According to author Dr Danijela Schubert, many Christians feel disconnected from God because they fail to notice the ways He is working in their lives—and the lessons He is trying to teach them. Her desire to help others connect with God led Dr Schubert to write The Green Dress: And Other Parables From My Life, a new book of personal stories which seeks to help readers deepen their faith and emotional intelligence.
“I believe that God works in our lives,” Dr Schubert said, “but unless we are paying attention, we might not notice what He is doing. And how can we love Him—and feel loved by Him—if we don’t notice Him being good to us?”
Dr Wendy Jackson, Head of Seminary at Avondale University, agrees that this is an important issue. She says many people “fall into the trap of compartmentalising God’s work from the everyday rhythms of their lives.” This can result in a narrow and unfulfilling spiritual life.
But it is not only God that we fail to notice. We also tend to be ignorant of our own emotions and the triggers that cause us to behave in certain ways. “Emotions move us to act. If we don’t examine our emotions, we will live on auto-pilot,” said Dr Schubert, who served the Adventist Church most recently as the director of Women’s Ministries for the South Pacific Division. “We will miss opportunities to use the gift of free will God has given us and to become more like Jesus.” This is where the parables from her life come in.
Published by Signs Publishing, The Green Dress contains 52 devotional readings that prompt reflection on God’s presence in our everyday experiences. Drawn from Dr Schubert’s childhood in Croatia, her work as a lecturer and church administrator, and life as a daughter, sister, wife, mother and friend, these stories are poignant, and sometimes funny, relating struggle and victory, pain and healing, loss and gain. Each is accompanied by a Bible verse and questions for journalling or discussion with friends. The Green Dress also features original illustrations by Maryellen Hacko.
“I hope it will help people to live the life Jesus wants them to live,” Dr Schubert said. “Life that is not compartmentalised or disconnected, but full!”
Women’s Ministries departments across Australia and New Zealand have ordered copies of the book to encourage women to grow in faith and self-awareness in 2024. “We are pleased to have been able to work with Dr Schubert to develop this new devotional book,” said Nathan Brown, book editor at Signs Publishing. “The readings are deceptively short, meaning that they don’t take long to read, but they prompt our thinking for quite a while afterwards—and the illustrations invite colouring-in and further reflection.”
The Green Dress: And Other Parables From My Life is available from Adventist bookstores in Australia and New Zealand or online.