Dear brother. Dear sister.

Brother. Sister. Black and white. Made in His image.
Made for connection. Made for unification.

I can never begin to understand how it feels. And never begin to understand how it could be this way. How could it actually be this way?

As a child I was never taught to see colour. People were people. Kids were kids. My skin was pink and yours was brown, my eyes were were green and yours were gold – we knew nothing of black and white.

The discovery that others did was a shock.

Shock quickly turned to disgust and absolute horror – they showed me that not only was colour seen but colour was judged. But only yours…

I remember the exact time and place when it was first revealed to me that my best friend with chocolate skin would never be accepted in the world that I had been born in, despised even. To that world it made no difference that neither he nor I had chosen the skin we were in and that neither he or no I were any different to each other. As a child I did not understand. As an adult I understand it less.

He mattered to me. He was my best.

And as I grew there was more… The day I discovered that it was my own kind who had fashioned and perpetuated the disgusting lie; my own kind who had betrayed me and made me ashamed to be white. How could they? How could I?!
I remember crying for three days at least – the pain I felt could not be put into words. My heart was ripped to shreds at the depravity of humanity and my beautiful world was shattered by the introduction of hate – yet still nothing close to the category and brutality of experience of my brother, my sister of colour.

Now I am grown, I have children of my own. Being colour blind is no longer enough, it’s the thing of children. A childish thing. Seeing no colour means seeing no diversity. Seeing no beauty in the diversity of creation. Seeing no beauty in the diversity of the Creator. We owe our children more than that…

But seeing you through the eyes of our Father means seeing all of you. All of you is also all of the life you live. It is not like mine. And mine is not like yours. Yet the freedom I live in will never be true until you live free too. Yes all lives matter, it’s true. But what is more true is that my life can never really matter until yours does too. And it’s not enough to say in just words, or even heartfelt sentiment (no matter how sincere or true), not until I stand with my white arm linked with yours and our collective broken hearts pour in tears down our cheeks as we shout together, “Black Lives Matter.”

What you and I choose to do today and how we choose to engage with this, will shape the future for our children. So far we have failed – we have all failed. There has to be a better way. A better choice. He says I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. Choose Truth, choose Life, choose Me. He remains my Author and yours, the Potter of our clay. My words and questions and declarations are flawed, they always miss the mark. But He does not. And He sees you in perfect Love. And He sees me the same.

We need to do better. We need redemption. We need repentance. We need grace. We need You Holy Spirit. Come Holy Spirit and set us free.


8 Things I want my Kids to Know

And a few things I don’t want…

I want my kids to know and love Jesus. Like really know and love Him. And to love His church. But I don’t want them to have idols of personalities in the church or chase after entertainment and fun and confuse that with the Kingdom of God.

I want them to know Him for themselves; Who He is and what type of God he is. That He is the One and there is no other. I want them to know that this means the hard things too. I don’t want them to live in some pseudo-world view that everything rocks and is easy and great when you serve God; but that some things are a real struggle and some things require real sacrifice. And that they may not see all the blessing on this side of heaven, that being a believer may cost them everything but that there is nothing of higher value or more rewarding.

I want them to know the difference between serving God and serving man; pleasing God and pleasing man. That sometimes when you do the former you get to do the latter but not always. That to truly serve God and obey Him might mean being painfully unpopular. But that popularity with people and self-gratification have no place in the Kingdom of God. And that they can and must question the things that they are taught, especially if it does not line up with the Word. I don’t want them to take everything as gospel that comes out of the mouth of people, regardless of who they are, even if there is trust and admiration and love there. But to check everything and learn to be teachable but not gullible and lazy.

I want my kids to know that they can always speak up against injustice and unkindness and bullying, even if it sets them apart and makes them misunderstood and misinterpreted. I want them to know that I will always support them in their stand against wrong, and that honour and respect for a person is still possible when bad behaviour and selfishness are addressed.

I want them to know that they do not have to keep their mouth shut if they disagree or feel differently to their friends, peers or even authority figures about issues of the world or issues of the heart. But I want to teach them how to be intolerant of the wrong and stand up for the truth while still carrying love and respect for the position and those involved.

I want my kids to know that unkindness is never OK. That hatred of any one is not acceptable. That open conversation and giving a person dignity is a non-negotiable – any person, any where and especially those we do not understand and who are fundamentally different. That God doesn’t actually have favourites and in fact loves them like He loves every other individual, they are no different; all are made in His image and likeness, all have the same dreams and desires, all with the same yearning for the eternal and for truth. That without Jesus all of us are broken and lonely and damned. I want them to know that the Great Commission requires them to ‘go’ and to ‘speak’ to even the person that sparks trepidation or disgust or fear in the hearts of those in our narrow-minded world. Not one is excluded from Him for we have all fallen short and all sinned and all need the forgiveness and grace and mercy of the Creator God.

