EMILY A. COX
I Am Inspired By My Biological Grandmother:
Dr. Elizabeth Kotlowski
Dr. Elizabeth Kotlowski is best known for her desire to see children experience a life-changing encounter with God. Her recent book, Let the Children, was motivated by an encounter with the love of her Heavenly Father while alone in her living room in 2002. This birthed in Elizabeth a passion for God’s presence, and that his children should experience him too.
Elizabeth’s vision is to see prayer put back into the Australian primary public schools. Inspired by her association with the Australian Children’s Prayer Network (which she writes about in her book), Elizabeth is helping to raise up an army of praying children. This is part of a “children in prayer” global prayer movement to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord.
Dr. Elizabeth Rogers Kotlowski is a freelance prophetic writer, poet, and author of five books, including Southland of the Holy Spirit: A Christian History of Australia (1994); Stories of Australia’s Christian Heritage (2006), and Let the Children (2007).
An Australian, Elizabeth grew up in the high country of East Gippsland, Victoria. After graduating from Melbourne State (Teachers’) College and Cumberland College of Health Sciences (NSW), she went to Britain to continue post-graduate studies in child psychiatric occupational therapy under Dr. Blanchard Rogers of Crichton Royal Hospital, Dumfries, Scotland. While there, Dr. Kotlowski met and married Polish Canadian medical doctor, neuropsychiatrist, and war hero, Dr. Kazimierz Kotlowski, a widower with two boys.
In 1962, Elizabeth emigrated with her husband to Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, where their other four boys were born. After her husband’s death in 1973, Dr. Kotlowski and her four youngest sons moved to the United States, where she lived till her return to Australia in 1999. Dr. Kotlowski holds three Masters’ Degrees-in Public Affairs Journalism, Public Policy, and Missiology (missions), as well as a Doctor of Ministry Degree, from Regent University, Virginia Beach, Virginia. Dr. Kotlowski has worked with children all her life, as mother, teacher, occupational therapist, and children’s pastor.
Elizabeth also possesses credentials and experience in herbal medicine and naturopathy. She lectured in biblical principles of health and healing at Regent University, Virginia Beach, and has conducted seminars in churches in the US and Australia.
One memorable cold, blustery day in November 1959, I boarded an Italian liner and sailed out of Port Phillip Bay, bound for merry England. As the Melbourne smog melted with the horizon, I never guessed it would be forty long years before I would call Australia “home” again.
I’d like to tell you something about my personal journey, my story, so you, the reader, will understand where I have come from and what is in my heart. Kidspray Clubs has come out of a new-found passion-a passion for God’s presence, and that his children (my other passion) would experience him too. Such a God encounter will change their lives, as it has mine. Such a God-encounter will turn children into world changers.
The eldest of three girls, I grew up on Wulgulmerang, a 2,600-acre sheep and cattle property in Victoria, sixteen miles from the Snowy River. My Dad, Lionel (Dick) Churchill Rogers, was another “Man from Snowy River,” who helped pioneer the high country of East Gippsland, and my Mum, Heather Geraldine (Stutterd) Rogers, was a beloved bush nurse. I remember well the day Dad brought home Rosy, a temperamental brumby, fresh from the Australian bush, to test my riding skills for the next few years. Wulgulmerang, which in the Aboriginal language means, “Where are you going?” was to be prophetic of my life story.
Raised in a church-going evangelical Anglican family, I received Jesus as my Savior at the age of ten, as a result of reading a Scripture Union tract given to me by my godly English grandmother. I was active in children and youth work: Sunday Schools, beach missions, “round-ups,” and camps during my teens and early twenties. It was during those formative years that God planted in me a passion for child evangelism, and at the age of fifteen I felt called to China.
I trained as a primary school teacher at Melbourne State (Teachers’) College and taught in state schools for three years, later in Christian schools in the United States. In my mid-twenties, I attended Sydney University to study occupational therapy as a second career, and I have worked with children in various clinical settings in Australia, Scotland, and for ten years in the Virginia Beach City Schools, USA.
In 1959, I went off to see the world and while in Scotland I met and married Polish Canadian medical doctor, neuropsychiatrist, and war hero, Dr Kazimierz Kotlowski, a widower with two young boys. In 1962, I immigrated with my husband to Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, where our other four sons were born. After my husband’s death in 1973, we moved to the United States where I attended Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas, and later, Rhema Bible Training Centre in Tulsa, Oklahoma. After graduating, I taught the Bible every morning at Charlie Fowler Christian School in Mountain View, Arkansas.
Later, I served as Children’s Pastor at New Life Bible Church (Norvel Hayes’ Ministries) in Cleveland, Tennessee for three years, and organized seminars for 200 children and youth for Norvel Hayes’ Ministries. In Cleveland God enlarged my vision for children-a vision that has since become the motivating force of my life.
I founded Adventure Clubs International and taught pastors and leaders how to start Adventure Clubs for children in their own neighborhoods to reach unsaved children and teens.
In 1987 I moved to Virginia Beach, Virginia, to study journalism at Regent University, a Christian graduate college (founded by Pat Robertson), where I obtained three master’s degrees: in journalism, public policy, and missiology (missions), as well as a Doctor of Ministry degree.
I wrote my doctoral dissertation on biblical principles of health and healing. Later, I studied natural healing and practised as a naturopath and medical herbalist. I also taught classes on natural healing at the university and held seminars in local churches on biblical principles of health and healing.
