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STEPS TO SPRING CLEAN YOUR SOUL
HOW TO DEAL WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE
STARVING FOR PERFECTION
IN THE FACE” H AT DE D TE EE GR I NG NI OR “EACH M HER STORY OF LIFE AFTER DEPRESSION
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CW contents: SPRING | 2013 06 Editor’s Letter 08 Dealing with Difficult People We all have difficult people and relationships in our lives. So the simple fact is, that the more effectively we deal with them, the more we’re going to enjoy life! Berni Dymet... 12 Girls off the Streets We profile an amazing organisation that is resucing young girls from a life of hardship and offering them a future.. 14 The Gardener of my Soul Catherine Sylvester does not venture far from her back door to discover an oasis of rest and encouragement from her heavenly Father... 18 Starving for Perfection How do you help a daughter or friend overcome an eating disorder? Shelbie Mae shares her own struggle and advice for those with loved ones in the same situation...
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CEO Matt Danswan Editor Nicole Danswan Advertising Australia P: 02 9007 5375 | F: 02 9979 4880 Advertising New Zealand P: 09 281 4896 | F: 09 376 3855 Advertising Manager Ray Curle | firstname.lastname@example.org Correspondence Australia
4 Christian Woman Spring 2013
21 The Upside of Police Life David Nicholas author of Top Cop interviews retired Chief Inspector of Police, Gary Raymond... 24 COVER STORY: This is what Depression looks like Emma Mullings shares her incredible story of hope as she fought and overcame her battle with depression...
28 Spring Cleaning for your Soul It’s that time of year to throw open the windows and let the fresh air in! So while you’re giving your home a spring clean, why not have a spiritual spring clean also. Annette Spurr... 30 Out of the Darkness Despite a happy, loving start to life, some dire choices in Kerryn’s teens sent this young Australian woman into a wild path of destruction. Kerryn Redpath
33 Living with the ‘Wow’ Factor Sandra Cavallo shares her motivation to get out of bed every day...
PO Box 1321 Mona Vale NSW 1661 P: 02 9007 5376 | F: 02 9979 4880 W: www.christianwomanmag.com Correspondence New Zealand PO Box 47212, Ponsonby, Auckland 1144, New Zealand Unless otherwise specified, all Scripture quotations are from the New International Version, copyright-1973, 1978, 1984, International Bible Society. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or part, without prior written permission. Opinions expressed
28 in this magazine do not necessarily reflect those of the staff. All attempts are made to verify advertising material, and no responsibilty is taken for misleading or erroneous material. Due to spam issues, all email addresses have been removed from our publishers section. Copyright 2013.
The New Face of Modern Missions Having a heart for people in need is second nature to Kayla Hanna. ‘Growing up, my family used to help out in a local soup kitchen and I saw how tough life could be for many people often without any warning or fault of their own. As a young person seeing these things, it changes you.” It was an early experience that meant Kayla was never going to sit behind a desk pushing a pen or tied to a computer.
“You only get one life – I really want mine to count.” “I want to make a difference; there is such a big world in need and I knew I was going to play my part in helping in some way.” “You only get one life – I really want mine to count. I don’t need to be famous, but I do need to be true to what I feel God has called me too. This is the only way for me to leave my mark.” It’s a great attitude. And while other young people of her age are dreaming of the big cities, bright lights and glitzy shopping strips, Kayla finds herself flying to Nepal and living in the desperate poverty of Nepalese orphanages.
“I look into these faces and I see bright eyed hope; in spite of their total poverty…” You can’t help but be moved by her passion. “I look into these faces and I see bright eyed hope; in spite of their total poverty and broken family circumstances, God still desires a future and a hope for them. In a small way I believe my mission is to help bring change.” Kayla’s visit to Nepal saw her working in a team that was bringing vital water, building construction and food supplies to orphaned
children she calls, ‘her kids.’ And when she is at home, alongside her Social Science studies majoring in human services and development, her focus are on fundraising to keep the supply of resources going. “I love combining my study with my practical field experience. There are some really big problems on the ground in that village – it really helps to be able to explore these strategic challenges being faced by this developing community both in the classroom and in the real world. I love how my lecturers at CHC encourage this type of real world learning. I am able to test what I learn in our field strategy meetings and it gives my learning such a motivating focus.” At Christian Heritage College, students are encouraged to engage in this type of discovery. According to Dr Johan Roux, Dean of Social Sciences for CHC, students come to both the undergraduate and postgraduate courses at different stages in their ministry development. “Not all are mission ready; but many realise that God has something important for them to do in the areas of compassionate care or social justice and want to prepare their minds, hearts and faith for the road ahead.”
These new wave of missional practitioners need to be personally equipped. And although young missionaries like Kayla are called and compelled to accept the spiritual challenge of Jesus’ Great Commission, in the physical world they are engaging in a complex and often daunting personal challenge. “Taking the Good News of Jesus to a broken and hurting world requires a deeper understanding of the cultural, physical and spiritual barriers that stand in the way. These new wave of missional practitioners need to be personally equipped by developing strong convictions in their Christian worldview, robust personal character and real world ministry and
professional knowledge and skills. It is probably this distinctive that makes CHC such a strongly preferred tertiary study option for students, not just in the world of Social Sciences, but across Education, Business and Ministry disciplines,’ say Dr Roux. For almost 30 years, CHC has been providing fully accredited tertiary course options and producing graduates who have pursued their calling as primary or secondary teachers, social workers, counsellors, pastors, youth workers, business entrepreneurs, accountants, marketers, missionaries and chaplains in all corners of the globe. Undergraduate and postgraduate options across most disciplines, as well as on campus, part time and external study options, allows each student the course and study model that best suits their stage in life. FEE-HELP and HECS-HELP are also available; making CHC accessible for all eligible students. At CHC, we will help you integrate transformative personal faith development with global standards of scholarship and professional best practice.
Equip yourself to tackle the mission God has called you to. For more information on how you can invest more deeply into your life and ministry, contact CHC on 07 3347 7900 or visit www.chc.edu.au.
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See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come... Arise, come my beautiful one, come with me.” Song of Solomon 2:11-13 Welcome to the Spring edition of Christian Woman. Yes it’s Spring in the Southern Hemisphere after a cold and dreary Winter. I love Spring! Washing can be once again hung on the clothes-line (it’s the little things), windows are thrown open and my children can once again play in the backyard without bringing muddy feet through the back door! It’s a season of warm days and cool evenings. It’s time to throw open the windows of your home and let the fresh air come in.
In this issue you will find story after story of overcoming. God’s firm hand on every situation and circumstance. It reminds me once again that even though Winter may feel long and unending, Spring does indeed arrive on time and with it a glorious new day. No matter what sitution you are currently facing, no matter what storm you may be bunkering down in, keep heart! Your long awaited Spring will arrive. Stay faithful and strong and remember that He will
never leave you nor forsake you. Use your God-given strength to encourage others and stay in the Word of God. Let it be a light unto your feet in the darkest of days and a lamp unto your path. He is never late and He does not tarry. I pray as you read through these pages that you are encouraged. If you have picked up a copy in your local Word or independent Christian Bookstore store then read it and pass it on! If you have found us online, then please stay connected with us via Facebook and Twitter or sign up to receive our weekly enewsletter from our website (www.christianwomanmag.com). We pray that you find hope, inspiration and encouragement within the pages of Christian Woman. Nicole Danswan Editor/Publisher
“Equipping and inspiring you to bring the light of Christ into your community” Desley Millwood Director - Communications Churches of Christ in Queensland
www.cofcqld.com.au 2012-11-19_ Christian Women Magazine_180mmx10mm_art_mks_v1.indd 1
6 Christian Woman Spring 2013
11/26/2012 2:40:18 PM
Celebrating 25 Years of Global Ministry
Leading The Way • Broadcasts Dr. Michael Youssef’s gospel messages on 9 TV stations and over 580 radio stations across Australia
Moore College alumnus Dr. Michael Youssef is the Founding Rector of Church of the Apostles in Atlanta, and the Founder and President of Leading The Way.
• Distributes gospel navigators locally and overseas in 43 languages • Established a 24/7 satellite TV channel, The Kingdom Sat, reaching Arabic people in the Middle East, North Africa and Australia • Provides material assistance for persecuted Christians through its Help The Persecuted Fund
To find out more visit us online at www.leadingtheway.com.au or call 1300 133 589
We all have difficult people and relationships in our lives. So the simple fact is, that the more effectively we deal with them, the more we’re going to enjoy life! Berni Dymet...
