Break Free

Break Free - Heartlands for Women. By EmpowHer

What’s Holding You Back?

A Journey of Transformation

By EmpowHer State Coordinator, Jenny Baxter

Be inspired to step out of a personal rut and into a brighter future

Do you ever feel stuck in a never-ending loop? Caught in the same old patterns, day after day? You’re not alone. We all battle with our own ruts—whether it’s overeating (hello, chocolate lovers!), overworking (those deadlines can be brutal), or other habits which keep us from living our fullest lives.

But here’s the good news: You don’t have to stay trapped in those patterns forever. Phew!

It’s a struggle that has plagued humanity for centuries. Some call it “sin”—a loaded word, perhaps, but fitting when these habits hinder our growth and well-being.

Even long ago, in the days of Jesus, people grappled with these challenges. Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians (2:1-3), described it vividly:

It wasn’t so long since you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world dictate how to live, filling your lungs with polluted unbelief and exhaling disobedience. We were all in the same boat.

But here’s the twist: God didn’t lose patience with us. Instead, in His immense mercy and love, He embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. Imagine that—the Creator of the universe reaching down to lift us up, setting us in the highest heavens alongside Jesus, our Messiah.

My paraphrase based on The Message Bible

Realizations for Transformation

As you contemplate changing your present to shape a different future, consider these two powerful realizations:

You Are a Unique Work of Art: You’re not just a random collection of cells. You’re a masterpiece, lovingly crafted by an awesome Creator. Your quirks, talents, and flaws—all part of the canvas that makes you uniquely you.

Bury the Past, Embrace the Future: God doesn’t want your past to hold you captive. Whether you’ve fully left behind old ways, still struggle with them, or haven’t yet encountered Christ, there’s hope. Your future isn’t determined by your past.

You’re a masterpiece, lovingly crafted by an awesome Creator.

Break Free . . .

. . . and Change your Future

We all wrestle with cravings—chocolate, caffeine, TV, you name it. But did you know that our desires stem from our thoughts? Change your thinking, and you can change your destiny. Creating change in your life is almost always a mind game. You are the only one who chooses your response to every situation. Paul’s advice in Romans 12:1-2 (MSG) echoes this:

“Take your everyday life—sleeping, eating, working—and offer it to God. Don’t conform mindlessly to culture; fix your attention on God. He’ll transform you from the inside out, developing maturity.”

My paraphrase based on The Message Bible

So, why not? If you break free from those ruts, embrace transformation, and live your fullest life, things will change.

It is the life that you are meant for.

TAKING IT FURTHER If you would like to move ahead in your transformational journey, Jenny is ready to work with you. To express your interest in personal mentoring or coaching, please get in touch: jenny@tasbaptists.org.au


Jenny Baxter

Jenny Baxter lives in Hobart, is married to Stephen, and enjoys walking by the beach, making sourdough cinnamon scrolls, and encouraging women

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Reap the Rewards of Transition

Facing the Future - 2024 here we come, Heartlands news

Facing the Future – WELL!

Transition is never simple – but there is always a silver lining

By Jenny Baxter, State Director, EmpowHer

Oh yes! 2024 has really, truly begun.

Children have returned to school, or perhaps just begun. Uni and TAFE students are on the verge of new semesters. The city traffic around the state is at its max for the year. And here we are, ramping up for another twirly dance around our glorious sun.

What does your year look like? Is it a case of the “Same Ol’, Same Ol’”? Or, are you switching to something else? Perhaps you really want to switch, and it isn’t happening because you are stuck in the Same Ol’!

If you are anything like me, you may feel as though your year has begun without any sort of familiarity. We have put our house on the market – but have no idea if or when we will move. I have finished my job – but have not yet begun the next thing. Our daughter and family came to visit a few weeks back – but until recently we had no idea how long they would be staying.

So, we have a full-on mix of excitement, noise, house inspections, constant meal prep, and lots and lots of cuddles! Crazy? Yes. Lovely? Also, yes! Transitioning? Absolutely.

