Danger Zone

It took me only 5 minutes to walk to the gym for Zumba class this morning. What a treat! I forgot that this morning was Zumba Mix. Instead of all Columbian dance songs, Christine Offerdahl adds in oldies as well.

All was going fine until “Highway to the Danger Zone” blared over the speakers. Yes, that’s the old “Top Gun” song about flying an incredibly powerful jet, but it had new meaning to me this morning.

Just yesterday I had coffee with Dean Smith (founder of Live to Forgive ministries). He and Jaclyn VanHoof wanted me to give them some feedback on their Bible Study Workbook, so I read through some of it last evening while having dinner.

One of the first things Dean asks the reader to do is:

Important Exercise: Find Your Bob’s (your “Bob” is the person who you need to forgive)

Close your eyes, and picture the faces of the people in your life. Now, when you picture their faces:

• Is there anyone who causes you to feel a little resentment, bitterness, anger, or frustration? Do you find yourself thinking about the harm they have caused you or someone you know?
• Do you feel the need or have the desire to put any of them in their place for the harm they have done to you or someone you love?
• Is there simply someone you know, that without a shadow of a doubt you simply haven’t forgiven them from your heart?

(Live to Forgive Bible Study Workbook page 4)

I had to admit that the first 2 bullet points struck a nerve. Knowing the perverted abuse heaped on my friend’s daughter and my own granddaughter by “pastor” Malcolm Fraser, for him to be “declared innocent” by all Sound Doctrine members and WinePress Publishing employees really invokes in my heart a desire to put him in his place every time I see him walking around town.

Resentment? Yep.
Anger? Yep.
Frustration? Oh yeah.

Especially seeing the Christian media stay quiet about the fact that a cult now owns WinePress and one of the pastors was charged with child rape…the only thing that makes any sense is that the litigious Sound Doctrine/WinePress leaders have threatened to sue, and everyone is either intimidated or just doesn’t want the hassle and attorney fees that will follow exposing the truth about this group.

Interesting that it struck me last night after reading this, that I, once again, needed to forgive them all over again.

Then, right around midnight, I received a Google alert of Sound Doctrine’s post about the trial date being set for November 8, and saw that the Courier Herald posted the information regarding the date, but describing him as “accused of inappropriate sexual contact with an underage girl”.

Really? That sounds a lot less offensive than the truth…He was arrested and charged with Child Rape of a 10 year old girl and was jailed until he was bailed out 48 hours later. I realize my granddaughter has not come forward and told her story (her body language has told it loud and clear) but she was age 6-10 when she lived with the pedophile. I’m sorry but that just makes me want to hurt that guy.

What amazes me is how all the children are being trained by the church to shun anyone who has had the courage to speak out against the evil that has been hidden inside Sound Doctrine. When the victim went to visit my son and saw my granddaughter and grandson (who are still in the cult with their mother) they turned their backs to her and faced the wall, refusing to speak to her or acknowledge her presence. That is just plain wrong..

It’s obvious that the Lord timed the reviewing of this Bible Study on Forgiveness with the trial date being set. I have to remember…

What Forgiveness is NOT:

• Approval of what your Bob did.
• Justifying what your Bob did.
• Excusing what your Bob did.
• Denying what your Bob did.
• Pretending you’re not hurt, masking it, or pushing it down.
• Forgetting what your Bob did.

(Live to Forgive Bible Study Workbook page 6)

If I do not continue to forgive the pedophile and the rest of the leadership at Sound Doctrine/WinePress, then I will be on that highway to the danger zone.

I don’t want to go there.

God help me.

God’s Quarry

I had originally shared this only with my Facebook friends, but decided it is a good way to wrap up my 7 months of healing from the painful devastation of being sucked into the cult of Sound Doctrine. Now that God has moved me forward into a time of mind boggling restoration with partnership in a new company and a house He completely hand-picked just for me, I thought it fitting to share this perspective.

Thanks for traveling this journey of healing with me for these last few months. I am excited to see what lies ahead as I continue to grow in His grace!


