the soul of auroville


For those who follow my instagram, you may notice that I process emotions and experiences through poetry. Below I have chosen to share another snippet from my encounter with the Matrimandir (see last post: temple of the mother)

“The Matrimandir will be the soul of Auroville…
It is like the force, the central force of Auroville, the force of cohesion of Auroville”

There are two flashes of light

If you blink, the pupil dilates

If you close, the crystal ball blurs

Darkness ensues

The light tries to penetrate

The flashing leaves

You peel back the grave

Resurrection, rebirth

The eyes scan the scene

You were hiding

Shielded under eagle wings

The room is empty

The dove damned

The white stained

You are not worthy

The inner chamber here

Is a concept

A construct

The puppeteers are watching

You pass them by

They guide

The descent to the lower chamber

Peeling back the white clouds

Feet wrapped

Unworthy to untie sandals

How to enter his presence

Only by the Cross

Only by the empty tomb

The blood washes the memory away

The thunder pelts the night

The earth screams

The spiritual warfare in the heavenly realms

God against god

Spirit against spirit

Love conquers

One thing remains

I didn’t really want to speak to anyone after visiting the Matrimandir this morning. It was surreal. Sterile. Structured. Eerie. Wrong. So regulated, controlled. Seeking self-purification, cleansing, emptiness. Attaining an impeccable exterior and an echo chamber of an interior. You kind of get the sense of it not being real, a strangeness, when walking though the surrounding garden. We sat under the big Banyan Tree. Extraordinary. Beautiful. Upon stepping in the gardens we were covered with silence. No photography. There was tension in me. I love silence. But. I do not believe silence should be enforced, structured. For a place that cares so much for the natural, many practices and places here boast a surreal unnatural interpretation of ‘natural’. There is the attempt to attain perfection and peace by building it, a self-generated and in-need-of-maintenance form of spiritual reality. I believe in a God who is alive, not dead. A God who does not need to be awakened. I need the waking.

My heart felt heavy after this morning. Seeing so many souls, searching, in sync. It felt cultish, contained. Like you were not worthy to enter the Inner Chamber. There is so much confusion in me. I did like the time to pray, free from distraction. I spent time praying for everyone on the trip, and for my family. Oh how protection is necessary. Hallelujah, I haven’t feel burdened by all that is back in Australia. But I do not attribute this to Auroville or the Matrimandir. I attribute it to God. I praise and thank him, exalt him, for he pursues me and heals me and restores me in Christ Jesus my Lord. Everyone walking in single-file in the Matrimandir before freaked me. It felt like we were being watched. To me the whole thing felt like a concept, a construct.

What is this “supramental consciousness?” If the Matrimandir are the pores of the earth, then I need more Jesus, more of his blood to purify these clogged pores in me. I cannot open myself to this mystical theology. I am yours Lord. 



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temple of the mother


Matrimandir  means “Temple of the Mother”. Tourists flock to this icon in the centre of the international city. No surprise, really. The structure is fascinating. A golden sphere alike a giant ferrero rocher or golf ball. Only, this sphere is the “soul of Auroville”. There is an inner chamber. The structure is set in gold. There is cyclical imagery everywhere.

Around the structure are twelve petals named by the Mother: Sincerity, Humility, Gratitude, Perseverance, Aspiration, Receptivity, Progress, Courage, Goodness, Generosity, Equality, Peace. The first eight represent attitudes toward the Divine, the last four attributes towards humanity.

Around the petals are twelve gardens named by the Mother: Existence, Consciousness, Bliss, Light, Life, Power, Wealth, Utility, Progress, Youth, Harmony, Perfection. 


Auroville truly is a unique community, attracting individuals of all nations, tongues, faiths, professions, backgrounds. But. There are many rules in Auroville (one of the paradoxes to the “freedom” found in this utopian society). One process is the permission required to enter the Matrimandir. There is a film you must watch before viewing the site. Let’s just say being sent into a dark room on my first day to watch a documentary that told me to renounce my religion was daunting to say the least…

Entry into the Matrimandir itself is screened. Day tourists might only see the exterior from a distance (at the Viewing Point). If you want a tourist-taste of meditation, you can get a pass for a twenty minute session, but you require a guide (an Aurovillian) to take you through the Park of Unity and into the Inner Chamber . If you are in Auroville for a longer stay you can obtain Visitor passes by invitation, and these allow you to visit without a guide for a forty-five minute meditation.

Due to our connections in the community, our group had the opportunity to attend the longer morning sessions as often as we desired. In the end I visited the Inner Chamber two times, and a third time only for the Park of Unity. Below are some more of my reflection/reaction from the first confronting visit.

The earth, the floating orb, the trees, these are all created.
These are not Creator.

