Today’s guest is Christine and Christine is a violinist and she also plays piano, she tells me. And she’s a real blessing to our church because she helps out in the worship teams. And she’s married to Allen and they have three grown up boys, quite grown up boys and. Yes. And you’re very welcome to the podcast, Christine.
So start where we normally do. How did you become a Christian?
Well, I can’t really pinpoint a day or an hour or anything because I grew up in a very lovely Christian family where my parents always, you know, God was just such a part of their everyday life. And so I was just, you know, that was embedded into me from even before I was born. You know, they would pray for us every day.
But there certainly came a time in my mid teens, and particularly when I went to uni, where I was just very aware that God was really interested in me and not just, it wasn’t just for my parents, but I discovered that God was really involved in my life.
And I went to some Bible studies at uni and a couple of different areas, I suppose. I was very interested in … My husband, Alan (he wasn’t my husband at that stage), but he was really into apologetics and, you know, explaining the intellectual facts why Christianity is true. And that was very convincing on one hand. And the other hand, for me, as I faced challenges and new things as a young adult to find that I could pray to this God who I’d called my Heavenly Father all my days, and to discover that he really was there for me and would answer the most amazing prayers sometimes, that took me by surprise, didn’t think he’d be bothered with little things. But.
Do you have a story about that?
Oh, well, I can think of one in particular in and of course, as you get older, you realise God doesn’t always answer the prayers that you want in the way that you want.
But I think as a young person who needed guidance, this was just one little example. My parents were overseas at the time and, you know, I was pretty green. Eighteen year old, pretty naive, very dependent on my parents. And they always helped me make big decisions. But my violin teacher was saying I really needed to get a better violin. And Mum and dad had sort of said they were behind this idea and they’d, you know, provide it when the time came and a violin came to the university for me to try out. And I liked it. You know, it was great. I loved it. But I couldn’t contact my parents and I felt I couldn’t make a decision without them because it was their money. And I remember going home one day and I shared a house with my sister who was at uni.
And we prayed about it because we thought two thousand dollars in those days was actually a lot of money. It’s not much now. But we needed to let these people know was I interested or not. And so we prayed about it. Then I went out to check the mail and there happened to be a letter from Mum and Dad’s investment company, whatever, saying that two thousand dollars was going to mature for me in the next couple of weeks. So for me, as an 18 year old who hadn’t had a lot of experience of God intervening in little tangible ways that was a big thing. And I suppose because we’d bothered to pray about it, even though I thought, well, and I don’t know how God’s going to fix this one. But that was just a little thing, I suppose, just reminding me that, hey, actually God is involved in little nitty gritty things that we think he’s too big for. And while, sure, as you get older in particular, life isn’t always as easy as that, because we need to be stretched and our faith needs to be challenged. But yeah, that was just one little example.
Yeah. I think that that also, if you’ve had those times as a younger person, as you mature, you hold on to them.
Even when the answers aren’t coming as clearly as they used to come before. You can say, ‘Well I still know God did this for me in the past’.
Yeah. That’s right. And that’s only. Yeah. That’s been my experience all along.
Was there a time, I know I’ve shared this so many times, my listeners are probably getting sick of it. But when I was about, thirty, I realise that I had to be all in, or all out. And I made the decision to be all in and got baptised. Was there ever a time like that for you?
Yes. Probably in my mid teens. And I went to a youth camp. I think that was the first time. And then when I was at uni, when I met Alan, my husband, he was just so out there in your face. As a Christian, you know. And he was certainly not afraid to let people know what he believed. And I think that helped me be a little bit braver about sorting out really where I wanted my life to head.
Yeah, Alan’s not very quiet about anything.
No not really quiet about anything.
I’m hoping to interview him soon, too. So. So what do you do for a job?
Well, I play the violin in the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, which is great fun and quite hard work in its own way. But in other ways it’s also delightful. And I don’t get sick of it. And I also have a few, six at the moment, music students, little little kids. That I teach privately. Yeah, it’s it’s a wonderful privilege to play in the orchestra. And yeah. Provides all sorts of challenges and and wonderful highs as well. Meeting amazing people and having a lot of opportunities that are really fantastic. So I’m very grateful for that.
Did you always know that’s where you were heading?
