Reason to Trust #18 [Deb]

Deb HiltonAge: 57 // Favourite Food: If it’s from Italy, I will eat it! And Lamb, I love lamb! // Dream Job: Been living it for the past 16 years – Serving God in Vietnam // Current Season: Living in my heartland, Vietnam with the greatest team on earth to serve & be a blessing to the wonderful Vietnamese people every day. Happy! // Met Jesus: Known Him all my life, however I accepted Him as Saviour when I was 15, but not as Lord until just after I got married at 19. // Favourite Verse: I have so many but the one I live by & that has proven true to my journey in life is James 2:22 – “You see that his faith & his actions were working together, & his faith was made complete by what he did. In other words, you have to put legs on your faith!” // Instagram: @deborahahilton

For me, trust is something I always thought I had until it was put to the test after God moved our family from the comfortable, affluent, ministry filled, family & friendship rich lifestyle we enjoyed in Newcastle to the island state of Tasmania to serve in a church plant.

Moving there was not the issue, as God had done a number on us three years before when he asked us, after building our dream home, if we would be willing to give it up if He asked us to.

I was excited to be following this call of God, & even though I was leaving everything behind, I was sure, God would take good care of our family in this new venture.

We bought a business there to support us while doing ministry & began serving in the church. Life was wonderful.

Three months in, we held our first family camp. Our guest speaker finished his first message & called people out for prayer. He then called my husband & I out & said, I have a word for you guys! “God has called you to this place, but don’t look to the left or the right but straight ahead at what God has called you to do. (I thought, sure, that is why we are here, but thanks God for the confirmation). Then he said words you don’t want to hear in a prophecy, “but, there are going to be tough times ahead”.

My first thought was, “Really God!! What do you mean, tough times ahead??”  However, after processing this ‘wonderful’ word, I just reasoned that it was simply due to being in a different state, missing family & having to forge a new ministry.

Life went on fine after that for a couple of months until that ‘tough times ahead’ came tumbling in on us very quickly. The business we had bought was not what was presented to us on paper & it began to rob from us all that we had. Not only this, but our kids began to grieve for what was. We began to struggle just trying to juggle church life, family life, homesickness as well as propping up a failing business. As newbies to the state, we felt there was no-one we could share with because, hey! we were suppose to the pillars of the church, the ones who had answers, not needed them!

For the next 6 months or so, we cried out to God for answers. I would find myself waking up in the middle of the night feeling desperately alone in this unknown land with ocean between the unfamiliar and our hometown. What’s going on! Why God when we followed your call, is this happening? I tried everything, claimed every scripture & pleaded for an answer, but none would come.

A year past & still nothing had changed until we came to the point of falling on our knees before God saying: “God, we don’t know what is happening, we don’t understand the why of it all, but what we do know is this; you are good, you are faithful and you want good things for us, so whatever you are wanting to do in us, just do it.”

That day of surrender changed everything. Circumstances didn’t change initially but WE changed. For me, I began to dig into God in faith and trust like never before, abandoning myself completely to Him for everything and from that day to this, I can say with confidence, God has proved Himself faithful in every situation. From miraculous provisions, to incredible opportunities.

Without this bible school of life experience we walked through over six years, I would not be the person I am today, I would not have the faith & trust I have today for the big things God asks me to do, to believe for, & for what He wants me to step into as the future unravels.

From me to you, I want to say, with one hundred percent conviction, you can trust God in your journey.

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Reason to Trust #17 [Hannah]

Hannah BrownAge: 33 // Favourite Food: Toss-up between homemade spaghetti bolognese and peanut butter and honey sandwiches. // Dream Job: UN humanitarian aid worker… failing that, an artsy fartsy designer with a lucrative Etsy business // Current Season: Happily married, first baby on the way, saving for a house, working full-time, having far too much fun, and lots of naps… I think that’s called a season of plenty?? // Met Jesus: At Sunday school when I was five—but I didn’t give my life to Him until 18 years later (good thing He’s patient) // Favourite Verse: Isaiah 54 – the whole chapter. // Instagram: @hansy_b

I’ve known God pretty much all my life. I remember being in Sunday school as a little girl singing ‘Father Abraham’ and playing with felt board cut outs of Noah leading camels onto the ark. I would sit with my mum on a long wooden pew in that little country Anglican church, sing from a dusty old hymn book, and stuff my face with the Arnott’s Family Assortment that was inevitably served after every service.

