McGrath lives with her husband, Peter, in Coffs Harbour, Australia. They have
four grown children and one grandchild. Cheryl and the team from Great South
Land Ministries minister at local, national and international levels as the Holy
Spirit directs. Their vision is to see God's people equipped,
matured and sent forth in the fullness of Jesus Christ.
Cheryl has been an inspiration to those of us at GWTW, particularly through her
writing in Bread
for the Bride, a subscription list which she sends worldwide. She
writes forcefully and well. You can read her outstanding article
Uncovering the Covering Doctrine
on our website. For more great articles see their website at
www.greatsouthland.org. You can
contact Cheryl at
Testimony of Cheryl
Don't you love the way God has of making some of His vessels into living
trophies of His own wisdom and grace? I often feel my life is an
ongoing demonstration of 1 Corinthians 1:27-29, which says: "No, for God
selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is foolish to put the wise
to shame, and what the world calls weak to put the strong to shame.
And God also selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is lowborn and
insignificant and branded and treated with contempt, even the things that
are nothing, that He might depose and bring to nothing the things that are,
so that no mortal man should (have pretense for glorying and) boast in the
presence of God." (Amplified Bible). Well, in all honesty, I can't
think of any other reason why He would choose me to experience many of the
things He's allowed me to do together with Him! It's been an
exhilarating, sometimes painful, often lonely, and always unpredictable
journey so far. Let me share some of it with you!
From my earliest childhood, I can't remember a day in my life when I wasn't
aware there was a God and that He was profoundly interested in me.
Neither of my parents and none of my relatives that I know of were
born-again Christians. My heritage is a mixture of English
Protestantism and Italian/Irish Catholicism, which made any discussion on
religion in our family out of the question. A close aunt apparently
took pity on my lack of religious education and enrolled me along with my
cousins in a Baptist Sunday School when I was about seven or eight.
The Baptists did well in confirming my secret suspicion there was a God; and
from that time on, I began to carry on regular conversations with Him -
albeit mostly one way as I remember! It wasn't until I was around
twelve or thirteen I heard the gospel for the first time in a way I could
understand, thanks to the mother of a close friend. Now I knew for
sure what I'd always suspected - He was after me, always had been, and I had
a choice to make. As I was contemplating these things, a deep
revelation of Jesus taking my place on the Cross was given to me; and I
surrendered my life to Him.
What do you do when you are thirteen years old, born again, and the only one
in your family following Jesus? Well, you do the best you can I guess,
and you learn to pray - a lot! I now thank God for those early,
difficult years of my Christian walk because it was during that time a
strong foundation of prayer was laid in my life. Having no one else to
talk intimately with about so many of the questions in my mind, many times I
would slip out of the house after dinner to sit alone with God under the
stars and pour out my heart to Him. Forty years later, I often still
slip away from family and friends to do that same thing!
My denominational history has been another interesting aspect of my journey.
At various times in my life I have found myself fellowshipping (or at least
trying to) among Anglicans, Catholics, Baptists, Congregationalists,
Methodists, Pentecostals and Charismatics. In the early seventies, a
friend introduced me to the Pentecostal movement. I experienced the
baptism of the Holy Spirit and spent the following twenty years in various
Pentecostal denominations, predominantly Assemblies of God. In the
early nineties, the Lord placed me with the Charismatics; but told me it was
"for a season only." Then, after thirty-five years and several scars, the
Lord called me out of denominationalism, and I'm now involved in the house
Now, at the age of 55, as I look back over forty plus years of being moulded
into the image of Christ, I can only shake my head and marvel at His
unlimited grace and patience with me. I have been so stubborn, and He
has been abundantly patient. I have been so fearful, and He has been
deeply understanding. I have been so fickle, and He has been so
consistent. I have not believed in myself, but He has always believed
in me. In hindsight, I can see that throughout my entire life He has
been striving to bring me to a place of freedom in Him that I had no idea
even existed when I gave Him my life at that tender age of thirteen.
For more years than I can remember, I was taught and believed an erroneous
understanding of the Biblical principal of submission. Many times
during those years the Lord was calling me to take up leadership among His
people, but to do so would have been contrary to the doctrine of the
"submission of women" in which I had been so deeply immersed, especially
among the Pentecostals. I was an abdicator.