Pondering the message I heard today. It was really good. All about rejoicing while we’re in God’s Quarry. I wanted to get a better understanding of how a quarry works so looked up the definition. The first one said:

Noun: an excavation or pit, usually open to the air, from which building stone, slate, or the like, is obtained by cutting, blasting, etc.

That one really resonated with me…the hard times in my life, most recently the 12 years in a cult and the last 7 months of starting my life all over again from scratch, have been a true pit for me. And my faith and understanding of who God is was, for many years, blasted to a place of nonrecognition.

Wikipedia said:

Quarries are generally used for extracting building materials…

Based on Pastor Ross Holtz‘s comments today, I am quite sure the building materials are build ready…the hard work has been done in the quarry, so once they leave there, they are acceptable to the builder.

I kept thinking of the scripture

1 Peter 2:5
you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

As much as I hate what I went through in the cult, and the struggles I have had coming out and allowing the Lord to heal my mind and my heart, I do believe He has used it to build me into a sacrifice acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

I can rejoice in being that living stone that will continue to be built into that spiritual house to be a holy priesthood. If it says we “are being built” then it’s not over. There may (more like WILL) be more pits for me in the future, and more blasting to come.

May I learn my lessons well now, to rejoice always, and pray continually, so that I’m well prepared for whatever comes next.

Learning to Wait

Been meditating today on how much the Lord has been teaching me to wait on Him.

Looking back on the last 7 months I see so many times when my natural tendency would have been to “make it happen” whether it was a work situation or finding a place to live.

Back in March I had a great opportunity to go to a Philanthropy conference in Chicago and find a bunch of prospective book projects. I could have easily made it happen and found the money from somewhere to go, but I decided if God really wanted me to go HE would make a way (not ME). He didn’t, so I didn’t go down that road.

Another opportunity came up where I could have had a part time job in exchange for free rent right here in Enumclaw. The 55+ community was owned by someone at my church and they were excited about the possibilities…and I was at the point of being tired of living in a 100 square foot rented room. Even though I dearly love my “landlord” and had no complaints with the living conditions, I was just anxious to get on with my life. I really wanted that situation to be my answer, but I just couldn’t move forward with that either.

Countless times I went on a resume rampage, sending out dozens of resumes, even building a blog called “Why Hire Athena Dean?” Overall, I guess I have really struggled with the waiting and the lesson God wanted to teach me. But I see now that it was a good lesson.

Had I made things happen in any of these other opportunities, then how would I ever know if my success was God or me? I would have always wondered, in the back of my mind…is this really God’s will or did I put this thing together?

As I pack up my room in anticipation of moving into the Lord’s clear provision for me, I was struck by the scripture I’d taped up to my mirror when I first moved in here on February 1. It said:

Psalm 31:23
God takes care of all who stay close to Him.

The closer I stay to Him, waiting on Him for clear direction and provision, the more He takes care of me. Instead of me doing my independent strong woman “thing” like I have in the past, I am finally getting the hang of depending on Him.

I had to chuckle when the gal who owns the house God has provided for me to rent texted me tonight to say she wasn’t ready for me to move in tomorrow, and wouldn’t be done getting everything ready for me until Tuesday or Wednesday. Of course my first response was “Waaaahhhhhhhh! I want it NOW!”

But I just had to take a chill pill and realize I’m on God’s timetable not my own, He provided the work so I can afford this house, and He provided the house and a landlord who has a heart to see me blessed with this sanctuary of a home.

Good things take time, and I am learning to embrace the waiting. As I do so, I am gaining new strength, and singing a new song!

Isaiah 40:31
Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.

7 Month Anniversary – Faithful God

As I look back on this week, to say that God has provided for me would be an understatement. Not only did He work a new business partnership that will enable me to earn an income, but He also provided a place for me to live. As I was on my way home Friday from the business meeting where we all agreed to move forward on a new venture, I called Jessica to let her know the good news. She immediately replied “Write this number down….I found you a house!”