Dealing with Difficult People 8 Christian Woman Spring 2013
remember when we first aired a radio series called Dealing with Difficult People, the phone rang off the hook. One woman who called in wanted to know: How quickly can you send me the CDs of those messages? I need them right NOW! After almost a decade of producing radio programs – literally thousands of different episodes, heard by millions of people each week in over 160 countries around the world – it still remains one of the most popular series we’ve ever put to air. But really I shouldn’t have been all that surprised, because we all have difficult people who seem to rob us of the joy in our lives, don’t we? Our Natural Response The very first thing we want to do when a relationship goes awry, is blame someone else. Specifically the person who’s causing us the pain. It’s just what we do. You caused me pain … so I’ll blame you. It’s a pretty simple formula. You know it well, right? In fact can I ask you to think back over just the last 48 hours, to the person who’s caused you the most grief in that short time. Picture
A Different Perspective.
their face, remember the circumstances, now … how did you respond? No – not your well thought out, well measured response after you’d had a chance to calm down and think it through. I’m talking about your gut reaction – your first up, instinctive response. Chances are, you did what most of us do. You blamed them for hurting you. This blame game, our natural response, is a symptom of our the problem, our natural state. Our Natural State So what’s our natural state? Well, that’s pretty straightforward too. It goes like this: I am at the centre of the universe. In other words, everything revolves around me. My wants, my needs, my comforts, my hopes, my dreams, my aspirations, my welfare, my emotions, my social status, my reputation, my possessions, my wealth, my … And, if the blindingly, glimpsingly obvious fact that this me–me–me thing has been imprinted in our very DNA should require any proof at all, consider the two young children playing. Two boys let’s say. They’re only just old enough to be sitting up on the floor together without toppling over (most of the time). Can’t talk. Can’t walk. The first has a toy that he’s been playing with – a shiny red fire truck. The second doesn’t, but he sees his little companion’s fire truck and in a flash comes to the well considered, well thought through conclusion that he wants it. So he reaches over, snatches it out of the first boy’s hands and starts playing with it … pretty much oblivious to the fact that his little mate is now screaming his lungs out and balling his eyes out. Not yet old enough to avoid dirtying his nappy on a regular basis, but plenty old enough to exhibit his innate programming which tells him – I am at the centre of the universe. We’re born with it. It’s that simple. So What’s Wrong with That? Nothing really, so long as we’re prepared
live in a world that that thrives on the maxim that it’s a dog–eat–dog world, and there’s plenty of dog to go around! Today you and I live in a world of over seven billion people. That’s rather a lot. Imagine now that we all carry around with us the me–me–me maxim that I am the centre of the universe. How well is that going to work? In fact, how well is it working? There are wars and rumours of wars. Each day 25,000 children die through the effects of poverty and malnutrition (that’s 1 dead child every 3 seconds). There are officially 20 million slaves in the world. Unofficially the experts agree that it’s much closer to the 100 million mark. Many of those are young children enslaved into prostitution. And this, in a world where there’s more than enough room for everyone to live, more than enough food for everyone to eat, more than enough wealth for everyone to be able to have a decent roof over their head. Something’s not right. It’s the me– me–me thing. And it just isn’t working! Some lawyer asked Jesus …. So out of all our laws, what’s the most important one do you think? And this Jesus answered something along these lines: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and strength and soul. That’s the first and most important one. And the second one is like … well, it’s like the flip side of that coin. Love your neighbour as yourself. In fact you could say that those two pretty much some up all the other laws in a nutshell. And the religious leaders of the day were so threatened by this heresy, it so undermined their me–me–me religion, that they had Jesus nailed to a cross. Just think: so powerful a revolution was this shift in perspective – from me to we – that they assassinated him. Because it’s all about power. Perspective & Power So what do I mean by that … that it’s all about power? People build systems to preserve their power. For the religious leaders of Jesus’
day, they taught a brand of religion that bred a tribe of unquestioning adherents, conditioned to obey an ever–growing list of religious rules, to give power to their leaders and to part with their hard earned cash for the privilege. Jesus comes along in stark contrast and hangs out with prostitutes, tax collectors, lepers and other hapless sorts that made up the flotsam and jetsam of society. Jesus comes along and tells people – not just by what he said but through what he did – that each one of them is just as valuable, just as lovable as the next. Jesus comes along and (shock, horror) loves the unlovable! And it upset the religious leaders’ apple cart. They could see their power base crumbling before their very eyes. Because this revolutionary change of perspective – from me to we – undermined the very foundations of their me–me–me religion. Okay. No doubt, all of this makes sense, but … What Does it Have to Do With You? That’s not an unreasonable question. My point so far is this: Our current perspective is the problem and a fresh perspective is the solution. When you and I see other people from the perspective that says: I am the centre of the universe, we’re living out our lives through a distorted view of the reality. Isn’t it patently obvious that if each of the seven plus billion people walking planet Earth have that perspective, then Houston, we have a problem? When we see other people that way, then we’re no better than the boy who stole the toy and the religious leaders who had Jesus killed. Wouldn’t you agree? A Right to Exist The reason, sadly, that the Palestinians and the Israeli’s can’t stop killing one another is this: neither is prepared to give the other a right to exist. And the reason that relationships are fractured, the reason that some people in our lives are difficult is this: that each of
Join the conversation online: www.christianwomanmag.com 9
A Different Perspective.
I’ve been on battlefield for 13 years now, I don’t know how many people have died because of my gun, but what I know is that after listening to what you said, I decided to lay down my arms and stop fighting.
us, in our quest to be the one ‘me’ at the centre of the universe, doesn’t give the next person that same right. Now let’s assume that the bankruptcy of your relationship with that difficult person prevents you from influencing them to change their behaviour. That means that 50% of the equation is completely out of play. But – and this is the truly important bit – 50% of the equation remains in play. You still have the power to change
your half of the equation. And that’s the key. A Profound Shift Perspective Some years ago, I received an email from Safari Murinzi, a Colonel in the Pareco – a rebel group in the DR Congo. He’d heard one of my radio programs in his hotel room, while at a peace conference. The program was about this very thing – it was about who was at the centre of the universe. This is what he said to me: I’ve been on battlefield for 13 years
now, I don’t know how many people have died because of my gun, but what I know is that after listening to what you said, I decided to lay down my arms and stop fighting. To end the battle, someone has to make that decision. Someone has to stop fighting. Someone has to say – enough is enough, I’m hanging up my gloves. Question is, will that someone be you? CW
Berni Dymet is the CEO of the media ministry Christianityworks. Each week his radio messages are heard by over 30 million people around the globe. He has just written an eBook called “Dealing with Difficult People: 6 Powerful Strategies Guaranteed to Improve Your Most Difficult Relationships”. Download it FREE here.
YOUR CHILD, THEIR FUTURE Oxford Falls Grammar School provides quality Christian education to boys and girls from Kindy to Year 12. Established as a ministry of C3 Church in 1984, founder Dr Phil Pringle OAM remains actively involved as President of the School Board. For information on starting Kindy in 2014, School Tours and Enrolments, please contact our Registrar. Phone 8978 0500 Email email@example.com Visit www.ofgs.nsw.edu.au or scan the QR code For information on starting Kindy in 2013, School Tours and Enrolments, please contact our Registrar on 8978 0500, email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.ofgs.nsw.edu.au or simply scan the QR code above.
