Thursday, 24 April 2014

U - Using blessings to bless others

My blessings:

A car

Access to finances

Ability to work

Australian citizenship

No disabilities/having overall health
Access to education

Freedom to practice Christianity

A supportive family

A house


Access to food and water

Being a 21st century female

How I use them to bless others:

Providing lifts to others who do not have access to a car 

Putting into the money offering at church/helping my mum by paying my own insurance and phone/buying needed things for others such as food.

Using my physical abilities to support others who don't.

Teaching others.

Telling others about Christ and providing bible verses and Godly encouragements for those who are hurting / serving in multiple children's ministries

Supporting others just as I've been supported my whole life.

Providing a safe place for those to come to when it is needed; a blessed house.

Passing clothes on to others who have none or little.

Sharing my access to food and water with others in the sense of hospitality.

Encouraging other young girls and women to hold themselves in strength in dignity in a world where women used to not have either...

I encourage you to look at your own blessings and evaluate how you could use them to bless others.

Your Starfish Story is still being written. . . Have faith

T - Tattooed and Christian

One concern from other Christians about me is the fact that I have tattoos. They tell me it's a sin, and that I should have them removed.

Other Christians support me and are proud of my tattoos,  saying that they give me an evangelistic edge; when people ask me about them,  I  am able to share parts of my testimony and what God has done for me.

The bible does say to not mark one's body,  however religious research has found that it was in reference to markings found in Pagan traditions... this same passage states that a person is not meant to shave, nor cut their hair.. should we also not participate in these bodily activities too?

Leviticus 19:23-28 23 “When you enter the land and plant fruit trees, leave the fruit unharvested for the first three years and consider it forbidden.[f] Do not eat it. 24 In the fourth year the entire crop must be consecrated to the Lord as a celebration of praise. 25 Finally, in the fifth year you may eat the fruit. If you follow this pattern, your harvest will increase. I am the Lord your God. 26 “Do not eat meat that has not been drained of its blood. “Do not practice fortune-telling or witchcraft. 27 “Do not trim off the hair on your temples or trim your beards. 28 “Do not cut your bodies for the dead, and do not mark your skin with tattoos. I am the Lord.

The old testament is one that was wiped by Jesus dieing on the cross. The old covenants are gone and the new is enforced. . Think about it. We no longer stone people to death because they cheated on their spouse (that's murder). We no longer sacrifice animals to connect receive forgiveness from God (that's animal cruelty) and women no longer marry their rapists if they are single (that's just morally wrong and thank goodness).

Jesus has saved us from such old testament practices and laws. 

My tattoos aid my evangalistic ministry and I am proud of them. 

Your Starfish Story is still being written.  . . Have faith

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

S - Skin-picker: Dermatillomania

For as long as I can remember, I've picked at my own skin. During winter, I would pull the loose skin from my lips and this would continue throughout the seasons. My fingers would be bleeding from their sides and I have never had beautiful long nails... 

During my teenage years, I began picking my feet. Bleeding toes and heals dug into made walking difficult.

Recently, I began picking at my arms and I've created various scars.

I have Dermatillomania, a psychological condition in which one obsessively picks at their skin.

everyone with 'Derma' experiences different things. Some may idly pick during everyday activity, where others may purposely seek out the mirror to rid their face and other various skin areas of bumps or lumps; things that in their mind, don't belong under their skin.

We are not drug addicts. We are not freaks. We are not self hammers.

We are people who suffer from something in our minds. Something that we can't escape. 

We are people who simply need support, guidance and love. 

My struggles vary. Today I began picking my lip again, which I haven't done in months, however my arms are scarred and my feet are throbbing along with my fingers. It's not easy, but it's me. I'm getting there... I will survive this. I always have,

Your Starfish Story is still being written. . . Have faith 

R - Radicated Christians

It takes guts to travel. It is venturing into the unknown, the unfamiliar and adjusting to new environments in short spaces of time..
However, this is the case when it comes to staying in one place too.

To be radicated, is to stay in one place. To be planted, rooted. 

When we stay in one place, we experience an extensive amount of change, we meet many people, and we become part of the history within that place.

To stay, is to have faith in the future of that place. It's to have faith in our future selves that develop within that place. 

I personally am dying to travel. I want to explore and experience many cultures. But I have always had something keeping me home. God wants me here.

