Hello and welcome to Breath of Fresh Air - a ministry of love, grace and encouragement to the Body of Christ! My name's Debbie and I'm so glad you stopped by to visit. I hope it will be the first of many times.
Before I tell you about how Breath of Fresh Air began (the "Reader's Digest" version, at any rate), I really should tell you a little about who I am. I was born on the 23rd January, 1961, and have been married to Steve since 4th September, 1982. We have been blessed with two beautiful children. A daughter, Kylie, who was born on the 1st May, 1985, and a son, Matthew, who arrived into the world on 11th September, 1987. We live on the western outskirts of the Sydney Metropolitan area in beautiful New South Wales, Australia, which is basically where I've lived all my life. When I married Steve, I moved just a short 15 minute drive west from my family home and have been living happily here ever since.
Anyway, now for a little bit about the journey that brought me to this place ...
When God first gave me the dream in 1995 for what would become "Breath of Fresh Air", it was just the smallest of visions. We were at a Leaders' Retreat with our Church and the Pastor asked us to share what we felt God was calling us to for the future. All I could say was that I felt He was going to use me to minister through word and song.
That was it.
Nothing dramatic or earth shaking and not a lightning bolt to be seen anywhere. I didn't know how, I didn't know when and I certainly didn't know where. I just knew that this was God's plan for my life.
Things didn't happen overnight. Over the next few years, Steve and I continued to do whatever God placed into our hands. I have to admit that looking back over that time now I really do wonder how we actually managed to juggle as many things as we did! Truly by God's grace alone!
Apart from our Garden Maintenance business, we were responsible for care, nurture and support of all the New Christians and New People in our Congregation, as well as overseeing the Pastoral Care. We had a Home Fellowship Group each Tuesday night and I was also involved as part of the Praise and Worship team. On top of that, for about 12 months we also ran a Friday night worship and ministry service.
With hindsight I can clearly see that each aspect of service we were involved in was preparing us; although I don't think I ever really looked at it that way at the time. I honestly thought that we'd continue on in these roles forever, expanding them as God opened doors for that "bare bone" vision to become a reality.
How wrong could I have been!
In 1997 a number of people began to feel a strong urge to pray for me and to share what God was showing them about His plans for my life. One hit me so dramatically that I can definitely say that was the turning point and moment when God began to flesh out the dream.
It came from a visiting speaker to our Church one Sunday morning. He'd prayed for everyone who came forward, but after the service made a point of coming over to where I was busily tidying up, and asked if he could pray for me. One of the first things he said was that God was going to use me to turn women into ladies. Now I know that may not mean anything to anyone else, but for me it was as though an explosion of revelation had just happened in my spirit.
A little later he stopped, looked me straight in the eye and said, "You want to preach don't you?"
I have to admit that it was a little like having a guilty secret uncovered and I remember feeling quite bashful when I admitted that I did. That was when he said, "It's coming and it's coming sooner than you think!"
How many of us know our "sooner" and God's "sooner" don't necessarily mean the same thing? I remember thinking right there and then, "Yes Lord! I'm ready! Bring it on!"
In the excitement of the moment, I failed to hear God's gentle whisper, "Slow down Deb, it's time for the fire."
Almost immediately the process of refining began and I have to say that it was a painful time of major soul searching. I reached a point during the 12 months that followed where I wasn't even sure who I was anymore. But at the end of that time I emerged with a peace and strength from God alone, a passion for His grace and a heart that just wanted to live for the praise of His glory all the days of my life.
As much as I never want to have to go through the fire of refining to that extent again, I can still honestly say that I'm thankful for it. Six months after emerging from that time in the desert, Breath of Fresh Air was born.
God's timing and ways are always perfect!
God continually takes me by surprise with the amazing things that He's doing through Breath of Fresh Air.
It's His work and His ministry; and each time He opens a new door I'm overwhelmed by the wonder of it all.
No matter how often I expand my vision for Breath, the Lord comes along and shows me that my thinking is still way too small. Paul's words to the Ephesian Church find an echo in my heart again and again:
The future is still a blank page upon which I'm waiting for the "author and finisher of our faith" to write. Every day is an adventure and with God guiding my way, Breath of Fresh Air is growing and expanding every day.
I'd like to take this opportunity to invite you to become a breath of fresh air in your community, home, work place and church. In Christ, you can make a difference as you change the fragrance of the world around you!
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at your church service, women's group, conference or retreat,
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Copyright © 2001-2003 Debbie Porter - Breath of Fresh Air. All rights reserved.