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Indulge

GROW STRONG

JULY - SEPTEMBER 2014 • $11.00 Inc GST.

spirit | soul | body

How to...

Grow Strong Bel Thomson | Tricia Goyer | Janine Kubala | Kim Johnson

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Editor’s Note I WAS RECENTLY READING through Exodus about the Israelites journey through the wilderness. Wilderness seasons are tough! I have journeyed through a few myself and I am sure you know the road too. As the Israelities journeyed through the desert there were three key areas that God was developing in them. Firstly, wilderness experiences develop maturity. When the Israelities left Egypt they had been slaves for many generations. They had lost any sense of a personal connection to God from years of hardship and bondage. As they journeyed through the wilderness, God increased their faith and belief in Him. They went from scared slaves to faith-filled warriors. During our Indulge

wilderness times, God is always at work, developing us into the people He knows we are meant to be. Secondly, the wilderness is a place of trust and intimacy. When the chips are down you know who you can truly count on. The Israelties found that, time and time again, God came through for them. They could trust Him and He longed for them to come to a place where they would reside in His presence. In our difficult times, God wants us to come to Him and trust Him to see us through. Don’t run from God, run to God. Lastly, the wilderness is a place of miracles. Whatever your need is, big or small, God has it covered. You need proctection? Think of the Red Sea. You need provision? Think of the manna. God is the God of miracles, and yes, He has one waiting just for you. As you read through this issue of Indulge, may you be inspired to continue on your journey. Grow strong!

Charissa

Magazine

is part of the ILTS Project which seeks to empower women in their journey through life by resourcing them, spirit, soul, and body.

Empower = make more confident; to give authority Resource = source of help; solutions to problems. Publisher Editor-in-Chief Chief Photographer Technical Director Communications & Marketing Website Development

ILTS Project Pty Ltd Charissa Steffens editor@indulgemagazine.com.au Natasha Smith info@nspstudio.com.au David Steffens info@indulgemagazine.com.au info@indulgemagazine.com.au Dan Harding dan@danharding.com

Senior Editors

Nicky Hurle • Catherine Johnsen

Proofing

Nicky Hurle • Catherine Johnsen

Fashion Editor Food Editor Contributors

Tanya Epis Angela Frost Michelle Adkins • Dr Cris Beer • Wendy Francis • Tricia Goyer • Gina Hamilton • Janine Kubala • Nicky Hurle • Kim Johnson • Rebecca McLean • Candice Schmidt • Bel Thomson • Shannon Upton • Alison Vickers

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Indulge Magazine is published quarterly by the ILTS Project Pty Ltd (ACN 147832906). All rights are reserved and the contents are copyright and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. ILTS Project (“the Publisher”), their related companies and officers herby disclaim, to the full extent permitted by law, all liability, damages, costs and expenses whatsoever arising from or in connection with copy information or other material in this magazine, any negligence of the publisher, or any person’s actions in reliance therein. Any dispute or complaint regarding placed advertisements must be made within seven days of publication. Inclusion of any copy must not be taken as any endorsement of the Publisher. Views expressed by contributors are personal views and they are not necessarily endorsed by the Publisher. All reasonable efforts have been made to trace copyright holders by the Publisher. The Publisher and the authors do not accept any liability whatsoever in respect of any action taken by readers in reliance on the recommendation set out in thisIndulge magazine.m a g a z i n e

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“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.� Zechariah 4:10 #indulgemagazine #growstrong @indulgemag Artwork by Kaye Redman www.kayeredman.com.au

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Spirit She is Clothed with Strength

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An interview with Janine Kubala

When I Surrender

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Out of the Ashes

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Make a List

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Tricia Goyer

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Kim Johnson

Michelle Adkins

Staying Strong

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Nicky Hurle

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Soul

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A New Creation

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Book Reviews

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No Young Girl

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An interview with Bel Thomson

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Gina Hamilton

Wendy Francis

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Life was Never Meant to be...

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You are Known

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Alison Vickers

Contents

Candice Schmidt

Body Jungle Fever

Fashion Special with Tanya Epis

Entertaining Confessions

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Miss to Ma’am

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Rebecca McLean Dr. Cris Beer

Creating Positive Habits

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Shannon Upton

To Top it Off Angela Frost

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#change your world

5 ways to Grow Strong

Be Restful

God created the Sabbath for us to take a break because we need one. When we grow weary, we need to stop and rest. God wants to come and fill us to overflowing with the Holy Spirit. When we allow Him to, we can learn to work from a position of rest. Practice mediating on scriptures like Psalm 23; Matthew 11:28.

Be Patient

Life can be difficult and sometimes we want our prayers answered in an instant. Sometimes they are, but often we have a season of waiting. Rest in the knowledge that God’s timing is perfect. Don’t give up, be patient. Galatians 5:22-23; Psalm 18:30

Be Surrendered

Releasing control to God is freeing. Let go of your concerns and expectations and allow God to take the reins. His heart is for you and He will not let you fall; allow Him to carry you in the difficult times and walk with you in the good times. Luke 22:42

Be Trusting

Trust requires relationship. If you find yourself not trusting God, draw closer to Him. Learn about His love for you and His goodness towards you. You can trust Him, for He knows you and loves you so much that He sent His Son to die for you. John 3:16; Jeremiah 29:11; Isaiah 49:16

Be Faithful

Be encouraged that as you are faithful in your journey towards God, He is faithful to you. God loves a woman of faithfulness. He rejoices in those who remain consistent in their heart for Him and He promises to never leave or forsake us. Stay strong. Hebrews 11; Deuteronomy 31:6

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Spirit

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She is Clothed with Strength... Indulge m a g a z i n e


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She is clothed with Strength

Article: Charissa Steffens Photography: Natasha Smith NSP Studio Photography

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I IMMEDIATELY LIKED JANINE KUBALA WHEN WE MET at the recent Queensland Christian Women’s Conference, where she was the keynote speaker. I think it was partly to do with the fact that she looked super confident in high heels, even with an impressive 6ft plus frame; something that I never mastered at 5ft 11 myself. Although to be honest, it was not just her shoe prowess that inspired me. It was actually her serenity; the peace, poise, and presence that she exuded, which impressed me the most.

the boys need to know that our marriage is strong, it is important they see the bond between us. They also need to know they are a priority to us; we give them focused time where we make sure we are satisfying their love languages. We know that what works for one son doesn’t necessarily work for the other son. Sam likes having conversations, he loves to be with me and talk. Whereas Johnny is active and he wants me to play with him. So it is important to know each one.

As Janine spoke across the conference this serenity was infused with strength into her message of feminine identity. With authority and clarity she reminded us that we are all formed in God’s image, and that His transformational power calls us forth to be women who can change our world.

MENTAL ILLNESS IS A GROWING CONCERN IN SOCIETY; YOU HAVE EXPERIENCED THE DIFFICULTIES OF BATTLING WITH MENTAL ILLNESS FIRST HAND. WHAT ENCOURAGEMENT CAN YOU GIVE TO WOMEN WHO ARE STRUGGLING IN THIS AREA OF LIFE?

Janine, along with her husband Andrew Kubala, are the founders of Kubala Ministries. Their ministry focus is to “connect people to God through the preaching of the Gospel and demonstration of God’s power through healing.” That power of healing has been directly experienced by both Andrew and Janine. Andrew at the age of 13 was diagnosed with leukemia and spent 5 years in and out of hospitals receiving treatment. Andrew was prayed for by his youth pastors and from that moment on, things began to ‘miraculously turn around’. Janine has also had her share of battles, after being abused in her youth. Janine developed a mental illness that saw her hospitalised for treatment in her early twenties. After surrendering her life to God, Janine began a journey of healing and restoration. Today she is a popular evangelist, author, and conference speaker. She has a desire to see people of all ages and cultures receive full healing, and fulfill their God given potential. I asked Janine to share with us her thoughts on womanhood, identity, and healing from mental illness as we chatted at the conference. AS A MUM, WHAT ARE SOME KEY WAYS THAT YOU ARE RAISING YOUR CHILDREN UP TO BE STRONG AND POWERFUL FOR THEIR GENERATION? Security is important in parenting, creating a home life that is secure and where they know they are loved and accepted. We also create boundaries that are firm, so that they know if they are crossed, there will be consequences. This does not diminish the love, but consequences are necessary so that responsibility is learned. God, respect, and honor are foundational beliefs in our home. These are especially key areas for young men, that need to be instilled. Also our marriage is important,

It is a big area, mental illness, and it impacts many people. Mental illness includes such areas as anxiety, controlling behaviours, and depression. This is an area that God is shining a light on, and bringing healing to many. It is possible to be a Christian, even in leadership, and be suffering in this area. We are all human and have vulnerabilities and that is where the enemy comes to those unguarded places and attacks. The most important thing is guarding your heart. God will never do this for us. In Proverbs (4:23) He tells us to “guard our hearts”; He is not going to send an angel to do it, He is not going to send Jesus to guard our heart. We have to make a choice to guard our heart. It also says (in the Bible) to not become “weary in doing good. For you will reap your reward in due season if you don’t lose heart.” (Galatians 6:9). So if I am ministering to someone, I will also go a little deeper and ask them what is happening in their heart. It is often the addressing of the heart issues that brings the change.

