Freedom in Boundaries
My journey with Jesus started when I was eight years old. My sister and I were going through a large building at the Sedgwick County Fair that had all sorts of booths in it. People were handing out information about products, giving away free samples, and signing up volunteers for drawings. At one booth, there was a very nice lady handing out what she called the “Wordless Book.” She asked us if we wanted one of her colorful books and, of course, we said that we did. When she handed us the book she asked if she could read it to us. We were confused because there were no words to read, but we said, “Yes.” As she went through the colors she told us what they meant and led us through the plan of salvation. When she was done she asked us if we wanted to accept Jesus into our hearts and, again, we said “Yes.” She prayed with us and gave us a New Testament Bible along with our “Wordless Book.”
That was the beginning!
Since then, my journey with Jesus has involved experiences that included mountain tops and valleys. The mountain top experiences included things like the love I receive from God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and family and friends, graduations from high school and college, marriage to a wonderful man who loves Jesus and me, having three children and, now, their spouses, and seven grandchildren. But I spent time in the valleys, too, which I sadly admit was caused when I ignored the leading of the Holy Spirit and, instead, chose to live in an un-Christlike manner.
My three sisters and I were raised by our parents, Pete and Wanda Bledsoe, in a conservative home where hard work and education were stressed. We went to church every Sunday and school five days a week (even summer school at times). After graduating from high school, I went to college at Pittsburg State University where I met and eventually married my husband, Steven Duvall. When we first met, I wasn’t living out my faith but he was, and I found that very attractive. Long story short, we fell in love, married and had three children.
There is nothing like raising a family to bring your belief system to the forefront. I was a young mother of three children when I rededicated my life to Jesus and got involved in a women’s Bible study. I was 23 years old and had gone to church my whole life but, for the first time, I realized that I knew very little about God’s Living Word, the Bible. For the next 8 years, I participated in a Menninger Bible Study that was taught by an elderly lady named Astrid Barkis. It was then that the Bible came alive to me for the first time in my life. It involved an in-depth study of the Bible over a 4 year period and I did it twice. Astrid made it so interesting and I fell in love with the Word of God. It also didn’t hurt that the church offered free babysitting.
Steven, our three children, and I went to church as a family almost every Sunday. The kids went to Christian schools most years and, for a short time, public schools. We even homeschooled them for two years. We had our share of good and stressful family times raising the kids, but, as kids do, they grew up and, before we knew it, we were empty nesters and soon moved from the area where we had lived for 21 years.
Steven and I were still going to church but were trying to determine what God wanted us to do next.
Our youngest child got married and started a family first. Of course, I was elated and had wonderful expectations of what grandparenting was going to look like. But sadly, what I thought and what my daughter thought didn’t match up. In a few short years, my relationship with my youngest daughter was going poorly, to say the least!
At that time we were attending a church that offered the Boundaries class. Boundaries is a book written by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. They are Christian psychologists and have written numerous books.
Next to God’s Word, the principles in Boundaries have been the most life-changing things I have experienced. The biblical principles involve applying God’s Word to every relationship and have helped me change the destructive ways with which I interacted with my youngest daughter and her husband and children. Even so, I was so set in my ways that I had to take the course twice because it didn’t totally sink in the first time.
That journey started in 2007 and I have been facilitating a Boundaries class here at Christ’s Church of Oronogo since around 2015. I’m here to tell you that God’s principles in the Boundaries program, with the help of the Holy Spirit and a lot of hard work, have helped me have a wonderful and godly relationship, not only with my youngest daughter and her family but also, with my other two adult children and their families. I would go as far as to say that it has helped me with every relationship that I have.
I’m free to love. I love talking about Boundaries so feel free to ask me!
In addition to teaching a Boundaries class, I’ve been attending and helping in Redemption Recovery here at Christ’s Church since 2012. It is a Bible-based, God-driven recovery program. Through my journey with Jesus and the Biblical principles in the Boundaries class, I’ve realized that I’m broken and in constant need of recovery. I am a child of God and a recovering control freak. The people who love and accept me, and I them at Redemption Recovery help me do life in a godly and healthier way. I would invite you to come to join us on Tuesday nights at 6:30pm at Christ’s Church of Oronogo if you need some encouragement and help with an addiction of any kind. Substance or emotional addiction that is taking your life out of control.