10 Christian Woman Spring 2013
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Girls off the
India: The Power of a Choice When Manju* was 15, her boyfriend tricked her into going on a sightseeing trip and led her to the outskirts of a foreign city. A group of men were waiting there to groom her for prostitution. “They taught me what to do and what to say. They taught me to lie to the police. They abused me every day. It was torture,” Manju said. “I endured this for six weeks before they moved me. “They took me to a brothel… A long line of men stretched out the door. The pimps had set up cameras so there was no hope of escape. I was locked in a small room with a single bed. Between 8 and 10 men would come in and rape me every day – sometimes three men at once. I was trapped.” In India alone, it’s estimated that 200 women and girls enter prostitution every single day. Girls like 7-year-old Laboni who said, “I went to buy an ice cream one day and I never came back.” She was sold four times before she ended up working on the streets of Delhi, India. The figures are staggering and the stories are heart-wrenching, but there is also hope. Christian mission organisation SIM runs Girls off the Streets, a program which cares for dozens of girls rescued from sex trafficking in India and Bangladesh. In India, SIM missionaries run an aftercare home that provides medical care; trauma counselling; legal support; education and income generation opportunities. Above all, they experience Christ as they see and listen to the Gospel. When a girl arrives at the SIM Girls off the Streets aftercare home, sometimes she has just been rescued from a brothel. “Many girls come in looking blank and expressionless, though their eyes may be filled with fear,” said program manager Mina Hess. After a few days of rest, the girl is interviewed and given counseling, an education assessment and medical evaluation. “We always ask the girl, ‘What is your dream? What do you want to be when you grow up?’” Mina said. Sadly, most of the girls don’t know how to answer. They’ve never been given a choice of what they would like to do. “We want the girl to learn. We also want her to catch a taste of both the fun and importance of education.” Mina said. The team faces many challenges in the process. “Because of their trauma, the girls often cannot concentrate ... many police visits, court appearances, and medical trips interrupt their studies. But the women on the team keep motivating them, telling them their potential, and reminding them about the importance of dreaming.” Mina told us about Kushi, a teenager who has been staying at the aftercare home for almost a year. “Before I came here, I went to school, 12 Christian Woman Spring 2013
Give Her a
Choice In India on average, $ 76 will pro a girl with vide housing, m edical care counsellin , g, legal su pport and for one mo education nth. Please help SIM g like Manju ive girls , Kushi an d Tina a ch You can ra oice. ise awaren ess and su for Girls off pport the Streets with your or small gro church up by orde ring your fr special res ee ource kit to day. The k includes tw it o short vid eos about the Streets Girls off , a booklet, instruction and PowerP sheet oint presen tation. Ord your free re er source kit or make a deductible ta xdonation to day at www.sima id.org.au/ For more in girls formation, please con tact us on 02 958 0 1422 or email partner.rela tions@sim .org.au
About SIM SIMaid is the aid and development arm of Christian mission SIM Australia. We minister to human need by directing resources into sustainable aid projects, empowering communities to live with dignity and hope. Individuals are able to access health, education, employment resources and most importantly, the Gospel! For more information, visit www.simaid.org.au Connect with us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/GirlsOffTheStreets; www.facebook.com/simaid
but I did not learn anything, but now I know that I can read a textbook and find answers to questions on my own,” Kushi said with a big smile. “I’ve realised now that I like to study.” Mina asked her about her dreams. Kushi answered, “My Plan A is to be a police woman. My Plan B is to be a nurse. My Plan C is to be a teacher. If none of them work out, I will apply to work here and become one of the caregivers!” A year ago Kushi couldn’t imagine a life without prostitution. Now she is discovering who she is and exploring several possibilities for her future career. This is the power of choice. The care-givers are not able to directly evangelise the girls as India is a restricted nation, however there are Bibles and Christian literature at the home and the staff obtain permission to take the girls to church for Easter and Christmas services where they have the opportunity to hear the Gospel. Despite the limitations, the girls keep asking about Jesus! Mina reported, “Several girls are asking care-givers to tell them about Jesus. Thus, despite the limits… we are seeing God work in the girls’ hearts. We are amazed at how responsive the girls have been to God. They are hearing Him speak directly to them, experiencing answers to prayer, and are spontaneously meeting with one another for prayer. The girls love Jesus and know that He loves them. Girls who have come into our home have said things like, ‘How come you love us so much?’” “This is a home of transformation,” the girls said. One girl added, “And it’s all because of God!” Tina was born into a brothel. Her mother worked in the redlight district. Her father lived off the earnings and beat her mother regularly. “I didn’t want to stay with him… but I still needed somewhere to live,” Tina said. “What choice did I have? The redlight district … or on the street by myself.” When Tina came to the Girls off the Streets aftercare home, she was amazed at the genuine love shown by the care-givers. “Here I heard about a loving God for the first time. A care-giver showed me where the Bible explains how precious we are in the sight of this God … This care-giver talked to God as if He was just there beside us. “Now that I know I am in God’s hands I am happy to talk to Him, and to sing. I know He hears me. I know He is a Father who cares for me. Now I am happy like I never was before. I know I am living proof of a powerful God who is able to bring back what is stolen.” CW *names have been changed
Images from top clockwise: Christian mission organisation SIM runs Girls off the Streets, a program which cares for dozens of girls rescued from sex trafficking in India and Bangladesh; A teenage girl in India. When Manju was 15, her boyfriend sold her to pimps. She was locked in a room and raped by 8-10 men every day; SIM’s Girls off the Streets program also reaches out to young mothers trapped in sex trafficking, providing medical care, housing and income generation opportunities; The infamous GB road in Delhi India, where hundreds of girls and women are held captive in brothels. Join the conversation online: www.christianwomanmag.com 13
CATHERINE SYLVESTER does not venture far from her back door to discover an oasis of rest and encouragement from her heavenly Father...
’m being led down the garden path, so to speak! But not in the way one would think. The Lord has gently taken my hand and is wooing me, leading me, carrying me along to the garden. The garden of my soul… and the garden twenty paces from my back doorstep! I’m entering a season of rest and recuperation. I know this without a doubt. If my mind starts to flit from one task to the next, or pencil too many dates in my diary, the nudge of the Holy Spirit is felt in my spiritual ribs immediately. The haven at the end of the path is my heart. My Father’s put His gardening gloves on, picked up his trowel and bucket, and is gently tending to the soil of my soul. And it feels good. For everything – turn, turn, turn – there is a season, turn turn turn. He turns the soil around my heart, loosens it up, allowing easier access to the weeds He’s removing one-by-one. And it is good. Streams of living water quench the parched, dry ground. The good roots sink deeper, firmer - passionately wrap around one another – a three strand cord not easily broken. Simultaneously He’s leading me into the overgrown, underloved literal garden inherited when we bought our home. The previous owner had spent a great deal of time, and invested much love into these bastions of produce. Enormous carrots, aubergines, strawberries grew. Lemon, persimmon, apple trees flourished. There were chickens! Lush soil had been nurtured, lovingly cared for. It produced good results. At the time of moving here my head, heart and hands were weary in a deep way. These beautiful patches represented one more thing to do, and so they suffered through neglect. Four seasons passed - all that remained was dry dirt and suspicious looking weeds. Yet over these past weeks I’ve felt a space open within. The Holy Spirit has wasted not a moment flowing gently in and filling up. Suddenly those dry, uncared for lumps of dirt in our yard call to me. I long to be there with my hands in the ground, soil clinging to nail bases - creating, growing. The perfect mirror reflection for what He’s doing in me. My Estella loves carrots. She’s our little Bugs Bunny. Small pots of sown carrots sprouting called to her from the shelf at the garden center. Buttercrunch lettuce beckoned me. Too irresistible to ignore. Then I smelt it. A familiar smell I’d been captured by just days prior at a friends’ house. She picked leaves from a small plant, the beginnings of pesto. Memories of margherita pizza eaten in pregnancy raced back. Inhaling deeply, I smiled. A handful of days later, into my shopping basket went little pots of basil. And so it was with these humble beginnings, my gardening days have begun. Like a toddler, I have training wheels. I have yet to graduate to the two big gardens. Rather, the twin concrete tubs are my training ground – bite-sized, manageable. 14 Christian Woman Spring 2013
I’m not overwhelmed by the task. By nature I tend to bite a large chunk of life, which can take time and effort to chew. Small, frequent bites would no doubt net similar results in the same amount of time. Julian (junior school gardener that he was!) helped me prepare the soil, showing me how to plant. (I was that clueless and uninitiated in the ways of the propagator). Each evening I look forward to standing in fading heat and light, hose nozzle adjusted to shower, watering my greenlings.
God is not tardy. He’s not on Twitter, compressing His deepest thoughts toward us into 140 characters. His ‘timeline’ differs considerably to that found on Facebook.
I love the smell of hot soil as it meets that which will nourish it overnight. The plants smell, the night is still. I hear a neighbours radio, people talking. My little people slumber peacefully, and it is a moment. Just as the dirt does the water, I soak up my moment. I speak to Him. I listen. It occurs to me that we are not
dissimilar to the garden; soil, plants. Even weeds. Often we as Christians long to see the fruit (or vegetables!). We long to see the produce produced! We feel as though we’ve missed out, or He’s missed us, when we tarry and wait. We feel He’s not working, He’s withheld, He is silent. Too quickly we forget that in the silence there can be peace. Two can stand together without words. It does not mean we are alone. God is not tardy. He’s not on Twitter, compressing His deepest thoughts toward us into 140 characters. His ‘timeline’ differs considerably to that found on Facebook. For starters, it’s often not particularly in-sync with our human concepts of appropriate timing. Now that I’m able and capable of keeping these budding plants alive, thoughts turn towards the two larger vegetable patches. I want to remove the old soil. Although once rich, yielding a good crop, it’s now dry and weedy. To start well is important to me. I want my tender seedlings and plants to have the best start. Therefore I’ve decided to take my time in preparation. It’ll involve organic soil, mulch and other quality things I’ve yet to learn about! As I surveyed my little slice of potential vege-mart, I realised what a diligent, conscientious, and skilled gardener our Lord is. He showed me that He takes time to thoroughly prepare our soil. Unlike me in my garden, He does know which soils to use, fertilizers, which compost. He too takes time to ensure preparations are made to produce the very best crops. Sure, He could plant all the seeds now, but as they grow there’s going to be an awful lot of maintenance work involved, and a fair dash of rescue work. Surely it’s better to take time to prepare well, so that once seeds are planted and begin to produce ‘fruit’, they will be healthy, strong, durable. We of course are His gardens. As we allow Him into our lives, He leads us to these places. Weeds take time to remove, finnicky little things. If they break at