Recover your life

I always feel better when I remember I am not at my best when in transition. It can be so unsettling.  Transition throws me sideways in unexpected ways. The “new normal” is not yet apparent. It takes work to remember that until I find an even keel, I need to be kind to myself, and cut myself some slack. Yes, things will level up again.

Over the years I have discovered there is gold within the tricky trials of transition. This liminal moment is an amazing opportunity to grow. I am beyond the usual flow of life. Situations come where it is essential to think outside the box. Unexpected and unprecedented problems beg to be solved. Learning curves are often steep, steep, steep.

There is gold to be found in the tricky trials of transition

Do you recognise the pattern? This is the growing and maturing process, common to every person on the planet. Whether learning to walk, to relate to others, or to solve complex problems, what I learn today will help me in my tomorrows.

This is Jesus’ encouragement to me (and to you too), as he says, “Take heart, dear one! I promise to be with you in your ups and downs. Keep company with me to live freely and lightly.”

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)

Managing transition

Here are some ideas to face your future, and thrive, through transition . . .

  • Get enough rest. Sleeping well helps you stay sharp. Here are a few strategies to help regularly get those 8-hours:
    Breathe. I know – so simple, who would have thought? Long, slow, deep breathing does wonders. Try this: Get yourself comfortable, then . . . Breathe in through your nose for a count of five. Hold for five. Breathe out through your mouth for eight. Repeat five times. That’s it! You will soon be out to it.
    Listen. Sometimes your mind is so active you need a bit more help. There are many sleep podcasts on Spotify and Youtube. Search around. Find some earbuds and find a favourite.
  • Keep up your exercise regimen. Exercise is more important than ever to get through these unpredictable days. There are many free apps to help you with daily exercise discipline. From gentle to vigorous, see what works for you.
  • Prayer and Bible study. These daily disciplines can be short, but incredibly valuable to keep priorities in the right place. There are free study plans on the YouVersion Bible App, and Lectio 365 has encouraging daily reflections and prayers. There are many others.
  • Ask for help. While this can be really hard, there is no shame in off-loading to a safe and trusted friend, family member, mentor or coach. Work with others to share the load, the kids, the laundry, and the nightmare! I know a do-it-by-myself girl, who was too proud to “suck it up” and ask for support. She toughed out incredibly difficult circumstances on her own. Sadly, she reaped consequences decades later, finding herself alone and physically broken. Learn from her mistakes.

Look for the GOLD

You know what they say: “Short term pain. Long term gain.” This is the essence of transtion. In reality, facing the future like this is a gift. Even if it is uncomfortable, good things will come. So stick at it, look for the gold, and know that one day not only will the “new normal” be the “Same Ol'” – you will have grown and matured as well!


Jenny Baxter

Jenny Baxter is the State Director for EmpowHer, Tasmanian Baptists’ women’s ministry arm. During Covid she experienced burnout, and learnt that stopping for a bit to take a breather is probably a good idea. Jenny and her husband Stephen live in Hobart, and enjoy a walk on the beach together most days.

Need help? Contact Jenny to find a good mentor to talk through your transition: jb@jennybaxter.com.au


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2024 Here we Come

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February 2024

God Whispers

God Whispers

Waiting for that still, quiet voice

It’s so easy to think up your own answer to a problem.

Too many people and not enough food! How many times have you been in that situation? I have to admit, I’ve been caught with that a few times. Very small servings of apple crumble, and thinned-down pumpkin soup have featured on my table, much to my horror.

Have you noticed how we usually try to solve problems using our own nicely thought up solutions? That’s what the disciples did in this story when Jesus gave them an out-of-the-box response . . .

By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. Send the people away so they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” But he answered, “You give them something to eat.” 

Mark 6:35-36 (NIV)

When faced with catering for 5,000, these clever men suggested the crowds go find their own food. They were providing the obvious and rational solution to quite a problem.