In primary school, my Christian friend invited me along to Girls Brigade (this was before puberty hit and I didn’t really mind being dressed in quasi-military attire).  It was fun, despite the daggy drills we did, the bible verses we were supposed to learn, and the songs (oh lordy, the songs!).

I don’t think a day went by when I didn’t talk to God. Admittedly, the conversations I had with Him were embarrassingly narcissistic—there wasn’t a whole lot of biblical basis to my prayers (read: none), but I somehow knew from a very early age that He existed, He was omnipresent, and He wanted to talk to me.

When I was 16, my brother, who had recently become a Christian, invited me along to a little AOG church in Wagga to watch him play guitar. I sat on the front row as the worship music played and tried the hold back the tears—I was so moved by the beautiful atmosphere in that church. I know now that the Holy Spirit was ministering to my parched, lost little soul, but all I knew then was that I felt better for sitting in that service (albeit a bit embarrassed for having sobbed my guts out in front of complete strangers).

There were many more little encounters with God like that over the years, but through them all, I don’t ever really remember making a determined commitment to give my life to Jesus. I knew that’s what I had to do to become a Christian, but I guess I felt like I didn’t have what it took to live, what appeared to me, to be a pretty straight up and down lifestyle. I know now that salvation has nothing to do with my ‘good deeds’, but my little belief system was a bit skew-whiff when I was growing up.

It wasn’t until the bottom fell out of my life that I really made the commitment to follow Jesus—and it didn’t happen the way you’d expect. I was 23 and living in Newcastle with my boyfriend, who worked out of town during the week. I had no friends and I was desperately lonely. I developed a pretty severe case of depression and anxiety during that time. I’d go for days without speaking to a single soul, and I constantly lived under this thick cloud that seemed to sap every ounce of happiness and energy in me. I’d cry for hours and hours and there were times when I thought it’d be easier to just end it all. The depression ended up putting such a strain on my relationship with my boyfriend that we eventually broke up.

I found myself in a city of half a million people without a single friend in the world. So the day after my boyfriend moved out, I took my bleary, tear-stained self off to church. I had experienced church enough to know that the people there were supposed to be nice, and therefore they kinda had to be my friend. At that point, I didn’t really have a thought about becoming a full-on lets-all-hold-hands-and-sing-kumbaya Jesus lover, I just knew I needed to be around people who would be kind to me.

I arrived home after the service that Sunday morning, sat on the end of my bed and said to God, ‘alright, if I’m going to do this church thing, then I might as well become a Christian’. So I prayed the sinner’s prayer (because that’s what I’d been taught to do), and that was that.

God took a hold of me that day. I’d only prayed that prayer as an afterthought—as a means of fitting in with my newly found church friends—but He took it as an invitation to come into my life, to rid it of every dark and broken place, and give me peace and security that I’d never known before.

And He did a deep work. Nothing in those early years of being a Christian seemed to come easily, I had to fight tooth and nail for my salvation. I had to declare God’s word until I was blue in the face, I fasted and prayed, I made a fool of myself in worship, and many many more times, cried my eyes out on the front row of church.

The turning point with the depression came a few years in. I’d had some small victories with it, but it was slow going. I’d bought Lisa Bevere’s book, Out of Control and Loving It, which is all about letting go of fear and control and completely trusting God with your life (seriously, the book was written just for me). But for weeks, I couldn’t get past the first page.

The book opens with a scripture from Isaiah (another one of my favourites):

“Awake, awake, Zion, clothe yourself with strength! Put on your garments of splendour, Jerusalem, the holy city. The uncircumcised and defiled will not enter you again. Shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned, Jerusalem. Free yourself from the chains on your neck, O captive daughter of Zion.” (Isaiah 52:1-2)

I realised God was telling me that I was weak, bound up and dominated by fear. He was saying that my inheritance in Him was right in front of me, but I had to lay a hold of it. I was, however, slightly incensed at His suggestion that I was the one responsible for setting myself free. Wasn’t that His job? Hadn’t I been sitting here all this time waiting for Him to zap me or something? Didn’t He think that if I knew how to ‘free myself from the chains on my neck’ that I would have done it by now? I stewed on that for several weeks until He whispered to me one morning, ‘the only thing that keeps you bound is the lies that you believe’.