“The most important thing is guarding your heart. God will never do this for us... We have to make a choice to guard our heart.” Indulge m a g a z i n e

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HOW CAN WE GUARD OUR HEARTS? Firstly, we must let Jesus into our heart and receive salvation. We can’t add to the work of the Cross in restoring our relationship with God. But the outworking of our salvation and the completion of our transformation into the likeness of God is a process that takes time. So to walk that process out we must be planted in a church and accountable to people. We must have a personal relationship with God where we allow Him to speak into our life. We must also put on the armour of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). I actually put on each piece every day. I put on the shoes of the gospel of peace – I find it really hard to yell at my kids when I purposefully put them on every morning. All of the items are important and the breastplate of righteousness is what protects our heart. A damaged or weakened heart generally occurs because of sin or bad choices, but if you are wearing the breastplate of righteousness there comes a check in your spirit asking “is that righteous?” For me, that awareness has changed my life. WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT PUTTING ON THE SHOES OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU? I would have previously confused peace with passivity, but I think peace is actually powerful and it occurs when we bring Jesus into situations. So when the world is full of chaos, like your kids are running wildly through the grocery store and the checkout lady is throwing your groceries around, what do we do? Do we loose our cool with the kids or the checkout operator? Or do we take a moment and ask Jesus to come.

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Peace is also learning what we can control and what we can’t control. If we recognise that we can’t change the situation, then we have to just say, “I trust you God” and let it rest with Him. If it is in our control, then we ask Him how we can change it in a positive way, not in a negative way. That is peace to me. YOU HAVE WRITTEN A BOOK CALLED “PRINCESS”. TELL US ABOUT YOUR INSPIRATION FOR THIS BOOK. God planted a seed in me some time ago. I saw this picture of a book with a pink cover; I knew it was on female identity. However, I am not a writer and it had never crossed my mind to write a book. I sat with it for about five years, but I didn’t know all the details or who the audience would be. I knew God wanted to change the way women see themselves. He wanted them to understand they are feminine, strong, and equal to men, in partnership with men, representing Him on earth. I didn’t really know how to give voice to that message for some time.

“Peace is also learning

what we can control and what we can’t control.”


Then there came this moment when I felt a real urgency in my spirit and I actually asked God to back off because I didn’t know how to write it. I felt the Holy Spirit tell me to read the book of Esther. I read the book of Esther over and over, and I saw the four themes that were the hallmarks of Esther’s life. I immediately realised that this is woman – beauty, influence, alignment, authority. In Esther’s life this identity was so powerfully displayed, in particular when she comes before the King and tells him that she has been sold, that she and her people are headed for annihilation. This is what Satan’s agenda is; destruction of generations. What God wants is women who will stand up and use their influence to cause the arm of heaven to intervene. To walk alongside man and revoke that decree of destruction. There is a transition in Esther’s life where Moredcai doesn’t rescue her, but changes her internal belief system, and he emboldens her to be a part of the change. When she sees herself in a different way, she is empowered to be brave and bold and God does so many miracles in the story. YOU HAVE RECENTLY BEGUN A MINISTRY IN CAMBODIA CALLED “ESTHER’S VOICE.” CAN YOU TELL US WHAT THIS MINISTRY IS ABOUT? My husband Andrew and I have been travelling to Cambodia since 2008, when we initially went with World Vision. It is amazing the work they are doing to change the external circumstances in the villages. While we were there, we sensed that God wants to bring change to the inside as well as externally. One of the concerning issues in Cambodia is human trafficking. Many girls and children are sold by their family, by their mums, to provide for the family. There are many wonderful organisations that are working to intervene and rescue these girls out of these situations. However, there is not a lot of focus on what happens after the rescue. More than 85% of rescued girls will actually return to prostitution. God spoke into my spirit and said “rescue is not sustainable, it is transformation that brings freedom. None of my daughters are victims, they are a strategic part of the answer.” Esther’s Voice is a ministry to girls who have been rescued from trafficking and prostitution. We work with rescue and training organisations, where the girls are being trained in a occupation like hairdressing, handbag making, baking. What we then do is work to bring healing in their heart as they are retrained vocationally. The other side of what we do is to work with women in the villages to stop the source of the problem. We want the women to rise up and

say, “Our daughters are not for sale.” Imagine a whole generation not knowing the threat of being sold. The Esther’s Voice program is based on the work of Dr. Caroline Leaf (Switch on your Brain) and Norman Doidge (The Brain that Heals Itself). The program is deconstructed so that those who have no literacy skills can understand and people, who have suffered high trauma resulting in limited concentration, can be engaged. The program is based on drawings, pictures, plays, and activities. The girls are able to use notepads and pencils. They connect with God through the pictures they get from God. Dr. Leaf has a 21 Day Detox program which includes meditating on scripture, acknowledging the problem, and seeing a solution. It is about rewiring your brain and changing your external behaviour. These girls can’t read or write, but they can draw their God picture (the picture God gives them of themselves). They meditate on the picture for 21 days and new thought trees develop and new behaviours occur. The testimonies from the last retreat were amazing. Girls were standing up in front of 60 other girls declaring their healing and their hope for the future. This is remarkable for young girls whose lives were covered in shame. What is happening in Cambodia is about generational bondage and destruction and God is reversing this and bringing freedom. It is exciting to see what is happening and we are expectant for great things in the future. * To find out more about Janine Kubala go to the Kubala Ministries page: kubalaministries.org

Giveaway We have a personally signed copy of Janine’s book Princess to give away. TO ENTER EMAIL info@indulgemagazine.com.au and tell us the four themes of Esther’s life that Janine has based Princess on. Entries close Friday 22nd August 2014 5pm (AEST). Winners will be notified by return email.

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When I Surrender, God Shows Up... Again and Again and Again Article: Tricia Goyer Photography: Courtesy of Tricia Goyer & Litfuse Publicity

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BEST SELLING AUTHOR Tricia Goyer knows a thing or two about the challenges of life. At the age of seventeen, Tricia discovered she was pregnant, dropped out of school, and began life as a teen mum. For years she battled the shame and stigma attached to her youthful choices. It was during this time that she opened her heart to God and allowed Him to take over. As time passed Tricia found herself being asked to help others in a similar situation, and before she knew it, God had taken her ‘mess’ and made it her ‘message’. Now a successful author, speaker, radio host, and family expert, Tricia’s influence extends beyond the wildest dreams of her seventeen-year-old self. She has authored 40 books, with her passion focusing on Amish Fiction and family living. Most recently Tricia was asked to write the novelisation of the movie “Moms’ Night Out.” So how did this teen mum reach for the stars and make it? Tricia shares her secret to living a strong and successful life here.

AS I’M WRITING THIS, I’M SITTING ON AN AIRPLANE traveling from my home in Little Rock, Arkansas, to Los Angeles, California. Looking ahead to the next couple of days, I get almost light-headed thinking of how I’ll be stretched out of my comfort zone. I’ll be meeting with a production company who is trying to turn some of my books into movies. We have a meeting with a large film studio too. The culmination of the trip will be walking the red carpet (the real red carpet at Grauman’s Chinese Theater). Wow! I got invited to walk the red carpet because I wrote the novelisation for the book Moms’ Night Out, a new faithbased film. Also walking the red carpet that night are actors such as Sarah Drew, Sean Astin, Patricia Heaton, and Trace Atkins. This all sounds glamorous, but I know what really brought me to where I am today and it can be summed up in one word: surrender. You see, twentyfive years ago I was a seventeen-year-old teen girl who discovered she was pregnant and thought her life was over. I’m thankful God thought differently.

but I’d walked away from all I’d been taught as a teen. I thought I could find true love with my boyfriend, but all I got was heartache and a baby on the way. So just a few months before my son was due, I wrapped my arms around my stomach and prayed, “God, if you can do anything with my life, please do.” I wasn’t expecting anything grand or exciting. I wouldn’t have pictured God would bring me to where I am now. Instead, all I wanted was freedom from carrying the burden of my pain and shame on my heart. The glimmer of hope that broke through as I prayed showed me God was there and maybe He did have a good future in mind for me after all. From the moment I first surrendered to Jesus, I was not disappointed. As I read my Bible and prayed, He met me there. I had a beautiful boy, enrolled in college, and met a wonderful Christian man. We dated and married and soon had two more children. It was during my third pregnancy that I got the idea to write. I had my heart set on writing one book, but God has done so much in this writing arena. Currently, I have more than forty books published with wonderful publishers and a half-dozen more in the works. Success in this area didn’t come easily. I attended my first writers’ conference in 1994 when I was only twenty-two years old and pregnant with my third child. I knew nothing about writing and although I sent dozens of magazine articles in for consideration for publication, all of them were rejected. A few years later, I started getting articles published and then I turned my attention to books. I again got lots of rejections. Rejection was hard for me. I had an agent and I was writing pretty good stuff. But I couldn’t get a “yes.” To say I was discouraged is an understatement. It was then when I discovered the power of surrender once again.

Tricia on the red carpet at the premier of ‘Moms’ Night Out’ in Hollywood, CA.

I remember that day when I found out I was pregnant at seventeen. First, I knew I would have the baby. I’d had another unplanned pregnancy at age fifteen and chose abortion. I thought it was an easy way out, but the pain, shame, and loss I felt afterward plunged me into depression. It’s a decision I regretted (and still regret) and I knew I wouldn’t do that again. Yet when my boyfriend moved on, finding a new girlfriend right away, I wondered how I was going to handle being a mom at such a young age. How could I provide for a child? How could I build a good life for us? When I was six months pregnant, I realised all my choices had only led to destruction and I knew if I was going to have any chance at happiness, peace, or success that I needed to do things God’s way. I’d grown up in church,

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“I knew if I was going to have any chance at happiness, peace, or success then I needed to do things God’s way.”