The Park of Unity reminds me of a movie-style set. There are no words to describe it. There are workers tending to the gardens, and they look like puppets. Slaves of the vision. There is perfection. Each grass kept, each flower bed set. Nothing amiss. I didn’t want to go inside the Matrimandir, I just wanted to remain under the Banyan tree. To pray to my Father, thanking him for making such an extraordinary creation, and for making me, for taking me on this journey. Under the tree I felt at peace in His presence. Gazing upon those strong roots, struck by how much stronger my God is… that He created those roots! 

As we sat under the big Banyan Tree in the garden, one of the elder Aurovillian women told us that the tree in Asian culture symbolises mortality. It made me think of how the whole thing is so sad, missing the eternal life found in Christ. There is no consideration of beyond this life, of eternal dwelling with said “Divine”, with God. Instead there is such an obsession with now, with attaining perfection, with achieving a level of actualisation, realisation, faith, knowledge, meditative excellence, peacefulness, solitude, seeking to define oneself and measure ones standards of self against the Mother’s twelve petals, those twelve desirable attributes. These are all esteemed.

When we sat around the petals at the lotus pond underneath the Matrimandir, I chose to perch on the stairs. It didn’t seem right to sit atop of an abstract ideal to harness the characteristics. I sat there instead and kept returning to God, dwelling on His character. He is the source of all desirable characteristics.


We cannot will or wish said character traits upon ourselves. 
We can try and strive, but to what avail?

We were led in single file into the Matrimandir. Above the entrance is a symbol. Searching online later, my classmates tell me it is a Satanic symbol, associated with occult practices and the illuminati … No comment needed. Once inside, you must place white socks over your bare feet before ascending. Shoes outside, you slide on this slip of purity, scared to step. Then you go around in circles on the inside, led to the meditation room. While in the Inner Chamber there were lyrics going through my head:

“Worthy is the lamb who was slain,
Worthy is the king who conqured the grave,
Worthy is the lamb who was slain.”

Over breakfast that morning I had opened Revelation and read those same words. What a stark contrast it was to then be inside that room, without the Word to meditate on. Sitting, praying, watching. We all sat in a circle around the crystal ball in the centre of the room. What were other people doing? Where they sleeping? Meditating? Praying? Singing songs in their head? Restless? At peace?


The crystal ball in the heart of the Inner Chamber is a picture of what Auroville imagines to be the Divine
… a blank, clear, translucent sphere of reflective self….
How solemn

Source: http://integralyoga-auroville.com/auroville/matrimandir

Twenty minutes disappeared that first time, and forty-five the following time. All the while I was thinking of the tower of babel and how we as humans like building our own temples. These structures that are so beautifully crafted but which separate us – both from Creator and from each other. If Auroville privileges human unity, then it is curious that there is no shared belief system, no common doctrine, no objective truth for one to hold onto. There is no depth to the spiritual foundation, there is a skeleton, but where is the heart of stone turned flesh? Where is the body and the blood? Where is the name above all names?  Where is the relationship to God as Father, the Spirit interceding for us, Christ our advocate before the throne of God.

Before I realised the term literally translated to “Temple of the Mother”, I wondered why this non-religion had a sacred place for ritualistic practice. Surely they could see the parallels to religious practice? The Matrimandir reminded me of Buddhism and the extravagant temple I visited in Cambodia where the interior and exterior were laced in gold. These temples and structures are articheturally incredible and I praise God for the ability and creativity He has given man to make these things… But it greatly saddens me that we have come to worship these instead of God, to see these as sacred instead of Him.


Why is there so much investment in maintaining these special places, these sacred sites?
What is most sacred?

Being in the presence of God, being with God, communing with Him, fellowship in the Spirit – this is not confined in my mind or my belief nor limited to a physical site or holy place. The inner chamber echoed to me of the curtain being torn in two. All I could think about was how Jesus was missing. Before Jesus the high priests in the temple were the only ones who could enter the inner chamber and pray to God directly. But Christ crucified saw the curtain split in two. He is our great high priest. He issued a new covenant, bought with His blood. There is no more separation, no division, no need to cleanse or purify, for his blood is enough. His name is above all other names. He is the only way, truth, life. The only way to get to the Father is through him. He invites us into his Fathers house.

I couldn’t help but think how the whole concept of Matrimandir is buying into this construct, but not true communion with God. There are practices and rituals, but no personal and relational connection. I do not need a special chamber to pray. I do not need to wear white socks and ‘ascend’ and ‘descend’ into the inner chamber. A flashing light signified time was up  in the chamber and we were seen out. But there were “guards”, “watchers”, people standing at every point of the way, guiding and leading us. Oh what a sorry state!


We were like sheep.
I was following.
But very aware that this was not my Shepherd I was following.

I was not liking this voice, this direction. I wanted to laugh while on the spiral walk way, the curtained circular ramp. Seeing thirty bodies in sync, in single file, piling down this pipeline of an alternate reality. So many lost souls. I was praying protection for us. Renouncing Satan and all his minions, works and ways. Asking God to reveal himself to those there, so that they could see and know Jesus. Praying the armour of God. Singing to him.

