The Winter of My Disconnect

Welcome back!  Apologies for the delay in programming.  I’ve been on an unexpected sabbatical of sorts for the last few months.  Some significant health challenges for our family and some major upheavals in the social justice work I’m involved with resulted in me dropping some balls.  This, sadly,  being one of them.

Ironically, during this season I have become more convinced than ever about the importance of fellowship with sisters-in-Christ and places to find uplifting Christian resources.   Over time, I hope together we can establish this little corner of the interwebs as a positive resource for whoever needs it, reflecting generosity and compassion.

My spirit has taken some pretty heavy hits in the last few months both physically and emotionally and what I can tell you unequivocally  is “Our God is faithful”.
Even when the news is not welcome.
Even when things you have hoped and prayed would change haven’t.
Our God IS faithful.
I have never once felt alone.  Instead, He has lead me to look at my life through a new lens.  One where I am loved, even if I can’t be a work horse.  Who knew??

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If you’re interested, here are some things that I’ve found restorative and life-affirming during my healing break:

Books:

 

Podcasts:

 

Music:

Bible Verses:

 

All of the above has encouraged me to live gently, quietly, contentedly and hopefully showing myself and others more grace.

There is a difference, I have learned, between self-care and self-comfort.  Discerning the difference has been a life-changer.  Binge-watching Netflix is self-comforting but not particularly helpful.  Going for a walk in the fresh air and ignoring the laundry for a morning is mentally restorative and self-caring, especially knowing that the laundry will get done eventually anyway.

My prescription for living has been more family time, less outside commitments.  More prayer, less yelling.  More long bubble baths, less 5 minute rushed showers.  More healthy food, less take away.  More fresh air, less sitting inside.  More reading, less screens.  More worship music, less depressing radio news updates.  More grace, less expectation.  Less talking, more listening. More social justice, less politics.  More love, less judgement.

I have also made small changes like buying myself really nice face cleanser and moisturiser and beautiful pyjamas so that when I get into bed I feel ready to rest.  I hadn’t bothered to “spoil” myself like this in years.  Rearranging my bedroom furniture and putting crisp white linen on the bed with new fluffy pillows was also incredibly refreshing.  I needed a restful cocoon in which to retreat to at the end of the day which had been filled with confronting new realities.

Living brave in this season doesn’t necessarily mean living loud.  There are certainly seasons to be lived loud and bold and unconstrained.  Right now, for me,  living brave means living gently, connected to my people in meaningful ways and this takes time. Investing in them and receiving community in return. Living life around a table, breaking bread together, sharing plates, stories and memories.  This is living. And it takes bravery. Which is the spirit which our God has planted in each of us.

 

Go live your Brave, Sister. xo

when oceans rise

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by MEREDITH DONKIN

That morning I had been up at 5 a.m. getting one child to a dance rehearsal, another to work and myself to an 8 a.m. board meeting.  This is what time volunteers for a charity meet.  The Glamour.  Later, having rushed out of the board meeting, picked up more kids from home, gone to School Fair, chatted with fellow parents, shopped the White Elephant stall, supported the mission trip, taken the kids on 3,567,456 rides,  my mantra was “I am Mother, hear me roar!”  Then the phone rang.  It was my husband Dave.

“Don’t be alarmed darling.  I’m ok, but there will be an ambulance in the driveway when you arrive home.  I’m having another SVT episode which won’t stop.”

Insides turn to liquid.  Heart skips several beats.  Adrenaline begins coursing through my already frayed nervous system.

This same medical issue had occurred two weeks ago, resulting in an intensive care ambulance, a life support team on arrival, a hospital stay and a major life upheaval.  This was supposed to be our first weekend of normal living.

Conjuring up ersatz control,  I start barking out a household chore list to the kids in the car.  “I need that downstairs bathroom spotless.  Boys, your bedrooms are a disgrace.  I want beds made, clothes folded and floors swept, ok?”  All the time willing the car home safely and swiftly so I can see my precious husband. “Gabbie, I expect you to be responsible for tidying up all the random stuff scattered through the house, ok?”.

Once home, I see Dave lying on the couch…. sweaty, breathless, paramedics attending to him, monitors attached and beeping.  The paramedics are incredibly relaxed and measured which I find reassuring and intensely annoying.  Once they announce that they will need to transport him, my demeanour becomes all Sally Field in Steel Magnolia’s.  I am the picture of calm efficiency.  I am unperturbed.

