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5 minutes with Julie ...

Tell us a little about you

I am a counsellor specialising in complex trauma and a senior lecturer in a Postgraduate School of Counselling in Sydney. I have a teaching background, both in primary and middle school. My husband thinks its funny that I began my working life teaching kindergarten and have now been promoted to teaching adults in my ‘older’ age. I have been involved in numerous short term mission trips to South East Asia, often taking a team of young people with me. My particular interest has been in working alongside those who rescue child soldiers, both in training those who care for them and counselling anyone who has need whilst I am visiting. This has led to thinking through how to help missionaries whilst on the field and how to be an advocate for those who are trafficked in any way. In turn my interest in the effects of traumatic experiences on one’s wellbeing and how to come alongside those affected in the healing process has led to doctoral research in the effects of trauma on missionaries.

I have been married for 40 years and have four adult children and 3 1/3 grandchildren who bring me much delight.

What’s your favourite bible passage and why?

This is such an easy question for me to answer as I have taught, written and preached on Isaiah 61:1-7 as often as I can possibly make it happen. To me the task of counselling is to ‘bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, and to comfort all who mourn’. This passage goes on to say ‘they will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated’. I believe that this is what God has called me to and delight as I see God restore and heal those who have been broken by this world.

How do you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus?

Sometimes its really hard to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus when you are confronted daily with the results of the depravity of mankind on the people you work with. In managing cynicism and sometimes a sense of hopelessness about where God is in suffering and pain I have needed to spend a lot of time working out my own theology around suffering. I have been in a season which can be best described by the words of Chris Tomlin’s worship song ‘Good, good Father’.

‘You're a good, good father It's who you are, it's who you are, it's who you are And I'm loved by you It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am’

I have listened to it, sung it, prayed it and taught it until I now believe it in the depth of my being. I have also learnt the practice of being still and breathing in the breath of the Holy Spirit into my own spirit until I can become still enough to be fully present with those who I meet each day. This for me is allowing the transferential presence of the Lord Jesus to meet me in the deepest places whilst connecting Jesus to others at the same time.

What would you like the next generation of Christian women to know?

I want this generation to believe that God can take them on an adventure that will take their breath away if they just simply say ‘Send me - I’ll go’ and let Him direct their lives. I want them to know that God is full of surprises and there is nothing boring or stuffy about being a Christian. I want them to know that He is fully trustworthy but we have to take the dive off the edge of the cliff to find out just how trustworthy He is.

What's one thing that you love about your local church?

I love that my local church is a safe place for all kinds of people. I love that I get to preach there.

What did you learn about God at a time in your life you found hard?

I found that I don’t have to work so hard to hold it all together, that I can lean back and He will catch me. I also learnt that being vulnerable to others is excruciatingly difficult for me but when you trust the people that God sends to you the payoff is huge.

What are you passionate about?

How many words do I have here….? I guess most of all I’m passionate about people knowing that Jesus never abandons us when we are in the mud. I want people to know that there is a way through hard stuff and that we don’t have to remain in pain, that there is healing and help available when we look to the right sources. I’m passionate about making a difference where there is injustice, particularly where women and children are involved.

What do you enjoy doing when you rest?

I love being on the water - that is in a boat of any kind. I play a bit of golf and reading a novel and not a text book is always a bonus. I love spending time with my husband in the outdoors and am besotted by grandma cuddles.

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