31 October, 2016

31 Hugs - Conclusion

We’ve come to the end of October, and that means the end of the 31 Hugs challenge! (Or does it?)

I was overwhelmed at the response to the challenge. I was nervous about posting that initial post, because what if no one joins? But you all surprised me in the very best way, and it was encouraging to see your enthusiasm. It also kept me going, because I felt accountable.

To be honest, 31 Hugs Challenge was a challenge for me. October has been the busiest month of the whole year. I wanted to put a lot of time and effort into my hugs, but in the end I decided something small was better than nothing. Because I was busy and stressed at times, I also didn’t feel like giving. That sounds terrible, but it’s true. I didn’t feel like putting time into someone else. I think this challenge helped me notice that tendency, and purpose not to let myself get busy and stressed at the expense of others. I missed a couple of days along the way, and now, only a few hours until the new month, I’ve given a total of twenty-eight hugs. 

So no, I didn’t give 31 hugs. But this brings me to something else. On the 31 Hugs Ideas post, Hosanna Emily commented and said she wanted giving hugs to be a way of life for her – not just something she did for a month and then forgot about. I thought that was beautiful, and I hope this challenge has helped us all think of more ways we can be a blessing to others, and turned 'hug-giving' from a challenge to a habit. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we gave thirty-one or more hugs every month, because that’s who we are?

Overall, this challenge was a blessing and good experience for me. I also felt like I received a lot of hugs this month (mostly from people who didn’t even know about the challenge), and it was amazing to feel the love and care I was trying to give. And again, I’m thrilled and blessed and encouraged that many of you joined! I like to think of the compound effect we’ve had as we’ve been a blessing to others too. 

But there’s one hug I still want to give. :) And that’s to you guys, of course! Every single one of you bless and encourage and inspire me so much. I can’t say thank you enough. You’re amazing, and you’d better believe it. I have evidence too. :) So here: five reasons why you’re* amazing.

1. You’re like no one else. A unique individual, gifted with different things to the person next to you. This world needs you! No one can replace you, or do/say/write/sing you things you’re called to do.

2. God says so. And then He backed His words up with action, by giving up everything, everything, for you. He values you infinitely.

3. You are capable. God can use you to do so much. Every word and deed of yours has a power, an effect. You can change lives; you can change the world. With Him everything is possible.

4. God uses and works through you. I’m sure He does on many other levels, but I know for sure He works through you, because just by reading these words, He’s using you to be a blessing to me.

5. You overwhelm me with support and encouragement and give me so much. I’m in awe, honestly. Every comment sends me into a cloud of What?! Wow! That’s so sweet. People are so nice. I can’t believe it. Praise God! And basically, I’m high for the rest of the day, and any other time I stop to think about you guys. I also pray for you all too, and if I could, I’d give you a hug right now.

*I actually mean you, the person reading these words. I have a habit of discrediting words like these, and believing they’re about someone else, so I want to make sure you realise it’s YOU I’m talking about here. Even if it’s your first time visiting, or you’ve never commented or followed, you're still amazing, okay?

So please, give yourself a hug on behalf of me, and don’t ever ever forget that you’re loved, valued, treasured.


How has your October been? Did you receive a blessing from the 31 Hugs Challenge? In what ways could it have been better? How did people respond to your hugs? I’m super eager to hear about it! :)

P.s Happy November!

22 October, 2016

Springs in the Wilderness

I’ve been feeling spiritually dry. God has become a little crowded with all the commitments and activities in my life. I was lamenting this fact in my diary yesterday morning, when I opened my Bible to Isaiah 41. I’ve read that chapter before, and even highlighted a section, so I thought I knew what it was talking about. But then I came to this:

When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in the high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.

I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together: that they may see, and know and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it. Isaiah 41:17-20

I felt like God was talking directly to me. Those words poor and needy are actually defined as ‘depressed in mind or circumstances’ and ‘a sense of want especially in feeling.’ That’s me. I’m overwhelmed with everything going on, but wanting more, wanting to get closer to God again, and be renewed with enthusiasm for Him and His work.

And what is God’s promise to us poor and needy, depressed and wanting, lacking, overwhelmed, tired? I, the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in the bare places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. It’s a huge comfort to know even when we’re dry and feel far away from God, He still hears us, and never forsakes us. But, He offers so much more here. He will cause rivers in our bare places, fountains right in the middle of our valleys. Our wilderness He’ll turn into a pool, and our dry areas into springs. 