Well, music was part of my life from day one, too. But I didn’t really decide I was going to be a musician until the end of grade 12 when, you know, my choices were out there. And I thought well, I always practise every day. I love doing it. I don’t want to stop. So it seemed logical to go to the Con. And at the time, Hobart Conservatorium was the place to go for string players. So it was right there on a platter.So I was very spoilt.
Yeah. That’s awesome.
I know that a lot of people, when they’re looking at music for a living, are sort of like. Well, the choice is, yeah, basically teach at a school. Or teach privately.
Yeah. That’s right. And I never really expected that I would get a full time position in the orchestra. I suppose I was always thinking, well, teaching would be a great life. I was happy to do that. But when I actually landed a full time job, I was a bit gobsmacked, really. But you know, it’s been a wonderful gift, a wonderful provision that I am very thankful for. And you can always do bit of teaching on the side. But yet it’s selfish, really.
Music for your own enjoyment rather than teaching other people, which is really, for me, harder.
Yeah, that’s life in the creative arts though. Really. Yeah. It’s the same with writing. I mean, if I didn’t enjoy the writing, then I couldn’t live the life I’m living. I don’t actually understand people who say they don’t enjoy writing, but they still do it for a living. Because.
It’d be too hard. I think there’s something about it. That creativity is just so fun. Yeah. So life as a full time musician is not nine to five.
No. No it’s … Every week is different, which sometimes … I mean it’s variety which is great. It just makes a it little bit hard to be kind of committed to anything else on a regular basis. But we do get good holidays. We get six weeks over summer and a couple of weeks interspersed during the year. And there are weeks where it might just be the brass doing stuff. But yeah, like some weeks we’ll just do recording. Some weeks we’ll do educational workshops, things like that. And of course we have our major concert seasons that keep us pretty busy with rehearsals and performances, but never a dull moment and a huge variety of stuff. Everything from the Vivaldi to Lady Gaga and everything in between.
Awesome. So how do you show your faith in your work?
Right. Well, there’s a few ways I suppose. The main one in my whole motivation in that in everything I do, I, I just want to honour God and please him. And so I’m not doing it for myself. I am a perfectionist and I, I want to do the best I can. And I’m not really satisfied until I’m feeling I’ve done my best. But always I kind of feel, well, it’s God who I’m really wanting to please. And so if I’ve done my very, very best, you know. Then what more can I ask for? You know, and I just want to please him in my behaviour and attitudes and and everything, I suppose. And there’s another aspect as a performer. You know, there’s a lot of confidence and you’ve got to kind of be able to project and be a bit out there at times. And that’s not me.
I’m a quiet, introspective sort of person, and I don’t like the limelight. I’m really happy sitting in a sea of violins where I’m just a team player and I just love that blending in, you know? And so the occasional time where I’ve had to actually stick my neck out a bit and perhaps take a bit more of a lead role or something, thankfully, I don’t do that very often, but I find it very hard.
And so times like that, I really need to draw on God’s strength, I suppose, to help me face the things that I find hard. And it does happen sometimes. And, you know, even if you’d been doing this for 30 years, you still get nervous. And so learning to cope with that. But it’s great to know that, you know, God’s got my back. That even if I get nervous, I’ve done my best. And there are times where he has really quite miraculously carried me through and made me stronger than I thought I could be. So, yeah. And the other thing, too, I suppose just in my relationships with other people, I really am aware that, you know, as a Christian, it’s important that I show them respect and, you know, encourage them and yeah, just be the sort of person that God would want me to be.
I can imagine in that sort of performing arts realm be quite incredibly conflicting personalities.
Yeah, there can be. Although they’re a wonderful bunch. I really get along well with all my colleagues. And, you know, we used to get a few colourful characters, but that’s okay. It takes many types and .. Yeah, no, it’s a great place to work. Yeah.
That’s awesome. Cool. When when do you feel close to God?
Well, certainly when more when I’m by myself than with groups of people. Although there’s something wonderful about lifting the roof with our singing and our music at St Clements. That’s wonderful. But I suppose for me, quiet places, beautiful outdoor places. And I go for long walks and just see the beauty that God’s made. And I find that, you know, less distracting. And then I feel, you know, it’s good to really be yourself before God in those times. Yeah. But I do a lot of walking, so that’s really great to sort of try to focus in. Now here’s some time I can think about God and what he’s doing while I’m out there enjoying nature and getting exercise.
Ticks all the boxes.