I know one day I will travel. But right now, my ministry serves its purpose right here in the place that I was born and grew up. 

I am involved in multiple childrens ministries, each of which I serve a valued and strong purpose. That is worth more to me than any crazy adventure overseas. 

One day I will leave for a while.. But right now, I'm Radicated.

Your Starfish Story is still being written. . . Have faith 

Q - Queries and Questions

During my A - Z challenge, questions have been presented to me by multiple people about various topics. For "Q", I will be answering these questions and adding more as they are presented.

Do Christians sometimes poke fun at unbelievers?

I believe they do. I myself have found humanistic judgements on others coming out of my mouth or sitting in my mind, which I have begun shutting out of my life. I can't say anything for other Christians, but due to them being human too, I believe it does happen from some.. But certainly not all :)

Do you believe more heartbreak could be avoided if we were able to contact our younger selves before mistakes are made?
I do agree with this, however if we didn't make mistakes, we wouldn't learn and grow. Humans are beautifully resilient :)

Is profanity a sin itself? Which words?
The bible says "do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths. Only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen" Ephesians 4:29

Anything negative words that harm others is profanity and should not be used. Something that is a humanistic struggle.

Sometimes the hardest part of change is the anticipation of it... 
I agree. Not knowing the outcome of change is something I struggle with terribly. Thankyou for that revelation :)

Why did you get re baptised as a Christian rather than be catholic?
I chose to be re baptised for the sake of wanting to do a public deceleration of my faith. I was first baptised as a Catholic at the age of four, which was hardly my choice, nor a deceleration.

I don't believe my choice was based on religion, however I adore the sense of community and freedom within Christian churches. Prayer is free, traditions are not requirements and it is also less formal. Just simply comfortable for me :)

Please send more questions to be added to this post. I adore sparks of curiosity :) 

Your Starfish Story is still being written. . . Have faith 

P - Putting together God's puzzle pieces

                 All puzzles are different.

                                                                      Some are easy.

                               Some are difficult, with many pieces and a hard picture to follow. 

        What people don't seem to realise is that all puzzles are easy or difficult for different people. 

Can you remember your first puzzle? Maybe 10 pieces? Some characters or animal images? 
Do you remember how difficult it was for you? Probably not. It was a small trial in your life which, over time, you resolved. You learnt how to fit the pieces and the stress of learning faded as quickly as it came.

As you get older, the puzzles recommended for your age bracket become more difficult with detailed images to follow and many more pieces to place.

This is what it is like with God. 

As we become older Christians, we come against various trials which become more and more difficult. It takes patience, practice and guidance to put the pieces of these trials together in order to see the beautiful image/plan God has for us.

Keep putting the pieces together. It is all worth it in time.

Your Starfish Story is still being written. . . Have faith

O - Overcoming Dad's Death

On the 21st December I lost someone very special to me. Someone who young ladies need in their lives. My Dad.

Due to a condition called Pancreatitis, I lost my Dad way sooner than I should have.

But blessed I am, because I was born into the strongest family this world has ever seen.

My family; my mum, my 5 siblings and our spouses were called to the hospital. We were told Dad was not going to make the night due to severe problems with his pancreas and we were asked to say goodbye to Dad.

I had held it together through the night as we waited for his "sleep" to settle. I had decided not to go see him on his hospital bed as he was unconscious and I did not want to see him that way.

Before I knew it, I was running to his bed. I told him I loved him and cried the hardest I've ever cried in my life.

He taught me so many things. I have his eyes. His stubbornness. His sense of humour. His passion for people. He created friends wherever he went, which he held for life. He taught me that one chocolate is never enough, especially before dinner and late at night. He showed me the world of cars and taught me how to cook a mean BBQ. He taught me how to drive and never once criticised me on how I was going, despite his hand placed firmly on the handbrake ready to halt the car. I love you, Dad. 
"I love you too, you know that". 

My dad wasn't an amazing man. He IS an amazing man.

Take heart if you have lost a loved one. It's not the last of them. They are still around. Still supporting you, and still deeply love you.

Your Starfish Story is still being written. . . Have faith

N - Natable and Naupathia; Setting sail in God's oceans

There are many different responses to sailing. Some people can spend years on ships. Some people struggle to be on a ferry across the harbour for 10 minutes. Others have never and will never set foot on a boat once in their lives.