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can my imagination live in a utopia


retracing time
my last month has been spent on an indian adventure in the experimental township/utopian village/ international city of “Auroville”.  having been bombarded with intrigue since returning, here i’ll share some thoughts from the journey. i may have to drip-feed these over a few posts. for those concerned i was in a cult, i’ll let you decide for yourselves

Is there a word for this? There are words everywhere. I see them, live them. But for this … I have no word. No. Instead I have a thesaurus. A plethora of possible words. But no clarity. I can’t put my finger on one page or definition. What is this I feel? Confused? Confronted? Disturbed? Intrigued?

I am foreign to me.
There is turbulence underlying this journey.

Here divinity, the “divine consciousness”, is divorced from religion and the notion of God. This is fascinating given the very definition of divine (adj.) is “of or like God or a god”; with divinity (n.)  “the state of quality of being divine” or “the study of religion, theology”. The term connotes a certain sacredness, an identity, but here these concepts have been taken and reapplied, reconstructed, reformed into a whole new religion of non-religion.

“programme: research through experience of the supreme truth a life divine but no religions”

In Auroville, one must reject religious roots, as this is seen as a source of division.

“Auroville is for those who want to live a life essentially divine.
But who renounce all religions whether they be ancient, modern, new or future…”

I wonder though, does removing religion mean freedom?
Or does it bind one to the burden of fostering one’s own divinity?
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Sri Aurobindo (who is kind of like a ‘prophet’ of this religion of non-religion) wrote on one of Auroville’s aims, which is human unity in diversity:“Instead of using external means we have to turn inward, because without a change in man’s nature no real change in the external circumstances is likely to take place. The only way we can move towards unity is to progressively realise that there is a secret Spirit, a divine Reality in which we are all one. The secret of unity is within. There is no unity, except, in the soul and by the soul”

My heart aches, because there are elements of truth to his words. But there is something missing.

I sensed this my whole time in the community.

The absence of…. insert the word , the thesaurus, the thing I can’t put my finger on.

What is it?
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Here: without Christ the hope, life and love I see has no depth into eternity. Despite the presence of spirituality, if there is absence of Christ’s body and blood, then there is no way for me to know God, to have relationship with him as Father, to live for him and for him to live in me, to give me the hope, life and love that created and sustains my being.
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An unspoken golden rule in Auroville seems to be acceptance, but apparently the aim of “human unity in diversity” has conditions. This diversity is restricted when it comes to doctrinal belief. For as religion is dismissed on grounds of exclusivity, Auroville ironically exhibits the very dividing behaviour they attributed to set belief systems by failing to accept those who do subscribe to a religion. With religion excluded in the name of inclusion, those who align with one religion are subsequently alienated from the non-descriptive, ambiguous, diverging path to the Divine consciousness that is touted as objective truth here. While religion is acknowledged as a way to the Divine, this higher power and spiritual path strives for union with God through means of self. Here the Divine is like a force, an energy, where one embarks on a pilgrimage of self-improvement as a servitor of the Divine consciousness.  The influence of Eastern religion and philosophies is evident in the underlying presumption that there are no grounds for monotheistic belief.  There is the complete disregard of Abrahamic tradition, no acknowledgement of there being one God and only one path to the Divine. In establishing this framework, Auroville has created their own exclusive, divisive, narrow path – one that is open and diverges to many, leading astray, claiming to speak to the whole being, harmless in harnessing spiritual energy … all the while, sending people on their own paths of discovery with no guarantees, no certainty, no sure hope or foundation in a future, an eternal life, a relationship or access to God as Father.

These words are coming from a dark place… I may be too cynical, too harsh, too critical… I don’t know. But all I know is that God is not just a Divine consciousness, some impersonal force. He is a relational, real and powerful God who is all-knowing and who has dominion, authority, glory and power to demolish the powers and principalities of this dark, evil world. The prince of this world is prowling around, looking for people to devour. And I feel like I have had flesh ripped left right and centre.
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Here there are so many paradoxes. So many contradictions. A fullness of life and being, but disturbing emptiness in the futility of the pursuit, the Aurovillian dream. A certain substance is lacking in this structure. There is no foundation. No cornerstone. What if the unity this community strives for was in the context of the trinity? Then there would be something. A certain intimacy. Yes. True one-ness. One God. One Spirit. One Body. True unity. Communion with God himself! Yes, there is exclusivity. And there has to be. Otherwise God wouldn’t be God. He wouldn’t be Divine, he wouldn’t be the Sustainer and Creator. He wouldn’t be Saviour. If God isn’t one. If God is many. Then what does that say about his authority? his power? his sovereignty? God is ONE. And we can only come to him by the blood of Christ. There is only one way, one truth, one life. In Christ.
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Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.  For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizenswith God’s people and also members of his household,built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy templein the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” – Ephesians 2:11-22

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Despite the deep-rooted convictions I hold, I did go to Auroville open-minded. Though the experience was turbulent, I found it did strengthen and solidify my belief, rather than make me doubt or question God’s sovereignty. My discernment was certainly sharpened. I am convinced that following Jesus is the only way, truth and life and any path that does not lead to the cross of Christ is one to be cautious of. He is the light that has come into this dark world. As my friend wrote to me on a post it note during the feedback reflection we had in class:

“Cults are bad. Good thing you’ve got your head screwed on.”