Soon this airplane will be landing. I have to admit I’m looking forward to the “glamorous” days ahead, but as I walk through them two things will be central in my heart. The first is thankfulness. I know I am where I am today because of Jesus. Second is another level of surrender; as I write this, I hold all I have up to Him and say, “Here I am again. I’m stretched and out of my comfort zone, but if you can do anything with my life, my words, my stories, please do.” And through surrender I know that whatever comes will be from God, for God . . . and there’s nothing better than that. *

To find out more about Tricia you can visit her website www.triciagoyer.com. Tricia’s books can be purchased at Koorong www.koorong.com One night a published author spoke at our small writers’ group. She talked about getting on her knees before God, holding up her writing dreams, and saying, “Lord, I give this to you.” Her message spoke to me and during that talk it became clear I’d been pursuing publication for all the wrong reasons. I wanted to make a name for myself. I wanted to prove to myself and others I hadn’t ruined my life by having a baby at such a young age. I was working hard . . . for my own glory. God reminded me that everything I wanted to do needed to be for His glory instead. So that night after the meeting, I got on my knees and lifted my open hands to him. On my flat palms I pictured my dream of publication and again I prayed. “I don’t have much, but if you can do anything with my desire to write, please do.” Even though not much looked different on the outside, I could feel the change within. I wanted to write for God, to share His good news. That became, and still is, my first priority. My surrender allowed God to usher in His will, not my own. In all of the books I write, I’m able to share the true transformation that can take place when we allow God to take over every part of us. It’s a message I write because it’s a message I know. And still, even after all these years, any type of success I try to achieve in my own strength, always fails. Surrender happens over and over again, as I hold my desires and my limited abilities and ask Jesus to take over. The Bible says, “Let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without .  .  . comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t” (Romans 12:5 – 6, The Message). I only find success in this life when I realise who I am: a fallible human in need of God. When I realise I need help and I surrender everything I have to God, He is able to step in. God never tries to take over and push Himself into our lives, yet when we are willing to give Him ourselves, and our dreams, He’s happy to show us what He can do.

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Giveaway

We have two of Tricia’s books to give away. TO ENTER EMAIL info@indulgemagazine.com.au and tell us the name of the movie for which Tricia was asked to write the novelisation. Entries close Friday 22nd August 2014 5pm (AEST). Winners will be notified by return email.


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Out of the ashes I rise

Article Kim Johnson Photography Natasha Smith

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“WATER YOU TURNED INTO WINE, opened the eyes of the blind, there’s no one like you, none like You! Into the darkness you shine, out of the ashes we rise, there’s no one like you, none like You! Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God, you are higher than any other. Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God!” (Chris Tomlin – Our God) I remember when first hearing this song at a conference a few years ago, that the words etched themselves into my heart and spirit – “Into the darkness you shine, out of the ashes we rise…” – and I could finally sing them with utter faith and amazement at what God had brought me through during the past nine years. I did truly feel like I had made it out of the ashes, that the dark and sometimes lonely road I had been forced to walk upon had finally come to an end, and that I really did know and believe that God still had an amazing plan and future for my life. It is really hard to understand why God allows suffering and hard times in our lives, why we have to face some of the circumstances that are thrown at us, and why God seems to ignore our cries for help. We endure loss, loneliness, rejection, financial hardship, grief – all sorts of painful things and wish we didn’t have to be enduring this trial. But through the hard times, He always weaves a thread of hope and compassion, and draws us closer to Himself and His ultimate purposes and plans for our lives. The only problem is that we usually don’t see this until AFTER we have travelled down that dark, lonely road. I recently read a quote, the author is unknown – but it says: “What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.” Sometimes, we are only humans – we don’t call the shots, we don’t always make good choices, and we don’t know what is next. But the Master will always fashion something beautiful, a butterfly, out of circumstances that feel like the end of the world to us. We have to learn to trust Him more than we trust the circumstances around us. I have experienced both situations in my life…. bad choices I have made that have caused me to endure painful and trying circumstances, but also events that have happened that are way outside of my control. Life as I knew it nine years ago was pretty good. I had an amazing husband, who I had married when I was just 20, and he at 21; a handsome young man in an RAAF uniform. We had four beautiful children and were enjoying being back in Darwin, Northern Territory, after Darren had taken on the Senior Pastor’s role at what is now Hope City Church. However, the world as we knew it was shattered forever when on a warm Friday evening in October 2005, the day we were moving house, I became a widow and solo parent; and my children began trying to live a life that did not include their Dad. I was waiting at work in the centre of Darwin for Darren to come and pick me up. I was getting anxious because we

had a lot to do – we were still moving into the new house, but also had final wedding preparations for a ceremony he was doing the next morning. But he never came…. When I tried to reach him on his mobile, a police sergeant answered and told me I needed to get to the hospital as there had been an accident. I was taken to Emergency by an officer from the City Station, and was met by Danina, my oldest daughter, and a few close friends. After being ushered into a room, we were told that the driver of a red Commodore was killed in an accident and because he wasn’t carrying any identification, we would have to identify his body. So my beautiful daughter, just 20 at the time, decided that I would not do that alone. She came with me to look at her Dad through a cold glass window pane, as he lay even colder and still on a hospital trolley. How do you go home to the new place you were moving into and tell your boys that their Dad won’t be coming home? How do you ring your daughter living on the Sunshine Coast for university at the time and tell her that her Dad has just died? How do you break the news to a beautiful church family that their pastor, shepherd, and friend had been taken from them? I don’t know what the right way is, but somehow we stumbled through those first few dark days and weeks surrounded by God’s amazing grace, strength, and peace. If you can imagine all your worst nightmares happening at once, that is probably how we felt those first few weeks – numb and in utter disbelief that this tragedy could happen to us. The life and soul of our family had been ripped out. He was such a great husband and friend, a fantastic hands-on Dad to all the kids - how could we survive without him? How could we even keep breathing without him there with us, loving us, guiding us, forever looking out for us? How could we possibly go on? Well sometimes you don’t ever quite work out how, but one day, many months or years later, you are quietly surprised to realise that you have somehow learned to breathe again, that you are actually moving forward into the future that God has for you, and you are slowly starting to smile again. After finally beginning to adjust to the tragedy of losing Darren, Ryan, my oldest son, just 17, had a grand-mal seizure while in a car with a friend driving to church. He had never had one before, but again I had to drive up to the Emergency ward of the same hospital where we had come just two years before, to watch Ryan being wheeled out of an ambulance. Of course, you think the worst when

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helmet and didn’t have his lights on. I don’t remember it happening at all, but I was left with multiple fractures in my jaw, eye sockets,and cheek bones. I also had a broken, cut nose, lost a tooth, suffered associated gum and bone trauma, and sustained a fractured wrist. It was not a pretty sight! I had to endure a 12 hour car trip to Bangkok as there were no suitable hospitals where we were in Laos to get the help I needed. After about 8 weeks there, enduring a few operations and my jaws wired shut, I was able to fly back to Australia. Three years later I have had a fourth operation here… so finally I am all fixed. There are lots of plates and screws holding me together, and some ongoing pain. I have two implants and four false teeth as well– but at least I look better than I did then!

you have already had tragedy strike, but as I strained to see him, I noticed that he was moving and seemingly OK, though a little dazed and out of it. After many tests, he was diagnosed with Epilepsy and we are still battling that with him today. We pray for him to be healed,because as any mother would know, it is hard to watch one of your children suffer when there is nothing you can do to help. You would rather be the one suffering, than watching them go through it! But that hasn’t happened yet, so it is a path we continue to walk with him. Two years later, in April 2009, I felt strongly to go over to Laos and work for a while. I had been there on a short mission trip the year before and I guess losing someone you love, makes you look for something to do with your life that is really worthwhile, having become brutally aware that this life is but a breath. None of us know how long we have here, so we want to make it count, to make a difference. My idea was to work in a high paying NGO job, but God had other ideas, and I ended up working with missionaries who had been living and working in Laos for a number of years. I was the finance manager at a factory that was making ceramic water filters (as over 60% of the rural population in developing countries like Laos, do not have access to clean water). I also helped in a private English school teaching English lessons, as well as in a vocational training program for girls to become house maids. In Thailand, the lack of work for young people is one of the main reasons they end up in the sex or drug trade, so if you can prevent it before it happens, it is a very worthwhile achievement. I just loved being there; the people, the lifestyle, and the food! While I was overseas, I dated one of the missionaries for about a year, who was also from Australia. We both clearly felt God speaking to us about getting to know each other, but at the time he was not ready to make a permanent commitment to someone, so I was eventually left heartbroken and emotionally depleted. I decided to finish the initial two year term in Laos, but it came to an abrupt end on New Years Eve in 2010. I had a head-on motorbike accident with another motorbike – supposedly a police-man who wasn’t wearing his

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Just last year, I lost my beloved father after a 6 month battle with lung cancer. He was only 72 and I miss him so much Nothing prepares you for the loss and loneliness you feel when you lose a parent, or anyone you love for that matter! Through everything that has been thrown at my family and I – God has given us His grace and strength to get through each circumstance. Obviously, I am not perfect – I still have days where I feel like giving up, but I hold on to His word and the many promises that He has given us. Like this one: 1 Peter 1: 6-7 'In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” My dear friend Anne Graham once said that, “We can either be defined by the lowest point in our lives, or be defined by God’s grace in and over our lives.” I want to be defined by God’s grace in and over my life and I know you do too. I don’t know what you are facing, but I do know that you can walk through it and come out stronger and with more faith and peace than you ever thought possible.You can keep standing when all around you are falling. My job is to continue to trust Him no matter what and despite my circumstances, to believe He STILL has a good plan for me, regardless of what has happened to me in the past. Our past doesn’t have to define our future. *

Kim now lives in Mooloolaba on the beautiful Sunshine Coast. She is a qualified Chartered Accountant and works full-time, splitting her days with a couple of organisations including Teen Challenge, Life Church Sunshine Coast, and Young and Associates Taxation and Accounting. She is a doting 50 year old Grandma and mother to her four amazing adult children Danina, Sharni, Ryan, and Caleb. In her occasional spare time she likes knitting and crocheting. And just quietly, between you and me, that guy she was dating in Laos a few years ago, is now her fiance! Paul and Kim will be married in July and are then heading back to Laos to continue their work there as fulltime missionaries with ACCWM. God is good!


