I’m 28 years old, live in Victoria AUS, my daily paid adventure is climbing trees (Arborist) but I love everything adventurous in the outdoors, being in nature and appreciating the wonders of what God has made always inspires me.  I’m a deep thinker and enjoy a good conversation about all things life, I like to write and to wrestle with ideas.  The most defining thing about me is my faith in a loving God.  I’m passionate about understanding people and sharing Jesus in ways that people understand.  

My life began on a rural farming property of 2000 acres on the New England Tableland in NSW.  I am the second eldest of five children, we were all homeschooled and I never attended school.  My early years revolved around working on the farm (beef cattle), making bows and arrows, building tree forts, riding bikes and going on hazardous adventures with my friends.  We also owned another farm on the coast, growing up with so much adventure and free outdoor activity is something I’m forever thankful for.

I was raised in a Christian home and we fellowshipped with various churches as I grew up, looking back I didn’t really know God anything like I do now, but I was a very thoughtful young person and considered life deeply and I always held firmly onto the idea of something more.  After church on a Sunday as an 8-10 year old you could find me on the trampoline in the backyard singing “Jesus lover of my soul” at the top of my lungs for some duration.

Like for so many of us, life unfolds through a series of difficulties and heartaches and my faith was built out of the challenges I faced.  My parents’ marriage was increasingly conflicted as my father faced a battle with mental health, the entire process to divorce was mirage of stress, brokenness and hurt, as one of the eldest kids and being the older son I carried a lot of the weight on my shoulders, trying to mediate and keep the peace.  There was almost an entire year I barely slept, as soon as it was dark I could hear voices, sounds of people breaking in, my only peace was to wear ear muffs, leave every light on and play classical music all night.  Somewhere in the midst of this I remember a brighter time when things seemed on the up, Dad was home more and there was less conflict, then an accident on the farm that I was directly involved in left one of my younger sisters an amputee, the ensuing stresses was hard on everyone and was the end of my parents’ marriage.

I used to lie on the floor for hours listening to music or audio stories, as soon as I could read proper books I would pour through biographies and life stories, anything on adventure or people facing challenges, I wanted to know more about life and great people past who had lived it well.

The scars of life left a hole though and the moment I was introduced to pornography years of silent shame and struggle began.  I know others who have used various addictions to numb or cope will relate, hating the thing but always going back, knowing before that I was going to ask for forgiveness after but continuing on in a repetitive cycle of failures and promises, feeling so broken at the power it has over your life.  Having a faith that was so clear about it being wrong only seemed to drive the shame deeper, my addiction darker, places I wasn’t sure I could come back from.  Through this battle I was baptised (at 15), through this struggle I served as part of my local church.  As the disparity between the life people see and the thoughts in your mind grows greater, you increasingly feel less known or understood.

One dark day after telling God “I just don’t want to fight this battle any more” but at the same time being finally sure that if there was any justice I’d sunk far too low and failed far too many times.  I must be cut off, I must now surely be “on Satan’s side”?  Yet as I thought about that for a moment I realised how much I still wanted to do good things and live an upright life.  Firmly believing that all good things come from God, I started to reason, ‘how could I have fallen too far and yet still want victory?’  It was a life changing moment of realisation, the futility of evil and the goodness of God.  A God who loved me that much and who would stay beside me through my lowest.  The fact that there was still a desire in me to do right and live free was evidence of His continuing presence.  It is the presence of God and His grace in the journey, in the right now, which makes the victory possible! His grace and presence is not something we must journey towards.  His grace is the reason there is a journey at all.

I learned that if we are going to win the battles we fight inside of ourselves there has to be a moment we call a truce, where a white flag is flown and we meet our enemies face to face.  God’s grace is that white flag, the space of no condemnation where we can unpack our fears, shame, doubts, questions, insecurities and failures (big and small), a secure relationship where we can know love and learn to live in its freedoms. 

God calls us to show up and face the hard things, but there are no conversations I cannot have with God, no parts of myself I need to be afraid to uncover or understand.  To know God is both to have your weaknesses revealed and to know the grace that empowers growth and transformation. 

God is the constant in all things in my life.  Since that moment as a teenager there have been many amazing times but also some very difficult.  In recent times I have experienced tremendous loss and heartache in ways I hadn’t imagined, let more tears fall than all my life before.  But through it all, God’s presence, provision and promises have made a way.  There is something about the Christian worldview that gives real meaning to both our suffering and our joy.

The greatest challenges bring the greatest potential for growth.  In all the hard things we face there’s a way to let God transform it for good.  God has been in all the days before, He’s with me today and I trust Him for every tomorrow.

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