READERS: This is a transcript of a podcast and is not meant to present as a completed, grammatically correct piece of written work. We provide these transcripts for our hard of hearing community and for those of you who prefer to listen inside the blog. We would love to have you as part of the Wednesdays With Watson family, you can do that by clicking here.
Amy Watson 0:00
Wednesday’s child is full of oil goes the Old English poem. This Wednesday’s child may be full of Whoa. But whoa, must have really resisted the addition of resilience, hope, faith, love, and all of its cousins. Because today, y’all, this Wednesday’s child is 50. Do you hear me 50? Remember, 150 was old. Guess what? Not not so much. Welcome to a very special episode of The Wednesday’s with Watson podcast. It is Wednesday, December 1. This is our 50th episode, randomly scheduled to drop on a Wednesday, that happens to be my 50th birthday. And I happen to have been born on a Wednesday, I don’t believe the Old English poem and a smile on I think about baby Amy, true to form waiting for hump day to make my grand entrance. You’re in for a treat today, as I have asked one person from each decade of my life to share just a few minutes with me. These are people that know it all. They’ve been there through it all at some point in my life, all the trauma, all the pain and still to this day in some form. So walk with me as I navigate PTSD. And all of its friends. Selfishly I wanted this on audio. So this podcast in some ways as a birthday present to myself. Enjoy this episode as I celebrate 50 trips around the brightest star in the universe. May the true star of all 50 be glorified because on this day, more than any other. My simple prayer is this, sir, we would see Jesus. I am honored today to introduce you to some people that God has used, I could have picked so many people that we only have a short time. It is my prayer that you will find hope and healing and what you hear today. One of the things that I am reminded of is the scripture in the Bible. And it’s found in I believe all four gospels, but it’s the parable of the seed, where Jesus is talking about how some seeds some people are used to plant the seed some people are used to maintain the seed, work the field work the harvest, and then somebody gets to reap those seeds. And so today, one person from each decade of my life, the very first person being the person that dropped some of the very first seeds, and we’ll walk through each decade of my life and how all of the seeds are now we’re able to reap the harvest of everything that was invested in me. So I hope you guys enjoy this episode. It is going to be so much fun. And I can’t wait for you to hear from some of my favorite people in the world. And so without further ado, let’s drop into these conversations. Five people five decades, one God. Children are not to be molded but are merely people to be unfolded. Light filter dimly through the spiderwebs and dirt on the prison room windows. I had convinced mama to let me go to church with a nice people from across town. I’d bounce out of bed test the door to ensure that Mama unlocked it. Race to get ready and then shuffle down the stairs to wait for that old yellow school bus. Wreck drove the bus and his wife Sharon attempted to keep a bunch of kids from downtown Jacksonville the ghetto as some would call it, who had been bribed by candy to go to church. She was just trying to keep us in order. Their young daughter sat securely in a car seat next to her dad as he drove. Week after week when the bus pulled back in front of our house. I swallowed hard, stood a little straighter and prepared to go back to the battlefield we called home. Rick and Sharon must have known something because they begin to do something after Sunday morning church that events a day gives me life when I think about it. The Bible says that many are responsible for the harvest as I mentioned some plant some so some reap Rick and Sharon were called to plant and plant they did to represent my first decade. Today. Sharon is here to answer some of my questions, as well as any birthday sentiments that she may have for me. Let’s drop into this conversation with my friend, Sharon Reynolds. Look guys, I hope that you enjoyed that story with Sharon. Sharon is married and has been for a lot of years, I think 41 years. And they were the first people to plant the seed and the Amy Watson story. So it is my pleasure to introduce today to the podcast. Sharon Sharon, thank you so much for coming on to the Wednesday’s with Watson podcasts. I’ve been so excited about this conversation.
Sharon Reynolds 4:52
You’re welcome. I’m a little nervous, but I’ll make it
Amy Watson 4:55
you’re a little nervous but you’ll make it I told you we get an edit button so no worries. Well this is a celebration of my 50th birthday and I simply would not. I would not be celebrating a half century mark. You know, Sharon when I’m when I made it to 40 I was shocked, I did not have a problem with turning 40 I am struggling a little bit with her new 50 Because I remember 150 Sounded old, but I would not be here today without you and your husband Rick. And even as I pray just a few minutes ago by proxy, little Monique who couldn’t even speak what was the first to coined the term Mamie for me which my own nieces and nephews call me this to this day. And so I’m so grateful just to spend a few minutes with you. And so I’m going to jump right in. I know that I am asking you to reach way back into the annuals of your memory when I asked you to do this. But what is one of your earliest earliest memories of little Amy because you are in the first decade of my life. And so I was 10 years old when I first came to know you and Rick and so talk to us a little bit about your first memories of little Amy. I’ve been interested in these answers so far. I’d be interested in yours.
Sharon Reynolds 6:03
Wow, that was a while back. I think the first memory of you was you were a little of course you were little blond headed girl. So blonde. Your hair was almost white. But you were one of the very few kids that as the church was pulled up, you didn’t wait for us to blow the horn. You were out of the out of that front door. Like you’ve been shot out of a cannon. Some Sundays I was afraid you guys smack into the church bus door before
Amy Watson 6:44
some things never change. Right?
Sharon Reynolds 6:46
Right. And I couldn’t my only thought process on that was either Wow, she really likes coming to church with us. And always tucked this way in the back of my mind was afraid to bring it to the forefront because I wasn’t equipped to deal with it was is there something going on that makes her want to leave? Yeah. And get out of the house. I have sensed through the years honed my body reading abilities, a gift my my grandmother and from God, mostly that I can now tell there’s something wrong if you’re not being truthful, but back then it wasn’t harmed as much. Yeah, I had been. I might have been terrified.
Amy Watson 7:26
Yeah, imagine. Yeah. Imagine you were when you hear what Gail said, and the listeners will hear her after you. Yeah, she was like we knew something was wrong, but didn’t put our finger on it. Yeah, couldn’t put a finger on it. And so
Sharon Reynolds 7:40
because you were such a good actress, it’s such a young age, we didn’t realize you were already used to hiding things.
Amy Watson 7:45
Interesting. Interesting. And yeah, I was so young, only 10 years old. That is really, really interesting. Well, let me ask you this. So it because you really it’s a really beautiful segue into what I wanted to ask you to is what was going through your mind because at some point you tried your you knew something was up you didn’t know what and I know you well enough now to know like, you just kind of put it in the back of your mind and said, well let us do what we can do. And the listeners heard what you and Rick did do. But what was going through your mind on those Sundays as you tried to protect me the best you could what what made you take a chance on that little towheaded? Amy?
Sharon Reynolds 8:23
I I don’t know how to explain it. But I do know I remember one Sunday. You were sitting in your spot on the bus next to Monique and daring anyone to bother her. You are her fierce little protector. And that kind of endeared you in our hearts right there. Because you know if you loved our daughter, and it was honest, it was a pure protective love that you’re good in our book. But one Sunday we were talking about dinner, lunch, dinner, whatever you call it. And I mentioned Did you remember the ice cream and your radar went bowling? And you said ice cream? I said yeah, we usually have ice cream or we have a dessert. But usually it’s ice cream because Mr. Rick works for an ice cream company. And you took this deep breath and went, Oh, I love to ice cream for dessert. I mean, you know, in a way that only a 10 year old can that just rips your heart out. And so we got home that afternoon and I said I wonder if Amy’s parents would let her come eat Sunday dinner with us once in a while. And so he said well ask her next Sunday. And she can ask her her mom and dad because and then if they say yeah, we’ll just bring her home until she’s tired of us. And little knowing how many Sundays.
Amy Watson 9:41
We never got tired of you.
Sharon Reynolds 9:45
I know after each meal you would offer to help clean up and you always told me you’re a great cook and I was still struggling in the kitchen because Rick was a better cook than I was. And in some ways still is. But it then, you know, we put you knew you had to eat what was on that plate? And sometimes you would eat two plates. Wow. And I think that you would want for third I think you were trying to pack it in now realize for the week. And I’d say no, don’t don’t eat any more. You’ve already had what you have to have. So you can have some ice cream. And oh, man, you could pack away the ice cream.