That was it. Jesus said that I would know the truth and the truth would set me free (John 8:32). So it made complete sense that lies were the thing that kept me bound.  In fact, that’s the only thing that keeps Christians from being the most flippin’ dynamic world changers that ever existed.

It wasn’t easy undoing all of the lies I’d always believed about myself and God. It was terrifying to even attempt to believe that God had adopted me into His family and that I was now forever His—even more terrifying to trust that He’d never reject me and that He was enthralled by my beauty (I confess, I still scoff at that one a little bit, but I’m a work in progress). Believing God’s word over the warped beliefs that were so entrenched in my mind was like throwing myself off a cliff and expecting Him to catch me. But slowly, slowly, as I began to trust that God means what He says, His words changed me. The more I trusted His word, the less of a hold the depression had on me.

The start of my journey with Jesus was ten years ago, and I have to say that, now, I’ve never felt more alive. I remember when I realised after YEARS of fighting depression that it wasn’t there anymore; God had radically healed me, and I know it’s never ever coming back. When God sets you free, you really are free indeed. My only regret now is that I didn’t give my life to Jesus when the invitations presented themselves over the years; I could have avoided so much additional pain. But God has this amazing way of restoring the years that have been robbed from us.

So why do I trust God? He’s never left my side. Through my entire life He’s waited for me, sought me out, hedged me in, and pursued me to the ends of the earth. He’s comforted me in my darkest moments when I thought I’d rather die than live, He’s lifted my head when I didn’t have the strength, He’s spoken courage into me every time I cried out that I couldn’t go on anymore, He’s bottled every tear, He’s ever so gently led me towards freedom, and He’s given me a life more beautiful than I could ever imagine. He’s spontaneously appeared to me in the form of friends, mentors, leaders, and, in the most precious moments, as Himself. God has been my most faithful friend, my greatest lover, my dad, and the anchor of my life. I never ever wanted to become a daggy, hand-clapping, beige‑wearing, religious nut bag—which I guess is why it took me so long to make the decision to follow Him—but I never expected that by becoming a Christian I’d find myself in the middle of the greatest love story ever.

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Reason to Trust #16 [Caroline]

Caroline WoodAge: 40 // Favourite Food: A yummy healthy salad. // Dream Job: I’m already in my dream job… it’s to see my kids love God, to see them serve in His house, to change a generation that will see all future generations in our family loving and serving our God. // Current Season: A season of calling in Harvest. // Met Jesus: 1993 in a prison cell (I’ll save this for another blog) // Favourite Verse:  Romans 5:20 – “Where sin abounds the grace of God abounds all the more.”

Every day I’m reminded of how amazing God is, that He is present in all of the little things. You just can’t orchestrate some of the things that happen, it simply has our creator’s finger prints all over them!  We can try and control/plan out how our day, is to unfold, but the bible clearly says in Proverbs 16:9 – “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”

God is in the business of positioning us in the right place at the right time. My hubby & I are pastors in our church and every week we run a night where anyone new to church can come along visit and be connected with other people in our church. This particular week, was a challenging week. I was new in the job, I had done a lot of phone calling and quite honestly I didn’t know if anyone was going to turn up that night!

I was frustrated; I was questioning God in my role. So the night begins and two couples walk in, almost one after the other. In walks a lady from another country and her partner, she was a new Christian who had just given her life to God the week prior.  Then a couple from our church walk in & the two couples look at each other – the international visitor puts her hand over her mouth in shock, the husband of the couple from our church grabs her hands, speaks to her in her native language and she starts to cry.

It unfolds that this man several years ago, while living in overseas, had given this lady a bible.  Here she is several years later, having just given her life to God in our country, meeting the man who gave her a bible in her homeland! Out of all of the people, out of all the churches, out of all the hundreds of groups meeting in our church, He puts these two people together! 

So I was reminded again that in his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. God loved this lady so much that He wanted to show her, that her decision wasn’t a mistake. He wanted to show her that He is a God who loves, who knows exactly what we need at exactly the right moment.  And if that wasn’t enough, He then choses to minister to me!

At the same time He was able to show me through this moment, that nothing is a mistake, nothing is wasted. He is in control of everything.  He is in all of the little things.

So I am reminded to start each day by holding out my hand and saying “Here I am God, lead me, guide and use me!” 

