Sex, drugs and rock & roll – to Amway – to Christ
Anne Lim’s unconventional conversion
It’s unusual to hear people claim that Amway led them to Christ.
But this is the crux of the Christian journey for Anne Lim, Eternity‘s retiring writer.
Anne has written countless conversion stories over her past five years at Eternity – testimonies about the transformative power of a relationship with Jesus, lives turned around by redeeming grace.
And so, when looking to sum up the contribution that Anne has made not only through Eternity but in her 28 years as a Christian and 40-plus as a journalist, the perfect candidate to write such a story is Anne herself!
But as she finishes up at Eternity this week, her voice through an interview must now suffice.
“I lived as a wild child – sex, drugs and rock & roll – for a while there.”
“I was brought up in the church. I could recite the Apostles’ Creed by heart. I was confirmed. But somehow it didn’t stick,” Anne begins, when asked to sit in the interviewee’s seat for once.
“When I got to university, I had the choice to go to church or not to go to church. I fell away and got involved in student politics and feminism, or women’s lib as we used to call it in those days, and I became quite politicised.
“I was part of the sexual revolution. I was convinced that my parents were very old-fashioned in believing that sex was only for marriage. I thought that was ridiculous! So I lived as a wild child – sex, drugs and rock & roll – for a while there.”
And yet, Anne says she never quite let go of her sense of “God”.
“I found another religion in uni. I remember saying at the time that I was a ‘floating pilgrim’. I had a sense of spirituality, but I didn’t quite know where I was going to land it. So I was a seeker.
“I think I always believed in God and would turn to God in a crisis, but I didn’t live God’s way.”
When Anne met the love of her life – her now husband Michael – at age 36, she decided it was time to settle down and have a family. Michael had also grown up in a Christian household, but was not a practising Christian either.
However, when Anne gave birth to their first son, Harry, her spiritual eyes were opened.
“I thought, ‘well, I need to know what’s in the Bible’.”
“I was absolutely overwhelmed by God’s grace,” she says. “I thought, ‘how can God be so loving and so good to give me this precious child when I don’t deserve it at all?
“I just felt such gratitude that I started to talk about it with Michael and we decided we’d like to get Harry baptised.”
At the time, the couple didn’t know any Christians – until they joined Amway. (You can read more about Anne’s Amway experiences here.)
One of the members in their Amway network was a Uniting Church minister, who offered to baptise baby Harry at St Stephen’s Uniting Church in Sydney.
After the baptism, the Lims began attending church there.
“I think we responded to the gospel to some extent there. I certainly remember feeling that this Jesus that the minister was preaching about was an incredibly vivid character that I didn’t know, and who I wanted to know,” Anne explains.
A few years later, they moved to St Matthias Anglican Church, Centennial Park (eastern Sydney).
As the minister then, Phillip Jensen, preached from the biblical book of 1 Timothy – “you know the passage, the one about women having to learn in quietness and submission” – Anne says it nearly “blew me out of the water”.
While her feminist values made her want to reject this outright, she says Jensen was “such a Spirit-filled preacher, you cannot just dismiss him.”
“So I had to look at the evidence. I thought, ‘well, I need to know what’s in the Bible.’ So I finally succumbed to invitations to join a Bible study and began to try and make up my mind myself.”
In her search to find answers on this particular teaching, Anne became a Christian.
“That was just one thread that I struggled with in Christianity – and continue to struggle with in a way – but I was just amazed to think that God had made himself vulnerable and came down to earth in the form of Jesus to save me from all the sinful things I’ve done.
“That really was incredible to me – when I realised I could be assured of going to heaven, despite everything I’ve done, because of what Jesus has done.”
Anne still describes herself as “a work in progress”
Over the past 28 years, Anne has stood her ground as a Christian in the rough-and-tumble of mainstream journalism, notably at The Australian for 23 years. And, of course, both her faith and writing skills coalesced at Eternity to leave a legacy of countless Christ-filled stories.
Alongside her career, Anne has nurtured her family (Michael and her two sons, Harry and Gabriel) and been a devoted member of her church, St Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney, where she’s particularly enjoyed ESL teaching. She’s also a budding Bible storyteller and evangelist – a skill that will no doubt continue to blossom in her retirement.
Yet, with trademark humility, Anne still describes herself as “a work in progress” in terms of Christian growth.
“I think I’ve been very unmalleable material in some respects, but I can definitely see the changes in me over the years.
“I’m not one of these people who becomes instantly transformed. It’s been slow but definitely noticeable change.”
To celebrate Anne’s contribution to Eternity, we’re sharing a “highlights reel” of some of her best stories. Last week we gave you her top five, and now we’re offering five more of her fabulous features. Enjoy!