Hi Kath! Thanks so much for sharing your story today! Tell us a little bit about yourself – were you brought up in a Christian home?
My name is Kath, I’m married to Julian and we have two beautiful kids, Sid aged 7, and Elsie aged 6. I’m an Occupational Health Nurse and a Chaplain. We emigrated from England to Brisbane just over 6 years ago and absolutely love Australia. The outdoor lifestyle suits our family and I love the hot weather – I hate being cold.
I grew up in a Christian home, I class myself as ‘always being a Christian’ but for quite a while through my teens and 20s, I wasn’t walking with God. I was deep into the club scene and partying, I worked hard and played hard. I did still pray during this time – mostly prayers to keep me safe and alive and He did, He never left me. I kind of drifted in and out of churches during this time but I wasn’t committed. I can’t remember exactly when I came back to the Lord, I just know I couldn’t do life without Him, the things I’d been chasing to make me feel good just made me feel empty. We all have a Jesus shaped hole in our hearts that only He can fill and when He fills it, there is no other feeling like it, to be loved by God is just so overwhelming, it’s a love that never ends and it overflows out of you, I can’t get enough. As I do life with God, my hunger for more of Him grows, I want to get closer to Him, to know Him, I’m no longer content with just coasting along as a Christian- I want more of Jesus and less of me.
It is also really important to me that my children to grow up with faith, to know who they are and whose they are, to know their true identity as loved, precious Children of God. I speak into this identity everyday. I want this to be in the foundations of their lives. That they are loved and known by God the Father.
Can you tell us about a specific call that God has put on your life?
In 2016, we went back to the UK for Christmas. My holiday reading was a book called Dream Culture: Bringing Dreams to Life by Andy and Janine Mason. The Dream Culture book gives you tools “to help you partner with Father God, to unlock the dreams and desires of your heart and empower you to make them a reality”. As I was reading this book, the Lord kept dropping into my heart that I should be a chaplain. Well, I did not think that this was a desire of my heart – I’d been a nurse for nearly two decades, which had made me slightly cynical and I thought that the last thing I’d want to do is listen to people’s problems. I toyed with the idea when I was on holiday and no matter what I did, the thought wouldn’t go away.
On our first Sunday back at church after arriving home, I happened to mention this to a friend of mine, unbeknownst to me, her husband was the State Director of Chaplaincy Australia, he called me that afternoon and within 24 hours I was enrolled in college and starting my journey into chaplaincy and pastoral care.
I don’t know now why I ever doubted that I wouldn’t like being a chappy. It is the best job. When I started my course, I presumed God wanted me to become a hospital chaplain, seemed like the logical step from nursing, I did part of my placement in a hospital and loved it – but God had other plans.
The Chaplaincy, I’ve been a part of is a little different to what you’d usually think of when you hear someone is a chappy. I’m a volunteer NightWatch chaplain. The NightWatch are out in the entertainment districts every weekend from 10.00pm-5am. They look after people whose good times turn bad. As you can imagine things can get pretty messy and it’s the job of the NW chaplains to keep people safe and to look after them until they are well enough to go home. This could be anything from alcohol intoxication, drug overdoses, first aid, violent and aggressive situations, lost people, mental health, and generally keeping the peace.
The NightWatch chaplains deal with lots of blood, vomit, tears and crazy chaotic fun. I really love it, it’s such a privilege to be out in the darkness for Jesus caring for people who aren’t able to care for themselves.
At the end of 2017, God put it on my heart to not just minister to the people who are partying in the valley but to be a chaplain to the people inside the clubs, and not just any club but strip clubs, to be a chaplain to strippers.
Wow. How confident or ‘up for it’ were you for this call initially?
I can’t say I was too thrilled with this idea when He first asked me to do it, in fact, I think I said ‘no, don’t make me do this God’. But I also knew that God wouldn’t have called me to it, if I couldn’t do it. You see, I have this passion inside me for saying yes to God and seeing where it takes me, I love doing crazy stuff for God being bold and stepping out, I find it super fun but with this one I still asked for confirmation.
Well I had so much confirmation, it was crazy, people gave me prophetic words about it, I met people who had done this same ministry in Asia, I was at the Shawn Bolz God Secrets conference and in one day he said stripper and adult entertainment industry so many times I actually lost count!