What people don't understand is, in the metaphorical sense, we have all set sail. We are Natable; sailable.

The day we were born, we set sail in life's oceans. 

In the ocean, there is a continuous beauty that radiates. Sunsets, blue waters and multicoloured creatures are all part of the ocean.

As we set sail however, oceans can become dangerous. They rock our boats and we may become uncomfortable. Sea sick. We experience Naupathia.

This is what it is like for me as a Christian. I have set sail in God' oceans and I have experienced the most intense storms, leaving me cold, scared and sea sick. It is then that I see the most beautiful things. The sunrises and sunsets (new days). The multicoloured fish (Godly people). Blue waters (cleansing promises of God).

I continue to sail, for my captain knows my ocean path. I am Natable.

Your Starfish Story is still being written. . . Have faith

M - My day job vs. my passions

I am a preschool teacher. This is my profession of choice. I love what I do, but each career has it's pros and cons. This is a short post to put my job into perspective and encourage you to do the same...

My job is to change nappies...

My passion is to talk to the child during this process. My aim is for them to smile.

My job is to prepare food for the children.

My passion is to provide children with nutrients so they have energy to get through their very long days; longer than my work day.

My job is to provide First Aid to children with injuries.

My passion is to comfort the child emotionally whilst I administer the bandaid, ice pack or bandage.

My job is to write observations on the children's learning and interactions.

My passion is to provide experiences for children that provide extensions of their individual interests. This also includes noticing any areas of concern that the child needs support and nurturing.

My job is to be a part of ratios and staffing,

My passion is to work as a valued team member, look out for other staff and make sure children are safe and taken care of.

My job is talk to parents about their children.

My passion is to create partnerships with families and work together in the best interests for their children.

My job is to teach.

My passion is to put positive input into the lives of young children. It is to provide them with the rare blessing of education and provide a window to see themselves as talented. Curious. Intelligent. Kind. Beautiful. Future leaders.

My passion is to created a postive start for children in their lives. 

My passion, is children and the value of what they will do with their lives.

What is your job?

What are your passions?

Your Starfish Story is still being written. . . Have faith

L - Listening to God

It is so easy to have a conversation with someone. They talk, you listen, you talk, they listen. One of the most simple processes we have as human beings.. but when it comes to listening to God..This can be incredibly hard.

The voice of God is a common concept that is found in the testimonies of Christians all over the world. His voice can be heard audibly, through others, through experiences and through written word.

But how do we know. . . What is it about the voice of God that is recognisable...

The enemy (Satan) can take on the voice of God. He is able to manipulate his own voice that can sound so appealing to the human ear, mind and heart. But God's can only be heard by those who listen carefully. If you are not listening carefully,  you're probably hearing
the wrong voice.

Too many times I have followed the instruction of voices th I believe were right. And too many times these voices have destroyed me.

So how do we know what voice is what? Our hearts.

When you feel like you're being given a sign or instruction, process before taking action.

Is  this going to hurt me or others badly?

Does this line up with God's word?

Have I heard this before? What happened last time?

What is the source? Is this trustworthy?

I encourage you to listen. Open your hearts, and hear what God has to say to you.

Your Starfish Story is still being written. . . Have faith

Saturday, 19 April 2014

K - Kaintophobia: When change becomes difficult

Kaintophobia: The Fear of Change

I fear change. Change can be as simple as a new date due for an assignement  or as drastic as a death in the family. Regardless, I hate change.

Change can be scary for many people.  It can cause stress, confusion, misunderstanding and concern...

What I have recently learnt is, change produces growth. If nothing changed, not only would life be dull,  we would not grow. 

Change is a common occurrence in my life. I have never had a long friendship with someone. This always changes.

As a teenager, I dated many boys, so my relationships were always changing.

I changed schools multiple times.

I changed religion multiple times. 

My name has changed multiple times, because I hated everyone misspelling my real one.

Change is scary, because I have always allowed it to control my life.

But this has led me to a great life.

I adore my name.  I have a best friend. I am in a committed relationship.  And the one thing that will never change is God's love for me.

Change can be good. Look for the growth.