A few hours earlier she had driven over to Dells to looks for some boots, and on her way back she noticed a FOR RENT sign up in front of her all-time favorite house in Enumclaw. She had always driven by the house and loved the improvements the owner made, wishing someone she knew could live there. I quickly called the number and left a message. It wasn’t long before I got a call back and the voice on the other end of the phone told me I was the 2nd person to leave a message, and she really wasn’t going to call anyone back until the evening, but felt compelled to call me.

As I shared a little bit of my story with her, she told me if I wanted the place, she would not call back the other callers and would actually take the For Rent sign down. I told her I can tell just by seeing the outside that I would be happy with the inside. I simply just felt the hand of God all over the situation. We agreed to meet on Sunday morning before church so I could see the inside of the house.

Jessica and I went over to take a look this morning and it was just like visiting with a long-time friend. The owner had moved into the house during a traumatic transition time in her own life and had created a sanctuary out of it, and now she could see that it was the perfect place for me with everything I’ve been through. It was like God set it up and orchestrated everything.

When I told her that I had no furniture or anything, and that I would be furnishing it a little at a time, she looked around and asked “Well, do you like what’s here? I can let you have whatever you would like.” Honestly, I felt lightheaded and almost at a loss for words. This house is decorated exactly like I would decorate a house…the colors, the furniture, the lighting fixtures, everything down to the smallest detail.

I went from there to church and then back again to meet with her to work out all the details. I am still stunned at God’s goodness. Later on this week I will move all my earthly possessions (clothes and books!)  into what feels like a bed and breakfast, a beautiful sanctuary, a place of rest.

How fitting that this would all culminate on the 7 month anniversary of my deliverance from bondage. On the 7th day He rested…and this will be a place for me to rest in God like never before.  Yes, He is faithful. The last few days I’ve been singing this song non-stop…it so epitomizes my heart right now and how I feel about my God!

Faithful God – Travis Cottrell

I see You turning ashes to beauty,
bringing this dead man to life
Here You are in the midst of this sadness,
wiping the tears from my eyes
I can hear, the song of redemption
filling my heart with Your praise

Faithful God, You reign forever
We will hope in Your great Name
Strong and Mighty King of Heaven
We will worship You, Oh faithful God

You see me as a child who’s forgiven,
clothed in the mercy of Christ
Here I am, unashamed and surrendered
I have been bought with a price
Can you hear the sound of Your people,
shaking the earth with Your praise?

Faithfull God you reign forever,
we will hope in Your great Name
Strong and mighty King of Heaven
we will worship You oh faithful God

You turned my mourning into dancing and celebration
You took my sorrow and You gave me your joy
You broke the my bondage and You gave me my liberation
And I will ever praise You, and I will ever praise You, and I will ever praise You

Listen to the song here.


Today was my day to help clean the church. I showed up at 10am to an empty building, and it turned out my cleaning partners had done their part the day before, so I was able to vacuum and dump the trash all by myself. What a trip…my worship music blaring in my headphones, I sang along knowing all the while that the noise of the vacuum cleaner was drowning out my singing so it didn’t matter how I sounded. What freedom!

It was almost surreal the way it reminded me of my last 6 months at WinePress. After the “sale” was completed on April Fools’ Day 2010, it wasn’t long before I was busted down to minimum wage, where I ended up being given the job of cleaning the WinePress offices.

Every morning I would drag around a 30 gallon trash bag and dump everyone’s trash. Really, I tried to have a good attitude while I trudged around the whole building, upstairs and down, but never once did I have the freedom to listen to worship music and praise God while I worked.

But now that I look back, by that point, even if I’d had the opportunity to do so, I’m not sure that I would have. It was an incredibly oppressive environment where walking on eggshells was the order of the day. I remember secretly being thankful someone else was in trouble, as that meant that Tim and Malcolm were too busy dealing with someone else to bother with me.

But today was a new day…a day of freedom in Christ and a celebration of almost 7 months of deliverance from my 12 long years of bondage. It was a joy to push that vacuum around and dump the trash…the Lord’s love overwhelmed me more than once as I thanked Him for all that He has done for me, and I marveled at how He’s placed me in such a good church where grace and mercy abounds.

It was a good time…surreal, but good.