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Reason to Trust #15 [Erica]

Erica SullivanAge: 33 // Favourite Food: Anything my Husband makes. // Dream Job: Teaching. // Current Season: Stay at-home-mom, loving my 3 and 5 year old, dreaming with my hubby, living in the greatest city–Austin, Texas. // Met Jesus: At 23 years old, in a church in West Virginia. // Favourite Verse: Romans 8:28- “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” // Instagram: @ericasullivantx

There are some really simple things I love about my parent’s house.  I know each time my family visits, there will be sweet bologna in the refrigerator, which is awesome because I never keep it in the fridge at my house.  I know my Mom will have a pair of slippers ready for me to wear because “the old floors get cold”, whether they’re hers, or a brand new pair she just thought I might need.

I also love how she will have every picture framed of my children I’ve sent since the last time we visited.  While all of mine are stored on digital media, she’s proudly showing off her beautiful grandkids and can’t help but display her love for her family. 

There’s no doubt when we arrive my Dad will be ready to serve us.  From having a fresh hankie in his back pocket to wipe runny noses, to running to the basement to get toys or any other thing we could possibly need, he barely sits, and when he does he falls asleep sitting up, because he works too hard and gives so much.

There’s truly no place like home.  I miss home.  Quite frankly, sometimes I get irritated with God for moving my family 1,500 miles away from home.

I’m thankful God always reminds me he’s in control, when my emotions question his plans.  While recently reading John 15:4 my heart was comforted by the simplicity of the invitation he offers us…

“Live in me. Make YOUR HOME in me just as I do in you.”

Wow, Jesus is alive in me!  He’s at HOME in me.  This beautiful thought gives me strength, and helps me fix my attention on Him rather than my worries and concerns about motherhood, ministry, or missing the ones I love most. 

My Mom knows I need slippers.  God knows the specific people I need to encourage me.  He knows I miss my family.   He knows how to supply my every need.  He even knows what I need before I even ask.  He reassures me of where my “home” is…it’s in Him.  My desire is to trust his will, and believe he will put the love he has for my family and me on display! 

Again, there’s no place like home, John 15:7-8 says,

“But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon.”

I want to truly LIVE in him.  Every time I pray, open his Word, or worship him I want to sense the precious feeling of being “at home” with him…comfortable, relaxed, knowing I’m being taken care of and my God is ready to listen and act.

My prayer for me, for you, for the ones you love the most is for us to REALLY live—despite our confusion, feelings of defeat, broken hearts or lack of trust, my desire is for us to remember he lives in us and we live in Him…Welcome Home, there’s no place like it.

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Reason to Trust #14 [Jane]

Jane TullisAge: 52 // Favourite Food: Chocolate (cliché I know, but true) and steak, the rarer the better and I’d be happy to just take a slice off as the cow trots past. // Dream Job: Being an actress – I could easily pull of being the Vicar of Dibley’s Aussie twin. // Current Season: Hmmm…I already have my mid-life-crisis-convertible-beetle, so can’t pretend I’m still in that period then. Currently working full time, staring retirement down the barrel and finding it’s not staring back yet. // Met Jesus: 13 years old, at a Beach Mission event. // Favourite Verse: Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future”.

Almost 25 years ago our daughter was born, and nearly two years later our son was to be born, a lovely pigeon pair to complete our family. At four month’s pregnant with our son, I started developing severe pain in my right leg and, after a three-hour car drive to visit family for Christmas, I found myself in hospital with a massive blood clot extending all the way down my right leg.

Unfortunately, as a consequence of the drug regime I had to take, our son died before he could ever be born at five and a half months.  My husband and I were then strongly advised against ever having more children.  I know as I write this that so many people have suffered hardships in life, many more difficult than mine, and we had already been blessed with our beautiful daughter.  But the things that come our way affect us all differently, and no one person can claim to understand fully the pain of another. 

I found the experience of losing Samuel profoundly difficult, and yet I can look back on it and say that only my trust in God got me through that period.  But I want to try and convey that it was not an active “I trust you God” statement at the time that I am referring to.  In fact at the time I had very little clear thought process and days seemed to pass in a blur.  My husband and I cried, we organised the funeral from my hospital bed, and we just put one foot in front of the other day after day…and yet… at the end of my week in hospital after having delivered our son, I had a nurse approach me and say “I have never seen anyone handle the situation as you have just done, tell me your secret”.

Now please understand, I had no secret, I was a mess; but as I pondered her words, I was convinced what she saw in me was my trust in God at work for my good.  I do not mean my trust in God in that specific moment, because I was unable to articulate it at the time, but the trust I professed in Him fifteen years earlier as a teenager on the day I became a Christian.

