WELCOME!

I welcome you into my life, my blog! I have been so richly blessed by you –  whether I have met you at a conference, on my online Bible study, as a supporter of the prison ministry (the above picture was taken when we were filming “The Rescue” curriculum in the Texas prisons) or as a reader of my books. I am deeply touched that you would care enough to come to this blog and read. May the Lord richly bless you with His presence.


Clues Leading To My Conversion

 

One of my favorite quotes is from Lauren Winner in  girl Meets GOD. When you look back to clues, before your conversion, sometimes you wonder, she writes:

Surely any idiot should have been able to see from the second chapter that it was Miss Scarlett in the conservatory with the rope.

First Clues

Before kindergarten I wondered,  “Who made my hand?”

I melted every time I heard “O Holy Night”.

I wondered how my professor at Northwestern University could rip apart the Bible and not be afraid of God.

When my  “fanatical” sister Sally arrived to tell me about Jesus I wanted her visit to end, but a freak October blizzard hit Indianapolis and she stayed and  preached three more days.

 

sisters

Sisters: l to r, Bonnie, Dee and Sally

How amazing that He chose me before the foundation of the world. It is just that it took me twenty-one years to catch on.

Family

deesteve

Dee with Steve in 2002


Steve was such a gift to me. He prayed over me, believed in my ministry, and even, as he lay dying from a terrible cancer, said, “You will fly so free.” I surely don’t want to fly without him, but I am learning to live what I teach.  Christ is enough. I miss Steve more than I can say, but I am so very thankful for the years we had. My book, The God of All Comfort, tells my journey through the river of grief and into the arms of God. I feel my last two books, The God of All Comfort, and Idol Lies, are my best — because suffering does mature you.

brestin-kids-happy

Dee and Steve’s five children and daughter-in-law Julie: l to r& Beth, Julie, John, Anne, Sally & J.R.

I am blessed to have five children who love God.  And my grandchildren soared from 5 to 9 the summer of 2010 when all of my daughters gave birth to daughters. And the babies keep coming! I’m blessed with ten grand-daughters and two grandsons.

four-washer-womenOur God is certainly a God of surprises. We think we prayed so hard for Sally to have a baby that it overflowed!

DSC_0151

Christmas 2012 with the four who are now two and a half!

MY BACKGROUND

 

I grew up in a loving family in Wisconsin. Since Steve has gone to be with Jesus, I have returned to spend much time here in this little village on the thumb of Wisconsin.

 

ephraim

Growing up, I lived in West Bend, Wisconsin. Both my parents were also writers and my dad told me I might not be as pretty as my sisters (What?) but that I could write. He made fifty copies of a book I wrote when I was eight called, “My Dog Chloe. “

Believe it or not, I was a theatre major at Northwestern University. (My mother wanted me to marry a movie star.) The theatre major didn’t stick, nor was my mother’s dream fulfilled — but God in His grace allowed me to meet Steve, who would put his trust in Christ the same time I did — the 2nd year of our marriage.

When Steve was in residency, I was leading an evangelistic Bible study for residents’ wives and couldn’t find a good guide. So, I wrote Proverbs and Parables for The Fisherman Bible Studies, which was one of the first series of Bible study guides. Luci Shaw, the editor, insisted on  “no editorial content.” Let the student dig himself and ask questions! Don’t give answers. When I couldn’t resist giving a few editorial comments in my friendship guide, Luci told me  to go write a book on friendship! I wrote The Friendships of Women. When Focus on the Family called and wanted to feature it, I was over the moon. How blessed I have been! In 2012, Friendships will be 25 years old.

dkt-headstogetherI spent seven years working with Kathy Troccoli on our trilogy of Falling in Love with Jesus — writing, speaking, enjoying her friendship. We are very different and stretched each other, which was good for us! Personally, I am thankful to God for having Kathy, who has been single all of her life, teach me more about approaching Jesus as my Bridegroom. God knew that Steve would die at the end of my ministry time with Kathy, and this was His preparation for me, to trust Him as my husband.

About ten years before Steve died he led us into a more deeply gospel-centered theology, for which I am so grateful. I knew the gospel was the way into the Kingdom, but I had not fully realized that the gospel has power for every day of my life for transformation. After Steve died, I asked Cook, who had some of my older Bible studyguides, if I could revise them all to reflect how I had grown, and they graciously allowed me to do that.

Suffering has caused me to press into the Lord like nothing else, and I feel my two books since Steve’s death are my best. My audience is also narrowing to more mature believers, but I trust Him that this is His plan for me in the third act of my life, for I am in my sixties.

If I were to sum up my theology I would say:

I am more depraved than I ever imagined, and the fact that Christ had to go to the cross for my sin humbles me.

I am also more loved that I ever dared believe, and the fact that Christ went to the cross exalts me.

This is the gospel — the promise, the hope, the power. It transforms me every day of my life and helps me let go of the things that get in the way of

His presence, His peace, His power.


 

It is the desire of my heart to share God’s Word, for it has power. The book Christ-Centered Preaching by Bryan Chappell has profoundly impacted me. There is a new revival movement that is called The Gospel Coalition that is strengthening me. (It’s my favorite website: www.gospelcoalition.org)  It was founded by Tim Keller and D. A. Carson to bring back the gospel to evangelicalism. So much of evangelicalism has lost the power of the gospel. They understand we need the gospel to enter into the kingdom, but for living the Christian life, its power has been lost. Every time reform has come to Christianity, it has been a return to the sufficiency of the gospel.

When I speak I love to use pictures, drama, and music to help women see the truth as well as hear it.


New ministries in my life are my prison ministry and my online Bible study! Never would I have dreamed that a Bible study blog could lead to such rich fellowship, but it has — and I often give links to messages from The Gospel Coalition or Tim Keller. I hope, if you are not already participating, that you will consider consider joining us.


I am a member of a PCA church (Trinity Presbyterian)  which is the conservative branch of the Presbyterian church. I am right now in the process of moving permanently to Ephraim and have been involved with Bethel Baptist which is near Ellison Bay.  I embrace my sisters in Christ from every denomination. I have, however, truly loved Reformed Theology, especially the emphasis that it is Christ and Christ alone not only for salvation, but for living the Christian life.

I appreciate you and thank God for you.