Why I Don’t Read Newspapers

In London there are two papers that circulate daily on public transport – the Metro for the morning commute and the Evening Standard for the return journey home. They are both free and read by millions of people. I haven’t opened either of them for at least a year and I am never tempted to, no matter how enticing the headline or pretty the cover photo (Kate Middleton – girl crush).

There are two reasons that I don’t read these papers and have no desire to. The first being that they can be incredibly exaggerated. I saw this when they recounted the details of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake that devastated New Zealand. As I was keeping up to date with the facts through the NZ Herald website, I could see clearly that the London papers were loosely throwing words and numbers around to make catchy headlines. This made me irate.

The other thing I find hard to stomach is how totally depressing they are. One day I read that in one week alone, four people had jumped under trains to end their lives. It was in a tiny box at the back of the paper and I imagine not many people would have taken much notice, as it’s a common occurrence in London. For the rest of the day my heart was heavy for these people that desperately wanted to die and had succeeded. For their families.

I am incredibly impressionable and a seeker of the truth. This is precisely why tabloid newspapers, trashy magazines and gossip sites do not bode well with me; because I cannot take the words as truth. It’s merely hearsay. For factual accounts and reporting on current events, I watch the TV news or read the BBC news website. I prefer to spend my commute reading a novel or listening to music. Occasionally there is a positive news story that brightens our days, but it’s more often a negative dictation of the world we live in. I simply do not want to start my day with bad news, not ever.

When I gave my life to God, I stepped into the light and committed to a life of truth. To telling the truth and living the truth. I haven’t done either of those perfectly since and I will stuff it up again in the future. Why? Because I’m a human and sometimes, I want to hide from the truth. The truth is hard but it is also how we find freedom and growth.

The media of this world don’t believe that.They believe in getting unflattering pictures of celebrities, making money and glorifying gossip. And if current events tells us anything, it’s that the future is hopeless. I believe something different; that there is hope in this broken and dying world and that it doesn’t end here. If we look only at politics, poverty, the economy, human condition and the earth’s lack of sustainability, we’re all doomed. That’s what the news tells us. I am realistic yet hopeful for what is unseen.

I hear so many people say “sometimes I just want to switch off and read trash! I don’t want to think too hard”. Everyone is different and I am particularly sensitive, I’m aware of that so I do what works for me. However, I think that there is no harm in guarding our minds. Consider today; what are you reading, who are you watching, what are you thinking about during the day? We are influenced and can be easily swayed.

I’m hopelessly hopeful and a lover of the truth, and that’s why I don’t read the newspapers.

Do you read newspapers? What do you think of the media that we read? Share your thoughts in the comments. 

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To the Girl Without a Father

Creative Commons. Lauren Hammond

I wrote this letter to myself and every other “Fatherless girl” many months ago, and it was probably the most healing collection of words I have ever written. I tried to publish it on a number of other blogs because it seemed a little too “close to home” for my own site. I may seem honest on here, but I am privately open. There are some things I keep close to my heart and one of them is my experience of not knowing my father when I was growing up.

However, last night when I was working out what to publish today, it felt right. I’m ready for my past to help others as I know there are many girls and women who have struggled as I have. I am simultaneously terrified and excited to share this with you.

As you read, try to remember that today I am different. Today I have a relationship with my earthly father that the girl in this story didn’t. Today and every day, the Lord is restoring the years that the locusts have stolen.

***

Precious girl. You’ve lived your while life trying to convince people that you are loveable. You’ve spent years being loud and outrageous so that others would take notice and think you were special, when deep down you didn’t even believe it yourself. You just so desperately wanted it to be true. Are you tired? I can see it on your face despite your sweet youth.

All that smiling and pretending, all the pining for attention, it came from somewhere deep and dark in your then-adolescent heart. Somewhere lonely. It came from the place that housed the lie that has defined your life until now; that you were unwanted.

There was a guy. His aloofness towards you was attractive because you didn’t know you deserved more. He took your tender heart into his uncaring hands and broke it a little bit more. It hurt, but the rejection was all too familiar and before long it had happened again with someone else. Though you were hurt, you weren’t surprised by this pattern because it only drove the point home further: rejection was your birth right. Lies, lies, lies. Still hanging over your now-adult head and still stealing your joy, your security and your identity.

After seeking out male love and validation for your whole life, you finally met a good man with faithful intentions. It was terrifying. His affection and devotion toward you came up against the solid brick wall you had built around your heart. Every single time he attempted to shed light on the truth that you are beautiful, funny and talented…. BAM. You were both trying so hard; him to convince you that you were worth loving, and you to believe him. It became exhausting for both of you and you pushed him away for the final time. You couldn’t let him in because you weren’t ready, but God knows you tried.

