Deborah Waterbury immediately made me feel comfortable with her warm hug and familiar southern drawl. While back in her hometown near Nashville, TN for her son’s wedding, I had the pleasure of meeting with her and after reading her ninth and newest book, The Lies That Bind and the Truth That Sets You Free, I felt like I was sharing a cup of coffee with an old friend. Friend, however, is just one of the many hats Dr. Deb graciously wears. She considers being a servant of Christ, a wife, and a mother among her deepest callings, but she is also a writer, counselor, teacher, radio show host, and founder of Love Everlasting Ministries. She has spent the last decade ministering to women around the world and now runs a trade school for women who have been left widowed by AIDS in Malawi.
Things were not always so beautiful for Dr. Waterbury. In her memoir, The Lies That Bind, she shares the most intimate details of her public fall from grace and about the double life she led throughout most of her adulthood.
“Jesus met me right in the middle of that sin and heartache, and His only words to me were words of love and forgiveness.”
“When my world came crashing down around my feet because of my own life of sin,” says Dr. Waterbury, “Jesus met me right in the middle of that sin and heartache, and His only words to me were words of love and forgiveness. When I began to write out my testimony in its entirety, starting with the rape when I was twelve, and saw the lies I began to believe about who I was as opposed to who I know I actually am, exposing those lies became the only thing I could think to do. This endeavor became a book about deliverance. It is about breaking the chains that bind us, discovering who we are, and living beautifully in that truth. But there is a lot of heartache in the pages. I had to stop writing many times because I was sobbing so hard.”
When I confessed to Deb that I had also believed every lie she mentions in her book she said, “I appreciate you sharing that Callie, because one of the things I say over and over is that even though I use my story as an example, everybody believes them. There are many lies, but these are the five that almost everybody believes at some level.”
Dr. Waterbury hosts a live call-in radio show called, “Doing Life with Dr. Deb” which airs Monday through Friday on two stations in Tucson and Sierra Vista, Arizona. Here, she also has the privilege of talking about her passion project, Reap What You Sew, a dedicated training program that teaches widows and under-privileged women the sewing trade so they can provide for their family and become successful business women.
After years of teaching and ministering to women in Malawi, Dr. Deb found herself leaving each visit feeling as though she was only doing half the job. “I would fly in, share the gospel message, and then go home. I felt like I was leaving them to go back to their poverty and even though I was giving them the best news of the world, I left them with no tangible way to help themselves.”
As students complete the six-month program, they receive their own sewing machine, a kit that includes everything they need to start their business, and they are followed for six additional months. Every graduate from Reap What You Sew’s first class is now running their own business and two-thirds have their own shop. Dr. Deb is returning for their second class graduation in July. During this trip, she’ll also be filming a documentary about the school.
“I would really like more people to know about the school,” Dr. Deb told me. “It does beautiful things for these women and for their families.”
I asked Deb how others can get involved with this wonderful program. “Each student can be sponsored for a low monthly fee. Becoming a monthly sponsor connects you one-on-one with an actual student. Sponsors receive a monthly email about their student that includes pictures and updates on her progress. You can also send letters and correspond with them.
Deborah is hosting a fundraiser for the Reap What You Sew Project on Facebook Live May 19th. There is currently a waiting list for women to get into the program and monthly sponsors are needed. To find out more information about Dr. Deborah and her memoir, visit her website at www.debwaterbury.com. To learn more about Love Everlasting Ministries, Reap What You Sew or to sponsor a student visit www.loveeverlastingministries.com.
Article first appeared on Nashville Christian Voice