Tell us a little about you
I live in Tanzania with my husband and son. We partner with a fantastic movement of Christian
university students and graduates called TAFES, as they seek lives of radical commitment to
Jesus. (You might know the sister movement AFES in Australia.) I’m a Bible teacher and
especially like mentoring women.
Favourite Bible passage and why?
The Servant Song in Isaiah 53, especially v.4. This passage is well known for talking about Jesus taking our sin upon himself, but what I love is how it talks about Jesus taking our suffering as well. There’s so much in that, including the difficulties in our world, and the times we have been sinned against. Jesus hasn’t just borne my sin, but also experienced my shame and known what it is to be fractured because of how someone else has treated you. Something that’s continued to nourish me is seeing how Jesus doesn’t just deal with my individual sin but with more general brokenness as well.
How do you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus?
I’ve never managed to get into the ‘regular quiet time’ thing that seems to be so important for
so many Christians. That’s been a source of guilt for me in the past, so in recent times I’ve
developed some practices that keep me looking to Jesus without the burden of a particular
session. Something I took up a couple of years ago was writing myself a series of 1 sentence
prayers that can be a daily liturgy if I like but mainly just kind of float around in my head. They’re purposely short, and deliberately targeted both to my issues and praying for others. (e.g. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; I confess that I have believe Satan’s lies about my worth and your acceptance of me; I trust that you are making me new; Please make my tongue gentle and wise; Please give J calm and help her to trust you; Please open Saudi Arabia to the gospel, etc.) A second thing I do is to sing or listen to music. What I find difficult in spontaneous prayer I can often sing, and great truths which I might otherwise skip over become truer for me when set to music. I put music on when I cook, or while doing activities with our little guy, and all his lullabies are our favourite hymns. I find these good ways of being reminded of Jesus’ goodness and my commitment to him throughout the day.
What would you like the next generation of Christian women to know?
Lots of women talk to me about feeling intimidated or even disenfranchised as they read the
Old Testament. Its length and breadth can make it difficult to access, and then when they do
read it, they recoil in horror as they read of Sarah, Dinah, Tamar, Jephthah’s daughter and
Michal (to name a few). What are they to make of stories where women are mistreated, raped,
even killed by or for the sake of men? Is it OK to feel angry? What about when the Bible doesn’t appear to condemn these brutalities? It’s my conviction that the Bible has words of life here, and it’s a passion of mine to discover these. I’d love the next generation of Christian women to know them as well, so that as they read the Old Testament, they might also experience the care of God their Father.
What did you learn about God at a time in your life you found hard?
That my relationship with God doesn’t depend on me. In life’s hard times, the Bible implores us to turn to God with our cries and anger, and to continue remembering his promises. However, there are times when numbness or illness prevents us even from doing even these things. We can feel disconnected from God, and think that this is our fault, and that it’s our job to fix our relationship with him. When I was in this situation, I remember feeling simultaneously shocked and comforted when an older Christian told me, ‘When you are inadequate, Jesus your great High Priest sits at the right hand of God and advocates for you.’ (Hebrews 10) Nothing can separate me from his love – not even my own incapacity to love him. He is my only refuge.
What do you enjoy doing when you rest?
I like to cook and do aerobics classes and yoga, but most of all I love to read, especially historical fiction.