Tag Archives: faith

Confessions of a Realist

Emily Maurits’ story, Confessions of a Realist, won first prize in the Tabor Open Stories of Life category. Her story is published in the 2019 Stories of Life anthology, Papa’s Shoes.Emily shares with us the background to this true story of faith.

When my sister Jasmine was diagnosed with a brain tumour just in time for my 21st birthday, I was distraught. Struggles with health were common in my family – but my little sister had always been the healthy one.

That diagnosis began a three month hospital stay, eleven operations, and countless hours spent in the Children’s hospital. It also began a journey. A journey which pushed us closer together, which uncovered the deep love of our church community, and ultimately, a journey which brought us hope.

Hope for healing, yes, but also hope in the kindness of others, in faith that can outlast tragedy, and in miracles after the eleventh hour.

After she was released from hospital I began a blog about loving people with chronic illnesses because, as we soon discovered, sometimes healing comes with complications and aftereffects. I named it Called to Watch (www.calledtowatch.com), because if there’s one thing I learnt over those long months and the years that followed, it’s this: I can’t save anyone. I am not the Saviour, Jesus is. Sometimes you can’t bear someone else’s burden; all you can do is watch – but you can watch in faith, in love, and in hope. You can watch because God has called you to this moment, even as he calls the sun up each morning and the cicadas each evening.

My entry into Stories of Life captures a moment of hope reawakened. It’s a glorious moment, a true gift from God. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that these moments can exist. In the long, hard slog of caring and being cared for, healthy pragmatism can become life-killing cynicism very quickly. I wanted to share my sister’s healing because there’s comfort in second-hand miracles. They are a reminder that our God holds each moment of each day in his hands. When He brought my sister home on the exact date I prayed for, against the expectations of everyone involved, he actually did two miracles: one of physical healing, and one of hope restored.

My prayer is that He would bless each of you with this second miracle through my sister’s story. Not all miracles are ground shaking or impressive looking, but each are a gift from our Father, and a reminder of a better future.

Emily Maurits (right) with her sister.
Photo supplied by Emily Maurits.

This is a photo of me and my sister three years after her first surgery. It makes me so happy, because there were many hospital days when I wasn’t sure if I’d ever see her again.

Mountain Trails and Mountain Tops

This year, we are thrilled to have several stories that take place on mountains around the world:

  • Kosciuszko Tough by Hannah Morrison. Mount Kosciuszko is the highest mountain in Australia at 2228m.
  • One Blue Arrow at a Time by Naomi Currie about climbing St Mary’s Peak (Ngarri Mudlanha), 1168m, in the Flinders Rangers.
  • My Journey Climbing Mount Kinabalu by Leanne Low. Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain in Malaysia at 4095m.
  • The Golden Detour by Kaitlin Turland on climbing Mount Catherine, Egypt, 2,629m.

As can be imagined, mountain climbing pushes us to the limits of our endurance, and awes us with spectacular reminders of the greatness of God. These stories carry us along in the physical challenge, but also enable us to experience, vicariously, what it is to:

  • lean 20 degrees into wind gusting at 60km/hr in order to help your eight-year-old sister continue climbing (Kosciuszko Tough)
  • feel gear envy when your water bottle is a freebie emblazoned with sponsor’s logos, but others have ‘the lightweight backpack with inbuilt water-cooler and sipping tube’. (One Blue Arrow at a Time)
  • prepare for months as the youngest member of a group comprising five families (My Journey Climbing Mount Kinabalu)
  • give in to hot and tired frustration when your Bedouin guide leads you downhill when the summit is so close that you can see it in your mind’s eye (The Golden Detour)

If your reading chair beckons, but you still want to feel some of that mountain-climbing adrenalin and learn some of those life lessons, pick up a copy of Papa’s Shoes at the book launch or online. Only one week to go.

Miracle by Juni Desireé Hoel

Juni’s story, Miracle, was published in the 2018 Stories of Life anthology, Three Dummies in a Dinghy. It is a story about a pair of crystal earrings that shone rainbows in the sun, Juni’s grandmother who gave her those earrings and the God who loved her enough to listen.

Juni with her journal

Juni’s backstory

‘Miracle’ began as a journal entry. I love journaling and spending quiet moments reflecting on where I’ve seen God show up in my life. I was then challenged to craft my experience into a story. I enjoy this challenge because I believe in the power of stories to move people (whether that’s through song, dance, art, film, or simply talking with someone face-to-face). My favourite form of storytelling is writing, and through entering Stories of Life three years in a row now, I’m learning more and more how to turn real-life experiences into compelling stories. I find this so exciting and love what Stories of Life is about connecting writing, faith, and real-life stories.

Juni’s artwork

Juni’s writing

I’m currently looking at publishing a book called When Heaven Meets Earth: Thoughts on kingdom living. It’s about everything I’ve learnt about God, mission, heaven, community, identity, etc. from 12 years of serving at beach mission. I’m just in the process of editing and getting final endorsements and permissions. Then next year, the plan is to publish a book with my artwork about how God helped me through depression and anxiety. I’ve attached a couple drawings to do with that project. And, of course, I’ll look forward to entering Stories of Life again next year too – yay!

Beach Mission

Juni blogs at Juni’s Journal. You can also follow her on Facebook at Juni Desireé Writer and on Twitter @junidesiree

Could your story be published in the 2019 Stories of Life anthology? Sign up for our Editing Workshop or check out our categories and send us your story. We’d love to hear from you.

Wanna swap? by Tracey Meg

Tracey’s story Wanna swap? was published in the 2018 Stories of Life anthology, Three Dummies in a Dinghy. She also visited the LifeFM studios in Adelaide and recorded her story for broadcast over the 2018/2019 summer. This is her story.

Tracey Meg recording her story at the LifeFM studios.

If you’ve enjoyed Tracey’s story, head over to archive for more Stories of Life, or grab a copy of Three Dummies in a Dinghy for the full 2018 collection.