the surface when you pop ‘em out, it’ll appear as though they’ve been taken care of but alas, the roots are still connected. Pretty soon those little green shoots will sprout again, and work will commence once more. And so He takes time to remove these weeds thoroughly. And we have a choice… submit to the gardeners process or shut the gate on Him, denying Him entry to our garden. If we choose to close our doors, our hearts, our lives, our sinful, hurting and broken places, the weeds don’t go away. In fact, the opposite. They thrive. They grow, tangle and destroy the good plants. Why not allow the Gardener to get in with his trowel now, rather than later when He may need the grown up version – a pitch fork? Weeding takes time as I learned when I neglected my little garden. Weeds multiply like mice! One day… a few little ones, the next… they’re competing with good, healthy plants for attention, room, and resources. Weeding will need to be a regular occurrence. As it is in our lives with Him. Years ago I gave up drinking. I attended 12 Step meetings for a time. One of the things they encourage is to take life, “One day at a time.” Great advice! It’s still possible to have plans, goals, hopes and dreams, but to live – fully live – in the day. Worrying about tomorrow will not aid it. Mmmmm, does that sound familiar? (Matthew 6:34) Keeping short accounts with oneself is also beneficial to growth. Tending to our weeds daily is wisdom. Confession, repentance, prayer (asking for His help), declaring the fruits of the Spirits in and over ourselves. Another fabulous thing I’ve learned (gardening has opened up a whole new world!) is that there are certain types of bark or mulch that you lay atop the healthy soil. These stifle the weeds, deterring them from growth. Yes! The Word is our bark. By application we can spot weeds in our lives from
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afar, helping to avoid them growing back. However, just like the garden, if there are patches of our lives lacking in this ‘bark’ (the Word), if we’re not fully covered by it, then the potential for those sneaky little, useless, harmful weeds to regrow is significant. Knowing what the Word says about different challenges goes a long way toward eliminating them. We may never be totally devoid of our weeds. In nature, birds poop weedy seeds onto the garden, the winds blow them in, and so they grow. If you’ll excuse the analogy - it sometimes feels like ‘life’ has flown by and pooped on you. Or the ‘winds of life’ have blown some ugliness into your soil - hurting you, breaking your heart. Weeds (of discontent, bitterness, fear) start to sprout. Daily I need the Tender of my soul to show me my weeds, then help me apply my bark, my mulch. In a greater sense, at present, I need the Gardener
to come and gently remove the weeds that’ve taken root over the past ten years. By dealing to each one, freedom comes. Other than the four miscarriages and fertility issues, there’ve been a great deal of other things take place. I’ve held on by fingernails and kept walking. I fear that if I hadn’t I would’ve drowned in pain. But how gracious is He? How beautiful His timing. He has ‘arranged’ everything, brought me to a place and space where it’s now safe to address these things. It’s time to get into the garden of my soul. On the last day of the Feast of Booths, “Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:37-38) Just as my plants cry out for nourishing moisture come evening after a day of scorching heat, my soul cries out for the living water of Christ
after a decade of pounding, intense heat. He is my water. I go to Him (in prayer, journaling, reading His Word) and He quenches my thirst. And once I’m relieved, that same living water is able to pour from me to others. But listen to the order in which Christ declares it – us first (thirsty and weary), and then others. For we cannot pour out that which we do not have. Nor can we pour out that which we need to desperately avail ourselves of first! I so look forward to further lessons my Gardener will teach me as I garden with Him. Both in my backyard, and in my heart. CW Catherine Sylvester is a wife, mother of two girls, an author and a spokeswoman for women suffering from infertility issues. Visit her website at: www.thursdaysbabies.com
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16 Christian Woman Spring 2013
n life there are defining moments that leave everlasting imprints. I recall one from my childhood that has both puzzled and inspired me often through the years . . . Growing up in a small town meant nothing too exciting ever seemed to happen, but one day a carnival arrived, including amusement rides set up in the parking lot of our only shopping mall. Adding even more delight to this momentous occasion, my best friend Michelle’s dad (our pastor) volunteered to take us both to the new McDonalds on the way. He was such a cool dad, he let us tweens sit alone and eat our happy meals unattended. We felt so mature . . . we declined the free toy in order to substantiate our grown-up status. Crossing the parking lot, we soon were caught up in the energy of the fair, enjoying a few rides before finally ending up at the strawberry ‘tilt-a-whirl’—a knockoff version of the teacups from Disneyland. We hoped to get a berry cart to ourselves but alas, they invited two random strangers to board with us. C’est sera, sera, (whatever will be, will be). All four of us screamed and hollered as we pulled on the circular disc that controlled the spin of the cart. And then it happened. The life impacting moment. My mature happy meal was not so happy with this ride. Or perhaps it just wanted to be more intimately involved in the moment. No matter, it was coming up to take a look for itself. Oh how I begged it not to. How I prayed the ride would stop or that I could control the urge, but who was I to argue with an angry cheeseburger? Finally releasing the contents of my stomach to the whirling universe, I closed my eyes tight to keep myself from the visual. Round and round we spun . . . out and around it spewed. As I prayed and sprayed, I could hear something.
A loud joyful something. My pastor was laughing and praising God. I kid you not. The ride finally stopped and I opened my eyes. Miraculously, Michelle and I were spotless. Not a drop of vomit had hit us. For a moment, I thought maybe it wasn’t as bad as I imagined. And then I saw the poor young girl on the opposite side of the cart. She was covered. My passionate prayers had somewhat been answered, centrifugal forces had worked to our benefit . . . but clearly to her detriment. I jumped off the ride and limped towards the laughing man of God. At the time, I had no idea what was so funny, and even more puzzling was why on earth he had been praising the
Lord throughout the horrific ordeal. Thirty-eight years later, I have a better understanding. When life’s sickening moments hit, I recall that day and strive to praise God when it makes ‘no sense’ . . . in the natural sense. I’ve come to realize that is when our testimony is magnified, when we praise Him through the trials. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:4-6 (ESV) In his commentary for this passage, David Guzik says,
Paul’s joy wasn’t based in a sunny optimism or positive mental attitude as much as it was the confidence that God was in control. It really was a joy in the Lord. My pastor could not jump on the ride to save me, nor could he control the vomit flying through the air, but this one thing he could do, he could rejoice with thanksgiving to the One who was in control. To let those around him see his peace in the storm. I have no doubt he was praying earnestly for me and his daughter, but while doing so, he walked in the joy of the Lord and let his light shine. All these years later, I have not forgotten that crazy day. The impact of my pastor’s reaction has far outlasted the embarrassment I felt as a young tween. Here was a man who knew God. Who walked with Him and trusted in his control over things uncontrollable—like the shower of a half-digested lunch. Oh to be so close to the Lord to be able to laugh at life’s foibles! There are few people who truthfully walk this way; who absolutely—naturally—break into praise and laughter when hit with trials; Pastor Ron Dowbush and Chuck Smith are two who come to mind. I wish I could testify that I too had this natural default; I’m praying and growing . . . it’s a journey. As I study the Word, searching for glimpses of God, I am transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. Seeing His character, I am learning to let go and to trust him more. He is worthy to be praised—sometimes even with laughter—through the storms of life. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand... even on the TiltA-Whirls of life. CW Lori Dixon ~ Writer/Speaker/ Servant of Christ. Lori is working on a book that addresses the conflicts that sometimes occur between ‘church ladies’. You may also follow her ramblings which vary from humorous to hard hitting at www. LovingKindnessMinistries.ca
STARVING for PERFECTION
How do you help a daughter or friend overcome an eating disorder? SHELBIE MAE shares her own struggle and the advice that would have helped her if her Mum had only known how...
t was my mum who first thought the words, eating disorder. She went to my dad and told him her thoughts but he was not concerned. My sister Nina was dealing with her own problems going through puberty and my youngest sister was too little to perceive what was going on. I didn’t think I had a problem. At a routine doctor appointment the family physician told me that I needed to stop losing weight. I told him that I could stop whenever I wanted. Unfortunately I didn’t know how addicted I was to making my body ‘perfect’. My mum saw the signs. One day when we were in the car she asked me. “Shelbie, would you be okay with seeing a counselor?” I was fourteen when she asked me. A freshman and feeling left out. In eighth grade I had started to feel lonely 18 Christian Woman Spring 2013
so I began to restrict food hoping that someone would want to accept me and notice me. I was envious of the girls who were thin and had lots of friends. “Yes,” I said. I had just been forced to quit the basketball team because of my health. My head would spin when I stood up, and I was tired and cold. I still thought I was in control, but if my mum wanted me to see a counselor I was okay with that. My mum and I grew apart and together at the same time. I spent nearly all my time with her as I was losing nearly two pounds a week. She would pick me up from school when I physically couldn’t take it anymore and she would take me to all of my appointments with counselors, physiatrists, and doctors. We had never been close before but I could tell that she loved me and was concerned for me. The problem was
with me. I didn’t want to stop losing weight. Not until I was beautiful. I remember sitting across from her and my counselor. “Is there anywhere we can send her? She keeps losing weight.” My counselor shook her head. “There is a place downstate but she can’t go there yet. She’s not bad enough.” “How bad does she need to get? The doctors say she doesn’t have any fat left on her body.” My mum knew I had a problem and needed help, but she just didn’t know where to get that help. The doctors and counselors in the area we live didn’t really know what to do about eating disorders. I sat in the room like I wasn’t the one being talked about. My mum was getting desperate and frustrated. On the way back from a counseling appointment my mum cautiously
asked me. “Shelbie, would you consider going to Mercy Ministries?” I had heard of the program she was talking about but I didn’t know much about it. I would later learn that it was a program based out of Nashville Tennessee with four homes in the United States, and homes also in Canada, Peru, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. It was a place where women could go and find healing from a multitude of hurts. I told my mum I would think about it. It didn’t seem like something I needed. That night I thought about it and decided to accept my mum’s offer to try out the program. I desperately wanted a friend, maybe I would meet one there. It was starting to get hard to eat at all and I was still losing weight. I began the application process with my mum by my side. After Christmas I lost four pounds in one week. My family and the doctors knew they had to act. My heart was skipping beats and I was afraid that I was going to die. I was sent to a psychiatric hospital three hours from my home and left there to do a week of inpatient treatment and a week of outpatient treatment. I struggled with each meal and found out how deep into the disorder I really was. For the first time I met other girls with eating disorders and I heard their stories and learned bad habits from them, while at the same time fighting for my life. When I was discharged from the hospital I completed the application to Mercy, and waited. I had to be a stable weight before they would let me in, which meant, according to the doctor, I had to gain at least 6 pounds. For months I had been restricting food to feel like I was in control and now that I needed to gain weight the control was ripped from me. In the months between the hospital and my entrance into Mercy I began to cut myself to try and gain back some of my control. I kept it a secret from my family. I didn’t want them to be more worried about me than they already were.
