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5 minutes with Karyn

Tell us a little about you

I’m Karyn, I’m 35, I live and love in Townsville Queensland. I have been a Christian since I was 7 years old, after making an independent decision to follow Christ after specifically asking to attend a program at my local church, which at that time was Bowen AOG.

I originally felt the call of God on my life to serve humanity when I was a teen on a short-term missions trip in China, and subsequently trained for my Bachelor’s of Social Work at James Cook University. Unbeknownst to me at the time, God had other plans to use that training for working with people to pivot me in a different direction, which you will read about as my story unfolds.

What's your favourite bible passage and why?

I don’t have a specific favourite, but I am drawn to verses reminding us to consider wisdom, and also to remind us of God’s power to keep us and sustain us. Here are three of them:

Desiring God in tough times:

“As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”

- Psalms 42:1-2

In service to others:

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

- Galatians 6:9

For wisdom with things sacred:

“...Do not throw your pearls in front of pigs, they will only trample them underfoot.”

- Matthew 7:6

How do you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus?

“Put on every piece of God’s armor... then after the battle you will still be standing firm.”

- Ephesians 6:13

Hardship will come in life. For me, life has not always been easy, and there are specific reasons for that are beyond my control relating to a disability. What I do know, is that I have a firm grip on faith. Even when I wasn’t able to comprehend it, or even describe it, I found it residing in me. The blessing of a lifetime in the Lord, means that in darkened times there is always a light. Even if it’s a mere glint, it’s there. Grip onto that ‘mustard seed’ we speak of. If in the least, you can summons a prayer that says: “God, I know you’re there, I know you’re real, I know I’m not alone right now.” Even when our emotions are seeking to defy the foundation of our faith, just cling to that. That is enough, that is plenty to sustain you.

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

You can do it. You can do all of it. I qualify that, by saying ‘if you are called to it’. So often we doubt ourselves, and feel hemmed in by the roar of external pressures, that we forget to hear the still small voice nudging us towards our purpose in life. Often, we start out in our late teens, early 20’s keen with a sense of God’s purpose in our lives. Slowly, the log intended for the fire is whittled down to a matchstick and we fail to launch.

“Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others.”

- Habakkuk 2:2

My advice is to clarify what you want and feel called to, and get trustworthy mentors around you who demonstrate alignment with your vision and have the capacity to take you with them.

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

I attend Calvary Christian Church, in Townsville, Queensland. I have been a member of my local church family for 18 years, and I could not begin to imagine my life outside of the fellowship of other believers. The church is a family, familiar faces, of all ages and stages, social classes, races and abilities which ought have open doors for anyone who seeks to know Christ.

A few years ago, I spent a year living in China teaching English as a second language. The circumstances of my employment meant that I had to work weekends. I was unable to attend the local international church and have my walk of faith supplemented by the faith and encouragement of other believers. It was a very difficult time as a result. I eventually returned home to Townsville, to my local church that I have lived with, loved with and grown with over the past two decades. Upon returning home, I was very powerfully impacted by my lived experience of not being able to practice my religion openly.

It took some time to recover from the wilderness of that time of isolation, and bolstered in me a sense of the power and the beauty that resides in us, when we reside in a community of believers.

The local church is the scaffolding around our Christian journey, and should we fall, acts as the safety net to help restore us through the power of the Holy Spirit to our rightful place in worship.

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

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

- James 4:8

After returning home from living abroad, I suffered a lot of losses. Personally, relationally, financially and materially. When I returned home, I my expectations of resuming my previous life were crushed. I wasted a lot of time trying to re-insert myself into life, occupation and social circles that belonged to my past. For a number of years prior to going overseas I worked as a government administration temp contractor. I returned to a city with a collapsed economy following a period of mismanagement of the Queensland public sector. For the first time in my life, finding employment was rendered impossible. This caused me a tremendous amount of grief, but wisely I obeyed the Holy Spirit when I felt called to return to James Cook University to study a Bachelor of Business majoring in Human Resources Management. Once I accepted that I was on this journey, just God and me, my entanglements to my past expectations began to melt away and my passion for life was restored. I experienced every worldly thing being taken from me, but I chose to draw nearer to God.

Life is so much better, when you lean into your passion and your purpose and take a leap of faith.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about being the answer in this world. I really love the term ‘vocation’ used by Catholics, meaning ‘a strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation’, from the Latin ‘vocatio’, from vocare meaning ‘to call’. I am passionate about supporting people’s capacities so that they line up with their call. Everyone needs a hand up sometimes!

I believe in meeting people halfway in life, because it’s a good starting point to help. I seek to model compassion, and empathy through taking action, that others may see my example and replicate empathy and action in their own lives.

“Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.”

- Luke 6:36

What do you enjoy doing when you rest?

I am a maker and a tinkerer. I’m always creating something, crafting, fossicking through op-shops for treasures and items to repurpose. Most of my belongings are second hand or handmade, and I wouldn’t want life any other way!

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