Amy Watson 10:25
I remember him working for the ice cream company. I have such strong memories of the ice cream priors wasn’t it? Or or? Yes, it was bright. Yeah, it was fryers. I remember the ice cream. And I was packing it and I didn’t eat until you know, and maybe this was the first time I’ve ever told you this. But often, you know, we were lucky to get two or three meals locked in that room, that you had no idea that we were locked in. And so yeah, when I came to your house, I ate because I had food. And it’s so interesting that you say that about Monique because, you know that’s so who I am today, I’m still fiercely protective of people. But I just remember that little girl and I hope that Monique will listen to this episode, I want to shout her out because she was part of she is part of the redemption story. Because I just remember the hope even as a 10 year old just looking at the innocence of that little baby in that car seat sitting next to next to me on that bus. And I remember thinking I will I will never let what’s happening to me happen to you. And so I actually remember forming that thought at 10 years old. So So that answers the my question like you took a special interest in me and and it’s interesting too, that you say that I helped clean up before I was even taught and so so so I just remember to though, after we would have those those meals, we would take these epic naps, these Sunday naps, the ones that I wish I could take to this day. But what I want to tell you too is that was the only time I could sleep when I was safe was that time between Sunday after we got done eating and we went back to church on Sunday night at your house at yours in Rick’s house was the place where I was safe when I could sleep and and I hope that Lynette and Garth Piper are listening to this too because they came in later as my youth youth directors and sometimes I would go to their house that anytime I was at your house or somebody at victories house my friends, or Lynette and Garth was the time that I probably slept the best on those Sundays and I’m I just I’m so grateful. So grateful to you. As we are talking to podcast listeners out there. And this is a celebration of my birthday and really I’m dancing with the ones that brung me I would not be here, had you guys not planted the seed of Hey Amy, we love you, but Jesus loves you. And making and sharing I have such beautiful memories of sword drills. I still confined just about every book in the Bible faster than just about anybody. Scripture memorization in the darkest times of my life, and particularly I’m thinking particularly in the domestic violence portion of my life. That Scripture memory that you guys, you guys get it now you bribed us, but you guys that I want a candy or ice cream or something which is funny because I don’t have a sweet tooth now but I just remember that the scripture memorization and the songs and the just the love that I felt in that home and I want to publicly thank you for that. And I’m not I know you’re shy and introverted. So I won’t even ask for a response on that. But I want you to hear my heart on that. And so but I do want you to encourage those other people out there that are in churches and schools and neighborhoods when they see somebody a kid like me, and you get that still small voice in the back of your brain because Gail said the same thing she said I don’t know what it was about you mama gallon said the same thing. I don’t know what it was about you. But we just bonded well. We know what it was about me. It wasn’t about me at all. It was about a God who gave you guys a burden who gave you guys a calling. And you actually listened to that calling, as I’ve mentioned in the podcast with when I was on with Mama gown, which listeners will hear after you as you are the epitome of the Isaiah six nine which by the way, you taught me that scripture memorization where God says to the prophet Isaiah, who will I send and who will go for me? And Isaiah said, Then said I, Here am I send me? Well, I remember remember memorizing that scripture under your tutelage. And so do you have anything to people out there? Who sees a kid? Or somebody it could be a domestic violence survivor or somebody actually in the thick of it? What do you say to those people who hear that still small voices help that person? Give them some ice cream, whatever that version that ice cream is? What would you have to say to them?
Sharon Reynolds 14:47
One I would say listen to that voice. It’s not a voice. It’s God urging you on it’s the Holy Spirit going nudge nudge? Yeah, and in this day and age sometimes it’s scary to invite Have yourself in anything, agreed. But I think we never know what difference that will make in someone’s life, I had no clue we were going to have this kind of influence in your life, none whatsoever. But at the same time, it’s like little things you read on the internet and you hear from time to time, be kind to that person, you don’t know what they’re going through that one smile, that hug that word of encouragement might be what keeps them from harming themselves that day, or may give them the courage to go to the next step in winning the freedom from whatever situation they’re at. And we both know, there’s just so many situations in this world that can capture you and hold you.
Amy Watson 15:47
That’s so true. And had you guys not done that? Had you held all of those things close to your you know what I’m saying? Like had you had you said, That’s too messy, I don’t want to be involved in that. And and he and even Gail said, Who is on after you? Even Gail said we just didn’t have a clue. And you just set it to like you are already amazing at hiding what was going on, which is which is really enlightening to me as I continue to, to do this work. But that Yes, listen to those voices, don’t ignore them. If it’s ice cream, a cup of coffee sitting by them in church, you know, a nice little text message a check in anything, you never know, when you’re somebody’s lifeline. And you never know I share an I don’t claim to anything of fame, whatever happens as a result of this podcast, or anything I’ve ever written or anytime I ever have gotten, or will get behind another microphone or a podium, or keyboard will happen because Rick and Sharon Reynolds, planted the seed and I talked about the parable of the seed, as Jesus talks about in all four Gospels, and you guys planted it, and other people came along the children’s home and some people from college and and on and on and cultivated those seeds. And to survivors out there, I want to say to you that I did have a take I did have a role to play in this is that I received that seed. And here we are 30. Well, gosh, a lot of years later, 45 years later, 40 years later on a podcast that will be broadcast around the world. And as my doctor always says, the things that are that that I’m able to do. He said you shouldn’t be able to do that. I should I should be dead, really. And so I wanted to just thank you so much. And so as we close out, it is my birthday. This is the time and I don’t give my mic to people very often. But I wanted to give you the mic just I keep telling people this, this podcast episode might just be for me, because it’s going to be audio gold for me to have. But do you have anything you would like to share on my birthday episode because I am 50 That means you’re you know, 51 I’m just kidding. But I want you to know how much I love and appreciate you, Rick Reynolds, I want you to know how much I love and appreciate you. Monique, I want you to know, I’ve loved you since you were two years old. And to Michelle, I didn’t get to know you as much. But what a fantastic family who has made Kingdom impact. And we don’t have time, but we could talk about your parents and just Kingdom advancing people who loved that little towheaded kid who ran to the bus so much so that she almost ran into the door, which is hilarious. So that part does not surprise me about me. But I do want to give you the mic as it is my 50th birthday as I’m given to everyone for anything that you would like to share so that I could have forever and ever. Amen.
Sharon Reynolds 18:37
Alrighty, well, first, I want to say 50 is nifty. And our family we celebrate every decade. So I’m glad you’re celebrating this decade. But I got back in contact with you a while back. And you were going through the end of the rough time with the court system. Yeah. And you in one of your blobs you wrote the question, Who am I? I don’t know who I am anymore. And I sat down after that and started writing. Little known fact I write my feelings. And I wrote this about you and if it’s too long, I’ll let you decide. Now you go for girl. All right. You have been to the fire and have come out forged to steal yet you have the softness of a newborn skin. You have witnessed face to face the evil of man when he yields to the prince of darkness. You have chosen to not let it make you hardened and uncaring towards others. By yielding yourself to the King of kings, you have sunk into the abyss of darkness and acute pain created by the evil that surrounded you. Yet when the light of pure love was given to you by those that God sent you fought and clawed your way into the light of a life worth living, all the while surrounded by a cloud of seen and unseen witnesses, pulling you forward and upward in both prayer and Dede, you hid the evil being perpetrated on you, because you were led to believe that this evil was deserved. And if you shared this pain, no one would believe you. Yet when the burden of pain caused by this evil became too great, you confess to those who truly knew you. And then they amaze you with strength, courage and love beyond your understanding. You turned your back on that evil from time to time. And then the evil would try to pull you back into the abyss. Yet you stand tall as a child of the Most High. Sometimes with knees knocking and gut churning, you need must face the evil and say, Get the hence Satan. inquiry of the name of Jesus knowing that his power is supplied by the father of light, love and liberty, which causes evil to flee for darkness cannot survive in the light. Who are you? He were Amy. You are a sister to an awesome woman who loves you like no other. You are Mamie, one of the few I trusted when my precious baby girl because you loved her with a pure protecting love. You were at maybe two others that you love and protect with the same fierceness. You are the niece of a man who proved to you a man could be kind, tender and loving in a way that did not cause harm. You were a cousin that with other peasants, created safe, loving and fun memories that to this day reside in your heart. You were Watson, entrepreneur extraordinaire. That was a mouthful. You’re a friend to people who know they can count on you having their back. You are an orphan as the world sees you, you have a family that was forged together through fire. Most importantly, though, you are a child of the King, orphaned no more. Your family circles the Earth and through this family. God sends reminders that you are his. That is who you are. You are seen. You are worthy. And you are so loved. Happy birthday, Amy.
Amy Watson 22:08
All right. Thanks for making me cry.
Sharon Reynolds 22:10
Amy Watson 22:11
Wow. Oh, my word.
Thank you so much for that you’ve left me speechless. And that’s pretty hard to do. Thank you. Thank you for being here. I just love you to death. Monique and Rick manette Garth, the Ministry of victory Baptist Church, the Ministry of Victory Christian Academy. Thank you. Thank you. Thanks for being here. Sharon.
Sharon Reynolds 22:36
You’re welcome. love you girl.