Your Starfish Story is still being written.  . . Have faith

J - Joys of being an introvert

I struggle with social anxiety. I tense when I meet new people, and try to avoid this if possible. I worry about little things;

"Will they like me?"

"What should I say? "

"I don't look good today they are going to think I look like this all the time! "

"They will ask me questions.. I stutter when I'm nervous..."

"Aaaand that was the worst first impression ever...."

I am an introvert.

But I am blessed to be.

I may not be able to hold hours of conversation, but I will notice your new haircut when no one else did.

I may not light up the room when I smile, but I notice when you are sitting alone, and I'll join you.

I may not tell the best jokes, but I am a very good listener.

I may not engage in crazy antics like jumping off the roof into a pool, but I know when to support you when you get hurt.

The joys of being an introvert is knowing when someone needs a hug. Because I am not loud and talkative,  I am able to notice the hurting and those needing a shoulder and an ear.

I love being an introvert.

Your Starfish Story is still being written. . . Have faith

Thursday, 10 April 2014

I - I swear I'm a Christian!

Thursday 10th April 2014

As a Christian,  it is an understanding that we need to watch what we say..

I group up in a family where swearing (or cussing) comes in in almost every conversation and children in my family begin swearing at an early age (not encouraged, but it happens).
This has made it difficult for me not to. I can humbly and honestly admit that there has not been a day in the past few years that I have not slipped a swear word at least once throughout my day, wether it be purposeful because I'm angry or accidently because I hurt myself. Either way, I still do it.

Am I proud of these feature about myself? No. My swearing habit does not come from God, nor should it be in my life. So what do I do?

I stop. I think. I assess what I'm about to say. I no longer blurt out anything that's in my mind. The human mind is a cruel and dark place at times and the most hurtful words can be born there.

In light of my problem, I have adopted what I like to call "Christianese", a way of getting out that slight "pleasure" of saying the swear, without actually spilling it.

My favorites are "flip" and "shivers". Much more fun to say and don't hurt anyone!

As Christians and non-Christians alike, I believe we need to be careful what we say. Our toungue is an absolute weapon and we should be encouraged to share positivity and encouragement to those around us.

I have been able to conquer gossip, slander and self-criticising, however swearing is my battle.

I encourage you (and myself) to watch what we say... Let's make a positive environment with those around us...

Your Starfish Story is still being written. . . Have faith

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

G - God gave me a voice...

                                      Tuesday 8th April 2014

Everyone has their own gifts and talents. The difference is, when people realise their talents and what they use them for...

For example, a baker may bake cakes. He could cook cakes for himself and allow his talents to simply be admired by himself (and possibly make him sick) or he could share these talents with others... everyone enjoys cake!

This analogy applies to all talents. 
Personally, I sing. For a while I would only sing in the shower.. this helped me relax and it honestly felt like all my feelings would let go as I sing. 

But no one would hear me. 

A few years ago, I became the worship leader at my own church and my singing became way more than performance and scales. It became about connecting to God and by singing aloud to others, it enabled them to connect with God too.

What are your talents? How do you use them? 
Let them shine. Share them with someone. It could change their world...

Your Starfish Story is still being written . . . Have faith

Monday, 7 April 2014

F - Forgiving and Forgetting

Monday 7th April 2014

One of the most common ideas about Christians is that they are forgiving. In Sunday school, we are taught to "forgive and forget" when someone hurts us. This idea is true. As Christians we are called to love our enemies and forgive their strikes. What we are never taught, is how to do this.

There have been plenty of times in my life (refer to My Starfish Story: Bullying and My Starfish Story: Healing Self-harm). And there have been plenty of times I have forgiven someone... I'm a Christian. That's what we do right? 

What if I told you there are some things I haven't forgiven... some things that to this day, cause me to get in such a rage I lose my appetite and will to do anything productive that day. Those are the days I wish I could forget.

What good does it do though?  How does holding onto resentments and feelings of anger help in life? It doesn't get back at the person and doesn't give you a sense of relief afterwards. 

Jesus was and is a forgiver. He showed love to all people.  He also, displayed his anger towards the people he disagreed with but never gossiped about it. He confronted them with fire (hint; metaphor) rather than sulk in his bedroom in midst of self pity.

I personally want to be like Jesus. Strong. Loving. Forgiving.

