Friday, 27 June 2014

Black dogs...

My blog has slowly evolved from just blogging because I enjoy photography and writing, to being about my journey through grief and depression to now finally having an awesome purpose - raising funds for Black Dog Institute to help with education and awareness and treatment of mental health issues.

The last 12 months have been anything but simple, easy or fun!  I am not complaining, just stating a truth.  If you read back through my earlier posts you will gain a certain degree of understanding of what the journey has been and still is.  I am still emotionally and mentally exhausted and at times broken.  The smallest thing sets me off into tears and a downer just when I think I'm nearly through it all.  So why undertake such a massive ride, by myself, when I am still learning to control my Ducati Monster?


It's not just about me!  Our journey never is just about us.  It has to have a purpose beyond the grieving, beyond the depression and beyond the feeling of hopelessness that it will never end.  It has to give hope to others who have been through or are experiencing the same thing.  Otherwise, what is it worth?

It's also about grace... God's unending, unconditional, abundant grace.  I will talk about His grace until I can talk no more.  I will talk about His love until I run out of words to express it.  Then I will ask him to show it through me in the things that I do.  I am no saint, so far from it that it grieves me at times.  But God is not asking me to be.  He has covered me with his son Jesus and that's all I need. 

Years ago when I was first diagnosed with depression, I was absolutely convinced that God didn't love me, didn't want me and had completely abandoned me.  And, that it would never change... There is a whole other story in there that I hope to share one day but my point for now is that I am so far removed from that person who I was simply because he didn't give up on me.  I am also completely convinced of his love for me that I can finally, for the first time, be free to be me and know that it is enough.

I could honestly go on for hours about how far he has brought me through and will continue to bring me through.  I'll try to space it out over a few posts though so as not to lose you ;)

I am stoked with the support I have received so far and I appreciate those of you who have shown concern.  Please be assured I am being looked after, I am being careful in the planning and will be getting in a lot of practice!   I am not on my own in this or I couldn't do it and I am so excited for what is ahead not just on the ride but in the lead up to it and for what God has planned long after the ride is over.

J xx

Sunday, 22 June 2014


I have had two dreams/desires over the years that have always stuck with me.  One has been to buy a motorbike and ride around Australia for a few months.  The other has been to open a Bed & Breakfast and to also be able to use it as a weekend retreat for women who just need a break from everyday life because of difficult circumstances.  Both those dreams, God willing, are about to become my reality!

It's taken me a while, I can be a slow learner, but I've realised that if I want my dreams to become reality I have to not be afraid to follow the true desires of my heart and to not be afraid to search where those desires are coming from.  On the surface those dreams and desires can look selfish to others and even feel selfish within myself but that's where the courage to search for what's really going on begins.  Not to give justification or to defend those decisions but to know that they are coming from somewhere real and honest and not based on what you think you should do or what others expect from you.  The only person I truly care about being on my side at the end of the day is God.  I find he is much less judgemental and critical and far more compassionate and understanding than I am even to myself.  I understand the wisdom of seeking out wise counsel from those that truly know me and understand where I am coming from because without their support, I could not be doing what I am doing.  But ultimately, the buck stops with me and my relationship with God.  And I'm ok about that.

My point?  Don't give up on your dreams!  I have been through one of the worst times over the last year and never dreamed I would be embracing life the way I am and making some exciting, wonderful and adventurous plans... albeit scary and challenging and confronting as well!  But that's one of the things I love about it.  I like to be stretched and challenged, to keep learning and growing and encouraging others to do the same.  Having been brought up with so much fear instilled into my life about just about everything, it is pure freedom to realise I don't have to live like that.

