50 Coffees – Christen JVR
Today I am so excited to share the interview I had with the kind and lovely Christen. This is our 8th installment of 50 Coffees with 50 inspiring, interesting and captivating women. Read and enjoy!
1. Name: Christen JVR
2. Coffee or drink: Green Juice
3. Venue: The Loading Bay
4. Occupations: Communications Oversight Hillsong South
I was at Sisterhood meeting last year and you shared your testimony about finding out purpose. When did this happen and how did it happen?
I accepted Christ at the age of five and it was totally real to me at five years old. As I grew up, I went to different churches and I developed the idea in my head that God had only one purpose for me. I then tried to figure out God’s plan for my life, my studies and for me. I wanted to be different things and tried different things, to see how it would fit into God’s plan and will for my life. I then completed my studies in physiotherapy. I definitely felt the call of God on my life and I started to question my career choices. I was working in physiotherapy and volunteering at church. Then I got bored of physiotherapy and I tried to figure out what I should do next… study to be a doctor, dentist or maybe a lawyer. These were all options I was considering at different times. It all formed part of my journey discovering my purpose. I couldn’t get away from the idea that my purpose and occupation had to be the same thing.
About ten years ago I was volunteering at church and helping the Youth Pastor, Ps Lucinda Dooley. One day I said to God, “I love life but tell me what my purpose or the vision for my life is because I don’t want to be like those people who die because of a lack of vision.” I actually told God that I was going to set aside this one day and I was not going to leave this room until He told me‟. I kept praying, reading the bible, worshiping and journaling, on repeat. I literally didn’t leave the room, except to go to the bathroom, from 9 in the morning till 8/9 that evening. By then I still hadn’t heard anything definitive. I said to God, “Why are you not telling me the vision for my life
Am I not hearing you correctly? Where do you want me to be?” Just when I was getting frustrated and getting to the end of myself, I felt the Holy Spirit put an impression on my heart. He asked me who was in front of me & who I could serve? Instinctively I felt that that person was Lucinda and I was to serve her vision. I was only getting to know her so there was no big vision beyond I was aiming for. So in that following week, I went up to her and told her that in the coming year I would love to serve her… That whatever her vision was and with whatever was on her plate, I would love to help with. I wanted to lighten her load however I could. That is how it started and I am constantly amazed.
Ten years on, I am here in Cape Town and I am like “wow, look what has happened”. That was a crucial part in my journey and life.
How did you meet your husband?
I met him in church. I had been here for a year already. He is South African but he was working at Hillsong London. He came back to renew his visa to go back again and that’s when I met him. I was dating someone at that time so I wasn’t interested in him. About two years later I was single and he was still volunteering at the church. (His visa never got granted and he didn’t go back to London.) He volunteered pretty much full time at church and a lot in my department. We became friends and we got along really well together. It was a prolonged friendship that ended up leading to us being together. We decided not to formally date until we actually knew that our relationship would be for life, as it would be detrimental if we worked in the same department and it didn’t work out.
When was the moment that you realised that he was the one?
There were many factors that set this in motion. One of the first things that helped me realise was the way he treated me as a friend. He treated me better than any of my previous boyfriends have and he treated girls with honour and respect.
I also had always prayed and believed for my husband to come from a great family. Quite early on I met his parents (as they are in the same church) and I thought they were really awesome and a little bit like my parents. I love that he comes from a great family.
I didn’t have a long list of things I wanted in a guy but one of the things I really wanted was that ‘he really loves Jesus and that I would come second in his life to Jesus.’ There was no compromise to that + he must really love people. To know all these things takes time and that’s why it took so long before we dated.
The final factor that sealed the deal was when his sister said to me “I don’t know what you do to him, but I just want to thank you for bringing my brother back. You don’t know because you don’t know his history but when he was younger he used to be really lively and funny. Then stuff happened and he became like a different person and reserved. You have literally brought my brother back to life.” When she said that to me, it was a confirmation in my heart.
I used to be very selfish in my previous relationships, it was always all about me. Prior to this relationship, I realised that that wasn’t the point of it all. I wanted my marriage to be about bringing out the best in each other and not a one-sided relationship.
What is a strong and brave woman?
A strong and brave woman is a woman who knows where her source comes from. She isn’t just about doing what she wants but she opens her heart up to God and says „what do You want‟? Then she steps into it with courage and boldness, not conforming to what society needs her to be, but living who as the person God has made her to be. She is not trying to be someone else.