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Make Your List Ask and you will receive Article Michelle Adkins Photography Natasha Smith

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TODAY IS MY WEDDING DAY. I still pinch myself that this day has finally arrived. It rained five minutes before I started to get ready and everything is crisp, clean, and fresh outside. The flowers have been delivered to the reception and the ladies have started to decorate the tables with my favourites: sunflowers and red roses. The chef is busy cooking our scrumptious breakfast as this is what we will feast on after we say our vows. My wedding cake is to be enjoyed afterwards with tea: three layers of cheesecake, all in different flavours. Everything is perfect. I am so thankful, so blessed! Did I mention how perfect everything is NOW, on my wedding day? Well, it never used to be perfect. Not a couple of years ago anyway. I grew up in a very strict Christian home where we were always forced to go to church twice a day, then do Bible-study during the week, attend youth on Fridays and whatever social the church put on during the weekend. Luckily for me, I loved these times as I loved learning about God. My love for God was so intense (and still remains to be) that these times I spent in fellowship with others were precious to me. Even though my family were all “saved”, we as a “family” never had a proper relationship with each other and there was no harmony between us. My father was very cold, emotionally cut-off, and never told me once that he loved me. My love language is words and touch, but I sadly never got this from my father. Ever since I got saved when I was nine years old, I have wanted to be in ministry. I have continued to be on fire for God ever since. So when I finished high-school in 1996, I went on to study theology and become a pastor. During that year of study, I met this guy who I fell in love with, not because of his dashing looks or anything like that, but because of the “love” this guy could give me, which I never received from my own father. I was yearning for that acceptance and was so over being rejected, that ANY guy at this stage in my life would do. Little did I

know, that settling for second best would be worst thing I could have allowed into my life for the next three and a half years! This guy would rape me a couple of times per day. He would subject to me horrible stuff and emotionally abuse me if I didn’t give him what he wanted. The shame and guilt that went with this was horrible. My life was a disaster! The worst part was, being a Christian, I had the Holy Spirit whispering into my heart that I needed to get out of this relationship, but when you’re subjected to manipulation the way I was, you don’t want to listen, because I would hear only one lie, over and over in my head: “You will never find another guy like me. You will be alone forever”. And facing that fear of loneliness, for the rest of my life, freaked me out!! Who wants that? After three and a half years of this horrible relationship, this guy wanted us to get engaged. I thought to myself: “Ok, once we are married, things will get better”. This guy asked me to marry him like you would ask a dog if he’s hungry, and I reluctantly said yes. I started to get this gnawing feeling within my spirit that he couldn’t possibly be the CHAMPION God had in store for me. The more I started to think about this, the more I was reminded of God showing me in His Word how much I meant to Him, how I am the “apple of His eye” and that He wants the best for me. And I knew, deep down within me, that this guy was not the man God had in mind for me to marry, grow old with, and impact the world with. God showed me that it was not ok to be in an abusive relationship. Period! So, this guy came home one afternoon after work, and I threw him out. For the first time, I felt this power surge within me and I stood up for myself and my future. I told him that this relationship was ridiculous and how he had put me through so much hell. The usual rubbish came out of his mouth: “You don’t love me….” and “You are selfish! You are always just thinking about yourself…”, and “You will never find a guy like me” to which I replied: “You are right! I will never find a guy like you because I never WANT a guy like you in my life, ever again! You are not God’s best for me. I deserve better!” With that, I believe that history was made, as I made a radical turn in my life for good.

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Through all the hurt, shame, guilt, and confusion, I had a prayer journal. In my prayer journal, I started to write down a list of what I wanted my future husband to be like. God tells us in His Word that: “You get not, because you ask not” (James 4:3). So with that in mind, I started to write down everything I wanted in my CHAMPION. On my list, there was no holding back. I went into the greatest detail about what I felt I deserved: - That he MUST be a Christian - What he must look like - What his personality / character should be like - How my parents should feel about him, and his parents about me. My list also specified what “signs” needed to happen, to prove to me that this was the husband from God. As I am a romantic at heart, I asked for signs that you’d see in a chick-flick! And you know what? They all happened! I was essentially raising the bar for myself and my future as I was done having second best, and calling into my future, God’s best! Every single thing I mentioned in my list, I have in my husband today. We have been happily married for 11 years now. This didn’t happen overnight though. God had the perfect husband waiting to meet me at the right time. I had to get to a place where I had dealt with all the hurt and where I could learn to love and accept myself again. I had to plug into God, trust that He had the perfect guy for my future and have complete faith in the fact that God had the best in store for me. I beg of you, my friend, do not settle for second best. Raise the bar. Make your list. Your CHAMPION is out there, he’s waiting for you and he cannot wait to meet you. If God can do it for me, then He can do it for you too.*

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Staying Strong Together

Article Nicky Hurle Photography Natasha Smith

THERE ARE TIMES IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE when apathy and complacency are washed away by a tidal wave of unexpected shock and life changing events. It is at these times that the rubber hits the road and as a Christian, one has to make a fresh decision about where one stands in faith and God. The death of a loved one, an illness, an accident, loss of home, loss of a job… all of these are things that we may have to meet head on as we pursue our lives, and can have an impact on our health, wealth, and well-being. Unfortunately life doesn’t come with the instruction manual detailing how to face each challenge that comes along; and although the Bible is a book of promises for such times as these, we have to read them, inwardly digest them, and claim them to remain strong in the face of adversity.

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One in particular resonates during a time of hardship: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. ” James 1:2-7 Last week my husband, David, was made redundant. After I left full-time employment last year from a government role, I went back to teaching and, although I


am loving it, I am only part-time. David has worked for his company for seventeen and a half years, so he is entitled to redundancy, but he has five weeks left before the company closes its doors and he is out there in the job market looking for work. With the expected rise in the retirement age to seventy by 2035, older people are obviously going to be in the work force longer, but it is a frightening and challenging time to be 52 years old and back in the hunt for employment. It would be easy to understand an anxious response, a panic about what the future holds, or despair at what the implications of unemployment might have on the basic needs of life such as rent, amenities, and managing bills and commitments. The Bible responds for us in Philippians 4:19 which states, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus”; and from Matthew 6:25-27 “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or what you will wear. Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in his splendour was dressed like one of these.  If God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat or drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ … your heavenly Father knows what you need. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” We know what it is to seek the Lord about our future, and we have great confidence in our Father that he will do as he has always done in providing for us and showing us where we are to be and what we are to do. When we first moved to Canberra, we were very unsure about where it would all lead, but God was so good and enabled us to save money, travel, and do a job with a lot of personal satisfaction. David’s first response when he phoned me on Monday, was to reaffirm the need for us to pray for guidance and place our trust in God for whatever challenges lay ahead. It hasn’t always been that way, but after years of trusting in the Lord for our providence, it was heart-warming to me to see his maturity in the faith. We have always wanted our lives to reflect Christ and be a testimony to his love and goodness, so too we want what happens to us in life, and our response to it, to be a testimony to our faith and the many blessings of the Lord. As it says in 1 Peter 1:6-7; “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.” As his wife and life partner, I want to be as strong as I can, supporting David in whatever way presents itself. I immediately went to the job sites and by the end of the day I had updated his resume, found five jobs for him to apply for, and sent off the applications for him. I have been joining him in prayer each day for God’s guidance

and provision of a new job opportunity, and I will be willing, if necessary, to move wherever a new position might take him. We are both keen to remain in Canberra, where we feel God led us four years ago, but we will not close our minds to a move if that is the door that opens. Coming to the Word in times of difficulty and challenge reminds us of the promises of God, which we must then claim as our own. These are the moments we personally must press into the three stranded cord that is the marriage of David, myself and the Lord; we will bring our requests to Him, in line with His will for us; we will trust in the face of the great challenge of the unknown, and remind ourselves that “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” Romans 8:28. We also know that we “can do all things through Christ who strengthens” (Philippians 4:13), and that “in God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26. I hope and pray whatever you may be facing at this time, that you will immerse yourself in the Word, commit your care to him and wait with hope and anticipation as he guides and leads you in the path of righteousness. As Proverbs 3:5-6 says …

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.”

Nicky Hurle is currently teaching religion and humanities part-time in Canberra. In between classes, she is studying a degree in Professional Publishing and Writing, through Curtin University in Perth, and enjoying life in the nation’s capital. She enjoys reading, movies, music, and surfing the net and has been married to husband, David, for 31 years. Indulge m a g a z i n e

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Soul

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A New Creation Indulge m a g a z i n e

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A New Creation Bel Thomson Article Charissa Steffens Photography Dean Agar

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BEL THOMSON IS AN AUSTRALIAN AWARD-WINNING singer, songwriter, and speaker whose ministry takes her across the country. Just back from recording a new album in Nashville, USA, with the first single, A New Creation, charting on Australian Christian radio stations, Bel is spreading a song of encouragement across the nation. Bel’s songs and anecdotes, along with her smile and authentic presence draw audiences into stories of hope. Her lyrics press beyond the surface, in a music ministry that weaves songs with real life testimonies of God’s faithfulness.  We asked Bel some questions to find out more about her latest album and what the future holds for her.

