.

I sort of wish that I wasn’t you know. Even as a fairly secure single Christian girl it’s still not ideal to spend a lot of time thinking about love. Especially if you’re not in love, hence your singledom. It’s a strange vicious cycle. Either way, I can’t avoid it, love.

I’ve been sitting here thinking about love and trying to figure out why it is that I don’t really want to think about it. I’ve been sitting here thinking about how singles fear and dread February 14th. I mean, it can’t be because we all really want flowers in our home or to eat that delicious Cadbury Popping candy chocolate – because you can fairly easily attain these things. It can’t even be because we are afraid of being alone. I mean maybe that’s it for some people, but mostly, you can find a bunch of other single people who don’t want to be alone on Valentines Day and then you’ve got yourself a party. All this thinking and I think I’ve put my finger on the painful part.

It’s not the chocolates, or that we’ll have to spend a random Thursday night in. It’s that February 14th is this yearly reminder that nothing has changed. It’s like a terrible score card that singles can check off and say ‘yep, still hasn’t happened’.

I think we don’t want to be reminded about love.

Because, love is like the most important thing right? It drives everything. You know it’s what you want and you know [sort of/hopefully] that God has it all under control, but in order to save yourself from stress/pain/worry, you spend all year trying to avoid love. You spent the whole year being good and being content with being single and then February 14th rolls around and you’re like, damn. Unavoidable.

Valentines Day messes with the worst most dangerous emotion or feeling that there is. And it isn’t loneliness – its trust. Valentines Day messes with your trust.

Do you trust God?

I think that’s the hardest question of all.
It’s a fairly easy one to answer – just say yes silly.
It should be easy because 98% of the time, we do. We trust that God will provide. We trust that God has our best interests at heart. We trust that God’s love never fails. It’s that tricky 2% of the time when life challenges your trust.

If the question was simply, do you love God? That would be easier.
I think I always love God. I sometimes fall in and out of intimacy, but I always love God.
Trust though? Do I trust God?

Valentines Day falls into the icky 2%. It’s when stats and flowers and loneliness all combine to test and challenge the rest of the year when trust was easy.

This year, make a choice to trust God.

Maybe you struggle to trust God with love, but maybe it’s with something else. Maybe it’s with your finances, or your hopes to have a family one day, or to be successful, or just to be happy. If you’re in that hard place where every thing is screaming “give up, He doesn’t care” – then push back and say no.

Take yourself out on a date and say no.
Apply for another job, assume you’ll get it. Say no.
Try again, even though you feel like it’s all done for and tell that doubt, no.

Sometimes trust feels whimsical. Like believing in fairies or something. You put your faith in crazy important things, but trust seems a little foolish at times. It seems like a wishy washy weird concept.
It’s not. Trust is hard. Trust is gutsy. Trust is for the strong and not the weak.

When it feels hard, give doubt a punch in the face and say no. Tell that 2% that you choose trust.

Irrepressible

Alliteration is probably one of my most favourite things. I unintentionally frame sentences together using unhealthy amounts of alliteration. A little while ago on this very blog I came up with a list of the ten qualities I most wanted in a man entitled, My Top Ten. All of the qualities start with the letter A. I’ll probably want to marry someone with a last name that starts with the letter S and name my kids Sufjan and Stella such is my fascination with alliteration. When I was thinking through this blog and where I wanted to take it, I spent a lot of time dwelling on, myself really. I thought about who I wanted to be and what I wanted to be known for and how I wanted this blog to represent that. I came up with three words, all starting with the letter I. Irrepressible, Intentional and Immovable.

I remember the first time I heard the word irrepressible. I don’t remember what I was doing or what I was wearing but I remember the feeling. You know you’re a word nerd when you remember how you felt the first time you heard a word. I liked how it sounded. How it rolled off the tongue. I liked the context it was used in, I liked that I didn’t know what it meant and maybe others didn’t either. I remember thinking, ‘I’m going to use that word more often’. Just like psychedelic, that word definitely needs to come back.

IRREPRESSIBLE
impossible to repress, restrain, or control <irrepressible curiosity>

I remember the first time someone described me, Steffany, as irrepressible. I think at the time I wondered if they meant it as a compliment or a bit of insult. It’s sort of one of those words like infamous, where it just confuses you a bit. Does infamous mean more famous or less? Is being irrepressible a negative quality or a positive quality?

