Six years after winning Masterchef 2011, kitchen whiz, mum and committed Christian Kate Bracks was recently in Perth, speaking about her TV appearances and other choices where she got a lot more than she bargained for.
Kate describes her Masterchef experience and the flurry of activity afterwards as “an alternate universe” and “a few years of crazy” before she returned to the primary school teaching she had trained for. She now teaches food technology and religious education in Orange, NSW, while continuing to raise her three children, aged 14, 12 and 10, with husband Luke.
She remembers her decision to enter the Masterchef competition as one with long-lasting consequences, many of which were unforeseen.
“Each of us have those decisions, sometimes really well thought out, sometimes made in a split second,” she shares, “where we can look back and see that they changed the rest of the course of our life.”
Sometimes those decisions also cost us what we could not have anticipated. In Kate’s Masterchef experience that was eight very difficult months away from her family that she didn’t count on and wouldn’t have signed up for had she realised beforehand.
But she had not expected to make the first 50, or then to make it more than a few weeks on the show. She certainly never anticipated winning the event, and all the public speaking and other opportunities that would open up for her since.
Another decision the result of which Kate could not have anticipated, was one to go on a mission trip to Thailand while at university. On the trip to help at underprivileged schools, which Kate was initially reluctant to sign up for, she met future husband Luke.
However, the decision that preceded both those life-changing events and had the most profound impact on Kate’s future, was her decision to hand the reins of her life over to Jesus when she was 21, and commit to living for Him.
Although Kate grew up in a Christian family, attending church regularly, this was not an automatic decision for her.
“Growing up I thought God was a party pooper and that if I took Him seriously I would have to give up all the things I enjoyed and keep a whole long list of rules,” she remembers wryly, “I just wanted to party and have a good time and I thought God would take away my fun.”
Then one night Kate was going out the door when she caught a glimpse of her reflection in the mirror and thought: “Who are you? Why are you here?” And so began a journey of exploration to find the answers to the big questions of life.
“I asked old people (since I thought they would be the ones to know), read books and watched videos,” she recalls. “I read about all religions, New Age ideas and people’s own philosophies. And I also went back to church.”
Over the course of a year Kate came to realise that the God of the Bible was a God who acts for us on our behalf in order to make possible a relationship with Him.
“I realised that Christianity is not about me and what I’ve done or what I’m doing, but about Jesus and what He has already done for me,” Kate reveals.
God sent Jesus into the world to die on the cross so that He could take our separation from God on our behalf. All we have to do is believe that Jesus paid the price for our wrongdoing (sin) in full.
Kate explains sin is like a cold. “The runny nose and the sneezing are the symptoms of the underlying virus, in the same way that the bad things we do are the symptoms of the infection of sin in our lives. Sin is more than the wrong things we do or the right things we don’t do, it is our rejection of God as the rightful boss of our lives,” she clarifi es.
She shares how reading the Bible story of Jesus making wine at the wedding in Cana revealed to her that God is not a party pooper but that in that story He kept the party going, anticipating the greatest party of history when He celebrates His marriage to His Bride, the church.
“My response to a God who would die for me, is to live His way. I read the Bible and try to find out what God wants me do to in my life, I go to church to encourage others and to be encouraged, but that is not what makes me a Christian,” Kate explains. “It is not what I do that makes me right with God.
“Sometimes being a Christian makes life easier and sometimes being a Christian makes life harder, but there is no religion or philosophy that offers the answers to the big questions of life, and a true sense of peace, like the God of the Bible - because there is no other God like Him.”•