Monday, August 4, 2008

About Me

I am a wife, mother, grandmother, counselor, teacher, public speaker, and writer, who is trusting in my awesome God that He will strengthen me to rise above life's difficulties. I was raised during the turbulent 60’s in an abusive home (Pennsylvania) to parents who did not know Christ until my teen years in the 1970’s. I was privileged to be raised with my grandmother and great-grandmother at various occasions along with living near extended family members. I have a brother who is 13 years older than me, and a sister who is 5 years older than me.

When I was 12 years old, my sister was asked to a youth group meeting. She trusted the Lord as her Savior, and shortly afterward I followed along and asked the Lord into my heart and life. I had a few years of teenage rebellion, but when I was 15 years old I surrendered my life to serve the Lord as He desired. Two weeks later I met my husband to be while I was cleaning the church I attended. At that time Jim was a 19 year old Marine (from Tucson, AZ) who surrendered his life to preach God's Word when he was 15 years old. My parents were getting ready to go through their second divorce to each other and they agreed to allow me to marry at age 16 in my senior year of High School. As young and difficult as it was, I do not regret this at all since I know beyond a shadow of doubt that this was God's will for my life. After 11 months of marriage the Marine Corps sent my husband overseas (cleanup operations Vietnam). He came home on leave a few months later and I became pregnant to our only living child (Heather). Ten months later my husband came home to a new baby girl and a woman not a child as a wife.

The Lord has called us to various ministries living in Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, and Arizona. I have been involved in all aspects of the church ministry in addition: Pastor's wife, Child Evangelism, Evangelism Explosion, Regional Women's Ministry Leadership, Missions, Nursing Home Ministry, Homeless Ministry, Music Ministry, Wellness Ministry and a Christian Counselor. I have also been a Kindergarten teacher; bookkeeper; business office administrator; and office manager for various businesses.

For over 25 years I have been living with multiple chronic Illnesses and disabilities  -  Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome , (been treated for SLE Lupus); Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteo Arthritis,  Hyperthyroidism (Hashymoto), Peripheral Neuropathy, Impaired Glucose Tolerance, Carpel Tunnel both hands, Heart – PAC’s and irregular heart-beat,  Interstitial cystitis,  overactive bladder, IBS, Sleep apnea,  Asthma, TMJ, Plantar Fasciitis, fibrocystic breasts, ovarian cysts, severe Chondromalacia of the patella, multiple knee fractures, chemical sensitivities, bone spurs; acid reflux; Multiple allergies, depression, memory loss/brain fogs, high cholesterol,   Restless legs syndrome, periodic limb movement, REM Behavior Disorder, Parosomnia behavior, Morbid Obesity.

Like many of you, I have also experienced various losses and sorrows such as: growing up with an extremely abusive father; parents divorced twice (to each other); miscarriage; hysterectomy at 25 years old; various surgeries; life threatening illnesses; homeless; housebound; troubled teenager – pregnancy; daughter’s failed first marriage due to a dreadfully abusive husband; daughter’s multiple miscarriages; family members with various chronic health and mental illness; my husband I have both lost our fathers (cancer and rheumatoid arthritis) and his mother death (Alzheimer's); a step father died of kidney failure; foreclosure of our house; financial woes; many heartaches, and trials in the in the 35 years of ministry; just to name a few challenges.

I have struggled with my weight for most of my adult life.  My weight gain is a mixture of over-eating, medicines and physical issues.   I have come to terms with my issues and I am on a path – quest- for better health choices and to become the woman God desires me to be – inside and outside. 

The past 8 years I have been mostly home bound due to my debilitating chronic illnesses, but the Lord has been a faithful Friend showing me that He is not finished with me yet. Through all the pain, trials and sufferings there have been many blessings as well. God has shown me that I am still an exceptionally useful vessel worthy of His use. The Lord has been teaching me to Live Simply, Laugh Often, and to Love Deeply.