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morning moments


Good morning/afternoon (wherever you are in the world right now!). Here’s to unfiltered thoughts + my [late] in-transit update. Before I capture + convey the cultural elements here in India I want to share some raw anxieties. Hypochondria can be crippling, fears gripping. Oh the shame. But maybe you can relate?

the wind blows these trees around me and

i hear the birds chirping and

there are branches breaking and i

imagine

oh, how powerfully i

imagine

one of those branches

f

a

l

l

i

n

g

right there, out of the tree

onto me

i can hear it snapping now

see clearly my bones crushed

hair no longer whipped in the wind

but weighed down

with blood

oh how unruly are these thoughts

what is wrong with me?

do others think this way?

anticipating death

in every waking breath

i am not afraid of death

in fact, death is more of an absurd friend

familiar, not foreign

an ever-present reality

a known future in my forever-full-of-unknowns existence

when i wake, my departure awaits

fresh on the brain are unfinished fears from last night

before slumber stole consciousness

i was overhyped with awareness

my pulse was awfully slow, my veins protruding in wrists and hands

maybe i am dehydrated, i thought

so i had tried to wash away these thoughts

gulp away yesterday

i often only share my beautiful, my lovely

those words that are pleasing to one’s mind

rhythmic, poetic, profound of another kind

these i keep, these i preach

but my heart

it often has another sort of beat

one of despair, a cycle of deceit

lies, lies, oh how they blind

hence my lines, my words, my poetry

are helpless attempts to amend

– or pretend? –

to dwell on what is pure and lovely

preach those truths i need so desperately to believe

because

if i’m honest

there are a whole lot of lies living inside of me

a lot of darkness that continually threatens to enclose me

i sit here now, under this tree

sipping my last Australian coffee for a while

i can’t help but notice how

sitting in the shade

the light is more scattered

it’s dancing all around me

the golden flecks with green pockets

the hair of the earth is doing cardio all around me

all i can do is sit a statue of this energy

the grass alive

i realise the power of God at work in and around me

he breathes every living thing into being

he holds every life in his hand

 he fills all he has made

but what strikes me is how he calls

d

e

e

P

i walk to the suburb next door, the one with the Italian flavour

i can almost taste the onion and tomatoes as i walk down the streets

there are petals on the ground and kids on vacation

i end up in a coffee store around the corner

waiting for the barista

unable to put my finger on how surreal it is

to be ordering coffee

when in a few hours i will be stuck in the air

remembering the taste of the beans

as i leave i mention that i am flying today

the old Italian man smiles to his ears

he and the young barista boy – probably his son – wish me farewell

so i thank them for the coffee

and i leave in the echo of their comments

“enjoy!”

“safe travels”

 …

i start to trail these streets

unsure how to get to the bay

reminded how connection brings warmth

those Italians made my morning

conversation lightening day

see

when you’re in an empty home, living by yourself

you appreciate these little things

because

otherwise you wouldn’t speak to anyone

you are alone in your own thoughts

stuck inside your head

sometimes that is good, reflection is a friend

but sometimes there are destructive and distorted channels of thought

they steal your joy

but

today i choose to give thanks

i’m thankful for the small gestures of kindness from one human heart to another

in all this

though we may geographically change

and our emotional, physiological and mental states may change

what remains the same is the power of love

it comes back to that simple truth

i am loved

whether or not warmth is exchanged, pleasantries shared

there is One who knows me by my true name

b e l o v e d

though i may change, my identity doesn’t

my relationship with my Heavenly Father doesn’t

i am secure in Christ, a righteousness not of my own

because he so loved

he gave

he saves

as i stand and

sit and

wonder and

wander

i marvel not only at this world around me

these people around me

but in His great love for me

His great mercy

in sending His son to redeem

to put right

to restore

i know that nothing can separate me from the love of God that is in Christ

N

O

T

H

I

N

G

no thoughts of despair

no fear of death

no powers or authorities of this earth

nothing can separate me from him

[ Romans 8:38-9 ]

..

 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

six days


There are blobs of yellow, billows of steam.

The air is cool, the breath seen.

The day is waiting, the workers waking.

A scarecrow sits un-tempted,

The trees stand tall and slender.

