Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Returning Home With More Than a Suitcase

I'm consolidating my suitcase (for the 5th time) and it's beginning to hit me... only two more days left in Australia.

I had a lovely (freezing) day at the beach, watched movies with some of my favorite people, and am now wide awake at 1:45am trying to figure out how to put my life for the past year into two 50 lbs. bags... or as Aussies would say... 23 kilos.

Although very excited and expectant to return home, right now I'm feeling the sadness of leaving my life here. Of departing from the people I've grown to love. Of leaving this home.

Okay Lindsey, you can do it! Enjoy your last days. Tomorrow, (technically today. Remind me again why am I awake?!) clean your little heart out... Thursday spend a wonderful final day with your housemates and finish packing... And Friday, well Friday... board a plane and begin a new chapter. Sometimes it's so difficult to turn a new page when the one before it is still gripping your heart...

Obviously being metaphorical and mushy isn't going to help. My bad :)

So basically, I'm rambling. Yup, I think I'm done for today. I've got a to-do list to conquer!

This quite possibly could be my final post from 'Down Under.'
If so, it is with much gratitude that I write this. My heart only hearts because it's been so wonderful.
The best and worst year of my life... making it the BEST year of my life! (Disclaimer: by worst I mean challenging. Challenge=change. Change=good!)
So much growth, so many incredible opportunities and so many wonderful experiences and people I've met along the way.

With a tear in my eye and a smile on my face, I bid you adieu.

For the joys of tomorrows...
Lindsey Noelle

P.S. There is no way that my suitcase could contain everything I've accumulated over this year...
All of the laughs. All of the letters written along the way! All of the early mornings and late nights. All of the Oreos and peanut butter eaten for breakfast... (don't worry Mum, I only did that once!) All of the instant sunburns. (Even when I was wearing SPF 30+) All of the broken mugs. (Random, right?) All of the books I must leave behind. (For someone who would like to someday have a library, that's like putting TacoBell sauce in an open wound...) All of the incredible teachings and sermons I've had the privilege of hearing. All of the amazing, wonderful, incredible, awesome people I've met. (They can't all come to America at once...)
So, I'll just have to accept...  I'm returning home with more than a suitcase. :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I'm Letting Go

I didn't come this far to give up!
I'm declaring that the last 2 weeks will be the most amazing conclusion to this season.
For the past eleven months I have seen God do miracles in my life and in the lives around me.
I came to Hillsong International Leadership College as a girl who loves Jesus, and I'm leaving as a woman who is passionate about seeing His Kingdom established around the world.
I am better equipped, more focused and extremely expectant for the seasons to come.
Even when circumstances are giving me every reason to back down, I will not!
My God is my my protector, provider, comforter, counselor, and best friend.
He is the beginning and the end, and so present in the in-between.
I've been changed. Changed so deeply that I myself cannot comprehend.

I feel so overwhelmed with a hunger for truth. For complacency to be shaken off, thrown away, and never chosen again. For believers to rise up and live according to the Word. For justice to become reality in every corner of this planet. For love to be spread unassumingly and selflessly across the globe. For families to be restored to their ultimate design. For churches to worry less about the method and more about the Message. For peace to reign in our hearts. For grace to capture us once again. For wisdom, compassion, and humility. For Jesus to be the center of it all.

So I'm letting go... 

"I’m Letting Go" -Francesca Battistelli 
My heart beats, standing on the edge
But my feet have finally left the ledge
Like an acrobat
There’s no turning back
I’m letting go
Of the life I planned for me
And my dreams
Losing control
Of my destiny
Feels like I’m falling and that’s what it’s like to believe
So I’m letting go
This is a giant leap of faith
Trusting and trying to embrace
The fear of the unknown
Beyond my comfort zone
Giving in to your gravity
Knowing You are holding me
I’m not afraid
Feels like I’m falling and that’s what it’s like to believe
Feels like I’m falling and this is the life for me

Love you all very much. Thank you for being a part of my life. I can't imagine it without you.
For those of you who I will see in 2 short weeks, I am so excited!
For those of you I will bid farewell, you'll always be my Australia family.

Most importantly, thank you Jesus. I can't do anything without you. I am so in love with you.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


I keep doing this… I keep going far too long in my blogging venture that by the time I settle into my couch to start writing, I spend the first half an hour staring endlessly at the blinking cursor.

So my dear friends and family, please pardon the random assortment of sentences that are about to be strewn upon this page.

Oh, heads-up, I watched “Becoming Jane” the other day and I’ve been in a poetic state since. So if I sound old-fashioned, it’s simply me trying to be like Jane Austen herself.

