THE STORIES BEHIND THE FACES OF The Twenty-16 Colour Invitation

HEATHER

Tell us about yourself!
My husband, Christian, and I are in our second year at Hillsong College with a focus on Social Justice. We got married 2 weeks before moving to Australia to study; it’s been an incredible adventure thus far. I have my Bachelor’s degree in fashion and worked in New York for 8 years as a stylist and an editor, but I am excited to see what this new endeavour will bring.

Do you have any hobbies?
I collect Native American jewellery and vintage clothing from the 20’s and 30’s. I love hunting for one of a kind pieces at flea markets and antique shops. I guess I’m sort of an old soul at heart, but I love it anyway.

Favourite Snack?
I’m torn between the salted coconut gelato at my favourite gelato shop, and fresh chips and guacamole…

What are your dreams?
I have a dream to see people set free from oppression and bondage; my life and dreams changed drastically when I had my eyes opened to the injustices of the world like human trafficking and child prostitution. If I could be used by God to set even one person free I would be completely humbled. My husband and I also dream about having some sort of refuge for people who are hurting and who need the love of God; our hearts burn for the homeless, for prostitutes and drug addicts, victims of human-trafficking and for widows and orphans. I’m not sure exactly what it will look like but I know it will be absolutely beautiful.

What are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about seeing people healed and whole, knowing their true value and worth.

If you could speak to girls 5 – 10 years younger than you, what would you say?
Protect your heart. And don’t let people influence your view of God. He is so much bigger and better than any of us could ever imagine. Know that you are worthy of the holy, perfect, sacrificial love that can only be found in Jesus. Don’t let the world lie to you and tell you that you’re only valuable if you look a certain way. The devil would love to consume your thoughts and have you obsess over your weight or men, but the truth is you are a Royal Priestess and the power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead resides within you. Prophesy over people; pray for people, love people. Don’t compare yourself to other girls but empower each other to do the stunning work of the Father. Get the Word of God deep within you so you can find comfort and peace in any situation. “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” Luke 10:19 (NIV)

What do you love about Colour Conference?
I love Colour Conference because I know it goes beyond four walls. Once a woman is freed, healed and experiences the vast love of the Father, it is impossible to not act in love on behalf of those who have been mistreated and forgotten.

Who is Jesus to you?
I was afflicted and storm-battered and He rebuilt me with stones of turquoise and laid my foundations with sapphires (Isaiah 54:11-17 MSG). He healed me and made me whole. He loves me with a holy, pure love that can’t be found anywhere else. He fights on my behalf. He’s my protector, my hope and my strength. He’s my source of love, peace and compassion. He is my everything.

Heather's Salvation Story

I grew up in a small town in Ohio and had a beautiful childhood with loving, wonderful Christian parents. As a child I went to church and loved Jesus; but as I grew, like many teenagers, I felt like being a Christian was all about what you could and could not do. I never fully understood the grace of the Father, I never experienced the vast depth of Jesus’ love, I never felt the power of the Holy Spirit and the Bible seemed to be a book of fairy tales. I entered college and decided to study fashion and moved to New York City to pursue a career. I always felt God calling me to something else, a faint whisper I can’t explain but I’m sure you all know it. I ignored the voice, quit going to church and was quickly acquainted with the party scene in New York, so stereotypical, but it was where I found community and fleeting fun. None of my newly founds friends had a relationship with God, most were Atheist or “spiritual but not religious.” After a few years of relentless partying, failed relationships and hopeless jobs I became an Atheist. One night would haunt me for a long time; a stranger followed me home and attempted to rape me. I lost all my faith in humanity that night and decided that God was just a fictional character in a dark world. The funny thing is, my career began to take off at this time and I got a job working for Ralph Lauren as a stylist. Photographers and creatives in the industry who I had looked up to became colleagues of mine. Meanwhile, my personal life was a disaster. I entered into a two-year relationship that became physically and verbally abusive and I felt trapped. I lost all self-esteem and dignity. I would try to relieve the pain with drugs and alcohol but that only made me feel worse. My anxiety was so bad that I couldn’t eat and weighed 100 lbs. No one was concerned with the weight loss because I worked in the fashion industry in New York City and the skinnier you are the better; I had never felt so alone in my entire life.

Thankfully, a couple of the girls who I worked with attended Hillsong NYC. They had invited me a few times but I always said no. My sweet parents decided to come visit me and I didn’t want them to miss a Sunday at church so I asked Jocelyn (from work) to save us seats. My heart was so hardened and I was so bitter; I stood there, arms folded, and thought to myself “this is stupid.” At the end of service, Jocelyn pulled me aside with tears in her eyes and said she had a vision of me lying limp, nearly dead in God’s arms and as He held me, He cried over me washing me in His tears asking me to “Come home.” I finally felt something for the first time in months and I burst into tears. For weeks I could not shake that vision, I felt the Holy Spirit wake me up every morning and whisper “I have so much more for you.” I finally surrendered it all to Him. My heart had been so broken that I learned to harden it so I wouldn’t feel anything, so the first thing I asked God to do was melt away the hardness, help me feel again, help me to love people again. I was so broken and insecure I didn’t think I would ever be able to trust or find joy again. But He did it. He’s completely transformed my life and renewed my mind; He bound up my broken heart and restored my soul. “You did it: you changed my wild lament into whirling dance; You ripped off my black mourning band and decked me with wildflowers. I’m about to burst with song; I can’t keep quiet about you. God, my God, I can’t thank you enough.” Psalm 30:11-12 (MSG)

Fast forward three years and I am married to an incredible Christian man and attending Hillsong College with a passion to bring the love of Jesus even to the darkest of places. I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life, I have found my identity and purpose in Jesus and I just love Him so much. How He longs to heal your broken heart and set you free!