HAVE YOU ALWAYS LOVED MUSIC, EVEN AS A CHILD? Although I am not from a musical family, my mum noticed that I loved music and singing as a child. Apparently I would watch Play School and get out my toy instruments to join in! So mum signed me up for music lessons when I was six. I started writing music in high school, and I actually used to wonder if there was something wrong with me as I didn’t know anyone else who did this! But as the years went on I realised it was a gift that God had given me. YOU HAVE JUST RELEASED YOUR LATEST ALBUM “A NEW CREATION”; WHERE DID THE INSPIRATION COME FROM? The album is a collection of songs inspired by real life, and the ways I’ve seen God at work in and around me. I wrote these songs in many different places- on the beach, in my studio, in my car. Inspiration comes from many places because God is always with us! WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SONG FROM THE ALBUM, AND WHY? Hmmm…that’s kind of like asking which of your children is your favourite! I love the violin and cello parts on the songs ‘Lullaby’ and ‘Stars’. I also love the title track because it is such a fun, upbeat song and it was cool to do a duet with Paul Colman. But probably ‘Dressed in White’ is the most special to me because I wrote it for my wedding day! (I actually wrote it before we were even engaged, because I knew Phil was the man I would marry! Hehe…when he popped the question I was very well prepared!) I felt God promise when I was 17 that he had someone special for me to marry…and I was 30 when we met! So when we got married, we were beyond excited- it was so worth the wait! I could not stop smiling as I walked up the aisle to this song. This song is very special for us, as it’s a celebration of seeing God’s promise fulfilled.

YOU SAID THAT THIS ALBUM IS A ‘CELEBRATION OF GOD’S FAITHFULNESS’. CAN YOU SHARE A BIT MORE ABOUT THIS THEME? When I think about this album, I think of joy, because it has come from a season of seeing God’s faithfulness in my life. My songs are usually an expression of my own journey, and my past albums were written when I was going through more difficult seasons. For instance, my first album featured a song called ‘Battlefield Hymn’, because I felt like I was in a battle, as I sought to trust God in the difficult time when my parents got divorced. This is now my 4th CD release and this album has been written in such a season of joy. It is an album filled with themes of healing and hope, having seen God’s goodness and promises prove true in my own life through a decade of following Him. DURING THE DIFFICULT TIMES IN LIFE, HOW HAVE YOU STAYED STRONG IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD? I draw encouragement from the way God worked in people’s lives in the Bible. For example, the apostle Paul faced some crazy opposition and difficulties in his life yet, even while he was in prison, God used him to write large sections of the Bible. That’s such an encouragement to me amidst all the struggles of my life, to know God can work His purpose out even amidst my trials. God’s word gives me hope. HOW DO YOU KEEP YOURSELF FRESH AND ENJOY THE PROCESS OF CREATING MUSIC WITH ALL THE TRAVEL AND DIFFICULTIES THAT COME WITH BEING IN THIS INDUSTRY? Being in full time ministry is a real privilege, but there certainly are challenges. I have to be intentional about my growth and make sure I am being nourished spiritually. I set aside time at the beginning of the day to spend with the Lord, and each week set aside one day as a ‘Sabbath’ day; time to rest, relax, and be recharged. It’s amazing that often it is at the end of my rest day when I am most creative, with songs and writing ideas coming from nowhere! I believe rest and creativity are linked.

“Being in full time ministry is a real privilege, but there certainly are challenges. I have to be intentional about my growth and make sure I am being nourished spiritually.”

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Bel and Phil Thomson in Nashville.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SCRIPTURE AT THE MOMENT? John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. PAUL COLMAN RECORDED A DUET WITH YOU ON THIS ALBUM. WHICH OTHER ARTISTS WOULD YOU LIKE TO COLLABORATE WITH IN THE FUTURE? I’d love to work with great Australian songwriters like Darlene Zschech and Reuben Morgan.Collaboration is a great way to learn and grow as an artist. YOU TRAVELLED TO NASHVILLE, USA TO HAVE THIS ALBUM PRODUCED. WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO PRODUCE IN NASHVILLE? For many years I had a dream to work with the music producer Ed Cash, who had recorded albums for some of my favourite artists in America (including Chris Tomlin, Kari Jobe, Laura Story and Bethany Dillon). To my amazement that door opened for me to work in his studio, which was one of the very best experiences I’ve ever had. He’s a musical mastermind! I worked really hard on this album, writing and rewriting songs, and working on the songs via Skype from my home studio. Then my husband and I made two trips to record in Nashville. It was a dream come true, and now I’m so excited to share the songs on tour this year, at churches and conferences around Australia.

Bel recording in Nashville.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST LESSON YOU HAVE LEARNED IN THE MAKING OF THIS ALBUM? I have learnt that our fear of failure is a smokescreen that holds us back from the abundant life Jesus promised. When we receive God’s direction to move forward on a project, doors that appeared closed are often not; it’s only when we step out and risk failure that we discover the joy of entering through doors that were open all along! WHICH PLACES WILL YOU BE TOURING TO THIS YEAR? Phil (my husband) and I travel to all sorts of places to do ministry! This year we will play in cities and country towns between Cairns and Melbourne, as well as places out west, and some mining towns. I love to sing at churches and conferences, schools and outreach events, and especially love women’s events. Our prayer is that God will use the songs from this new album to help people connect with Him in all these different places, and bring a message of encouragement. *

Giveaway We have two of Bel’s new album “A New Creation” to give away. TO ENTER EMAIL info@indulgemagazine.com.au and tell us who Bel did a duet with on the title track of A New Creation. Entries close Friday 22nd August 2014 5pm (AEST). Winners will be notified by return email. 30Indulge m a g a z i n e

Bel’s album “A New Creation” is available from iTunes (http:// tinyurl.com/kq8rq52), Koorong or Bel’s online store (www. belthomson.bigcartel.com). To connect with Bel visit www. belthomson.com


Books Reviews by Gina Hamilton

Captive in Iran

Maryam Rostampour & Marziyah Amirizadeh Set in 2009, this autobiography is the account of two women’s endurance within the confines of a strict Muslim culture and gruelling prison system. They were denied the most basic human right – to hold a belief. Arrested for simply sharing their faith with others by distributing New Testament copies of the Bible in their Farsi language, and hosting a home church, their story is both appalling and admirable. Renowned as being a place of fear, torture, and execution, these two women withstood the terror of Evin Prison for nine months. Undeterred, they maximised their time inside to freely share their faith, God’s love, and how they converted to Christianity eleven years earlier. They also share how their everyday evangelism opportunities allowed them to witness to fellow prisoners (and even the guards!) and see God change circumstances for the better. Although Maryam Rostampour and Marziyah Amirizadeh have shared their experiences as being physically discomforting and emotionally challenging, with the threat of execution hanging over them, the women remained faithful to God. They talk through their book with an honesty that emphasises the injustices of a beauracratic Iranian government and spiritually oppressive and prejudiced Muslim religion. Often you could be excused for thinking that the women were actually grateful for this prison experience for giving them the freedom to openly evangelise inside its walls. Their strong, unwavering faith, despite being constantly pressured by their interrogators to renounce their Christian beliefs, is inspiring and enriching for us as believers, to never take the freedom of our faith for granted.

Give Me A Dream Allison Davidson

Allison Davidson takes her readers on a journey from identifying their dreams through to activating them. There have been countless Christian resource books published on dreams, using our spiritual gifting, living to our best potential, and being faith-empowered women of God, and this is another book to add to the pile. Although its content is not ground-breaking, it is consolidating. The author uses many anecdotal examples to contextualise her ideas which makes the reading very personable. Her inclusion of ‘end of chapter’ reflection questions provides an avenue for readers to not only use the book for personal study, but also for a small group study if members are confident in sharing with one another about their talents, gifting, and, ultimately, their dreams. When reading and applying the content of this book you may be mistaken for thinking it somewhat amateurish given the author’s overtly personal and conversational tone. True, Allison Davidson writes in a self-reflective style, but this does not negate the relevance of her topic and the emphasis of her book. Like an old saying goes, “She turned her can’ts into cans and her dreams into plans” and such is the crux of Allison’s book. It is clear that she is very passionate about helping people find and live the dreams that God has for them and, while reading this book, I was pleasantly inspired to undertake a vital step towards fulfilling my own dream. Perhaps through reading this book you will be too!

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No young girl dreams of being a prostitute Article Wendy Francis Photography operationblessing.org.uk

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“SO YOU’RE THE LITTLE WOMAN WHO WROTE the book that made this Great War?” This was Abraham Lincoln’s reported first greeting to the outspoken abolitionist, Harriet Beecher Stowe. The book he referred to was “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”. Harriet Beecher Stowe was born into a prominent family of preachers but her heart ached at the plight of slaves. She was extremely influential, both for her writings and her public stand on slavery, and other social issues of the day. She was convinced by God’s words to his followers to “loose the bonds of injustice… to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke” (Isaiah 58) and to, “Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute. Defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:8-9). Two themes run through God’s Word concerning justice. The first is God’s all-encompassing love, concern, and mercy for all human beings, and the second is our responsibility to show His care to all. Today, slavery is not legal anywhere, but it happens everywhere. We have together mourned the kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian young women, many destined for modern day slavery. Human trafficking is the modern day slave trade. More than 27 million people are currently slaves and it is estimated that 600,000 - 800,000 men, women and children are trafficked across international borders each year. Approximately 80 per cent are women and girls trafficked into the commercial sex industry. I have recently returned from accompanying an Australian delegation to Stockholm, Sweden to investigate the Nordic Model of legislation regarding prostitution. Prostitution exists because inequality exists. Prostitution targets those already marginalised. In a society where everyone is equal, you cannot have a situation where you can buy a person’s body and neither can you sell yourself. It is a violation of human dignity and it devalues all around you as it normalises the sale of human beings. Gender equality is a reflection of the intrinsic value of every human being and the understanding that we are all made in the image of God. A society where full gender equality exists cannot at the same time support the idea that women are commodities that can be bought, sold, and sexually exploited. And what’s more, the demand that prostitution creates is undeniably linked to trafficking. The criminalisation of the purchase of sex was unique when it was first enacted in Sweden in 1999, but since then Norway and Iceland have adopted similar legislation, both in 2009, and France began enacting a similar law in 2013. Other countries investigating this model include Canada, US, NZ, Finland, Belgium, UK, Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands. Legislation does change behaviour. It brings with it a normative influence. Since introducing the ban on purchasing sex, Swedish culture has changed in a similar way to which public opinion has changed regarding smoking. Buying sex is now simply not acceptable. Strip clubs are banned. Hotels are encouraged to buy into a Porn Free scheme. But perhaps the most incredible result is that Sweden now has the fewest trafficked

