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stay the course

Stay The Course

Psalm 119: 1

“You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily in the direction and road revealed by God.”

Lately, I have wanted to shut everything down. It’s a regular occurrence don’t be alarmed. I overthink it all. My life, my writing and the paths I have chosen to walk. I wonder how much I have been doing to try and gain my own sense of self. This is a weird mix of living authentically but at the same time just wanting privacy and a lot less noise. And there is so much shame being perpetuated across the media waves lately. So many shoulds. So much anger. Most of it righteous, but the projection has been shutting people down rather than opening up the discussions that are so badly needed.

I have chosen this pathway but if I was really honest, it’s a sparse, rabbit trail of crumbs that asks me to carry on. Every time I decide to give up, an email lands in my inbox, with encouragement about my writing or I meet someone for the first time that has been impacted by the stories I have told.

This season in the world has really rocked me. With six months of my calendar wiped in one day and a new book release that has fallen flat into this bizarre time in the world, honestly, it all looks a little shallow on this side of a worldwide pandemic and racial inequity. Then I come across Psalm 119, it was written hundreds of years ago. It is an acrostic poem that explores the beauty of scripture and the rhythm of daily devotion. The first verse reminded me to go back to the beginning of this year and remember what I had promised myself.

Stay the course.

What does it mean for you to stay the course that God set for your year?

Verse two goes on to say “You’re blessed when you follow His direction.”

It doesn’t say you’re blessed when you have a job.

It doesn’t say you’re blessed when your book sales explode.

It doesn’t say you’re blessed when your house is perfect.

It doesn’t say you’re blessed when you have all the answers.

It says you’re blessed when you follow his ways.

The penultimate question is…

“What is the course that was set before me, that I am to walk towards?”

“How would he respond in the current climate?”

Across the next few months, each Monday I am going to write from a different verse from this long, enduring Psalm and walk on a pilgrimage of rhythm in reading the word of God as a form of meditation.

In the comments below tell me what course or decision you had made at the beginning of 2020 and needed to be reminded of?

The decision I made at the beginning of this year was to walk in abundance. To believe the very best in those closest to me, to look for abundance in my thought processes and collaboration. To have fun with my children rather than being so serious all the time. To look for God’s provision rather than the worlds. None of this has changed. However, every sentence above has been challenged.

No one knew what this year would end up looking like this. No one could have predicted what was to happen. However, God saw it and called us to walk steadfastly remembering the simple things that draw us once again back to the promises that He has already enacted in our lives.

My meditation this week is to steadily walk again in the course that was already set. No need to recreate everything. Just come back to the very simple things that draw me towards God once again. Reading, writing, slowing down, singing, laughing and remembering that amid it all, He ultimately is in control.

Psalm 119: 1

“You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily in the direction and road revealed by God.”

Tell me your thoughts below.

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The Daily Examen

The Examen is a method of reviewing our day in the presence of God. It’s practice more than a method, breathing in for thankful reflection for God in the simple things. It has five steps, which is an opportunity for a quick quarter-hour daily examen through writing or meditation.

This method is from the work of Ignatius of Loyola.

Ask God for insight: Let’s look at our day with God’s eyes, not merely our own.

Give thanks: What are we grateful for? The day we have just lived is a gift from God.

Review the day: Rewind your thoughts through the day and be aware of how each section makes you feel.

Face your shortcomings: This is an opportunity to sit with the moments where we have caused harm. A moment of confession.

Look toward the day to come: I ask where I need God in the day to come.

To download your own copy of this process click here to print for yourself: PDF VERSION

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Week five: seek intimacy

What does the word intimacy mean to you?

This weeks devotional is all about intimacy. Watch the video above to talk through how to seek intimacy with Christ in your everyday.  Our world has changed significantly this week. And the timing of this video is not lost on me. God is very kind and gracious.

In today’s video, I chat about my friend Jodie McCarthy who is publishing a short podcast each day across Easter, starting Holy Thursday and Finishing Easter Monday. To get an audio message filled with poetry and life each day sign up here: EASTER PODCAST

Even in seasons, when the road does not look clear. Moments where we see dimly and we don’t understand what is happening.