How did that confirmation change your mindset?
That’s when I got serious. I went to a professional supervisor- she’s like a counselor for chappies, I went to her to work on myself, to get rid of all my preconceived ideas about the women that work there, the men that frequent the clubs and the owners. I wanted to make myself healthy emotionally and spiritually – I wanted to see people as Jesus does and not how I do or society does.
During this time of preparation the verse that the Lord gave me regarding this calling was Isaiah 54:4 “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.”
This verse became the job description for me.
I know God wants me to be with these women whilst they are in the industry, I haven’t been called to rescue them, to take them out of the sex industry but to love on them whilst they are right in it. To speak life, to build them up, to see them as Jesus sees them, to meet them and love on them exactly where they are at. So that what they do in this season of their life doesn’t define who they are for the rest of their life. My vision is that they leave the club knowing their true worth and how precious they are. I know in my heart that all I have to do is show up and love on these girls – and if I do that I can’t go too far wrong. I don’t have all the answers, I am not an expert, I haven’t walked in their shoes, I am not there to fix them or save them or rescue them – I am there to love them and love them well. I want to be there to journey alongside them, to encourage them to be the best they can be on that day, to be with them as they do life, in the good and the bad, whilst they fight their own battles and help celebrate their wins. It’s my job to turn up, be present, to listen and love on people. I see all this being done as a chaplain in a strip club.
I thought when God called me to this, I would be straight in, set to work. It hasn’t happened like that, it’s only been in the last month that the lines of communication have opened up between myself and a club owner. However, even in the waiting, God has had his hand all over this. He has been getting me ready, I have been learning to trust him, to have patience, to prepare, to believe and have faith that this will happen. There were times that I got frustrated, I wanted to be in and I had to remind myself that this wasn’t my call, it was God’s and He wants this to happen more than I do and His timing is perfect. I am not in the strip club yet, but I know will be soon.
Have you always heard from God in such specific ways in your life? Or have you grown in your openness to hear His voice?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a seer, but for many years, I didn’t really know what to do with that or how to apply what I ‘saw’ to my life or how to share that with others.
I did a short prophetic course at church in 2016, this made me feel like I’d come home – I wasn’t the only one with this gift, I didn’t need to be scared of it and this left me hungry for more. I wanted to learn more on how to hear God. In 2017, I enrolled in Gary and Sarah Morgan’s School of Prophets. That year I learned about the Father’s heart, this was transformational and changed my life. I also wanted to not only see but hear God in other ways. I concentrated on hearing the still small voice of God, I learned to journal and soak in His presence.
The next year, I stayed on at the school as a small group leader, I asked God to teach me a different way of hearing Him and it was through feeling and knowing. For example, I’d walk into a room and part of my body would start to hurt or I’d feel emotionally unsettled and I knew that there would be someone in the room that needed healing. So I’d ask who it was and pray for them. Or I’d just know something and would be able to pray into it.
This year, I’m still at School of Prophets as small group leader and I’m practicing words of knowledge. Even if I get it wrong, I’m putting myself out there and practicing and having fun with it.
What is one thing you would love to encourage other women in?
I know my story may seem far from what God has called you to do – but I do believe that God calls everyone to love on people.
I’d love to encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit who you are called to love, it may be your family, it may be your leaders, it maybe your grumpy neighbour or the school mum that stands in the yard on her own, it maybe your kids, your colleagues, when you find out who you are called to love – do it well, love them like Jesus does, mirror the heart of the Father to them and watch God show up and miracles occur.
Can you give us one practical tip for hearing from God more in our lives?
Practice, practice, practice. Never stop practicing. Ask God to speak to you in a way that’s personal to you and then practice hearing from Him in this way. Journaling is an easy way to connect to the Father, ask Him a question and start to write. Write the first words that come into your head and keep writing. You will end up with love letters from heaven.
Thank you so much Kath, for your willingness to share and speak life into other women! We are praying for you and may the Lord bless you and your ministry!
We would love you to join us in prayer for Kath and her courageous ministry – isn’t she amazing?! You can also learn more about what NightWatch Chaplains do here.