Thursday, November 8, 2012


It’s funny sometimes the twists and turns that life takes. When I say funny, I don’t mean the hilarious, side-splitting type of humour that people enjoy, although there are often occasions where that type of funny exists. It’s more the, ‘when I was 16 I did not ever in my wildest dreams imagine my life looking like this’ type of funny. I wish I could say that my twenties were the best, most enjoyable years I have ever lived, where I lived like a queen and achieved my dreams and desires and saw great feats accomplished. Rather, this decade of my life has been the most difficult and arduous journey of my life to date.

There has been disappointment, my goodness has there been disappointment. There has been heartache and heartbreak and many months and years of the weary battle for freedom. I’ve seen dreams come and go. I’ve seen relationships fade into the distance and I’ve become familiar with the bitter sting of loneliness.

But you know what? I wouldn’t change a thing. Not for a million billion trillion gazillion dollars could you ever make me say that I would’ve been better off never having experienced these years, because the lessons that I have learned, the battles that I have won, the experiences that I have gained and the notches on my belt I have scored are so valuable and they have set me up to win for the rest of my life.

It has been during this time that God, in His loving mercy and grace, has put my broken life back together and birthed dreams and vision and purpose for my life, something that I am eternally grateful for. It was during those tough years that God worked a number on me, where He dug a deep well and laid a strong foundation to build my life on, where He did some pruning of my beliefs and where He showed me the truth in His word.

If I had never felt that sinking battering ram of disappointment, I would never have come to learn that God has plans to prosper me and not to harm me, that it’s HIS hope that anchors me in the storms, not the financial security of a job, that His ways are higher than my ways and when I can’t figure out my next step, it’s His WORD that is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. I would never have learned what it is to trust Him completely, in the times when I felt on top of a mountain or when I felt so low I could taste the dirt in my mouth. I would never have experienced that knee-wobbling faith when you step out into the world without the safety net of yourself and being in control

 So when I look back at the twists and turns that my life has taken, I’m choosing to see it through the eyes of heaven, that the highs and the lows have been the training ground for something much greater, that these years haven’t been in vain but rather they’ve been in preparation of something divine. That’s why I’m so thankful for every step of this journey, because I know God is at work and He’s not finished with me yet.

 “God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my Heart to His eyes” Ps 18:24 MSG

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The OC's Saving Grace

Well, it's been six months since I went AWOL from this blog. A small thing such as a post-grad degree got in the way. However, the semester has finished, results have been logged and graduation is on it's way in September, so this writer is one happy girl who is now free to blog.

Even though I didn't actually write any blogs for a few months, I did come up with a few ideas for some inspired pieces:
- baking a cake is like mixing together the right ingredients for a successful life (choke! terrible analogy Naomi)
- driving in traffic is much like life, coz you've got to read the map, follow the law... oh please, shut up Naomi. Talk about corny...
- writing a script is like God's plan for your life (some potential in this one...)
And finally...
- The OC and the salvation message

What the? How could Satan's teenage television drama have anything to do with salvation? Have you completely lost the plot Naomi?

Not lost the plot. Rather, found a parallel in the plot. The OC's plot. Touche.

Whether you hated it or loved it, or you don't even know what I'm talking about, the TV series created a stir when it was on the silver screen. If you're not familiar with the, dare I say, awesome, show, allow me to fill you in:
Ryan, a troubled teen from a bad neighbourhood, gets busted stealing a car with his brother. Luckily for Ryan, he gets probation. Even luckier is that Ryan's lawyer, Sandy, is a compassionate kindred spirit who pities him and takes Ryan home to Newport, where his wife, Kirsten, and misfit son, Seth, adopt him and rescue him from a life of crime, violence and hopelessness. Ryan meets and falls in love with his neighbour, Marissa, whose life is full of more drama than an acting school. The show follows the lives of Ryan, Seth, Marissa and her best friend and Seth's love interest, Summer, as they navigate the tricky world of teenage life in upper class Orange County.
Okay, so I probably didn't sell the show. And maybe I shouldn't have tried. But whatevs. I liked the show when it was on and have since purchased the four seasons on DVD and occasionally crack them out for a mind-numbing marathon session. Don't judge me. But that's exactly what I did recently. I got the DVDs out and had a bit of a flashback moment to relive the glory days of my early 20s. As I was halfway through the first season, I noticed something that I hadn't picked up on before. I couldn't help but notice the underlying themes of grace and redemption that are woven throughout the storyline.