Reply to this blog in the comments to let me know how you are going?

One way I have been serving my community here online is by showing up each weekday on zoom to hold space and encourage anyone who needs connection. Tomorrow I launch a free online retreat for 5 days and you are invited.

NOW: 5-day creative online retreat on zoom starts tomorrow at 9.30 am Perth time.

Each day this week I have been hosting a zoom call to encourage, pray and support anyone in the community. This week we are working through Dear Creative Self come and join the free mentoring group here.

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week 4: seek wisdom

What is the role of wisdom this week for you?

This weeks devotional is all about wisdom. Watch the video below to talk through how to seek clarity in your everyday.  Our world has changed significantly this week. And the timing of this video is not lost on me. God is very kind and gracious.

Even in seasons, when the road does not look clear. Moments where we see dimly and we don’t understand what is happening.

Reply to this email to let me know how you are going?

Fear is rampant and Amanda chats about this present reality.

I have included some social media images for you below if you want to share them and each day this coming week, I am hosting live mentoring calls with women of influence here.

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Why I am choosing Disney over the news in this season!

This morning I stood in front of the television deciding what to put on as the background to our morning. We were all ready for our day with an hour to spare. I wanted to check in on the news. Ready to hear the latest stats, and what is happening around the world. My worried heart wanted to sit and watch the live streams uninterrupted, my fear wanted to jump into the front seat of my car and take the wheel.

However, sitting at my feet were my little children absorbing everything that echoed through our house. Then something really simple happened, I chose a playlist of Disney tunes over the news. A very simple switch but something really profound awakened in my household. Hope peaked around the corner from our corridor and told fear to go away.

You would think that listening to a Disney soundtrack would be an act of avoidance, but the funny thing is this; I have never watched a film from Disney that has not held within it a story of courage, resilience and hope. Every storyline teaches our next generation about showing up and being seen in the midst of adversity and loss.

The first song belted through my living room from Frozen, singing the lyrics…

“The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen
A kingdom of isolation
And it looks like I’m the queen the wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I’ve tried
Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well, now they knowLet it go, let it go”

Let it go.

The next song flicked onto our screens from Moana with these words…

“I know a girl from an island
She stands apart from the crowd
She loves the sea and her people
She makes her whole family proud
Sometimes the world seems against you
The journey may leave a scar
But scars can heal and reveal just
Where you are
The people you love will change you
The things you have learned will guide you
And nothing on earth can silence
The quiet voice still inside you”

I am Moana.

From Beauty and the Beast…

“There’s been a change in me
A kind of moving on
Though what I used to be
I still depend upon
For now, I realize
That good can come from bad
That may not make me wise
But oh it makes me glad”

Change in Me.

The power of story to transport us to a place of hope and light is so beautiful. I am choosing to focus on words that build life into my family in this season, over ones of doom and destruction.

Last weekend as a family we watched the latest Disney/ Pixar release of Onward. And the power of entering an adventure of a lifetime and leaning into the unknown is not lost on me in this season.

In the midst of everything that is happening, my dear readers, I am NOT suggesting you stop listening to our government, or leaders to seek out the information that you need in this season of the world. But I am suggesting that…

  1. We are careful about what information we allow our kids to overhear. Creating opportunity for these emotions and fears to be unpacked in a way that they understand. Also, allow opportunities for them to seek out safety and understanding.
  2. Don’t believe everything you read or hear? Make sure you use critical thinking and wisdom in the application of what is happening for your family.
  3. Counterbalance the hysteria and worry, with moments of hope, inspiration and resilience. As we watch movies with our families, remind them what it is like to live with courage. The human capacity to rise in the tide of love and hope is very powerful.

My week four video for this Seek Devotional is all about Seeking Wisdom and the timing of this message couldn’t be any more profound to me. You can start your devotional today, through the videos available at the link above.

Seek Download

Seek Paperback