And this is one of God’s key characteristics that blows my mind: He is faithful ALWAYS! His love for us and action in our lives does not wax and wane with our moods or the circumstances we face.  I declared “I trust you with my life, God” when I was thirteen, and God said done and double done…for life.  He stepped up when we lost Samuel, because He always steps up for his children who profess to trust in Him.  I believe the nurse didn’t see me as the messy human being I was at that time, but rather she saw the God I trust in who never left me alone for one second.  I believe she felt him each time she entered my room because it says in Psalm 139:5 that He “hems us in, before and behind”, not at our request in desperate times, but as a matter of course in our every day.

To trust in God is a SUPERnatural thing; it stamps you, and it holds you in good stead no matter what comes your way…because He is faithful even when our wheels fall off from time to time.  So whatever you are facing, don’t despair and say “If only I could trust God more”.  He’s held on to your trust from the first time you professed it, He has declared it to be enough, and He is there with you in your every moment.  Even if you can’t see it, others will despite what you’re going through and it will blow their mind.  So relax, He’s got you covered!

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Reason to Trust #13 [Bex]

Bex BroadbentAge: 31 // Favourite Food: Just food… But a good steak will make me smile! // Dream Job: I’m sure I’ll have a super cool job one day, but I feel like I’m living the dream right now! // Current Season: Mum to two busy boys. // Met Jesus: When I was 18 in my first year at University. // Favourite Verse: Matthew 6:34 – “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

I am a perfectionist and a bit of a control freak.  I love knowing what’s coming up so I can respond appropriately, manage my emotions, and set out a plan. I have two beautiful little boys who quite like being spontaneous and doing ‘crazy’ (normal) things.  This quest for perfection is now impossible. I’ve adapted. ..eherm… I’m adapting.

I am married to a lovely,  generous,  kind man who is an incredible father and husband. He is fit, chilled out and leads a healthy life.  Two years ago at 35 weeks pregnant with our second son I was woken at 4am (rude) by my husband complaining of indigestion.  I pointed him in the direction of my trusty indigestion pills (thanks pregnancy). We both quickly realised it wasn’t indigestion and I turned the light on.  My husband was grey, cold, sweating, complaining of chest pain and a tingling left arm. When my normally laid back husband asked me to call an ambulance I knew it was serious.

In hospital,  initial tests were inconclusive and he was admitted to the chest pain unit. I went home to rest and put some things together for his hospital stay. I lay down for 5 minutes feeling a bit numb,  a few minutes later I received a text from my husband with the words “they reckon I’ve had a heart attack”. I felt like a heavy blanket had been thrown over me and was suffocating me.  I screamed,  cried,  yelled,  I curled into a ball confused,  angry and scared.  With literally nowhere else to turn I reached for my bible.

God,  I don’t understand, I’m terrified and I’m angry that this had happened. I don’t know what to do. Help me. I need you to tell me it’s going to be okay. I felt very clearly to open my bible to Proverbs 3.

1 My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your HEART,
2 for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity.
3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your HEART.
4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.

5 Trust in the Lord with all your HEART and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

25 Have no fear of sudden disaster
or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,
26 for the Lord will be at your side
and will keep your foot from being snared.

It’s a well known Proverb,  but in that moment the Bible came alive.

God was with me and knew my situation.  He encouraged me with the knowledge that my husband was going to be okay, to trust in Him and not to be fearful.

This personal moment with God pulled me through the darkest time in my life,  my marriage and ironically my relationship with God.

Comprehensive testing showed my husband was in perfect working order and there was no obvious reason this happened. He is on medication for the rest of his life to minimise his risk and as a family we have adopted a healthier lifestyle.

Like any traumatic life event things still pop up from time to time. My fear of losing my husband at any moment is still at times very real, even though I know the risk of him having another heart attack is now lower than an average person. But we talk, we pray,  I remember God meeting me in that moment and we find plenty of things to laugh about.

Our family have to trust God everyday that no matter what comes our way,  we’ll be okay. I trust God because I chose everyday to believe he has a GOOD plan for my life and knows me intimately.  It’s a wonderful,  freeing way to live.

Five weeks after this ‘event’ we were able to celebrate the arrival of our second son. A beautiful gift after a difficult time. We felt shaken into reality,  to appreciate every moment,  keep things simple and above all else to focus on the most important things in life.