After much thought and processing, I’ve realised that Irrepressible is a quality I want to be known for.

I’ve always been a strong person. I think I grew up naturally irrepressible. There wasn’t a lot about my personality that could be repressed. I found restraint difficult and my parents would definitely attest that I was impossible to control. But somehow, over time.. those things faded, at least internally. I think I always conveyed myself as a strong, tough, secure person but inside I was battling. I felt that I had to repress certain parts of my personality. The parts people maybe didn’t like. I got sick of being told to use my “inside voice” and I started to repress. It wasn’t who I was naturally – but I somehow learnt repression.

In psychiatry they explain repression as the unconscious exclusion of painful impulses, desires, or fears from the conscious mind. For me it was just the exclusion of desires due to fear. That feeling or emotion I wanted to express but for whatever reason, society, past disappointment, criticism, peer pressure – I held it within.

I think with anything that you repress, it comes out in weird ways. If you repress anger, it comes out in unhealthy ways, bouts of rage that seem to come from nowhere. I think it’s the same if you repress your personality, the very things that make you, you. You start to get weird outbursts of uncharacteristic behaviour. You find yourself saying things you don’t really mean, making friendships that aren’t really wise, and living a life entirely different to what you know. A life very far from where God wants us to be.

Our world is slowly but ever so surely moving away from genuine, authentic, real relationships yet I have discovered – that is exactly what people want. We can smell a fake a mile off and we want nothing to do with it. Yet for some reason – we repress the very natural, unique characteristics that make us beautiful. What good does that do anyone?

We need you.
I need you.
God needs you.
YOU.

Stripped away of my fear and removed from critiquing eyes, I am at my most comfortable and my most crazy. I am loud and loopy and loving. That’s the thing that confused me most. Somehow I let society dictate to me that I couldn’t be loud, passionate, strong, and wild and so I gave up irrepressibility – along with it, I somehow gave up the ability to love without restraint.

Maybe you were hurt and hurt pretty bad. Made to feel like there were parts of you that you needed to hold back on. Don’t hold back on love. I get that it’s hard – but don’t hold back on love.

I want to have an irrepressible joy that ceases to overflow.
I want to have an irrepressible faith that is pushed and tested but never waivers.
I want to have an irrepressible love that can’t be contained.

I want to be irrepressible. I want that for you.

#happyheart

When I was a little girl I made a lot of friends. My mum told me a story about how one day we went to the beach and I found another little girl on the beach to play with. She recalls how I came running up to her and said ‘Okay Mum, Suzy is coming back to my house to play now’. ‘Who is Suzy?’ my mum asked. ‘Muuum, she’s my best friend. I just met her 10 minutes ago’. Apparently this story was common throughout my childhood. I was bold enough that I just went up to kids and said ‘Ok, do you want to play with me now?’

Until fairly recently, I thought that this was pretty normal. I mean, I think it’s normal for kids to make friends easily and quite quickly but somewhere along the way we get hurt and insecure and making friends becomes harder. Making real friends becomes harder because all of a sudden you are trusting people with your heart and your deepest fears and greatest hopes instead of just with your toys and your Mum’s dress up heels.

A couple of months ago I met this girl. She was a friend of a friend and I probably only chatted to her briefly the next few times I saw her. She seemed really nice, pretty and easy to talk to but I kind of thought, as I often do – ‘Already at maximum friend capacity’.

However the next few weeks and its activities brought us together in more ways than one. You know when you just have a moment with someone. You unintentionally reveal some odd quirk about yourself and the other person jumps in such surprise as that is also their odd quirk. You find out their celebrity crush is the same as yours. You connect. Those moments where you just know that you stumbled across something special. Someone who without doing anything, makes your heart extraordinarily happy.

Sometimes I’m really glad I listen to my heart rather than to my brain. My brain said I didn’t need any more friends but my heart had other ideas. I actually did need this. By opening myself up to a new relationship, it didn’t increase my burden, it actually lightened it. Sometimes we close ourselves off to new things because we are afraid of ‘more’. Sometimes we don’t realise that God stretches our hearts to make room for new loves. I never want to be someone who shies away from enlargement.

I’ve realized the key to life isn’t how many friends you have – it’s which friends you have. I need people in my life that will let me be me. Who can point out the qualities in me that I’d forgotten about and say ‘Hey, you’re amazing’. People who make me laugh, people who laugh with me and sometimes, at me. I need people who I can be real with, who notice when I’m not being real and people who aren’t afraid to say something about it. People who make your life better, people who make you better.