“The average age of entering prostitution across nine countries including Australia is 14-15 years of age. This is not an adult choice.” women in the European Union with their national criminal investigation department reporting that approximately 400 to 600 women are trafficked into Sweden each year compared with 10,000 to 15,000 trafficked into Finland. This is an issue of human rights. Evidence reveals that the vast majority, 89 per cent, of prostituted women want to leave prostitution if they are given an exit strategy. They suffer post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms equivalent to victims of war. The average age of entering prostitution across nine countries including Australia is 14-15 years of age. This is not an adult choice. A high percentage of prostituted girls do not even get to grow into adulthood. Worldwide, the average age of death for prostituted persons is 34. While Sweden, Norway, Iceland and France move towards defining gender equality in a way that prohibits men buying women, our own country of Australia condones legal brothels bundling women into meal deals on the Sunshine Coast. In this adult form of a happy meal, rather than being an act of love, the act of sex has been reduced to a product and a woman is the wrapping. Australians tend to view prostitution as an unavoidable evil, but see human trafficking as very wrong. However, the two cannot be separated. It is not a human right to purchase or get sex. Prostitution is exploitative. The sex trade is dehumanising. This includes all forms of pornography, which is also closely linked to prostitution and trafficking, yet we are constantly being conditioned to accept pornography in mainstream advertising. All of this begs the question – who are the Harriet Beecher Stowe’s of today? She used her God-given gifts and talents to serve Him to highlight the evils of the slavery of her day. I, who have found freedom in Christ, can do no less. * Wendy Francis has been the Queensland Director of the Australian Christian Lobby since the beginning of 2011. Prior to taking this role she held managerial positions at Griffith University as well as Queensland Baptists. Wendy has long been a strong advocate for the interest and wellbeing of children, having commenced a campaign calling for outdoor advertising to be G rated. She is also a Director and Board Member of Samaritans Purse Australia. She has been married to Peter Francis, Malyon College Director of Field Education, for 34 years. They have 3 married children and 10 grandchildren. wendy.francis@acl.org.au Indulge m a g a z i n e

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Life was never meant to be a struggle...? Article Alison Vickers Photography Natasha Smith

THE ABOVE TITLE IS FROM A BOOK BY STUART WILDE (1987) and it was gifted to me and my husband in about 1997. A family member recognised that we were having a lot of health issues with our children, and monetary problems that were never ending. I didn’t really give the book the attention it deserved; I only read the first few pages. It detailed ways to identify problems and issues in your life and ‘eliminate them’ which is all very well unless

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you have real problems and issues in your life. Being given a book that essentially tells you that because you are struggling you are doing it all wrong, is the last bit of advice you ever want or need. People have struggled with life since the Garden of Eden. Eve was faced with temptation and struggled to know just what it was as she had never been confronted with


it before. She failed, and so did Adam… he didn’t need to follow her example, and God didn’t intervene, giving them free will to choose. Therefore they suffered the consequences and so it began. No one asks to suffer; it’s our conscience, our thoughts, our words, our actions or those of another, that make the struggle begin. How we react starts our path towards our own destruction or towards a positive pathway to resolution. It all depends on the circumstances, our own emotional or mental state, and the people involved. Life wasn’t meant to be a struggle…? It is; from the moment of conception when the egg and sperm meet, there are factors working against them, but by God’s grace, they get together and a new life begins. Development has its own challenges, but if things go smoothly the baby arrives and then the real challenges begin. Life is a roller coaster of milestones and events where a child is expected to perform or advance in timely stages of growth and it can be hard to ‘measure up’ if you have older siblings who are strides ahead in their development, from rolling to sitting, crawling to first steps, and those precious first words. School is a stage in which one can advance, but it also leaves others behind. School in my day (70’s and 80’s) was focused on the children who could; could spell, could write, could count; and those who struggled with these skills were flagged stragglers, holding back the class momentum. There were comparisons made between siblings and students and anyone below par was deemed, or made to feel, stupid, unintelligent, or less than. Thankfully children today are taught in ways suited to their learning styles and achievement levels without being made to feel this way. Then there are relationships. As children we work through the relationship we have with our parents, siblings, and teachers, learning our place in the world. As we grow, we find ourselves dealing with ‘friends’ and as we head into our teens, we encounter ‘boyfriends and girlfriends’. There is a significant personal response when we realise we are attracting attention from the opposite or same sex, and we begin to see others in a different light. These times can be a struggle when things don’t work out the way we would like them to or when we fall out with each other and say things we might later regret. As adults we can also find it difficult to cope when faced with a struggle. There are so many events that take our lives in different directions; marriage, births, divorce and death… all have an impact. The struggle can be immense and affect children too in life-changing ways. These situations are not helped by others who feel after time that you should be ‘over it’ or coping better than you are. It becomes an effort to return to some type of normal, where we know what to expect from our thoughts and feelings, our emotions, our day-to-day life; to have some sort of stability. It is our way of dealing with struggle that makes the fight worthwhile or a losing battle. Depression and other mental illnesses give insight into the fact that life is hard. They don’t make you inferior or less than, just human. It is the

“Faith has a great deal to do with how we cope; faith in God, faith in ourselves, and faith in others.” journey, the struggle that makes or breaks us. For some it is too much and they make a life-ending decision that halts their despair, but this passes the loss on to family and friends, who rarely understand. When we are in such desperation, we forget the good and only see the failings and the light is too far away. It is then we need someone to step up and be the torch to show the way. That is when the strength in family or friendship can take a battering, but if we can be hang in through the worst it is a true gift to be there to see the best. Life was never meant to be a struggle… When it is, we must acknowledge it and learn to ask for help, from family, friends, or a professional source. This is a difficult step, but it doesn’t make us weak or inferior, instead it shows our strength in not allowing struggles to completely overwhelm us. A problem shared is a problem halved, as others can see it from a different point of view and may have solutions we have never considered. God is always there, ready to listen, to hear our heart when our words don’t quite make sense. Although our problems might not dissipate immediately, it doesn’t mean God isn’t listening. Sometimes the answer is ‘wait…’ or, above our understanding; ‘no’. Faith has a great deal to do with how we cope; faith in God, faith in ourselves, and faith in others. Countless times we are disappointed by the faith we put in others who let us down, and it can become a struggle to trust, but that is when we need to put it in God’s hands and know that He has our best interests at heart. The most important thing to remember is that usually none of us purposely puts ourselves in a position to struggle. It is the times when life is painful, mentally exhausting, and physically demanding that we need to come together and be a force to be reckoned with. We are stronger than we believe, and with God on our side we can prevail. I guess my message is that at times life is a struggle! Living in the real world, we deal with real life, real dilemmas, and real hardships and challenges. We can get through it all with the right help, the utmost faith, and the decision to start again if need be. We have but one life, so let us live… * Alison is originally from New Zealand. Five years ago she moved to the Gold Coast with her husband Gerry, her son Dale, and youngest daughter Melody. Alison spent 6 years as a biographer for the Te Omanga Hospice in Lower Hutt, NZ. In her time as a biographer, Alison was privileged to have an extraordinary personal insight into what is actually important in a person’s life; that recalling memories and events counts to someone, no matter how insignificant they might seem at the time. Alison enjoys walking by the sea, and the wild life here in Australia. She also loves writing and photography. Indulge m a g a z i n e

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Known and Loved You are known

Article Candice Schmidt Photography Natasha Smith Henna Artwork Elizabeth Prince

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YOU ARE KNOWN. The Creator of the Universe, God, your heavenly dad, knows you! Psalm 139 is a beautiful revelation of God’s heart toward you. It speaks of how God knew you before you were formed and He knows you now. He knows when you are resting or working. He is intimately acquainted with all of your ways. He knows the words on your tongue before they are spoken. He hedges you before and behind and lays His hand upon you. You cannot leave His presence no matter how far away you run. He knows your thoughts, how you feel, your needs, your fears. He knows you and sees you in a way you do not comprehend. Even in the remotest parts of the earth he says His hand will lead you and his hand will hold you. The psalm continues saying that He formed you in your mother’s womb. You are wonderfully made. His eyes saw your body being formed. You were skillfully woven together. All the days planned for you were written in His book. How precious are His thoughts toward you? How vast is the sum of them? They outnumber the sand. You are never out of His sight. The Dictionary defines “known” as - to have in your mind, to understand: to have a clear and complete idea of (1) to perceive directly, have direct cognition of (2) to have understanding of (3) to recognize the nature of (4) to be acquainted or familiar with (5) to have experience of (6) to have sexual intercourse with. Known is a deeply intimate word. In Luke 12:7, Jesus says that “even the hairs on your head are numbered”. Isaiah 49:16 says God has engraved your name in the palm of His hand. Today I went to the annual White Butterfly Project Reflection Service to remember those little ones gone too soon through miscarriage, stillbirth and abortion. I lost a baby in pregnancy and there is great comfort knowing my little one is known in heaven and in Eternity. I reflected on the significance, that I am known, that my children are known. God knows the real me, better than I know myself. He doesn’t see me through my negative lens but as He created me to be in Christ. He knows my waking, my joys, my tears, my struggles. He knows me, He understands me and He loves me. In fact, He calls me beloved, which means dearly loved. Here is a beautiful prophetic word given by well-know Prophet Graham Cooke called “The Inheritance” revealing God’s love: “The Lord says that there is nothing that you can do that would make Him love you more. There is also nothing you can do that would make Him love you less. He loves you, because that is what He is like, it is His nature to love, and you will always be the beloved. His love is unchanging, and He loves you 100 percent. He won’t love you any better when you become better. He loves you 100 percent right now, and even if you have no plans to become better, He will still love you 100 percent because He loves you, because that’s the way that He is. And even if you don’t want to change, He will love you 100 percent. Even if you have no plans to walk with Him, He will love you 100 percent, because that’s his nature. He loves all the way, all the time. His love is unchanging.

