What's your favourite bible passage & why?
It's hard to choose just one and I'm very tempted to go with the tried and tested Philippians 4:6-7. But instead maybe I'll highlight a lesser known one that has been very important for me. As someone who can get a bit overly conscientious and risk burning myself out, John 6:28-29 has been a great source of comfort to me: "Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” When I'm wondering whether I'm doing enough for God, this reminds me that all that is required of me is trust.
How do you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus?
I have to admit I've found this pretty challenging lately, as my full time job has just gotten busier and busier. But I try to start the day, as soon as I wake up, by saying 'good morning' to God, and my husband and I do a brief devotional together most mornings and evenings, followed by a shared thanksgiving about key parts of our days. This certainly helps keep Jesus front of mind. During my busy days, I just try to think of him briefly every now and then, say 'help' when I need it and 'thanks' when I see him working.
What would you like the next generation of Christian women to know?
That they are already good enough and don't need to prove themselves to anyone or stretch themselves too thin. I think there is a lot of pressure on all Christians, and all women, and therefore Christian women in particular, to be all things to all people. Rest, boundaries, saying no, and self-care are not often encouraged or practiced, so a lot of Christian women fill all their time pouring their energy into others without feeling permitted to regularly recharge their batteries. Recharging is critical not only to be fruitful (à la John 15) but also to stay well; anxiety and depression run rampant among women, and the church is not immune. Overcommitment is a key factor, in my opinion.
What's one thing that you love about your church?
We recently moved from our much-beloved church of seven years after moving area, so are still settling into our new one. But there's a lot we love already, which is why we chose it. One thing that comes to mind is that the worship, teaching and conversation are REAL, confronting the challenges of life and faith. For instance, recently we had a women's day that focused on standing firm in hardship where there was a great message, ministry time for women who were struggling, and a panel where several women shared their experiences of chronic and mental health issues. It was great!
What did you learn about God at a time in your life you found hard?
The hardest time in my life by far was a three year period where I experienced really bad anxiety, triggered and exacerbated by a perfect storm of personal crises. But you know, while it was terrifying and exhausting, God was very close from beginning to end and it really taught me that my faith relies 100% on him.
What are you passionate about?
Too many things, compared to the amount of time in one day! But I suppose some key ones would be: giving a voice to the voiceless, advocating for balance in all things, emphasising God's grace over works, raising awareness about mental health issues, and encouraging authenticity in the church.
What do you enjoy doing when you rest?
I love to read, listen to podcasts, watch Netflix, nap and hand-letter.