The next couple of verses were really powerful as well. He not only waters our wastelands, He then plants them. And, He doesn’t just plant easy-to-grow shrubs. He promises the cedar tree, olive tree, myrtle tree, fir tree, the box tree; trees that last generations. The only response the people in Isaiah 41 can come up with is that it had to be God.

So I want to encourage you, just as this encouraged me: there is hope, massive amounts of hope. Seek God; He’s there, He hears, and He will turn your valleys and lows, bare and dry places, into rivers, fountains, and springs. He will turn your wilderness into a most powerful testament to His creative power. He’ll plant the once dry corners of your soul, and you’ll only be able to say, it must have been God.


Have you had an experience of God causing your deserts to flow again? What promises have you been holding onto lately? Where have you been reading in the Bible?

07 October, 2016


You know those times you suddenly notice everything God’s been up to? I was doing a few things on the internet this afternoon, when I realized God has totally been working in my life, reminding me that He’s there and He cares. And I hadn’t stopped to notice.  

 - A couple of weeks ago, my family and I went to a Lifeline Book Fair. I had wanted to go to one of Lifeline’s book fairs for ages. I lined this one up, and I was really looking forward to it. A couple of days before the fair I took a peak into my bank account to see how much I could afford to spend. Because of some fees for my diploma, the sad truth was: I had twenty-five dollars to spend. Twenty-five dollars! I knew the books were second-hand, but I didn’t know how cheap they were going to be, and $25 doesn’t go very far. So I started praying. There was a textbook I had to buy, and it cost over one hundred dollars. I’d heard that there were textbooks at the fair, so I was praying that the book I needed would be there for a reduced price, which would then greatly increase my budget. 

When we got to the fair, I went straight to the Psychology and Counselling section. The textbook wasn’t there. As I started browsing the other sections, I realised my money wasn’t going to go very far. The books were cheap, but there’s only five fives in twenty-five, you know. (In case you haven’t heard of my book-acquiring habits before, I go for quantity as well as quality and affordability.) I let my pile stack up anyway, and planned to have a hard ‘going through’ to narrow it down before making the purchase. When I had almost finished browsing the sections that interested me, a lady started speaking over the loudspeaker. “In fifteen minutes, the bag sale will start.” My brother and I looked at each other: What on earth is a bag sale? She went on to explain that the bag sale meant you could get everything you could fit into a normal sized shopping bag for twenty dollars. Wow! I’m not skilled at bargaining, but I was pretty sure I could fit quite a few books into one bag.

In the end, I got seventeen books for twenty dollars. Some might call it a coincidence, but I believe God answered my prayers. He cares enough about a girl’s enjoyment of books and limited budget, and chose to bless me with a reminder of His care. I mean, isn’t that amazing?! I even had five dollars to spare! :D

- Some of you might have seen my review of The True Vine on goodreads. It’s an amazing book, and was a real blessing to me. I was thinking about it as I wrote that review, and suddenly another God-incidence became apparent. That book had been sitting on our shelf for almost two years. It was given to us, and normally I would’ve checked it out immediately. But instead, I randomly picked it up a couple of weeks ago. I can’t even remember what prompted me to pick it up - I was in the middle of reading other things. But I started reading The True Vine, and I was blown away. It was exactly what I needed to read, and I think God knew that all along. Thanks God for reminding me yet again that you care about every little detail of my life. (Also, in case I haven’t implied this enough, The True Vine is an excellent book, and I recommend you read it. :)

- Over a year ago I described how God provided me with some shoes I needed (like brand new perfect, for op shop price) before I’d even had a chance to ask. Guess what? He did it again! Today I was in town, and seeing as I was alone, I decided to go to an op shop (you know, it’s never safe to leave me alone). As I looked at the shoe section – which I have never bought anything from before, by the way – a lady volunteering at the op shop came and put a couple of new pairs of shoes on the rack. One pair looked like what I had passively been wanting, and feeling I needed. Basically, I saw them and they looked nice, and quality, and brand new. I checked them and they were my size. I put them on and they fit (a rare thing for shoes to do on my feet). They were six dollars! So God did it again – catered for my desires on my budget. He’s incredible. 


I’m sure there are many other blessings He’s been giving and I’ve been missing. But these just dawned on me, and I had to shout it out: God is good! But, I want to hear your stories too. :) How has God been blessing you? Have you experienced times or situations when it just had to be Him orchestrating things? 

And how are you going with the 31 hugs challenge so far?