I want my kids to know that LOVE means giving. That LOVE means sacrifice. that LOVE means getting in the thick of it and maybe coming away scarred and certainly dirty. That LOVE means continually means being transformed into his likeness and that His likeness means love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control. That His likeness also means self-sacrifice, going to the cross, paying for them, carrying their burdens, healing their diseases, comforting their distress, bringing their dead things back to life. That LOVE is all things wonderful and good, and all things hard and heavy too. That you cant have one without the other.

I want my kids to know that eternity is forever. That eternity is so much more that today and so much more than personal comfort or success or achievement or satisfaction. That eternity it a never ending state of being with all perfection and all beauty and all glory. But that eternity without our Loving Father is unbearable even to think of. I want them to know that how they carry eternity, and where they carry it and to whom could mean that maybe someone’s eternity will depend on their choice to love and to go and to speak…

“The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people,
with a view to winning them.” 
– Charles Spurgeon, “Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats?”

Don’t you know? When you cared for one of the least important of these my little ones, my true brothers and sisters, you demonstrated love for me.
Matt 25:40 TPT

“All the authority of the universe has been given to me. Now go in my authority and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  And teach them to faithfully follow all that I have commanded you. And never forget that I am with you every day, even to the completion of this age.”
Matt 28:18-20 TPT 

“My dear friends, I only have a brief time left to be with you. And then you will
search and long for me. But I tell you what I told the Jewish leaders:
you’ll not be able to come where I am.
So I give you now a new commandment: Love each other just as much as I have loved you. For when you demonstrate the same love I have for you by loving one another, everyone will know that you’re my true followers.
Peter interjected, “But, Master, where are you going?”
Jesus replied, “Where I am going you won’t be able to follow, but one day you will follow me there.”
John 13:33-36 TPT

You’re 7 Georgia Hope!

Tonight when I squeezed you at bedtime it was the last time I would ever hug my 6yr old princess.

IMG_4406IMG_4407IMG_4408IMG_4401IMG_3061IMG_3800IMG_4397Oh my dearest Gigi – today was wonderful, even if we did steal it together due to less than ideal circumstances. You have been so very sick this week and I have been so very worried. But today you smiled and joked with me again and I took you on a mini adventure to Target, which was nearly too much for you.

If you ever read this when you are older please know that at 7 yrs old you are delightful. Intense and focused and insular. You love fiercely but choose rather to be hugged than to hug. Your physical demonstration of love and affection does not match the intensity of your devotion, or empathy, or compassion. They are written all over your face, and in the time you choose to spend, and in the words you use.

Honestly you can be quite hard to figure out sometimes. I sometimes have to try a multitude of tactics to get you to talk to me about your life. But maybe I just need to learn to listen in the way you need me to. I pray always that I will know who you need me to be, so you can be the best version of you. And sometimes that’s hard – you can be so independent. I would really like to keep you from the world altogether, and even pretend that you will never see the heartache and tragedy that this world faces. It will break your heart one day, when you see and know. But I think it’ll drive you to love too. I hope I get to see you move in love for our heartbroken and heartbreaking world.

Don’t ever change Georgia. Of course grow up and learn stuff and do stuff and imagine stuff and create stuff. But stay like you are: slightly awkward, so much fun and cheeky as, full of kindness and grace, beautiful to the core, compassionate and true. Stay you. ‘Cause you’re just perfect.

I can’t wait till the morning when I get to squeeze my brave and strong 7yr old princess. I can’t imagine anything better.

Sleep tight my angel girl.

I love you.

Mom xxx

Let there be Light!

So I am a part of this group of creatives and lovers of art and music and soul and worship. And YHWH.

We meet together. We sing. We encourage. We learn and hone our craft and strengthen our hearts. We love and challenge and are challenged – in the hope of His glory. We lay ourselves down, face down and reverent (a fight sometimes).

Last night was one of those meetings; the first of the year. Beautiful and raw and confronting and at times a little awkward. I think thats ok though. A little awkward in the connection can sometimes lead to the greatest of collaborations – the most expansive heart-art.

My friend spoke to us about his pilgrimage, his great adventure – the one he has chosen for him and his. And us, if we choose to join him on his quest. A quest that chases after Light and Love and all that is Holy.

I am stirred and more than a little agitated at the prospect of an unknown journey, an unknown path. The newness, riskiness and outright wildness of a very great adventure moves my very core. An adventure into the darkness, to dispel the darkness, to bring Light where there is no light.

