Friday, March 9, 2018

The Inner Views of Donna Reidland

"The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe."
Proverbs 18:10

One of the most wonderful benefits of joining the blogging community is the gift of friendship.
When I started Homespun Devotions, I never dreamed that it would be the channel God would use to bring so many amazing encouragers and friends into my life, but that is exactly what happened.
One such person is the dear lady I am interviewing today.
Her years of serving Jesus and working for Him has equipped her with an enormous amount of wisdom that she so graciously and faithfully shares on her blog, Soul Survivor.
I know you will enjoy getting to know her better, as you read her words and amazing testimony below!

Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Great-grandmother, Writer, Counselor, 
but most importantly, Child of God, 
Donna Reidland

Cheryl:  Could you please tell us about yourself?

Donna:  I’ve been married to the love of my life for 35 years. We’re a blended family with 4 grown children. That’s an understatement since we have grown grandchildren, as well. Our oldest son and his wife have 4 children. Three of them are married with one child a piece. Our oldest daughter has 4 sons, all grown but one. Our younger daughter has two children, one in college and one in high school. And our youngest son has 3 children, all still in school, the oldest has graduated. We have 13 grandchildren altogether, 4 great-grandchildren and 1 more on the way.

My husband Mike just retired. He was the Counseling & Discipleship Pastor at our church. He’s passionate about God’s Word and seeing lives change, and I never cease to be amazed that God would allow me to be married to him. We are truly more in love today than when we met, and that, as you’ll see from my testimony, is because of God’s grace, not anything in us.

I retired a year and a half ago from my job as a Biblical counselor working alongside him, and now work 1 or 2 days a week as a volunteer. I wanted to have more time to spend with family and do more writing. But we also have had a desire to start a full-time marriage ministry. We did that this year. It’s called Joyful Marriage Ministries.

Together, we have also done marriage conferences and retreats in the past and found it very rewarding. Seeing marriages that are broken restored, those that are surviving thrive, and those that are good get even better is our passion. So, God willing, we will do more of that.  

Cheryl:  We would love to hear about your Christian testimony.  Were you raised in a Christian home?  What life events led you to turn your life over to Christ?  How have you most witnessed the transforming power of God in your life?

Donna:  I wasn’t raised in church. My mother attended church for a short time when I was in elementary school, but I don’t remember my dad ever going to church, although he did receive the Lord shortly before his death.

I loved going to church as a child and would go occasionally when someone invited me. I would, also, attend with my grandmother when she visited us. In fact, I clearly remember praying a prayer of salvation sitting beside her in the back of a little Baptist church when I was about 12.
I don’t remember telling anyone, even her, and whether or not I was genuinely saved at that time, only God knows. I do know that God protected me and continued to work in my life though that wouldn’t be apparent for many years.

I married the first time when I was 17. Even though my mother begged me not to, my dad overruled her. After about 7 years of marriage I left with my two small children. After all, it was the 70s, and I wasn’t happy, so I did what everyone else was doing, I filed for a divorce. Looking back, I know God was at work in spite of me. A friend had recently invited me to start attending church with her and her husband. She begged me not to leave my marriage, but I had stubbornly made up my mind. Instead, I stopped attending church and set out to start a new life my way.

After a few years of single parenting, I married again, despite many red flags. When things turned bad, I desperately tried to hold on, but eventually left and filed for a divorce once again. Instead of agreeing to a divorce, he stalked me for the better part of the next two years. My life was filled with calls to the police, broken windows, slashed tires, and regular threats. But God protected my children and me from serious harmm although I gave Him little thought, if any.

Growing up I was a good student, didn’t get in any trouble, didn’t drink or use drugs, and besides deciding I was going to get married, never really went against my parents’ wishes. In short, I saw myself as a “good girl,” and despite all my bad decisions, I still saw myself that way.  But after two failed marriages, I decided “being good,” at least by my standard, wasn’t working. I might as well live like everyone else. But once again, God was at work.

In the meantime, the man who would become my husband, left his wife and filed for his second divorce. Our lives were strangely parallel. When we met, we assured each other we weren’t looking for a serious relationship, but God had other ideas.

At least in my case, I needed to see that I wasn’t a “good girl,” before I would be ready to see my desperate need for a Savior. When our relationships turned serious, we knew what we had been doing hadn’t been working and we decided to “try church.” Instead, God got a hold of our hearts, and our lives have never been the same.