It is time for me to forgive, forget and move on in my life. I encourage you to do the same.

Your Starfish Story is still being written . . . Have faith

Friday, 4 April 2014

E - Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Saturday 5th April 2014

Sporting games are all naturally about power, strategy, planning and skill. They require stamina, determination and coordination. But I believe the most important thing about team sports is just that; teamwork.
Generally, before, during and after a game, team members will converse together. They will discuss their plan and generally place people strategically in positions that are fitting for their strengths. The team works well together, the team wins, all are happy and we all go out for pizza together. The end.

But what people tend to forget is those days the team is struggling. The games that the team loses. The day where a team mate cops an injury or just isn't feeling 100% confident in their position.

Not all teams are 100% perfect. In fact, none are. There are battles, arguments, disagreements. If one member has limited faith or trust in the team, then this can cause the entire team to falter and lose.

These are the times we need the encouragement. Those team mates and crowd members who yell "Come on! You can do it! Go, I believe you can". But that isn't the end of it. Some team mates and crowd members who come along-side the struggling player and say "Here, take my hand. I'll run with you. We are in this together."

We all know i'm not literally talking sports here. I for one am the most unsporty person in the world... so.. what am I talking about?


EVERYONE in life has needed and will need support and guidance from another person at some point in their life. Wether they need the verbal encouragement from the sidelines or someone to physically take their hands and be guided through the trials, EVERYONE needs it.

The difference is... Life is continual. It is not a 5K run or even a 30K triathalon. It is the longest journey you will ever face.

It is time to get alongside someone. A side-line support and physical guide are both as important as eachother. But I encourage you... Take someone's hand. Be their guide. You never know who you can save from falling.

Your Starfish Story is still being written. . . Have faith

Thursday, 3 April 2014

D - Dear 16 year old self. . .

Friday 4th April 2014

Dear 16 year old self,

First off, i'd like to thank you for arriving safely at 20 years of age. No easy feat!

You should be proud of the decisions you made at 16. When everyone else decided they wanted to go out to underage drink and begin smoking, you said no. You stuck to yourself with respect and dignity. For this you got bullied... I'm sorry you went through that, but í'm glad you didn't give in. It has made you so much stronger in yourself.

I'm sorry your sea monkeys died... They were pretty awesome. Maybe we can get some more and actually feed them properly this time.

You probably shouldn't have dated in highschool but you had to find that out for yourself... I'm sorry your 2 year relationship with that boy didn't work out. I'm glad you ended it. You weren't happy. Now you're with another man whom you will soon call your husband. He's perfect for you. Thankyou for choosing him. 

No. Curling irons do not work.

Thankyou for learning how to make bracelets. It has really helped 20 year old us with anxiety :)

Thankyou for completely surrendering to God that night. You made that relationship with Him stronger and I am so grateful to you.

Don't worry about those girls. I can see them now and you are doing things way beyond them. You are more successful and you are beginning to see how beautiful you are. Don't compare yourself.

You truly are a lover of Converse. We have many pairs now. Thanks for keeping them all! I'd be so sad now if any of them had been thrown out.

Your name is beautiful. You experimented way too much trying to find the perfect name for yourself. Shonae is it.

How many times did you want to change your room around? And what was with the teddy bear blinds with the heavy metal wall posters? Come on. One or the other.

You haven't become a famous singer, but singing is your gift. You don't need a produced album or music awards to know that. Keep singing, little song bird.

I am SO HAPPY you didn't stick to your first tattoo idea. Everyone has the 'fly away' feathers now. You planned further and picked a beautiful first tattoo when you turned 19. Thankyou for not putting us through the first idea... I like this one better. You will too.

At 20 years of age, you still find that double rainbow exciting.

Right now you may feel dirty and disgusting. Don't feel that way. You had to learn for yourself. And at 20 you have discovered a renewance in Christ. You are pure again.

Your love of Pandas is still with us. Thankyou for that. It gave us the most amazing 18th birthday of meeting real pandas. You will love it!

Thank goodness your writing got bigger... I found an old piece of science notes from your 11th grade classes... I could not even read it. How you managed to i'll never know.

Your mindset will get better. You will no longer be the 'depressed' girl. You are so happy now!

Thankyou for being brave and deciding to go to Southern Cross Kid's Camp. You discovered our passion for speaking into the lives of children from the loving heart of God. You will never look back.