Three months later I was able to enter the program in the Nashville Tennessee home. It radically changed my life. I accepted that God had made my body and that it was good. There were many girls from different walks of life and we were all learning the same thing. To trust God and let him lead our lives. My relationships with my family and friends were restored and I went home six months later a different person. It’s been over five years since I graduated from Mercy Ministries and I have struggled a lot but have also found a lot of freedom through God and his truths. I have met different girls who have had eating disorders and have been able to talk to them and encourage them in their walks toward healing. I cannot imagine what it would have been like had my parents not been as supportive of me as they were. My mum was with me every step of the way and helped me even when I didn’t know it. If I could go back and give her advice on how to help me better or encourage other mum’s in their struggle with a daughter who has an eating disorder I would say these things.
Don’t force your daughter to eat- My mum never forced me to sit at the table and eat but I have heard of mums who do. It may seem like its helping but many eating disorders are not solely anorexia like my own. Many girls will purge their food after a meal. Making your daughter eat will only make her resent you. Not because of you but because you are taking away her control when you force her to eat. Eating disorders are all about a lack of control and when your daughter is practicing anorexia or bulimia she feels like she is in control. The root of the control issue is always different. It can stem from abuse, a divorce, an unstable home while growing up or a multitude of other dynamics. Don’t comment on her eating- One time my mum walked into the kitchen and saw me eating. She was happy and said something like. “Shelbie I am so glad you are eating.” I didn’t hear that. All I heard was, “Shelbie you are so fat because you are eating, and you’re a pig.” I know now that is not what my mum said at all but eating disorders can distort one’s mind, and perception can become skewed.
I didn’t want to stop losing weight. Not until I was beautiful.
Above: Shelbie (far right) with her sisters in 2007
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Many mums struggle with their own body image issues. Try to make sure that you are not criticizing yourself in front of your daughter.
What someone said and what I heard were totally different things and I still catch myself to this day trying to tell the difference between what they are saying and what my eating disorder thinks they are saying. Don’t mention your body flaws in front of her- Many mums struggle with their own body image issues. Try to make sure that you are not criticizing yourself in front of your daughter. (Maybe don’t criticize yourself at all.) There were times when family members or friends would make negative comments about their bodies in front of me and it made me think more about how much I hated myself. I would think harder of how to skip meals or eat less to make my body more beautiful. If my role models think of themselves as ugly how much more am I going to think I’m the same? Love unconditionally- As mothers I’m sure you already love your daughters very much. It’s important for a girl who is struggling to have a good support group. Even if she is isolating herself and does not want help she can know that you love and care for her. Accept her and love
Above: A healthy Shelbie and her Mum today her, you never know, she might reach out to you for help. Learn more- Before I went to Mercy my parents read a book called Mercy for Eating Disorders. They were able to get an idea of what I was thinking and going through. It helped them understand me better and in the back of the book were some helpful tips for parents. There are all kinds of books on eating disorders. Find one and learn more about what your daughter is struggling with so you can be better equipped to help her when she is ready. Pray- Eating disorders are addictions. They attack the mind, spirit, soul, and body. It is very important to be praying for your daughter as much as you can. Sometimes I would feel like there was a war literally going on in my brain. Part of me would want to get healthy and the other part didn’t care if I died of starvation. Prayer can be the force that pushes the voices of darkness to the side and lets God and health win. There was a prayer in the Mercy for Eating Disorders book that my mum prayed for me every night. Sometimes I still don’t like what I see in the mirror. I look and I think, Ugh that’s me? Why don’t I look toner or thinner? I go to my mum and I ask. “Mum, am I fat?” She rolls her eyes. “I’m not going to answer that question.” She knows how my mind can twist the things she says so she doesn’t answer. “But am I fat?” I turn and show her different angles of myself. “No Shelbie you’re not fat.” She relents. On the days that I feel like I’m less than beautiful I have to trust that the God who made me didn’t make a mistake. He made me the way I am supposed to be. I am beautiful because God made me beautiful. And I love him for it. CW
20 Christian Woman Spring 2013
THE UPSIDE OF POLICE LIFE An interview conducted by David Nicholas author of Top Cop (the story of Retired Chief Inspector of Police, GARY RAYMOND APM, OAM) Gary what was the driving force that made you join the Police Force?” “It was when I was in a bus with my mother. I was about four and a half at the time and I remember it quite clearly. The bus driver had stopped the bus due to an accident. A car had knocked over a motor cyclist. It was a strange awakening. I had not seen anyone seriously injured up to that time. The police helped the man until the ambulance people came. I watched intently. The stretcher was brought out of the ambulance and the injured man was placed on it. “This event seeded my mind and occupied my thoughts day and night for quite a long time. As I grew older, I developed a strong desire to do what those police officers and ambulance officers did. That was the driving force that caused me to join the police.” It’s been said a policeman’s life is not a happy one. How did you deal with this? “As a non Christian, I dealt with it by having a drinking, smoking happy go lucky lifestyle. Selfishly I tried to make myself happy. I saw so much unhappiness I had a right to do things that made me happy whether they were right or not. It was the work hard, play hard philosophy
of people such as those in the Police Rescue Squad; I found out that what the Bible says is true in that there is pleasure in sin for a season. (Hebrews 11; 25) On 29th November 1979 I received Jesus as my personal Saviour through repentance and as a Christian my eyes were opened to what real happiness is, trusting in Jesus.” In the book Top Cop, we did not cover the time you were placed in charge of the Manly Police Station. How did you feel when you discovered your second in command was crooked? “When I was appointed by former Police Commissioner Peter Ryan to take command of The Manly Local Area Command, I was delighted. I had served at Redfern, Rescue Squad, Cabramatta and Blacktown, All very tough areas I was going to the sun, sand and surf to a wonderful tourist place called Manly. A reward, so I thought. On my arrival, I met the staff, which included Detective Inspector, Chief of Detectives. He was rough sounding and spoke very fast but clearly knew his stuff. I got the impression he was well in charge of his staff and achieving goals and generally had his policing at heart. The crime solving figures were good.
Drug arrests were up. He and I often sat over coffee had a good laugh discussing staff and family issues. We became good mates. I trusted him and the others. One day without warning the Police Commission and Police Internal Affairs Investigation Unit raided The Manly Police Station with search warrants in hand This was one of the greatest shocks of my life. I asked what it was all about. I was told we were being investigated. A number of staff were corrupt. The crooked cops were headed up by my second in command. The Detective Inspectors false front came as a total surprise. How could a person be that secretive? I thought. The Bible says that all of us have fallen short of God’s glorious ideal (Romans 3:23). How can one tell just by looking and speaking to somebody know what secret sin lies well below the surface? I couldn’t believe that Police Officers who upheld such high ideals could turn into such a low criminals. I felt betrayed and angry at such betrayal. I felt sorry for him and his family knowing that he was going to suffer and his family and workmates would be left to pick up the pieces. As the publicity came out, the PIC
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evidence was shown on television by way of hidden cameras, listening devices and phone taps. The extent of the corruption and the way in which it was concealed was an eye opener to the entire New South Wales Police Force and community. The Detective Inspector and a number of other corrupt police were charged with a number of criminal offences. I was jolted back to where the Bible says how we can be forgiven if we do not forgive others”(Colossians 3; 13) With that, I wept and thanked God for the forgiveness he offers. Some weeks later, I saw the suspended Detective Inspector and with tears in his eyes, he said he was sorry to have brought all the shame on the Police Force, me and my wife Michelle. I told him that if he put his faith, trust in Christ and repented, He will see you through this. I then prayed with him, He wept more deeply. To my knowledge he is not born again yet, but he will be.” If you were given a million dollars how would you spend it?