I always had a desire to be a writer and in 1994, still living in the US, I published a book, Southland of the Holy Spirit: A Christian History of Australia, which caused me to think about my roots. In August 1999, God called me back to Australia after forty years’ absence. It was a difficult move, leaving all my family and friends in the US and Canada, but I knew God had called me. I had to relearn the Australian culture and make friends all over again. I was lonely, and mad at God because I was missing my friends and family. The discomfort continued for some years, and I didn’t know why I was here!
The defining moment of my spiritual journey came in July 2002, when I was living at the Entrance North on the Central Coast in New South Wales. I was depressed and desperate, and my Christian counselor was not helping me. Sometimes I would go to church and just lie on the floor and cry! They loved me anyway, and I know they prayed for me. One morning while reading my Bible I said to God, “Maybe I should go to Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship. They’ll fix me up.”
Quickly, the answer came back, “The wind blows where it wants to.” So I knew that God was there-even on my back porch “down under” in Australia that morning, and I didn’t have to go to Toronto to find him. I remembered Psalm 139, verses 9 and 10: “Even if I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall your hand lead me and your right hand shall hold me” (KJV).
“Then what do you want me to do?” I asked the Lord.
“Worship me,” he replied without hesitation.
“Why should I?” I said. “I don’t feel like it.” I saw God as one of those vengeful Viking gods holding a big stick over my head. Even though I knew better, I had the wrong picture of God. The way I saw God had something to do with the way I saw my father, who had been very critical of me; I had never been able to please him. I remember a talk our pastor gave one Sunday night about our loving heavenly Father and the prodigal son. I cried all the way through it because it did not fit the picture of the Daddy I had known. I so much wished for a Daddy God like that.
I had to decide if I was going to worship this God, whether I felt like it or not, just because he said so. I had been making all the right motions by putting my hands in the air and waving banners. But he was asking me for a heart decision. By faith, I finally said, “Yes, Lord, I will worship you.” I was desperate.
So every morning I put on a worship CD and lay on my living room floor, dutifully worshipping him, as he had commanded. Then one morning God came. I did not see anything or hear anything, but I knew he was there. He showed me his true father-heart of love, and it melted my hard heart. Everything changed from that moment. I knew it was really God because all I wanted to do now was to worship him and pray and read the Bible and tell people about him! This wasn’t for a season; it went from days into weeks and months. I laughed and I cried and I laughed and I cried and sometimes I was so “drunk in the spirit” that I could hardly stand up and would stumble around the house in a daze. I had been baptized in the Holy Spirit many years before and was in the practice of speaking in tongues daily, but this was different. I experienced the tangible presence of God without words of any kind. He was real to me; I could hear his voice in my spirit. I could sense his presence, and above all I knew that he loved me. All day every day and for ever.
This was a God experience, not a me experience. It was not an experience I sought, but one that God had sovereignly orchestrated. I had sought God, not an experience, but he gave me an experience of the reality of himself, much like he did to Moses. It was at this time that God spoke to me about teaching RE (religious education) in the state schools. I felt I was going to bust if I didn’t get to talk about Jesus to a regular audience. So God gave me four Grade One classes, which I just loved. It was the highlight of my week and during the next two years, I had opportunity to pray the sinner’s prayer with all 130 of these children.
Two months after that visitation in my living room, I had another life-changing experience. While attending a seminar by Jeremy and Connie Sinnott from the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, I had a vision of my wedding in the historic Greyfriars church in Dumfries, Scotland. Here Comes the Bride was playing as I walked down the aisle in an elegant white embossed satin gown; I could see Kazik, my bridegroom, waiting at the altar . . . and then I saw Jesus standing beside him! He was waiting for me too! I went up to Jesus. He took both my hands, looked at me with eyes full of love, and said, “Elizabeth, I love you much more than your husband ever loved you,” and without reproach he added, with such longing in his eyes, “Elizabeth, I have been waiting such a long time for you to come.” That was the revelation of my heavenly Bridegroom. From that day in September, 2002, I fell in love with Jesus and have been in love with him ever since.
I experience a sense of my heavenly Bridegroom’s presence most days. Regardless of how I feel, I have cultivated the habit of making the time to spend time daily with him, just loving him and letting him love me. I still experience “holy” laughter and crying, which happens to me regularly when I read my Bible with my heart (not my head), or when I am praying or worshipping God, or just “soaking” in his presence. I also receive revelation and hear from God very clearly at such times.
Whatever the passage of Scripture I am reading, it is like a new Book. The Word comes alive to me and truth leaps off the page, truth I had never seen before: the Spirit of God witnesses it is true! It is better than any sermon or teaching I have ever heard. I love his Word so much and can hardly wait to get into it every morning and every night.
I am so hungry! My house is full of thousands of books because I love reading, but even now I just want to read the Bible and worship God and pray all the time, which I cannot because there are other things I must do. I am so in love with Jesus at times that often I cannot think about him or read about him without being overcome by the Spirit of God and I start to cry and laugh in the Spirit.
Note that I did not do anything to deserve these God experiences. Nothing! It was just the sovereign goodness and mercy of God, which is available to everyone. I have never forgotten what my pastor said to me twenty years ago, “Elizabeth, you can have as much of God as you want.” I deserved nothing from God; I was just desperate for him. That is the key. And I didn’t care what people thought. I still have to do spiritual warfare and fight the good fight of faith, but his love is there for me, to soothe my bruises and reassure me of his eternal protection.
I was hungry for God, and still am-every day. I want more. I want to know him more than anything else. One thing I desire: “just to be with you. You are my dream come true; (I have) eyes for only you. You’re the face I seek for all eternity.”