Hi Julianne. It is lovely to have you here on Pursuits of God. Can you tell readers a little about yourself?
I am a wife (married 24yrs), mother of 4 daughters (18yrs,16yrs,14yrs and 9yrs), midwife at RNSH, Director of Church Partnerships for KCC and Chairwoman for KCC womens ministry. I love going to the gym and spending time with family and friends.
How would you describe your relationship with God?
I had the privilege of growing up in a strong christian family. I don’t remember a time that I did not know Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I remember, as a teenager, at youth camps, being regularly struck and reminded of the immense sacrifice of God, in allowing His one and only Son to die for my sins, and that I can have a rich relationship with God because of Jesus’ sacrifice. It is sometimes hard to grasp, that God bestows on me forgiveness, even though, I am so unworthy. I am very grateful for Gods amazing grace and mercy to me, his protection of me physically, spiritually and psychologically to date, and for being the stronghold in my life despite my circumstances. It is so reassuring to know that the creator of the universe is in complete control of my life, my family’s lives, and the world in which I live. I often am reminded by God from Psalm 46:10 ‘to be still and know that I am God’ when the pressures of life overwhelm me!
What are some ways that you pursue a relationship with God?
I believe that daily personnel devotion (bible reading and prayer) are vital to a healthy, maturing relationship with our Heavenly Father. However, I am acutely aware that this requires me to be disciplined and give God the time he deserves. I love reading each morning, before I get out of bed, John North’s ‘Time with God’ which gets emailed to me every morning at 0600hrs. I love this short devotion as it helps calms the franticness of my mind and reorientates me to rely on God . This short devotion encourages me to live a Christ centred day, rather than a Julianne centred day!! I also, try (not always successfully!) to do another longer devotion at some point in each day. I am currently doing a devotion called ‘She Reads Truth’ which is very helpful , practical and thought provoking. I also pray a fair bit throughout the day. I remember a preacher many years ago, encouraging me to have conversations with God throughout the day. This is helpful in may ways as it takes the focus off myself and reminds me that God is sovereign. It also gives me courage to evangelise to my non-christian friends and colleagues and deepens my relationship with my Heavenly Father. Church attendance each week is a non negotiable priority and my husband and I run a weekly bible study in our home.
How does your relationship with God affect other relationships in your life?
As I read God’s word, I am reminded of Gods amazing love in allowing His only Son to be sacrificed for my sins. I am a bit of a perfectionist and God’s graciousness and patience with me rebukes and challenges me to be less self centred and more gracious to those who disappoint me or don’t live up to my expectations. I admit to being a bit of a perfectionist . As a mother, I am continually reminded to demonstrate grace, to my daughters especially in the ‘boundary pushing’ struggles of the teenage years.
What or who have been key influences in your journey with God so far?
My parents. They continually display grace, impart Godly wisdom into my life, rebuke me and challenge me to be disciplined in my Christian walk. From all my years in church, Simon Manchester, who was my pastor, at St Thomas’ Nth Sydney for 13 years had a great impact on my life as a christian. His faithful, helpful application and well prepared, preaching, refuelled me for the week ahead. His passion for the lost was spurred me on for evangelism.
As a mother, how do you make time for God a priority and reality in your life and why do you think this is important?
As a mother we experience different seasons in mothering. When I had 3 small children under the age of 4 and had a husband who was away from home every second week as an international pilot, I found the Psalms a huge encouragement and strength to ‘keep going ‘. I would often pray the most, whilst breastfeeding in the early hours of the morning. I was involved in a women’s bible study, each week, which was an enormous encouragement to stay strong in the Lord despite quite exhausting and trying circumstances. These days, I often take my IPad with me to hockey training or dance classes, when there is time spent ‘waiting’ for my children, to read my daily devotion. All of the above requires discipline. My natural inclination often is to check emails, Facebook or text a friend rather than being inclined to spend time with God!! I also believe, that making God a priority means making Church each Sunday a priority. My week is often quite distracted by life’s pressures, so it is important that I hear God’s word preached and are reminded of who God is, how I should live as a christian and be encouraged to serve both those within the church community and those in my local community.
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?
This present age is heavily focussed on Ones self. Life is about ‘ME’ . As Christian women we are not immune to the culture we live in. Reading Gods word lifts us from our circumstances and reminds us that we are living here to bring God glory in all areas of our lives. Paul tells us in 2 Cor 3:18 that as we behold the Lord’s glory, we are transformed more and more into His image. If we spend the majority of our time consumed by work, family, personnel aspirations, materialism etc we will are not going to be transformed into the women that God has called us to be. As we spend time reading and meditating on God’s word we observe His character, His attributes, and His will for our lives. Dependence on God in prayer and reading His word, enables us to draw from Him the power essential for a Christlike life.
You are the chairwoman for KCC’s OneLove Conference on 27th August in Sydney. What is really exciting you about this year’s conference?
OneLove is an event for women who are Christian and not yet Christian to be challenged, inspired and encouraged from Gods word.
At this event the speakers will be addressing these 3 questions ….
1) Do I need a change in what captivates me?
2) Do I need a change in what motives me?
3) Do I need a change in what shapes me?
We will be hearing a couple of testimonies about how women’s lives have been Renewed and Transformed by the gospel.
Women will be encouraged ….
• to continue strong in their walk with the Lord,
• find their identity in Christ alone
• Trust that God is sovereign in all areas of their lives and the world we live in
We are fortunate to have Nancy Guthrie and Simon Manchester speaking to us this year on the topic of “Renewed. Transformed.,” from Romans 11-12. What can women expect of OneLove16?
Both Nancy and Simon have a great gift of expounding Gods word well with heartfelt and challenging application. Women will be reminded from Romans 11 and 12 to appreciate
• the wonder of God, His mercy and grace
• that we can present ourselves holy and acceptable to God because of His abundant mercy displayed in Christ’s death
• when we are shaped by the word of God, we will know how to live in the world around us.
As women start to think about registering for OneLove16, what is a key reason they should make sure they come along?
Life changing Bible teaching
Finally, as an woman working in Australian Christian ministry, what do you love about working with Aussie women as they pursue a deeper understanding of a relational and gracious God?
• know that their identity is in Christ and that they are loved by Him unconditionally
• depending on their Heavenly Father often in very sad and trying circumstances
• making changes in their lives that reflect gospel priorities
Join me at OneLove 16 on Saturday August 27th by registering at http://onelovewomen.com/