A Testimony

Posted on August 11, 2019


This is one of those posts that makes me feel a little vulnerable where I am at my most self-disclosing.  I wrote the following for a video testimony at my church.  It had to be shortened substantially to bring the video to the needed length for purposes of the worship service.  Here is the testimony in its original form.[1]  I end this with a bit of a commercial for the upcoming College of Marriage.  If you are in the San Diego area and have interest in that, here is a link to enroll:  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScYAO5D2X9fQh7x0GNcDgRKLC_dkR2spMUnBB1htjaGnFUdCg/viewform

Here is a link for the church’s website:  http://www.rbcommunity.church/event/1398266-2019-09-08-college-of-marriage/


My name is Scott Wood.  I have been a member of this faith family for 20 years.  My wife, Carol, and I have been involved in a number of ministries here.  We have both served in the music ministry.  I have been an elder on session, and Carol has been a deacon.  We have served with the missions committee and the marriage enrichment team.  I have chaired the Pastoral Care committee, and have taught a variety of classes on Bible study and marriage.  I facilitated the marriage weekend last year.

If you are noticing a theme developing there, marriage is my passion and one of the ways in which God’s grace has extended to me.  When Carol and I got married, I was not a Christian.  Carol was praying for me before I came to Christ, and God has done a work in my life through the love of my wife.

When we look at scripture, the one and only time before the fall that something was not good was when the man was alone.  The solution that God made for that was a marriage.  When marriage works well, it is one of the wonderful ways in which God extends his grace to us.  My passion is to see marriages experience that level of connection.  My professional calling is to help that happen.  I am a marriage and family therapist.

This is a second career for me.  Twelve years ago, I left a banking career after 25 years.  I felt God was calling me into marriage and family therapy.  At the time we had one daughter about to finish college and another who had just started college.  Carol had just started a third career as a school teacher.  I put together a budget estimating how fast the financial bleeding was going to be and talked about it with Carol.  We decided I should take the leap.

I know other Christians who can testify that “God told me blank.”  That is not usually my experience.  I look at what I am feeling called to do, what doors are opening, and which of those doors feels right to step through.

One of the grad school programs I was looking at was Bethel Seminary.  Bethel originally was not my first choice as Bethel takes a year longer because of all of the Bible and theology classes you need to take.  Before I was even accepted, they invited Carol and me in for an orientation and had me enroll in my first term’s classes.  In sales, we call this the presumptive close.  But it worked.  When I was in my first night of class and we opened and closed in prayer, I thought, “this is where I am supposed to be.”

While I was in seminary, Carol was still a relatively new teacher.  This meant that every Spring, she got a pink slip.  We would not know until sometime during the summer if she was going to have a job in the fall.  God provided and every fall, Carol had a job.

I had a similar experience for practicum.  I had applied (perhaps foolishly) only at San Diego Hospice, not realizing that they had 75 applicants for 15 slots.  That door also opened for me and I was blessed to counsel people at the end of life and at a time of grieving.  I had the honor of people telling me things at the end of their lives that they had never told a soul, finally unloading things that had burdened them all of their lives.

At graduation, the next door that opened was to join a Christian private practice.  Again, it seemed God had opened the right door for me.  I was blessed to be part of the that group of Christian therapists.  I have had other therapists as clients who have drama in their workplaces.  My colleagues were not only solid therapists, but they were great colleagues.

At the end of last year, our founder decided he had other ministry opportunities he wanted to pursue so he did not want to run a large practice any longer.  Again, God opened the right opportunity.  My colleague and I took over the Rancho Bernardo office from the practice and continued our practices.

During the nine years I have been doing therapy.  I have had the blessing of seeing so many marriages find healing and fulfillment.  When a couple finds healing for their marriage it is such a holy moment.

The way I see it, in God’s economy, he could have called me into this line of work just for the couple that is currently sitting in front of me right now.  We have a good shepherd who will go in search of the one who is lost.  The holy moment can be at hand at any moment.

As I look back on that journey, I can’t say, “God told me blank.”  But I can see God at work in the doors that God opened for me and nudged me through.

Earlier this year as the marriage enrichment team was considering what classes might be helpful to support marriages in our church and community, I felt called to develop a College of Marriage that could dovetail with our Christian education department’s College of the Bible.  Rather than just helping really troubled marriages, we could enrich marriages, help some marriages that are having some struggles, and prepare engaged couples for marriage.  We can look at both what the Bible has to say about marriage and what the research tells us.  And guess what?  Those two things go hand in hand (which shouldn’t be a surprise).  I also find that so many people did not grow up witnessing a fulfilling marriage.  It is no surprise that so many don’t know what a satisfying marriage looks like.

With the help of my colleague, Carolyn Klusmeier, who is an associate marriage and family therapist and also a member of this church, we have put together a 15 session curriculum to help couples become masters of marital arts.  The sessions are going to be offered on Sunday from 11:15am – 1:00pm starting September 8.  Childcare will be available.  If you have kids in the Academy, here is something for you while they are in Academy.

A full calendar of session topics is available on the courtyard and the website.  You can pick and choose sessions, but we hope you will choose to complete the entire College of Marriage.  We will even give you diploma when you do.

There is no cost, but you will want to sign up.  You can do that in the courtyard between services, on the connection card, or on the church’s website.

One last thing, we also want to make this available to the community, if you know a couple who could benefit from some extra marriage support and enrichment, let them know about the College of Marriage.

I always tell new clients at the start of our first session together that my job is to work my way out of a job with them.  Now I am trying to work my way out of a job before couples ever walk in my door by helping couples to have the satisfying marriage that God intended.

I pray that God will bless your relationships.  Perhaps the College of Marriage is one of His vehicles for doing that for you.

[1] It is still a little long as blog posts go.  If people can’t read you in less than 5 minutes, you usually lose them.