It was an immediate response – they didn’t stop to consider Jesus may have a far more creative solution. I have to admit, very small servings of apple crumble was my best solution one wintry evening.

Just like the disciples, when I faced a problem, I automatically turned my mind to solving it. However, sometimes there is a way ahead which I did not expect nor plan. It is at those points of dire need, when things seem to have fallen apart, that miracles happen.

The BEST Plan?

It’s so easy to think up your own answer to a problem, and to look at it from a human perspective. To gather information and to analyse the best course of action – the most sensible path. Yep. Small serves!

To the disciples, they suggested what seemed to be the best plan. But did they come to the Master with the problem? No. It took Andrew, another of the disciples, to offer a different course of action.

… Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” John 6:7-9 (NIV)

The unexpected extra in this scenario was one young boy with some dinner!

What a thoughtful and aware mother he had. There’s no mention of her in the story, but I bet she never even dreamt that the food she sent with her son was to be used for a miracle. Just as well she let her son go off to listen to Jesus that day – with food.

I wonder what my unexpected extra might have been if I had thought to come to Jesus with my apple crumble problem?

HOPE is always an option

Learnings for us

– Sometimes our nicely thought-out solutions leave little room for God to work.

– Creative answers will mostly come from unexpected sources. Perhaps it is wise to listen for God’s whisper before acting.

– Miracles always arrive when there is hardly any hope left. While we often ask for miracles, actually, requiring a miracle is a terrible position to be in!

– God’s capacity far, far exceeds our capacity.

– Mothers (and women in general) are often good at thinking ahead. Maybe I could have thought ahead a bit more with those apples.

– HOPE is always an option when Jesus is in the equation.

So, if you are facing a difficult problem – from scheduling issues and lack of resources; to financial hang-ups and not enough dessert – the best idea is to pray and wait for God’s still, small voice (see 1 Kings 19:12).

Rushing around and stressing about the outcome is usually a waste of time.

I wonder what would happen if you listened first, and then acted, whenever there was a difficulty? What would it mean for your family, your workplace and your friendships? Not to mention your meals?

If you listen to God’s whispers, perhaps you will find an unexpected solution, outside-the-box.


Jenny Baxter

Jenny Baxter is the State Director for EmpowHer*, and the Communications Manager for Tasmanian Baptists. She is married to Stephen, and they have five kids and six grandkids, spread from Hobart to Melbourne to Madrid!   

Read more about EMPOWHER


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Australian Baptist Women Ends

Australian Baptist Women ends
Heartlands News

Tasmanian State Leader Jenny Baxter explains why Australian Baptist Women began, and how things have changed.

In the early days in Tasmania, there were some heroic women who led the ministry in during the depression when cars were still few, telephones a luxury item, and most communication was done by mail!

Setting the scene

Australian Baptist Women (ABW) has been an entity since the 1930s. When the national body began, it aimed to provide opportunities for Baptist women to gather and connect. ABW was formed separately to the infant Australian Baptist Ministries, which began a few years earlier in 1926.

Nationally, ABW State leaders were appointed. This handful of women oversaw the ministry in each state and territory, gathering annually until 2020. Around that time, independent of one another, the states/territories gradually ceased those positions, with the exception of Northern Territory, Queensland and Tasmania.

20th-Century ministry?

No thanks!

After over a decade with no Tasmanian leader, I was appointed in 2017. By then, many Tasmanian Baptist women’s ministries had wound down. I soon discovered there was little appetite for returning to 20th Century-style women’s ministry.

Nationally, things were moving. Covid disrupted plans for the ABW national meeting in 2021, and then came a series of online discussions, think-tanks and brainstorms. But nothing seemed to fly. The question was: How do we continue to support Baptist women, when state Unions are less inclined to appoint ABW state leaders?

THE QUESTION: How do we continue to support Baptist women, when state Unions are less inclined to appoint ABW state leaders?

