5 minutes with Linda ...
- Tell us a little about yourself
I am the oldest of five girls, which probably gives you the biggest clue as to my personality type :-) My sisters have been known to call me bossy whereas I prefer purposeful and assertive! I live in Wollongong with my husband, our two teenage children and an overindulged Labradoodle who has us all wrapped around his furry paw! I love family, friends, adventure and am a relatively, recent convert to coffee (it only took me 45 years to catch up).
I have worked in lots of different jobs over the years from serving as an officer in the RAAF, high school teacher, volunteering in an orphanage in Hong Kong, pastor, writer and a few others in between but my greatest joy is definitely being a mum and a wife. I love this season of my life. With the exception of when I have to give my son driving lessons, life with teenagers is lots of fun. It’s a great relief when you realize that your kids are actually very nice people, in spite of the parenting failures that occurred along the way!
Most of my time is currently dedicated to establishing www.thesheiproject.org an online community and platform for the sharing of stories from the lives of everyday women. I am convinced that when we take the time to listen to each other’s story that stereotypes and labels are destroyed, grace and hope are released and real community is established. It is so empowering to be told that ‘your story matters’. I also work with an organisation called Esther’s Voice that ministers to women in Cambodia who are at risk of, or have been the victim of sexual exploitation and trafficking.
- What's your favourite bible passage & why?
This is a toughie - there are so many. Which is actually one of the things I love most about God’s word, its perpetually relevant and personal. But if I have to pick one that has become a theme for my life it would be 2 Timothy 1:12 (NKJ)
‘Nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.’
A few years ago our son was diagnosed with high-risk leukaemia, whilst we were living in Hong Kong. The first night in hospital when it felt like my whole world was falling apart the Holy Spirit brought this verse to my mind. It was a powerful reminder to me that even though we had no idea what lay ahead of us I could trust God with it. He had proved Himself faithful so many times in our life and I could trust Him in this too. This verse prompted me to look up when everything in me wanted to just shut my eyes and wish it wasn’t happening. The times when I was tempted to drown in a pity party of my own making (and there were many) this verse reminded me to look at Jesus not my circumstance.
- How do you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus?
Some days are easier than others for sure. I am hopeless at journaling and even struggle with consistently using the Bible devotions app on my phone! I am however a big believer in the power of getting outside for exercise and a perspective check. I live beside a national park so I go there most days to exercise, pray and process. Like most mums of teenagers I spend way too much time in the car so I also use that time to listen to worship music or a sermon podcast. I am most grateful for the fact that although my eyes aren’t always on Jesus, He’s always got His eye on me!!
What would you like the next generation of Christian women to know?
You don’t need to earn Gods love. It really is a free gift. God’s love for you is genuinely unconditional. No matter what you do, achieve or acquire God cannot love you any more than he does right now! No matter what others may say to you, or about you, let God’s voice be the one you listen to. When you know that kind of love and security – everything else finds its right place.
- What's one thing that you love about your local church?
I love what our Sunday gatherings represent. Some weeks it’s like heaven touches earth and others it’s more like Noah’s ark in the midst of a storm. Either way, I love the reminder that God is at work in the lives of everyday, flawed human beings like me. I love watching others worship and seeing the joy on their face as they encounter Jesus. I love being part of a community of believers who challenge me, inspire me and remind me that God is bigger and greater than any sort of box I might try and put him in.
- What did you learn about God at a time in your life you found hard?
He is faithful. No matter how far I have wandered (& I have definitely tested the limits of our relationship), no matter how angry I have felt; I know that God has never, ever left me. He is relentless in his commitment to us. I don’t understand it, but I am so very grateful for it.
- What are you passionate about?
A lot of things! I am really passionate about people living in freedom and knowing God for who He really is, not angry or distant but full of grace, mercy and love. I am passionate about giving women all over the world the opportunity to have their voice heard, their story honored and their journey acknowledged. I love meeting with women from all walks of life hearing their stories and being reminded of how creatively and relentlessly God pursues relationship with each of us.
- What do you enjoy doing when you rest?
Rest for me generally involves running, hiking or mountain biking. Although my body is active my mind is at rest. I love being outdoors and exercising with friends. I am ALWAYS in a better mood after exercise. I do have a small obsession with BBC dramas as well. I binge watch them when I’m on a plane or at an airport.