“Where to now?” you’ve been thinking. You can’t seem to find the fulfillment you need, every relationship is a dead-end and you constantly feel empty. I know, I’ve been there and it’s incredibly frustrating. You want to be whole and happy but you don’t know how. You know God loves you in your head but nothing is changing; you aren’t changing.

Little lady, it’s time you knew it in your heart.

The rejection that hung over your childhood like a dark cloud and labelled you as unworthy, it broke you when you were just an innocent little girl. Your beautiful mother did an amazing job of pouring love into you, but she couldn’t fill the gap of your father. There’s no shame in your brokenness but there’s also no life in it, and definitely no future for you there. Now, after experiencing first hand that no man can heal you, it’s high time you let God do what He’s best at. It’s time you let Him be your Father.

Restoration is waiting at your door. Will you open it and invite Him in?

There was no one to tell you the truth when you were young, so of course you didn’t know it. There was no Dad to lift you high on his shoulders and plant seeds of self-worth. There was no male role-model to set you apart as unique, lovely and talented. You didn’t have an adoring Daddy to admire your pretty dress and sweet laugh. That isn’t fair and it wasn’t meant to be this way.

But it’s not too late! Not now, not ever.

Jesus has a plan which starts with exposing, attacking and eradicating the lies that you are unwanted, rejected and not valuable. He will then replace those now vacant spaces in your heart with the truth: that you are absolutely loved, fully accepted and devastatingly beautiful.

Restoration is waiting at your door. Will you open it and invite Him in?

No boyfriend or husband, no matter how much he loves you, can fill that gaping hole that has been left by your absent father. Your partner can be an extension of God’s love for you, but he alone will never be enough. It is a father shaped hole, and thankfully our God is the greatest Father of all.

You are enough as you are, and God is enough for you as He is.

All it takes is a whisper that yes, you’ll invite Him in. Over time as you experience God’s redemptive love; that whisper will become a shout in the face of the lies that have held you back all this time.

You are loved and you do have a Father!

So sweet girl, take your broken heart off your sleeve and pass God the baton, ‘cause He’s got it covered from here. As He redefines your value and rewrites your future, you will shine. You won’t have to convince yourself and the world that you are lovable, because your newfound identity as a precious daughter of Christ will do it for you.

Restoration is waiting at your door. Will you open it and invite Him in?

***

Please leave a comment so that I’m not left here feeling vulnerable and stupid. Was your father around; was he what you needed? Do you relate to this girl I am writing the letter to? 

What’s Your Love Story?

I am petrified of love. What it does to me, where it will take me, who it will turn me into. For both reasonable and irrational reasons, I don’t have the best view of it. I do in an idealistic way and I know it’s a beautiful thing, but I feel like love and I don’t go well together. I’m working on that, because though my being single right now is amazing and purposeful, I don’t want to be single forever.

I was read this quote the other day by a friend and I adore it. It made me look at love, something that has perplexed me and confused me for years, in a completely new light. It is the best definition of romantic love I have ever heard:

“Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being “in love” which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.”

― Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

This quote is both romantic and sweet, but incredibly realistic, which is why I love it. Now, I put out a call for your voice and input. What do you think of the above quote? Are you single, dating or married? I would really like to hear your love story in the comments section, whatever it is. Sorry to be a little cheesy but I like these stories because they give me hope. I love that every person’s story is different, and the same way no two people are the same, no two love stories are the same either. That is a very good thing and your love story, messy or simple, is to be cherished!

Will you tell me your love story? Or just share your experience, view, or definition of love?

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Fear vs. Hope

With a passion, I truly despise fear. Fear steals joy, kills hope and destroys dreams.

Fear has the ability to break your spirit and stunt your growth. It can darken any mood, any room, any mind or heart. When we listen to fear, everything that could possibly go wrong suddenly seems real. But it’s not.

Fear is convincing and cruel, and so very subtle. Everything it says is a lie because fear is buried in darkness. It slinks away from any form of light, because in the light there is truth. Fear doesn’t want you to know the truth.

The truth is that fear is a liar that labels you as a failure before you’ve even tried. Fear is irrational and people ruled by fear aren’t truly living, they are prisoners. Fear is a dead-end.

However, it doesn’t end with fear.

Hope gives life, she is a breath of fresh air. She’s hard to trust, but she’s a heck of a lot of fun. Hope is a risk taker, she is exciting. She brings perspective and joy. She can’t fix the ‘now’ of your situation, but she offers an alternative for your future, if you choose her.