What will change, says the Lord, is your ability to receive my love, and I want to cram some more of that ability inside you. So I challenge you says the Lord; open your heart to me, open your heart to me and you will receive more of my love than you’ve ever experienced before. I dare you says the Lord, come on, open you heart to me, give me your heart, give me whatever your obstacle is, I’ll take it, I’ll remove it out of the way, because I love you as you are right now. I love you 100 percent as you are right this moment. I love you as you are, so be loved. You are the beloved, it is your job says the Lord, to be loved outrageously, it is why I chose you, and it is why I set my love upon you, that you would live as one who is outrageously loved. That you would receive a radical love, so radical it will blow all your paradigms of what you think love is. And know says the Lord, I will love you outrageously all the days of your life, because I don’t know how to be any different, this is who I am, and this is who I will always be, this is the I Am that I promised you, I am He that loves you outrageously. And you may love me back with the love that I give you; you may love Me back outrageously, with the outrageous love that I bestow upon you. And know this says the Lord, you can only love Me as much as you love yourself. So My love comes to set you free from yourself, to set you free from how you see yourself. To set you free from the smallness of your own thinking about yourself, My love comes to set you free from rejection, and from shame, and from low self-esteem, and from despair and from abuse. Because when I look at you says the Lord, I see something that I love, and I see someone that I can love outrageously. And I have so much to bestow upon you, so much to give you, so many places to take you in My heart, but you can’t go there unless you allow Me to love you. And my love for you, will break every barrier, bring every wall crashing down. And know this says the Lord, My love damages fear, My love hates fear, My love will fight fear. It will fight fear in you, it will fight fear around you, and if you have fear this evening says the Lord, then know that you have a treat in store, because My perfect love casts out fear, there is no fear where I am present, because My love casts out fear. Beloved, you are My beloved, and in My love I want you to feel good about yourself.” When you wake up in the morning, begin your day knowing you are known, you are loved, you are celebrated, and you are uniquely created for an irreplaceable role in the great adventure of Life. You are needed and you are purposed for such a time as this, to be loved and to love, both God and others.* Candice desires to see people thrive in every area of life. She has a Degree in Psychology and a Diploma in Counselling. She has been married for 19 years to a Paediatrician and they have lived in several countries but have called the Gold Coast, Australia home for the past five years. They have four children between the ages of 7 and 15. Her passion is to “Live well, laugh often, love much”. She loves to help people live to their full God-given potential: spirit, soul, and body. She is a trained facilitator of ‘Toolbox Parenting’ . Indulge m a g a z i n e

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Body

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Jungle Fever Indulge m a g a z i n e

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Be bold, be brave enough to be your true self. Queen Latifah

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We had fun on our jungle trek! Animal print never goes out of fashion, and you will discover it as you hunt through this winter’s fashions and see it pop up as we head into spring. Be brave and bold this season!

Love Tanya

Clothing and Accessories supplied by: Carmels Designs and Homewares 21 James Street Burleigh Heads 07 55359255 Styling, Hair & Make-up: Tanya Epis Photography: Natasha Smith Model: Linda Robinson

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Entertaining Confessions Article Rebecca McLean Photography Natasha Smith

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I THINK WE ALL HAVE A FRIEND who delights in entertaining. When you are with them, hospitality is delivered with grace and natural ease. I am by no means a natural entertainer... you could have called me a nervous entertainer at one time. I was the hostess who was praying that the guests didn’t open my pantry to see the chaos looming behinds its doors. The one asking myself at the last minute, “Didn’t I serve them Mexican last time?” My natural instinct is to be consumed with executing perfection; an immaculate house, perfect menu selection and perfectly behaved kids (and hubby!). What are the chances?! This mind set is exhausting and can really only lead to isolation and loneliness. A few years ago I stumbled upon these words: “Being a hospitable hostess means loving, giving, and making others feel welcomed... it’s not about stuff or glamour... it’s about fostering authentic relationships”1. Wow! So it’s really not about me, or my house or whatever comes out of my kitchen! Phew! I totally believe that a home is all about authenticity; that it reflects who you are as a person and as a family. The latest trends in furniture and décor are not necessary to create a welcoming and warm environment. Look around the spaces where you like to entertain. Sure, the couch may be looking a little tired, but will your guests sink into it like you do and instantly start to relax? I think most people will agree that you feel more at ease in a ‘lived in’ home, than in the ‘plush and perfect’ home. You know the one where you really can’t relax for a moment and spend the evening on the edge of your seat whispering into your children’s ears “don’t lounge like that there” and “don’t run your hands along the walls!”. Like most things in life, there needs to be a lovely balance. You want your guests to feel at home, but you may not want them congregating in your bedroom or home office. By simply shutting the doors to more private spaces (and briefing the children on these boundaries) you can avoid awkward moments for yourself and your guests. A clean and tidy living room, main bathroom and kitchen, where excessive clutter is removed and a few lovely touches are added, invites your guests to move around these spaces with ease. The Bible is full of verses about hospitality, the breaking of bread and ‘sweet’ fellowship. In fact, the Bible calls us to “practice hospitality”, “to show hospitality to strangers” and (this one definitely applies to me) “be hospitable to one another without complaint”2. So if we are to be obedient to this call and live ‘hospitable lives’, give some consideration to the practicalities of entertaining. For example, it is hard to have ‘sweet fellowship’ when your seating arrangement in your living room focuses on the T.V., instead of conversation. Make sure there is enough seating for your guests. This doesn’t necessarily mean a new, massive modular lounge with chaise, but rather, prior to arrival time, grabbing a few extra chairs from another room and grouping them to foster conversation. I love our kitchen stools and often invite guests to sit, while I’m

either cooking or plating up. I have been at friends’ homes and they have done the same, inviting me to join them in chopping the salad. I loved this! I felt useful, instantly more relaxed and conversation flowed over julienne carrots. A great tip! Next time you make the journey to Ikea or your favourite homewares store, linger in the kitchen section. Make a mental check list and if necessary, think about purchasing a big stack of cheap white plates, bowls, a few platters and extra cutlery. White crockery works on any table setting and makes the simplest of food look great. Bring some colour to the arrangement with a beautiful tablecloth, looking for one that washes easily and doesn’t need too much ironing. A vintage sheet can look lovely or even a plain white sheet with several table runners running across, rather than the length of the table for a fabulous effect! Tea lights flickering in some sweet votives and supermarket flowers, or greenery from the garden, can make a simple dinner feel special. Have an ‘entertaining’ play list ready to go, with a mix of easy tunes or worship music. Don’t rush to do the kitchen clean up, relax and enjoy the moment, and focus on building authentic friendships. Sandy Coughlin writes, “The best way to impress others in your home is through genuine care and authenticitysomething no killer centrepiece will ever do”. Don’t let perfectionism hold you back but plan ahead and keep things simple. Sharing a meal is truly one of the best ways to connect meaningfully, so allow God to work in your home through gracious hospitality! * 1. Coughlin, S. “The Reluctant Entertainer” Bethany House 2010. 2. 1 Peter 4:9 English Standard Version

Rebecca is a wife, mother of three girls, and business owner of Signature Homewares. Her love of home making came into its own after completing an Arts degree and marrying her husband, a structural engineer... design and style runs in the family! Rebecca fine-tuned her style after renovating several homes, drawing inspiration from classic French and English interiors and the relaxed Hampton’s lifestyle. Rebecca has always had an eye for beautiful things, and derives great pleasure from creating warm family spaces that are both stylish and liveable. Signature Homewares was birthed with a desire to source unique and affordable products, with a strong emphasis on personalised service, encouraging women to be confident in their own ‘signature’ style.

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Miss to Ma’am Tips for staying strong and healthy as we age Article: Dr Cris Beer Photography Natasha Smith

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I REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME I WAS CALLED ‘’MA’AM” was in my late twenties. Before this I was always called ‘Miss’. Although I was taken aback for awhile (and initially a little insulted that I must look ‘old’ now), it made me realise that I’m not getting any younger. Being a medical doctor, but also a woman and mum of a little girl, I want to make sure that I not only live a long life, but live as a healthy role model to my little miss. So what are some tips to staying healthy throughout our life and how do we do this in the least complicated way possible? After all, as women, and especially as mums, we are all time poor.

Tip #1 - Breathe Taking a few slow deep breaths has been shown to switch off our sympathetic stress nervous system1. This means that we will have less anxiety, think clearly, prevent health problems associated with stress, and fend off feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. Aim to pause throughout your day at least twice to take some slow deep breaths.

Tip #2 - Boost Your Immunity The last thing you need as a mum is to get sick. To boost your immunity try taking a vitamin C and zinc supplement daily2. Many of us run low on these essentials and find that our immune system suffers as a result. Couple this with a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables and you’re well on your way to having bullet-proof immunity2.

Tip #3 - Move A Little

Not only does being regularly active improve fitness, but it also helps with reducing stress and depression, it strengthens our bones, reduces sugar cravings, and improves sleep3. You don’t have to exercise long or hard to get these benefits. Aim to do 30 minutes most days a week, of a moderate intensity exercise such as brisk walking3.