Amy Watson 22:38
love you more. My heart felt like it was going to explode. My breathing was too fast and too shallow. Uh, fell to the ground. The concrete semi indoor basketball court was an altered by my heart fall. In short order. I was in my cabin at the bill rice ranch in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. She refreshed the cold washcloth and returned it to my head. I felt better almost instantly. But the warm sensation I felt from the care of an adult who wanted nothing more than to help me. I was excited. She was my counselor. She found her way into my heart long before that. Gail was the wife of the pastor of that same church where Rick and Sharon answered that I was every week. I honestly don’t remember my first interaction with Gail. I do have vivid memories of her pursuing me, invited me to sit with her at church. I loved when she rested her arm on the church pew behind me. It felt like a hug and she felt like a mom and knew she was different. And I pursued her right back. As it would turn out. Gail and her late husband Ray also planted seeds, but they were there too. So them too. As oft mentioned on this podcast, Gail was the person who is brave enough to call the authorities once there was enough evidence of abuse and neglect. Today I’m honored to have her here as we pick up where Sharon left off. Soon enough. They didn’t have to pick me up for church because for the first time in my life, I had my own bed, three meals and was not responsible for anything else besides myself. And how I acted not my food, not my shelter. I wasn’t responsible for any adults. I have Gail to thank for that. And today I’m so honored that she would come on to the podcast and share a little bit with you of what she remembers of teenage Amy and how her family really is the reason why I am able to turn 50 today. I love Gail so much I have not seen her in decades. And so I am so grateful that she agreed to come on to the podcast today to tell a little bit of her memory of those times and to wish me a happy birthday sent Two minutes. So let’s jump into this conversation with. Well, guys, I hope that you enjoyed that conversation with my friend Sharon Reynolds, who was one of the very first to plant a seed. And as the reason why I can be behind a microphone and tell you about the star of the story, who is Jesus? Next up, y’all I have been looking forward to this conversation more than I can really put into words, and I am so grateful that people who have listened to the Wednesday’s with Watson podcast have heard me mention this family many, many times. Because they they took the seed that Rick and Sharon planted, and they planted some more seeds and cultivated the ones that were already planned. And so this is Gail Dunning, who I would not Dunning anymore, but I knew her as Dunning. And she and her late husband, Ray were my pastor and his wife and their family, and who took me on for about 18 months. And so if you’ve listened to the podcast, you know that story, if not head back to season one by Gail, I would love to welcome you to the podcast today. I can’t pronounce your new last name so so that we do that Justice what it tell us your new last name. Vandenberg Vandenberg, that’s not that difficult. So yes, we lost your late husband, Ray a couple years ago, his birthday is coming up, I always remember his birthday because it was exactly one week from mine. And so I know that he is watching down from heaven, so proud of you. And and of me, frankly, I know that he would be proud of me. And so we’re just gonna jump right into this. So I just have a couple questions for you. It’s my birthday, you said at the beginning of the when we started as your show. And so it is kind of my show. So I keep telling people, I hope everybody else enjoys this episode, because this is really for me. And so it is my 50th birthday when you’re listening to this episode. And I gotta tell you, where, right when I made it to 40 I thought hallelujah, thank you, Jesus. I didn’t I never thought I’d make it before it. But now 50 is like, wow, as we look over the faithfulness of God. And so, Gail, I have asked you to come in, I asked Sharon to come in and kind of represent for that first decade because I was 10 years old when they came and picked me up while they weren’t the original ones to come and invite me to church. They were the ones that cultivated that. And then, of course, I came to victory at first. We had a pastor there Dr. Estes, and then you and Ray came. And I can’t remember when I actually first met you. And I know it’s been a long time ago, and I’m asking you to read way back. But what are some of your very first earliest memories of a young Amy?
Gayle Dunning 27:39
sweet, lonely little girl. Beautiful. And blonde, it can be too thin, way too thin. You started speaking to me every service. And then one day, he said, Can I sit with you? And I said, sure. You can sit with us, of course. So actually, I didn’t pick you. You picked me. And you started sitting with us every service that you were at church. So I was lonely. We were new there. And I wasn’t lonely. And I felt very glad to have someone to reach out to me. And be friendly to me.
Amy Watson 28:28
Wow. So I think everybody first is going to be Amy was shy, really I keep telling people that but nobody believes me. So here’s somebody who has confirmed what I said is that I was shy. And obviously then from being malnourished and locked in rooms and all the things I do remember and you’ll you’ll get a gift from me on this episode, because I told a story at the beginning that you’ll hear when that episode drops. But one of the things I said in that story was how much it meant to me when I would sit with you guys at church. And you would put your arm on the Pew behind me. And you knew where you knew how far you could go and how far you couldn’t. And so sometimes you accept your arm a little bit about around my shoulder, and I remember my body almost physically reacting to that. And then you would move your hand back a little bit, but it still felt so much like a hug to me. And I just remember, gravitating towards you because you cared
Gayle Dunning 29:21
eventually, not at first,
Amy Watson 29:23
right. And I’m still not a huge hugger. But I’d love to have one from you right now. I’m not gonna lie. February. That’s right. That’s February coming to Florida. Yeah. So one of the things that I wanted to ask you, and I didn’t realize that I know that being you know, one of my best friends as a pastor’s wife. I tend to kind of gravitate to pastors families, for some reason. I have a couple friends that are pastors wives, and I tend to gravitate to them. I’m not sure why. So it doesn’t doesn’t surprise me that I came to you. And it’s interesting because I was about 10 or 11 when you and Ray came to victory, and so some significant trauma had happened up until that point. And so I was looking for somebody to love. And I just remember feeling very loved by you from a maternal standpoint, but you guys were new there, you had three kids of your own competing for your attention. And you just said, I chose you. And fair enough at the beginning. But at some point, you chose to continue to invest in me. And the story that I told that you’ll hear when the episode drops was at the bill rice Ranch, a very vivid memory I have at the bill rice Ranch, you are my camp counselor there. But so even Yeah, it was such a precious memory I felt so loved and safe and fed. But you still decided so even though young towheaded, Amy came to you and pursued you, and what a blessing that is to my heart to hear that, you know, you were feeling lonely. And so this gave us some something that that’s, that’s so cool. And it really is a testament to who we are, who we are at, something I would do today is come up to people and talk to them. But you still chose to invest in me. And lots of people listen to this podcast are in ministry, and they don’t know what to do with situations like mine hurting children. But what made you keep choosing me?
Gayle Dunning 31:10
Well, my mom and dad taught us from very young, that everybody needed to be loved. And everybody needed to be drawn in to not only the love of Christ, but the love of people, godly people loving godly people, or even godly people loving ungodly people. And that’s why we chose. That’s why I chose to continue loving you. Do you want me to tell the story of how you actually came to live with
Amy Watson 31:50
Yeah, I do. Because that would have been my next question. So one night, I came to church and told you some things. And I really want to hear your version of this because I only remember. Okay, very dramatically. My version of it. So I know I came to church and told you some things. And for the sake of the podcast, and to keep it PG I don’t we’re not gonna say what I told you. But yes, I’d love to hear the story of how I came to live with you and Ray, and David and Tim and Rachel. Okay.
Gayle Dunning 32:15
Okay, here we go. One Sunday evening, you came in, and you had a large paper grocery bag with you. And the top was folded, closed. And you came in and you sat down, and you put the paper bag under the pew. And, um, by that time, sometimes you were sitting next to Rachel and sometimes you were sitting between us. And anyway, I leaned forward and I said, What’s in the bag, Amy? And you said everything I need? I said, Okay, what do you mean, everything you need? And you said, Well, I’m not going back to that house. And I have everything that I need for the next couple of days. I said, Well, where are you going? Are you going to go spend the night with somebody? And you said, I don’t I don’t know where I’m going to go. But I know I’m not going back home. I said, what’s going on? And he said that things are happening to me there. And I’m just not going back to that house. And I was alarmed. I jumped up. I ran up to the lay in run, but I walked up to the platform. And I said, Ray, something’s going on with Amy. And I don’t know what it is. But I think I need to take her out of the service before it starts. So that I can talk with her and find out what’s going on. And he said, Okay, he said, I want you to have somebody with you that knows her better than you do. Because you don’t know her that well. And I said, Okay, who do you suggest? And he he thought for a few minutes. And then he said, I think Mary Lou should be the one that would go with you and Amy. And so I I went over and Mary’s daughter was there. And she wanted to come to I felt like it needed to just be me, you and Mary Lou. So, Mary Lou and I and you we went to a little room at the back, you know, at behind the pulpit area. There were some little rooms in that hall. And we went to that little room and we sat at a table and I said what’s going on? And you wouldn’t go into A lot of graphic detail. You just said there was a man that was living at your mom’s house and he was doing things to you that you that you thought were wrong and that you did not want him to do to you. A felt like we needed to know that this was sexual abuse and that we needed to do something more drastic. And so I went back out in the song service had already started, but I went ahead and got ready to sit down from the pulpit for a second while I said this sounds like sexual abuse to me. And he said, Well, it sounds like we need to call CPS. And so he he motioned to Gary and asked Gary to come and go with me. So Gary and Mary Lou, and you and I, we call CPS and we let you do most of the talking. We sat there listening. And then when the CPS officer had a question for the adults we would answer. Then, after we spoke to them, they said we agree she should not be going back to that home because it could become drastic. And in my mind, I’m thinking is drastic enough already. In any case, I’m
the CPS officers said Do not take her home with you tonight Mrs. boning, she needs to go someplace where her mom does not know where she’s at. or anything she needs to go to someone, someone else. And so Mary Lou said that she could take you home with her for the night or for the next two nights, however long needed. So that night, you went home with Mary Lou. And the next day you even came to school the next day. And after school? Well not. I think probably in the in the afternoon, CPS called and asked if we could come and bring you to an office in downtown Jacksonville. And we said yes. And so we took you out of school. We told the other children to just go to the their dad’s office and wait, when we got back. We went to downtown Jacksonville to the CPS officer office and met with a CPS official, a couple of representatives and a couple of legal aides. And they talked with you. And they asked if you could come and stay with us. And we really nice. Both said yes. And we were not we were living in that little house. I don’t know
Amy Watson 38:12
if you read on Bassett road. Yeah.
