Yay Sisters: Tara Huber, a career coach for scientists and ministry leader in Singapore
Such a treat to have Tara sharing her testimony with us today. When living in Singapore, I went to the amazing Redemption Hill Church and met Tara there. She was a role model to me and many others, exuding faithfulness, grace, and full of love for God. And in addition to serving in many ministries at church, she’s a brilliant Harvard-trained scientist! We lost touch for awhile after I moved to Hong Kong, but as God would have it reconnected over Instagram where I learned she’s become a solopreneur. Exciting!
Name: Tara Huber
Age: Old enough to hide it. Ha ha!
Hey Tara! Please tell us about yourself.
Hi, I’m Tara Huber, PhD. I’m a coach focusing on helping science PhDs make successful career transitions, whether that is into their next job, promotion/tenure or into increasing levels of leadership. I pivoted into this role after a career in biomedical research and administration.
I chose to become a solopreneur because in my last job, which was in research administration at a biomedical institute, the part I liked the most was talent development. I love working one-on-one with people and seeing them shine in the work they do! I’m working also on speaking and developing workshops. The topics I’m interested in are navigating failure, self-leadership and mentorship.
I enjoy going to museums, hiking in our national parks and reserves, and baking sourdough bread. Along with having led a community group, co-led a singles women’s group, and discipling sisters, I’m most recently excited to be involved with a faith and work ministry at my church.
How did you become a Christian?
I was raised in a Christian home. I went to Sunday school, sang in the choir and read my Bible, but my faith was unchallenged. When I went to college, what I believed in was then tested. I was distracted from growing my faith by my studies and friends. I would have said I was a Christian at the time but I didn’t consistently pursue God and wasn’t in Christian community. I was a biology major and continued in this field by pursuing a PhD in developmental biology (how cells become specialized during early development).
By the time I moved to New York city for my postdoctoral fellowship in 2001, I had drifted and wasn’t attending church. The week of 9/11 I remember the clear urge to go to church. The service I went to met me where I was, grieved and confused, the God of my childhood was there and waiting for my return. I could see myself, others and the world, clearer; my faith grew, and I continued to go ever since. Through the preaching of God’s word, my mind, heart and soul woke up to the faith I grew up with. I will be always grateful to God that He pursued me and that I live life with Him now.
What’s your favourite way to experience God?
My favorite way to experience God is through prayer. It can be indoors or outdoors in nature. It’s a conversation I have anywhere. As I speak, the Holy Spirit might nudge me with truth, which leads to insight, repentance and God’s comfort. Other times it can feel more “quiet” from Him but it’s important to turn and reach out to Him. I know that it’s not the length of my prayers that matters, for some of my shortest prayers have been answered. I also like to experience God through singing hymns and songs, particularly with the body of Christ. I’m lost in the voices of those orienting their hearts to Him and praising Him through the lyrics. It stirs my heart.
What does celebrating your God-given design mean to you?
When I look at who I am, what I have and what I’ve experienced I see God’s design. Celebrating it first means accepting how my life has gone, successes and failures. This isn’t always easy but when I’ve leaned into it I feel a greater settledness and sense of purpose; this is trusting God knew what He was doing when He made me and that His ways are better.
Second I believe it means being that person God called you to be - the “child of God” calling as well as the specific calling He has for you. For me it is being a peaceful presence to those around me, applying both an empathetic heart with an analytical brain; being a thinking partner and pulling in the resources God has given me experience and access to to share. We are all made in His image and gifted to share of it for the good of others and to His glory.
How do you hold onto this when times are tough?
When times are tough, I ask what is my assignment here as a Daughter of Zion (I really like this phrase). Whether it is a challenging job, health concerns, personal loss, tragedy, disappointments etc. I tell myself I’m still His daughter, empowered by the Holy Spirit and redeemed by Christ. He does not leave His children without hope and comfort. He doesn't always answer the way we would like. There can be seasons of great sadness, but where I feel a shift is when I anchor on the wisdom and character of God. There is a joy that will outlast the difficulty - a joy grounded on Christ's work on the cross and his resurrection.
With your church, you’ve been part of an over 40s single women’s group. Can you share more about how you started?