“I’ll go then.” I announce briskly. “You will have your sirens on and will fly past me, so I’ll go now.  Let’s meet there.”  How very time efficient of me.  I cuddle Dave, kiss his precious face and tell him I love him, he’s in good hands and that it’s all ok.  Aren’t I just the picture of cool collectedness?  The paramedics tell me not to worry if they drive past very fast, it’s standard protocol.  I wave them away, casually dismissing their concern with my hand.  Yep, yep.  I’m totally across it, I’m not worried.

It’s all a lie of course.  A facade manufactured out of desperation.  About half way to the hospital I start shaking.  Should I pull over?  No, that won’t do….I have to meet the ambulance.  Jesus take the wheel.   Driving past the Putt Putt Golf range, I think, “Must organise one of the kids parties there.  They’d  love that.  Such a nice cafe for the mums”.  I’m dissembling.  An ambulance with sirens blaring streaks past me.  There’s a stubborn white Hyundai which WILL. NOT. GET. OUT. OF. THE. WAY.  I swear a blue streak cursing the Hyundai, its occupants and the sirens for not being loud and obnoxious enough.  The Hyundai eventually slides out of the way and I don’t see the ambulance again.

Arriving at the hospital I pull off a magnificent reverse park in front of a group of medical students on their break.  Giving myself a mental high five….there was a degree of difficulty of about 8.6 in that park,  I enter the familiar Emergency Department.  Keep it together, girlfriend. “Hi.  The ambulance just brought my husband in. Take a seat, the triage nurse tells me.  We’ll come get you when we’re ready.

I know the drill.  I get to sit out here with the various broken arms, twisted ankles and possible head injuries from Saturday morning sport while every resource of the hospital floods the Resuscitation Bay to fix my soulmate.

My soul sisters and I have spoken.  They scaffold me through the worst.   Cathy’s husband is just around the corner.  He will come and sit with me.  Rachel has dropped the entire comfort food section of the supermarket {plus, hilariously, a bag of spinach} off to the kids.  She has hugged them and reassured them.  Put a tub of Rocky Road icecream in my freezer with strict instructions “This is for MUM.  No one else! You can eat everything else, BUT this”.  Cathy drove through the treacherous gorge in her son’s ancient car to get to the hospital.  Beck calmly, lovingly {also armed with her medical knowledge} has talked me through what they’re doing, reminding me he is in no imminent danger.  Aileen has prayed and sees Jesus hand covering Dave’s chest.  She can even see the tiny hair follicles on His hand it’s so clear.

I am so very, very tired.  Sitting on the vinyl chair in Emergency, I finally reach out to God himself.  Your will be done.  Please tell me Your will is for him to come home to me and our babies.  I’m too tired to be angry, but nonetheless I summon the last dregs of resentment and spew forth with fully formed anger and bitterness…..

I’m sick of this f*$#@g hospital!!  If it’s not epilepsy, it’s asthma.  If it’s not asthma, it’s SVT.  If it’s not SVT, it’s a rugby concussion.  The staff here know me.  It’s embarrassing. I know that the coffee in the automatic dispenser is surprisingly good but the hot chocolate is awful.  I know where the secret parking spots are during peak time.  I know which triage nurse is abrupt and which one is thorough.  I know where the x-ray, cardiology, neurology and intensive care departments are and the quickest way to get there through the labyrinth of corridors.  I know that if you use the bathroom near the acute care ward, you’d better have some antiseptic wipes with you as the cleaning roster seems to forget about that one tucked away bathroom.  

Why so many medical dramas Lord?  Because you’re not in heaven yet.

Why me?  It’s nothing you’ve done.  People who miss out on medical dramas don’t deserve it either.

Make me strong.  Look who journeys with you.  Look at the army of  people I have put in your life.  

Make me peaceful.  I am your peace.

The doors open “Mrs Donkin?  We’re ready for you now.”  Alarmingly, she starts steering me towards “the room”.  You know the one with just soft chairs and a box of tissues sitting in the middle of a coffee table?  Where News is delivered. My heart leaps out of my chest.  She turns to me and smiles, “He’s all ok.”  Dear God woman.  Say that first!