Gayle Dunning 38:15
We were living in that little house. And so you and Rachel had to share a bedroom. And somehow somewhere we got an extra bed to put in there. And so from that point on you stayed with us until they told us okay, next toward the end of the week, you’re going to be called in to meet with the judge. And so we saw okay, we’ll meet with the judge. Come to find out it wasn’t that at all. It was an actual court in the court culture mother and asked her mother to come to court that day. And so we had planned a three day family getaway. And so we packed up all our stuff and the kids and we packed up you you had all of your belongings that you could that you had with you. And so we just we didn’t know what was going to happen. And so we were prepared for the worst. In any case, we went to Jacksonville court. And the kids and I stayed out in outside and waited at the car. And you and Ray went inside into the meeting and met with the judge and it wasn’t just the judge it was court and they went in and you sat up with the the legal adviser and the judge asked to a few questions, and you answer, and then he asked great to stand and raise stood. And um, he didn’t even call Ray by the right name. He called him a totally different name, but he met Ray. So Ray stood and the judge said, you are the pastor of this church? And Ray said yes. And raised in he said, and you’ve known this child for a while, and Ray said, Yes. And he said it. And I’ve known about her her circumstances for a while, too. He didn’t mean the sexual abuse, but he meant that you were from a very poor family. And so the judge said, Well, in this case, I remand this child, any Bodenheimer to the care of you and your wife. And that was that,
Amy Watson 40:59
wow. And I remember that was after that, that core day had to have been after like, member, she agreed to take me back or to get rid of the man. And you guys took me back to the house. And then there was a note on the door, where she said, gonna get married mom. And so I remember that court hearing after that. And I remember the judge signing away my mom’s parental rights. But that story is so precious that you told to me because I don’t remember most of that. It was so traumatic. And so, so So I lived with you guys for 18 months. And during those 18 months, I that was the first time I had my own bed. That was the first birthday. I remember the birthday that I spent with you guys. You guys bought me this pink bike. And that bike was like the thing, right? It was it was everything to me. I remember you and I taking walks around the neighborhood because we moved from that smaller house to a bigger house out kind of a little bit separated, had a pool. And yeah, I remember re getting doughnuts every Wednesday night after church. And every Thursday, I remember the first time every week zoom was because you made me. And so I settled in nicely. And my counselor often says those things shouldn’t be able to happen. But I felt very loved. But certainly, and I’ve mentioned it many times on this podcast, when a child has that much trauma, there is some attention seeking behavior. And I had a bunch of it and I needed some help. And so there came a time when you guys had the made the very difficult decision to place me in faith children’s home in Tampa, Florida, for which I will always be incredibly grateful because Jacksonville in and of itself, even to this day, Gail holds nothing really nothing very, very few good memories for me. And so to get me out of Jacksonville was so smart. And to get me into the children’s home was also so wise because they were equipped as they could be to handle stories like mine. But I’ve always wondered what that felt like for you. What was that decision like for you
Gayle Dunning 43:01
before we go there? Can I tell you a little more? Sure.
Amy Watson 43:04
Yes, go ahead.
Gayle Dunning 43:06
Do you remember the day that you my mother and I went to your former home to get whatever belongings that you wanted?
Amy Watson 43:21
I do and I remember it all being gone.
Gayle Dunning 43:25
And it was heartbreaking to me and my mother to see you walking around in that place. Looking in saying I had this, I wanted this it was my dad said I wanted this and it wasn’t there yet. And I remember how heartbroken you were about that. And it just it just broke my heart. And it made us want to try to give you everything that had been taken away. As far as the decision. You the court had said that it was required for you to see a child psychologist for several sessions and so we did our best to find a Christian psychologist because we did not believe it would be in your best interest to have a secular one because they would not understand what are faithless. In any case, you saw a wonderful man who, um, I feel like helped you.
Amy Watson 44:41
I remember him I’m trying to remember his name Dr. L some big gun with an L.
Gayle Dunning 44:47
Yeah, I remember that much also. Yeah, in any case, after several months, so many sessions. He asked to see Ray and I alone And so we went in to see him and he said, I love Amy, my heart breaks for her circumstances. But I’ve done all that I can do. And she said, I need to tell you and Ray, that you are not equipped to help her. You are not equipped to deal with what she has gone through. And she needs more structure and more help than what you can give her considering you’re a pastor. And you both are working. He said, This is not going to work she needs every day all day focused attention. So we didn’t know what to do. We pray, I cry, he probably cried with me. But we would sit I would sit on the end of the bed and just saw because I felt like a failure. And it was so difficult for me to accept the fact that I had done all that I could do wasn’t enough. So we started looking, we started asking questions. We talked to other foster parents, we just searched out every avenue that we could. And finally, Dr. SDS said, you know, I think Amy needs to go to the children’s home that we support, they are prepared to help someone in her situation. They have several that have gone through this. They have focused attention and they have people that are trained. And she will get that all day one on one attention that she desperately needs. So after many tears, and much searching and prayer, we reached out to the children’s home and they at first they weren’t sure they had room. And so we just we prayed and waited and prayed and waited. And then one night they called and said we have a space. Can she come this next week? And we I mean, I was like, oh my That’s too fast. I’m not prepared. I don’t know that she’s prepared. I don’t know if this is the best thing. But we decided that for your welfare, for your maturing spiritually as well as physically and mentally and emotionally. We needed to do. So we went ahead. And we got you ready. And Ray took you down. I had to stay home with the kids, but really took you down to the home. And the whole time he was gone. I was just a basket of tears. But anyway.
Amy Watson 48:10
Well, I was gone. But I wasn’t.
Gayle Dunning 48:14
We got to bring you all in once a month. Or if we couldn’t bring you home, we got to go down and visit you once a month.
Amy Watson 48:21
Yeah. And I have to tell you that some of the life lessons that I have that I learned in those early years were on those trips when it was just you and me rushing back from from church to Tampa. And looking at it Gail from a 50 year old standpoint, and you weren’t even 40. At this point, I think that we need to highlight that right? You weren’t even 40 at this point. And so looking at that decision from my lens now as an adult who has had not official foster children in my home, but has had people that have lived in my home for a short while, and just being and my own stepson who I sent, actually to the children’s home who unfortunately died of a drug overdose a little over two years ago. And so now I know how it felt like for you. And I just want to thank you for making that decision. Because it was a very unselfish decision. Right? I know because I know that I loved ray with all of my heart and he was the first man that that that I could say that about because so many had hurt me before that. But you and I had this unbelievable special bond. And we still do even though we attempted to do this on Zoom earlier. We hadn’t seen each other for for over 35 years. And so this is just my chance to say thank you for making that unselfish, unselfish decision, and we bring up your mom for a second and let me just tell the world what a treasure Martha Googe was. I remember her at the time I think they lived up in Chattanooga or somewhere like that and and I would get packages in the mail to your house with my name and and Rachel and Tim and David didn’t get it, but I got it. And she had gone shopping for me and bought me clothes, I can still remember what those clothes look like. And so you need to know that that legacy that your mom and dad built in you as missionaries and Anguilla and and you have brothers from from that island and nieces and nephews. And so it had always been in your heart to help kids like me. But I am so incredibly grateful. And so as we, as we close out here, this is a humdinger of a question. But as I mentioned at the beginning of the podcast, this is going to be for me more than anybody else. And so it is my 50th birthday, you were one of five that I chose to be on the podcast for my birthday. And so I would just like to give you a couple minutes to say anything that you would like to say, as it pertains to me. And you know, wish me a happy birthday?
Gayle Dunning 50:42
Well, Amy, I totally agree with you, there were you had some really serious medical issues. And there were times after I, we let you go to the children’s home, I worried that you were going to get what you needed. If you were going to get the medical help you needed. I should have trusted them. But I didn’t, because in my heart and my mother, but I’m grateful that you are making your 50th birthday. Yes, I want to say Happy, happy birthday, may be blessed in may be special. And may it be exciting. And may God bless you. So strong, and so much. You have a story that can impact and help so many. And I am so grateful that you are using that story, not for the negative, you focus on the positive. And I am so grateful for you telling the story in that way, because so many just focus on the negative instead of the positive and you are choosing to focus on the positive of what God can and will and does do. We can see it in you. I have to admit, I didn’t agree with every decision you made. But you know what I had given you to the Lord when I first got to you. And so I had to trust him that he was going to continue to work. I’m proud of you, and the direction God has taken you. And I pray that this birthday will be one of the best you’ve ever had. Though I believe with all my heart, the ones we have in heaven will be even better.
Amy Watson 52:45
Yeah, I can’t. Can’t disagree with you there. Well. You said my three, you said my three favorite words. And those are I’m proud of you. And so I want you to know that you guys
Gayle Dunning 52:56
May the Lord bless you and keep you and increase you and strengthen you and give you wisdom and courage and love. I love you.
Amy Watson 53:12
I love you so much. Gayle. Thank you. Thank you for being here. Thank you for your investment in my life. You need to know that. As I mentioned in the beginning of the podcast, which this part you didn’t hear but the scripture that is in all four Gospels where Jesus tells the parable of the sower, some people plant some people, some people cultivate and some people are able to reap well. I want you to know that the Wednesday’s with Watson podcast Every word I’ve ever written. Every time I’ve gotten behind a microphone at a church or somewhere would not be possible without the investment of you and Ray and the Ministry of victory Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida and Victory Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Florida. And I could name 50 People from that church and that school who are the reason why I am still here today. So thank you for being here with us today. I love you. And I can’t wait to see you in February.
Gayle Dunning 54:08
Okay, I can’t wait either.
