5 minutes with Dani
Tell us a little about you
I grew up in Croatia, but it was part of Yugoslavia back then. In boarding school which was in a castle (how romantic!) I met my prince charming, and we have been married over 35 years. As soon as we got married, we left the country for further study abroad, not realising we would never go back to live there. Instead, we lived in France, the Philippines, Australia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and Australia again. We have two handsome grown-up sons.
I am pleasantly surprised that I’ve completed two diplomas, two master’s degrees, a doctorate, post graduate diploma, and certificate IV, as well as published three books, several book articles and monthly newsletters. Most of my working career I was a lecturer in theology, but I also worked in church administration covering the territory of Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific.
I say I’m pleasantly surprised, because in my wildest dreams I would not have imagined that God would bless me in such a way. See, I grew up in a very poor and alcoholic family. My dad and my brother were alcoholics. Nobody who knew me, or my family back then could have imagined what my future will be. But God’s ways are not our ways, they are much better!
Do you have a favourite Bible passage? If so, what it is and why?
I seem to have a different favourite Bible passage at different time in life.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit, Romans 15:13 was such a text at one stage. I learned it by heart and repeated it many times, especially when I felt no joy or peace and had to trust in Him.
Lately I’ve been reciting Psalm 23 particularly at night when my thoughts were racing here and there, and I couldn’t fall sleep. I am so looking forward to no more “valleys of the shadow of death” and to “dwell in the house of the Lord FOREVER.”
How do you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus?
The first thing I do every morning is read one text from the Bible. I want to start the day by knowing that Jesus loves me, that I matter, that there is a message from Him to me for the day. And I’m still learning how to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus. Many things are seeking my attention and this focus can easily be disrupted, so I come back to Jesus, to His word and learn from Him.
As I walk among the people, I pray for them. When I’m the shopping centre I see all the people and ask Jesus to be with them, to reveal himself to them. I imagine how much they all mean to Him. On the bus, while waiting at the traffic light. That fixes my eyes on Jesus, rather than on problems that I may see around.
What would you like the next generation of Christian women to know?
Regardless of how hard it may seem from day to day, it is worth it. It is worth being faithful to God’s call, to His word, to Bible principles for life. I want them to know that they have us older ones to cheer them on, to encourage them, to pray for them, to counsel them. I am so encouraged when I see next generation of Christian women! They are so creative, strong, God fearing, educated, real, honest, and I am encouraged to be with them and see them.
What's one thing that you love about your local church?
My local church is very welcoming and embracing new people and people from all cultures. I like how they serve community in different ways. For example, people get together to make meals which are then frozen. Any time there is need, they then give those meals away. Another example, there was health expo organised for community where anyone who came received a free health check by professional medical personnel. I like how the needs of community are being met.
What did you learn about God at a time in your life you found hard?
God is bigger than I can imagine and loves more than I can ever understand or experience. He loves everyone with unconditional love, and he freely forgives. All these concepts are in stark contrast to what I found myself to be like especially during difficult times I struggled through. I discovered that in my pain I was selfish, angry, holding grudge, negative and sarcastic. But God forgives all of that and covers me with his love. And he does the same for every single person, regardless of what they have done or thought of doing. How can I ever comprehend this kind of love?
What are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about seeing more women in leadership positions, in places where decisions are made. I find this is especially scarce in the church hierarchy. Churches should be leading in that area, examples of equality among people, but we have a long way to go.
What do you enjoy doing when you rest?
I love walking in nature – forest, beach, hills. I love cooking, especially baking bread. I’ve learned how to make sourdough, and I’m delighted. I like reading a book, watching a good movie. Anybody else loving BBC’s Pride and Prejudice series? When I was doing my doctorate, that was the reward I was waiting for after I submitted my papers.