Jo Fuller writes: At 35, I still feel like My Story is being written.
I view “My Story” as a novel, and therefore there have been a few chapters written so far, with hopefully many more to come. Thankfully there has been a guiding light in my life, even if I have been blind to Him at times.
Chapter one: Childhood
I had a great childhood filled with lots of playing, swimming, creativity and the great outdoors. I grew up in a Christian family, in a small town and I was very shy. Yet I always had big dreams with a heart for adventure due to travelling overseas at an early age. My family went on a mission trip when I was five and this left a huge impression on me as I experienced children living in mud huts with no toys and yet still smiled, laughed and welcomed me as their ‘sister’.
I always loved to read and write, and I had high standards, goals and was quite ‘achievement’ oriented (read high grades, high expectations on myself, leadership roles, and the like). God had a bit of work ahead in breaking this achievement mentality I held as a marker of success and worth.
Due to leaving school for a year to travel with my family at the age of 15, my eyes were widened even more to how other people lived and it was from then on I wanted to do something with my life that would involve travelling and being with and helping people from other cultures. My ideas went from flight attendant, to travel presenter, UN Ambassador, writer, lawyer, actress, TESOL teacher, to name just a few.
Chapter two: Leaving School
After high school, I did a DTS through YWAM, Fiji. This was a wonderful experience for me as it combined travelling with living with people from other cultures. I loved it for many reasons, but largely due to encountering Jesus in a real and intimate way, while making life-long friends and sharing Christ’s love to others.
After YWAM an opportunity arose for me to live in the US with a lovely family, which opened amazing opportunities and I was able to meet some incredible people. I then travelled solo for a little longer to Europe. I am thankful God protected me, as I found myself in some unsafe situations at times and I am thankful I was able to travel and stay with some YWAM friends along the way. I interned at a law firm in London as I was then interested in law. I also started communicating with a very nice guy from my childhood who was living back home.
Chapter three: Uni Years
After a good, yet lonely time in London, I returned home to begin my degree in journalism as I realised law wasn’t for me, and I also began my first, real relationship. I had always enjoyed writing and was good at it at school so I thought journalism would combine my interest in writing and travelling and social justice. During my degree I got engaged (yes to that very nice guy from my childhood!).
Chapter four: Early Marriage
We got married and I moved to Brisbane. I then furthered my education and completed a post-graduate degree in Education (I surprisingly discovered I really enjoyed teaching) while dabbling in freelance writing. I taught for a little while, and then my husband and I travelled for two years. We taught in London and travelled in the school breaks and had a really great time together. I always continued to write, but not in a formal way. On our way home from our travels we became pregnant with our first child.
Chapter five: Children
I feel there has been a distinct line drawn in the road of our life; life before children and life after children. While children are an amazing gift from God I would be lying to say it’s all sunshine and roses.
After a traumatic birth experience and a very difficult first year the road of parenting was a little rough for us to begin with. We were still settling into life back in Australia and for probably the first time in my life I began to feel a loss of control, a loss of achievement, a loss of identity, and a feeling of intense failure. Looking back, I now know I was suffering from postnatal anxiety and at times depression. But God is so good and wasn’t about to let me go.
Chapter six: Journey to Wholeness
Soon after I returned home, my sister told me about a potential writing opportunity with Christian Today. She thought it would be a gentle way to get back into writing. She was right! I wrote on things that God was speaking to me on and in a way, it was a turning point for my focus to be solely on Him rather than worldly success or achievement and it greatly helped me through the difficult first year of parenting. And so, after time I healed; emotionally, physically and mentally and I do believe writing played an instrumental role to my healing. We moved back to my hometown, where I continued to teach casually while also spending time with our son, and after three years we expanded our family.
I have been so blessed with a wonderful, supportive husband and a beautiful son and daughter.
With the birth of my daughter, there was a real spiritual birth that happened within me as well. The “fruit” to this beautiful time was a lot of creative writing. New words inspired from Him, a new mindset and a clear direction to take. And so, I am trying to take steps on this path I feel God wants me to journey on. Writing that will glorify Him and ultimately lead others to Him.
A journey to wholeness; of spirit, soul and body.
The rest is still unwritten…
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Romans Chapter 8 verse 28
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 25 books, and enjoys writing. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded ‘The Gutenberg’ - the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award. In September 2020 Summer Moore presented her commission portrait of Dr Mark Tronson holding the Gutenberg plaque. He and David Chang editor of Christian Today together bought the young writer ministry into fruition in 2009. In 2011 Mark established Laguna Quays Respite (Whitsundays) for missionary respite and replicated at Aldinga Beach 2016 (Adelaide) and Greens Beach Bass Straight (TAS). His ministry is honoured all these years by Christian philanthropist Mr Basil Sellers AM. He is married to Delma (44 years), with four adult married children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html