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Denise Graves...

deniseheadshotsis a former band director turned homeschool mom.  She has been married 19 years to a fellow former band director and they have three school-aged children.  Her spiritual background is as follows:  she grew up in a hard-working, moral, non-church-going family; prayed a salvation prayer at age nine; and attended a small Southern Baptist country church, as well as youth rallies, revivals and camps with her sister and other friends throughout her school years.  She struggled with assurance of salvation until making a Lordship decision at a Christian conference during her first year in college.  Throughout college and into early career life, Denise was discipled and received strong spiritual training through a college campus ministry.  These years were marked by a deep and active desire to live a genuine, commmitted Christian life that was fruitful and pleasing to the Lord.

 

The following 15 years were marked by tremendous guilt for Denise because she felt she was not utilizing her evangelistic and discipleship training.  She and her family were actively involved in church life – attending services and Bible studies regularly, serving, fellowshipping with others – but, the guilt remained.  The added responsibility of properly teaching and training their children along with the stresses of career changes, finances and married life made things even more critical.

Things came to a head during a season that spanned a couple of years beginning in 2005.  Throughout some very difficult and painful circumstances, God brought Denise to the end of herself.  Gradually, God opened her eyes to the truths that she is but dust, she can do absolutely nothing of value in her own strength, and the only way to have any lasting purpose or meaning was to give up everything (including her spiritual knowledge and training) to the only One Who knows everything and for Whom nothing is impossible.  Truths that she had ‘known” for years began to take on a breathtakingly new depth of meaning.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding” opened up as never before, as did “And you will seek me and find me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

Since then, God has seemed to speak to her through everything – Bible reading, songs, messages, books, nature and life circumstances.  Virtually everything has become a vehicle for spiritual lessons.  Denise’s consuming desire is for Jesus to live His life through her, revealing Himself as He truly is so He can draw people into genuine and transforming relationship with Himself.