I currently live in the in a little community nestled in the mountains of Pennsylvania with my husband of 37 years along with two cats and one dog.  My husband currently is the Director of Curriculum, Instruction,  Certification and also teaches at a local Christian School. He also has been providing pulpit supply for a local church.

I hope you will follow me on my Journey of Change as I share my heart and life openly, praying that the Lord will use His Words and mine to touch some one’s heart.  I look forward to meeting and getting to know you as we encourage, inform, uplift and at times amuse one another.    

4 comments:

Debbie said...

I found you through Iris' blog at Grace Alone. I also live in Phoenix, Arizona so it's always nice to meet other bloggers who are local. I will be back to visit you. Congrats on your award of the top 100 Christian bloggers.

Angela said...

WOW....Father God, I praise You and thank You for this precious sister Michele. I thank You for leading me to her, for Your lavish love that You have poured down upon her and for her honesty, her love for You, and for pointing the way to our Savior Jesus Christ in all things. Father, continue to strengthen her, comfort her, bless her with peace, guide her hands as she writes, fill her mind with the words You desire for her to share, protect her family from the evil one's attacks and guide them on the journey to the Promised Land with faith, hope and love in their hearts, and eyes always on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. amen amen amen
((hugs))

Julie said...

Hi Michele, I commented one other time while you were still on your trip. So glad to see you made it home, even if without your "house." Hopefully it will be fixed up soon. I think it was Rest Ministries that I found your blog from. I'm on several of those autoimmune disease devotion sites. I have a lot of the same issues you mentioned. Fibro, Asthma, many surgeries (TMJ), female issues (now menopause...I'm 54), Thyroid problems, Arthritis, Acid Reflux, etc., etc. One always seems to lead to another.

I thought it was cool that I grew up in Lebanon County where your Mom is. I was in NJ my first ten years, just outside NYC. Then I've lived in AZ and TX like you too. Also in FL and MD but now I'm in NC like your sister. Lots of path crossing! I found the Lord in Tucson in 1986 and have been serving Him since then. I have a wonderful nursing home ministry right now but other than that and Church, I'm pretty housebound. I had to put my last dog to sleep last year and I'm begging the Lord to put another one (the right one) on my doorstep. I am torn about it so I slap my fingers each time I try to google Petfinder. LOL...I love animals so much.

I have two grown kids (27 & 24) and they each have two children. But my daughter is recently separated from her husband and it's not looking good. So again, I could relate to you. She was a runaway at 17 and has been crushing my heart ever since. We adopted her from Globe, AZ.

Just wanted to touch base to let you know I was thinking of you. I kept you in prayer a lot at the last of your journey there. Take care! julieriddell@yahoo.com

Julie said...

Hi Michele, I commented one other time while you were still on your trip. So glad to see you made it home, even if without your "house." Hopefully it will be fixed up soon. I think it was Rest Ministries that I found your blog from. I'm on several of those autoimmune disease devotion sites. I have a lot of the same issues you mentioned. Fibro, Asthma, many surgeries (TMJ), female issues (now menopause...I'm 54), Thyroid problems, Arthritis, Acid Reflux, etc., etc. One always seems to lead to another.

I thought it was cool that I grew up in Lebanon County where your Mom is. I was in NJ my first ten years, just outside NYC. Then I've lived in AZ and TX like you too. Also in FL and MD but now I'm in NC like your sister. Lots of path crossing! I found the Lord in Tucson in 1986 and have been serving Him since then. I have a wonderful nursing home ministry right now but other than that and Church, I'm pretty housebound. I had to put my last dog to sleep last year and I'm begging the Lord to put another one (the right one) on my doorstep. I am torn about it so I slap my fingers each time I try to google Petfinder. LOL...I love animals so much.

I have two grown kids (27 & 24) and they each have two children. But my daughter is recently separated from her husband and it's not looking good. So again, I could relate to you. She was a runaway at 17 and has been crushing my heart ever since. We adopted her from Globe, AZ.

Just wanted to touch base to let you know I was thinking of you. I kept you in prayer a lot at the last of your journey there. Take care! julieriddell@yahoo.com