I live in Sydney with my housemate and cat, Kitty Perry. I have the joy of working in Schools Ministry at CRU, where I encourage teachers and Chaplains, and support lunchtime Christian Groups. I I literally LOVE my job and am so thankful that God has led me to such a fruitful and fulfilling job, in an amazing work place.
I go to an Anglican Church here in Sydney, where I love listening to good solid and practical preaching and being encouraged to keep living for Jesus. I love spending time with my nieces and nephews, my best friends and their family, exercising and kicking back on the couch, watching a myriad of streaming services with my housemate.
Tell us about a ministry you love
I give God so much thanks for the work of CRU and the role He has given me to see His Kingdom growing as we share Jesus with students at independent schools and on Holiday CRU camps.
CRU began 90+ years ago through Howard Guinness and his work in Universities, as he saw an opportunity to share the gospel with students in schools and so began The Crusader Union of Australia. Decades later and literally millions upon millions of students have heard the life saving message of Jesus through CRU's Ministry on school camps, through lunchtime Christian Groups and on Holiday camps! CRU truly does have Jesus at the very centre of their organisation and seek to pour all of our energies and resources in growing God's Kingdom through this ministry!
I remember one particular story of how this ministry has worked to share Jesus and change eternities. I have the joy of regularly speaking at school chapel services and at this particular school after sharing a story of Jesus and his forgiving love, I also shared about CRU Holiday Camps. One girl was super keen to hear more about Jesus, so she went home and asked her parents if she could go on CRU camp. They agreed and off she went, where she again heard of Jesus' grace and the joy she could have for an eternity knowing Jesus as her Saviour. She gave her life to Christ on that camp and went home to tell her parents and then begged them to let her go to church.
At first they weren't that keen, so she went along to her lunchtime Christian CRU group at school and that became her weekly church time, where she heard about Jesus! Her parents over time began to see a change in her at home and so eventually also agreed to go along to church, where after a while the whole family came to trust in Jesus as their Saviour...and all their eternities were changed! Praise God!!!
Do you seek to have a daily 'quiet time'? If so, what does this time look like?
Over the years I have read my Bible and kept journals, but for the past few years I have found listening to my Bible to be the most helpful way for me to stay consistent.
I currently use 2 apps. In the morning I listen to the Bible in One Year app, from the team at Alpha. It reads through a psalm, a chapter of the NT and OT along with some commentary. I find this helpful to keep reading through and hearing scripture, as well as some faithful insights on the text.
Later in the morning (in lockdown) I actually join a Zoom group with a few other people who want to be accountable in having their quiet times. All our mics are off, but we just read our Bibles together and see each other's faces - which has been lovely and really helpful in isolation.
So during that time, I use the app, Lectio365 which has a really different pace and focus. It affords me time to pray and really dwell on one scripture, which is different to my usual pace in life and so I've been enjoying slowing down and spending time with God.
What I also love about this app is that it has an evening reading, with scripture along with giving you an opportunities to give over your worries, confess your sin and entrust your body and sleep to God.
How do you read the Bible?
I think one of the reasons I like listening to my Bible during my quiet times is because I read the Bible a fair bit as part of my daily work, which is actually one of God's graces, because otherwise I think I would struggle to keep reading and have it so central as part of my life.
It's probably been drilled into me when I was a student at SMBC (Sydney Missionary Bible College) but I'm a big fan of expository reading and teaching.
I've noticed I appreciate the Bible the most when I'm reading a passage in it's context and considering what God was speaking to His people then and how it might come alive and active today, in me and to grow his Kingdom.
What does your prayer life look like?
This is an area of my life when I've gone back and forth in being challenged and sought to be kind to myself. I actually love to pray and notice that I tend to encourage others that I am and have been praying for them. But I don't actually have a specific time or method that helps me to consistently pray, which I think i'd value greatly.
Some random ways I pray for things I find helpful are:
- I pray when I hear someone share something that I am prompted to tell God about, so I pray there and then- sometimes publicly with the person or immediately after I've left them.
- I pray when God brings some thing or someone to mind and I feel prompted to pray.
- When I'm writing an email or text, I'll often go to write, "I've just stopped to pray for..." and so I actually do that there are then.
- I pray when I hear an ambulance driving past me, for the person in trouble and their family and for the ambos.
- I try to always pray publicly if I'm in a prayer meeting, as I'm always encouraged by others who do.
- Currently I have been going on BIG prayer walks - where I've been praying for BIG things in the world and bringing big concerns like the Covid crisis, Afghanistan, Revival in in our nation... big things that feel completely out of my control, so I give them over to an even bigger God!
