I guess if I was going to sum up my life and ministry, I’d say it’s the verse that says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, deceitful are the kisses of an enemy” (Prov. 27.6) … because I want others to experience the grace and peace and blessings that my husband and I have experienced as a result of living God’s way.
But my perspective and my journey have probably been quite different from what you might expect.
I don’t speak the hard-hitting (at times) truth because I’ve always done everything right. Quite the contrary! I’ve done more things wrong, made more bad choices, and suffered more consequences, than this post can hold … BUT GOD!
You see I have lived life my own way and I have lived life God’s way (though haltingly, imperfectly and only by His grace). AND I CAN TELL YOU FIRST HAND, GOD’S WAY IS BETTER!
Let me tell you a little of my testimony …
I was raised in Southern California by way of Florida and Maine. I was the oldest of three kids, growing up in a home that was loving and good in many ways … but not Christian. My father was what the world would call a “functional alcoholic.” As the oldest child and a good student, compliant by nature, that became my identity. THE GOOD GIRL.
I didn’t party, drink or use drugs though they were easily available in the neighborhoods I grew up in, even in the 60’s. I was a virgin when I got married (at least technically, if you know what I mean).
Over my mother’s pleadings, I got married at 17 the first time. It lasted about 6 years when I did what everyone else in the 70’s was doing when they weren’t happy … I got divorced. All the magazine articles I read (and you can always believe what they say, right?) said, my kids, a boy and a girl, would be fine. After all, if I wasn’t happy, they wouldn’t be either. They would adjust.
I was still a GOOD GIRL or so I thought. I still didn’t party or run around. I worked hard, sometimes 50-60 hours a week just to pay the bills. It was hard and after a while I got involved with another man and eventually married him. Sometimes I think I was just tired of trying to keep it all together. I ignored all the red flags including a visit from his ex-wife!
Let’s just say the marriage was a disaster and leave it at that! But it pulled me farther down that spiral of sin talked about in Romans 1.
It took me three years to finally get a divorce from a man who was non-compliant with court orders, refused to even let me have my clothes and family photos, and who stalked me for three years (during which God’s grace was all around me though I wouldn’t recognize it until later!)
By now I had a second little boy, so there were three kids to support with two AWOL dads. I felt disillusioned and burned and was, probably, depressed. I decided like the Psalmist that being good had been a waste of time (Ps. 73.13). So I decided to start living like it seemed to me everyone else was doing.
BUT GOD WAS AT WORK … though it didn’t look like it at the time.
He was on a similar path. Two marriages, two divorces, and with a precious little girl. He, too, had given up on marriage and being good. He had decided he was worthless and so he’d just work, do the things he liked to do, and try to support his daughter. On our first date he made it clear he was never going to marry again!
BUT GOD had another idea and it wouldn’t take long.
But for now … we were still living life our way. We moved in together and started trying to blend our two families.
In the meantime, a friend of mine who was, at least in my mind, living worse than me (how deceitful our hearts are!), said she had started going to church and invited me to go with her. I declined, emphatically, though nicely (still the “good girl” at least in some ways). And shortly afterwards an acquaintance confronted me about our “living together” to which I took great offense.
But something was happening in my heart. You see as a little girl growing up in an unchurched family, I had loved going to church. I would attend with anyone who invited me and visited many different churches with various friends. (If you take your kids’ friends to church you may never know the seeds your planting. My husband recently performed a wedding for a young man we took to church as a teenager and has since come to know God.)
Soon my husband took a trip to Houston to visit his parents where he went to church with his mom (a prayer warrior who had been diligently praying for her wayward son). When he came back telling me about the service something woke up in my heart. And I asked him if he’d like to go to church ourselves.
We didn’t know much about the Bible, but we did know we shouldn’t be living together without getting married. There was only one problem, my ex had, seemingly, dropped off the face of the earth without ever signing for our divorce!
But we were finally able to convince a judge to grant me one without his participation. The first day my divorce was final and I was free to get married, we were at the courthouse!
God had been at work all along.
But He had to let me go my own way so I could come to understand that I wasn’t good! Romans 3.12 says, “… There is none who does good, no, not one.” I could not have seen my need for a Savior without seeing how sinful my own heart and choices were (Eph. 2.1-3).
