1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m have six amazing little (and not-so- little-anymore) people aged 2-13 and have been married for 14 years (I got married at 19!). I’ve lived in Brisbane, and have been a passionate creative, my entire life – we have old-school video of me singing into a microphone as a 2 year old! Growing up my mum loved Jesus and I asked him into my heart at a very young age – but it was when I was 16 that I really committed my life to him. My husband and I have run music and youth ministry, I’ve done lots of creative work both within the church and outside – working as a web designer, graphic designer, social media manager. I love what I do now, and I’m so grateful that I get to do it and support my family at the same time!
2. How would you describe your relationship with God?
Evolving! I spent my late teens and most of my twenties a very conservative church that was fiercely black and white about pretty much everything. Since leaving there I feel like I’ve been on a bit of a journey of unravelling, and a deepening awareness of God’s incredible love for me. I’ve really loved reading things like Sarah Bessey’s “Out of Sorts” that helped me lean into the process that God was working in me, and trust that I couldn’t out-question Him, and to accept the messiness of the journey I was on.
3. What are some ways that you pursue a relationship with God?
Music is my love language, music seems to make the words go deeper into my heart, with the added bonus that songs stuck in your head are a great way to meditate on truth. Art to music is also awesome, and I’m a huge reader. Right now I’m loving anything by Sarah Bessey, Jen Hatmaker or Brene Brown (yes, I see God stuff in her writing).
4. You are a hand-lettering artist and owner of thegraceplace.com.au, where you sell your Bible-inspired designs in different forms, can you tell us what got you started in this creative pursuit?
It was inspired by the women in my life who have spoken powerful words of life over me. My mum passed away in 2013, and in mid 2014 as I was reflecting on her life and the impact her death had had on me I realized just how significant it was to have someone who always believed in you, and told you so. I’ve also been blessed with a number of other women in my life who’ve spoken incredibly powerful words into my life in particularly dark times, and I wanted to be able to spread that around a little – encourage others to do the same for the people in their world, give them the opportunity to buy gifts that were beautiful and meaningful.
5. This year on the blog, we have looked at how we serve a creative God. How do you see this characteristic of God in your life?
Everywhere! I have six incredibly different children who are a constant reminder to me of God’s incredible creativity. I think I was blessed to have a mum who encouraged creativity in me from a young age. I come from a family of incredible creatives, particularly on my mum’s side, so it’s always been a big part of my life. I danced from when I was five, played the violin from when I was 7, and as I’ve grown older I’ve come to realise that my creativity really is a big part of how God made me, and that it’s important for me to nurture those parts of my life.
6. Can you tell us a little about how you foster creativity in your own life?
I think inspiration is everywhere, so I try and keep my eyes open for it wherever I go. I take lots of photos of things that inspire and encourage me, and often go back and look through my phone. I give myself permission to take risks – I’m not naturally a risk-taker, but when it comes to creativity, being stretched, experimenting and taking risks so often result in wonderful things. I also try and make sure I carve out space to feed my soul, whether that’s just lying down and listening to music, or painting, or trying out some new technique, or even just wandering around the shops and seeing colour and pattern and different ways of putting things together. So often as mums we put ourselves last – I still do it in other areas of my life – but when it comes to nurturing creativity I know that I’m a better mum when I’m making space for that, and I think it sends positive message to our kids too when we value the gifts that God has given us and make time and space to nurture those.
7. You are a wife and a busy mum of 6 children (wow!) how do you juggle the variety of needs this brings with your relationship with God, your business and your artistic endeavours?
I’m pretty intentional about working out what really is my responsibility, and what isn’t, and dropping the stuff that isn’t. I think so often as women we take on way too much of other people’s stuff. I don’t make school lunches (except for helping my six year old), I don’t manage school uniforms, I don’t feel guilty about my husband ironing his own clothes, I say yes when people offer to help (if they didn’t really mean it they won’t offer again). Then I try and be kind to myself when I totally fail and get it all wrong – which is inevitable! I also have some amazing women around me who I turn to when I need reassuring that I’m doing ok.
8. What advice would you give to women, in allowing God's Word and his Spirit to shape and define their purpose and focus for life?
There have been times where I’ve been so stressed that somehow I’m missing what God is trying to tell me… that if only I listened harder, or read more, then I would get it… but I find that over and over again He reminds me that He’s bigger than that, and that He really is working even when I don’t realise He is. We need to stop comparing the way that God works in our lives with the way others talk about how He works in theirs and trust that He’s knows us intimately enough to walk with us and work in us in just the way that works best for us.
9. Can you share with us your favourite Bible passage and/or character and how this has influenced your life?
I love Jael, in Judges 4. And I love her because she was fierce, and willing to stand up and do what God had said regardless of what the other people (particularly the men!) around her were doing. I want to be like that, but without anything to do with a tent peg!
To find out more about Liss, her lettering and her online courses, go to https://liss.com.au/