Do you journal?
I used to journal in my 20's and early 30's. I went through a phase of writing my prayers and discoveries in the scriptures. It was when I first came to follow Jesus and went through some really hard times. And I'm so thankful now to read those thoughts and prayers, and can see how faithful God is in Romans 8:28 style - in being at work in my life and not answering and answering, all in his sovereign kindness.
How have you failed or struggled in these areas? What has God taught you as a result?
In 2018, I needed to take a step back from full time ministry at CRU. What I thought was just a 2 month break, actually turned into a 2 year (and on going), journey focusing on improving my mental wellbeing. I have wrestled with depression since I was a teenager and though I have a great counsellor and lots of support, I have experienced some really dark times.
Early on in the year, I knew things weren't right, but in my pride I kept pushing myself. I worked in a ministry where I felt needed and I had lots of opportunities to share the gospel, but I was also becoming tired, jaded and eventually became very unwell.
Over this time and in recovery, God has felt both really far away and close to me, though I know he has always been constant and teaching me to ground my identity in Him as His child. He has sent people into my life to be the Holy Spirit, sharing words of encouragement and also challenge as I needed to hear them.
It's a hard lesson, that I'm still wrestling through, but I think God continues to show me that what I perceive as a weakness in me...God uses as a tool for His might and Glory.
In His kindness(and though it is painful), God will stop me to challenge my pride and self-sufficiency, all the while making me lie down in green pastures, all for his good and Glory!
What routines, habits or rules of life have you found helpful?
When I was younger, I had always imagined I would marry and have my own family, and I've struggled with this over time.What has been most helpful in this, has for me is for my closest friends to welcome me into their family.
I call them my 'Friday Family', because ever since they got married and had there 3 kids, I've spent most Friday nights at their house. It has allowed me to literally be a part of their everyday family life, being helpful when I could, waking in the night to put kids back to sleep and having morning cuddles. It has been one of the greatest blessings of my life and I'd encourage anyone who is single, if it's possible to find a Friday Family and do life with them.
Who has been an example to you?
I have been blessed with a few Christian women in my life, who I long to be like, as they are like Jesus (in the 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul kinda way). I value being able to share life and ministry joys and struggles with these women and have basked in their godly witness and advice. I think they have also been a great help to me in my ministry, as I try to glean from their words of wisdom and pass their ways and words on to others.
I'm also thankful for my friend and boss at work. He is an incredibly humble, strong and faithful leader. His joy in the Lord is so abundant that it overflows into his life and work and leadership. His influence is bathed in the Holy Spirit truly infiltrates through our team as we are encouraged to serve Jesus with our all, under his leadership.
What wisdom would you share with a younger Christian?
I think I would say, "Preach the gospel often and be kind to yourself".
There are going to be times when you'll want to soar to the top of the mountains for Jesus and others when you're just blindly sitting in the pit wondering if the darkness will ever lift. In each of those times, Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. His Gospel is unchanged and the truth remains concrete. So in your failures and lows, preach the gospel to yourself and believe it!
And be as kind to yourself in your thoughts and your words, as you would to one of your closest friends. This will help you to begin to see yourself as your God does, his precious child, in Jesus.
What have you found helpful when you feel spiritually dry?
An image has been helpful to me during these times. A dear friend once told me that life can often feel like you have 2 paths. One is well worn and looks easy, but it goes round in circles, you've been down that road many times before and it leads to nowhere, but pain.
The other path feels like you're walking through very thick, scratchy, dense tall grass, going up hill and you are just wading through, forcing every single step, longing to get to the top of the mountain. You know that at the top of the mountain there is an amazing vista of beauty, richness, colour and light!
This picture helps me to fight temptation and reminds me that the struggle is worth it, simply just putting one foot in front of the other, trusting that Jesus walks alongside me.
Are there any other resources you would recommend?
I have just finished reading Gentle and Lowly by Dane Ortland, which I've found refreshing focusing on the Heart of Jesus for you. However, I've also discovered there is a podcast - which are summaries of the chapters in bite sized pieces.
As a single woman who loves and trusts Jesus with all her heart, I have been encouraged by John Piper's sermon, Single in Christ.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
My favourite bible verse is Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
This verse helps me to trust that all the good and the hard, which ever path I walk down...God is at work through me. I remember hearing a faithful missionary in his 70's saying, "If you set God's Glory as your goal in life, you can not fail". I've written this in the front of my bible and helps me to keep focused on living for Jesus, trusting through the good and the hard, that He is at work for His Good and Glory!