>> April 26, 2012
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John 15:11 “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be made full.” (Holman NAS)
My name is Debi Ogle. I live in Delaware, a small community just outside of Columbus, Ohio. I like to describe it as a “Gilmore Girls” kind of town. It is full of quaint shops and the best ever yogurt ice cream. My husband loves to surprise me with dessert dates as we sit outside and watch the townspeople go about their business.
First of all, I am a Christ-follower and after 34 years of following, I thank God for never giving up on me. I've been married for 35 years and have helped raise two adorable, Christian daughters and have the blessing of being called DeeDee (it’s my grandma nickname) five times over. They range in ages from 10 yrs to 8 months. Our last two grands came by way of adoption: a granddaughter (4.5 yrs old) from Ethiopia and our first grandson (8 mos. old) from the States.
My job first and foremost is as a wife to my integrity-driven husband, Steve. We started our journey in the Navy but eventually we both felt that Steve was to do ministry work, not necessarily from the pulpit but some form of ministry. Our pastor gave us sound advice, “God never calls one, but He will always call the couple” and since we were both feeling the tug, we went thru the open door.
We got out of the military, and he started a bachelors degree at Ohio State University. Since Steve got his degree in elementary education, we found a new field at the seminary: Childhood Education Ministry. Our first church was Mimosa Lane Baptist Church in Mesquite, Texas. Then we moved to Little Rock, Arkansas. After 6 years we were called to Mobile, Alabama.
In 1998 Steve received a phone call that started the next chapter of our lives….moving to Temple Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Here we walked our oldest down the aisle in 2000, and sent them off to Southwestern Theological Seminary in TexasWe sent our youngest daughter to the same seminary in 2004. (Both our daughters married ministers.) We loved our life in southern Mississippi and never thought we would leave.
In the fall of 2004, my husband told me he felt God was leading him to leave the ministry. My first reaction was why? He never reacts without a prayerful thought process and when he said he'd been struggling with this for two years, I knew I must follow. I gave up my job as a college bookstore manager, my perfectly built house, a great church and many friends to follow my husband. The overriding factor in all of this was I knew he had carefully prayed and struggled over this for two years. So my reaction was “Where do we go?”
We left Mississippi on April 1st, 2005 to Nashville! We were naive to think that the business world would hire a man in his late 40’s with 2.5 degrees under his belt. But part of this move was for him to write, and write he did. He wrote a parenting book, a 365-day devotional for children, a children’s series, and the start of a men’s book. Steve got a job at Chick-fil-a, so we moved into a tiny 1-bedroom apartment. Coming from a spacious, custom-built home into a tiny roach-infested apartment was not what either of us bargained for but we were sure of God's calling to leave our comfortable lifestyle behind.
One night we went to a McDonalds just to talk. I finally spoke my piece about the situation. I told Steve "I'll follow you to Timbuktu and back if that is what God designs, but I cannot see you out of full-time ministry." We realized that what Steve had really needed was a sabbatical, a rest from ministering. By this time he had served almost 20 years without a break. Soon Steve got a children’s/administrator position at a starter church, I got hired on at Life Way Christian Resources, and we walked another daughter down the aisle.
Then my health got so bad I needed to quit work. In 2007 we moved to southern Georgia. This stint was the hardest to overcome. After months of being accused loudly in the hallways and talked about in deacon meetings, we started searching again for a place to serve. We had NEVER given up before. We felt like complete failures. But sometimes even if God gives clear direction, people can deceive us and throw a huge stone into the driving force of ministry.
In August, 2008 we moved to Columbus, Ohio. In just one year we lived in three different states. WOW! Never did this before, God. We love it here. Our church is on a mission for community.
Every church where we have served has had its ups and downs. There has been the learning church of Texas, thechurch of grounding in Arkansas, the desert in Alabama, the oasis in Mississippi, the refreshing of Tennessee, the darkness of Georgia and the vision of Ohio.
Through them all we have become better people, blessed to have so many friends and opportunities, and most of all a chance to serve alongside awesome believers. For this, I would not change anything. This is why my motto is JOY! (Jesus first, yourself last and others in-between)
Jesus has certainly made my joy complete! The neat thing is He continues to complete me until the day I meet Him face to face…now that is JOY.