It’s still amazing to see what God has done with our two broken, messed up lives.

The early years of our marriage was challenging, blending a family and learning to live life God’s way. But He has been faithful and blessed us beyond our wildest imaginations.
We know what life is like when you try to live it your own way and we know what life is like with God at the center. That understanding has given us a passion for helping others through counseling and discipleship.

Cheryl:  Who would you say has had the most influence upon you, spiritually?  Is there a particular person who prayed for you and lived a Christian example before you, causing you to be drawn to the Lord?

Donna:  Although there have been wonderful, godly mentors since I’ve become a believer, it was a series of people God used to get my attention and draw me back to Himself.  He has taken my broken life and my sin and given me His righteousness. I’m forever thankful for His “Great Exchange”!

Cheryl:  We would love to hear about “Soul Survival”.  When did you begin blogging?  How has your blog affected and expanded your ministry?  What caused you to make the decision to start your blog?  How did you decide on the name of your blog?

Donna:  I have done freelance writing off and on, but have always had a passion to write more. I wrote regularly for Christian magazines for a few years, but working full time for the last 10 years made that more challenging.

I started “Soul Survival” because I had been emailing a daily devotional to a growing group of friends for about 3 years. It started as a challenge to the ladies in our women’s ministry to encourage them to read through their Bibles the next year. Every year people would ask me to do it again. When the email list became increasingly cumbersome, I decided there had to be an easier way. The blog grew out of that.

I’m not sure how I came up with the name, just brainstorming.

Cheryl:  Where do you most find inspiration for your writing?  Is there a particular place or setting you prefer while writing?

Donna:  The inspiration for my writing is everywhere. I’ve done so much counseling and I know there is a great need to help people understand how to apply the Bible to daily living. That colors everything I write. I usually write in my office at home, but when the weather is nice, I often sit outside on my patio and watch the birds at my feeder and enjoy God’s handiwork ... and my husband’s since he has worked hard to give me a beautiful backyard to enjoy!

Cheryl:  Looking back over your life, what would you say were some of the darkest times you have lived through?  How did your faith in God sustain you during these times, and what advice would you give to others who may be now walking the same path(s)?

Donna:   During many of the darkest times in my life, I was not walking with the Lord, but, in hindsight, I know He was always with me and brought me through them.

As a believer, we have certainly had our challenges blending a family and working through all the issues that divorce can create, but God has used it all for good and has given us the grace we’ve needed at each step along the way.

I had two emergency surgeries about 19 years ago, one of them on my back. At the time, we had just moved across the state, had no personal physician and no church family. I had always dreaded any kind of medical procedure, but God used that time of having to depend completely on Him to take away my fear in that area. I truly had the peace which passes all understanding.
Also, a couple of years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer and had to have surgery again. God gave my husband and I both so much peace throughout the process. Thankfully, there is no longer any sign of cancer. 

Cheryl:  If you could go back in time and change one decision you have made, what would it be?

Donna:  I wish I had known more of God’s truth when my children were younger. Divorce is hard on kids and I wish I had been better equipped to help them through all that.

And both my husband and I wish we had known before we were ever divorced that the world’s view of divorce is a lie. God hates divorce because divorce hurts people, especially children. And even though, God has blessed us with the marriage we have today, it has not been without consequences.

People sometimes come to one of us for counseling, thinking we’ll give them a pass and say divorce is OK in their situation because we’ve been divorced. The truth is, we’ll fight harder to help someone save their marriage than anyone because we know that in most cases, the best things is for them to learn to be the husband and wife God wants them to be now in their marriage.

Cheryl:  What would you define as being some of the most pressing battles in the cultural war of our time?  Can you share some of your favorite go-to Scriptures that help to keep you encouraged in these dark days?

Donna:   I think our nation is in a desperate situation and I wonder how long God will continue to bless us even to the degree that He is, while we, as a nation, condone abortion and other policies He hates. But I also know that God will take care of His faithful remnant and will use hardship and calamity to turn others to Himself.

I frequently take people to Romans 8.28 & 29 or 1 Corinthians 10.13 and those verses are ingrained in my heart. Also, reading the Prophets, especially Isaiah and Jeremiah, I’m encouraged that He says over and over that He will care for His own. 

Cheryl:  What are you most passionate about?  What causes are closest to your heart? 