Listen to me, women, if you must choose between the Lord's call on your life
and the false teachings of your denomination, there is no choice! If I
could gather all the Christian women of the world into one single place at
one time and give them a message it would be this: Christ died to make us
free! He came to set at liberty those who are bruised! From the
very beginning of history, womankind has borne the bruises of
discrimination, blame, hatred and contempt at the hands of those who still
need a "spiritual scapegoat". Woman is not without sin, but neither is
she responsible for sin being in the world! To our shame, nowhere is
this "bruising" of women more evident than in the religiously bound sections
of the Christian church.
The religious spirit seeks to crush and
destroy the collective spirits of those women who are found "in Christ"
because the religious spirit itself is "anti-Christ." The religious spirit
is quite content to tolerate and even flatter women who willingly submit to
its demand for subjection, thereby stifling and quenching whatever anointing
might lie dormant and waiting in them. However, when once the
Anointing, (which is the very meaning of Christ - "anointed One") begins to
be given free reign in a woman's life, those who are still bound in dead
religion will do all in their power to crush that woman at any cost.
If you identify with this experience, fear not. Long ago God Himself
prophesied that the very one who wants to crush you will himself be bruised
and crushed by the Offspring of the woman - Jesus Christ. It is the
Anointing that breaks every yoke. And I believe that as the yoke of
dead, Christ-less religion, is broken off the neck of women, so they will
move out in His anointing to set more women free. It is the time for
women and men as well, to be healed of religion's bruises.
Mercifully, the Lord saw fit in His grace to re-arrange my life until my
priorities came into His right order. The Cross became His means of
discipline and refinement. A business venture failed leaving my
husband and me in debt beyond our means. I almost lost one of my four
children to a serious drug overdose. Another child suffered a
breakdown and was left permanently, mentally ill. My church didn't
want to know me or my family. Several other things I don't need to go
into here - enough to say He used all means available to spin me around and
turn me rightside up!
In 1996, the Lord led my husband and me to establish Great South Land
At that time, I started a newsletter for Australian intercessors and began
teaching schools of prophetic intercession. Having had a personal
intercessory ministry to leaders for many years, I thought then that
teaching and raising up prophetic intercessors would be my ministry for the
remainder of my life. Little did I understand it was my obedience and
faithfulness that was being tested.
In August 2000, I was given a prophetic vision in which I stood with Jesus
in a huge and high palatial building that overlooked all the nations of the
earth. As we looked out at the nations together the Lord said to me,
"What do you see?" I answered "Nations, Lord". He said, "All these My
Father has given into My Hand." I agreed, "Yes Lord, these are your
inheritance." Then, turning to Me He frankly asked, "Will you help Me?"
Unsure of what He meant I simply said "Yes, Lord."
Then, He led me into a large, beautiful ballroom with an open doorway
through which I could see a winding marble staircase ascending from the
earth. Women of all ages and descriptions were climbing the staircase
and gathering in the huge room. As I gazed at this multitude of women,
I was amazed at their diversity. Elderly women were nursing newborn
baby girls, and every age group in-between. Also, all nations and skin
colours were present as well as many different lifestyles and backgrounds.
Some were wearing tattoos, body piercings, and other items indicating they
had come out from alternative lifestyles such as witchcraft, lesbianism, and
Every kind of human female was represented in the crowd as they gathered
there in the ballroom with still more coming up the stairs and through the
doorway to join them. Some of the women were sad, some were angry,
some confused - but one thing I understood as I gazed at the gathering
crowd, was that ALL of these women had suffered some form of abuse, be it
emotional, physical, sexual, or spiritual. Then, the Lord turned again
to me and, indicating the host of women, said very plainly, "All of these My
Father has given into My Hand." Again I answered "Yes Lord." And then, He
looked at me squarely and asked, "Will you help Me?"
Because of this vision, Women for the Nations (WFN) was established.