Amy Watson 54:16
I’ve always loved mountain air. There’s something about it that promotes clear thoughts. The air is grounded and and the weather in the spring perfect. It was on one of those days I found myself sitting on the top step of a massive outdoor staircase and Front Royal Virginia at a church. I had sunglasses on this so that she couldn’t see my tears. But she merely listened. As for the first time ever I articulated some of the horrors of the first 15 years of my life. Mama gallon create a space in my heart the very first day I became a resident of faith children’s home in Tampa, Florida. And I’ve told that story on this podcast before about how she was one of the first people who ever told me that they loved me. And that’s a really cool story. So hopefully you can catch that somewhere on another podcast. But she and Dan McGowan had founded the children’s home before I was even born. At that point, they were no longer part of the day to day operations at the children’s home, but they still traveled with us and we visited supporting churches. It was those times that she would lend an ear. Give me sound advice write me pink notes. Pink notes whose words reflected sowing the seeds planted by Rick and Sharon continued cultivation by Galen Re. Mama gallon also planted more seeds, seeds, a truth that were on time, they would have fallen on lethal soil before this time in my life. I’ve always had a special bond with Mama gallon. Today she and dad McGowan are living their lives still in the Tampa Bay area. And I hope that they are embellishing and the fruit of the harvest of their work. This podcast is one of those fruits. Today in a rare interview appearances mama gallon, and I get to spend just a few minutes with her and you guys get to hear what I got to hear. And that wisdom that I got to sit under for eight years while I was at the children’s home. So let’s drop into this conversation with Mama gallon. Okay, guys, I hope that you are enjoying these conversations and a little walk down memory lane, as Sharon and Rick Reynolds planted that seed took me to church, and had Sunday afternoon dinners with me and really just served a role in my life before Galen Ray Dunning picked up that stick and that baton and kept me in their home for 18 months. And now I am so honored to bring to the microphone, and a rare rare interview appearance. I’m not sure that she would do this for many people. But she has agreed to do it for me here on my 50th birthday. One of the people that is absolutely responsible for my being alive, you heard me tell just one of many stories that I could have told in the introduction about how mama gallon has just stood in gaps and stood in gaps and stood in gaps for me since I was 14 years old. And so mom, I would just love to welcome you to the podcast.
Thank you for doing this.
Mom McGowan 57:21
You’re very welcome.
Amy Watson 57:22
I am incredibly, incredibly grateful. I know the rarity of being able to grab you. And so we’ll just jump right in. I know that it has been a long, long time. But I am very, very curious. This has been a really fun question for me to ask, what are some of your earliest memories of me?
Mom McGowan 57:39
Well, it has been a long time. But it is a day. And Amy, I will always have in my memory for when I walked into the kitchen. And I looked over and there was a girl 14 years old, over in a little corner by the refrigerator. And as I looked at her she’s saying in our heart, I’m here. And I looked over to your eyes. And I saw so much hurt once you had been through, and no words can put what came out of your eyes and want bond and instantly, I felt in my heart towards you. And I just prayed them before I even walked over to you. I prayed all dear Jesus. Let give us the wisdom to show her Jesus’s love. Not only that, but people that love her and let us be real to her. And so then I walked over to you and leaned over. And you looked at me funny. And I said, let me ask you a question. Has anyone told you today that they love you? And honestly, I don’t remember your response. I think he just looked at me. I did. But I felt that for her. So as I look back, I just have so much thankfulness in my heart for what God has done in your life and he gets all the glory. He does get
Amy Watson 59:17
all the glory. And you guys taught me that you really did. And I remember that day. And it’s been well documented on the podcast. And I did I just looked at you because I thought I mean you have such a southern accent as my listeners are hearing. But I started the podcast and this is going to be my gift to you when the episode actually drops. But I told the story about when we were at a church in Front Royal, Virginia, I will never forget it. And there were a ton of stairs and you and I sat at the top of the stairs as we waited to get ready for this service. And for the first time in my life to anybody I told you. Some of the things that had happened to me in great detail. Gail was on the podcast earlier and she said I never would tell them any details. And so I’m just wondering as an adult, I can’t even imagine Some kid coming to me telling me everything that I told you. Do you remember your thoughts on that day? And in that moment? Yes, oh,
Mom McGowan 1:00:07
I remember that day very clearly, we had to come early back to the church that day, which we didn’t always do. But I guess some of the kids had people had that will go to work or something. And then they left them at the church, and you happen to be one that was there. And so we went up to that, like you said, top stay up, and I looked at you, and we just for a few minutes, just sort of exchange things and all the sudden, but this time, you and I had formed a relationship. But I know there was so much hurt down in your heart, there was a past that you felt you could or would never share. As I listened to you, Amy, my heart was hurting for you. As we sat there on those steps, you slowly began to share those awful things that was in your past. From the day we formed a special bond, as I listened to you, and the feeling that I have was hurting for you. But God put a love in my heart instantly. And that was the bond for you. And as you deal with people, you’re gonna have that, but it doesn’t come with everyone. But you will have experiences like that. And you were you were one of them.
Amy Watson 1:01:34
Well, thank you. And I knew that God knew that I needed that. I had never been able to call anyone mom before. I will never forget, you know, you wrote me pink notes after pink note and listeners that are listening in the children’s home, everything was donated, and somebody had donated sheets and sheets of pink paper and mom would write me letters, or little notes. And I still have all of those to this day. And there was a special bond. And I just want to thank you mom on this podcast for listening to me that day, because I believe that that was the day that started so much healing because you listen to me. We were at that church because we traveled and sang and you and dad. And this is something that I’ve always wanted to know. So by the time I got to the children’s home, I got there in 1987. So the children’s home have just celebrated at least the one in Tampa, like their 20th anniversary, but you and dad like dad was a had a full career in the military and you had two children, London Cindy, who I love shout out to them, they will be listening to this. I love them, both of them also a reason why I am doing what I’m doing today. But what spurred you guys to start a children’s home in your 40s Basically,
Mom McGowan 1:02:43
well let me back up just for a minute about those steps. They will continue. The Lord gave me the verse He healed us and brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. And Amy, that is just for God did for us that day, slowly, one at a time.
Amy Watson 1:03:01
So true. So true. And it wasn’t done right. You guys walked through me. I mean, I have you in one decade, but you’ve been in four of them, including when I was going through the domestic violence and you’re right that that that is such a precious verse, but it really was, you know, my getting out of that. And my healing is so rooted in the children’s home and dad McGowan and you and the pink notes and dad saying, Dan church, stay on your knees stay in the word of what I didn’t do and made mistakes. But do you remember what the Lord has called you guys to help kids did something happened to spur that on?
Mom McGowan 1:03:40
Well, we lived in Covington, Indiana, and of course, we had a good church there. We were there 10 years. And we dad did a lot of things. He was the choir director, the music director, and he was a deacon and much more and we held Bible clubs. And for the fifth and sixth graders and then for some of the older children, we had them in the yard, they would come and we would just teach them God’s word. And this is something you would never remember. Because Cecil, that is ancient. We did flower boards for you showed the children on the flannel board.
Amy Watson 1:04:15
I actually kind of do remember that. Yeah.
Mom McGowan 1:04:18
Yes, we did that. And then the word. As dad says you get all your answers from the word. Just different things. Different verses were just coming to us and coming to us. And the main verse was in John Hart it says, So sin died you? Well, I could and that couldn’t get that verse out of our heads. And at that time, he was doing a missionary contado was acquired there. And the name of the cantata was so sand Daiyu so we really and truly took that as Okay, Lord, we’re gonna obey. We don’t know what’s out there. We don’t know what you want us to do. But we’re we’re We’re here and we’ll do whatever it is you want us to do, or wherever you want to send us. And that’s how it all began.
Amy Watson 1:05:07
Wow, I had actually never heard that part of the story. And so for those of you don’t know about the children’s home quickly, they started their first children’s home in Melbourne, Florida children’s home, and had three children’s homes ultimately, before dad retired completely by faith, never bought anything, everything was donated, I learned so many moms, so many of my friends mom, referred to me as as a prayer warrior. And I learned that from you guys from the children’s home learning that all things happen on our knees. And boy, when I have veered from that, I have paid for it dearly. But it reminds me of that verse in Isaiah six, verse nine, which I believe is true about my life, where the Lord says, who was sent and who will go for me. And then the prophet Isaiah says, Then said, I hear him I send me. And that is the prayer of my heart as I go out. And I minister and as you mentioned, you know, there will be those times when I will bond with people that I’m helping. And I have done that I’ve really experienced that. But one of the reasons why I really want to do here on my 50th birthday is because you you are teaching me to carry your torch, I want to take it from you. And I want to carry the torch to help people and obey the call to go to the Amy’s in the middle of a cabinet and a refrigerator and follow the prompting of the Lord. And so I guess that’s kind of my question to you is for those out there listening who are like I want to make that kind of difference in the lives of people you obey that call, the obedience of that call for the Lord to send you is the reason why on December the first 2021 On this day that this podcast is being broadcast that I’m celebrating a fifth my 50th birthday, because you answered that call, because dad answered that call. But there are people out there wondering, how do I know? How do I know when I should help him when I shouldn’t? Do you have any advice for people that want to invest in the lives of those around us like you did me?