Tip #4 - Recognise Adrenal Fatigue If you are feeling tired all the time regardless of how much sleep you get then you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue. This happens when we deplete all our energy hormones such as cortisol4. With this can come weight gain, fluid retention, anxiety, poor immunity, sugar cravings, and irritability4. If you are feeling this way consider a full health check.

Tip #5 – Fix the Blues There is nothing more debilitating, in my experience, than depression. The symptoms may be mild such as low mood most days to severe overwhelming sadness5. If you are feeling very low and finding it hard to do your everyday tasks then consider having this looked into further by a healthcare professional. Great help is available these days for depression.

Hopefully with the above tips we can stay healthy and strong throughout our years. As they say, we are only as old as we feel! * 1 Harvard Health Publications 2009. Take a deep breath http://www.health.harvard.edu/ newsletters/Harvard_Mental_Health_Letter/2009/May/Take-a-deep-breath (accessed May 2014) 2 Harvard Health Publications 2014. How to boost your immune system http://www. health.harvard.edu/flu-resource-center/how-to-boost-your-immune-system.htm (accessed May 2014) 3 Better Health Channel 2014. Physical activity – it’s important http://www.betterhealth. vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Physical_activity_its_important?open (accessed May 2014) 4 Adrenal Fatigue Org 2014. What is Adrenal Fatigue? http://www.adrenalfatigue.org/ what-is-adrenal-fatigue (accessed May 2014) 5 Beyond Blue 2014. Depression http://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/depression (accessed May 2014).

Dr Cris MBBS (hons), BBMedSci, ACNEM Primary Course, P.T. As an expert in nutritional medicine she specialises not just in the prevention and treatment of illnesses, but in the attaining of optimum health. She believes that this state is achievable for anyone and passionately shares this message as a media personality. Dr Cris believes a person can develop resistance to illnesses by employing simple strategies. She has compiled these simple strategies from her broad studies in medicine, biomedical science, integrative and nutritional medicine, health coaching, as well as personal fitness training. She holds recognised qualifications in all these areas. For more information visit www.drcris.com.au Indulge m a g a z i n e

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Creating Positive Habits Organising You Article: Shannon Upton Photography: shutterstock.com

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IF I COULD JUST GET ORGANISED I WOULD… what’s completing your sentence? …I would use my time better. …I would really enjoy my home. If I could just get organised, I would spend more time with God. If I could just get organised, I would be a happier person. The problem with this kind of thinking is that “organised” is a place you can’t get to - or if you can, you definitely can’t stay there! The amount of organisation in our lives is fluid, and heavily influenced by the tides of our schedules, families, and personalities. Proverbs 14:1 tells us, “a wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands, the foolish one tears her down.” Sometimes, we all tear down our houses with bad habits, things that keep us from enjoying our blessings and growing closer to the Lord. I call those bad habits, and the negative feelings that result from them, spiritual clutter. As women of God, we can choose to clear out that spiritual clutter with a little prayerful organisation. What bad habits are keeping you from living in the joyful abundance of Christ? Rather than thinking, “If I could just get organised, I could change that”, try thinking, I’m going to get intentional about this. Focus on starting some positive habits! When it comes to good habits, there are two ways that you can choose to be that wise woman and build your house with two hands: through your attitudes and your actions.

AT T I T U DES Stopping a bad habit can be awfully difficult, but starting a good habit can be exciting and affirming. So, instead of trying to stop a bad habit, ask the Holy Spirit to help you start to develop a new positive attitude. A prayerful surrender to the Lord is ever so much more effective than willpower. For example, instead of thinking I have to quit smoking or I have to quit overeating, choose to develop the positive attitude, I want to feel healthy and strong. Post scriptural thoughts where you most need to see them, like “I will honour God with my body” (from I Corinthians 6:20) and “I am worth taking care of; I am worth more than rubies” (from Proverbs 31:10). Write a short prayer to lift up during times of temptation, such as, “Lord, help me to keep my body as a living sacrifice for you, holy and pleasing. Let this be my spiritual act of worship” (from Romans 12:1). No matter what problem you’re facing, the Bible addresses it. And there is such tremendous power in God’s Holy Word when we claim it!

ACT IONS We can also use a little active organisation to kick-start our new good habits. First, get intentional about taking immediate action steps, ridding yourself of things that hinder you and bringing in things that will help. (For the healthy living example, this would be clearing out the cookies, bringing in the fruit and joining a gym.) What are some obvious steps you’ve been avoiding? Choose to build your house with both hands. Then, consider how you can set yourself up for success with cues - visual, auditory, and interpersonal reminders that will help you to take those strides away from a bad habit and into a good one. For example, if you’d like to read God’s Word each morning, set your Bible on your nightstand so it’s the first thing you see when you open your eyes. Every night, I place my glasses inside the front cover of my Bible - the perfect visual cue, because I can’t see without them! If you’d like to get into the habit of having a personal worship time each day, try an auditory cue. Set the alarm on your phone or computer to remind you to put your work aside and bask in the Lord’s presence. Or have a worship CD playing in your car when you start it up for the commute home. For a social cue, ask a friend or family member to pray for you. Then schedule frequent updates for you to share about your successes with your new positive habit. (I would recommend that you report only your positive steps and not consider it a time to confess your failures. We’re trying to clear out your spiritual clutter, not drag it back in!) Give yourself as much positive reinforcement as you can to get those good habits rolling.

Whatever habits you’d like to develop, in action or in attitude, keep them positive and prayerful. Set yourself up with visual, auditory, or interpersonal cues. Write prayers on which you can rely when you struggle. Surround yourself with verses and truths from The Word that will help to keep you on the right path. You can choose to grow strong with God right beside you, and claim your abundant life in Christ! *

Shannon Upton is a Christian speaker and the author of Organizing You: Finding Your Spiritual Clutter and Using Organization to Clear it Out. If you’d like to start some good organisational habits with the support of your friends, Shannon offers a free six-week group Bible study to accompany her book. For more information about her ministry, check out www.OrganizingJesusMoms.com.

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To top it off... Angela Frost

•BAKED SWEET POTATOES WITH PARMESAN CRUMB TOPPING•

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SERVES 6-8 • Prep 1 hour • Cook 25 minutes


Ingredients 4 sweet potatoes olive oil 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1/2 cup grated tasty cheese 1/2 cup fresh chives - finely chopped 50g butter 2 tsp maple syrup 2 tbsp sour cream 4 bacon rashers - chopped finely and cooked till crispy   Topping 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1/4 cup fresh chives - finely chopped   1. Cut potatoes lengthways in half. Place in a large lined roasting tray. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with a little olive oil. Cover tightly with foil.  

2. Cook in a hot oven (200°C) for 45 minutes or until tender. Remove and cool. 3. In a large bowl, scoop out the flesh from the centre of each potato, leaving the shell. Do not tear the skin. Return the shells to the same pan. Mash the potato flesh lightly.   4. Add to the mash:  Parmesan cheese, tasty cheese, fresh chives, butter, maple syrup, sour cream and bacon. Combine well and season with salt and pepper. Divide mixture evenly among potato shells and top with Parmesan topping.   5. To make topping place all ingredients into a small bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil and mix well.   6. Cook potatoes in a hot oven for 20 minutes or until golden.

•RAW BROCCOLI SALAD• SERVES 6 • Prep 25 minutes • Cook 5 minutes

Ingredients 4 slices of bacon - cooked until crispy, and chopped small 1 lge head of broccoli - diced small 1/2 cup dried cranberries 1 small red onion - chopped finely 1/2 cup slithered almonds - toasted Place all above ingredients in a salad bowl and combine well. Add dressing and mix through well. Chill for at least 3 hours before serving.   Dressing 3/4 cup whole egg mayonnaise 1-1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar 1-1/2 tbsp sugar   Place dressing ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

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•SALTED-CARAMEL CHEESECAKE•

SERVES 8 • Prep 30 minutes • Cook 60 minutes

Ingredients 250g plain sweet biscuits 100g butter-melted 250g cream cheese 250g ricotta 250g sour cream 2 tsp vanilla extract 1 cup caster sugar 4 eggs Caramel Sauce 2 cups caster sugar 200mls water 150mls pouring cream Sea salt   Preheat oven to 150°C. 1. Place biscuits into a food processor and pulse until mixture turns to crumbs. Add butter and pulse to combine. Press mixture into the base of a

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20x30cm slice tin lined with baking paper. Cook for 10 minutes, or until crispy. Cool and refrigerate until needed. 2. Place cream cheese, ricotta, sour cream, vanilla, and caster sugar into the food processor and mix for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Pour mixture onto the biscuit base and smooth with a spatula. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until just set. Let cool in tin and refrigerate until set. 3. To make caramel sauce: place sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cook for 6-8 minutes with no stirring until you have a dark caramel. Remove from heat and add cream and butter, stir until smooth. Let cool slightly then pour over cheesecake. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Sprinkle with sea salt.


An Invitation to new life...

Dear Jesus, I believe in you. I believe that you died on the cross for me. Thank you for your love. I confess that I have sinned and I wish to turn away from sin, please forgive me. Please come into my heart and change me from the inside out. Make me a new creation and let me know that I am your child. Help me to live my life for you from this day forward. Amen

If you have prayed this prayer, we would encourage you to find a local church and speak to a pastor. We would also love to hear from you here at Indulge Magazine by emailing us at info@indulgemagazine.com.au

Artwork by Kaye Redman www.kayeredman.com.au

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Indulge Magazine - Grow Strong  

(Jul-Sep 2014) For christian women, empowering them spirit, soul, and body