22 Christian Woman Spring 2013
“Because I’ve studied extensively heaven and hell, the prospect of the unsaved going to hell is one of the most horrible consequences for a human being. Fancy being locked in hell for rejecting Jesus and what He’s done for us all on the cross. I get disturbed at the prospect of people being evidently lost so I would spend a million dollars on evangelistic events, materials and Bibles to give to the lost.” You carried out hundreds of rescues while you were in the New South Wales Police Rescue Squad. Which one was the riskiest? “Sadly a man jumped to his death off The Gap in Sydney. The first thing I did was to descend and take a ladder stretcher with me... This timber frame that can be used on the end of a rope or slid up and down a ladder. It was a very dark, windy day with massive high seas. The waves crashed over the rocks and over the body. I knew I could not afford to wait otherwise the waves would wash the body off the rock platform. The body lay on a rock platform for underneath
was hollow underneath at sea level. The waves coming in underneath created what was known as the big washing machine. In the past, fishermen had been swept in there and drowned.We knew from experience how dangerous and violent it was in that white water. Bodies washed in there had come out days later stripped naked of clothes, even shoes and socks due to the power of the swirling water. There was the risk I could be swept off the platform and plunged into the washing machine unless I was extremely careful. I descended and landed about 5 meters from the body. I detached my safety harness from the stretcher, walked over and knelt beside the body. I rolled the body into a body bag and searched the area for evidence. At that moment, a huge wave crashed in. I hooked myself back onto the stretcher. The water pushed me towards the cliff face, then back towards the sea. When the water ran out, I was soaking wet and the body had been moved by the waves to the edge of the platform. I started to shiver being both wet and cold. I grabbed the body bag, dragged and rolled it onto the stretcher and rolled it onto stretcher. I tied the body on. I was about to lash my safety harness onto the stretcher when suddenly I felt a surge of water underneath me. I was engulfed by a gigantic wave. The stretcher and I were lifted by the wave into the air. The stretcher was under the water as was half my body. I desperately clung onto the stretcher with both hands. knowing that if I let go I’d crack down onto the rocks and end up in the washing machine. As the water swept back out across the platform, the stretcher started to come down I could see myself crashing onto the rock platform. Knowing I’d be seriously injured if that happened. I threw myself face down on top of the body and ‘rode’ the stretcher as we crashed down onto the rocks. I felt a sudden jolt, which nearly winded me. I heard a loud crack and at the same time, I was sucked towards the edge of the platform on the
It may sound awful to others but the body of the man who jumped that day acted as a buffer between the rocks, and me saving my life. Strange how the dead can sometimes serve the living.
stretcher... I managed to attach myself to the safety line on the stretcher. I was now clear of the water and could see the side of the stretcher had been completely snapped off by the fall on the rocks. I grabbed the side of the stretcher and made sure the body was still strapped on tightly. I was then hurriedly raised on the rope with the stretcher by my rescue squad mates just as another big wave crashed on the rocks underneath me. I was finally hauled to the top where I was safe at last. I knew that if it wasn’t for the Lord, I would have ended up with broken bones, drowned or have been dragged into the washing machine, maybe lost forever like some. It may sound awful to others but the body of the man who jumped that day acted as a buffer between the rocks, and me saving my life. Strange how the dead can sometimes serve the living.” If you were told you had 24 hours to live how would you spend your time? “I would spend it evangelising for one of the things that truly bugs me and annoys me most is the fact that many who are saved and are secure in Christ, are not bothering to spread the wonderful news of the gospel.” What was the most valuable thing you learned from your mother? “When I came to Christ, I expected great enthusiasm from my mother when I told her over the phone. She simply said, ‘Yes I knew you would. What else are you doing?’ She had expected her prayers to be answered. My mother taught me basic faith. Pray believing that your prayers will be answered.” ‘Without faith it is impossible to please God’(Hebrews 11:6)
Top: Resting inside one of the wrecked carriages of the Granville Train disaster in 1977 after completing the rescue. Gary second from left; Bottom: With wife Michelle in 2004 receiving the NSW Police Medal
What would you say to any young woman who wants to enter the Police Force? “I would say, remember it’s not a job, it’s a calling and God will trust you enough to place you in some amazing situations where he can use you, to convey His love and comfort to those in difficult situations. Always remember to do your police duties with prayer and thank God for His deliverance from the effects of what you’re going to see, hear, smell and touch. “Pray into your situations and be confident enough in God to leave them there with Him. Wait patiently for His answers. Always police in prayer.” CW
To read more of Gary’s remarkable stories of life as a Top Cop you can purchase a copy from all good Christian bookstores or visit www.arkhousepress.com
Join the conversation online: www.christianwomanmag.com 23
I was yelling at the top of my lungs, “I will not die devil, I will live! I am a child of God!
24 Christian Woman Spring 2013
This is what
DEPRESSION looks like
t was my 31st birthday. It was probably the most subdued, quiet birthday celebration I’d had in the last decade, but I remember the entire day walking around with a sense of inner accomplishment. My head was high. I felt strong, flanked in the armour of Ephesians 6, 10-17. I remember thinking “you lost this battle devil” with a smile on my face. You see the preceding year was one I almost didn’t make it through. Ironically, on the outside it would have looked like nothing much was going on, apart from two babies under two, and the usual stresses of managing finances, work, and life with a new family. Looking back on my somewhat colourful background, this year hadn’t contained loss, abuse, drug-use, a heartbreaking relationship breakup, or anything else on my ‘been there, done that’ list. No outward signs of a tough year. I was blessed with two little babies, a great job, and a wonderful husband. Life was good - apart from the fact that each morning I greeted death in the face.
You see this battle was silent. I was mute. Which is generally how depression works. It is a silent killer. Throw me a lifeline I was working a lot at the time; my husband had been made redundant on very short notice and I, having a great relationship with my workplace, was able to pick up hours straight away. It was well paid work and for that season it made more sense for me to work and hubby to be daddy day-care. Truth is, God uses any situation, and I’m so glad He does. It was at this workplace, on my computer, that I’m sure God launched “Operation Gmail-Chat lifeline”. Before my second child was born, I had been serving as the vocal director in my church for 5 years. I noticed one of the singers from the team, Tamara, on Gmail chat a lot. I assumed, like me, her computer was just on in the background at work. She would pop up on chat “how are you today?”, it was nice to reconnect. As the months went on, my answers became more and more honest. It somehow seemed safer her What is depression? being a chat icon, rather than face to Let me tell you....it’s an overwhelming face with a breathing person. Tamara feeling of being covered in a heavy, wet, is a bold, fearless and God fearing blanket. You don’t want to get out of woman. Without realising it I had been bed. You don’t want to talk. You don’t set up with an accountability partner. want to move. You just want to die. What started as “I’m good”, eventually You see I didn’t make death threats, was “I want to die, I just keep thinking I didn’t cry out for attention. I silently how it will affect my children.” would look up suicides and see how they Having lost my own mum to cancer did it. I would see how long it would when I was young, I was very aware take me to drive to ‘The Gap’. Would of how my death would impact my it be certain I would die if I jumped, children. I knew what it was like to have and not end up severely handicapped. that maternal connection amputated Where all our accounts in joint names prematurely. so that my husband could access all our The devil is cunning. He has been money? around just as long as we have, and
has watched everything happen in our lives. He tries to use it to his advantage. I remember having a dream and in the dream a dark presence came to me, and told me how I could write my children a letter, explaining that “mummy was sick, her mind is sick”. This would help them understand my suicide, and not take it as a rejection of themselves. The next morning I was at work and there was Tamara on Gmail chat. Tamara’s response thus far to everything was scripture after scripture. She asked how I was, and I told her about my dream. Again came the scriptures, the stories of King David and his depression, and how he overcame. Tamara would always combat the devil’s lies with the Word of God. She wouldn’t try and reason. She let the Word speak for itself. The last fight One night I was driving home from work on a busy highway. Things had been particularly bad. While driving, I often had to fight urges to jerk the steering wheel into the path of an oncoming truck. It was something I fought most times I drove at night. This was it. I was ready. “Ok let’s do this. Just do it. It’s like skydiving. You just have to jump”. I had thoughts of when I DID skydive. I felt the fear, and that feeling of pushing through the fear and just doing it. I remember counting down 3, 2, 1 before I would jerk my car over to the oncoming traffic. “Ok Emma just do it”......3, 2, 1......and then it happened. An involuntary shout rose up in me. An overwhelming shout from the pit of my stomach. It was like my spirit over took my body and was crying out with one last fight to save me. I had no control. I was
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The Mullings family pictured from left to right: Emma, Hosannah, Terrence (husband) and Jeremiah
THERE IS HELP:
ARE YOU SUFFERING? THE FACTS: While the exact cause of depression isn’t known, a number of things can be associated with its development. Generally, depression does not result from a single event, but from a combination of recent events and other longer-term or personal factors. SOME PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS: • tired all the time • sick and run down • headaches and muscle pains • churning gut • sleep problems • loss or change of appetite • significant weight loss or gain THE SOLUTION: Seek help immediately. PLEASE CALL IF YOU SUSPECT YOU’RE SUFFERING: Within Australia Lifeline Australia: 13 11 14 | Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
Within New Zealand NZ Health Hotline: 0800 111 757 Within USA USA Sucide Hotline: 1-800-784-2433 26 Christian Woman Spring 2013
yelling at the top of my lungs, “I will not die devil, I will Live! I am a child of God! No weapon formed against me shall prosper, I will NOT die, I will live! Greater is He who is in me, than he who is in the world!”. I then started to sing worship! At the top of my lungs! I could hear darkness growling at me then slowly fade away, as I continued to sing. Something changed that night. No, I didn’t wake up miraculously healed and whole, but I guess like on the WWF wresting, when you think the wrestler has passed out, and the referee starts to give the three taps, just before the third tap, the wrestler would often put up his hand. He would be shaking and sweaty, but he would put up his hand to show he still had some fight left, he wasn’t out yet! My body and my mind had called it a day. My spirit still had a little fight left. New strength 2 Corinthians 10:5 New International Version (NIV) 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. Things slowly started to get better. A combination of exercise, medication, natural remedies, daily scriptures and my wonderful “Gmail chat friend”. Through constant prayer, God showed me my practical triggers, and what had triggered that particular episode of depression. He showed me how to put boundaries in my world. He showed me what real freedom is. Freedom from man, and the weight of life. Healthy Freedom. Galatians 5:1 Its for FREEDOM that Christ has set us free. What walks in the parent, often runs in the child. The fights we refuse to fight, our children will have to fight. I’d heard that my mother had to fight depression, and I truly know how she felt. I can confidently say, this battle ends with me. You lose Devil. God always wins in the end. This battle affects thousands and
My body and my mind had called it a day. My spirit still had a little fight left. thousands of people across Australia. Everyday there are six reported suicides in Australia, that’s one every four hours. These are only the reported suicides. So why am I writing this? Because if you are reading this and you can identify with part of it, or all of it, I want you to know there is hope. There IS a way out, and it’s not death. You can get better. You can overcome and enjoy life again. Depression is real and it is a killer, BUT God is real - and HE is the LIFE GIVER!
