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International Women's Day

      International Women's Day      " Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise  ..." (Proverbs 31:31)  It's time – time to recognise the vital role that women play in Kingdom work. This role is not additional or supplementary. It's not minimal or optional. Women are fundamental, essential and foundational to the work of building God's Kingdom.  As we celebrate  International Women's Day (8 March 2018) , we recognise the work of the women who have gone before us, as well as that of today's Christian female leaders.  We hope to encourage Christian women to persevere, and inspire you to keep on innovating, serving and creating in every kind of Kingdom endeavour.   As a gift to you, we will be providing wallpapers for your desktop/laptop or your smartphone. We hope that you will be encouraged by God's word each day and spurred on in your Kingdom work.           DAY 7: "WHO KNOW BUT THAT YOU HAVE COME TO YOUR ROYAL POSITION FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS?" – ESTHER 4:14       

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
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       Day 6 : "She speaks with wisdom" – Proverbs 31:26       

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
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       Day 5: "She is clothed with strength and dignity" – Proverbs 31:25       

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
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       Day 4: Honour Her for all that her hands have done (Proverbs 31:31)       

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
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       Day 3: Let Her Works bring her praise (Proverbs 31:31)       

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
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       Day 2: I arose, a mother ... God chose new leaders (Judges 5:8)        

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
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       Day 1: What She has done will also be told... (Matthew 26:13)        

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
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International Women's Day

It's time – time to recognise the vital role that women play in Kingdom work. This role is not additional or supplementary. It's not minimal or optional. Women are fundamental, essential and foundational to the work of building God's Kingdom ...

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      Sharing the Storm of Postnatal Psychosis      For Deborah Vickers, becoming a new mum was a deeply traumatic experience. Now she is supporting other women who have experienced postnatal psychosis through a unique community, writes Elisabeth Carter.  Deborah Vickers seemed to be super-mum.  After her first baby was born, Deb didn’t feel the need to sleep. She took dozens of photos of her newborn. She was out and about attending conferences, baby in her arms, just a few weeks after giving birth.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     But in reality, all was not well. In fact, while on the surface Deb appeared to be coping amazingly well with new motherhood, this quickly tipped over into mania, which for her was characterised by obsessive behaviour and worry. It wasn’t long before hallucinations, delusions and paranoia set in.  For Deb, a family history of mental illness meant she and her husband were wary of postnatal depression. But postnatal psychosis (PP) came as a complete shock. Frustratingly, the symptoms of PP are the complete opposite of those of depression, so warning signs are often missed by those on the lookout for mums who aren’t doing so well.  Deb ended up in a general public psychiatric ward for a couple of months, on strong medication and unable to see her baby. Unlike other Australian states, in NSW there are no public Mother Baby Units where a family can receive the perinatal specialist care the mother needs, while also maintaining the important mother-baby bond.  It took nearly three years for Deb to feel herself again after her first baby was born. But sadly, despite careful plans having been made, PP struck again after baby number two.  Deb is a Christian, and although her faith was her stronghold while she was unwell, some of the doctors and nurses saw it differently. “In PP,” Deb explains, “religious grandeur can be a symptom of the illness – meaning women think that they are Mary, or that their baby is Jesus, or even that their baby is the devil … Being in a general psych ward where they were watching out for these things, it made it harder for me to read the Bible or to have the chaplain come and visit. Some people thought this was part of my illness and that I should be more medicated.”  Throughout that time, Deb clung to  Psalm 71 , which speaks of being protected by God when in horrible places, and of God caring for children and infants. Even when Deb was away from her babies, she recalls, “It was reassuring that God could still take care of them and they could rely on him.”      
   
     “ From birth I have relied on you;     you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.     I will ever praise you. I have become a sign to many;     you are my strong refuge. ” 
   
   — Psalm 71:6-7 
 
     While Deb had her faith to cling to, PP is such a difficult storm to weather. It seems bizarre that so few people know about this serious illness in Australia, and Deb saw this as a major problem. She wondered how women were supposed to get the support they needed to work through the pain of what has happened to them – the effects of which are felt for years to come.  An online community for those who had suffered from PP existed in the UK, and Deb decided to reach out to those in this community who were living in Australia and New Zealand to see if they’d be interested in forming a smaller, localised community. ‘Beyond PP’ was born.  Since it began in 2016, Beyond PP has been involved in raising awareness about this distressing condition. They are also active in connecting people with PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia) and their resources, which include checklists of symptoms, stories from those who have experienced PP, and a hotline for those who want to chat.  Most importantly, Beyond PP is about connecting women with each other. As Deb says, “The best healing comes when you have someone you can relate to, share your story with, and talk about the good, the bad and the ugly with.”     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              Deb Vickers (centre) amongst 4 PANDA Community Champions, 2 BeyondPP Mums, 1 Politician raising awareness for Postnatal Psychosis at a PANDA fundraiser  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


     Deb is hopeful that Beyond PP is a safe space where women can share the highs and lows of their journey – from the strangely funny moments, to the grief of missing out on the first few months with newborns, to the difficult process of considering a second child after such a harrowing experience. She hopes that it will provide a united voice for the 600 women and their families who experience PP every year in Australia.  As Deb says, “Women are good at taking care of each other”, and Beyond PP is a place where women can do what they do best.  This year, Deb is participating in The Hub program at ADM. She will receive one-to-one mentoring, essential training and guidance to help develop Beyond PP. She is looking forward to seeing how God continues to use this community as an encouragement for women who have faced PP.             Read more about Deborah and how she is developing Beyond PP through the Hub program  ...    Find out more about    Postnatal Psychosis    through    PANDA    - Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia    PANDA supports women and their families who are suffering from antenatal and postnatal anxiety or depression. If you or someone you know is worried about feelings or emotions associated with becoming a new parent, please call PANDA’s Helpline on 1300 726 306 (9am – 7.30pm AEDT Monday-Friday).    If you'd like to connect with the Beyond PP community,    send them an email.

