In 1999-2000 I was 38 years old… my life was crumbling under my feet. I had been raised in the church and had “done everything I was told to do.” In spite of my best efforts, my lifetime of obedience and compliance had failed me… and I found myself in a broken marriage with hurting children. I was a desperate soul. It was such a dark, painful time.

In August of 2000, the Lord directed my steps to Bruce Hogarth, a discipleship counselor. As I look back on the time with Bruce, I remember lots of pain, lots of tears, and using up many boxes of Kleenex. But slowly, in time, the light came with truth and understanding and many changes needed on my part. Not changes in behavior, but changes in my belief system and in my thinking.

God knew I could not walk this path alone… and in His tender, watchful care over my life, He raised up a circle of women around me who understood grace, flesh, and new life, and how to live both in Christ and from Him as the only Source of fulfillment. Initially, the things that Bruce and these women said to me sounded like a foreign language. But I was desperate… and all the ways I knew to “do life” had brought such pain and despair that I was open to change, and to letting God transform me. The road to brokenness, forgiveness and a deeper surrender was long but worth it!

I look back on that two-year process and appreciate both the discipleship counseling and those precious women as “midwives” who held my hand and sat by me in my deepest pain.

── Roswell, GA

Galatians 2:19-22 from The Message sums up my journey :

“What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law[ woman]” so that I could be God’s [woman]. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.”