Laura Toggs for Hillsong Young and Free

River Bennett (Photographer River Bennett)

I smiled to myself as I walked into Laura Toggs' house.

She had little to no makeup on, had been up forever and had accomplished mountains of work. Jack (8 mths old) was having a nap while Willow (3 years old) was painting her nails pink for the photo shoot, trying so hard not to spill it on the wooden dining table. There were dishes piled up on the sink from last night’s entertaining, and a scatter of clothes in each room ready for the washing machine.

"Ummm ... so we don't have a door to our room at the moment," she laughs as she points to her bedroom, the first room to the left.  Renovations were an obvious add on to the mix of her big life. But it didn't matter.  Her home was a beautiful representation of her class and style with or without doors and paint.

Candles were lit beside a stack of fashion magazines and interior editorials, her choice of music brought an edgy, yet chilled-out, atmosphere.

"So sorry, I'm a little bit unorganized," she said with a big smile.

Aren't we all.

In need of a drink of water she handed me one in a wine glass. We laughed. It was the "only clean glass left."

I could hug her. Were we the same person? Are all creative Wolfpack mothers as normal as this?

The thing to love about her is that she is far from caring what most people think. She is a woman on a mission and a perfect house is the last thing on her mind.

Laura Toggs is the Youth Pastor of Hillsong Church alongside her husband, Peter. She is a woman who is investing into the next generation of young people and also leading the charge with the Hillsong Young and Free team who have recently released the album "Hillsong Young and Free".

"Too many young people don't like themselves. They are ridden with discontent about who they are in themselves, and yet they have so much potential. I guess our job and passion is to look them in the eyes and tell them that we believe in them. There is verse in the bible in Psalm 45 that says, "Generation after generation stands in awe of your works, each one tells stories of your mighty acts.” I guess you could say Young And Free is OUR STORY.

"We're giving voice to what our God is doing in us. And we are hoping to bring a NEW sound that will make way for the freedom, joy and hope, found only in Jesus Christ. Raw, passionate worship and praise that can only be described as one big party.

"Countless thousands have resonated with the sound coming from this album which, has come straight out of the heart of our young people at church.

"We want to make a statement that we are a generation who is not young and free, to do what we want when we want, but that we are young and free in Christ, to take a stand for righteousness in today's world."

Laura's leadership and ability to create a movement stems from an amazing heritage in Pastors Brian and Bobbie Houston (Senior pastors of Hillsong church) and brother Joel Houston (Hillsong united) and Ben Houston (Led pastor of Hillsong Los Angeles)

She grew up in church and married her "best friend", Fijian husband Peter. She is the mother of two stunning children which means she is automatically part of The WolfpackMrs. Community - "Mamas with messy hair and thirsty hearts."

1. You are a stay-at-home mother yet a working mother with two beautiful children. Tell us a little bit about Willow and Jack.

Willow is my 3 yr. old dream girl and the perfect combination of cheeky and sweet. She is all things girl - wild, emotional, dramatic and completely drop dead gorgeous. Jack is my romantic - he's only 8 mths. old but I can already tell he's an absolute heart throb. He gazes at me from across the room, his eyes light up and with just one toothless gummy smile - my heart wants to explode.

2. You were pregnant with Jack when Young and Free launched their album. What was it like carrying the weight of launching an album and running a Youth Ministry, and also getting ready to be a mum for the second time?!

Oh gosh! Where do I begin! I did a pregnancy test in between studio sessions, was throwing up during our live recording, I was signing off on album cover concepts during ultrasounds and we released a single literally on the same day Jack was born. I was finding hiding spots to pump breast milk while on tour in the USA and have changed nappies in the strangest of places. It's been a comedy... but it's been AMAZING. I've laughed and cried and at times I think I must be crazy... but then I hear stories of young people who have been impacted by something I have been able to make happen and it's all totally worth it.

3. So many mothers find going back to work hard. What's it been like for you?

I've had a real peace about it right from the beginning. For me, it's the right thing to do. I am blessed with healthy & flexible kids and a very patient and understanding husband - without them I couldn't do it.

I feel passionate about what I do and a real sense of conviction about it. It's sometimes difficult to juggle it all - I don't have it all together that's for sure. Hence the piles of laundry and dishes that are constant and seem never-ending. But hey, we just take it one day at a time, try our best to be positive and do what we think is best for us.

I think it's important that we don't compare ourselves to other families. Everyone's situations are different and my family will always come first when it really matters.

4. What are some of the things you are most passionate about?

God, family, friends, good food, travel, church, music, film, the ocean, fashion, art and all people.

5. Pinterest, Instagram, blogs or magazines?

All of the above. Inspiration breeds creativity and I am a visual girl. So all these things stimulate my thinking and doing.

6. Leather or denim?

A quality pair of blue denim jeans with a black biker leather jacket and that's my style vibe for autumn/winter.

7. Comfort food?

Bread, pasta and pizza - basically all the stuff I try to stay away from. I swear I have Italian in my blood.

8. Late night music obsessions?

Ever changing with my mood. At the moment I am into 80's electronic pop and dance stuff ie. Prince's  'Kiss' is on repeat to go with my current obsession with watching 'Pretty Woman'.

Also loving Banks, I still have a secret obsession with Lana Del Rey and I'm a huge POP fan…Always have been, always will be.

9. Fashion fantasy?

It's a European summer, specifically in Italy, and after being in the sun all day, we are out for dinner and I'm wearing a Phillip Lim matching 2-piece cropped tank & skirt (hello, make-believe abs) with a Saint Laurent leather jacket if it cools off, and some perfect Isabel Marant flats, hair pulled back, no make-up except a little bit of blush, a nude lippy and some killer lashes.

10. You are a ridiculously chilled person who seems to take everything in your stride. What are some things that stress you out?

My home renovations. I have a vision and I'm learning to be okay with it coming to life over a process of time. My next house will be much more low-maintenance to suit our lifestyle.

11. Any more babies?

We have never really been those people who make plans. We see where life leads us and just go with it. Another little human to shake up our world sounds pretty awesome though.

12. Any thoughts you would like to share with the The Wolfpack Mrs. Community?

In the midst of the most selfless and sacrificial job in the world - motherhood - I've decided to still be kind to myself, look after myself, do things that feed my soul as much as I can and I will not let 'The Wiggles' steal my cool.

I forgive myself when I know I could do better and take moments to be honest with myself when I need to make changes. Also, there's so much power in investing into the next generation. Take what you've got and sow it into someone younger than yourself who has the same passion... XOXO

 

For more info on Hillsong Young and Free head to:

http://hillsong.com/youngandfree

And more on Laura Toggs:

@lauratoggs