Laura Williams (née King)
2008-2011 / Bachelor of Theology (Henderson Campus)
My favourite part of studying at Laidlaw was living in the intentional community. In our study groups we often ended up with fortresses of books built up around us, and a shared bag of lollies from the Pak’n Save pick’n’mix, in the middle – or late night noodle parties. I've attached a photo of one evening when we were at about the end of the road with our brain cells for the night and buried each other in our books.
We used to stay up far too late playing Age of Empires 2, and I can remember an argument ensuing about who was the worst player, myself or Jared Grant (Roland Schreurs was hands-down the best). Jared and I spent 12 hours, from 7 pm to 7 am, trying to set up the ultimate defences before going on the attack to see who would succeed. He decimated me. I am officially the worst player out of everyone on campus.
The course that has stayed with me the longest, and which helped me during some of the hardest times, was David Crawley's Spiritual Formation papers. Learning in humility that different things work for different people, and that people relate differently to God, is something that means more over time the more seasons you live through, and the more people you meet. Sometimes there's lightning, sometimes there's only whispers, and sometimes there's just silence, but they are all equal and valid experiences of faith.
(Here's a photo of myself in one of the trees. When I was trying to do my silence exercises people kept interrupting me to ask if I was okay - so I ended up hiding in trees to get away from everyone.)
I think I came out of Laidlaw a very different person to the one who entered on day one. In many ways I don't actively use my degree as I'm not working in ministry, and due to shifting tides and moving at an awkward time with lockdown I’m not really even currently part of a church. I also still haven't made much of a dent in the student loan, but I wouldn't want to give the knowledge back either. I do use the critical analysis skills in my content writing, and my understanding of epistemology and worldviews very heavily in my fiction.
After Laidlaw, I took a year off to nanny, got married, had kids, and flickered between being a stay-at-home mum and a librarian. I’m now at home again with the kids in school and I write sweet romance fiction – secular, but with occasional themes of faith and inspirational redemption arcs in pretty much every book. (You can find me by googling the Laura Wolf Book Club.) I split my time between writing for my Laura Wolf brand and some work with The Opportunities Party (who are in line with my social justice values), advocating for affordable housing, poverty reduction and trying to get some real change for the New Zealand political landscape. Outside of school hours I am largely building Lego models with my kids.
I also sustained an injury which took a year or so to get back to 90% from. Hoping for that last 10% as well, but all in God's time.
I’m grateful that God is steadfast and unchanging, even when I am not. The world goes through many seasons, and life goes through many seasons, but God is the same. After having kids and running around with toddlers for a good period of time my brain turned to mush and I lost the joy of reading the Bible, but then I found God in the garden. After my injury I was in perpetual pain for a while and lost the ability to do a lot of stuff in the garden, but then I found God in the silence. Even through many different seasons God finds new ways to reveal himself. They're not new to him after all, they're just new to me. (Thanks again, David Crawley, for your awesome course on this.)