We’ve all felt at times like the struggles just won’t end. Best-selling author Kimberley Woodhouse knows how you feel! She and her family have been through one attack after another after another. But in every situation, God proved Himself faithful and sufficient. You can keep your trust—and joy!—when it seems the enemy won’t let up.
About Kimberley Woodhouse
Kim is a devoted wife and mother, and a third generation Liszt student. She has passed down her love of music and the arts to hundreds of students over the years, recorded three albums, and appeared at over 2,000 venues. Her quick wit, enthusiasm, and positive outlook through difficult circumstances have gained her audiences at conferences, retreats, churches, military functions, and seminars all over the country.
The Woodhouse family’s story has been on the front page of newspapers, in magazines, articles, medical journals, and most famously featured on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. They were also asked to share their story on The Montel Williams Show and Discovery Health Channel’s Mystery ER along with hundreds of other TV appearances and radio interviews.
Kim has been writing seriously for more than twenty years. Songs, plays, short stories, novels, picture books, articles, newsletters – you name it – she’s written it. It wasn’t until a dear friend challenged her to “do something with it” that she pursued publication. Now, she is a best-selling author of more than fifteen books, with more on the way.
She is passionate about Bible study, reading, music, cooking, and pretty-much-all-things-crafty. Kimberley has been married to her incredible husband for a quarter-of-a-century-and-counting and they have two adult children.
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Erin: Welcome listeners, welcome to The Deep. We are just so excited to be here with you because we’ve gone through gymnastics to make this podcast work, and we are going to talk more about that. It fits right in with our topic today, and we have a special guest with us, Kimberley Woodhouse. An amazing, prolific author and I’m going to let, of course, Karen introduce her because they’re buddies.
Karen: Kim and I met so many years ago, we were both about two. We met at an ACFW convention and discovered that we really clicked and enjoyed talking together. I met her daughter Kayla there as well. And in the course of that meeting and us getting to know each other—I was working for B&H Publishing Group at the time—and I knew that what I wanted was for Kim and Kayla to write some novels for me at B&H. And so, they did that, and it was wonderful, and we had so much fun together.
Kim has gone on to author a host of other books, and she is just an amazing writer, an amazing woman. She is a devoted wife and mother. She’s got her daughter Kayla, who has dealt with just an abundance of health issues, some very serious. Their son Josh, who has dealt with his own issues. It’s as though—if you looked at Kim through the world’s eyes—you would think this family was cursed. And yet the reality is they are so blessed. Because we know that these things are coming against them so that the enemy can derail their ministry.
They’ve been on a number of TV shows, including, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Ty Pennington and his group came in and built a wonderful home for them because of Kayla’s health issues. So, there’s just so much in Kim’s life that could have defeated her in her efforts to minister and to write, and yet because of her faith and trust in God, and the faith and trust that her husband had, they have overcome. And God has overcome through them. So, Kim, we are delighted to have you here to talk about what you can do when Satan just doesn’t let up.
Kim: Thank you for having me. It’s a privilege to be here today.
Erin: Yes, welcome Kim. And so, we always start the show talking about The Deep. The Deep means different things to different people. What do you think of when you think of The Deep? What would that mean to you, Kim?
Kim: I think it has several different meanings. In my own life, when I think of The Deep, I think of going deep in the Word and digging in the Word.
The Deep also means the pits, and sometimes the horrible stuff that we go through. And a lot of times when I speak around the country and share, I’ll say a little phrase and it’s like, you know, “God’s grace is always deeper than your lowest moment.” Because a lot of time we think we’re in The Deep in the worst possible part that we could be in, and yet God’s grace is always there. And knowing that it’s always deeper than we think, and we can handle or what we can go through. And so, it has, you know, different meanings for me in that way.
The Deep also means to me the depths of emotions and feelings and everything that God has given us for spiritual depth and not just being a surface-y Christian to show the world, “Oh hey, I’m a good person. I go to church on Sunday.” You know, but actually having that depth and the spiritual depth which I crave more and more, and I just really want to get all the way to The Deep. You know, no matter what trails, what junk accompanies that, I want to get all the way to The Deep.
