Judy Scharfenberg: Life-Affirming Choices

Friends bond for many reasons. I bonded with Judy Scharfenberg because I sensed she was an authentic woman of God; but what drew me to her was her quick wit. Judy enjoys life. When I asked her, “What adventurous ‘no fear’ choice would you like to make in the days ahead?” she answered, “I would go sky diving with my grown grandsons.”

Judy’s choices haven’t always been easy, but trusting the Lord has given her a powerful perspective.

Dawn: Judy, what led to your choice to trust in Christ as your Savior?
Judy: There was a time in my life when I should have been the happiest woman in the world. I had a wonderful husband, happy and healthy children, and a lovely home. We owned a business that promised prosperity; and I was a real people-pleaser. I would give of my time and energy because it made me feel good. I didn’t realize it was only temporary. It didn’t take away the emptiness, fear, or despair that occupied my heart.

Dawn: What was causing all those emotions?
Judy: I had brought a lot of problems to this marriage and they consumed me. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I was falling apart and didn’t know how to change. So I began to drink, just like my parents had—a little here, a little there until it became routine.

Dawn: So, what changed you?
Judy: An old friend came back into my life and invited me to church. I heard the truth about God, heaven, and real love. I learned the truth about Jesus, and I prayed and asked Him to forgive me and come into my life. As I studied the Bible, God changed me. I began to talk and act differently; I nurtured my children, and began to love my husband the way God spells it out in the Bible. It’s been 37 years, but each day I learn something new and praise Him for coming into my life. I hate to think of what would be had I not made that choice so many years ago.

Dawn: What was the most difficult spiritual choice you made after becoming a believer?
Judy: Coming from a very dysfunctional, alcoholic, and abusive family—my father was the perpetrator—I didn’t have much respect for men. I often talked down to my husband and found it difficult to treat him with honor. Sometimes, to my shame, I was like that to him in front of others. An older woman in our church recognized this and had the courage to tell me the truth. Now I live by Proverbs 12:4: “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who shames him is as rottenness in his bones.” I choose to treat my husband like a king.

Dawn: What has been your most rewarding choice in life so far?
Judy: There was a time in my life when my health was an issue. It seemed serious; even the doctor was concerned. At the same time, I learned that I was pregnant. We hadn’t planned this. It was suggested that I have an abortion; but there was no question in our minds. My answer was an emphatic “NO!” Thirty years later, the health issue no longer exists and my beautiful daughter is a joy to my heart. Her name is Amy Joy.

Dawn: What has been the hardest decision you’ve made in your marriage?
Judy: To accept my husband’s disabling stroke as God’s will for my life—to choose to be happy and content as his caregiver for these past twelve years.
Dawn: I can imagine that it’s often tough, though your heart is right.
Judy: I could choose to be melancholy sometimes. All of us have circumstances that could suck the joy right out of our lives. Life as a caregiver is not always easy. Add to that trying to stay close with my six children and thirteen grandchildren, do a little speaking, mentoring, discipling, more writing, keep the house in good order, etc. You know how it goes. Barbara Bush has been quoted often, but the quote I like best is this: “You have two choices in life. You can either like it, or not. I chose to like it.”

Dawn: What led you to write your book, Secure Families in a Shaky World?
Judy: Writing a book is hard work. I never wanted to do it. Secure Families in a Shaky World is a message I’ve been giving at women’s events for the past two or three years. Once I began to receive the response from my audiences, it changed my thinking. Women were leaving these events with a plan, and I knew it was going to enhance their lives. Writing the book just fell into place.

Dawn: Judy, thank you so much for sharing your heart today. Life isn’t easy, but you’ve got a powerful perspective.
Judy: I choose to like my life. Walking with Jesus makes it easy.

For more information about Judy’s ministry, visit www.judyscharfenberg.com or visit her blog, Encouraging Others.

1 comment:

Tonya Ingram said...

Beautiful story about God's redemption! Thank you for sharing.