Make a call to one of the help numbers over the page. Go and see your doctor. Make changes in your world. Schedule outdoor exercise every morning, even for 10 minutes. Write down daily positive affirmations and scriptures, put them on your walls. Read them out each morning as you are getting ready for your day. Words are powerful. Speak positivity into your world. When the negative thoughts come make a conscious action to over-ride them and speak out a positive thought. When
EMMA’S PRAYER PSALM 119:25-32: I’m feeling terrible—I couldn’t feel worse! Get me on my feet again. You promised, remember? (love that prayer... you promised remember!) When I told my story, you responded; train me well in your deep wisdom. Help me understand these things inside and out so I can ponder your miracle-wonders. My sad life’s dilapidated, a falling-down barn; build me up again by your Word. Barricade the road that goes Nowhere; grace me with your clear revelation. I choose the true road to Somewhere, I post your road signs at every curve and corner. I grasp and cling to whatever you tell me; God, don’t let me down! I’ll run the course you lay out for me if you’ll just show me how. 33-40 God, teach me lessons for living so I can stay the course. Give me insight so I can do what you tell me— my whole life one long, obedient response. I can see now, God, that your decisions are right; your testing has taught me what’s true and right. Oh, love me—and right now!—hold me tight! just the way you promised. Now comfort me so I can live, really live; your revelation is the tune I dance to.
lights enters, darkness has no choice but to flee. Keep fighting with all you have. You will overcome. Jesus is on your team, fighting with you and His word is sharper than a two edged sword. I leave you with an amazing excerpt Psalm 119 from David.. he was feeling suicidal.. his cry is that God would keep him alive.... it is profound, honest and victorious. CW
Emma Mullings is a mum of two toddlers and works as a TV Presenter, Producer and Radio Announcer at HOPE 103.2FM. She is a fitness lover and journalism graduate who also likes to write music in her spare time.... whenever that is! www.emmamullings.com
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Spring. It’s that time of year to throw open the windows and let the fresh air in! So while you’re giving your home a spring clean, why not have a spiritual spring clean also. ANNETTE SPURR reports...
inally! It’s getting warmer, the grass is greener, flowers are blooming and there’s a fresh, new feeling in the air. It’s Spring! It’s that time of year when your house gets a good clean out; sorting through the paraphernalia that’s have accumulated over Winter and turfing out the things that are just taking up space or worse, damaging your upholstery! Now’s the perfect time for a clean out of the spiritual kind, too. Shake off all the
28 Christian Woman Spring 2013
things that are weighing heavily on your mind and in your heart and move forward with renewed energy and vitality into the plans and purposes God has for your life. Here are 7 tips to get you started… Forgive someone One of the hardest things to do but so rewarding. Forgiveness actually has little or nothing to do with the person who’s hurt you. It’s like releasing
someone from prison and realising the prisoner was actually yourself all along. Whether the person who hurt you is sorry or not, releasing yourself from the bondage of anger and bitterness has powerful physical and mental healing benefits. Unforgiveness is poison to your body and soul, silently destroying you from the inside out. Forgiveness is a spiritual detox, removing harmful toxins of offence, anger and resentment that are
preventing you from being all you can be in Christ (Mark 11:12). Start a gratitude journal Each night, write down all the things you’re grateful for. It’s a great way to be reminded of the blessings in your life, whether things are going well, or you’ve had a terrible day. A study conducted by the greater Good Science Centre, showed that people who did this simple act each day displayed increased alertness, better sleep, improved social interactions, improved health and even reduced blood pressure. ”Fill your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” Philippians 4:8 MSG. Do a Friendship Cleanse You become like the people you spend time with. So, who are you giving your time to? Have you surrounded yourself with people who add value to your life? Do they help you achieve your dreams and cheer you on? Are there people in your life who bring you down and talk about you behind your back? It’s time for a friendship cleanse. You don’t necessarily need to send out ‘Dear John’ letters but be aware of who’s getting your time at the moment and how you feel when you’re around them. Is your time better spent elsewhere? Get Active Getting off the couch is the hardest part of exercise. Once you get started, your
body and your mind will thank you and even start to crave it! It’s not about squeezing into a bikini this Summer. It’s about being the absolute best you can be. There’s oodles of scientific evidence to support the mental and physical health benefits of exercise and making good eating decisions. Sending out feel-good endorphins, increasing vitality, exercise is an integral part of any spiritual spring clean. Plan a getaway There’s something so uplifting about planning a holiday… researching locations, selecting accommodation, organising activities. Give yourself something to look forward to, whether it’s with family, friends, or by yourself. Getting away from it all is good for your soul. Difficult circumstances in your life can appear so much more manageable with the perspective and insight that a little time and distance brings. You’re not running away, just taking a ‘time out.’ Take one last long, hot bath Soon, it’ll be too warm for this simple pleasure so do it ASAP! Make sure the house is quiet first – ie kids are in bed and hubby is set up in front of the tv. Run a hot bath – I like it so hot, you have to ease into it slowly and gently. Make sure there are bubbles involved. Light candles and turn out the lights. Grab a good book and a cool drink. And… relax. This sanctuary is ideal for clearing your mind. Take your time –
Annette has worked in media and advertising for 14 years. She lives in Brisbane and owns Blue Box Media, a boutique advertising agency, with her husband, Phil. Annette is also Editor of mumdaily. com.au – a website dedicated to encouraging mums on their life and faith journey. Phil and Annette have two boys, Tyson & Jack.
at least an hour. Put the book down for a while, lie back and lose yourself in weightlessness and serenity. Pray. Listen for God’s voice and meditate on His words. Me Time In the busyness of life, time alone is often the first thing that disappears. Make sure you take time out to invest in whatever makes you happy… Watch a movie, go for a walk, read a book, visit an inspiring friend or relative, write a letter, go shopping – not grocery shopping – fun shopping! ‘Me Time’ is good for your morale and gives your mind a break from the things that are weighing you down, even making them seem less daunting. Make this Spring a season of new beginnings in your life. There’s a new creation inside of you just waiting to blossom! CW
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I WAS IN AN UTTER PANIC. I had seen plenty of O.D.s, but I had never seen anyone looking so far gone…SO DEAD.
“My winter was a lengthy process dealing with personal doubts and insecurities, busyness, being a mum, working as a singing finding the The compelling true teacher, story of and Kerryn Redpath right producer. It wasn’t easy. 30 Christian Woman Spring 2013
Despite a happy, loving start to life, some dire choices in Kerryn’s teens sent this young Australian woman into a wild path of destruction. Given less than two hours to live, with heart and kidney failure, a result of complications of a drug related disease, Kerryn’s story is one that leaves the reader astounded. In a brutally honest account, Kerryn describes the terrifying scenes she witnessed as she spiralled into the dark world of drug addiction. Chilling stories of O.D.s, drug and alcohol fuelled fights, months spent gravely ill in hospital and of hope almost lost, fill the pages. The following extract is taken from her book ‘Out of Darkness’...