Erin: I love that.
Karen: You know I think that’s one of the things that I respect the most about you Kim, and that I love most about you. It’s that when these difficult things have come in your life, what they’ve done is they’ve driven you to go deeper with God.
A lot of people would be derailed and be so discouraged by what happened that they might start to doubt God. But you find yourself going before God and going on your face before Him and digging in His Word to understand. And I think that’s one of the things that many of us lack is that awareness that when we hit these trials, these struggles, even these life-threatening situations that you guys have been in. When we hit those kind of things our first reaction seems to be, “Why?” But I’ve seen in you all these years, I’ve seen how it sends you to God and to His word.
So how do you think that that happened? What happened in you that conditioned you to do that, rather than to doubt and to scream why at the heavens?
Kim: I think a big first foundational stone for me is the fact that my dad is a pastor, and I was raised in a wonderful, wonderful Christian home. And I have an older brother and an older sister that helped model it for me as well.
But my dad used to often say when we were younger that you always knew if you weren’t doing what God wanted you to do, if you weren’t on track, because the enemy would leave you alone. So, it was a really good example for us to realize that, you know, things are not supposed to be smooth sailing. We’re not supposed to have life that’s a bowl of cherries all the time. And yes, the Lord blesses in huge ways and we have so much to be thankful for. But understanding that persecution and suffering are just going to be a part of our lives. And understanding that we should want that persecution and suffering because we know that we’re on the right track, that we’re doing what God has called us to do. Because this is not our home, this is not where we’re going to be. You know, we’re aliens of this world, that’s said over and over in Scripture.
Erin: Talk about some of the difficulties and challenges that you’ve had in case our listeners don’t know.
Kim: Well I’ll try to be really brief.
Erin: That should be part of the answer, people!
Kim: Karen knows a whole lot, well she probably knows everything out of our story, we’ve known each other so long. But she has walked this journey with me through a lot of it too and taught me some valuable lessons, so I have to say thank you for that, Karen.
Jeremy and I met at Bible college, and we knew that we were going to serve the Lord and be committed to put our lives to God in ministry, and so we knew that we were going into full-time ministry. And our son was born, and he almost died several times. He was a very sick baby. And then our daughter was born, and we thought, “Oh, she’s just a perfect, happy, healthy, sweet, little baby.” And Josh was the one—we always had to listen to his breathing and he was sick a lot.
And one day Kayla had a heat stroke when she was fourteen months old. And the doctors couldn’t figure out what was going on. Well, through years of lots of different doctors—actually around the country—they had to put the pieces of the puzzle together, and she was diagnosed with a really rare nerve disorder. She was three and a half, I believe, when that happened. And nobody had any answers. And the doctor who diagnosed her was a wonderful Christian man, and he sat in front of me and rolled his stool up really close because I had five million questions, and he said, “You know what? God made her this way, and we don’t know of any other kids in the world that actually have this at this moment in time that are living. But we’re going to do this together.” And he said, “You just remember that God is the great physician and He understands when nobody else does.”
Erin: Oh my.
Kim: So, over the years, there were a lot of health issues with Kayla. In fact, she had to have brain surgery at the age of nine for a completely different thing. And insurance companies wouldn’t touch us with a ten-foot pole back then because she was diagnosed with hereditary sensory autonomic neuropathy. And so that first word, hereditary, flagged the whole family. We couldn’t get insurance. So, we owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills, and you know that’s just all part of it.
I told one hospital, “I’ll pay for this for the rest of my life. That’s fine. My daughter is worth it. And I really don’t care, I’m not taking any of this other stuff with me.” So, it’s okay.
Erin: Wow. And how is she doing now?