Mom McGowan 1:07:10
Yes, I do. First of all, you said that you surrendered your calling that you took from me, and I’m glad you said that he makes encourages me. And that makes me even more so happy to pray for you. I know, God is usually new greatly and will continue. But there’s days to Amy that you get weary and discouraged. But the person that you’re dealing with, no matter who just love that person loved us so much for them and they can tail me Yes. And you know this because you were on the other side, if it’s real or not. Amen, we have a lot of people that go off on that. But you can tell. So let that person give your heart to that heart of the one you’re trying to reach. And they will know that you are real, and not just someone there to talk to or try to get you better, or whatever. And stay is that says stay in the word as you read His Word, and glean from it, the person you’re dealing with that day, God always gives a verse before you start to talk from your devotion that morning, or sometimes just that still small voice in your ear. And that helped me more than anything. And the children are just like you know, are desperate for someone to care and to love them. And they it’s what you’re there to do this through the problems and all but you have to first bond that love and ask God to give that love from your heart to the person that you’re helping. And sometimes I mean, they don’t respond, we know that not everyone is a success story. But that doesn’t change the fact you’re still supposed to do what God has called you to do with that person. It’s up to them to accept or to reject. But the encouraging part, I’ll share a story with you when not more than just one maybe. But we had this young man and we just managed especially that manager to administer this boy. And when he left we both just said, Oh, water laws, water laws. So we hadn’t heard from him years. And then one of our reunions that we had this man came up to me and he said, You don’t know who I am, do you? And I looked at him and I said, Well, I do and I don’t. But the one that I was thinking would never be here today. And he said, Well, it is me. Wow. And he told me his name and I looked at him I said oh my goodness first then answer. I would never in 100 years believe that you took in anything that we don’t. He said I didn’t for years it was there but I didn’t. I didn’t listen to I did my own thing. And then gradually, some things happened in my life. And I look back at the children’s home and I look back, or she won’t, and not just as a staff, and I’ll count me. And he said, acid, I’m gonna go and let them know. And I want to thank you. So I knew when you looked at the most discouraging one that you’re trying to help, don’t give up. Just keep doing it keep doing even if that person rejects you. You may not ever he may know later, they may contact you. But we don’t know the others that that remembered and obeyed God that we never know about. But that’s okay. God knows. And it’s, that is what keeps you going. And I want to share something with you about what makes you keep you going. This is from my heart to your heart. I had discouraging days to its home. And you were the one that helped me through discouraging days because I looked at you. And I saw real commitment and real love. I mean, not every day didn’t pop out on you. But basically, and I, as I said, we had a bond and when I was discouraged, you are the encourager, to me, you never knew that.
Amy Watson 1:11:19
But But wow, I didn’t know that. But it was modeled for me well with you. I didn’t know that. But you know, looking through the lens of an adult now, I see. I’m really kind of speechless. I’m so grateful to have what you just said to me on audio, because it’s just so precious to my heart. And you and dad always used to say, and this was so ingrained in my mind as when you talked about ministry, if one person, if one child, makes it out of here, and carries on the gospel, and heals and does things, it will be all worth it. I hope mom, I don’t hope I know that I’m, I’m one of those ones. But to hear that I as a child encouraged you to keep going as so is the best birthday gift that you could possibly possibly give me. And so I just want to thank you for being here today. Thank you for being here. For my birthday celebration, I will always treasure this, I will always treasure my time at the children’s home. And I think that what you’ve given the people that will listen to this podcast is just an encouraging word. And to my heart, I had no idea mom, you know, we you know, you’ve walked with me through four of the five decades that I have been alive. And you have walked with me through some dark times and the domestic violence that we’ve talked about on here. And I know that that must have been scary and discouraging and all the things for you. But you never gave up on me. You and dad drove to Jacksonville when I had major surgeries and you just never given up on me. And so it wasn’t like I left a children’s home when I graduated from college. And you guys just said, Hey, good luck with that. So you never gave up on me. And in those darkest hours, I always remembered something that you said to me. And it was taught and it talked about bitterness and resentment and anger. And you taught us and you would point and I’m pointing to my heart, what’s in here, comes out here and I’m pointing to my face. And so it’s because of you that I can get behind the microphones and keyboards and podiums at churches and stuff like that. It is because of faith children’s home and you and the call but I am so grateful to be at least one of the ones that I hope made that ministry worth it for you guys.
Unknown Speaker 1:13:38
Well, let me say this to Amy. As we look at you, we just thank the Lord for you. And for what you’re you’re doing it just makes our heart warm and we thank Jesus, that you truly are spreading the gospel and helping hundreds and hundreds of hurting people and they know it’s real. But I have to tell you this as you dad said to tell you that you were his encourager every time he needed a sip of water there was sitting on the pope
Amy Watson 1:14:14
oh my god that means the world to me. Yeah, he called me as cut beer and dad was Dad Dad was one of the ones that I was not afraid of. And he had me get him those cups of water to put on the pulpit because he knew that I that he needed to find a way to connect with me. Well, Mom, I have taken the baton from you. You may rest tell dad he may rest
Mom McGowan 1:14:37
me you know what I do? Have a morning. I don’t know if there’s your church uses this song but is out. Just say the words because you know I can’t sing every morning. In the morning. When I rise. Give me Jesus Give me
Amy Watson 1:14:53
Jesus. And you know what? You know what other song that I would I would sing if I could but I can’t so I won’t but you Thank you, Lord, for Your blessings on me. Yes, yes, you’ve given me a, you’ve given me a family, a fine family is what we used to saying. Thank you, Lord, for Your blessings on me and Mom, thank you for being here. And like I said, You may rest I have the baton. And I hope that people behind me will take the baton from me, but we will never stop standing up in a world in a dark world. Even if I have to stand alone. I will never stop fighting for hurting people just like you didn’t. I want you to rest mom. I want dad to rest. We got it from here. And I got one last question for you mom the gallon? Has anybody told you today?
Mom McGowan 1:15:41
Yes, they have dad McGowan. But I’ve had, and I haven’t heard it from you. But I just did. And you know, know what joy that brings to my heart.
Amy Watson 1:15:51
Well, I love you. And we got it from here. I want you to rest and knowing that all of that work, all of the toiling some of the seeds that you planted for some of the kids did land on deaf ears, but somebody cultivated that late later. But this podcast is a cultivation of the seeds that you planted in my life at 15 years old. That’s a long time ago, 30 years ago, and I don’t know 35 years ago, 35 years ago, you planted that seed and so I just want to thank you so much. And as as we end here, I just please tell dad that I love him. And I want both of you to give me the baton. I will give it to others. We got it from here.
Mom McGowan 1:16:33
Well, here it is. I mean, you have it.
Amy Watson 1:16:35
I love you so much. Mom, thank you for being here today.
Mom McGowan 1:16:38
I love you so much and so proud of looking at you and not a godly, wonderful lady of God that you are.
Amy Watson 1:16:48
Well thank you mom. It doesn’t happen without you. I love you so much. Thank you for being here.
Mom McGowan 1:16:52
I love you honey.
Amy Watson 1:16:57
I stood in the Dean Of Women’s office. I fully expected to walk out of that office dismissed from Clearwater Christian college. I was deep in the throes of grief and confusion. We had only flipped the calendar two times between that day and Mrs. Grubs office. And the day that my sister and I had to make the decision to take my mom off of life support. I was only 19 years old. I had no concept of how to grieve the loss of a mom who never was a mom, Mrs. Grubbs his office was on the third floor overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. I barely heard her come into the office. She had a reputation for being tough. So I was fully prepared to be dismissed from college. Had that happen. I don’t believe I’d be here today celebrating my 50th birthday. Of all the words spoken that day. I only remember this sentence that she said, If you attend counseling with one of our residents, advisors once a week for the rest of the year, you may stay under strict probation. About to fast forward 20 years, and Chris and I stood on a St. Augustine beach on a cold windy day. She not only saved my college career, but she remained a steadfast friend, one of 20 people at my wedding. And on that day standing on the beach, she slipped back in the counselor mode. I had not told anyone about what was going on at home or the copious amounts of pain pills I was taking that she knew something was up. She promised her prayers and I knew I had them along with her unconditional love. When I did leave that domestic violence marriage, I moved back to my college town, in large part because Chris was still there. When I landed a job teaching she bought me an alarm clock. When I had a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized. She was there. When I had to go to court to get restraining orders. She was there. When I’m feeling unrest. I remember a verse that she taught me on walks and Philipe pork and lunches at Taco Bell. Isaiah 26 Three, I will keep him in perfect peace because as mine is stayed on the because he trusts in the when our alma mater closed after 50 years in 2015. She and I shared a stage as we paid homage to the place that built us today over 30 years later, Chris or some people call her Dr. Wit not me, is still a 2am friend. I will always mention her name when I tell my story. And I am so grateful to have her here today. And love, love love for you to drop into this conversation with my friend. Chris do it. Well, guys, we have made it to the part of the podcast episode next to last everyone’s been talking about that towheaded kid well, that towheaded kid grew up and graduated from high school and went to Clearwater Christian College. Shout out we are Clearwater on a full ride scholarship. You heard how I met Chris DeWitt and the story that I just told you. And so Chris, welcome to the Wednesday’s with Watson podcast is Oh, so amazing to have you here.
Kris DeWitt 1:20:03
Thank you, Amy. It’s a privilege to be with you today.
Amy Watson 1:20:06
So I don’t know, you know, 50 use the same really old. But as I prayed for us right before the podcast, I realized that you have been involved in three of the decades of my life that does seem like wow, that is crazy. I am so grateful. So I met you, as the listeners heard when I was in college. And so I know it has been a long, long, long, long time. But I’m asking everyone this and it’s been the answers have been so much fun. But what are some of your earliest memories are your interactions that you have of me?
Kris DeWitt 1:20:38
Oh, Amy, I picture you on the campus of Clearwater Christian college like it was yesterday. My memory is not of you as a college student. But as a child singing with all the beautiful children in your matching outfits from faith children’s home, you stood out, you are a shining star with your huge smile and your outgoing personality. And I can still picture you singing little as much when God is in it. Oh,
Amy Watson 1:21:06
my word I forgot. We sang Clearwater.
Kris DeWitt 1:21:12
Year after year, and I spotted you. And then I do remember meeting you as you first began classes at Clearwater Christian College. You were one of the first kids from faith children’s home to get a full ride scholarship to attend Clearwater. When I first talked to you seem so excited for the opportunity to attend college. Yet at the same time, you appeared a bit overwhelmed, frightened, and may I say a little apprehensive. But all my all of that quickly changed as you spread your wings. You expanded your community and you enjoyed college life.