Moving onto 2023

Mark Wilson

In May this year, the National Council Taskforce gathered in Sydney. There was intense and robust discussion about women and women’s ministry. However, good decisions were made.

Soon afterwards, National Ministries Director Mark Wison, made an official announcement.

As a result of this announcement, ABW officially ceased to exist:

The clear decision of National Council is that ABW, as a delegated body, is not the desired way forward for the State Leaders and National Council Taskforce. This decision is due to a number of factors including lack of agreement on purpose/scope, lack of buy-in from state associations [unions], changing understandings of needs and the inconsistency with how other delegated bodies operate. National Council has a desire to bring this group to an end well and recognises there might be different responses from current ABW group members. Some may feel disappointed or hurt, others relieved or even excited about the change.

Mark Wilson continued …

I want to affirm that this in no way says National Council is not committed to developing and supporting women leaders . . . National Council is creating a new delegated body, specifically focused on Women in Leadership. This is a new group and will involve representatives appointed by each state association [union].

What does this mean for us?

In God’s goodness, we Tasmanians were ahead of the curve!

Since 2021 a statewide team consisting of Wendy Marston (Newstead), Jenna Blackwell (City, Launceston), Gabe Fife (Ulverstone), and myself (Hobart) have met, mostly on Zoom (and very rarely in-person!)

EmpowHer became our new name.

EmpowHer Team Sept 2021
The EmpowHer Team: Jenna, Jenny, Wendy, Gabe (Sept 2021)

EmpowHer Vision:

A network of women growing and encouraging each other in their God-given potential.

EmpowHer Mission:

Providing community, training, and support for Tasmanian women to empower them to move into leadership, and to take their God-given place within the Baptist churches of Tasmania.

I look forward to this new era as we further develop EmpowHer.
Here is what’s happening next …

Day of Courage

The Day of Courage in November will be the first statewide event in this new paradigm. We are looking forward to hosting as many women as possible at Riverlnds (Longford). All women are welcome!

Women’s National Taskforce

I will also work with the National Taskforce to help develop the newly delegated body, focussing on women in leadership.

The team and I value your prayers as we lead and encourage women around Tasmania.

Jenny Baxter

Jenny Baxter
State Director, EmpowHer
jenny@tasbaptists.org.au

HEARTLANDS News Winter 2022

HEARTLANDS is the quarterly email for EmpowHer – a network of Tasmanian women growing and encouraging each other in their God-given potential.

Table of Contents

    Diary Dates

    Check the details on these events by scrolling down.
    Have you subscribed to Heartlands to find out about events in your region?

    • Fri/Sat 24/25 June SOUTH Shelter Retreat – read the overview!
    • Sunday 31st July NORTH Cosy Cuppa, Chat & Craft at Westbury Baptist
    • Saturday 17th September NORTHWEST Coffee and Walk, Latrobe
    • Late Oct/Early Nov World Women’s Day Of Prayer – events across the state

    OVERVIEW: SHELTER Retreat

    Southern Event

    FRI/SAT 24-25 June 2022, Blackmans Bay

    How the Shelter retreat weekend unfolded

    OUR THEME: SHELTER

    Shelter Retreat, Heartlands Autumn 2022

    Everyone needs it. God provides it. We sleep, eat and live in it.

    But how do you live in the SHELTER of the Most High God?

    “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”

    Psalm 91:1

    Overview of the SHELTER Retreat

    Denise Stephenson and Jenny Baxter
    Denise and Jenny
    • The retreat was led by Denise Stephenson (LifeWay) and Jenny Baxter (Hobart)
    • A rejuvenating literal Sabbath, from sundown Friday until sundown Saturday
    • Delicious home-cooked meals, in an intimate setting
    • Great connection with old and new friends
    • Amazing harp music – live and in-person!
    • Times of input, plus silence and reflection
    • Creative activities to keep minds focussed, and hands busy
    • A trip to the beach to explore and reflect
    • Private counselling and prayer opportunities
    • A real sense of God’s SHELTER in this busy world

    Denise and Jenny are available to run similar women’s retreats in other parts of Tasmania.