Kim: She’s absolutely wonderful now. I mean she still has the nerve disorder, and she still has a lot of health issues. She graduated with highest honors from the University of Colorado and is now in seminary studying to get her Master of Divinity in discipleship. She is just eating it up, you know, studying the Greek and the Hebrew and studying theology and just loving it.
So, she’s doing really well. It’s just a wonderful thing and I keep praising God for how He gave us this story, because it’s His story.
Karen: The remarkable thing, Kim, is knowing Kayla as I do and seeing the way that she has responded and reacted in all of this. This is a young lady who has an incredible grounding in her trust in God and an incredible grounding in her knowledge of God. It’s an intimate knowledge that has her so well anchored. I don’t care what else comes to her in life, she’s going to deal with it with the same grace and the same faith that you do, and that’s just an amazing thing.
In addition to that, you and Kayla wrote novels together, so you guys experienced the publishing world together. So, talk to us about how the struggles and all these kinds of attacks affected you in your writing journey.
Kim: Oh my, that’s a loaded question.
Karen: I know, that’s why I asked it!
Kim: Oh goodness. I feel like with every book, what I have to do is I really pray, and I dedicate that book to the Lord. It’s like, “Okay whatever You have for me, whatever words You have for me, because it’s not my story, it’s Your story. Whatever You’d have me do, You just do that through me.”
And every single book, I think I’m on book twenty now—I think that’s the one I’m writing at the moment. And every single one of these books has had some horrific catastrophe, you know, something happened in the middle of it. Whether it be technology, whether it be family, whether it be like last year, I almost died and was in the hospital and it was in the middle of a book and just some real craziness.
Karen: I’m going to interrupt you just for a minute. I remember when you sent me a text and an e-mail, and you let me know everything that was going on and the struggles, and your biggest concern was that you were on deadline. I was like, “Kim, you’re in the hospital. They’re afraid you’re going to die, and you’re worried about your deadline?”
Erin: I think that’s a first, Kim. No one has ever been on the podcast and gone, “Well, I almost died in my last book.”
Kim: Oh well that book—I know I’m kind of changing gears, but that book, was a few books ago, but it was Out of the Ashes. And it was one that Tracie Peterson and I wrote for Bethany House. When we had planned the series, obviously we had no idea what was going to happen to me in the middle of it. But even what we had plotted out and in our long synopsis to write. So, as I was writing this book, it really became out of the ashes for me because our characters had gone through just some horrible dark, dark, dark, dark times.
We have had so much response from this book. Not only because of the dedication and how we wrote about what we went through, through the writing of the book, but then how God translated that onto the page, and made the story what He wanted it to be. Truly a story of grace and transformation and how God can take all the broken shattered pieces of your life and make something beautiful out of it.
And so, the privilege of writing with Kayla was just absolutely wonderful, and we’ve talked about doing more, you know, once she’s done with school. She’s had to write five million papers for all of her—she was an English lit major so, she wrote paper after paper after paper.
Karen: She really is a remarkable writer. She writes a blog too as do you.
Kim: Yeah, and she’s brilliant. I think even if God just had me on this journey for her to write, I don’t know, but you know, praise God for what He’s done. So yeah, It’s amazing each time how we grow and learn even through the darkest of moments. I mean I’ve even had my computer, one time, get a spider virus and shut down, and I lost half of a manuscript. Karen probably remembers that one quite well.
Karen: I do. I remember that very well.
Kim: But it was neat to see how God used that. And in the re-writes. And it’s all to bring glory to His name. I am just so thankful. I am so thankful for every yucky, hard, terrible, awful thing that we’ve had to go through. Because I’ve grown, and I think that’s what I’m supposed to do.
Erin: What keeps you going, though, practically, Kim? How do you practically get your mind and your heart right to put your rear end in the chair and write when you’re constantly pummeled?
Kim: That’s a really good question. For me, I’ll tell you what I’ve kind of settled on in the past decade. I love Bible study, and I’ve gotten more and more in-depth in that. But the challenge that I have had is not just in doing an inductive or a deep Bible study, but just spending time in the Word each day. So, what I do right now—I’ve been doing the past three years—is I’m reading through the Bible seven times every year.
