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I think I finally realised what it is I love so much about Australian architecture. I came to this realisation while on a golden hour stroll just a few days ago. The thing was, I’m still not entirely familiar with the layout of Perth, and as soon as I venture away from home or base I lose wifi and therefore lose my connection to the outside world. I made a smart decision, though. My normal tendency would be to convince myself I knew where I was going and I wouldn’t get lost – while simultaneously picturing a worst-case-scenario drama involving sleeping on a park bench or accidentally ending up in New Zealand without a way back. But, instead, I knew the wise thing would be to simply walk the half-mile or so journey to the bookstore that I know by heart. To make things interesting, I decided to walk up and down each short neighbourhood street along the way, creating a walk that resembled some sort of sine wave.

Surprisingly, this walk was one of the most visually exciting walks I can remember. I started wondering why I found each house more beautiful than the next, and then it hit me:

Architecture here involves a perfect blend of nature and manmade materials.

From ivy-lined arches, to red cement patios perfectly complimented by deep green rosemary bushes, to beautifully weathered fence posts matching the tree bark they’re surrounding, buildings and houses here have such a gorgeous blend of colour, texture, and variety that they look like nature.

The really lovely thing, though, is the fact that God and man have collaborated to make something outstanding. To me, the juxtaposition of natural and artificial creation represents something really amazing, possibly a tiny piece of the meaning of our existence in this life:

We were created to create.

About a week ago, I read one chapter of a book, and I think that one chapter changed my life. It wasn’t something new, but something that I had forgotten and needed to be reminded of. It was a chapter of The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind by Bill Johnson, a book that I have really been enjoying and learning from. The chapter was titled “Dreaming With God.” I read that chapter with the sun shining on my face and tears streaming down it. Bill was talking about co-labouring with God, working together, dreaming together, creating together. One thing he said really hit home:

“Sometimes we think we serve a barbaric God who wants to wipe out anything that springs from our own hearts.”

I’m not sure where or when along the way I started thinking that, but, in a way, I did. Perhaps it was in processing and preparing for a life of missions that I know will be difficult. Maybe I just became so focused on asking God what He wanted from me instead of telling Him what I have been dreaming of. Either way, I got to a place where I would quickly suppress anything that felt like “my idea.” I didn’t consider the fact that God made me who I am for a reason, that He crafted my gifts, desires, and ideas, and that He wants to work with me to make them reality, for His glory. I’m so thankful that He loves me enough to correct my thinking and get me back on the right path, in the right way at the right time!

It’s exactly a month before my discipleship training course starts, and I’m so glad that God helped shift my perspective in preparation for it. I’m excited to explore more of who God is, but I’m also excited to explore who I am in Him. It’s not about me blindly obeying every command, losing my uniqueness in submission. Rather, by allowing God to transform me into the person He created me to be, something even more amazing will come to life. I’ll be a white stucco house covered in pink flowers, a red roof framed by palm leaves – a representation of collaboration between friends.

This post contains an Amazon affiliate link. This means that a portion of any purchases of the book mentioned will go back into supporting my missions work! Click here to view the book mentioned on Amazon.

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we are the rileys

We are a newlywed couple serving in Christian missions.

God has called us to Youth With a Mission in Perth, Australia. We have a heart for the city of Perth and for reaching Aboriginal people here in Western Australia. We would also love to see transformation and mobilisation through partnering with local initiatives in other nations in short-term outreach trips. Together, we have a passion for mentorship and discipleship of young people. Chris is gifted in meeting practical needs, and Leanne has a big desire for the sphere of Media & Communications.

This is our blog, a place to share what God is doing as well as things we learn as we journey through the adventure of following Jesus!