    To express interest please contact Jenny at empowher@tasbaptists.org.au

    What’s Coming Up?

    Pig Island Walk, Latrobe

    Northwestern Event

    10:30am Saturday 17th September
    Pig Island Walk with EmpowHer, Sept 2022

    Invite Others! Download Brochure

    Join a friendly leisurely walk at Pig Island Latrobe on the Mersey River.

    Continue with coffee at at Monclair of Latrobe and Madame M Cafe.

    All women welcome!

    RSVP or MORE INFO:

    Gabrielle – 0421 434 138

    International Women’s Day of Prayer

    Late October/Early November 2022

    This year there will be Day of Prayer events held in the north, northwest and south of Tasmnia as we pray toether and raise funds for Baptist women working on some amazing projects in developing countries.

    Subscribe to HEARTLANDS to find out details of these events as they come to hand!


    Cosy Cuppa, Chat & Craft

    Northern Event – NOW OVER!

    2:30PM, SUNday 31st JULY 2022

    Invite Others! Download brochure

    Come along for a cuppa and craft at Westbury Baptist for a relaxed afternoon together.

    We will be joined by special guests Maria Hutchison (Newstead) and Lacey Holloway (Westbury).

    RSVP or MORE INFO:

    Jenna – 0488 330 390; Belinda – 0408 267 188 | Or via our Facebook group: EmpowHer (North)


    Action for You

    Invite someone along

    Have you noticed that not everyone is back yet?

    Winter walk at the beach
    We all need each other!

    Post-Covid hesitancy is a thing. Maybe it’s because people are reluctant to move out of their houses and safe spaces. Or maybe we got used to managing on our own.

    Whatever the reason, it’s true to say we all need each other. Being part of a community is critical to good mental and emotional health.

    Whether or not you are wary about getting back into circulation, why not ask a friend to come with you? That could be as simple as going for a walk together on the beach, grabbing a coffee at a local café, or heading off to the gym or church together.

    Or maybe you could invite someone to one of the EmpowHer events lined up in your region.

    It’s a good time to be the blessing!


    God’s Whisper

    It’s so easy to think up your own answer to a problem. Instead, remember to listen for God’s still, quiet voice.

    By Jenny Baxter

    Too many people and not enough food!
    How many times have you been caught in that situation? I have to admit, I’ve been there a few times. Tiny servings of apple crumble, and thinned-down pumpkin soup have featured on my table, much to my horror.

    Read More >


    To find out about EmpowHer events and activities for women in Tasmania, please subscribe to HEARTLANDS!

    EmpowHer

    HEARTLANDS News Autumn 2022

    HEARTLANDS is the quarterly email for EmpowHer – a network of Tasmanian women growing and encouraging each other in their God-given potential.

    Table of Contents

      Diary Dates

      Watch out for more info coming from your region, directly to you.

      • Saturday 21st May NORTH Basin Café and Gorge Walk.
      • Saturday 24-25th June SOUTH Day-Retreat: “Shelter”
      • Late Oct/Early Nov World Women’s Day Of Prayer – events across the state

      What’s Happening?

      Basin Café and Gorge Walk

      9:30am, Saturday 21st May 2022
      EmpowHer Walk May 2022, Heartlands Autumn 2022

      Invite Others! Download brochure

      Join us for a cuppa at Basin Cafe (RSVP required)

      A walk through the Gorge to Duck Reach will follow (weather permitting)

      RSVP ESSENTIAL


      SHELTER Retreat

      5pm to 5pm, FRI/SAT 24-25 June 2022, Blackmans Bay

      SHELTER

      Everyone needs it. God provides it. We sleep, eat and live in it.

      But how do you live in the SHELTER of the Most High God?