Yes. I’m getting that feeling now, too. Yeah. I’ve been doing more walking and it’s good. It’s really good.
I think it was Canon J John, who said that Jesus walked everywhere and that God moves at walking pace and I really love that thought.
Yeah. Yes. I think it’s good and a little bit of movement for me. I’m a bit of a fidgety person, I don’t actually sit still that much. So it’s good for me to just have a gentle. Yeah. Gentle pace going on and I think about things.
Yeah, absolutely. What’s one thing about God and Christianity that you wish everyone knew?
Well, I suppose going back to what I was saying at the beginning, the fact that God is actually so much more interested in us than we dare to believe, actually. I think he really wants to be involved in so many areas of our life. And we tend to think, oh, he’s up there. He’s too big. It’s, I’m not important because he’s got all this other stuff to deal with. But, look, if it’s really important to me, then to know that I can actually bring it to God and pray earnestly and, you know, he might not necessarily answer the way I want, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t heard. And he will answer in whatever way is right. And yeah. Just to find that nothing is too small for him to be concerned about if it’s a concern to me.
Yeah. That’s amazing. I know people who get upset with people for praying about parking spots. It’s that little cartoon of two people trying to pull into the same parking spot like they both prayed for it. But sometimes I think sometimes the parking spot’s actually important.
It can be. Yes. And sometimes it can have a lot more significance in a chain of events for other things that we’re not aware of it.
That’s true too. God can oversee all of that. So it’s trusting him, I guess, not to answer the way you want him to answer. But trusting him that he still cares about the little things anyway.
That’s really important.
And it’s a very secure knowledge. Just knowing that whatever happens and you know, I’ve been through a few adventures in my life over the years. But just to know that whatever happens, he’s there for me carrying me. And nothing’s too much of a problem to him.
Is there any adventure you’d like to share with us?
Well, I suppose the most recent one is when my husband, Alan, had a heart attack in Indonesia last year when he was on a government’s … the Indonesian government, sponsored a group of school principals from Australia to go and do a tour of the country, visiting schools and just general cultural things. It was great, really, all paid for. Lovely. Yes. Except for while he was there. Yes. He had this heart attack and or two, actually. And it was a scary time because we realised how wonderful Australia’s health system is. And while the people there were amazing and kind and everything you could want in, you know, care, their medical expertise was sadly lacking in some areas. And so he certainly didn’t get the care that he would have had here,.
But he couldn’t be moved.
No. That’s right. So he was in a fairly, very unwestern area of Indonesia where the hospitals were crowded with locals sort of sitting with their families, having lunch on the floor and in the passageways.
And nothing like we would know here. And he knew, having had some heart issues before, that they were not following protocol that was really pretty basic for his condition. So anyway, to cut a long story short, we were blown away by the care of the Indonesian people there. The hotel owner who was looking after the school principals decided that she would fly me over at her expense to help Alan as he recuperated and put me up in the hotel.
And when he came out of hospital, we were there for a week or so, 10 days, and nothing was too much trouble. You know, come and eat whatever you like, whenever you like. At the restaurant, we’ll give you a taxi driver.
You know, these are absolute strangers who are bending over backwards, Hindu people of another faith who bent over backwards just to be caring to us. And that was a really humbling experience. And then so many people praying for Alan, our church, work, friends, family, whatever. He actually made a miraculous recovery because while the tests said that his heart attack was very serious, when they did all the tests afterwards, it showed there was absolutely no damage to his heart. And these specialists were all predicting what they said would be 30 percent damage. Whatever that means. But yes. So in all that time we just felt just carried by God the whole time. It was scary and I remember getting on the plane to go over there and I thought with one day’s notice, I’ve never actually flown internationally by myself before. I’d only ever done it with work with the orchestra. And they’d looked after me and I felt like, you know, quite a like a little bit little girl there by myself. But every step of the way, just God provided in miraculous ways, brought us home safely.
And, you know, he’s recovered really well and he’s, in fact, I think, more passionate and more determined now to do his job at the school. With a new awareness that God’s protected him and given him this calling. And so that’s been another one of the many experiences in our life where we’ve just seen God intervene, provide and carry us. And then looking back, teach us we can see actually some good things that have come that we’ve learnt and maybe even other people as well. Yeah. So no adventure is out of God’s plan. You know, he can use whatever happens. To teach us stuff and to to help us in whatever our calling is.
Thank you for sharing with us, Christine.