Hope is the tiny flower in a vast desert and she’s the light at the end of the tunnel. Hope is the oxygen to my lungs when fear is threatening to take over.

Hope is my friend, fear is not. Hope is life, fear is death.

I choose life. I choose hope. How about you? 

Do you ever struggle to choose hope over fear? Does fear control you? What are you afraid of? Leave a comment.

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Fear vs. Hope

With a passion, I truly despise fear. Fear steals joy, kills hope and destroys dreams.

Fear has the ability to break your spirit and stunt your growth. It can darken any mood, any room, any mind or heart. When we listen to fear, everything that could possibly go wrong suddenly seems real. But it’s not.

Fear is convincing and cruel, and so very subtle. Everything it says is a lie because fear is buried in darkness. It slinks away from any form of light, because in the light there is truth. Fear doesn’t want you to know the truth.

The truth is that fear is a liar that labels you as a failure before you’ve even tried. Fear is irrational and people ruled by fear aren’t truly living, they are prisoners. Fear is a dead-end.

However, it doesn’t end with fear.

Hope gives life, she is a breath of fresh air. She’s hard to trust, but she’s a heck of a lot of fun. Hope is a risk taker, she is exciting. She brings perspective and joy. She can’t fix the ‘now’ of your situation, but she offers an alternative for your future, if you choose her.

Hope is the tiny flower in a vast desert and she’s the light at the end of the tunnel. Hope is the oxygen to my lungs when fear is threatening to take over.

Hope is my friend, fear is not. Hope is life, fear is death.

I choose life. I choose hope. How about you? 

Do you ever struggle to choose hope over fear? Does fear control you? What are you afraid of? Leave a comment.

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My Happiness Remedies

I am pretty good at wallowing in my own pity, WOE IS ME style. It’s in my top 5 list of talents. After doing it consistently for months on end, I can conclude that it isn’t working. I know, what a shock Micaela, you genius! So in the past week I’ve made a little ‘go to’ list of things that distract me and pick-me-up when I’ve got the blues. It’s short but oh-so-sweet, and punches my self-pity in the face!

1. Running. As you may know, I’ve taken up running again in an effort to bring some discipline (and a hot body) into my life. I had a ‘sad day’ last week and after my run, nothing had changed except for the endorphins running through my body. But thankfully, they changed everything. Endorphins are my friend.

2. Skyping home. For you, this may be just calling a friend or meeting up with someone. But sometimes there are those special people who know what to say. They know you and love you. I always feel loved and appreciated (and so thankful) after skyping my friends and family in New Zealand. So if I’m feeling lonely, I’ll text and find someone who’s free and wants to chat. I haven’t been so great with this in the past.

3. Watching Modern Family online. Seriously, instant laughs. May not be your jam, but any light hearted sitcom that has major LOL factor will do. Takes your mind off your life for 30 minutes and who doesn’t love laughing?!

So there’s my little list. For you this could be very different. But I encourage you to also have a couple of things like this in your life, especially if you’re going through a particularly difficult time.

We can’t always change everything we aren’t happy about, but we can change how we deal with it. Say no to moping.

Chin up buttercup, because this too shall pass. One day.

What would be on YOUR list? Do you have any suggestions for mine? Leave a comment.

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Happiness Is

Happiness is standing on a random island in Scotland, grinning stupidly to yourself.

Happiness is glancing back at your past for perspective, looking down to where you are for orientation, and looking forward to where you’re going for vision. All with hope in your heart.

Happiness happens when you push yourself forward to where you didn’t think you could go.

Happiness is found in friends who are there for you on the bad days when you’re not very fun company.

Happiness is laughing aloud about something funny that happened, even when no one else is around.

Happiness is knowing that you can’t do it all alone, but you can do a lot alone.

Happiness is knowing it isn’t you, it’s Him in you.

Happiness is laughing at your own misfortune, because it’s really not that bad.

Happiness is when you don’t need anyone else to bring you happiness.

Happiness is found in yourself first.

This is what happiness has looked like to me recently. How about you? What does your happiness look like? Are you happy? Leave a comment!