Amy Watson 1:21:50
Wow. Wow. I loved my time at Clearwater Christian College. And as as some of the listeners will know, an accordion and by the way, listeners, Chris, who I am talking to is also a CCC alum class of 1987. Correct. Wow. That’s impressive. Watson, I have to say so myself very impressive. But yeah, that’s so funny little as much when God is in it Labor not for wealth or fame. Oh, wow. I remember saying that we digress. So I had forgotten that we sang there. But I you know, I was standing in the front row with my hair jack to Jesus and probably earned and won. Well, some of my most precious memories of you. So I’m going to flip the switch for a second. We’re walks at Philippi Park. I don’t know how you did it on the Clearwater Christian College salary. But you took a bunch of us to Taco Bell all the time. I don’t even like Taco Bell, but I loved it with you. Then at then I moved on to campus and was a proctor. And so we had proctor meetings in your apartment. But probably one of the most impactful things, memories I have of you early on is that you you had created a GriefShare group. Because that semester for some reason, so many students have lost people. And to this day, some of my closest friends, I met in that group two of whom will be at my 50th birthday party and that and we remain friends this all this time. And so yeah, it really is and I and you never did that group again. And we met in your in your in your apartment on a Monday night. And we process through our grief. Well, and you kind of mentioned that a minute ago, when I got to Clearwater Christian College, I spread my wings and got community I’m super outgoing, although that some of that guests earlier today from when I was early childhood said how shy I was, which nobody believes me. But it really is true. Not seeing that sign in 30 years. But a huge component of this podcast is community. So clearly, that’s been important to me my whole life. And that is what you gave me, as the listeners heard just after my mom died. You are and just lots of we got lots of Clearwater, Christian College alumni that listen to the podcast. And so there’s this big joke among the people that were there. Among that time is you were Chris at that time. That’s what we called you, Chris. And then we were supposed to call you Mr. Wit, which I never did it that way. Yeah, that was hard. And now fast forward a whole bunch of years. You are Dr. Kristen DeWitt, a professor at Cedarville. University. And so but this question I’m asking as your friends so it’s, I know it’s gonna be difficult not for you to answer me professionally. But what spurs you to help kids like me and building that community because you are still doing it today at Cedarville 30 years later, why is that so important to you and to anybody who feels called to do it?
Kris DeWitt 1:24:39
Oh, it’s such a privilege. The Lord has been so gracious to me, just to allow me to cross paths with so many people in my lifetime. I’ve met people that really are on the same path I am on a path toward Christ’s likeness. For some people this path has been filled with potholes and bumps and loss and loneliness. hurts and detours, yet each person, each person has a story. And I’ve always wanted to hear the stories behind each face. Because behind each face is a redemptive story that only God can write. And if God in his sovereignty allows me to be a small part of someone’s story, I’ve totally thrilled. I’ve never really met anyone with wealth or fame. But I have met precious people more important than rich and famous people. I’ve met people who are chosen, bought with a price, forgiven, redeemed, treasured, and eternally loved. I’ve met people for whom God is writing a beautiful redemptive story.
Amy Watson 1:25:42
You’re a made me cry for real because I Yeah, and, and so listeners out there, what she just said is, like, be a part of the story that God is telling. And so yeah, I can imagine Chris over the 30 plus years that because you essentially graduated from Clearwater Christian College, and almost immediately got your, you know, started transitioning into getting your master’s degree from Liberty University. And as I mentioned, since then, you know, you’ve earned a PhD, and are now a professor at Cedarville University as unfortunately our alma mater close after 50 years in 2015. But I never thought of it that way. Like how it must be like to be you to all the Amy Watson out there, or as you first knew me, Amy Bowden homers out there that, that you’ve been able to speak into their lives, Shine Jesus more than anything, because that’s all you’ve ever done for me, you’ve always pointed me to him, you’ve never judged me. And so that coupled with that your decision to continue to pursue a PhD in psychology, why is mental health in general, so important to you, as a Christian and as just a human?
Kris DeWitt 1:26:55
It’s a good question. emotional and mental health affects our lives in so many ways. It impacts our thoughts, our emotions, our behaviors, our relationships. And I think unfortunately, mental health is often a topic that gets stigmatized, especially in Christian circles. And our mental health affects how we cope with everything else. And if individuals don’t get the help they need, their life can quickly unravel. And they can find themselves in an uncontrollable downward spiral. So when people are brave enough to ask for help, and seek treatment, they can learn to cope again. And before they know it, they can hope again. So we should value mental health and wellness as much as we value anything else.
Amy Watson 1:27:41
Louder for the people in the back seriously. And so guys, I have brought Chris on because she is one of my closest friends, and has been involved in my life, as you heard in the story that I told you since I was a sophomore in college. But this is a professional, talking about the importance of mental health. And I love Chris, what you just said there. So for anybody that is brave enough to seek help. And I’ve gotten a bit of a passion for mental health, because I can I see what can happen when we couple counseling, and therapy. And for some of the higher acuity things, medication. But when those things are the on the periphery, and but it’s a gospel centered approach in the middle, then, then that bravery is met with such hope. And there are still things that I struggle with, as you know, but such hope Thank you for saying that both as my friend and from a professional level, because this is what you do. This is what you teach. You’re teaching Christian college students to go out into the world and do what you just said. And so it makes my heart so happy to hear that long after we are both gone. Hopefully, the work that you did at Clearwater Christian college with not only me, but hundreds of other people. I’ve never seen anybody get so many friends on Facebook than when you got on Facebook, because of your investment in the lives of people. But there’s still people that will go it alone. And so for those out there considering going along, you watched me do this. I remember one time you came to St. Augustine, you got in your car and you came to St. Augustine, I remember it was cold because we were standing on the beach. And I was deep, deep, deep deep in the throes of that domestic violence marriage and I had not told a single soul. I was also addicted to pain medication had not told a single soul. You don’t know this, but you probably saved my life with that trip because of what you said up in the community part is that and and the counseling part you gave me some hope and as a little bit of time before I’d got that help and before I got out of that marriage, but I look at that day on the beach as a lynchpin in my healing but, but for people that don’t have a crystal wet, but are in the throes of darkness like I was, what do you have to say to them to give them hope so that they can cope so that they too can have a Joel 225 story and this is a Joel 225 day this one right here, though my story is not complete, how can other people have stories of redemption?
Kris DeWitt 1:30:14
First and foremost yet in addition to getting professional help, we all need to run to Christ. For it’s in Christ alone, that we can find peace. When our our lives seem frazzled, and our hearts are restless, we need to stay focused on Christ because when our mind our minds remain on Christ, they’ll fill us with his unimaginable peace, Isaiah 26. Three. When we feel rejected, and lonely, and we all do, and our hearts sting with pain, as it seems, no one cares, or no one even notices. That’s when we need to cling to Christ, realizing that nothing can separate us from His everlasting love, Romans 838 and 39. When Thunderbolts of regret Ignite and threaten to consume us, we need to run to Christ for it’s only then that we can experience the downpours of his forgiveness and grace. Lamentations 323, when the burden of our hearts just are so heavy, that it consumes our thoughts and depletes our energy. That’s, that’s all we need to rest in Christ, knowing he will comfort and sustain us Psalm 5522. So bottom line is run to Christ. That is where you will find peace. That is where you’ll find hope.
Amy Watson 1:31:33
Yeah, and I could not agree with you more i We call him the star of the story on this podcast, because he is he is the star of all of it. And so listeners out there, you don’t have to go it alone. Find you know, the three C’s on this podcast are church community counseling, and then highlighting the star of the story who Chris just beautifully outlined, as Jesus, He is the answer. And even if you don’t have a crystal wet in your life, who will stand on the beach with you, probably knowing what was going on, but was smart enough to not say anything about it at the time. People want to help but paramount to that. I would just recommend that people and Chris, I think you would agree if you’re seeking help you’re seeking community for for really for anything but it particularly for emotional pain, trauma, please make sure that you put yourself under the the eyes and ears and love and protection and prayers of somebody who understands that it has to be Jesus and Jesus alone. In Christ alone. Only, I know that I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be that in the lives of some people because you don’t get to be 50 without making some effect on somebody’s life. But you we get to choose what effect we get. And I’ve made some poor decisions. But Chris, you’ve been there with me through thick and thin. I know your heart just must be so happy. When you think about what you saw that day on that beach in St. Augustine. I don’t know if you remember that day as well as I do it. But it was a day I forgot that you you defended your dissertation that I asked you that question. But for those of you out there listening, there is hope. And because of that hope there is there is a way to cope. And if that includes all the things and including, or in addition to I should say, highlighting the star of the story, including medication as Chris said, We need to stop stigmatizing it. We live in a fallen broken world where trauma is going to happen. And so so that that’s just a little encouragement to those of you out there who are lonely or may not have a crystal wit or even five people like I did on this podcast where I where people just love me. And so speaking of loving me as we close it as my birthday, and I don’t give a birthday, thank you. And I don’t give my mic away very easily accurate, but I do keep telling people that I will cherish this audio. You are bringing up the rears for me as crispy as after you bet. I’ve already recorded hers. And so it’s my birthday. And I would love to just pass the mic to you and any message that you might have for me.