I am finding this time in my life to be incredibly lonely and at times that is crippling and brings me undone.  But I have a learned to be resilient.  (To bounce back up in a way that has nothing to do with the oncoming of middle age spread ;) )   I love where my life is heading, I love the opportunities I have been given and I am incredibly grateful for them and for the way God has just flung open doors to get me to where I am today.  I have never felt his presence more or his walking beside me, leading me, even when I'm sure he must just throw his head in his hands and say 'here she goes again' and has to summon up more angels to follow where I tread haha!  But that's ok because his grace and love and desire to see me live a fulfilled life is way above anything I care to do or places I want to go. And he knows my heart...

These desires are His desires.  I am convinced of that because I am doing it in the face of real fear.  Fear of failure, fear of becoming that insecure, shy teenage girl that I always was and is still very much a part of me that I am constantly learning to care for.  Fear of letting others down who believe in me.  Fear or never fulfilling my dreams and living an empty life.  It is His strength that sees me through, that gives me courage and helps me to embrace life in the face of grief and hurt and pain. 

I am so grateful for the encouragement I have received about my new home and my biking adventure.  God places us in positions where we are not alone because he created us to be in community.  I have reconnected with old friends who have been instrumental in helping me be who I am today and I have been embraced by new friends who have already impacted my life in such a short space of time.  I see him building new community around me and I am humbled and thankful.

I kind of feel like this has been a bit of a long winded and slightly gushy (sorry!) post today but I hope you see the heart of what I am trying to say and if you don't, that's ok too because He does and He is my all in all, my rock, my shelter and always my salvation.

Love ya... J xx

Tuesday, 10 June 2014


You know that place where God is taking you somewhere, and you're just not ready???  Oh God, I'm so...not...ready!

Leaps of faith that seem impossible or even insurmountable.  Knowing it is only by the grace of God that I go there because I am so...not...worthy.  Knowing the words I write are coming from a place that only He can touch and inspire. That only He is allowed to reach into for fear of becoming more broken, more incapable and needing more of his grace when I've  already taken so much!

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

I don't understand so much in this journey and yet I understand this... He alone is my rock and salvation.  He alone loves me with an unfailing love that never let's me go.  That alone puts a smile on my face and joy in my heart, even when it is breaking.  And I will forever love him for it and sing his praises.

J xxx

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Joy and heartache.

It's a bittersweet thing to experience joy and heartache at the same time.  Joy at where my life is heading but heartache at remembering I am still grieving what I have left behind.  I have found a freedom I only ever dreamed of but at what cost?  Grief has a habit of reminding us what we have to deal with before rushing head first into a new life.  Not to hold us back but to set us free to move forward.  It's like a tug-o-war over your emotions.  Joy at the places you are moving into then something triggers a memory, an emotion and it's like someone shooting an arrow at your back pulling you into the past to deal with the things that make your heart feel too heavy in you're chest to even carry, let alone rely on to keep beating day after day...

But God is patient and full of compassion and is teaching me to be kind to myself by showing his kindness to me. I cannot believe how he has provided for me when all else has been swept away. Gods provision was there for me (and you) before I was born. Before I was even thought of, before my parents even met, God knew me and his provision was already there with the grace I would need for the choices I would make.  Stupid, vulnerable, broken choices.  What kind of crazy love is that?  And he has placed that kind of love in my heart to heal the broken places and to learn to love myself the way he loves me and to give out of that in love to others. Humbled.

I am nowhere near that place yet, it's a lifelong journey.  But...I will never walk away from the journey.  Not because I am clever or smart or wonderful and think I've got this but because he holds me there with his grace.  And he has shown me this love through others. If you're reading this, you are part of that provision.  Whether I have known you a long time or we have just met. Don't underestimate the power of healing just by being a part of someone else's life.

Today I am having to grieve. And it makes me want to hide.  Hide those vulnerable places that feel so tender and exposed, open wounds that need binding and an overdose of TLC. Thankfully I have a Heavenly Father who's in the business of TLC.  He knows what I need and he will see me through.  And in the process, I will still experience joy at the newness of life filled with promise and hope for the future.  I will keep moving forward.  Praise God!

J xx