I consider these things:

The cost of grabbing the opportunities when they come. The capacity required to say ‘yes’ and to embark on and complete that very same journey.  The anticipation of newness – both petrifying and exciting. The rhythm and groove of moving forward that my heart sets the beat for, and my mind rails against. (My fickle mind… only occasionally does it align with my heart and His truth.)

I stand on the edge of this very great adventure, with my God and these my people. And I say ‘yes’. I will rage against the creeping darkness; I will fuel up my little lamp. And above the deafening sounds of fear and doubt and apprehension I will roar,


Picture Perfect Pain…

… and the answer to it.

[Sometime over the Christmas break, somewhere in Australia.]


I’m sitting on the beach in paradise. It’s really windy and bright. Above the noise of the crashing waves and roaring wind I can hear the excited squeals of children and grandparents and teenage girls.

Little puppies trot after their people and young boys throw footballs with their dads. Women are dotted here and there in stances of solitude – stealing a moment from the crazies of the last few weeks, with closed eyes, soaking up the life in the suns rays.

It’s a perfect picture.

Creation showing off to Creation. It’s joy, it’s fun. It’s family. But I am acutely aware that it’s also pain. Every single person here, alone or in a crowd, is in pain.

Our world is cracked and bleeding. Our nations are are slowly haemorrhaging. And we are oh so busy… trying to meet expectations. Trying to find our reasons. Trying to fulfil our dreams, and others dreams for us. Trying to do and be what we are told to do and be. Trying to find peace.

And forgetting who we are and why we are here.

But we are the salt and the light of the world to preserve and illuminate her; a city on a hill to be a beacon of hope that God has the last say in the awful, sinful mess. A holy nation; a royal priesthood. We are believers and followers of the One True God. Lovers of the Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

And we have the answer to the pain, if we could only just remember…

…and wake up… and rise up… and just get it done in this infinitely minute allotment of time we have been so graciously given.

The greatest commandment (a divine rule rather than a suggestion when we can muster enough energy or self-righteous piety) given to us by Jesus himself is this, that you should “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And … you shall love your neighbour as yourself.”*

And then He commissions us, gives us purpose, fills us with hope, reminds us why each one of us is here and what it cost Him. And simply says ‘now go and tell them…’

“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”**


*Matt 22:36-40
**Mark 16:15-18

‘Just Be’

People are funny. We try so hard. We make so many plans and have such high expectations. But at the same time we doubt and waiver and fail.

I think it comes down to three things. And what we choose to do with them.
Faith. Hope. Love.

Maybe if we had an understanding of these three we wouldn’t struggle so hard. The fights we engaged in would maybe be worthy of our time and energy. We would win more and be more content and secure, even when we failed. Failure would not mean the end. It would not be conclusive. But instead it would push and prod us away from the despair of not trying or changing at all, and closer to the discipline of using failure as a catalyst to greatness.


I have feared failure my whole life. It has stopped me and robbed me and paralysed me. It has lied to me countless times and in countless ways. Yes it has been powerful – gripping me even in my strengths and assurances and intelligence and gifts. But only because I let it. Only because I said it was OK. It had all the power I gave it.

Faith, hope and love. Words I have always heard and known about. Scripture quoted… and these three remain… But I really didn’t have a clue. And I needed a clue!  I had to stop and be still. Not just for a moment, or a day. But indefinitely. I had to stop and breathe and live in that stillness for a long time – until I could be shut up enough to hear Him speak to me. About me. To learn the ancient things for me today. Of faith and hope and love… and not of fear. But I was busy. Busy doing ‘important’ things – for others and for Him. I didn’t know how to be still.

To have real faith in the Unseen but Ever-present I had to be without anything I could muster up myself. I’m really good at getting by, scraping the barrel and making it look like I’m nailing it, loving life. After awhile I believed I was and that all was well.

But I discovered my soul was dying inside. Doing so much; being so many things; working so hard to make sure I never failed; always saying ‘yes’ so I never disappointed; never admitting weakness or shedding a tear for fear of being frail or vulnerable. Frailty and vulnerability equalled weakness to me, residue of growing up in a nation that refused me. Never let them see how you really feel; never let them know how it hurts; don’t you dare let on how much you really are not nailing this. Weakness meant failure to me – and I was afraid.

Funny how we think if we hide it from ‘them’ and pretend long enough that God Himself will be fooled. Funny and utterly ridiculous. He knew. He knew me. And although I had served Him vigorously for decades, and I had loved Him since I was a child, He began to earnestly call my name as 2015 began. Or maybe He had been calling me all along and I had just become desperate enough to hear His whisper. “Come to Me Shans… Get away with Me. I will give you rest.”