WFN is simply the name given to our ministry activities and outreaches to
women. Through seminars and conferences, we seek to help women
understand from scripture that the Lord never intended for them to sit in
silent subjection in His church, waiting in frustration for opportunity to
fulfil their God-given callings. The scriptures, when searched
sincerely and factually, teach no such thing. Our long-term vision for
WFN is to help release Christian women into the full potential of their
equal functions and callings to ministry and leadership within His Body, and
to encourage them in their roles as His witnesses across the nations of the
Since the Lord asked me that searching question back in August
2000, I have been privileged to minister to women in Australia, Africa and
Asia. As part of this endeavor, I have also led small bands of women
on ministry and mission trips in Australia, New Zealand and Africa.
Stepping into the outworking of this vision to release women from dead
religious bondage has been far from easy, but enormously worthwhile.
As the Lord opens doors, I would love to give more and more women
opportunity to take part in mission trips in various nations; for I have
seen women begin to discover who they are in Christ on such trips.
Watching Christian women begin to use their giftings and step into their
callings in this way is a wonderful and rare privilege.
Quite apart from our vision for raising up Women for the Nations, the Lord
has also opened the way for me to become involved in mentoring and nurturing
younger leaders in the Body of Christ internationally through The Nurture
Network, which is another arm of Great South Land Ministries. He has
laid a deep burden on my heart to provide a spiritual nurturing ministry for
those leaders in His Body, both men and women, who are in need of
encouragement and spiritual parenting as laid out by Paul in 1 Thessalonians
2:7 & 8.
As if to make up for lost time, in my fiftieth year the Lord unexpectedly
began to pour out on me an anointing for psalming. Up until that time,
I had never written songs. I am not a talented vocalist or
accomplished musician. I can play a few guitar chords and that is all.
However, beautiful words of worship began to flow through me; and as I
waited on the Holy Spirit with my guitar in hand, He would also lead me into
melodies. To date, He has "downloaded" around fifty worship songs,
some of which have now been recorded onto a CD which helps fund our Women
for the Nations program. Some of you who have teenage or young adult
children will smile when you imagine the reaction of my four very "cool"
brood when they learned their mother, at age 54, was recording a CD!
But such are the ways of the Lord!
So, at the request of my friends at GWTW, leaving out much detail, I have
tried to condense my life into a few short pages for one reason only.
I believe somewhere at least one woman, and hopefully more than one, will
read this testimony and be encouraged to take that final step out of fear,
control and spiritual abuse into FREEDOM!
Why is it so important that women awaken and come out of the closet of dead
religion? Because Christ Jesus died to destroy the works of the enemy,
and the bondage historically placed on women in the church is a work of the
enemy. It is not about being militant towards our Christian brothers
and sisters who oppose our callings. Pray for them but don't be
sidetracked. It is, however, very much about becoming militant in
attitude and deed toward the demonic spirit that has kept women bound in
religious cages for the best part of two thousand years. The best and
most effective way each of us can defeat that foe together with our Lord is
to cease abdicating and simply allow the Holy Spirit to release us into ALL
we are called to be in Christ! Yes, you will make mistakes. Yes,
you will fall over a few times; but He who calls you will enable you to
grow, to stand and to mature.
As for me, I am finally doing what I was born to do. You may recall
the verse quoted at the beginning of this testimony about God choosing the
foolish to put to shame the world's wise, and the weak to confound the
world's strong. Well, that foolish and weak one is me, and I love it.
Nothing I can lay claim to makes me stand out from the crowd. If you
saw me on the street, nothing would make you look twice. I have no
outstanding talents, no Bible college degree, no stunningly attractive
physical features, no oratory skills, and I can't even sing properly.
But one thing I know - when I stand in the anointing of the Holy Spirit and
speak forth the Word of God, hearts are penetrated and strongholds are
destroyed! In fact, I often joke with the Lord that He couldn't have
disguised me better!
This former quiet, shy and unremarkable Australian woman who abdicated her
calling for half a life-time now teaches and equips leaders. This
fearful little lady who couldn't look at an aeroplane without getting
physically ill, now travels to nations, teaching, mentoring, discipling,
exhorting, and sharing beautiful songs given by the Holy Spirit. If
God can do that with me, let me ask then, what's YOUR excuse? I'm not
for one moment implying there isn't a cost to this emergence into freedom.
Often it's much easier not to rock the boat. Taking up my calling and
moving out on Kingdom business has cost me dearly. But the cost of not
following the Lamb wherever He goes, I believe, is far greater. So,
what do you say - will you help Him?
The journey continues!
Great South Land Ministries,