As dirt spreads off-beaten tracks,

Cows wander and wait, no owners whip their backs.

Fog creeps across the plains,

As mothers whisper their babies names.

The children run and scream,

Cricket a sport of their dreams.

Mud huts line the fields.

Elders watch and wait for crops to yield.

Life is but a simple scene.

Peace greets a passerby.

The earth sings a lullaby.

With fresh skies and no empty lives.

The ground rejoices and holds rich resources.

Move from city.

Move to country.

Meet the modest.

Seek the honest.

Trace the stars.

Seek God’s heart.

Bless the poor.

Sing with no remorse.

Hold your breath.

India, no place of rest.

Yet rural provides space to overcome each test.

Lose your toes to the cold.

Lose the selfishness in your bones.

Life, seen from an Indian bike.

Preparing for my second global studio (university elective) to India, I happened upon this poem (above) and reflection (below) from my last journey. The poem was written while on a bus through rural India and the reflection from my “first kiss” reaction after touchdown.

“Travelling has increased my awareness.

Awareness of my skin colour, hair, mannerisms, accent, and my speed/style of speaking.

It is daunting. To be seen. To be different. To be “foreign”. 

From the airport we walked out into cold air, bright lights, dark sky, and crowds.

We found our names on a sign and manoeuvred through the horizon of eyes who could not peel their gaze from us.

This is not a stare of the movies; it is quite discomforting.

I feel like prey. This is not the “attention” women desire. 

We leave bones and flesh for the window and wheels.

The roads are chaotic in India. There are no words to explain it.

Lines mean nothing. There are signs to advise locals “Lane driving is sane driving”.

But. Traffic is a game.

Different honks signify different moves on this playing board.

The roaring of traffic and chorus of honks are not rude gestures but common communication.

Cars have a voice. 

I ask a few questions but the driver doesn’t understand what I am asking.

It’s pretty humbling when you try to speak another language because you realise you don’t really know how to express yourself. “


Stay tuned for some upcoming travel posts (and please pray!) xx


“many are the plans in a person’s heart but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails”
> proverbs 19:21
why would I go back
when the memories are both
beautiful
and
t
e
r
r
i
f
y
i
n
g
i still remember the deep chill
when I lay
s h u d d e r i n g
in pain
unsure of my life state
but I also remember
the love murmurs
for people and place
ahh such cultural abundance!
that is india
two years ago was an unexpected adventure
and here we are again
another global studio
last time was a testament to a deep need
for deliverance from darkness
into the light of the grace + knowledge of Christ
for His purposes are good
and
His plans surpass our own
> please pray
for the people + the place
for provision + protection


via @jessieschilling

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the little created one


Mama called me over. The door had gently shut as the two men of the house still lay in slumber. Having accidentally had my alarm still set for 5.30am, I was awake to see Mama off to work. As she came back inside, her voice echoed through the winter-chilled walls.

Can you come and rescue this bird for me?

Curiosity pricked my heart. I was gently rocking in the grandma chair that comforted my weary limbs, fan heater blasting a warm breath on my summer pyjamas. As I moved outside, the early morning ice invited me on an adventure. I tiptoed on the winter rain, stripping off my socks and flirting with the puddles. The car rested, a statue of slumber, eager for a visitor after the long night.

“I think he may have broken his foot or have a damaged wing”

Mama pointed to the little brown bird near the back wheel. She had called for backup in her rescue mission, someone to come and care for this little created one. The early morning commute was demanding her attention as we stood at the edge of the garage.

As I neared the little bird, I was unsure of it’s predicament. Would it fly away? Would it stay? Scooping it up, I hoped it wouldn’t flurry away. But the small feathered body erupted, shivering.

This is winter’s welcome; inviting us all to release our deepest fears, 
to shake away the thought that our souls aren’t so still
 … aren’t so warm and filled.

I struggled to grasp the little created one, not wanting to press too tight, to hold too firm, to break it’s feathered body. As the brown blur escaped me, I realised how frightening fragility is. Fear arises when we see a need, an innocence, a wounding – and are unable to do anything. Helplessness is paralysing.

The little one scurried away, struggling to remain a ruler-width above the ground. My fear increased as the wings beat above the bitumen, in line of more danger. I imagined those early morning commuters with their coffee comas missing this blur of broken beauty. So with bare legs I pursued my little friend. Scooping him up again, I gently held him in my cupped palm … but he broke free. I let those little wings fly as he fluttered over the garden and fence. Gone like the wind.

That morning, I made and lost a little friend. I don’t know where he went, whether his wing healed … but I saw him saved from harms way. I thank God for the little glimpse at the beauty of a rescue mission. And I wanted to share my learnings. I found it interesting how the one being rescued tried to escape and fly away. Often the thought of being helped makes us stubborn. We associate need with being weak. So we attempt to do it ourselves, using our own strength. And because of our need, we often fail miserably. By choosing our own way, we miss the strength found in shared burdens and the power of surrender. Oh don’t we all wish we could bear our burdens alone, show off our strength and might to make a successful life for ourselves… When inside we’re falling apart, unable to do it alone. We don’t realise we’re on the other side of the rescue mission… we try to save ourselves, to be superwoman (or superman) … when really we’re the one needing to be rescued.


