Neil and I met at Youth Group at the Church of Christ in Wollongong, I was 15 years old and Neil, 17. He was one of the young leaders and within a year we were ‘girlfriend and boyfriend’, which meant that when the youth group went on outings we sat together and held hands. When Neil got his driver’s license he began to take me home after youth group - along with the two or three friends who came with me.
However, it wasn’t long before we had decided that we were in love and wanted to spend our lives together. We were married in July of 1967 and over the following four years had our two children. I had never wanted any more for my life than to be happily married, with a family, and supporting my husband in his work life and his Christian service. Neil was quite ambitious and was studying to be an engineer. He was a natural leader at church and soon moved into a position on the church board. I was the happy homemaker and mother.
When our second child was almost ready to start school, I began to sense a call from God to do something more with my life. It was as much a surprise to me as it was to Neil, and didn’t sit easily with him at all. It was with a great deal of prayer and consultation, that I applied to go to University and study psychology, and a difficult stage of our marriage ensued. I battled with how to obey God and honour my husband, and for the first few years of my studies, there was tension in our relationship and I went through times of great doubt.
Eventually we both realised that God was leading us into a different kind of life and relationship than we had originally anticipated – a fuller and more satisfying life. God showed Himself to be faithful to us both. He helped us both grow into the people He needed us to be, for each other and for the service and giftings He had for us. I have been practicing as a psychologist now for over twenty years and currently have a part time practice which operates from my home. It’s a great blessing to help others with their problems and suffering, and my calling in that area has been confirmed over and over.
A great bonus came for me twelve years ago when God led me to turn a hobby – researching my family history – into authoring historical novels. This has been a wonderful blessing to me and has been fully supported by Neil. Stepping into new and unexpected roles and adventures has been a hallmark of our lives as we look back. Even though we have had the ups and downs that most couples face as new stages of life and new challenges arise, both of us have experienced more than we could ever have imagined, and we’re very grateful for the life God has given us. As parents and grandparents, as partners in Christian service, as husband and wife, we thank God for His grace and providence.