Over and over He called me to Him. And I heard Him. But for months I didn’t listen. Until one night in a broken, messy act of worship I asked Him to take a real good look at me. I stood there with all my tears and my arms wide open and inwardly shouted to Him. “Here I am. This is me. Search me out. And if you still want me, tell me what to do.”

He said, “Stop. Stop doing and just be. You are so very much more than what you do or what you bring. I cannot love you more. You cannot win my heart – it’s already yours.”

I was undone. So I stopped.

I ignored my mind that was screaming, “You can’t stop! That’s failure! What about everyone? What will they think? You’re letting everyone down! You can’t stop serving! What will you do? Who will you be?!”

I listened to my heart and the Lover of my soul; He is Love. I stepped off and I stepped down and I put all my faith and trust in the One who is already in my future. And it was easy. Surrender to the Love and the Hope that is in Him was easy, no matter the steps that were to follow. I don’t know what tomorrow looks like – will I ever live the life I have dreamed of and pursued since childhood? I don’t know and that’s OK with me. Because I feel like up until now I’ve been living my version of events. His is far superior. I think I’ll enjoy His more.

A year has passed and I can breathe all the way in. Rest is a beautiful thing. With rest there is space to hope again – to really live and be – without fear.

There is no one else for me
None but Jesus
Crucified to set me free
Now I live to bring Him praise

All my delight is in You Lord
All of my hope
All of my strength
All my delight is in You Lord

None But Jesus (Hillsong United 2006).

Don’t be a fraud.

A couple of months ago a whole bunch of questions about servanthood, leadership and integrity went rolling through my head. These are serious questions I feel I need to ask myself on a very regular basis. The answers say a lot about who I am. They may do the same for you.

(Also I love the TV show Suits. It provides much thinking material!!)



Shana how do you treat people?

How do you use the authority you hold over people?

How do you show value to the people around you?

What is your character?

Does your insecurity make you a bully?
Do you need to prove yourself through negative humour or degrading others?

Do you change how you are when you speak to those above you, below you, your peers? Do you live truthfully in all these situations?

Is what you believe also what you accept in life?

Is the faith you speak the same as the life you live?

How do you think/act/walk/speak in your home and behind your front door?

How would Jesus be?
What would he say?
How would he treat those around him? Who serve him and work for him and sacrifice for him?

He is love and He brings freedom.
Do I?

I used to be so full of hope – my future was exciting and eagerly anticipated. I desperately want that back. And I have a feeling that integrity has a lot to do with that. Integrity means closing the gap between the seen and the unseen. Closing the gap between faith and life. Closing the gap between talk and walk.

Don’t be a fraud Shana.

Investigate my life, O God,
find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
get a clear picture of what I’m about;
See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—
then guide me on the road to eternal life.
Ps 139:24 (MSG).

This verse scares me but it’s my heart’s cry.

But God…

Day 7.

Seven days of pain, more pain than I can remember. Seven days of fog. Seven days of asking and crying. Seven days of determination and rehabilitation and doing the hard thing to break through to an ounce of relief. Seven days of prayer and seeking and worshipping anyway. Seven days of incremental relief and choosing joy and choosing love.

Today with the sun came a touch of deliverance. I can stand undeterred and take steps without agony. And my heart rests in the hope that is Him. My heart leans into the assurance that His name is higher. And I breathe Him in and rest my tiredness in the knowledge that He has never failed me.

And my thoughts turn to those who live and survive in constant agony, who choose each day to lift Him higher, and I am overwhelmed by the ‘But God…’ moments of their lives. And my own. The moments that in spite of it all they choose to lift their eyes to the hills from where their Hope comes from. How they still believe.
And I am filled with gratitude.

Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:4-5 (NIV).

And I still believe.


Mom and Dad arrived in Australia 7 years ago today. I received this message from my dad this morning. The following words are written on their behalf.


Our gratitude is all-consuming. We will forever lift His name high. Beyond our wildest dreams and more than we could hope or imagine.


The journey has been tough and wrought with potholes and crevices, bumps and mountainous blockades we thought we would never conquer.

But holding fast to the hope that is our Strong Tower, that our God is faithful and He cannot lie and He doesn’t change His mind, we clenched our teeth and pressed on.

And the blessings flow and overtake us. Take us by surprise and remind us we are not forgotten but pursued by the Almighty. And so we face today’s challenges hand-in-hand with our Deliverer who has never failed us. And eagerly anticipate all He has planned for us in the days to come.

Great is HIS faithfulness.