I was not prepared for this.

My friend Inger wanted to take me to lunch for my birthday. “I’ll just take the ferry over to Mukilteo and we can eat close by.” I was excited to see her, so didn’t think twice about it.

Then as I drove down Mukilteo Speedway towards the ferry, I saw the old WinePress office. My throat tightened, but I kept driving.

As I passed our old house overlooking the water, it looked as though there was a for sale sign in front. Thoughts of buying the house and trying to restore what’s been lost danced through my head. Now I’m almost getting dizzy.  Oh dear. What am I doing?

I head down the hill to the ferry, and turn into the parking lot at the Mukilteo Beach. Tears begin to flow down my cheeks as I remember the place I used to come and pray each morning. Then there was the spot where Chuck also had his quiet time. Years of special times with God flooded my memory.

As I looked at the choppy waves and watched Inger’s ferry approaching, I remembered the Christmas Letter I’d written in December of 1996 – The Year of Miracles in the Dean Family.  I dug it out when I got home tonight.

In it I recounted our recommitment to our family as a result of a book we published called “The Family, God’s Weapon for Victory.”  The fruit of that commitment came quickly as we saw Roby move back home and commit her heart to the Lord.

“After that, we had the faith to believe for the rest of our kids. If God could get a hold of her, He could certainly do the same for the boys.

It took until August for the next major miracle. With Roby working with us in WinePress, the three of us spent months begging God to do whatever it takes to get the boy’s attention, and that He did! One summer day, out of the blue, Garrett and Aaron both agreed to go with us to a meeting held at Marysville First Assembly of God. A young man from southern California named Tracey Armstrong was the speaker. Roby, the boys and I sat in the second row, absolutely in awe of the power of God. When Tracey called me out to pray for me, I knew God was about to do something awesome. He looked at me and said “You’ve got a breakthrough coming in your family. Everything you’ve been praying for with regards to your family will come to pass!”

The rest of that Christmas letter shared the transformation of both Garrett and Aaron and how we all started working together at WinePress in the new office right down the street.

“God is blessing our obedience to do what He told us to do, no matter what the circumstances are. ..Work together in the publishing business, and keep the family before the business.”

What a tragedy. God was working in such a mighty way, and the enemy came in and completely tore it all apart. The year I wrote that Christmas Letter was the same year I met Carla at the Write to Publish Conference, which was the beginning of being lured into the cult, the beginning of the end of WinePress, the beginning of the end of my marriage, and the beginning of the end of our family as we knew it.

While it was a very joyful day today, I grieved some more today. I grieved for the loss of the family we had committed to keep before the business, for the destruction of my 18 year marriage, for the annihilation of my youngest and oldest son’s faith, and for the death of the publishing company that I knew and loved that is no more.

It was a bittersweet day today. And the tears are still flowing.

I guess it’s going to be this way for a while.

10 thoughts on “Bittersweet

  1. Athena, there is a lot of life left. But as you know, it’s lived one step at a time. Keep walking. God has so much for you.

    I’m praying.

  2. Oh, it is criminal for such destruction to be brought on anyone. I wish I could take it all away from you. But I know I can’t. If I were there, I’d cry with you.

  3. There will always be regrets this side of heaven. You can’t regain what was lost but God will do new miracles for you. Including healing.

    • Yes He can Kathy, and He certainly is. I just have to allow myself the space and time to grieve before I go on to all those new miracles I know He will do!

  4. All I could think of when I read your story is the gloat of the enemy as he laughed at the foot of the cross. But out of time a Voice spoke “It is Friday but Sunday’s coming!” That cross is not the end of the story….for Jesus….or for you.

  5. Don’t worry. Their sin has reached full measure and God has decided to call them out for years of using his credit card fraudulently.

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