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Look for New Land

There has been a repeating phrase that has echoed in my heart over the last year and I believe it is important for many in this season. A sentence that brings hope, in a year that many have faced hardship like no year before.

For my family the last few months have been hard.

Walking through muddy, rising waters— hard.

Doing uncommon things— hard.

Trying to find the grace for growth— hard.

Even though it has been a time of many challenging tasks, I have also remembered the prayers of my youth and the faithfulness of a God who has answered them all. The funny thing about perspective, is often we don’t see the pressure that comes with the blessing. We forget the cost of the dream realised. We think of the possibility but forget the growth required for the context of the hopes aligned.

And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so.  God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.”

—Genesis 1: 9-13

Over these months I have been reminded of the Creation account and the way God brought the world into being. I have found in my life that when I am faced with much opposition, it often means new land is being forged and the character required to walk upon its veldt. God moves in uncommon ways when we are blinded to the answers we desperately seek. God answers our calls for refuge and help. He does not play hide and seek, testing our patience by playing games. He draws us towards new land and often asks that we trust him for tomorrow.

In the town I live in, there has been an overwhelming need for housing and new land. As I sit here in my bedroom writing, I can see out onto the road my house sits upon. It is a very simple, ordinary street, in an small seaside town, however there is a small white car that I can see from my bedroom window. Living in that car, is a lady who has lost her home.

The economic crisis and the increase of inflation is just one of the pressures that many have face currently. There are wars and rumours of wars. Heartbreak, sickness and a rental crisis where the cost of living has escalated quickly.

In these times of challenge it is a great reminder to come back to simple things. We do not need mountains of clothes to survive, we do not need overflowing kitchens with gadgets. We do not need more shoes, technology or white goods. One of my favourite local pastimes is watching our free economy “buy nothing” facebook group and seeing our local community share what they have with each other.

Kindness changes communities.

We need each other.

A revolution of simplicity. A kindness that extends into our neighbourhood. A reminder that indeed God is good.

This season has also carried with it so many conversations where friends have lost their focus. What used to bring them joy, no longer has the same taste of satisfaction. An overstimulated society, overweight from opinions and disappointment. When we stay in a place where we no longer are fulfilling the purpose that brings our strengths to life, we become dissatisfied with the routine of the every day.

The phrase that has repeated over and over in my heart across the last year has been this: ” Look for New Land.” or just simple “Buy Land”. It is a phrase that doesn’t make sense when there is so much financial pressure and a lack of opportunities to in fact physically buy land. I do believe in the coming days however, many new opportunities with be available to those who sacrifice today’s harvest for the one that is to come. It reminds us that there are times for planting seeds and indeed times for harvesting the produce of that which is to come.

When we transition into new lands, with new opportunities, there is a deep sense of purpose that unveils in our hearts and lives. Bearing fruit for harvest in winter seasons can be contradictory. Genesis reminds us that producing fruit for the winter season, plants bearing seed, this is the cycle of the way God breathed life into our very planet. And He stopped, rested and said “It is good.”

There is a rhythm to the creation story. The night, the day, the rest and the reset.

Each June, I take time to look across my land. Remind myself of the promises I set at the beginning of the year. To take stock of that which is distracting me and to forgive myself of the things I didn’t mean to do, that have clouded my perspective.

The art of retreating and writing for clarity is one that came so easy when I had less responsibilities. I know though, that it is a balm for my restless soul. It is the way that emotions are processed and it reminds me to look for new land.

If you would like to join me in resetting this July, I am hosting a online workshop on Saturday the 13th: INFORMATION HERE. And please comment above, so I can hear what land is drawing you into its veldt (South African Bushland) this July.

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Genesis Week: devotional one

We long for renewal, a posture that marks the rhythms of every single person. With the promises of new starts, the longing for change and the self-help movement that plagues our screens.

We all want to begin again.

Yet we loop.

We swing around the same habits, face the same dilemma, and sit at the end of the day asking, “How did this happen again?”

Psalm 51 is a stream-of-consciousness poem, a guttural cry of desperation from the same place we each cry from. David—albeit a King, a man of much responsibility and leadership, sat and penned a song of lament, asking God to remove the shame hindering his heart from moving forward.

Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,
    scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
    set these once-broken bones to dancing.
Don’t look too close for blemishes,
    give me a clean bill of health.
God, make a fresh start in me,
    shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don’t throw me out with the trash,
    or fail to breathe holiness in me.
Bring me back from gray exile,
    put a fresh wind in my sails!
Give me a job teaching rebels your ways
    so the lost can find their way home.
Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God,
    and I’ll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.
Unbutton my lips, dear God;
    I’ll let loose with your praise.

Psalm 51: 7-15 (the message)

If we were to take a little moment now for a reset, what would you like freedom from?

Can you write it down on a piece of paper?

Could you take a moment to free conscience write out all the parts of the recurring story that plague you.

Over the last month, I have been writing Psalm 51 with a heart-wrenching cry about the state of the church collectively. It has been a season of much change, transition and pain. Society has been searching for a plumbline amid economic crises, war, food insecurity, a pandemic and the difficulty experienced as our lives increasingly become marked by an online world.

What if we all experienced a Genesis Week: a fresh start?

Today, I want to bring us back to the beginning. The very beginning of creation and find a marker in the prose of the beginning of the world. Genesis.

God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.

Psalm 51

In the beginning, the very start of it all, there was darkness—an empty void, a place of nothingness that has been debated across the markers of time. As I reflect on this place of darkness, I am reminded that God created something, through light, that began the creation process for the beginnings of it all.

In these verses we are told that God commanded and light appeared. This was God’s first creative act. That is, the light came into existence when God commanded that it start to exist. The root Hebrew word for “light” in verse 3 is or and it means ” to be or become light, shine, to be bright or to illumine.” A survey of how this Hebrew word is used in different passages of the Old Testament reveals that the word is used sometimes to refer to God’s Shekinah glory. His presence. A healing glow that transforms darkness through love. The same God who spoke and light bounced through the atmosphere is the person who sits present in our darkest moments and brings light that transforms us once again.

At the beginning of this year, I sat and worked through a process of journaling questions. Gentle Rhythms came from a place where I knew we needed to emerge from a season of profound societal change slowly and softly.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness— only light.

During that day retreat, I started to use creative processing tools to leave behind the season passing better day; I drew a picture of myself as the creative retreat asked. I did not overthink it, I let the scribbles fall out easily on the page, as the subconscious self (our prophetic nature) is always speaking, it is whether we are able to slow down enough to let it express with clarity.

The drawing was so simple yet stark!

It was a woman, overweight, tired, exhausted, carrying many things under her arms, with mountains in the background and children in the foreground. A friend asked whether I had done that part of the process yet and I shared my vulnerable drawing with her and she said “That looks very heavy and exhausting!”

I have spent the last few years trying to do it in my own strength. The heaviness was pervading every part of my being. The darkness of grief, the complexity of change and the heartache of the season had burdened me deeply. It was in that simple moment a word whispered to me, that set the framework of my year. One simple word that I keep coming back to, as we step towards the middle of the year again.


Can I carry it all lighter?

Can light transform the darkness that I carried inside?

Can God bring a genesis week from the chaos?

Genesis 1: 3-5

Day 1. God spoke: Light! And light appeared. (3-5)

I believe that the light that God promises in our darkest periods, will bring the transformation that we truly desire.

What needs to come out of darkness?

Today is an opportunity to bring what has been hidden, into a place of transparency. It could be starting a conversation that you have been avoiding. Maybe you could write a list of things that feel heavy and give them to God for transformation.

Let’s pray together …

God, I pray for anyone reading these words now and I ask for healing from the power of your Light. Bring your transformation power into the moments that we need your help. God, bring courage to have hard conversations. Bring hope where there is despair. Bring laughter from the broken places.


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Grief Changed Us

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin

Psalm 51:1-2

If there is an emotion that will mark the season globally, it is grief. We have all walked through a dark age with a loss of innocence that realigned our sense of what is possible. Imagine life in 2019 with me right now. Please close your eyes and listen to the sounds coming through our cultural systems.

Imagine a life where funerals and weddings would be limited to very small numbers.

Imagine a world where you were unable to go physically to your workplace.

Imagine a world where schools were closed and overnight we were stopped from travelling.

Imagine a world where singing was banned in churches and handshakes forbidden.

In 2019, we all would have said, “No way, this is impossible.”

A few months later, the world writhed with mass societal and cultural change. Yet we did not grieve the impact of this time of challenge, loss and confusion. We all lived this experience, but we have not collectively grieved the impact of these cultural changes and the fear that brought an age of innocence to the fore. We cannot go back. There is no pre-pandemic cure for what we have faced globally. We watched society and the church unravel across our screens as we isolated in our homes, and the impact was dramatic.

