Last month, we drove south from our home in Sydney to the edge of Melbourne, Victoria, for me to speak at a special women’s event—a journey of about nine hours. We then headed to Bendigo in central Victoria and home again via a more inland route through Wagga Wagga and Bathurst and back over the Blue Mountains. We enjoyed our trip very much—the countryside was green, the scenery beautiful and, to top it off, we found lots of interesting, old gold-mining towns to explore along the way.Then this month, we undertook an even longer road trip north to Queensland—around eleven hours of driving. We headed up what is commonly called the coast road, a route we love. There is one spot that is my absolute favourite where, just after cresting a hill, we always gasp in amazement as we gaze at the beautiful hinterland of the Northern Rivers area, with its lush hills and valleys, stretching away to the blue Pacific Ocean in the distance.
We decided to come home via an inland route, through country towns such as Armidale and Tamworth. Again, I was blown away by the vastness of our land, as we drove through wonderful cattle and sheep grazing country, as well as farms where crops such as wheat and canola were being cultivated. We love this route too, away from the lushness that characterises a large proportion of the coast road, but equally breathtaking with its rocky mountain outcrops, typically Aussie bushland and wide, rolling plains.As we undertook these long drives, I began to realise God was using them to change my heart attitude and widen my perspective on things. These past few months have been very busy for me, with lots of speaking engagements, the launch of my latest novel, The Inheritance, and extra grandchild-minding duties—not to mention my writing! In it all, I had become quite ‘me-focused’, trying to balance everything and being consumed by each little task. I believe God used the vastness of our land to show me how insignificant all my little worries and cares truly are when compared to the vastness and wonder of his creation. Surely God, the all-powerful Creator and Sustainer of our entire country, is well able to empower and sustain me in my little speaking and writing journey!
The psalmist says it all, don’t you think, in these first two verses of Psalm 121:I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
With the Lord as our Helper, watching over us day and night and over all our coming and going, as this psalm goes on to say, what more do we need in our writing journeys?Jo-Anne Berthelsen lives in Sydney but grew up in Brisbane. She holds degrees in Arts and Theology and has worked as a high school teacher, editor and secretary, as well as in local church ministry. Jo-Anne is passionate about touching hearts and lives through both the written and spoken word. She is the author of six published novels and one non-fiction work, Soul Friend: the story of a shared spiritual journey. Jo-Anne is married to a retired minister and has three grown-up children and three grandchildren. For more information, please visit www.jo-anneberthelsen.com or www.soulfriend.com.au.