THROUGHOUT MY CHRISTIAN JOURNEY I have striven to live an authentic Christian life, one that reflects the love of God and the life of Christ, his Son. A significant theme of my life has been hope healing and wholeness. That state of being whole embraces my entire being – body, soul and spirit. It also incorporates the expression of my Christian faith into all parts of life, to the best of my ability.
For me to be writing my story for my blog is a significant accomplishment. It comes at the end of a traumatic journey through the mire of intense psychotherapy with many lengthy admissions to a psychiatric hospital, dealing with a major mental health disorder. That journey culminated in my returning to work as a social worker, then – on my recent retirement – returning to my love of writing. That part of my story is told in my autobiography – Peace and Freedom Are My Names.
Over the years I have tried so hard to fit into fundamental evangelical churches, but never felt that I belonged. The teaching of most churches is far removed from that of the Lord Jesus Christ; each one adds their particular brand of theology to the simple yet profound Gospel message. Just over two years ago I became aware of a devastating situation that made me realise I could no longer even try to belong to a church. That series of incidents has led to my exploring the Gospel afresh, returning to the teachings of Christ and learning to live as he wants us to live. That in turn led to my changing the emphasis of this blog to Authentic Christian Living. My desire is to stir people up in their faith in God and to encourage all to be Christ in the community – among the poor, the homeless, those with mental illness, the broken hearted and those who live with the consequences of child abuse. In other words, to demonstrate what Authentic Christian Living really means.
Over the years I have had two careers: writing and social work. It was through my writing that I became a social worker. My social work career is now having an impact upon what I write. Both aspects of my life’s journey embrace my heart’s desire to share my love of God with those with whom I come in contact, and through my writing.
Name: Irene Frances – formerly Irene Frances Oliver
Age: Recently re-retired
Children: Debi, Tania & Darren
Daniel, Nathan, Matthew; Alexandra Kate (With Jesus), Monique & Sabrina; Imogen & Bethany.
Faith: Committed Christian
Most Important: Vibrant faith in God my Heavenly Father, His Son – the Lord Jesus Christ – and the empowering ongoing presence of the Holy Spirit.
Interests: Writing, reading, cryptic crosswords, coffee and good conversation with friends.