25 February 2024

Unusual dreams lead shoe designer to find Jesus

Karen Strickland with her sons Ethan and Edward at their recent citizenship ceremony. Image: Supplied.

Kirralee Nicolle

27 October 2022

New faith has helped a recently-baptised parishioner at St John’s Cranbourne let go of anger and stress.

After a stressful workplace experience, a series of dreams led Karen Strickland to St John’s.

“I find now that I don’t want to hold onto resentment or hate or anger towards anybody,” she said. “Accepting Jesus into your life allows you to do that.”

Ms Strickland said the catalyst for her decision to follow Jesus began with COVID-19.

“COVID came along, and my job became really quite stressful,” she said.

The footwear designer, originally from the United Kingdom, moved to Melbourne with her husband and two sons in 2015 after a job offer from a large retail store. Ms Strickland said when the pandemic hit, her involvement in design tasks decreased and she was often in back-to-back meetings. She said she started to become very unhappy.

“During COVID, it all just bombed,” Ms Strickland said. “The atmosphere in the office just became toxic. There were a lot of people crying. I was like I just want to leave, I don’t want to be in this job anymore. I didn’t want to stay in that environment. I’d never been quite so depressed.”

Ms Strickland said with her husband’s income as support, she decided to leave her job. She sought solace in nature to escape the constancy of technology and found herself having unusual dreams. In these dreams her grandmother, a Christian, would appear. Ms Strickland said the dreams left her with the strong sense that she needed to find a church.

Read more: Love and mutual support key to blended family’s faith decisions

“It wasn’t anything in particular,” she said. “I would be in an open space and she would just be there. It was kind of unconscious.”

Ms Strickland said the dreams gave her the impression that there was more to life than just the hustle and bustle of a career.

“I suppose I felt like I needed to come to a church to feel that peace,” she said. “I wanted to learn more about God and Jesus.”

Ms Strickland said she grew up attending a Church of England parish at Easter and Christmas, so was drawn to the Anglican church. Through attending St John’s, she found different connections to what she had found in her workplace.

“I formed some really nice connections with people,” Ms Strickland said. “It’s just been like a family.”

She said through a mentor at St John’s, she decided to pray and ask Jesus for salvation in June. When Ms Strickland told vicar the Reverend Sam Bleby of her salvation experience, he suggested she get baptised.

“I was like yeah, why not? Why wait, just do it,” she said.

Ms Strickland said her newfound faith had helped her to let go of anger and better handle stress, traits which have helped both her marriage and her search for a new workplace.

“I feel really happy and blissful in my life at the moment,” she said. “Letting go – it lifts you and it frees you.”

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