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Reason to Trust #12 [Anne]

Anne IulianoAge: 54 // Favourite Food: anything chocolate. // Dream Job:  Grandmother J// Current Season:    Pastor/Chaplain/ always up for new challenges. // Met Jesus: At 6 years old in a conference. // Favourite Verse: Luke 1:37 – “For with God, nothing shall be impossible”

One of my life principles: “Keep money out of your heart…..and God will keep it in your pocket.” I absolutely KNOW that God supplies all our financial needs, exceedingly abundantly, over and above.  But learning this has been an incredible journey.

Aged 21 and starting in ministry with my new husband of 4 weeks, we had no money except for what was given us at our wedding. We immediately had to begin a journey of trusting God for everything. I know what it’s like to shop with a knot in my stomach trying to ensure I was not one cent over at the cash register, because there was no more than the petty amount of cash in my purse. But that’s when the miracles began… miracle, after miracle of provision.

When the first baby arrived, I was given absolutely everything I needed, including a heritage cot complete with heirloom linen, etc – abundantly beyond, more than enough to give away to other new mums.

Tests of faith came regularly, God never failed.

Then approaching one Christmas, with two little boys, we realized we had absolutely NO money for gifts. We could have hidden it from our boys as they were really too young to expect anything. But what about Christmas day with the extended family? Rocking up with no gifts would be disastrous.

We simply prayed and asked God to provide.

Three weeks before Christmas – an envelope arrived.

No note, no sender details. But with an anonymous bank cheque for $1,000! We both wept at the provision yet again of our wonderful God.

Since these early years we have never made decisions based on financial benefits. Purely on what we believe God is asking of us.

We love to be generous, and have found that we cannot out give God. Sometimes it is ridiculous! We will give money away and within a day or two, receive double, triple or more back. When we have needs, or sometimes simply a desire, our Father goes ahead and provides.

When John first proposed, he said he might not be able to give me a two storey house with a couple of cars in the garage, but promised me his love and faithfulness. Well, we’ve got the house, the cars, and many other blessings, plus love and faithfulness to each other. And we continue to enjoy the love and faithfulness of our ‘exceedingly abundant’ God.

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Reason to Trust #11 [Monya]

Monya van WykAge: 34 // Favourite Food: Grilled Lemon + Garlic Prawn and Tiramisu // Dream Job: To walk in my destiny // Current Season: Married, a Mum of 2, (9 week old girl and 2.5 yr old boy) and owner of a business called Heavenly Sent // Met Jesus:At 18 years old when revival hit our church – Open Doors. // Favourite Verse: Timothy 1:7 – ”For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” // Website: www.heavenlysent.co.nz

I was 24 years of age. I didn’t think I would ever marry and DID NOT WANT any children!

I had been in pre-mature relationships since I was 12 and every time after 2 years the relationship would break up for some reason. Be it cheating, discomfort, rejection – I have encountered it all. From then on I expected the same every time a new relationship started.

I was brought up in a Christian home, Christian values etc. I had a dad in my life, but he was absent in his own presence. I was longing for acceptance and someone to love me. Since the age of 12, I committed to relationships way beyond my emotional and physical maturity – which tore not only my self-esteem but also my spirit.

I was physically, emotionally and spiritually abused, broken and torn apart. A skeleton with no flesh. I vowed never to marry or have children, as I never wanted them to go through the same.

A prophetic word was given to me by a friend when I was 18, and may I add I thought this was from the devil – I was furious!

He said “God is going to turn your mourning into dancing, but first he is going to burn down the old flesh. I see someone setting you alight and oh dear I can smell the flesh…it’s burning… I can see the rotten meat falling off and only a skeleton is left over. God is going to remould you and shape you but… everything has to die first.”

Now that was overwhelming.

Fast forward after more relationships, and I am now 24. People found out that once they quit playing with me, the box I came in was beautifully wrapped, but empty!

I got involved with drugs whilst working in church. I thought I lived the perfect life and God could still use me, even though I was living this double life. But NO – God had other plans.

I was in a relationship with someone who I thought was finally the perfect guy. A match made in heaven. Two years later… we broke up. I had to part with drugs and finally face reality.

Fear started to fill my soul – I was suspicious, hallucinating, hurting, trusted no one, afraid of everything and locked myself in the house and all the curtains had to be shut.