We need a Rescuer who knows our needs better than we do.
A Rescuer who will pursue and provide for us.
A Rescuer whose power is made perfect in weakness.

What a beautiful revelation. To be reminded of the need for humility, confession and the recognition of failure and inability. How often we can fear weakness and be afraid of our sin and shortcoming. Yet how reassuring to reflect upon the humility, forgiveness and victory found in Jesus. To know that the Father’s love for us is perfect and he knows our deepest need.


He is consistent and persistent in his pursuit.

His love is relentless.
His care and compassion is one of deliberation and determination.
He is the Rescuer who is intentional and intimate, reaching far and wide.
His love never fails.
He leaves 99 to search for 1. 
Seeking out the lost.
Searching the ends of the earth.
Calling those in need.

He is waiting.
Ready.
Ready to restore and repair.
Ready to reconcile.

He has made a way for this restoration, this reconciliation in the blood of his Son. There is now NOTHING that can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. Because of Christ righteousness’ we can come before God, pure and holy as he is holy. He calls us to this holiness, to himself, pursuing us and setting us apart. His is a ministry of reconciliation.

How he loves each and everyone of his created, and calls them to be with him forever! 

For I am sure that neither death nor life,
nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come,
nor powers,
 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord
~ Rom. 8:38-9

Emotional Daze


Emotions. They’re raw, they’re real.

So real the pain and exhaustion from our emotions can leave us in a daze. Scarred and scared. Rubbed raw. In this daze we attempt to drift through life, floating over tumultuous waters, trying not to sink or swim… but fly.

When we’re in an emotional daze, how can we find strength and energy again?

If only we could rise above the emotions and situations while also getting underneath, to understand them and uncover their source. It’s all a big paradox because we can’t understand our feelings when they’re so fleeting. What’s more, if we keep floating and flying around them, the emotions will continue to escape us as we fail to express them in the moment. The emotions manifest instead as a kettle of confusion, and finding clarity is like attempting to boil the ocean.  But. We need to float and fly through life, above our emotions, because how else will we survive?  If we dive deep then maybe we can get beneath the surface of situations to the root of the problem (past wounding). If we fly then maybe we can get above our feelings to gain some perspective.

Sink, swim, dive, fly. Who is doing all the work here?  Why do we try to do it in our own strength?

Emotions are not a weakness, but when we give them power they leave an emptiness in our spirits that only God can enter and fill with His strength. His wings are sufficient to wade in the deepest waters and to fly in the fiercest winds.

God sent His very own Son to penetrate every paradox, so that we (unholy and dirty) might be able to enter His presence. He is a God who is infinitely holy, eternally righteous and pure at heart. He has sent his Spirit of power, love and self-control, to fight for us and within us. The Spirit enables us to experience the objective truth of Jesus death and resurrection, his finished work at the Cross. By God’s grace we have received salvation in Christ, and this is deliverance. He delivers us from this evil age and the rebellion that wages war in us as we are tempted to ignore God and choose our own path, our own flight, where we will sink and float and never quite gain the strength on our own to keep swimming.

What does this all mean?

Our emotions might empty or exhaust, but God fills and upholds. God is in control. God knows our emotions. He wants us to entrust our rubbed raw selves to Him for repair, reconstruction, and renewal. He wants us to also stop rubbing ourselves raw when we choose to follow our fleshly desires, our sinful natures that steal our sight from the cross of Christ and the blessing found in being a part of God’s family, in his presence.

Will you continue to escape from your emotions, or will you allow our mighty Eagle Warrior to enter those places of emotional scarring?

My housemate said something startling the other week. How emotional neglect, the art of omission in childhood, can have a real impact on us emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. I see this. Our emotions are echoes of wounds we have received and are vulnerable to. But Christ was wounded on our behalf, and that is a great comfort, knowing he was willing to go where we could not go, to do what we could not do, to take that cup of suffering, turning to his Father’s will. Our will and emotions can seem so powerful at times, so painful at others. But God’s will is mightier, stronger, and so much better. He has a plan and a purpose and his desires are not for our destruction but for our salvation. And what a joy to know that he disciplines those he loves. This discipline itself provokes painful emotions at times, but our suffering in this life produces a perseverance that will spur us to seek first the Kingdom of God and pursue him, trust him and love him until Christ is formed in us and until he returns!