It was a shocking season of iniquity. Which is defined as “grossly unfair behaviour”.

Then we moved on.

Taylor Swift created a world tour, wars erupted, new presidents were elected, travel began again, and reunions became the norm.

The problem is that we have silently pretended nothing happened, and the world smiled because events were back on again. We have not faced the collective iniquity and the devastating consequences. A record 49,625 couples in Australia filed for divorce during 2020 and 2021, marking an 8 per cent increase over 12 months. A National Legal Aid survey taken in the depths of the COVID-19 lockdowns further highlighted the issue, showing that one in 12 couples were looking to separate.

A different point of view is that some of us enjoyed the slower pace, and the industries that looked after people had no break; they faced death every day. The pandemic completely changed their world.

They longed for mercy.

We pressure leaders to have the answers, carving out a season no one had witnessed in their lifetime. The leadership pressure was overwhelming. The most significant changes, however, came at the dinner tables, where families were split brutally by sides of a philosophy that no one was ready to fight for—vaccines, scarcity, food insecurity, comparison, depression, anxiety— recurring topics that ripped communities apart.

I know my church community faced public trolling because we were in a public venue that required vaccine evidence before someone could walk into the building. This was at the request of the government, not our eldership, but other Christians trolled social media and shouted their rhetoric from the sidelines.

We have not acknowledged the need for forgiveness from this season of complexity. We have just walked forward and tried to forget the impact on families, friendships and foes.

It is an invitation to find wisdom in this wasteland; we must find a way to allow mercy to shape our moments and acknowledge the grief contained in each of our stories, to make beautiful here.

Firstly, we must corporately acknowledge the pain of the pandemic season. Leaders we need to hold space for this public meetings. We need to lead our congregations in a way that acknowledges the loss and loneliness left from this season.

Secondly, we must find ways to show mercy to those who hurt us. This must be done with wisdom and courage. We are called to be a people of forgiveness, yet we have not found ways to do this with healing. Repentance is not just a suggestion, it is the cornerstone of our faith. Finding ways to forgive those who have hurt us, is imperative for our future.

Lastly, we need to draw ourselves back to the table once again. A place of encounter, presence and hospitality. Making beautiful here in the grief of what we have experienced together. We have created a culture that observes and consumes at an escalating rate. We have taught people to isolate, whether they can articulate it. This creates a comparison generation. A not-enoughness that plagues our soul. We observe people’s lives through an online filter. The lens of loss and lack that motivates our incessant need for more, reframes our worldview.

Defend, disconnect, filter, don’t reply with an honest answer. Amid this scarcity, the hustle for more visibility, notoriety and fame, there is an abundance that is left waiting. A gratitude that shifts our perspective. An opportunity for lessons learnt and ego surrendered.

This blog is a call to make beautiful right here. A genesis week of restoration in our communities begins by acknowledgement, moves towards repentance and forgiveness, then a return to the table so we can be present to one another again.

A time of forgiveness, mercy that doesnt make sense and singing is here. Lately I have found myself repeating. “Make beautiful here” right here and right now. Amid imperfection. Amid stumbling moments of unmet expectations.

Make beautiful here, my spirit whispers in the quiet moments of regret.

Make beautiful here, amid my grieving of the loss of innocence and acceptance we once enjoyed.

Make beautiful here, stop trying to escape the lessons learnt in discomfort and growth.

What am I learning?

How can I listen to a different point of view?

What have I left in unforgiveness from the season of the pandemic?

How can I reframe this moment by its lessons, rather than stepping towards an unknown future, far away from the knowing needed now.

Make beautiful here so we can sit, pray and listen.

Make beautiful here, because this moment will never come again.

Grief has changed us all, and the beautiful renewal that is promised through Genesis to Revelation, that resurrection is available to us once again. It is a time of restoration for all who have walked humbly through this season of chaos and confusion.

Comment above, so we can learn together.

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Renewal, begins with the truth

We long for renewal, just like the sunrise on an autumn day. Humans are designed for a change of season, a new beginning, and the assurance of a blank white page. I am known for my Christmas tree decorations disappearing on Boxing Day. I always unpack my suitcase as soon as I arrive home from travel.

Yet somehow, a little row of decorations I hung in our lounge room for my son’s birthday three months ago are still waving in the wind as I write today. Something about this row of colour reminds me of the promise of renewal; I want to see the celebration linger a little longer. Reminding myself that although darkness can feel like it lasts a lifetime, we are promised to live in joy and find strength in the rhythm and rituals of new life.