Talk to Mum. She will be your absolute rock in a few years.

You have so many friends now! Don't worry about those other 16 year olds. They don't deserve your loyalty. You have friends now from all different age groups who love God and love you. Just wait. You'll see what I mean.

Please never shave your eyebrows again. It's not a good look.

You should experiment with girl clothes. They aren't that bad. You don't always have to wear boy clothes.
And thankyou for introducing yourself to clothes with colour. Black isn't the best colour on you. Colour brings out your eyes and you look beautiful.

You honestly won't miss highschool, but you certainly will miss your highschool art class. Stick with it. You will cherish it. You still can't draw very well, but it really clears your head. Keep going.

You really need to learn how to take better selfies...

Don't bother dieting. It makes you unhappy and you're not fat. Eventually you will add cucumber to your diet and decide you like to go for long walks. You are only 56 Kilos! Don't stress!

No. You won't be best friends forever with that person.. or that one... or that one... and definately not that one.

Your bunny is still your world. Cherish her. She's getting older now.

Don't get frustrated with Dad for asking you about your life and how school was ect. He is just making conversation and in a few years he won't be around to ask you those frustrating and seemingly annoying questions. Answer him. Those last big conversations you've had with him have been the best. You will feel absolutely distraught if you don't have those chats with him. Give him a big hug too. Lots of them.

Your job at the icecream shop sucks. Just quit.

You will be happy with your hair one day. Just give it time.

Everyone in your family loves you. Remember that.

Don't give up. You will overcome everything that has happened to you. You will be stronger, happier and will find out who you are meant to be in the plans God has for you. Remember Jeremiah 29:11. It will help you.

Love, You (20 years)

Your Starfish Story is still being written.  . . Have faith

C - Christian Supporter of the LGBT Community

Thursday 3rd April 2014

It is obvious that the most debated topic of the 21st century is wether or not the LGBT community should be given the right to marry or not. The loudest voices currently heard are those of the LGBT community and those of the religious community. Both are loud, pleading and full of frustration.

My voice is soft. It lacks judgment. It is of Christ. 

One thing that many people within the religious community are misinformed about, is that they have a right to judge others. They have a right to claim a "damned to hell" fate over the LGBT community. They have a right to criticize their lives.  They have a right to tell them God hates them.

None of this is true... The Bible states; 

Love is created by God.  A free gift given to us by him in all circumstances,  regardless of wether or not we deserve it. To be Christ-like is to love. I don't know about you, but telling anyone they are going to hell is not coming from a loving heart. It is not coming from a Christ heart. 

Regardless of how a person decides to live, God loves them unconditionally without judgement.  Let us be the same.  Let us be like Christ. 

Your Starfish Story is still being written. . . Have faith

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

B - Being Bare; Surrendering and being real with God

Wednesday 2nd April 2014

For those who know me, I find the most comfort in not wearing shoes. For those who know what it feels like to be barefoot in various terrains,  they will understand what I am about to say.

When I am barefoot, I feel everything.  I feel the softness of the grass. The warmth of a snuggly carpet. I feel the splash as I walk through the cool rain puddles.

Though on those hot summer days, I feel the burning of the cement. I feel the harsh stab of bindies (small needle-like plants) sticking into my feet. I feel the rough rocks and sticks as I walk through the bush.  .  .

My feet hurt. . .

This is the same when we are bare with God. When we surrender to God and 'die to ourselves' we open our heart, mind and soul to Him. This enables us to feel his ultimate love. His grace. His unfathomed power to create beauty in our lives..
At the same time, we open ourselves up to ridicule. To criticism. To hurt. To bullying.

To pain.

To protect our feet, what do we do? Wear shoes.  Our feet won't get burnt, spiked or bruised. But I would risk that for the soft grass, warm snuggly ccarpet and splash of puddles.
This may seem confronting. Scary. Not worth it. But I tell you, when I bare my heart to God, he speaks to me in ways I have never been spoken to before by anyone. I hear his whisper "You are beautiful. Strong. Brave. My princess. You are loved. Honoured. Royalty."
The heat, spikes, rocks and sticks are worth this.

Be bare. You won't regret it.

Your Starfish Story is still being written. . . Have faith