So, every fifty-two days I go through the entire word of God. And I do that first, and that, I believe, is my foundation. That is my first little step each day. Because I can’t believe—and I’ve spent a lot of time in the Word throughout my life, you know, full-time ministry has been all of my forty-five plus however old I am years. I don’t even know how old I am at the moment. But spending this time, doing this every fifty-two days, it’s such a large chunk that I’m reading. And what I started doing about a year and a half ago is I got a chronological, one-year Bible and so I do seven days a day. But it’s neat because the context, and all the Scripture backing up Scripture, because all the Scripture that winds up with one another in the chronological Bible is put together. So, reading that huge chunk I feel like I’m just getting so much more out of it.
And then my husband and I, he’s also a pastor. So, my second step there is that Jeremy and I—he is absolutely amazing, we’ve been married twenty-seven years this year—and we spend time together each day praying and talking about what the Lord is teaching us and what we’re learning. And we know that we’ve got to keep our relationship first, you know, after our relationship with God. And so, putting that in the right perspective and knowing that we’ve got to hold each other up.
You know, we went to a conference years ago and they had done this assessment of pastors and wives. They had given us the statistic that ninety-seven percent of all families—marriages that have a special needs child or a sick child or a child with cancer, whatever—end in divorce. And that was horrifying to hear and very startling for us.
You know, at the time we laughed, and my husband said, “Well, we’re both too stubborn to give up.” Which is true. But understanding that we have to put that marriage first. Because anybody who’s in ministry understands that often times, you know, the church, people, need you. It would be easy to put that marriage relationship on the back burner. So that’s kind of my second step. My husband and I, that comes before everything else.
Karen: And see, those practical things are so important for writers as well. Because we’re in a ministry in writing with God and to not let our writing come before being in depth in the Bible and time with God and time with our spouses and our families, that’s really important.
Kim: It is.
Karen: We’re coming to the end of our time together, it happens so fast. It’s been so much fun to listen to you. Do you have any final words of wisdom for our listeners? For these writers out there who are maybe feeling that the enemy has made them his own special project, and he just keeps coming after them, one hit after another—any special words of wisdom for them?
Kim: I think I would say first, you know, get in the Word. Then I would say it is a discipline to write. This is a job, something that we do, and it’s a job that God has given us, so we do have to get that rear end in the chair. It’s not just “write whenever you feel the whimsy and you feel happy and everything’s going the right way.” I would never get anything done, because I never have those kind of days.
Karen: I know, me neither.
Kim: But in 1st Peter, hopefully I’ll get the verses right, but it’s in the first chapter of 1st Peter and they’re talking about this great inheritance in salvation that we have which is imperishable, and the whole book of first Peter talks about suffering. But in, I think it’s verse six, maybe five or six, and he says, “In this”—and he’s talking about our salvation that’s imperishable—“in this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold, which is perishable even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” And it makes me giggle when I say, “Even though now for a little while, if necessary.”
Erin: That is 1st Peter 1:6, you’re right.
Kim: Oh good, I got it right.
Karen: How wonderful that He gives us that and saying, “Even now if necessary…” almost tongue in cheek, because He knows how stubborn we are and how inclined we are to get off the path that He has given us. Then He reminds us of the purpose of the suffering and of the blessing and of the fact that we are glorifying Him. And as you said at the very beginning, this isn’t our home. We have Him here with us to go through this foreign land. And to do it with grace and faith and a sense of joy.
Kim, you’ve been wonderful. You’ve shared great truths with us, and we appreciate it. We’ll have to have you come back and talk some more because I know you’ve got a lot more to say. But thank you so much for being with us today.
Erin: Yes, thank you, Kim.
Kim: Thank you so much.
Out of the Ashes co-written with Tracie Peterson, mentioned in the podcast
The Patriot Bride – Kimberley’s latest release
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How has God proved Himself faithful when you’ve faced the enemy?
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