Having already achieved her childhood dream of running a coffee shop, Astrid Liebermann now finds herself in a very different season of life as she navigates the journey of motherhood. Known for her enormous heart for others, you can often find Astrid encouraging someone in their walk. We chatted about what motivates her to reach out and how she makes time to hear from God each day, even as a busy mum.
Interview:Aimee Cowan Read:10 Minutes
Astrid, I heard a story the other day about how you stopped on the side of the road after seeing a couple arguing and asked how you could help them. While most people would just drive past and keep going with their day, you chose to stop. What motivated you to do this?
I think for me, responding to God comes easiest when it’s significant; when you can see the real gap between what life should be and what it is currently, it makes it easy to share about Jesus. That particular day, I pulled over when I saw them arguing and started to pray before I got out of the car. I’ve learnt that if God really, really wants to do something, He will make me know it – my heart starts pounding and my gut drops, because I’m aware of how different His purpose is for that situation. He wanted something better for them in that moment and He wants something better for us all. To see that gap and then have God give me a physical sense of ‘this isn’t ok’, is what motivates me to do something.
But sometimes it’s really small, like having coffee with friends and when you hear they’re not doing so well, those moments are really important to share about Jesus in too. We live our Christian lives in lanes and sometimes we think when we’re speaking to a non-Christian friend that we shouldn’t talk about Jesus very much. Or when we are talking with a Christian, we feel like we can unleash and pray with them. But I don’t think any of our friends should miss out on that because prayer is powerful and sometimes our Christian strategies for surviving might be just what they need to help them survive this season they’re in! I often ask my non-Christian friends if they’ve prayed about a difficult situation or if they’ve asked for help from God. I know I barely survive normal life and so, if God is helping me and one of my friends is struggling, I need to do all I can to make sure they’re looking after themselves and their family. Sometimes that is just reminding them that there is someone out there who cares for them and wants to communicate with them and help them, even when they’re feeling alone
You mentioned that it’s tough to survive normal life even with God, can you give me an example of how you talked to God about a difficult situation you were facing, and He helped you through it?
Only a couple of days ago, I was completely exhausted as my husband and I have just spent the last four months renovating a home, which has been very draining. We are making sacrifices now so that we have more control over how we spend our time later, but in the short term, that means working harder to achieve that. My husband, Craig, and I are very good at running full speed together towards a goal, but when we’re at that goal, it can be very easy to fall in a heap having nothing left. I was really exhausted and tired and had found myself having made choices and compromises that I wasn’t happy with for the long term.
But God really intervened, and I realised that I needed to start making changes to bring about the balanced life we needed and possibly access people who were professionals and knew what they were doing. We need to be ok with asking people around us, like our grandparents and parents, to help us have some time to rest and take care of ourselves. God uses our community – both our personal community but also our church community, and we need to be ok with asking for help when we’re struggling.
You’re definitely right; using the village we have around us for support is so important. Being a mum of a toddler with another bub on the way, how do you make time then to keep yourself spiritually healthy and hear from God?
I was raised in a hippy town where wearing shoes was optional, and so for me, I’m aware of Jesus when I see His creation. Both of my couches in my loungeroom look out to a green hedge and that’s really calming for me to look at. I love sitting out there while Caden is playing on the rocks and just take a moment to connect with God. Long-term spiritual health isn’t about doing this or that, it’s about creating a lifestyle of connection where we allow ourselves to take regular breaths throughout the day. So often we fill our lives with distractions – like when my son is happily playing, I can easily find myself checking Facebook or wanting to text someone, but I have to be very deliberate not to do that. I know I need to take the moments I get to centre myself and say ‘Jesus, I’m taking a breath’. I remind myself that I’m not going to do anything but breathe in that moment and think about how good life is.
We know that our actions speak louder than words when it comes to our kids, so there’s no doubt that Caden will remember all the times you were just present with him! What’s one thing you want him to know about God as he grows up?
I want him to know that you don’t have to be anything before you know Jesus. You don’t have to be an age, or at a particular point in your life: Jesus wants to know you whether you’re two or whether you’re 80.
In this day and age, what do you think stops people from having a relationship with Jesus?
I think we forget how simple Christian life is. It’s about Jesus and you saying that you want His help and that you want more for your life. Sometimes we think of Him as the saviour from the low point, but He is also the person who can help you achieve all that you are meant to be. Sometimes we think of only ‘saviour’ Jesus, but He also is the one who helps bring our dreams to life. We think there’s a perfect time to know Jesus, but every time is a perfect time.
Comparison is rife everywhere you turn, but especially as a mum, there can be a lot of judgement about what choices you make in rearing a child. How do you navigate this?
That’s the great thing about what Jesus did on the cross for us – he took all of our inadequacies. Especially as parents, we can be very aware of our choices and we all have different ways of parenting. For me, in an environment that’s sometimes very comparative, I think it’s good to remember that Jesus took away all inadequacies. On the cross, He took all our sin and everything that separates us from God. Sometimes that’s our self-doubt, our self-comparison or our sin. I know that He loves me and will take care of everything else.
So true! So, what would you say to other mums who might feel like they can’t do as much as they used to do or are struggling with everyday life?
I’d remind them, and myself, that there is no moment too big or too small for our faith and for our Lord to love us in. It’s really easy to forget that the ordinary can be extraordinary – not in terms of ‘our’ definition of extraordinary, but in terms of God’s. When we watch our kids grow and we watch the slow moments and we’re there to see them look up from whatever they’re doing, that is what God wants from us.
Don’t worry too much about the laundry, because your family needs you just to be the best you can be in this season and if you’re struggling, your best is sometimes less than what you expect of yourself. But Jesus is not surprised or put off guard by whatever is going on in your life. When you tell Him about it, ask for help or just celebrate the successes – He knows it already. Take whatever is on your plate and show it to Him because He won’t be surprised!
To watch a short video version of this interview, click here.