Donna:  I’m passionate about seeing lives changed, but I know genuine change only takes place when hearts are changed. Only God can do that through His Word and the power of His Spirit. I pray He’ll allow me to continue to play some part in that process.

Cheryl:  How can we pray for you at this season of life?  Are there particular burdens upon your heart that we can help to carry to the Father?

Donna:   You can pray for my family and for God’s wisdom for our new ministry and my husband’s over the next few years.

Thank you so much, Cheryl, for the opportunity to share with you and your readers. May God bless you richly! 

And, thank you, dear Donna, for being willing to participate in Inner Views!
We are so blessed by your presence here, and trust God to richly bless you, in return!

Dear readers, please keep Donna and her husband and family in your prayers, as they continue to share the Good News and work together in His service.
I hope you will stop by and visit Donna at Soul Survival.
You can also connect with her on FacebookPinterestTwitter, and Instagram,
and you can email Donna at

Thank you so much for reading, and God bless you all!

To read previous
click the links below.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Biblical Minimalism

"For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise."
Hebrews 10:36

Many of you have followed along, as God has led my family and me to take what may seem like drastic measures to live a simpler, more Biblical-aligned life.
Though some of the reasons for our minimizing has been apparent to us, I still felt there may be another purpose, and I longed to know the deeper meaning behind it all.
During my time with Jesus early one morning, the answer to my question became clear.
The many lessons we have learned while walking this path were not exclusively intended for us,
but I was to write a book, so our story and all that He has taught us could be shared with others.
You may have noticed that I haven't posted a "minimizing journey update" in a long time,
This is because I have been pouring all of that type of energy into the book, 
and I was trying to avoid spoilers!

The book is called, "Biblical Minimalism:  One Family's Journey from a Life of Abundance to a More Abundant Life ©"
It is a Scripture-saturated documentation of my family's journey towards a more minimal, eternity-focused life and how God led us to sell our 4 bedroom, 3 bath home and release about 90% of our physical possessions to pay off debt and free ourselves for the sake of a higher call.
I have alluded to our journey, at various times, here on the blog, and the book contains much of that information, plus a WHOLE lot more, including many profound lessons God has taught us that I haven't yet shared.
Laying some of those things bare presented a huge struggle for me, and God required a lot of stretching in the writing of this book.
He revealed so much to me about pride and how that even though I care deeply about and strongly defend our privacy, sometimes the guarding of confidentiality holds the potential of robbing others of truths He wants to reveal through the disclosing of our stories and the sharing of our journeys.
If the telling of God's redemption of our mistakes and brokenness can give another person hope, then I say amen to God's desire to not allow our story to go untold.

This book is so near and dear to my heart, because coming more in alignment with the minimal life Jesus lived while walking this earth is one of my greatest passions.
Writing it was quite a task.
There were moments I thought I would never finish.
Many things were going on in our lives that were difficult and hard to press through.
Through Christ alone, the book is now written and copywritten, and I am beyond grateful for God's enabling power and sustaining grace.

So, what now?

Of course, my preferred next step is that one of the traditional publishing houses would miraculously love it, get behind it, publish it, and market it to the masses. 😀
Not as much for personal gain, but, most importantly, that a desperately vital message can reach as many lives as possible.
My research, thus far, shows that to get a mainstream Christian publishing company to even read a manuscript from a very ordinary, non-famous person is near-impossible.
The industry has evolved into a not-so-accessible place to navigate, and many writers far greater than I are still waiting for someone to catch their vision and publish their dream.
As I have time, I am looking into editing, self-publishing, and partner-publishing options and will move forward, as God leads.

So much has changed in our lives even since I finished writing the book, and God is already laying a foundation for a sequel "Biblical Minimalism" book #2, as our journey continues.
I am also feeling led to write an accompanying Bible Study guide to ask probing questions and allow the reader to personalize the Scriptural applications to their own, unique situations, circumstances, and getting-out-of-debt journeys.

So, what do you think?
Would you be interested in reading, "Biblical Minimalism"© if it were to be published?
Do you find this subject matter interesting and relevant?
I'd love to hear your thoughts, either in the comments below or via email,
and, Lord willing, I will keep you posted of any developments, should there be any.
May His perfect will be done, regardless.

Thank you ever so much for following along with us on our incredible adventure.
We love and appreciate you from the bottom of our hearts.
God bless you all!