I had nothing left and NOTHING to lose. I had to admit that even though I was not a prostitute in public – I committed the same sin, even if I was in long term relationships. It’s NO different.

I had to turn to GOD.

I decided to fast for three days… which then turned into twelve days in which my flesh burned and my heart was lavished and chased by GOD. He wooed me and I “married” my beloved in my room and I was overcome and very much in love!

Hosea 2:14 says,“I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfort to her. I will give her the Valley of Achor as a door of hope, she shall sing there. And it shall be, in that day, says the Lord, that you will call Me “My Husband” and no longer call Me “My Master”.

For the very first time since I can remember I had not been involved in any relationship for a full year. God redeemed me again, and again and again, like Hagar.

And then finally I met a friend, who courted me – not take me to bed first. Who got to know who I was and loved me for that. And I knew, this is what God wanted for me.

God had to be very clear with His confirmation, as I would not settle for less than what I experienced with him. I was working one day, doing a stock take, when I found a bible and I opened it. God gave me this:

Isaiah 54: “For more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married woman. For you will forget the shame of your youth, For your Maker is Your Husband. But with great mercies I will gather you… with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you!”

God promised me that He will lay my stones with colourful gems and my foundations with sapphires.

“All your children shall be taught by the LORD”.

Today I have been married with the love of my life and we have two children! My mum still can’t believe that she has two grandchildren.

When God starts a good work it’s only done when he says it is. I’m still being transformed every day!

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Reason to Trust #10 [Kate]

Kate FraserAge: 21 // Favourite Food: My dad’s lasagne (Oops, mum made sure I told you it’s actually her recipe) // Dream Job: Writing kid’s books or flying planes or being a professional seafood eater, I’m making that a thing. // Current Season: a ‘poor’ uni student, studying Speech Pathology, working casually to fund her next holiday. The best season so far! // Met Jesus: Grade 1 I think it was, I am pretty sure I could even dig out the certificate I received from my Christian school. // Favourite Verse: Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through him who gives me strength.” // Instagram: @katielouf

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6.

Can I be honest with you?

Trusting in God can be terribly hard. It feels a million times harder when you try and trust in God when He doesn’t appear to be answering your prayer.

My prayer was a simple prayer; I’ve prayed it for as long as I can remember. It goes just like this, “ Jesus, please heal my mum.”

I’ve had a beautiful life, been in relationship with a loving God, and surrounded by an incredible family and wonderful friends. But in June, 2012, I realised that my life was characterised by fear, and a lot of it.

Let’s just say that June was my twelfth favourite month that year.

My beautiful mum suffers from depression, an awful disease that she has battled with since before my siblings and I were born.

I don’t want to go any further without saying how incredibly strong my mum is. To simply see the way she lives her life is in itself the perfect reason to trust God. (I secretly think Deuteronomy 31:6 was actually written about her).

In June 2012 however, I was home alone. Both my siblings had moved away, my dad was overseas for work and my beautiful mum was in hospital going through another ‘bad patch’ of depression. In the midst of the busiest time of university that semester, I was hit with fear, a fear I had been living out of for many years.

Fear for my mum and fear for myself. I felt the responsibility of carrying her burden for her. I felt useless that I couldn’t make her better, or take away her pain. I was terrified – depression had come through her family – and I had no doubt I was going to get it too. Above all, I was frustrated. I feel incredibly selfish for saying this, but I was frustrated that even though I was the child in the situation, I had to carry the all-too-big burden of my parent.

I felt frustrated that God would allow my family to go through this and allow my mum to feel that pain. She didn’t deserve it.

There comes a point where no matter how hard you try to carry or fix things yourself, it simply does not work. I was clearly at this point. I needed to put my trust in God.

God hasn’t called us to live in a place of fear. He wants to pull us out of it. He wants us to call upon him. I am not saying in that moment I immediately put my trust in God. I wish I had, because man, oh man, that would’ve been a lot easier. But I made a start. I began with recognizing that I needed to start trusting in God, which slowly lead to trusting in God.

Today, I CHOOSE to put my trust in God. It is a choice. It’s a choice that we need to constantly make for ourselves.

My mum still suffers from depression. I wish I had a cure for it, an answer for why people get sick. But I really don’t know. She doesn’t know either. But she chooses to trust in God too.

What I do know is that when I chose to put my trust in God, something in me shifted. My physical situation may not have changed, but I felt changed.