“For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”

– 1 Peter 2:19-25

How extraordinary that Christ endured suffering for us, that in him we have an example of how to respond in times of need. Let us choose to turn to the Lord in our emotional need as well as our physical and spiritual needs. Let us cry to him for help, let pleas of mercy escape our hearts as we acknowledge that we cannot save ourselves or fly on our own ~ we need his Eagle Wings. He promises to protect us, provide for us, to lead us into his everlasting peace.

On a rather large end note, I’m currently reading “What Your Body Knows About God: How We Are Designed To Connect, Serve and Thrive” by Rob Moll. I love how Moll combines neuroscience findings with the Bible to bring meaning to what it means to be created in God’s image and for communion with him and others. The Bible speaks of us as whole beings, not separable parts.

“We think with our feelings, and our feelings are nothing more than the state of our bodies. That’s why they’re called feelings. This is what scientists call embodied cognition … How we feel and how we think are not so easily separated … We feel before we think, and if we don’t feel we can’t actually think … All of our deep logic, well-thought theology and worldview tend to arise from our desires and our loves rather than shaping them. Our job, then, is to train our desires to love the right things. In the language of neuroscience, we need to get the “reward circuitry” of our brains to fire to images of “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness” (Gal.5:22).

“Not only is God interested in our intellectual or emotional connection to him; he has designed our bodies to intimately participate in this relationship, to connect to him and to the people around us”

“As we regularly commune with God, we create neural pathways that strengthen our relationship, eliminating those things that would detract from our growth and reinforcing and developing those habits that lead to our sanctification. This is how God designed us to thrive.”

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Awaken Me


Let me not be one of the ones who knows Jesus as my Saviour

But not as my Lord

Let me not be one of the ones who knows Jesus as Lord

But fails to give him permission to rule 

Who am I to think I have any authority over my life

No self-confidence or autonomy provides assurance for the soul

Lord enthrone my heart

You are the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords

The Author of salvation 

The Ruler of all created

Let your glory reign

Destroy the idols and obsessions in my life that steal from the glory, honour, power and dominion that is rightly yours 

Let me not set up things, unless they are known by by you

Let me not make idols for my own destruction

Let me not build my own house and labour in vain

Lord into your mighty hand I surrender the sins that cling so tight

I thank you that in Christ you have broken the chains of sin and death

By your power enable me to flee from the flesh and walk by your Spirit

By your might break the influence of every stronghold in my life

May Christ be in my waking and sleeping, my speaking and thinking

Keep me in Christ

Thank you for the blood of your Son

For all that you have done

Lead me in your way

Your mighty way 

Let me not be a craftsman unless it is for your sake

You are the ultimate Craftsman

Master, craft me

You are my maker and sustainer

Show me your ways more and more each day

Let anything I make be broken to pieces for you to have your way

Restore that which you deem good and right

Ruin that which you deem evil and false

Who am I

That you take notice of me?

Who am I but

c l a y

d u s t

Yet you are the

G r e a t   P o t t e r

Who am I to claim condemnation and criticism of your work?

Your judgement is pure and true 

You are good and gracious 

You are just and sure

You are worthy of all praise

Lord enthrone my heart

May my cravings be satisfied in you

My longings fulfilled in the glory of Christ 

Meet me in my hour of need

Awaken me to see your grace

Convict me of my place

Faith is Impossible


“If proof is possible, faith is impossible”

How does one absorb this?

How does it sink in?

s

i

n

k

under the skin

under the layers of cells

or control?

that “protect” me

how to

scratch under the surface

to the scarring

where the tissue is not folded

but fragmented

Where is the proof of these things,

the unspoken, the unseen, the unheard?

“If proof is possible, faith is impossible”

I have been sitting on this quote for months (from a book by John Ortberg: All the places to go… How will you know? God has placed before you an open door. What will you do?“). This particular line has been slowly sinking in. I didn’t fully grasp it until I realised that proof is the known and faith is holding onto hope, trusting, persevering even in the unknown.

Oh how we long to know. Desiring answers. To be certain. To have control. To claim confidence in a life course versus a life Source.

I am amazed at how the Psalmist has a different type of confidence:

“Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity,
and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.

Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind”
(26:1-2).

Uh, wow. Can I confidently ask the God of the Universe, my Judge and my Defender, to test me? To prove me and try me?

Let me place before my eyes, before “me”, his steadfast love. Let me walk in his faithfulness (26:3).

David is confident in the Lord.

Asking the Lord for mercy (25:6). Asking him to reveal himself (25:4). Asking him to teach, lead and save (25:5).

Psalm 25:4-22 is amazing.

 …

This year has been a real struggle, with shifting seasons of continual testing. I rejoice in these struggles though, thankful for them, for they have strengthened and humbled me, bringing me to my knees and to the Cross of Christ where I am enamoured by God’s mercy.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,
whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith
produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may
be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God,
who gives generously to all without finding fault,
and it will be given to you.But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt,
because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea,
blown and tossed by the wind.”James 1:3-6

All I can do is come back again and again to faith. Because though we search for answers and long for clarity, proof is not often possible. And it’s actually better that way. It forces us to return to a God of the impossible (at least, impossible in our human understanding of possibilities).

