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Debs' Story

I grew up in Epsom,  New Hampshire and other than a few short years in South Carolina, I have lived in New England my whole life - I am a New England girl through and through!  I was raised in a Christian home, and came to know Jesus as a little girl. Going to church has always been a part of my life, and for that I am so grateful.   I have met so many wonderful people through the church,  but the ones who have left a lasting imprint on my heart are the ones who welcomed me into their home and made me feel unconditionally loved and accepted.   I think God sent people into my life, who in hindsight were more like angels, to care for me and show me Christ's love during some of the most vulnerable, difficult years of my young life.   Perhaps God was giving me a glimpse into the future by using these people to shape my character and gifts into who He wanted me to become. 

I met my husband, Ed, during my junior year at college where I was studying music.  He was just visiting the college, to consider earning a second degree, and got roped into coming to one of my piano concert dress rehearsals. (can we say set up?)  The rest is beautiful history. :)  God has blessed us with five beautiful children and needless to say, life has been busy!  Our kids are currently 26, 24, 20, 19, and 16.  Three of our five children were born with a birth defect called Van derWoude Syndrome.  I mention this here because the love we were shown through the years of over 30 surgeries and procedures, and sadly the judgment we were sometimes shown, also shaped me into who God wanted me to be.  I don't resent one moment of the hard parts because He was working such a beautiful plan!

I have served in many roles in ministry over the years, but my absolute favorite of all is hospitality.  And I don't just mean feeding people yummy food, although that's wonderful!  I'm talking about a deep hospitality of the heart.  The kind of hospitality that listens, loves without partiality, and draws people closer to the heart of Jesus.  The kind of hospitality that made me want to truly understand the grieving, and to know what to say to help heal, not damage.  This longing to listen, care for, and understand people led me to study Biblical grief and loss counseling, and what a gift that has been and continues to be as I am at the finish line!   You know what I have learned the most, not just through academics, but more by observing people for years?   People are quietly suffering all around us and they long to be heard, but they fear being judged.   They long to be heard without being fixed, lectured, or squeezed into a box.  Just listened to.    There is so much healing in that alone. 

It was only a couple of years ago that I truly embraced my gift of hospitality and saw it not as a weaker gift, but as a powerful one, modelled perfectly only by one - Jesus Christ.

Around the same time that God was working in my heart about the power of hospitality, I watched my dream of having a place of ministry unfold before my very eyes.  Through one miracle after another, God gave us the Lodge.  A space perfect in every way to live out my calling to care for people.  A space perfect in every way for Ed and I together to live out our calling to mentor and encourage others.  God is so faithful and He doesn't ever make a mistake.   I'm so thankful!  Jeremiah 29:11-13 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."  

We are only beginning to see all that God has for the Lodge, but our prayer is that you will come spend time with us!  And when you do, we pray you will feel completely loved, because after all, you belong here. 

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