32 years later …
That was almost 32 years ago. We’ve had our ups and downs and struggles. Blending families takes work and effort, as does a good marriage. But I can, honestly, tell you that our marriage is better today than it was when we first married. We are more in love. We are best friends and like nothing more than spending time together.
Mike has become a more godly husband than I could have ever imagined and, I hope, I continue to become the wife he deserves and God wants me to be.
That brings me to today.
To think that God would use two messed up, broken people like us to do what we do is nothing short of miraculous!
Over the last 32 years, He has molded us (still a work in progress), taught us, trained us, worked in us some more and allowed us to be in full time ministry together.
Mike is the Counseling & Discipleship Pastor at our church and together we run a biblical counseling ministry with four full time staff members and a dozen or so volunteer counselors. And we’re training more right now. I’m certified as a counselor through the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors. If you’d like to find a certified biblical counselor in your area you can visit their website.
Besides our four grown children and their spouses, we have thirteen grandchildren, a granddaughter-in-law, a grandson-in-law, and this year our first great-grandson. 🙂
Mike and I spend our days helping other couples, families, and individuals come to enjoy life God’s way. Some people are surprised that God would use a couple with four divorces between them to do marriage counseling (no more surprising to you than to us!), but as I said we know better than anyone the difference between living life and doing marriage God’s way and living our own way.
In fact, couples will sometimes come to us, thinking since we have been divorced, we’ll understand that it’s the best thing for them. They are usually surprised to learn that what we understand is quite the opposite.
Mike and I love what we do, but I also have a passion to share God’s truth and principles through writing. I did freelance writing for Christian magazines for about ten years and was published on subjects such as parenting and grand-parenting, prayer, journaling, missions, marriage, testimonies, and organization.
Then about 6 or 7 years ago I challenged the ladies in our women’s ministry to begin purposefully reading through the Bible in a year. I told them if they would commit to it, I’d send out a daily email with some thoughts about my daily Bible reading. Over a hundred ladies signed up that first year.
The next year more signed up and many of the original list continued. Pretty soon 300 or more were receiving the daily email, many of them were men who wanted to join us because their wives were talking about what they were learning.
Finally, two years ago I decided to launch this blog. For the past two years I have primarily focused on blogging through the Bible in a year. You’ll find it under the categories “Bible in a year” and “Bible challenge” (the name I originally called it for my email ladies).
This coming year I will still post the daily “Bible in a year” blogs, but plan to add many more blogs that are more subject specific. And so many of the daily readings deserve more time and attention then I can do in the through the Bible format.
I write from a practical, “live life God’s way” perspective. I speak the truth (hopefully, always in love) because it’s the truth that sets us free (Jn. 8.32) and, as I said at the beginning, living life God’s way is a better way to live!
What you’ll find
Even now you can search by subject and find blogs on parenting, marriage, blended families, fear, worry, anger, idolatry, homosexuality, the sanctity of life, salvation, prayer, sin, beauty, and so much more. Just enter the subject in the search bar at the top or right hand side of the page. You’ll find some of my most popular posts at the bottom of this page.
We also have an “Ask the Counselors” feature where you can ask your counseling questions and have them answered either on the blog or privately by email.
I’m also a reader and I believe in encouraging others to read good, solid, biblically-sound books. So I frequently recommend the ones I know of and read, by people whose ministries I trust. In the interest of full disclosure, my recommendations contain affiliate links, but number one I only recommend books I would recommend to a friend or counselee. And number two, it’s one way I can help offset the cost of running this blogging ministry.
What I believe
I believe the Bible is God’s inspired Word. It is not merely a book about God, but was breathed out by God Himself as He inspired men to write it (2 Tim. 3.16-17).
I believe in salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (Eph. 2.4-9).
I also believe that when we have had a genuine salvation experience it will lead to changes in our hearts, our thinking, and the way we live. What Jesus called the “fruit” of that changed life (Eph. 2.10).
And I believe that God’s Word has the answers to all the issues we face in living life before God and with others.
2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2 Pet. 1.2-4).
When Jesus was asked, “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied:
“‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments” (Matt. 22.36-40, NLT).
Consider how different our lives, our marriages, our families, our nation, and our world would be if those two commands alone were followed.
My goal is to share God’s Word in a way that makes it understandable and practical. I hope that sincere seekers of truth will find answers and in the process enter into a relationship with the Living God and that believers in Christ will be helped to live in a way that will please Him (2 Cor. 5.9-10).
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