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Sharing the Storm of Postnatal Psychosis

For Deborah Vickers, becoming a new mum was a deeply traumatic experience. Now she is supporting other women who have experienced postnatal psychosis through a unique community ...

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      Who was Mary Andrews?     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              Deaconess Mary Andrews  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


     Mary Andrews College and ADM* stand on a legacy of inspiring women – one of whom is Mary Andrews herself. This courageous pioneer sets an example for women of faith today, writes Hayley Lukabyo.  God has used many faithful women to do great works in his name. One example is Mary Andrews. She lived out her faith by helping other women to flourish in Kingdom work, as well as ministering to and caring for the gospel-poor and the disadvantaged. Throughout her life, there was a verse that guided and inspired Mary – Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me .”  Living by faith in Jesus led her to serve in dangerous and challenging places; to become a champion for the marginalised; and to be a fearless Bible teacher.  Mary was born in 1915 in the small town of Cooma in NSW. Her father was a grazier, and her mother had always hoped to be a missionary. As her mother saw that it was God’s will for her to remain in Australia, she prayed that somebody else in her own family would become a missionary.  Mary became a Christian as a little girl. Reading through the Bible when she was 10 years old, she wept at the injustice of Jesus’ crucifixion and at the realisation that she shared responsibility for his death. This led her to pray for forgiveness and, in thankfulness, she committed her life to Jesus – a commitment that she honoured for the rest of her life.  As a teenager, Mary heard the voice of God say to her, “China, China, China”. In response, Mary said to God, “From this day, I yield the control of my life to you. I am willing to be obedient, even if it means going to China.” After she finished school, Mary trained at Gladesville Psychiatric Hospital and then studied at Sydney Missionary and Bible Training College. Afterwards, she studied at Deaconess House, beginning a long-lasting relationship with the institution.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              Mary Andrews visiting a family in Erskineville  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


     Mary spent time working among the poor, the sick and those who had suffered great injustice. She fought hard against what she called the “powers of darkness” around her. This impulse to work selflessly for the gospel continued when Mary felt the call of God to mission work in China in 1937. Despite her fears of going to China on her own as the threat of World War II loomed, and the dangers and obstacles that she knew that she may face, Mary was convinced that to fulfil the will of God, she must go. She was comforted by the knowledge that she was   “in the centre of the circle and will of God”. Mary was sure that God had sent her to China to share her experience of God’s transcendent grace with the war-torn country, and that God would protect her and provide for her as she endeavoured to do his will. While in China, she taught Sunday school and English Bible classes, ran home evangelistic meetings and made hospital visits. She also taught at short-term Bible schools.  In 1944, as the war progressed, Mary escaped from China to India. There she continued her ministry and care for the disadvantaged by working at a children’s home and a home for destitute women and girls. She returned to China in 1947, but was forced to move back to Australia when the Chinese Community Party came to power. However, this did not lead to the death of her ministry in China. It continued to flourish in her absence, prompting a pastor from Beijing to tell Mary on her visit there in 1991, “It is good that you came back to see that the fruit of your work, and that of the other Christian missionaries, is still going on, in fact increasing.”     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              Deaconess Mary Andrews & students at King Memorial Middle School in Shaohsing, China  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


     Mary served as the Principal of Deaconess House (which later became Mary Andrews College) from 1952 to 1975. In her time as Principal, Mary was devoted to helping women flourish with the gifts, and in the ministry contexts, that God had given them. A student wrote this about her experience with Mary at Deaconess House:   “My memory of Mary Andrews is that of a loving yet firm director in a very big house of women … She always seemed to be calm and joyful … Her focus in all things was on the Lord. ‘Whatever you do, in word and deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus …’. She used the practical parts of the epistles with real effect as she attempted to guide us and mould our Christian characters. [Mary] made it clear that her strength and help came from our Lord.”  Mary was a strong advocate for recognition and respect for women’s ministry. She said, “The more I studied the gospels, the more amazed I was by the way our Lord elevated women and entrusted them with the deepest truths, and gave Mary the privilege of telling Peter and his other disciples that he was risen.”  In speaking about her life, Mary said, “The measure of what you can do for the world will be simply what you let God do with yourself. With most of us, God can do so little because we are so little between his hands. That Jesus really wants me and needs me is the wonder and strength of my life. He has met my every need and in him I am fully satisfied.”  Mary died in 1996. She leaves behind for Mary Andrews College and ADM a powerful legacy of what it looks like to be a courageous Christian woman, unafraid to boldly answer the call of God to fight injustice and help women flourish in Kingdom work, regardless of the personal cost. She has inspired Christian women for generations to use their gifts to serve God’s Kingdom, and her story continues to do so today.            All quotes taken from Going it Alone, by Margaret Yarwood Lamb.     *   Mary Andrews College    is a ministry of Anglican Deaconess Ministries. The college was first established as Deaconess House in 1891. The aim of the college is to raise up women with theological formation for practical ministry. For more information about the history and purpose of Mary Andrews College, visit    www.mac.edu.au/about

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Who was Mary Andrews?

Mary Andrews College and ADM stand on a legacy of inspiring women – one of whom is Mary Andrews herself. This courageous pioneer sets an example for women of faith today ...

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