She runs me through the particulars.  Cardioversion.  Drug therapy didn’t work.  We had to shock him.  He’s very  drowsy. Cardiologist will see you.     The cardiologist arrives and tells me that it was a tricky case.  He needs surgery sooner rather than later but he’s actually in no imminent danger.  From now on however, every time he has an episode of SVT, it’s an ambulance ride. “Good times.  Count it all joy.” I think to myself sarcastically.   New medication will be trialed in the meantime.  Fingers crossed etc etc etc.

We’ve glimpsed the beautiful abyss and now we’re back.  Who knows when this will happen again.  We dress rehearse tragedy and find ourselves wanting.  The only thing I know for sure is that God will never leave us.   We are surrounded by an army of earthly angels and when they can’t provide the answers and peace I crave, I know the One who will.

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The enemy would love to use the events of the past month to throw my family off course.   We are committed to this space here and also the Lisa Harnum Foundation upporting families fleeing domestic violence.  What I know for sure is that the God who lead us to these endeavours, is the same God who will keep us there.

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Live Brave, sister.

Meredith xo

Breaking Busy

by Meredith Donkin

I’m reading this at the moment:

breakingbusy

And by reading, I mean, I’m listening to it on my phone while I do the laundry which has gotten completely out of hand.

I’m not sure if it’s a reflection of where my life is at the moment, or just that it’s so very, very good….but I am LOVING this book.  It’s witty, realistic, encouraging and challenging in all the right measure.  Alli Worthington is the Executive Director of Propel Women, is happily married and has five sons.  This woman knows busy.  But she also understands busy with a purpose, which is the difference.

I’ve found in Christian circles there can be that “you need to increase your capacity/Proverbs 31 woman” thinking which makes me want to hide under the doona.  The opposite of this is what I had one mother say to me “Oh, you’re busy?  You know what busy stands for?  Burdened Under Satan’s Yoke.  Maybe you should not be working outside the home”.  I wanted to do her physical harm….forgive me Jesus.

If you’re struggling with feeling overwhelmed and having difficulty knowing where and how you should be expending your time and energy, I highly recommend you stop what you’re doing and read/listen to this book.  It could just stop that impending panic attack that you can feel coming on.

More than anything, you’ll also feel you have a friend in the trenches.  Alli is self-deprecating, warm and witty.  She is open about her flaws and her struggles, but also acknowledges good decisions and outcomes when they happen.  If you decide to listen to it via audible.com it’s a wonderful experience.  The narrator has a beautifully, mellifluous voice which made me feel calm almost immediately.  Think of it as therapy:)

I’ll leave you with some visuals taken from the book:

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Breaking+Busy+Book.+When+we+stay+focused+on+our+flaws+and+weaknesses,+we+lose+sight+of+the+truth+that+God+is+the+one+who+is+great,+and+he+does+great+things+through+flawed+people..+by+Alli+W

Breaking+Busy+book.+When+you+stay+focused+on+God,+you+will+not+miss+your+destiny.+Alli+Worthington

Breaking+Busy+book.traditions+don't+have+to+be+expectations.+Alli+Worthington

Breaking+Busy+Book.Undercommunication++occurs+when+we+don’t++feel+comfortable++or+courageous+enough+to+say+things+that+people+may+not+like...+by+Alli+Worthington

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Live Brave, Sister!

Meredy xo

 

We’re back!

by Meredith Donkin

What a whirlwind of a summer we’ve been having here in Sydney!  Flooding rains for days, followed by overwhelming heat waves.  Don’t even get me started on the humidity…I’ve not had a good hair day since November.

The time-out over summer was much needed in our house.  As a family, we are heavily involved in  setting up housing for women and children fleeing from domestic violence. Continue reading “We’re back!”

This week

by Meredith Donkin

Need some inspiration for your week?  Hope these links help out:)

She Reads Truth has some wonderful new plans out.  I’m  currently reading through Psalms and have used their “Psalms of Gratitude” to supplement my reading.   Following on from my post about keeping 2016 simple and letting God set the goals, this short & sweet devotional is PERFECT.  I can feel my soul re-calibrating as I read! Continue reading “This week”

Raising Grateful Kids {and parents} at Christmas

BY MEREDITH DONKIN

Kirsten Welch of We are THAT Family has written a new book called “Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World”.  I am fortunate enough to be part of her launch team and have been given an early copy.

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To read this book at this time of year is challenging in the extreme.  Not the least because it has me observing my own attitude of entitlement. Awkward! Continue reading “Raising Grateful Kids {and parents} at Christmas”