      Shelter Retreat, Heartlands Autumn 2022

      “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
      will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”

      Psalm 91:1
      • Led by Denise Stephenson (LifeWay) and Jenny Baxter (Hobart)
      • $45/person Covers food and materials. (This is a non-residential retreat.) Contact us if you have hesitations about cost. There are other ways you can contribute. Contact us if you have any hesitations about cost. There are other ways you can contribute.
      • Get your Rego Form Call or SMS Jenny 0401 652 566
      • Invite Others! Download brochure

      Action for You

      Praying with intention

      Do you often pray like this?

      Praying with Intention; Heartlands Autumn 2022
      • God bless Mary
      • Lord, please look after my son
      • Jesus, can you please stop all wars
      • Father, give me a good life

      These are all good prayers, and quite legitimate, but they are so general! They are all “motherhood prayers” – prayers so broad it is impossible to know if God truly answers them.

      Instead, pray with intention. Fill those prayers with meaning and talk to God about what worries you. And, when prompted, follow up your prayer with action. Relationship is critical to answered prayer.

      How different are these prayers to those above?

      • God, how can I bless Mary today?
      • Lord, give me wisdom as I call my son, so I can encourage him.
      • Jesus, I pray about the war in Ukraine. Is there something I can do to assist?
      • Father, help me to love and care for others around me, even if my life is not so good.

      It’s a time to be the blessing!


      Undervalued or Super Loved?

      Undervalued or super loved, Heartlands Autumn 2022

      Women’s ministry at Beauty Point

      By Rachelle Hawkins

      Since the The Point* Baptist’s inception in 2006, we have endeavoured to hold many outreach events to reach our town of Beauty Point.

      The message is always about who Jesus is, and why it’s important. These events include men’s dinners, women’s dessert nights, concerts, kids’ clubs, and an annual visit by Texan missionaries who do all the above, and more.

      We, as a church, long to share the hope Jesus offers.

      Read More >


      The Science of Seeing God

      ANNETTE SPURR, Heartlands Autumn 2022

      Gratitude and thankfulness for the World, the Universe, and Everything!

      By A.J. Spurr

      Recently, I interviewed a young man who had been struggling with addiction since the age of 12. He had completed a program at a Christian rehab centre, and while he was there, he encountered Jesus.

      “The first thing I noticed,” he said, “was that I could feel the breeze on my skin. I’d never experienced it before, even though it had been happening the whole time. I was finally able to feel it.”

      So, what had changed?

      Read More >


      To find out about EmpowHer events and activities for women in Tasmania, please subscribe to HEARTLANDS!

      EmpowHer

      Praying for Alice

      Alice's Wedding Welcome Table

      A Lifetime of Prayer

      Heartlands News
      Jenny Baxter

      By Jenny Baxter, Tasmanian Director, EmpowHer

      What do you do when the answers don’t seem to be coming?

      While my life flashed before my eyes, I sat in the Spanish winter sunshine, nervously waiting for the bride, our Alice, to be given away.

      Well, it wasn’t my life exactly. It was pieces of Alice’s life I’d kept close in my heart. Moments I had participated in, helped with, and cried over. 

      The memories flickered through my mind like precious flowers, once fresh but now pressed, faded and time-worn.

      FLASH: Her traumatic assisted delivery, after an almost-C-section.

      FLASH: The trip to Canada before she could even crawl.

      FLASH: Sitting in piano lessons, piano lessons, piano lessons.

      FLASH: Tears over a nasty gravel graze, her first week on a bike.

      FLASH: Her first grown-up hairdo, Grade Six graduation night.

      FLASH: Torn, watching her lag at the back of a pack of high-schoolgirls, convinced she was born to lead.

      FLASH: Goodbyes on the bus, leaving home for Victoria, little knowing she was really on her way to France, via Sydney and Japan!

      The memories flickered through my mind like precious flowers, once fresh but now pressed, faded and time-worn. Compressed into short minutes.

      And the prayers. Especially, I remembered the prayers. So many for this very moment. This day, when she would promise: To have and to hold from this day forward.

