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Q. How did you become a Christian?
A. I grew up in the Presbyterian Church and had an early interest in spiritual matters, though I sometimes squirmed in the church pew full of spunk and a bit of irreverence. When my father took a sabbatical in the Washington DC area, I was especially touched by a sermon in a nondenominational church my mother had us visit, and committed my life to Christ in a fresh way as a teenager. Later, as a college student, I began to question my faith, reexamining it with hard questions. After graduating, God used a long road trip where our old car kept breaking down and needing repairs along the way to bring me back to Him in a more solid way. My young husband and the mechanics would tend to the car, and I would be left to read and mull over one of the evangelist Francis Schaeffer's books. Then we would travel several more hours and need to stop for more repairs. I would read some more. Before that trip was over, I had recommitted my life to Jesus, and we had traded our old car for another old car, making it home. Enough of my questions had been answered, and I felt compelled to fall fully back into the loving arms of God, where I belong. There I have remained.
Q. Can you share some other parts of your faith journey since then with us?
A. My husband and I have been blessed by belonging to various denominational and non-denominational churches over the years. This has given us a sense of the importance of the invisible body of Christ, and spiritual bonds with all in His family. Books have been an important part of my spiritual journey. Besides Francis Schaeffer, the writings of Paul Tournier, a French Christian psychiatrist touched me deeply in my early years, as well as the works of C.S. Lewis. Growing in my understanding of the Bible as a living book, different from any other, and the blessing of spending time in the word, is a continuing adventure. It's grace and power is something for which I am very grateful . The power and wonder of the Holy Spirit as part of the Trinity is another part of my faith that eagerly draws me inward and upward. As the Lord graciously shows me the reality of being here on earth and also with Him in heavenly places, I continue to grow in the reality of abiding in Him and Him in me. To the little girl who sometimes squirmed in the church pew doodling and thinking irreverent thoughts: Who knew that God was so exciting?
Q. Tell something more about your career.
A. My particular life journey has had definite seasons. After college I married Bill and taught elementary age children for several years. Then I was home with our children, enjoying seeing them grow and develop. After they were established in school for a time, I returned to school, earning a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at Colorado State University. Being a teacher and a Mom and a bit older probably helped me bring a solid practical view to the study of psychology, as there are a number of different perspectives within the field. Also, I found that where biblical truth overlapped with psychology, that was a pretty solid place to be. After all, God designed us to be whole, and have full personhood. Just as some aspects of psychology may be in error, sometimes the way we humans have interpreted biblical truth has been detrimental to helping us be all that God intends. The privilege of working with a variety of individuals and couples in a counseling practice for twenty or so years has allowed me to share in many women and men's journey to wholeness and fuller personhood. Along the way, writing and speaking often focused on growing in some aspect
Q. How did you come to write about Mary?
A. I grew up as a Protestant hardly thinking of Mary at all except at Christmas time where she was the gentle mother of Jesus. My images of her included Mary on the donkey, with Joseph leading the beast. Thus, my own picture of Mary was rather bland. Later, after my studies in psychology, a young woman with a Catholic background asked me questions about Mary, and I was intrigued to see what the scriptures said from my adult perspective as a woman of faith and also from a psychological perspective. My dissertation explored anger from biblical and psychological perspectives, and the method of research used for that work helped me when I began to re-examine the scriptural record about Mary. Surprised at how much I found that I had never seen before, I took notes, never dreaming that God would guide me to write a book about the topic. I was thrilled to see how God had blessed and affirmed so many personal qualities about Mary, and what a whole, strong person was revealed, even though the scriptures about her were not extensive. Interestingly, my Scottish grandmother had once looked at me as a child and said, "You are going to be a writer."