Before I used to live in a place of fear, my future was determined by life’s very unpredictable circumstances, as I now choose to humble myself before God and relinquish all control to him, I can rebuke fear and live out of his joy and peace regardless of the situation I may face.

“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.” // Rom 15:13

Trusting in God may not result in the change you want to see, or the prayer you want answered.

With trust comes overwhelming love.

With trust comes the deepest peace.

With trust comes the hope of a joy-filled and certain future. 

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Reason to Trust #9 [Ness]

Ness AbernethyAge:43 // Favourite Food: Thai Food. // Dream Job: Already doing it! // Current Season: Full time mum. Working part time as a vocal coach and a freelance singer. // Met Jesus: At 14 at a Y-One Rally (Christian performing tour team) // Favourite Verse:Psalm 27:4: “One thing I ask, the one thing I seek. Is that I will dwell in the house of the Lord all my days.” // Instagram: @nessabernethy // Website: www.nessabernethy.com

I got saved. I started serving God at church. I was using my passion to build His house and his Kingdom. I got married in 1996 and my husband and I were in ministry together, on the worship team… perfect…right?!

Well after being married for 4 years, I found out that my husband had been having an affair, and my world fell apart.

We owned a business, and we had been able to purchase this because my mum had remortgaged her house for us. I mean “what could go wrong?!” If the business didn’t prosper, we would just go and get other jobs and pay back the loan. No-one had thought that our marriage would fail.

Still in 2000, I found myself broken, alone, fearful for my future, ashamed and in disbelief. I could not believe this had happened to me? I had done it all right! However my husband had made a decision and his decision caused my world to crumble.

I remember crying out to God, wondering how I would cope. I remember facing thoughts of suicide. The pain and sense of rejection was overwhelming.

But God heard me. He inclined His ear.

I clearly remember crying… no wait, HOWLING in my bed in the early hours of the morning. I literally felt like I was sinking into my bed as I was flooded with hopelessness and anxiety.

I did the classic “GOD… You need to speak to me. You need to let me know I’m going to be okay.” I opened my bible and began to read the first thing my eyes fell on. And without a word of a lie the first thing I read was NESS. Crazy I know – but the word righteousness hadn’t fitted on the page, so it had been split off. So here is how it looked and this is what it said:

ISAIAH 62 v 2 – 4.  8 – 9.  11 – 12                                                                       2 The nations shall see your righteous- ness. Kings shall be blinded by your glory; and God will confer on you a new name.  He will hold you aloft in his hands for all to see – a splendid crown for the Kind of kings.  Never again shall you be called “The God-forsaken Land” or the “Land that God forgot.”  Your new name will be “The Land of Gods Delight” and “The Bride,” for the Lord delights in you and will claim you as his own.

8  The Lord has sworn to Jerusalem with all his integrity:  “I will never again give you to your enemies; never again shall foreign soldiers come and take away your grain and wine.  You raised it; you shall keep it, praising God. 

11  See, the Lord has sent his messengers to every land and said, “Tell my people, I, the Lord your God, am coming to save you and will bring your many gifts.  and they shall be called “The Holy People” and “The Lord’s Redeemed,” and “The Land of Desire” and “The City God Has Blessed”

WOW. God had me. God understood, and God, in His love, was going to restore me. His word cast a vision for my life… and without one, as the Word says, we perish.  This showed me, and told me God was more than able and more than willing to carry me through this hard season. That He would restore and rebuild me. Sounds like the bionic woman – ha!

That I did not need to be afraid or anxious, that I was not alone, and that He was my hope. I just needed to trust Him to do what He promised. To continue to lift my eyes, lift my voice, hold Jesus’ hand … and walk with Him.

I can honestly say that without God, I know I would be in a different place in my life. Love is risk, trusting is risk… but if you never love or trust, you will never fully live.

For me this says it all – as sung in the bridge of the song, “I breathe you in God” by Brian and Katie Torwalt:

“When I don’t understand, I will choose you. When I don’t understand, I will choose you God. When I don’t understand, I will choose to love you God.”

We will never understand some things. Bad stuff happens to good people. But when we fully trust God he really is able to work ALL things together for good for those that love Him.

I am now happily married to an amazing man called Bruce. We have been married for 6yrs. We have 2 beautiful children, Levi (4) and Grace (2 and a half).

God really is the restorer.

He is faithful to fulfil the dreams of our hearts.

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