      Praying for Alice – and the switch

      Prayer is a commitment I made to my children as each was born. I pray for them all, regularly.

      As well, I committed to pray for each one’s life-partner as both halves were forming and founding, maturing and mellowing, living and learning. What better time to sow into their lives until the two became one? Granted, I didn’t know who those partners would be. But God did.

      For well over three decades, I prayed for Alice, and her as-yet unknown husband. Where was he? What had happened to him? My hope wore out.

      Only a year ago, Alice had given up. But during one Zoom call, from somewhere deep down, I found the words to encourage her to keep believing he would materialise. Tearily, she’d agreed. But only when remembering the letter her close-to-death grandfather had written 13 years ago, for opening on this very day.

      It’s hard to believe it was only 10 months since I’d switched up my praying. Inspired by the story of Isaac and Rebekah in Genesis 24,  I stopped asking for a husband. Instead, I audaciously asked for Alice to be the answer to someone else’s prayer.

      The most unexpected answer

      And here he was. My soon to be son-in-law, AJ. Arthur Jnr. Standing with the minister, patiently waiting for Alice. He was everything I had hoped for, and nothing like I expected.

      I didn’t know he would be Nigerian-American. Or that he would live in Spain. Or that Alice would move to France, and now Spain, to join him for their new future. How little I knew!

      But those qualities. They were everything I had prayed for. Faithful. Caring. Believing. Strong. Determined. Loving. Kind.  

      Her moment had come. That prayer from her birth, now answered before my very eyes. God’s magnificent answer.

      And then came Alice on her Dad’s arm! Jessica’s Theme melodically bringing an undeniably Aussie flavour, and tears to my eyes. She was ready. In love. Looking gorgeous and dewy-eyed. Having waited all those years.

      Alice and her dad, walking the aisle to "Jessica's Theme" from Man from Snowy River. Photo Credit: Jonas Mantay

      Here was the culmination of a lifetime of prayer. Pinching myself this was all real, I was so aware it was a moment I will savour forever, that morning in the wintry Spanish sunshine. It was an ending and a beginning. The old and the new. The faded and the fresh.

      My prayers for Alice and her future husband, are now complete. Thank you God!

      But, you know, there is more to come. From here on, I pray for Alice and her newfound family.


      Alice and AJ

      Alice’s life in pictures

      • Alice at 2
      • Alice at 4
      • Alice at 10
      • Alice at 12
      • Alice at 14
      • Alice at 17
      • Alice at 24
      • Alice at 29
      • Alice at 32
      • Nigerian betrothal. Photo credit Jonas Mantay
      • Mr and Mrs - celebrate.  Photos Credit: Jonas Mantay

      Heartlands News

      This story was first published in HEARTLANDS Summer 21-22.
      This is the quarterly e-mail news for EmpowHer, an activity of Tasmanian Baptist Women.

      To find out about EmpowHer events and activities for women in Tasmania, please subscribe to Heartlands!

      EmpowHer

      HEARTLANDS News Summer 2022

      HEARTLANDS is the quarterly email for EmpowHer – a network of women growing and encouraging each other in their God-given potential.

      Table of Contents

        Diary Dates

        There’s a few things coming up in the EmpowHer Calendar!
        Watch out for more info coming from your region.

        • Sunday 27th February Northern Walk at Tamar Island. SEE BROCHURE for details >
        • Monday 4th April Release week for HEARTLANDS Autumn
        • Saturday 9th April Proposed Southern Day-Retreat: “Shelter”
        • Saturday 21st May Northern event. Stay posted for details!

        Recent EmpowHer Events

        Ladies Event at Ulverstone Baptist

        Tuesday 30th November 2021

        Ladies evening with Amanda Cox 30Nov21, heartlands-news-summer-2022

        The evening went off! Attending on the night were 93 women to hear speaker, Amanda Cox, talk about belief systems.

