5 minutes with Louise ...
Tell us a little about yourself
Brevity isn’t my strong point so “a little about yourself” is tough!
I am married to Mark who is a principal at a special school, I have three daughters (ages 15, 12, 9) and 2 cats, 4 guinea pigs and a turtle. I finished my PhD in ancient history at Macquarie Uni in 2015 looking at representations on disability in the gospel. I am lecturer at Mary Andrews College in Sydney am currently a Senior Fellow at Anglican Deaconess Ministries for 2017 working on a research project on the experiences of people with disability in the Sydney Diocese of the Anglican Church.
What's your favourite bible passage & why?
I’m very interested in social justice so I am always encouraged and challenged by the words of God to the prophet Micah: “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
How do you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus?
Through recognising His hand at work in all the tiny details of life and *trying* not to get distracted by the many wonderful distractions available to us in the 21st century!
What would you like the next generation of Christian women to know?
I feel really strongly in Paul’s idea of the Body of Christ being a place where all the members need to work together for the adequate functioning of the Body. This means seeking out people’s gifts and interests and abilities and allowing them to use those gifts to serve the Body and be served by the Body. I belief that this is important for all people irrespective of gender, physical or intellectual disability, or any of the other things we use to box in and label people and prevent them finding their ways to serve. While they are often overlooked, the Bible includes some incredible stories of women playing vital roles in the mission of God – the women in Luke 8, the women who became witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection appearance and testified of it to disciples (Luke 24:1-12), the incredible role of Esther who is described as active with loving-kindness (a word often used in the Old Testament to describe the characteristics of God Himself!). Don’t underestimate your role to play in the Body of Christ!!
What did you learn about God at a time in your life you found hard?
I became a Christian when I was 19 about 12 months after the sudden and very unexpected death of my mother from an asthma attack. It was horrific for my family and turned our worlds upside-down. It began to dawn on me that unless God was real then I couldn’t understand how it could be worth enduring the loss and hardships of life. In the midst of such sorrow, I found hope in the message of the gospel. 22 years later, in times of difficulty, I am reminded that God stepped into my life in a way that was tangible and profound. While I might doubt myself and my abilities at times (ok, a lot!), but I can never doubt the reality of a personal God who works in the lives of every day human beings and who desires to see all come to the knowledge of Him through Christ.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about seeing churches focus on the inclusion of people with disability. We live in a society where people with disability are often undervalued and ignored. In a society that values independence and productivity, we value less those who we perceive are less productive than others. The message of the gospel, however, is that all people are made in the image of God and have an important role to play in the proper functioning of the Body of Christ. Paul says that we need every member playing their part for the Body of Christ to function as it should. So we have a message of value and inclusion that should mean that people with disability and their families and carers should feel like they belong and can participate equally in our church communities, however, this isn’t always the way it works out. I am encouraged by those churches doing inclusion well and keep working with churches who are keen to improve in this area through my voluntary work with CBM Australia’s Luke 14 program. https://www.cbm.org.au/content/our-work/luke14
What do you enjoy doing when you rest?
I am very good at being too busy. I lost the art of relaxing during the PhD so this is a skill I am trying to redevelop! When I remind myself to rest, enjoy reading, on my own and with my kids (I’ve enjoyed the books of Kate Morton in the last 12 months, but always tempted to read the Harry Potter books again for the 27th time!). I also love doing craft with my girls, travelling, and walking, however, a hip injury has slowed me down a little over the last 12 months).