A Love Letter [The Invitation]

(I would like to clarify that I didn’t write this for you, I wrote it for me in a special time. Then I remembered that I made a vow to myself and to this blog that I would write on here with relentless honesty, in the hope that it would break down walls, encourage and inspire. This is my letter, yours won’t look like this. God has written you a love letter too, it’s within you somewhere. He loves you, He sees you.)
Dear Micaela,I created you to be beautiful and that you are. You have made me proud since the day you were born, and though sometimes you felt unnoticed, I always noticed you. You are pure of heart, kind, funny and honest. You are mine and I truly delight in you. I am your Daddy, and though you struggle with that word now (yes, I’ve seen you laugh/cringe when others have called me that), there is a time coming when it will flow naturally from your heart and mouth. I’m patient for that day.Micaela, my heart aches for you to understand how much I love you. You truly are the most precious and priceless diamond to me. I created you to shine, and though life has thrown dirt at you and you have tarnished yourself, my purpose for you is ever the same. Does a diamond lose it’s value if it’s soiled in mud? You are still worth the whole world to me, despite the dirt, which I am continuing to remove every single day, as you heal. Shine, my beauty!Let me in to the innermost parts of your heart, because I will never force my way in uninvited. Everyday, seek me and welcome me so that my Holy Spirit can fill your cup to overflowing and show you how valuable you are. No human will ever be able to show you that the way I can, I assure you. I am your source.

You’ve grown up to be a strong and independent woman, but don’t go your own way. Stay close to me, lean hard on me, trust my faithfulness. Let me be your fierce protector and defender, because you’re my daughter and thats what Daddy’s do. I know you’re not used to it, and letting a man love you is a struggle because it’s foreign. And you’re scared, I know. It will take a while but all you need to do is keep whispering yes, because we’re in this together. I will restore the fatherless years; the years that the locusts have stolen.

Precious girl, you make my heart smile. You are a blessing to those around you; you carry light and joy everywhere you go.

I love you,

Father God (your Daddy) xxx
What does God want to say to you?

The Truth About Love [according to me]

We all love the idea of love. The word triggers pretty thoughts and the word rolls off our tongues pretty easily:

“I love Ryan Gosling, he is so fit!”

“I love strawberries, they’re delicious”

“I love my Mum, she’s the greatest”

 “I’m in love with you”

We all need to be told that we’re loved, sometimes we may struggle to say it but ultimately love is a good thing to us. It offers hope, restoration, freedom and encouragement.  But like all truly good things love isn’t always easy; in fact sometimes it’s really hard.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

The above scripture sets a pretty high standard of what love is, and I think it’s safe to say we all fall short. For me, it is so hard to forget; it keeps no record of wrongs’. I like to remember people’s mistakes – people that I supposedly love – and use it as ammo when I need to. Yep, that’s what it’s like to be loved by me (at times) and I’m sorry if I have ever done that to you. If I haven’t said it outwardly, it has probably been simmering inwardly and it may have even affected our relationship. Again, I’m sorry, I’m working on it.

What this part of the scripture is really saying is that Forgiving = Forgetting. This baffles and challenges me to my very core because it goes against my grudging nature. So maybe to forget those wrongdoings I needed to forgive them, even the smallest of them. Funny how I never thought they were big enough to forgive, yet I can’t seem to forget them. Because I haven’t forgiven. But how much has Christ forgiven me for my wrongs? He wipes my slate clean every single day. Who am I to hold so much against people that I love?

I may not be able to forget in my head, but if I choose to I can certainly forget in my heart. When we let go of that emotional memory we let go of the anger and sadness too.

Love, which is meant to bring hope and freedom, can bring so much pain because it is loving despite flaws (and worse). I’ve seen it first hand with people close to me, I’ve seen love bring hope to the receiver and pain to the giver. This is either because the receiver keeps on taking without giving back, or because the receiver is what I have judged as undeserving of love. Which I’m realising is pretty harsh now that I’ve written it down. WHO am I to judge who deserves love? None of us do and all of us do. We all need love, regardless of how deserving we are of it. Hopefully it does eventually change the receiver’s heart and they begin to give back, but that’s never why we love in the first place. We love because we were created to.

To be honest, I really struggle with this; with loving imperfection. Because if truth be told, I only expect to be loved when I felt I’ve done enough to deserve it, when I’ve earnt it, when I’ve deemed myself worthy. Yet in reality that’s not how it works, and though I continue to fail, the people in my life still love me. How? Why? Instead of just accepting it and loving others the same way, I wrestle with trying to understand it. That’s the stunning and downright haunting thing about love, especially Christ’s love; we don’t deserve it or always understand it because it’s too damn big for us to comprehend.

My mum always said when I was younger ‘I love you, but not because you’re a good girl’. Fast forward more than a decade and I am still grappling with this concept of love. Except that it isn’t a concept and maybe that’s where my problems lie, in this one tiny truth: Love isn’t meant to be understood.

Love sees your best, forgives your worst, and always believes in you. I may not be able to get my head around it, but I don’t have to. I just need to get my heart around it.

What do you love and hate about love? What do you struggle with the most? Please share in the comments and help me know that I’m not alone!