Terror One of the most terrifying nights of my life began with a fun night out at the Crystal Ballroom in Fitzroy Street, St. Kilda. ‘The Models’ were playing and they were pretty big at the time. David and I and a few other friends joined a huge crowd in a packed, smoke-filled room and drank and danced the night away. At one point David said that he was going to the toilet and disappeared from sight. I was having too much fun to notice how long he had been missing and at the end of the night he was back with me and we headed home. I can still remember laughing and staggering arm in arm with a few friends down the street to our car. I had no idea of the nightmare that lay ahead... We were living at Black Rock at this stage and we somehow made it home. By now I had the munchies and decided to cook up some muffins with egg, bacon, tomato and cheese and set about doing this. David said that he was feeling hot and sweaty from the overcrowded room we had been in and decided to have a shower. I merrily cooked away and when the food was finally ready I knocked on the bathroom door to let David know. There was no response, so I opened the door to stick my head in and call out a bit
louder. The room was filled with steam. All David had managed to do was to turn on the hot tap. (What I didn’t know was that while he had disappeared from the venue to ‘go to the toilet’ he had actually sneaked out of the venue and scored heroin.) I looked over through the thick mist of steam and there was David – naked and slumped over an old disused oil heater. I freaked. I raced into the bathroom and pulled David’s limp body onto the floor. He was blue and his head hit the floor with a thud. I fell to my knees beside him to begin mouth-to-mouth but his jaw was clamped so tightly shut that I had to use all the strength I could summon to force his mouth open. I was in an utter panic. I had seen plenty of O.D.s, but I had never seen anyone looking so far gone…so dead. I began to blow madly, furiously into his mouth over and over and over again. Nothing was happening. I continued on in a state of absolute terror for at least 15- 20 minutes. Utterly exhausted and with no response from David at all, I stood up realising that it was no use. He was gone. Here I was in the middle of the night by myself, with my dead boyfriend. What now? I could hardly breathe from the terror and the effort
I had exerted trying to bring him back to life. Who do I call? An ambulance? There would be police! How could I tell his mother? I was crying, screaming, begging David to breathe. My head was spinning and in a state of excruciating fear I fell back to my knees and desperately continued to blow air into his lungs, with every ounce of strength I could muster. Finally, after at least another 15 or 20 minutes, an eerie groan came from David’s mouth. I breathed some more air into his mouth then shook him, slapped him and shook him again. At last, he began to regain consciousness. Throughout the remainder of that night, every time David closed his eyes, I prodded him to make sure he stayed alive. I could not believe what had happened to us and just how close that had been. The memory of that night will stay with me forever. For the next three days I could barely breathe, I had blown so hard and for so long in my effort to resuscitate David that my entire throat and windpipe area was red raw. You would think an ordeal like that would be enough to turn us off the drugs forever. Unfortunately not! As for David, well, he’d been unconscious the whole time and really didn’t
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I was deprived of the elixir of life... water... and I VIVIDLY RECALL BEGGING FOR JUST AN ICE BLOCK or even a wet flannel to suck on, AS THIRST BEGAN TO OVERWHELM ME. comprehend the severity of the O.D. I think he just thought he was so tough! And with him still using, how could I stop? It was so addictive. It’s just not that easy.
From top: Living in Black Rock - party days; Me, very sick in the Alfred Hospital, 1982, looking terrible with puffy face from mega dose steroids; Kyle, Stefan, Phoebe and me
To read more of Kerryn’s incredible story, pick up your copy of Out of the Darkness from all good Christian Bookstores.
32 Christian Woman Spring 2013
Repercussions I felt like dying. My heart was so enlarged that it was racing at about 300-400 beats per minute rather than 70-80 beats and because two major organs were shutting down, my body was filling up with fluid. As a result of this, I had pulmonary oedema; my lungs were flooding and I could barely breathe. My body ached all over and my blood pressure was sky high. I had huge lumps of fluid all over my body. Because of the acute kidney failure, my fluid intake was severely restricted. I was deprived of the elixir of life... water... and I vividly recall begging for just an ice block or even a wet flannel to suck on, as thirst began to overwhelm me. The room was filled with a myriad of monitors and machines. I had a blood pressure cuff permanently on, an octopus drip pumping different drugs into my arm, a urine catheter connected and an oxygen mask strapped to my face. I clearly remember that time as I gasped for every breath. It was as though the air could not quite reach my lungs and I pulled the mask off and on again over and over desperately trying to ease the excruciating discomfort. It felt like I was drowning. I recall doctor after doctor lifting my hands to look for signs of haemorrhaging or septic shock in my fingers, as they battled to keep me alive. There I lay, my life rapidly slipping away as my stunned and devastated family hovered around. I had always managed to hide my drug problem from them and now, not only had they just been informed by the doctors that this was all drug related, but they were about to lose me. What had gone so wrong? Where was the healthy, happy young girl they once knew? My doctors were amazing. They administered many different drugs
including high dose steroids and an immunosuppressive medication, called Cyclophosphamide, in an attempt to reverse the inflammation to my organs and arterial system. Approval had to be given from Canberra before this drug could be used. However, by this time the damage to my body was so severe, that to turn things around in just a couple of hours was ‘out of the question’ and this is just what my family was told. At the time, mum refused to let the doctors tell me that I was expected to die. She reasoned that not knowing, might give me the strength to fight on. I had no fight left in me at all. The only hope left for me would have to be a miracle. My family was told to pray. The prayers began I had three different specialists visit me and their words were, “This is amazing.” “That is not the same heart.” “It’s like you have a new heart.” My heart was now miraculously beating strongly and had returned to normal size. I remained in hospital for nearly five months in a general ward while my kidney function slowly improved. My Saviour On the day that I chose to follow Jesus, He washed away my past and made me like new. I did nothing to deserve this. This is Grace. The very thought of this gives me goose bumps all over! “Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come” 2 Corinthians 5:17 Despite the dark period in my life, I am still the same optimistic, friendly, funloving person I always was, but spiritually I have become a new creation. When I ponder this story it still sends a chill down my spine. To think that One so mighty, heard the prayers of so few and restored the life of one so insignificant. What an Awesome God we have. CW
SANDRA CAVALLO shares her motivation to get out of bed every day . . .
Living With the
‘WOWStaying FACTOR’ close to God
will confess that when the alarm pierces through my dreams in the morning, every fibre within me says “no, not yet!” and I curl under the blankets. I might not be the sprightliest person first thing in the morning, but I am thankful that once the fog lifts, the drive to start the day is there. My inspiration to get up every morning may be different from yours. Some people are driven by the bills they have to pay. Others are pulled by the responsibilities of their job. Some are gripped by a call to be an influence or a success. There are single women in my world who have what I would call the ‘wow factor’. What I mean is that they are guided by a supernatural God and
therefore walk a life with supernatural results. They are driven by an innate desire to put a smile on the face of their heavenly Father. God has a purpose for each day of our lives. But even when we know what this purpose is, we can lose the drive or the ‘wow factor’ to achieve it. Sustaining it is essential. The source of the wow factor We all know about the Proverbs 31 wife—a woman who is of noble character and worth more than rubies. When you read the attributes of what makes her so great, it can feel a little overwhelming. She doesn’t need anyone to prod her out of bed. She arises before dawn and plans the day ahead. What she does shows
the great capacity God has created in women. The Proverbs 31 woman was a wife, mother, a business woman, a tailor and a volunteer. If planting a vineyard was all she did, that would be enough. You certainly don’t have to be married to do incredible things. But why is this woman so incredible? What drives her every day? Some would say she is just a capable woman. Others would say she is compelled to bring ‘good, not harm’ to her husband (Pro 31:12). In Proverbs 31:30 God gives us the reason. He exalts this type of woman because she holds a reverential fear of him that is birthed out of intimacy and love for him. She clings to his goodness. Every woman—married or not—should do this.
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Hanging out with God, positioning myself to hear and feel his presence is what spurs me on Intimacy with God It is a fact there are many capable women out there in the world who are able to do extraordinary things without God. Convictions can be a powerful force, but nothing is more powerful than the Holy Spirit living and breathing in us. Having a friendship with God is what drives me through every day. Cultivating a friendship doesn’t mean bringing just a list of prayer requests. Hanging out with God, positioning myself to hear and feel his presence, is what spurs me on and brings life to everything I do. When I don’t do this, I feel it. Everything feels hard, dry and plain yuck. Getting out of bed in the morning is not fuelled with excitement and possibility, but rather burdensome and dread. In that secret place with God, I desire to see God place his touch on everything I do—from the mundane tasks to the more extraordinary. I desire the supernatural to flow in creative ways and not limited to just healings. The ‘wow factor’ comes when one delights themselves in God first (Psa 37). When you have an amazing time in God’s presence the chores and tasks that might normally weigh us down, don’t seem to. There is just joy. The ‘wow factor’ can’t be reached without joy. The joy factor For many Christian women, the wow factor has become diffused, simply because they have stopped cultivating joy. The Bible states that, “In his presence there is fullness of joy,” (Psa 16:11). Joy is what gives us the strength to do all that we need to do. God desires that his joy remain in us and that it be full (Joh 15:11). Get your head around the fact that in heaven there is only joy. Would you fit in? I have had times in my life that were joyless. I despised the state I was in, I repented and began to be grateful for the small things and asked the Holy Spirit to fill me again. Joy does not mean you have to laugh all the time, although it can help. Hungering joy which comes in God’s presence is what will sustain us to live out his purpose and ensure we stay on track. Girls, the ‘wow factor’ can be seized once again. CW 34 Christian Woman Spring 2013
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Welcome to this issue of Christian Woman magazine. 7 steps to Spring clean your soul; How to deal with difficult people, Starving for perfec...
Published on Sep 19, 2013
Welcome to this issue of Christian Woman magazine. 7 steps to Spring clean your soul; How to deal with difficult people, Starving for perfec...