I’m swept up in a busy Spring with work, new classes, serving at church events and attempting to make the most of my time here!
After a cold winter (who would’ve thought in Australia!) the sun is back! The flowers are in bloom, the birds are out, (and the bugs. EWW) and the scent in the air is similar to what it was when I first arrived.
2nd semester classes (New Testament, Christian Doctrine, Personal Evangelism, Spirit-filled Living, and Songwriting) are absolutely blowing my mind!
For one of my assessments in songwriting I was paired with a guy named Damon. The goal was to write a praise or worship song, record it, make a chord chart, blah blah blah and send it in. Then out of the 13 groups in our class our trainers chose 3 songs that would be work-shopped and used for our final performance. Mine and Damon’s was one of the three that were chosen! So now our class has been split into groups and we are doing some rewriting and then we will share it for our final performance. Exciting, and a little scary, but it’s an honor!
For my next songwriting assessment I was given an artist that I have to imitate their style. Guess who I got? (I’m wincing as I write this…) Lady Gaga. Me, of all people, is required to write a Lady Gaga song. I don’t even know where to begin! My guess is I will *attempt* to lay a sick beat and layer meaningless lyrics (repeated tirelessly) over the top. We’ll see how that goes... My thoughts for how to get inspiration? I could ‘just dance,’ play poker, or get in a ‘bad romance?’ Nah, that won’t do… I’ll just ask ‘Alejandro’ for help. Teasing, I’m only teasing. For those over 25- those are song references. Don’t worry; I haven’t fallen off the deep end.

Anyways… Life is good. Life is so good.
God is continually working in my heart, and I’m learning so much. Just when I think I’ve got it figured out (it must be a teenage thing) He gently reminds me that I’m not all that and a bag of potato chips. Oh pardon me, here in Australia, they are called crisps… my bad.

As my time here dwindles, I’m in a constant state of reflection. Sometimes I forget who the girl was who got on that plane 9 months ago. I’ve changed so drastically, and yet, I’m still me. A very hard concept to comprehend.
I think I will realize how different I am when I return home. How much of the Aussie slang will I retain? What will I miss the most? (Colorful money is on the list!) Will I ever see these friends again? Will anyone in America truly understand everything I experienced? So many questions that will remain unanswered until I’m able to walk through it.
Yet, despite all of those things, I am also enraptured at the thought of coming home. On December 2nd, Blake, Joslyn and I will fly to LAX together. We will depart from this yearlong Australian adventure and return to American soil. The months of depending on skype for communication will be over, as I will be reunited with those that I love. It will be a bittersweet departure to say the least.

And that’s my cue to stop writing about it, for it makes me melancholy just thinking about it!

ANYWAYS- Thank you dear ones for all of your love and support. I could not
have done this without you. Thank you for making it so difficult to be away. “I’m so blessed to have something that makes it so hard to say goodbye.” But then, we never said goodbye… we said, ‘see you later.’ And that ‘see you later’ will shortly be fulfilled.

All my love,
      The silly girl singing, “it’s the final countdown…”      

P.S. I don't think it's necessarily protocol to put postscript in a blog post, but whatever. 
Anyways, once again, miss you! 

P.S.S.  Brother Jon, I'm glad you're okay. You literally and figuratively 'took one for the team.' And hey, the football moms are probably making you heaps of cookies. I was about ready to jump on a plane two months early to get to you. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Six Months

To express in a few short sentences the impact of these past six months is impossible. To describe the change that has occurred would short-change it if I tried. To address each person that has become and remain a part of my life would take days. So in only a few words, I will try to recap these past few months….

Since moving from Salem, Oregon on January 9th, 2011 to Sydney, Australia, my life has changed. At times it seems like the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced, but at the end of the day I know it’s all worth it. My family, friends, church, Walmart and even Taco Bell remain in Salem and although Australia is not host to any of those things, I transition… my family and friends become people from all over the world- Germany, Korea, Canada, India, England, Belgium, Africa, Mexico, etc. My grocery store becomes Coles, Hershey’s is traded for Cadbury, and the lack of insulation in the walls makes me recall the autumn days in Oregon.

Along the way I’ve had many lonely days, many times when I worried about finances, many early mornings, many awkward moments, and many times where I was ready to board the plane home, but in each of these times it’s deepened my capacity to trust that this is all on purpose!
But also along the way, I’ve met amazing people, served in an amazing church, giggled late into the night, created friendships and memories, grown and learned things that will last a lifetime!
I wouldn’t trade it for the world…

And in great excitement and expectancy, I look forward to the months to come. I know that as I continue to settle, I will continue to bloom. And even when I don’t feel like I have a place, I know I belong.

So where is home? Home will be wherever I am in whatever the season.