This Passion Week (journey across Easter) reminds us that as the dust becomes dust, there is a Genesis week of redemption when the promise of resurrection brings new life again. We hope that when we acknowledge that where there is brokenness, new life is waiting. Where there is loss, grief and despair, there is also life, celebration and resilience.

There are three moments of cleansing in Psalm that promise mercy amid brokenness.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.

Psalm 51:2

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Psalm 51:7

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Psalm 51:10

A fresh reset is the longing of our hearts to feel the cleansing of the dust and mire from everyday life—that moment when a fresh shower hits differently, when we have worked in the garden. This journey begins with an honest reflection and acknowledgement of the truth.

Are you longing for this cleansing that brings the lightness of surrender?

Can you take a moment to ask God for your cleansing, your own need for renewal?

It is so easy to face the crowd and point out the decay and sin in the people we walk alongside. It is easy to shout at the man in the arena, the congregations who have gotten it so wrong. We live in a world of retributive justice. Where we become the crowd, shouting at the death of Christ as we shout at the church collectively.

What about the renewal that is needed every day?

What is our own part to play in the rituals that don’t bring the truth into its right place?

A broken reminder that we each fall short in our daily lives. A reminder that Christ wants to bring resurrection to every part of our broken worlds. Tolkien describes the mercy that Psalm 51 draws us to enter communion with.

Paul in Ephesians describes it this way.

“He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish”

Ephesians 5: 26-27

It is a cleansing time for us all. It begins with our own time of beginning again. Being honest with the ways we have fallen short and need to bring a simplicity of complicity to the fore.

Join me as I continue to reflect and write from these Psalms with the following themes that the writer prophetically speaks about in our current days.  These include Repentance, Honesty, Faith in Jesus’ Atonement, the power of the Holy Spirit, Service to one another, Gratitude, and Friendship with Jesus.

Comment at the top of this blog with your thoughts on mercy, justice and the promise of the renewal we all long for.

Today I will say on repeat, let it become my broken hallelujah …Create in me a clean heart, oh lord and renew in me a steadfast spirit.

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A genesis week: the hope of renewal

I stopped writing …

I can’t really tell you when it happened, it was a slow moving train wreck. Exhaustion from the world we walk and breathe within— war, power and political agenda’s.

Maybe it was the fear from the constant noise of content created online— Am I just fuelling the beast? Maybe it was the friendship I had made with being unseen and wanting to hide.

Grief — yes.

Disappointment at the state of the church collectively — indeed.

Delight— not needing or wanting to be a part of anything that distracts our generation even more.

And then I read a scripture. It was an echo that I have not been able to stop from looping. A call to arms in a season of so much complexity.

What if God wanted to bring a fresh start to it all?

What if we became the Noah generation and prepared ourselves for this new day?

God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life. Don’t throw me out with the trash, or fail to breathe holiness in me. Bring me back from grey exile, put a fresh wind in my sails!

Give me a job teaching rebels your ways so the lost can find their way home. Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God, and I’ll sing anthems to your life-giving ways. Unbutton my lips, dear God; I’ll let loose with your praise.

Going through the motions doesn’t please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you. I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.

—Psalm 51: 10-17

Psalm 51 was penned by David in the aftermath of his public shame of the decisions he made to bed Bathsheba. It is an act of public confession, when David, the greatest of Israel’s kings, fell into serious sin and recognised his need to plead with God for forgiveness.

Across the coming days, weeks and months, I am going to write from this one Psalm.

A call of compassion and contrite reflection. A call towards renewal and restoration. A moment where the explosive nature of creativity from the beginning of Genesis recreated our world anew. A time of reckoning that bought surrender and resurrection. A time where we acknowldege our need for re-creation amid of season of loss and discontent.

Henri Nouwen from this book “The Wounded Healer” call us all to courage at the humanity in which we all exist and breathe within.

“Compassion is born when we discover in the centre of our own existence not only that God is God and man is man, but also that our neighbour is really our fellow man.”

Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Wounded Healer

If you would like to explore this topic together, make time to read and reflect as we look at what it means to have a Genesis Week holistically and find our way through to the other side.

Journaling Question:

Where am I stuck at the moment in my expression of worship or creativity with God?

What is one way this week, across Easter, that I can make time for re-creation again?

Feel free to comment below …

In Christ,