Kris DeWitt 1:34:04
Thank you. Yeah, so happy birthday,
When I think when I think of you and personal characteristics that you have, here are a few thoughts that come to mind. I just love that you are affable, you’re good natured, your listeners probably already have figured that out by listening to you. You’re friendly. You’re so easy to talk to so that everyone is comfortable in your presence. You You are the real deal. You are just so genuine appreciate that. I also like your good sense of humor you and I undoubtedly enjoyed some good gut laughs I’m amazed at your hard working diligence. I know you will never settle for anything less than your best and especially when it comes to your walk with the Lord. You’re never content with your spiritual journey and Christ is certainly magnified in your life. In addition to fun times we’ve had I had a close up view of In a person, Amy who has endured trauma and suffering, I would like to just give you a tiny glimpse of what I have seen as the storm of suffering has swept over your life. Whether it was the grievous abuse he suffered as a child or the domestic violence she endured as an adult. You, Amy, you have used those circumstances as a platform to exalt Jesus. Suffering has not only been an opportunity to privately place your dependence on the Lord, but suffering has also seemed to be the pressure that pushes the character of Christ to the forefront of your life, so others will clearly see Christ in you. I’ve had a very precious special time when I can sit back and quietly watch you as your life has been put on display, as if you were in the front window at Macy’s for all the passer buyers to see. And those passing by see a gleaming showcase in which to view the precious gems of God’s character that are reflected in you, Amy, just as a diamond seeks to sparkle more brilliantly, when displayed in a black velvet case, saw the radiant beauty of Christ like character seems to shine in you more splendidly against the backdrop of suffering. Thank you, Amy, for being a shining example of God’s faithfulness in the midst of the storms of life. So Amy, there’s nothing, no circumstance, no troubled no testing that even touch you until it has first gone past God and pass Christ right through to you. Passing through the one who loves you most. It has come that far, it has come with great purpose. It surely has been a process but I’m confident that you have now found the purpose for your pain. So thanks me for sharing your story behind the face or shall I say behind the microphone. Thank you for always making much of Christ through your life circumstances. God is faithful. We can trust him. Don’t ever forget that little as much when God is in it. Labor not for wealth or fame. There’s a crown and you can win it. If you go in Jesus name. Happy birthday, my dear friend. I love you dearly.
Amy Watson 1:37:21
Oh my gosh, you guys are killing me today. Thank you so much for that. I will always treasure that. And I just love you so much. And love you too. And you are the reason why I can get behind this microphone. One of many. But thank you so much for being here with us today, Chris.
Kris DeWitt 1:37:40
Thank you. It’s a privilege.
Amy Watson 1:37:46
Okay, guys, we have moved to the last person who really has now been in my life as of today when you’re listening to this. And actually, gosh, Chrissy, you’re getting ready to be in three decades of my oh my goodness, wow, that’s crazy. Obviously, everyone knew that for the last decade, I was going to pick a Krissy loft ridge. And there aren’t words for me to say how grateful I am. So Chrissy, thank you for coming on to this episode. I am not yet 50 As we’re recording this, but on the day that is reported, it will be my 50th birthday. And you came to me and said, I have something so can we do something a little bit different. So everyone else kind of got a pre story of how we met. And I was able to give them the creative gift of a story that I give you plenty of gifts you don’t need anymore. I’m just kidding. So today, while listeners are listening to me as my 50th birthday, and the Old English poem goes that Wednesday’s child is full of Whoa. And while it might seem true about my life, that is not true of particularly the last 1314 years of which you’ve been part of it. And so I would just love to know what you would love the listeners to hear anything that you would like for me to hear. And I am terrified. So let’s go.
Crissy Loughridge 1:39:06
So what what had really been pressed on my heart recently is I’ve been listening to Shannon Shane’s hymns album, and particularly Him, His mercy is more. So is the kind of key chorus line is our sins. They are many His mercy is more, and it’s sort of a jiggly tune. And so it’s sort of it’s a little bit of an ear worm, and so it stays in my head all the time. And so as I’m bumping into life, a lot of times his mercy is more keeps coming. Just coming to mine and I think you and I were talking about mom, and and I and I started to think about you know, I don’t know that our childhoods could be any different in every way. I don’t I don’t need to go through everything that has has ever happened to you but but really night and day different. And the only overlapping piece major overlapping pieces God. And so I started to see in my mind and and the Lord just impressed on me he is more hit Yes His mercy is more for our sins, but his grace is more, His love is more and, and I started to sort of change the lyrics to the song in your scars, they are many, his healing is more, our hurts, they are many his love it is more. And it just, I just kept thinking it. It doesn’t matter how bad Satan works to make your life broken and beat up he is more see never wins. And so both for you, Amy and for those out there thinking I’m too broken. He is more. His mercy is more His grace is more His love is more as healing as more his joy is more than the greatest sorrow. His justice is more, he is more. And so again, if you can download the song, it’s kind of a fun thing to change the lyrics out whatever it is our sins, they are many His mercy is more our hurts, they are many his love. It is more our pain, it is great. His His love is more. He’s just more. And there’s never, there’s never a day that goes by that I don’t recognize what we’ve been through in the past 1415 years. Easily. Anyone looking in at any point could call timeout. I give up. It’s too much. But he’s more. He’s more. He’s more. He’s more. And I want I want listeners to hear that. But I want you to hear that Amy on on our worst days on our best days. He’s more he’s more than whatever we’re going through. And I need that. I need to know that every day. I know you need to know that too. No matter what he has more. And he loves us more than than anything. And I’m so so grateful. I’m grateful for you and I’m grateful for a God who is more because we face really hard things every day.
Amy Watson 1:42:41
Sorry. I knew you’re gonna make me cry. Um yeah, yeah, I I didn’t think that I would make it to 40 I certainly didn’t know that I would make it to 50 but what a perfect way to end this podcast as some of the most special people to me in my life. And the reason why I’m able to sit behind this mic have been on this podcast today. And all of you have done life with me so closely and maybe sometimes look at me and say how how can she still be and fill in the blank breathing air and I don’t know that there’s a better way to end a birthday podcast celebrating a half century on this planet holy cow. And that he has always been enough. So Chrissy thank you for for coming on here and for celebrating with me and I know you’re you’re not big on birthdays, but I’ve made a big deal of this one and but it could you couldn’t have summed up my 50 years of life anymore. And I love that Shane and Shane song. And it is kind of catchy. And now it’s in my head. The another song on that album is I will wait for you I will wait for you and and I’m so grateful for the people that have been on this podcast and for 50 more that I could have asked to be on this podcast that have come to celebrate with us today. But Crissy what you just said just kind of sums it all up. He is more. He’s not enough. He is more. And so as I end the podcast, I literally want to read the lyrics to the song by Nicole Norodom and called I Am. And as I celebrate my 50 years of life this has been true about my God. And so I will not end this podcast the way I normally will. I’m going to read the lyrics to this song. And then after that, we will just fade off into the next thing. But this has been my god this has been the God that Chrissy has just explained to you the God who is not enough. The God who is more more than all of it. And so Nicole Nicole Nordmann writes a song that just walks walks through the faithfulness of God in the life of Human beings people. But this song has always been special to me, and has always resonated with me. And so I’d love to share the lyrics, if you would so indulge me on my 50th birthday. pencil marks on our wall. I wasn’t always this tall. You scattered some monsters from beneath my bed. You watch my team, when you watch my team lose. You watch when my bicycle went down again. And when I was weak, unable to speak, so I could call you by name. And I said, elbow, healer, superhero. Come if you can. You said I am. Only 16 Life is so mean. What kind of curfew is at 10pm You saw my mistakes and watched my heartbreak heard when I swore I’d never love again. And when I was weak, unable to speak, so I could call you by name. And I said heartache, healer, Secret Keeper, be my best friend. And you said I am. He saw me were white. By pale candlelight, as I said forever to what lies ahead. Two kids in a dream with kids that can scream too much it might seem when it’s 2am. And when I am weak, unable to speak still I will call you by name, Shepherd savior, pasture maker. Hold on to my hand. You said I am the winds of change and circumstance blowin and all around us. So we find a foothold that’s familiar. And bless the moments that we feel you near. When life had begun. I was woven and spun. And you let the angel stands around the throne. And who can say when that they’ll dance again. When I am free and finally headed home. I will be weak unable to speak. Still I will call you by name, creator, maker, licensed stainer comforter, healer, my Redeemer, Lord and King, beginning and the end? I am. Yes, I am. Thank you, Jesus for being more.
Hey guys, so a special surprise. I have Dr. Thomas Pettit here. And my question to Dr. Pettit is who I have been in counseling with since 2008. Dr. Pettit, what is your very first memory of
Dr. Thomas Petit 1:47:50
the word that comes to mind is the word together. You were surprisingly together, you were cool, calm, collected, confident. And it didn’t seem to match what I was aware of or hearing for the first time that you had been through. And, and I was more struck by there was somehow something very real and very genuine about that togetherness. So that’s my first memory.
Amy Watson 1:48:24
Interesting night. Yeah, I remember coming in and telling you everything like I was giving you directions to the bank. So well thank you for that. Well, well, you are going to actually exit us out of the podcast because you are one of the reasons why I am turning 50. And so I just wondered for for my listeners out there and it is my birthday. So I am just going to ask, Do you have any special birthday celebration words, encouragement, because it’s not just for me, it’s for everybody else
Dr. Thomas Petit 1:48:49
too. So I do the word is homeless. And that’s the thread that connected that togetherness. So there was a mismatch of that togetherness. It was more of survival. It was more of yeah, all that you had harnessed and harvested to make it through all that had happened to you. But the wholeness was the genuineness that you were hold then you are home now and so that togetherness has given way to wholeness. Amy, you are whole
Transcribed by https://otter.ai