To everyone who has been with me since the beginning, during, and continuing with me on this journey—THANK YOU. In those two simple words I hope you know how grateful I am and forever will be for you.
Most importantly, thank you Jesus. Thank you for taking a nineteen-year-old girl across the world and opening her eyes. Thank you for the miracles along the way… financial provision, peace, grace, comfort and so much more. I couldn’t and never want to live a day without you.

So undoubtingly I can say, this is the best year of my life.

The girl across the globe,

P.S. Not that I’m counting the days or anything (147), but… I’ll be home for Christmas, you can count on me!

P.S.S. It took me three days to write this because I couldn’t decide what to share! 6 months is a lot of life to reflect on... :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Now Is Not The Time To Listen To Sad Country Songs

Now Is Not The Time To Listen To Sad Country Songs

Can you believe it's June already?! Time is rushing by! If I'm not careful I could blink and this whole year will be gone. Phew, can't let that happen.

What else is new?! Umm, well pretty much everything.
It's new to me too. I’ve heard it said, “If you’re open to change, you’re gonna be changed…” And boy-oh-boy can I attest to that! 

Here are some of the newest updates/random facts:

* I got a job! Thank you for your fervent prayers. I'm working at a Subway a thirty-minute bus ride from my house. I really enjoy it once there, but the timing of buses is quite the hassle. Sometimes I leave 2 hours early just to get there. But that's okay. I'm so grateful!

*I've covered my walls in random memorabilia which has helped make this house feel like home. Oh and side note- I killed a huge spider the other day. Like, I’m talking HUGE. I’m pretty proud!

*There is a cat that has adopted our house. Being the girls and animal lovers we are, we feed it. I guess he’s been named by the neighbors “Pedro.” I don’t know why. If only we could bring it inside…

*The 25th Hillsong Conference is coming up so we have some long/exciting weeks ahead. I don’t know where I’m allocated yet, but it will be an incredible time! 20,000+ people worshipping Jesus!

*The questions are still looming and circulating… “What’s your plan for next year?!” Don’t worry, I’m not making a big announcement yet. Because quite frankly, I have no idea. I’m in the process of researching and praying about different options, but at this point, it’s too soon to decide.

*To the graduating class of 2011, congratulations you guys! You have the world at your feet... explore it! It was a little melancholy because graduation fell on the same day that marks the 5-month anniversary of me being here. I missed you especially Natalie and Jor, wish I could’ve been there.

* I’ve realized I love the sound of laundry in the dryer. It’s almost done and ready to be folded and put on your shelves, crisp and clean and ready to be worn. I don’t know… it’s the simple things, ya know?

Sometimes the adventure doesn’t seem very exciting, but then really it’s just my perspective that’s skewed. 
I crave the “norm” I so want to escape from.
I can't explain to my heart what's going on in my head. Or visa versa.
I miss you all so bad it hurts.
But most of the time
, I smile knowing I have a God that loves me, family that supports me, friends that care for me, and a bright future ahead of me. Life is good. No matter where you are at.

         The girl who is delighted that in 7 months I will be in your arms again. 

P.S. I’m thinking and praying for you all the time! 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Random Ramblings on a Rainy Day

Well friends and family, it’s been a while, hasn’t it?! I do apologize. In my free time I often find myself discovering pictures of old-fashion tea parties and libraries or researching silly things such as personality types, cockroaches ability to withstand nuclear radiation or the definitions of words. You may think I’m kidding, but I am completely serious! I’m such a nerd. haha

Anyways…these past few weeks have been exquisite.  The leaves have begun to change colors and fall from the trees, and the air is often very pleasant. Good Friday was spent with my housemates indulging in amazing food. It was nice to feel like a family a little bit. Easter was amazing, although I was terribly sad to think of all that I was missing back home. In Australia, they don’t dye eggs or buy new dresses. Weird, huh? This week we’ve been on holiday. (That’s what they call vacations!) For the most part I’ve hung out around the house; resting, coloring and writing. There have been a few parties here and there, but because of the rain, most of the time we stay huddled inside. I’m anxious to get back into the swing of things!

Yesterday I received a package from Natalie. It was the biggest surprise! I’m currently wrapped up in my new butterfly blankie... I love it! Thanks friend! I’m so thankful for technology too. Although skype often disconnects, it’s wonderful to see and hear a person for a while! ;)

Whenever I write, I feel as though there is so much going on that I wouldn’t even know how to describe. I wish you all could walk the streets I do.