I think I’ll always be that little girl on the beach. I think I’ll always easily find new people to be friends with. But I’ve realized how rare genuine relationships really are. Those people are special. Those friendships are to be valued and treasured.

So to my new and old friends who love me like family – to the few people who I let see the very best and the very worst of me. Thank you.

Anything good in my life is a direct reflection of the way you have shaped my life and shaped me. You have made me happier than I can adequately explain with words.

I’m not used to it, but I can learn.
There’s nothing to it.
I’ve never been happier.

No one is as lucky as us.
We’re not at the end but we already won.
No no one, is as lucky as us.

Paramore – Where the Lines Overlap.

Move!

Quotes that make me think and that make me get up and do something!

Good things come to those who wait. Good things come to those who work their asses off and never give up.

The way to love anything is to realise that it may be lost. G.K Chesterton

Learn to let go of things you cannot control.

Fortify yourself with contentment, for this is an impregnable fortress. Epictetus

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ,[a] who gives me strength. – Philippians 4: 11-13

Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. Helen Keller

You cannot dream yourself into a character: you must hammer and forge yourself into one. Henry D. Thoreau

The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up. Paul Valery

And once you live a good story, you get a taste for a kind of meaning in life, and you can’t go back to being normal; you can’t go back to meaningless scenes stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time. Donald Miller

I’ve gone for too long living like I’m not alive. So I’m going to start over tonight beginning with you and I. I don’t want to run from anything uncomfortable. I just want, no I just need this pain to end right here. Miracle – Paramore

March Madness

Things I can be thankful for/excited about in March:

  • The opportunity to celebrate. I think everyone I know is born in March! That’s probably the first lie I’ve told on this blog because so many people are born in July too. But March is an especially big birthday month for me, which is great, I love celebrating people and birthdays.
  • University. Look, I don’t always love university. In fact, mostly I don’t. But I CAN be grateful for it. I start a new major (I think it’s actually more of a minor but I can never tell with my uni) this year and I think it will be a big challenge.
  • I’m grateful for grace. I think I will need God’s grace this month. So many things, so little time.
  • I’m excited about the Hunger Games movie which comes out in March. I LOVED these books and I think they actually won’t destroy them in the movie. I get goosebumps every time I see the trailer and I’m so glad March is here.
  • I’m excited for sweet little moments. I’ve been having so many moments lately where I am so overwhelmed by life. Someone will let me know how much they love this blog and I just die a little with happiness. God whispers in my ear that he’s proud of me and I die a little with happiness. Someone sends me a text that just makes me laugh so hard that I die a little with happiness.
  • I’m grateful for the last year when I’ve been able to see my brother every weekend. He moves to Sydney this month and our relationship will be long distance, along with my Dad. It really sucks to have half your family live in another state but I’m know I’m still lucky.
  • I’m grateful that once Pierson does move, the 4th bedroom will return to the old scrapbooking/study room that I know and love.
  • I’m excited about COLD weather! Well, not freezing weather, but I’m grateful that the sticky, sweltering Queensland summer is on it’s way out. I love scarves and jackets and I want them in my life.
  • I’m so grateful for how wonderfully happy I feel nearly all the time. I’m excited about life and what all of Autumn holds.. but I will especially appreciate and enjoy March, because it is here now.

Happy March everyone! I hope it’s the perfect mix of warm days and pleasantly cool evenings.

Love and hot cups of tea,

.Steffany.

First Time for Everything

Today I used Skype for the first time. I never understood why people raved about it so SO much, but now I do.

It’s actually so important to see someone face to face, to hear their voice and to see their expressions and hand movements. Grace and I had a tea date today over skype. We talked for about an hour and a half and drank tea and discussed and chatted like we normally would. Skype is the best thing ever! Next to Grace Davis.

Grace – I love you and can’t wait for you to come home.

In true love the smallest distance is too great, and the greatest distance can be bridged.

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.

Thoughts on a Monday

I don’t really care about being liked or loved by everyone. I’m happy to accept that not everyone gets along with everyone in this world, so I don’t really care about being loved by everyone.

BUT

I do want the people I know to love the One that I love the most. In order to do that, I have to love them. They have to know that I love because he first love me. So I refrain from being cruel, I refrain from speaking my mind all the time. Not because I care if they love me, but because I care if they love him. All for the sake of His glory.