When Job asks “where shall wisdom be found?” and “where is the place of understanding?” he acknowledges this difference between our ways and God’s ways (28:12,20). He admits “man does not know its worth, and it is not found in the land of the living” (v.13). In fact, he goes on to state that it is “hidden from the eyes of all living” (v.21). Which makes sense if faith is not a matter of our eyes, but our convictions, our belief in things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).

If we cannot see, if there is no proof, what then is the grounds for knowing?

As a Christian, it is comforting that “God understands the way to it, and he knows its place” (Job 28:23), that further still, God made a way in Jesus. God is the author of the seen and the unseen, and though wisdom and understanding are not ‘tangible’ or ‘visible’, he “looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens“(v.24). He is all-seeing, and full of understanding. We see only dimly now, but he sees all that was, is and will be clearly; his view is beyond visibility and history.  

All that is created is his; which he saw, declared, established and searched.

This year, obedience + faith + grace have been recurring themes. And faith is not a one time thing.

I choose to place my faith in Jesus. To trust him. To follow him.

And that is a daily decision.

…For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Cor. 1:18).

Faith is necessary at all times, in all things.  In my health. In my study. In my work. In my relationships. In my speech. In my actions. In my future. Faith is necessary.  And the more I accept that proof, knowledge, control and certainty are not always possible, the more I grow in my faith in a God who is all-knowing, all-seeing, all-loving and the only constant thing in this ambiguous, ever-changing reality. A God who so loved, who so knew our deepest need for salvation from our rebellion and reconciliation with himself that he would send Jesus to demonstrate what true suffering and trusting looks like

“…Yet not my will, but yours be done.”

(Luke 22:42)

Eight years old.


When I was eight I asked to be put back together.

One of my mother’s friends told us a bedtime story about a King and his princess. This princess was beautiful, whole and made to bring love and happiness to the King and others. The story used a rose to demonstrate this. But there was a monster who came along and wanted to destroy what the King had made. This monster pulled the petals off, threw them onto the floor and wanted to stamp them, burn them. But the King said NO. He placed the petals into a glass to protect them, to keep them safe until the special glue could put them back together (the Holy Spirit). Mother’s friend then asked us kids whether we wanted to be put back together, and that we only needed to pray a special prayer.

When I was getting into bed, I whispered in my mother’s ear – I wanted to be put back together.

My mother’s diary records that there was:

“No question as to whether she needed to be, she obviously just knew! Praise God!”

I went back out to where the other adults were. But little Jessie didn’t want others to pray for her… she wanted to pray and be involved, to read the words for herself. So she raced off to get instructions! (Apparently I came back with the notes from a healing seminar my parents had been to and followed along with that prayer).

My mother writes:

“I had no idea she knew it was in there! She just followed through while sitting on my lap.”

A story of petals to a salvation prayer.

The King put the princess back together, the broken parts of me dancing as they raced towards Jesus!

To God be the glory!

After this, on another night, I made my first commitment to Christ.

My mother records:

“At bedtime when we started to pray to the King, Jessie wanted to get something, came back with the Blessed CD cover and read out the following:

Dear Jesus, I need you…

I need your grace to forgive me and I need your love to change me.

Thank you for your amazing love…

Thank you for giving me life and eternity.

But above all thank you for dying on the Cross for me.

Now I am a Christian, which means You live in me…

I belong to You.

I will live my life for You.

I will love You forever.

Amen. “

** See the Blessed album (circa 2002), full of old favourites!


I want to share this beautiful blast from the past because there is SO MUCH VALUE in praying for, investing in, lovingly discipling and teaching young children about Jesus. I am so thankful to my parents for praying for me and sharing with me the good news of Jesus from a young age.

Oh the joy of growing up learning and loving the Lord!

At a friend’s twenty-first last year I had a lengthy conversation with his grandfather, listening as he told me about wars and meeting his wife… The one word of wisdom he wanted to reiterate to me again and again was:

“A family that prays together stays together”

I still remember it to this day because of how many times he repeated this phrase. Amen!


Have a read of Matthew 18 and Luke 18 if you get a chance. These are such rich passages of the gospel as Jesus refers to children when speaking of receiving the kingdom of God. In these contexts Jesus shares a valuable lesson in what it means to belong to this kingdom, His Father’s house. Those who are confident in their own righteousness do not go home justified; whoever exalts themselves will be humbled, and whoever humbles themselves will be exalted (L:9-14). The greatest in the kingdom of heaven are those who take the lowly position of a child, and those who welcome one such child in Jesus name welcomes Jesus! (M:1-5).


Oh to receive the Kingdom of God like a child!

To know without question that we are in need of a Saviour.

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