I prayed this prayer on Sunday at church.  People were very gracious in their response to it so I thought I would share it here.  The reading was from Mark 4: 35 – 41

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea,“Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

I have found myself in a bit of a storm lately and I have been saying things to God like, “I can’t do this” and “are you going to let me drown?”  I have been praying that God would wave his magic wand and get me out.  But this week, God, speaking through the ages with the words of Mark asks me instead, “why are you so afraid, do you still have no faith when I have never let you drown?” And I realise that he hasn’t, here I am, my head still above water.  I have wanted healing to appear with a bang.  It hasn’t appeared as such but grace has arrived as it usually does, in a more quiet way through the text of a friend that said, “would you like me to pick up the kids today” or my neighbour dropping by to see how I was going.  I realise that this story from mark, like my own story, isn’t about a storm, it is about something bigger and that is Jesus and his faithfulness to us.

Let us pray.

Dear God,

We come to you this morning bringing to you the stories of our lives.  We give you thanks for all that is good.  For our families and friends, for warm beds to sleep in on cold winters night, for our church and the praising of you that happens here and the cups of tea we share.  We give you all that is hard.  We ask you to be with us in the messes we make of our lives.  We ask you to be with us when we feel alone, overwhelmed, afraid and unsure of ourselves.  We ask you to grant us the wisdom, love and healing we need to journey on.

In the storms, in the darkness and in the daily messes of our lives it is so easy to miss you.  Forgive us God, our lack of faith and strengthen it in us.  Let our struggles and muddling through as much as our victories give glory to you.

God, we give you today people weathering greater storms than ours.  People we know struggling with poor health or grief.  People in our town living with oppression, violence or just trying to make ends meet.  People in our country who have come here seeking asylum, peace and a place to call home but instead suffer rejection and fear.  People in our world who are fighting wars and natural disasters that never seem to let up.

God, we pray for them and for ourselves with the hope that we are carried by your grace and held by your love.  That you never let us walk alone, through the calm and through the storm you never let us go.  You are faithful, you are good and your perfect love is casting out fear.




Happy 7th Birthday to Clayton

Today is Clayton’s 7th birthday and what an amazing 7 year old he is.  He is caring, courageous, inquisitive, earnest, compassionate and totally gorgeous.  He has come into our lives and turned my world totally upside down.

I am conscious that I have said little about this.  As opposed to when Nina came into our lives and we celebrated with ceremonies, people brought gifts and we filled albums and our social media pages with endless photos and anecdotes.  When Clayton moved in with us for half his week 10 months ago he snuck in quietly, which is very much his style.  Apart from sharing with close friends and family not much was said and he just became part of our lives.  So much so that sometimes I just feel he belongs with us.  But I am also aware that he belongs to another family and that is as it should be and this is only the first birthday I have celebrated with him.  I had being thinking about this a lot – how do I honour this and celebrate?  Yes there are things about the situation that isn’t considered ideal but what situation is and who decides that anyway for there is so much about Clayton and his unique situation that is wonderful and life giving to all of us.

Then yesterday, I took a cake to Clayton’s school to celebrate with his class.  His nanna, my dear friend, with whom we share care, and the gentlest and wisest woman I know was with me.  We were told parents usually share a story about the child.  As I was over thinking this as I am known to do, she began a story by telling the class that Clayton had a big family – akgnerre anthurre”.  She said that Clayton’s dad was her son but that he also had other parents – Martin and I.  She has said that Martin is also her son and thus as his aunt and uncle we were also his parents.  She talked about her family and Clayton’s family and their connection to this land.  The children chimed in with words like humungous to help describe it and I was filled with such gratitude to be included in it and to be in their lives.

Yes it is a complicated situation and much remains uncertain but this I feel certain of.  God has blessed us with two of his precious children to care for, for this time, but neither really belong to us.  For them and the different ways they came into lives we are grateful.  Today especially, I give thanks for and pray for Clayton.  If you are that way inclined please remember him and us in your prayers today.

barunga festival

This post is mainly for my mum but feel free to read on if youre interested. Im sitting by a fire at home under the central aus sky. Im typing on phone which is something of a juxtaposition of ancient meets modern but thats our world i suppose. Anyway this last week i had the extraordinary experience of attending the barunga festival. This was it’s 30th year and this festival has a long history of being part of the indigenous struggle for equality. Back in 1988 it was where bob hawke promised a treaty that inspired the yothu yindu song and which aboriginal people are still waiting. This year paul kelly played and gurrumul as well as a suprise performance from Peter garrett. It was all pretty special but more than that i enjoyed simply being there amongst aboriginal people who were so strong in culture and so proud of their community.  A local band called blakbulla mujic played and they were my fave. Their songs challenged people on issues such as drinking and violence and people loved it. I have to be honest in my line if work i dont always see strength, pride and what is really working for people so it was especially inspiring.

It was also wonderful to explore some more of the top end. I am falling more and more in love with territory as a whole. Late night swim in thermal pools in mataranka, sunrise over an inland lake near elliott as the extraordinary bird life woke were highlights but just the freedom of the territory and just throwing a swag down anywhere is so renewing.

I went without the kids and martin I missed them but it was a much needed break and so great to share with amazing people -tarn, rachel, rosie, di, ryan, ben and fi. We talked endlessly about life, travel, god and the things that excite me.  I feel so blessed to gave had such a trip.