I’m Debbie Dufek, wife of my retired husband and best friend, Bobby. I am Mama of seven, ages thirty-two to fifty-five. We have six daughters and one son who are all grown now with families of their own. To this date we now have twenty-two grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren. At present we are a family of forty-eight (with a couple of young men I’m quite sure will be added to our family soon), which makes for a huge pile of Christmas gifts and a very lively party. Being from New York it seems we all talk at once, or at least most of us do!
Travel back with me a moment for a quick snapshot of my life in rewind.
Pregnant at fifteen, I’m grateful I chose life. I chose life two more times. The Lord, in His mercy, saw me searching for what would fill this cavernous hole blown in my heart by the premature death of my father. He showed me what was missing–––His love. In my brokenness my heart was opened to accept His personal love for me and I was born again on April 19, 1974 at 4:30 p.m.
My life was changed forever!
I can say with great joyI have never looked back.
In March of 1976 I married Bobby, who chose my three precious children along with me––we became a family and started our lives together. From the very start we saw God’s faithfulness in countless ways. Provision, peace, joy, patience and lots of love were ours in abundance. We went on to have four more children and anyone that knows us will say that you could never begin to tell which children are Bobby’s biologically. The same has been true for our grandchildren. To Bobby, they are all his own. To our family he has always been Daddy and Papa. I have a precious husband.
Consistent with God’s mercy, our family has been a picture of hope to those who have no hope. We have a “beauty for ashes” story and the Lord has woven His grace, His mercy, and His love through the tapestry of our lives. Lest I make it sound like it’s all been easy, this is not the case. We’ve had many hard days, even years, but our testimony remains the same––God is who He says He is. He is a faithful God. We are acquainted with brokenness, but so is Jesus. And in His love, He has allowed His brokenness to be what has brought healing to our own.
In 1981 we were sent out from our local church on Long Island, New York to be the directors of Shiloh Christian Retreat Center in upstate New York where we cared for the Body of Christ in many ways. We provided a home and family to those whose lives were fractured in brokenness. We served in many capacities from counselors to cooks, and lots in between for four years. While we were at Shiloh the upstate life had captured our hearts–––there was no turning back for us so we bought an old, rambling 1844 home on lots of acres with a Hudson River view right down the street from Shiloh.
Our spacious country home had a revolving door of hospitality and together, as a family, we lived a full life.
We home-schooled for twenty-four years, cared for my precious Mama for seven years until she left for Heaven, and had Bob’s aging parents for six years.
During the early years when home schoolers were still “in the woodwork”, we came in on the grass roots of New York State Loving Education at Home (LEAH). We founded, established, and facilitated Albany LEAH, a home school cooperative support group that is still going strong today.
We served on the state board of NYS LEAH as Regional Representatives for fourteen years and served together as Convention Coordinators for our state home school convention for three years as well.
One of the most treasured gems the Lord has ever placed in my heart is a ministry to home-schooling mothers and their need for fellowship and encouragement. Out of this, a beautiful Mom’s Luncheon was created where women gather annually for a full day of pampering, refreshment, teaching, and equipping. Our focus is to inspire them to press on and flourish in their marriages, their parenting, their home-schooling, and mostly in their love for the Lord. To our precious moms, it remains their favorite day of the year! It has grown into a special day for all women now, and we’re blessed to see the next generation attending with their children as well. We will be celebrating our 34th year in April 2023.
Birthed out of our years at Shiloh and my ministry to women there, working with NYS LEAH and countless home-schooling families and the Mom’s Luncheon, I have been blessed to have an ongoing ministry of speaking at many conferences and retreats, teaching Bible and book studies, and leading small discipleship groups over the last forty-five years.
Seasons come and go, and the Lord made it clear He was opening a new chapter in our lives. Bob and I have felt that the timing is right for me to fulfill a call the Lord placed on my heart decades ago (and has never lifted).
I have a greater passion than ever before to encourage and inspire women through writing. It’s a wonderful way to reach so many.
My first book, Holy Interruptions: When God Taps You on the Shoulder, will be published by Bold Vision Books in November 2022. Cherishing Ordinary Days, my blog, was birthed in 2019.
I can be found online @debbiedufek.com. At Cherishing, together we look at each area of life we find ourselves walking through as women and encourage each other to “live deliberately”, stopping long enough to embrace the beauty of everyday moments in every season of our lives.
Amid the busyness of life when we feel like we can’t take the time to pause–we purposely pause––and we live out our days with grateful hearts!
It’s my prayer that you will consider joining me often and it will result in us getting to know each other well! I’m glad you stopped by to meet me! I hope to see you here again soon.
On this journey together,