Soon I will have to make some pretty big decisions, and in the mean time I’m waiting patiently (well, I’m trying!) for God to reveal to me what He wants me to do. I’m young, free, and have the world in front of me. Often times I like to plan (in intense detail) the rest of my life, but often planning too much of something takes the adventure out of it. Right?! Right. (That’s me convincing myself…)

May 9 th will be 4 months since I’ve seen your wonderful faces. Time has gone sooo quickly. And… I’m pretty sure that if I love you this much from a distance, I’ll love you even more when I’m with you!
All that to say, I love and miss you. I appreciate you and feel completely blessed to have friends and family like you.

There’s my random ramblings…
Peace out. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

In The Waiting Room

Hello friends and family! It's with great joy that I write to you this evening. I'm sitting on my bed peering out the window at the vast sky bright with stars. It's nights like tonight that I love being in Australia. The clouds fill the sky in the day, and at night they disappear to reveal an endless array of beauty. 
So much of my heart changes each and every day, but it's good change... It's like working out... it's painful, but totally worth it in the end! On that note, my friend Joslyn and I went jogging today and then did some ab workouts and when I was failing to do the exercise correctly she said, "it's to strengthen your core!" To that I replied, "I don't have a core to strengthen! But I'll get there." In the midst of a silly moment it hit me... I may not necessarily have a strengthened core physically, but God is defining and strengthening the core of who I am in Him. I like to take weird experiences and see them as metaphors to what God's doing. I hope you don't mind! :)
Last week I discovered my favorite place in Australia so far! About a half mile from my house there is a pathway through some fields. From the top of the hill you can see all surrounding areas. At dusk the sun paints the sky with such breathtaking colors, and the lining of the clouds shine with the intense light. Even in the rain it's a beautiful place. It's the place where I have complete freedom... I dance through the fields, lay on the grass or make my way through the trees. I can say or sing whatever I want with no cares in the world. My precious little hill. Adorned with an old barn in the distance, the view of a water tower to the right, houses straight ahead, and business buildings in all directions it's a little oasis in the familiarity of the the 3 mile radius I'm in. 

One of the things I ponder the most when I'm in my 'secret garden' is the word "wait." It's a simple term; known by most, but only truly fulfilled by few. 
Last week while processing many different seasons and reasons for things, I was reading 1 Corinthians 13 and saw verse 4 in a whole new light. "Love is patient..." Patient is the very first adjective when used to describe what love is. The definition of patient is: able to wait without becoming annoyed or anxious; slow to lose one's temper with irritating people or situations; the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset
The keyword I saw in this definition was "wait," which means: to stay where one is or delay action until a particular time or until something else happens; remain in readiness for some purpose. 

Umm, hello! Isn't that wonderful?! So maybe you're waiting for a new job, waiting for a spouse, waiting for direction for the future, waiting for a baby,etc. Whatever it is... don't lose heart! 
A few weeks ago one of the Pastors, Joel A'Bell, read this poem at the end of his message... I know the tendency when a poem or verse is posted is to scan over it, but I really think that if you read this with an open heart, it will speak to you just as much as it's spoken to me. 

Written By: Unknown

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried:
Quietly, patiently, lovingly God replied;
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate,
And the Master so gently said, "child, you must wait". 

"Wait? You say, wait!" my indignant reply. 
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith, I have asked, and am claiming your word. 
My future and all to which I relate
hangs in the balance, & you tell me to WAIT?
I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign,
Or even a 'no' to which I can resign. 
And Lord, you promised that if we believe
we need but to ask, and we shall receive. 
So Lord, I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply!

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
As my Master replied once again, "you must wait". 
So, I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut
and grumbled to God, "so, I'm waiting for what?"
He seemed, then, to kneel, and His eyes wept with mine,
And He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign. 
I could shake the Heavens, and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead, and cause mountains to run.
All you seek I could give, and pleased you would be.
You would have what you want - but you would not know me!

You'd not know the depth of my love for each saint;
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint;
You'd not learn to see through the clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there;
You'd not know the joy of resting in me
When darkness and silence were all you could see.

You'd never experience that fullness of love
As the peace of my Spirit descends like a dove;
You'd know that I give and I save (for a start),
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of my heart.

The glow of my comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight,
The depth that's beyond getting just what you asked
Of an infinite God, who makes what you have LAST.
You'd never know, should pain quickly flee,
What it means that "My grace is sufficient for thee."

Yes, your dreams for your loved one overnight would come true,
But, oh, the loss, if I lost what I'm doing in you!
So, be silent my child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to get to know Me.
And though often may My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still, "WAIT."

Wasn't that absolutely wonderful? I feel like whoever wrote this has been reading my mail! I pray that it blessed you as well. 
Well my dear family and friends, it's almost been 3 months which means only 8 remain until I see you again. I'll be waiting for that! Much love. Many thanks. And a multitude of prayers coming your way. 

The Girl In The Waiting Room,
Lindsey Noelle