Ryan was a kid who was going nowhere fast. No purpose in life, no hope that his situation would change, stuck in a desperate life that proved futile. His family was dysfunctional; his mum was a drunk, his dad was in prison and his brother was heading the same way. In Christianese, Ryan was 'lost'. Enter the Cohen family in their compassionate mercy and we see Ryan offered a chance at a hopeful new life, which he takes, and begins to overcome his past and starts living for his future.

I know life isn't always like a movie or TV show, but for what it's worth, I can absolutely relate to Ryan's story. Sure, his struggles were polished for prime time viewing, but if you look at the themes of the story, what we've got here is a textbook case of mercy and salvation. You see, like Ryan, I was also lost. I was living a life that was going nowhere. I was a hopeless kid who had given up on myself and didn't have the strength to pull myself together. But God (two of the greatest words in the Bible), in his gracious mercy, came and found me. He offered me a new life. He didn't care about what I'd done. He loved me back to life. You might like to say, He pulled an OC on me.

That's why I like The OC. Not because of Marissa's drama or the clothes or the music (I do like the soundtrack, actually...). It's because of the power of mercy. The Cohen family saw a kid who needed a second-chance, and they offered it to him. They rescued a kid who needed rescuing. They took on all the legal implications of being his guardians, provided for him, loved and accepted him and set him on a new path.

That to me is a great illustration of my merciful God, the One who redeems, whose grace is more than enough, the One who is mighty to save, the One who has the power to change circumstances and who has a purpose for my life, who loves like noone I've ever met before. That's the God I believe in.

So the next time you watch The OC, think of this little blog. It'll change your whole perspective of the show.

Califorrrrrniaaaaaa, Califorrrrrniaaaaaaaaa, here weeeeee coooooooooommmmmmmmeeeeeeeeeeee...

Monday, January 9, 2012


Daily voucher websites are a wonderful thing. For only $20, I can buy a teeth whitening kit, complete with gel and UV light, delivered to my door for only a few dollars. I seriously considered buying it in a moment of credit card weakness.

There's plenty of useless items up for grabs on the daily deals, and I was fortunate enough to have nabbed myself a bargain a few months ago. I purchased a half price voucher to take a trapeze class.

I'm not really one of those daredevil, adrenalin rush junkies who enjoy heights and falling at great speeds and near death experiences. I much prefer enjoying gravity normally, and sipping soy flat whites. So when this email came through, I dismissed it, saying 'I could never do that'.

But as I did that, a little voice inside whispered 'What's stopping you? Fear?'

Let's delve into that internal monologue a little deeper.

"So Naomi, what's stopping you? Fear?"

"Well, yeah, actually. I'm deathly afraid of heights and I hate the feeling of falling. I don't think I could," I replied defensively.

"So are you always going to let your fears hold you back?"

"No." A quick retort. Not a good look.

"Well they've held you back so far."

Darn this enlightened reasoning. I could feel my heart racing at the probing questions. It was like ripping a band aid off and exposing the wound.

"It's not that I'm afraid, it's just that I prefer to stay on the ground."

"Well, it you're not afraid, buy the voucher."

"Fine, I will!" Reverse psychology. It was a lose-lose situation. Or a win-win if you looked on the bright side.

So I bought the voucher. And I did the trapeze class. And even though I was freaking out climbing the ladder and leaning over the edge to grab a hold of the bar, I did it. (insert applause)

Here's my spiritual lesson to take away: fear hinders us. It doesn't keep us safe, it stops us from enjoying life. Even though I was afraid of heights, I forced myself to climb that eight metres and jump off the edge. By the third time, it wasn't scary. It was actually quite fun.

I could've ignored that email or backed out of the class. But I would've missed an opportunity to thumb my nose at fear and prove to myself that I can do things I never thought I could do.

So now I'm taking stock of my life and identifying where fear is holding me back. What am I missing out on because I'm too afraid to try? Is it meeting new people? Developing relationships? Learning a new skill? Setting bigger goals? Speaking in public? Going on a boat? (pretty sure that's a long way off....) There's a reason God doesn't like fear - it holds us back. And I'm determined to take fear out. This is the year to end fear (that could be a bumper sticker?).

Whatever form fear takes in your life, look it straight in the eye and take it out. You might actually enjoy doing it.

I think I'll try something new next week... maybe whitewater rafting? (that's a whole different story...)