Today, Heidi speaks to us about how we should be passionate and intentional in knowing Christ, no matter how long we have been Christians, her latest e-book launch, and growing up with imagination. So much good stuff!
Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: I was born in Sydney, Australia, to working-class immigrants from Hong Kong. As my parents worked four jobs between themselves to establish our lives in Australia, I was raised by my grandparents in a migrant hub in Sydney’s south. They were wonderful years of learning Cantonese (my first language), feasting on Chinese food, playing mah-jong and Chinese chess and watching Hong Kong dramas. My younger brother and I didn’t grow up with smart phones or the internet, but we had each other and our vivid imaginations, and that was always enough.
“My younger brother and I didn’t grow up with smart phones or the internet, but we had each other and our vivid imaginations, and that was always enough.”
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelations 21:4
My faith does not make me immune to pain, but it infuses me with hope. Knowing that the final chapter to my story has already been written and secured by Jesus, empowers me to live and write with hope.
“My faith does not make me immune to pain, but it infuses me with hope.”
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: In a hurried world of instant gratification, I want to grow in Christ-like patience. Jesus was incredibly patient with people, circumstances and suffering. In the 33 years that He lived with sinners, He was slow to anger and the Bible only records two instances where He expressed His righteous anger.
He was slow to perform miracles, wanting to wait on His father’s timing. He was patient at the peak of His suffering, asking God to forgive the very people who nailed Him to the cross. I want to grow in patience, knowing that even in the pain, God is in control, and He is working all things out for my good and has promised to complete the good work He has started in my life.
Profession: Writer and marketing professional.
Tell us about Lazy Susan, your latest e-book launch, and what inspired it: Lazy Susan is a collection of short stories where faith, freedom and fried rice intersects. The book highlights the unique joys and challenges of immigration, the clash between Eastern and Western viewpoints, and how faith in Jesus successfully bridged the gap between East and West and in my family. Although my family’s story is chaotic and messy, it is my prayer that Lazy Susan clearly articulates the untold stories of Asian immigrants in the West, while also sharing the tangible hope and reconciliation that we found in the gospel.
What is the most exciting thing about co-hosting The Greater Story? I love sharing with our listeners how stories on the silver screen point us to the greater story of the gospel. Some people believe that we should reject pop culture in order to pursue godliness, but I want to help people to see that God can use elements of pop culture to point others to Him. I recently released an episode on “The Bachelor”, and explained that our world’s obsession with romantic love, and struggle with rejection and loneliness actually gives us an opportunity to speak about God’s unconditional love shown towards sinners. Jesus wore the crown the thorns and was forsaken on our behalf, so that we could stand before God as accepted people.
“Some people believe that we should reject pop culture in order to pursue godliness, but I want to help people to see that God can use elements of pop culture to point others to Him.”
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? I first heard about Jesus when I was 15, but I refused to believe that He could love a messy girl like me. Although at school I was the class clown, behind my mask was an anxious heart that had been deeply hurt and abandoned. I spent many years searching for love and self-worth in boys, success and popularity, and made many regrettable mistakes along the way. Crushed by guilt and shame, I looked for answers in the Bible and was surprised to discover the lengths that Jesus went to love women like me. He restores the ‘sinful woman’ who was shamed by ‘good’ religious leaders, forgives the adulterous woman after she was exposed, and saves the Samaritan woman, despite her failure to meet community standards. At the age of 20, I put my faith in Jesus.
How has your relationship with Him changed you? I used to live a guarded life that was terrified of vulnerability and commitment. I built up walls to stop people from coming into my life in the fear of getting hurt. Knowing that I am fully known and fully loved by God is an incredibly liberating truth. If I am loved by the God of the universe, the only Judge who will matter into eternity, then why should I fear human opinion or judgement? I can be honest with my imperfections and struggles, and I hope that my honesty can be a blessing as I lead people into knowledge of God’s love for imperfect people.
“I built up walls to stop people from coming into my life in the fear of getting hurt. Knowing that I am fully known and fully loved by God is an incredibly liberating truth.”
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? In an exhausted world that bombards you with distractions and fuels discontment, meditating on the divine characteristics of God is something that helps me grow in gratitude and awe of Him.
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): Currently reading In His Image by Jen Wilkin; a book that encourages us to be women who live according to God’s will. The book encourages us to consider what the Bible actually says about living according to God’s will and that often when we try to work this out we ask, “What should I do?” but the Bible doesn’t always answer this question. Jen encourages us to ask a better question: “Who should I be?” The Bible is clear about who we should be, and that it’s actually God’s will for every woman to become more like Christ in character. No matter our job (or perhaps joblessness), it’s God’s will for us to be loving, patient, kind, faithful, tender, and merciful witnesses.
Top three essentials: Coffee (I might be bias, but Australian coffee is the best), 90’s RnB + Hip Hop Spotify playlist, Burt’s Bees lip balm.
How did God speak to you recently? That He is worthy of my trust because not only is He infinite in power, He is also infinitely good. Because God is incapable of using His power for evil, I can trust in His plans, even if it doesn’t make sense to me right now.
Hobby: Hunting for good coffee and patting every dog I see.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong:
1. Being committed to Bible reading and prayer through journaling. I love reading old journal entries and seeing how God has worked in my life over time.
2. Not giving up on confession and repentance, and always reminding myself of the reasons why I need God’s grace. I never want to get to the point in my faith where I hear the gospel and shrug it off as a boring truth of the past. Whether I’ve been a Christian for a day, or a decade, I want to echo the words of the Apostle Paul: “I want to know Christ” (Phil 3:10).
3. Doing all of the above in community with other believers.
Favorite person in scripture? Besides Jesus, it would have to be Mary, the sinful woman described in Luke 7. I love her humility, faith and love for Jesus, despite her struggle with guilt and shame. Instead of listening to the voice of inferiority or insecurity, she listened to the transforming voice of Jesus, which liberated her from shame. I love that picture of redemption, and it continues to give me hope on days when I feel unworthy.
“Instead of listening to the voice of inferiority or insecurity, she listened to the transforming voice of Jesus which liberated her from shame. I love that picture of redemption, and it continues to give me hope on days when I feel unworthy.”
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? That He is loving and merciful and cares for the broken and vulnerable in society.
How do you engage with your community? My husband and I pastor a church plant in our community. As soon as people walk through the doors, we want them to know that we are a community of imperfect people, that Jesus loves them, and that He’s worthy of our worship.
Favorite holiday? Italy blew me away. I loved the richness of the culture, learning church history, eating pasta and gelato every single day and standing where the Gladiator’s once fought.
A goal you have? To step out of my comfort zone and submit a book proposal.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: Gathering around the table, feasting on food and giving out red pockets on Chinese New Year.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? Why did God create cockroaches? Will there be cockroaches in heaven? I hope not.
Thing you want to raise awareness about: Did you know, 40 million of the world’s poor and vulnerable are currently trapped in modern-day slavery and sex trafficking, and it’s an industry that generates $190 billion per year? International Justice Mission (IJM) is a Christian based organisation that is working hard to send rescue and freedom, partnering with local police and justice systems to capture offenders and rescue victims. I encourage Christians in the west to use their physical and spiritual freedoms to send rescue. For more info visit their website: https://www.ijm.org/
What does your morning routine consist of? I’m not a “routine” person so every morning looks different. Usually, it involves dragging myself out of bed and making a bee-line towards my coffee machine.
What is on your nightstand? Compared to Her by Sophie De Witt.
Define Christianity in a sentence: God’s loving and powerful rescue plan for His people in the person of Jesus.
For more Heidi:
Until next time, keep witnessing!