        Many of the women at Ulverstone Baptist invited their friends and family members. The talk was both inspiring and challenging, and the delicious supper afterwards was a great time to share some treats and good conversation with friends.

        Congratulations to Gabe Fife and her team for pulling off a wonderful pre-Christmas event.


        Action for You

        Thinking outside your box

        heartlands-news-summer-2022

        It’s both an interesting and challenging time in Tasmania. COVID has caught up with us! No matter where you are in the pandemic journey, it’s always good to connect with others to encourage, and intentionally create a safe space to engage.

        So . . . who can you catch up with, one-on-one? Who do you know who might need someone to talk to? You could go out for coffee. Meet at the park. Call someone up. Or, make an effort to connect more deeply after church.

        These can become moments of connection, support and encouragement for both you and your friend or family member. Maybe you could even offer to pray for them, or ask them to pray for you?

        There are many ways you can interact to make sure others are cared for during this time.

        It’s a time to be the blessing!


        Praying for Alice

        Jenny Baxter

        By Jenny Baxter, Tasmanian Director, EmpowHer

        Praying for Alice became my lifetime passion

        While my life flashed before my eyes, I sat in the Spanish winter sunshine, nervously waiting for the bride, our Alice, to be given away.

        Well, it wasn’t my life exactly. It was pieces of Alice’s life I’d kept close in my heart. Moments I had participated in, helped with, and cried over. 

        The memories flickered through my mind like precious flowers, once fresh but now pressed, faded and time-worn.

        Read More >


        To find out about EmpowHer events and activities for women in Tasmania, please subscribe to HEARTLANDS!

        EmpowHer

        FAITH WALK: Through the Puddles

        Finding a Way Through COVID-19

        By Jenny Baxter

        This year, 2020, has held surprises for all of us.

        I was a little ahead of the curve, slowing down to a stop back in January, when I suddenly burnt out. Even now in October, I am recovering from decades of overwork, and “pushing through” habits. It’s caused me to stop and reflect on so many memories growing up. I’ve begun to understand what makes me tick, and be grateful for the many coping strategies I am now either putting to rest, or affirming.

        Just this week, I’ve remembered something my Dad taught my sisters and me.

        On our occasional weekends away, we’d sometimes hike along wet and muddy bush tracks, and Dad would explain how to navigate the puddles we came across every so often.

        “Usually, the best way to tackle a puddle is right through the middle,” he’d say. “People generally don’t tread there, and the bottom is not as soft as the mud around the edges.”

        “Usually, the best way to tackle a puddle is right through the middle”

        I remember trying it, disbelieving him. And to my surprise, more often than not, the ground was firm. Rocky even.

        As I reflected on his practical wisdom this week, I’ve realised Dad’s words are such an allegory for the Christian life. Because so often we choose to avoid the “muddy puddles” of life, and instead, walk gingerly in the treacherous mud alongside them.

        And likewise, it is so easy to choose the path that everyone else takes during this unusual year, instead of the one Jesus wants you to take – through the water. I remembered I can confidently take a step of faith into the murky water, and discover there is rock there, just beneath the surface. Jesus’ strength supports me in the middle of the mess. He is used to mess. He knows I need his loving embrace.

        All he does is ask me to come to him. To take a step into the great unknown. It’s very different to what others do!

        And now I live, trusting he has me safely in his care, even during this pandemic year.

        Faith and Confidence

        It’s like the writer to the Hebrews noted that faith is about being confident in what we DON’T see.

        So, my encouragement to you today is to follow me and take the leap of faith! Step into your muddy puddle! It’s still messy. But as you step, Jesus will hold you up. And it’s so much better than falling in a heap in your own slippery wisdom and failings.

        Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

        Hebrews 11:1

        Jenny Baxter

        Jenny Baxter is the State Director for Tasmanian Baptist Women. She has five grown up kids (three of them in Melbourne!) and attends Hobart Baptist Church with her husband, Stephen. She walks on the beach most days, and is learning to take it slowly. At last.