Bloom in Your Winter Season, Misc

DEBORAH MALONE INTERVIEW

with Rita Prochazka

Rita here! What an honor it is for me to introduce my co-host for, “Bloom in Your Winter Season,” Deborah Malone. Deborah has a passion to connect “seasoned” women in ministry for support and encouragement. She knows God CAN and WILL use us in this season of life. She is living proof!

Her love for the Lord, her love of writing and her sense of humor have been an encouragement to me, personally. I am so honored to call her my friend and to share this platform with her. Let’s begin as we hear Deborah’s story and heart for the Lord.

Deborah, can you share some of your testimony with us?

First, Rita, thank you so much for that glowing introduction. You just might be a little biased, but that’s okay with me.

As you know, I’ve written my story between women from the Bible in my book, Blooming in Broken Places, and would love for those who want more information about my journey to read Blooming in Broken Places. But I will try and keep it short for now.

Mother was from Cincinnati and Dad was from Opelika, Alabama. He moved to Ohio to work and met Mother there. My two older brothers were born in Cincinnati. Dad was eventually transferred to North Georgia to work at the newly opened General Electric plant.

My Mother had Rheumatoid Arthritis and I had a lot of responsibility as a child. I took that responsibility seriously and had a false sense that if something happened to Mother, I didn’t do my job. Life was tumultuous at best. Mother was in and out of the hospital. I never knew if she’d be in the hospital or not when I arrived home from school.

When I was 19, I married after three months of dating my future husband. It was shortly after we married, I realized he was emotionally abusive. This continued throughout our 26 years together. I finally left home in fear of my life with my computer, some books, and a few clothes. I never returned home.

I had just turned 21 when our first daughter was born. Two years later, Niki, was born. When she was three, she was diagnosed with a Medulloblastoma (brain tumor) in 1981. She contracted Meningitis from the surgery and remained in a coma for three months. When we brought her home, she was not the Niki we took to the hospital. She was left severely disabled. She required around the clock care from then on.

Going back to when I left home, I moved in with my dad who was then in his 80’s and in poor health. I took care of him and Niki for the next 7 years until he passed away. I was able to keep Niki at home for another 8 years with in- home caregivers. In 2015 Niki transitioned to a group home where she continues to live.

While I was living with Dad I started writing for the historic magazine, Georgia Backroads, around 2001. This was therapy for me and helped keep me sane. Then in 2011 my first novel was published. Over the next several years I had 6 cozy mysteries published. Then in 2017, Blooming in Broken Places, was published. I thought I’d never be able to write a non-fiction book. But I went from being afraid to write non-fiction to winning Georgia Author of the Year 2018 in Inspiration category. God can work wonders!

I went on to write a companion workbook, Bloom Where You Are, which was published in 2022. My goal for the books is to spread the message God can and will use us even in our darkest times.

Now I’m embarking on a new venture and a new message that God can and will use “seasoned” women. God has put no expiration date on our ministry. This is where the blog, Bloom in Your Winter Season, came from. I’m also working on a Bible Study by the same name. I’m excited to see where this journey will take me now that I’m embracing this season of my life.

What is your favorite Bible verse and why?

That is a hard question because I have many “favorite” verses. But the one that means a lot to me is 2 Corinthians 1:4 “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”

God can take our messes and turn them into messages. The hurt, pain and struggles we’ve been through will help us comfort others going through their own challenges. I heard someone say, “God never wastes a hurt,” and I believe this.

I think many of us can relate to this quote, “One day you will tell your story of how you’ve overcome what you’re going through now, and it will become part of someone else’s survival guide.”

What are some things you’ve learned in your walk with God in this season of your life?

Ha! I’m still learning. I have to admit it was hard going from my Fall season to my Winter season. I was trying so hard to “age” gracefully, but really wasn’t doing a very good job of it. I guess you could say that I was kicking and screaming through the transition. But then I realized that God hasn’t put an expiration date on our ministry. It might look a little different but there are still so many things we “seasoned” women can do. I feel like I am embracing this season now and I’m really looking forward to what God has in store for me.

Deborah can you share something about yourself that most people wouldn’t know? It can be fun or serious.

Well, I grew up in a neighborhood of mostly boys. I had two older brothers, so I became a full-blooded tomboy. It wasn’t until the third grade that a girl moved in next to us and we became friends instantly. I’m sure Mother was thrilled I’d learn some girly stuff. But Diane, my friend, also had two older brothers and turned out to be a bigger tomboy than me. We had a ball playing together. She moved away after three years, and it was a sad time for me. I’m so thankful we’ve been able to get back in contact and rekindle our friendship. During my teenage years I fell in love with horses. I lived, breathed and drank in horses. That lasted until I got married and concentrated on family. However, I still have a deep love for horses.

Would your life story make a good movie?

Rita, I believe it would make a good movie. Do you have someone in mind who might want to make my book into a movie. LOL

Where do you see your ministry in five years?

Well, I hope I’m still around in five years. If the Lord chooses to keep me here five more years, I see myself continuing to spread God’s messages. God can and will use women right where they are. How do I know? Just ask Sarah, Elizabeth, the Samaritan Woman, or even Rahab. No matter what we’ve done or what season of life we are in God loves us and wants to use us for His glory!

What advice would you give to other “seasoned” women on ways to stay active in ministry?

It’s all about changing seasons. While we go through different seasons in our lives change will come. We can choose to fight against it or adjust to those changes. There are many areas of ministry, and I’ve learned we can look at the changes like we are going on a new adventure instead of dreading it.

Have you ever felt “too old” to be used by God? What made you decide God could still use you?

That is an emphatic yes! More than once. Like I’ve mentioned before I did not start out changing my seasons with grace. When I was in a season where my health prevented me from traveling and fulfilling my speaking obligations, I just assumed my ministry was over. I felt so lost. But a wise friend told me to stop trying to find a replacement and just be still and listen for God’s direction. And that is what I did. It wasn’t long until new areas of ministry opened up for me. And that ministry has led me to creating this blog and working on a Bible Study for seasoned women to share the message, “God has put no expiration date on our service!”

What are some challenges you’ve had to overcome in this time of your seasoned ministry.

Good question, Rita. One of the biggest challenges I’ve had is my health. As I stated before it has prevented me from traveling as much as I’d like. But I’ve been able to find other ways to continue my ministry. My health declined about the time Covid hit and things changed overnight. No longer could people travel. Many conferences and speaking venues were cancelled. Though this was traumatic for everyone, new avenues opened up for me. People began having online conferences, meetings, etc. Since I wasn’t physically able to travel this was just the opportunity I needed. I have since changed to doing a lot of my ministry online. And as my health allows, I’ve been able to return to traveling when I’m able. I have discovered I have an affinity for reaching others through online events. I’ve heard it said that when one door closes, God will open another. And that is the experience I’ve had. If He did it for me, He will do it for you!

Bio: Deborah Malone has a degree in Human Services and worked in the field for several years before starting her writing career. Deborah was nominated for 2012 and 2013 Georgia Author of the Year in Novel category. She was awarded Georgia Author of the Year 2018 in Inspiration category for her book Blooming in Broken Places. She is a member of the Georgia Writers Association, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association and the American Christian Fiction Writers. You can contact Deborah through this website or at her email deborahmaloneauthor@gmail.com.

7 thoughts on “DEBORAH MALONE INTERVIEW”

      1. The degree in Human Services and teaches a number of writing courses for authors and most excitedly that you were nominated for GA writer of the year 3 times πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s