This interview spotlight is for all women who are seeking to inspire and motivate other women to pursue their passion. We want to hear real stories from people we can relate to and learn from. Hope you will be inspired, encouraged and motivated by what they will be sharing. This week we caught up with Chantal Tomlinson.
Hie Chantal, Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a 22 year old young lady, born on the 31st August (best month of the year :p) on the beautiful island of Jamaica. I moved to England when I was 7 years old and have lived here ever since. I’m the eldest to my three younger siblings. I love to laugh and have a good time with those around me. Ultimately it’s my desire to live life to the fullest, live out my God given purpose and share Jesus with as many people as possible!
How did you come to know Jesus Christ and can you briefly share your Christian Journey with us?
I have grown up in the Adventist Church and gave my life to Christ through baptism at the age of 10 years old. I decided to get baptised following an appeal made by a preacher at the end of a sermon. All I knew was that the Lord was calling me to be baptised so I stood up and made the decision. It has been a roller coaster ride since then, with many ups and downs. The Christian journey has been one of growth in knowledge and faith and my understanding of who Christ is and what He expects of me has become clearer day by day. Despite the challenges that are along the way, getting baptised then was the best decision I ever made…it has helped me to keep on the straight and narrow and be where I am today!
What is your significant life bible verse?
Psalms 37:4-5 – Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
What have been some of your joys and greatest challenges as a young christian woman living in this generation?
My greatest joy has been to follow the call from God to attend PEACE (Practical Evangelism and Adventist Christian Education) School of Evangelism and consequently start an Adventist Society at Coventry University. Since attending PEACE, my life has significantly changed for the better, it was there that I realised my purpose is rooted in reaching out to others while using my specific gifts and talents in doing so. Working for God gives the greatest joy above anything else in this world!!! However, I would be lying to say it has been easy. There also has been many challenges. As a ‘leader’ within the group at university, challenges have come through my thoughts which are constantly: ‘Am I representing Christ properly?’ and ‘Are others being influenced in a positive or negative way by my actions?’. The temptation is always there to dwell on my weaknesses, faults and insecurities as well as compare myself to others. This detracts from the fact that it is in my weaknesses I am made strong through Christ (2 Corinthians 12:9). The greatest challenge has been to trust in God COMPLETELY and not rely on what I can do!
Can you share some key lessons that God has taught you or that God is teaching you in this season of your life?
Patience. In this generation we want things to come instantly, however God’s timings are certainly not ours! When we pray for something we need to just wait and believe God will answer it at the right time. James 1:2- has really molded my thoughts on this. In conjunction with my previous point, I’ve been learning what it means to trust in God no matter what! Trusting in God gives you peace above the storms of the issues of life like relationship drama, lack of money, exams and assignments, depression etc. (Read Isaiah 26:3-4) God loves me so much that he just wants me to spend time with Him one to one in prayer and reading about Him in the bible. (See Jeremiah 31:3)
What is your life work or passion? Or what you currently doing?
My passion is working with the Adventist Society at Coventry University with the campus ministries. I love helping to plan events, meet new people, making friends and winning them for Christ. As I have loved doing this so much, after graduating last year, I didn’t want to leave. I expressed this to God and an opportunity came up to continue doing PhD research at University in the area of Religion, Spirituality and Health which I have been able to target to the health of Seventh-day Adventists. I now therefore have the flexibility to work for God with the society for the next few years while progressing in my career while sharing about my faith!
What is a day in your life look like/Can you give us a glimpse into your daily life?
No two days are the same for me at the moment so this question is hard to answer. However I start every day with a devotional group(we study a chapter of the bible each day and pray for particular requests) on the phone with some friends. Then I’ll have my breakfast (the most important meal of the day!)..the rest of the day will depend on my schedule for the day which may involve my part – time job, food shopping, meeting with my friends, completing assignments, organising things for a society/church programme, checking up on students, attending meetings etc. In every day I try to find time to either watch a sermon or read something that will feed me spiritually and challenge me to live better. I would love to say I have the perfect routine where I fit everything in, however I’m such a spontaneous and impulsive person that I go with the flow which sometimes means I procrastinate and miss things out. Therefore I’m trying to fine tune my days and set a routine to ensure that every day includes more quality and dedicated time to God, exercise and reading so that I don’t just squeeze them in wherever and whenever. That’s one thing I would appreciate if you could pray with me about because it’s certainly a struggle!
What advice would you give to other young women who want to pursue the same degree you studied? Or who are thinking of becoming dieticians?
I would say that you should if possible see if you can shadow an acute dietitian to get a feel for the profession. You need to be motivated and believe this profession is for you to get through the degree and placements required. Understanding what the role typically involves will help. If you have an interest in a particular area, try and shadow a dietitian in that role. Universities are looking for individuals that are passionate about the field and possess the attributes needed to succeed as a dietitian, i.e. empathy, care, compassion, good listener, positive, conscientious, good integrity, respect etc. Make sure you can show that you tick the boxes 🙂
In hindsight, I wish I did more of my own extra reading/researching into things. When being taught, do your own research into the topics to gain a wider and better understanding. This is especially true if you are Seventh-day Adventists (SDA) we have many resources on Nutrition and Health, read them and see how they compare to scientific research. We have a wealth of knowledge in the SDA church….make the most of it!
What is your desire for the young women of our generation?
My desire is to see us living out our God-given purposes in whatever form that takes. God WILL and CAN do great things through us, we just have to be open and willing to follow where God leads!
What are some of your favourite things?
I love travelling, driving, fruits (I can’t go a day without them!), vegan desserts, playing football and having a good laugh with friends 🙂
What advice would you give your younger self?
Relationships are not the be all and all to life. You can be happy without one. Use your time as young single to:
1. Get to know God personally
2. Find out God’s purpose for your life
3. Do the things you enjoy
4. Get to know yourself as a person
How can other young women get involved in your student ministry? Especially those who are at coventry University or who will be starting University there in September? And where can they find you online?
If you are coming to Coventry University, get in touch with me and I’ll put you in contact with the rest of the group and let you know what’ll be happening. Equally if you’ll be starting at another university let me know, I may know someone at the university you are going to who I can put you in contact with!