This group was a pilot that I and two others thought would bless a group of women that might feel marginalized at church. When a church is composed of younger singles and married couples, older singles can feel on the margins and experience less connection with the rest of the body. The issues for singles change with time. Some examples are: ageing, health, finances, loneliness, building a caring community for ageing support, career decision-making, relating to a younger church body and those with their own families, how to serve the larger church body, facing uncomfortable questions, caregivers to aged family and marrying in the older years.
We formed a group that met for a year once a month looking at what scripture had to say to us. Many of us were in mixed small groups, and the group itself was not a replacement for gathering with the rest of the body. But we found coming together in a space where we could be honest, was healing and edifying.
What are some things God has taught you while working on this?
God taught me that to take on the identity of “single” is to label ourselves in a way God did not intend. Culture and even the church sometimes, is biased towards marriage. Of course, marriage is established in scripture as early as Genesis and is an earthly picture of Christ and the church, but Jesus and others have shown us, being married is not the sign of the perfect life. I love what Sam Allberry says in his book, “Seven Myths about Singleness”, about Christ, “his not being married is not incidental. It shows us that none of these things—marriage, romantic fulfillment, sexual experience—is intrinsic to being a full human being. The moment we say otherwise, the moment we claim a life of celibacy to be dehumanizing, we are implying that Jesus himself is only subhuman.”
I’ve been convicted that in marriage and singleness there is blessing and suffering, and for both we need Jesus. That is why while we found encouragement in the word and also in each other in this group, it was important that we also related to the rest of the body of Christ. Being (older) sisters and friends to others (married and single) is God’s design and healthy for us.
Do you have any advice on waiting patiently for God to move in this area?
My advice on waiting patiently is to commit to the biblical picture of your identity (child of God) and to hold a sober view of marriage (not grim but neither elevating it to giving you meaning and purpose). Trust that God knows what is best for you and that He has many kinds of relationships to bless you with. Most importantly is your relationship with Christ but of course He also has people around you. Love on them.
Contentment seems like a dirty word as if by talking about it we are telling singles to learn to accept or tolerate a life of singleness and not seek marriage. Contentment is about where we find our satisfaction. It isn’t always easy to watch our friends or family members get married before us but if discontentment grows such that it affects our faith and our obedience to God we may make decisions we will regret later and dishonor God. Discontentment is what led Eve to taste the fruit, she was not happy with her situation, she felt God had held out on them by not letting them eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Intentionally seeking contentment in Christ safeguards us, it’s what we were made for and by the way, helps us wait well.
Can you share more about your vision moving forward?
Moving forward, the Anna group has taken a pause, while still being connected to women who are in a season of singleness. I express some of what we covered in our group and my thoughts in the Instagram account @thrivinganna. I am working with the faith and work ministry at my church in a beta group going through material that we will roll out later in the year. This is an area I am very interested in not only as it dovetails with my work as a coach but also because our jobs and careers can be an area of stress in singleness - from supporting ourselves through life to the implications on career aspirations if we also desire to be married. I’m excited to see how God will bless people with this work at my church.
I’ve also recently completed a course on using the Enneagram as a tool for self-awareness and better relationships with others. I discovered it years ago and it helped me understand certain aspects of my behavior that no other personality test did. It’s based on 9 personalities (conveniently numbered 1 to 9) where one of the numbers is what you are more efficient at. It speaks to your core motivations (fears and desires), your strengths, and also default responses in stress. It points us to the truths of the gospel that we need to hear and believe. I can help people discover their enneagram number and how to apply it to their lives and look forward to helping all my clients with it.
How can we pray for you?
I would love prayer to keep my eyes on God, to care more about what He has to say about my life and to pursue the work He has for me to do. It’s been a journey of letting go of my plans and stepping into great faith, trusting God with every turn.
Bible verse: Psalm 31:7; 1 Peter 2:9-11
Worship song: In Christ Alone by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend.
Way to worship: singing with the body of Christ when we gather together on Sunday.
Beauty product: Tatcha’s The Rice Polish (gentle exfoliation with rice bran)
Piece of clothing: Striped t-shirt (short-sleeved or ¾ length)
Place: Bukit Brown Cemetery, Singapore
Social media Links
Instagram: @tarahuber.sg and @thrivinganna
Website: Huber Coaching
LinkedIn: Tara Huber