Cindy: “God took my never​s’ seriously”

Hi friends, I’m here with the delightful Cindy Kettle. A dear mutual connected us at our home church during the latter part of my mom’s illness (read more about that here). She prayed for us and my family will never forget how she was heaven-sent with her help at my memorial service we held for my mom. 

I’m looking forward to discussing more about her life, her testimony, and more.

Meet Cindy, everyone.

I mean full disclosure here: but you are my boyfriend’s mom actually— or as one of my friends actually call you my future “MIL” (mother-in-law) or mom. You and I connected many months before Matthew came along! You raised the man I love, so you are an automatic favorite of mine no matter what. I love you and Dan (husband) and it’s been so fun getting to spend time together. 

Debbie, you are truly an answer to prayer! Matthew is so blessed to have you, a truly Godly young woman who loves the Lord and serves Him so faithfully! From the start, after we had met, I asked the Lord on how Matthew could meet you… I couldn’t see it happening, since he is ministering up in Alhambra (LA area) and is going to school.. He usually wouldn’t come to our church.

Should we just get out of the way this fun set-up story of how Matthew and I came to meet? We all know I’m excited to talk about that [laughs]

Pastor Mike said, “These two have to meet!” I couldn’t believe it and I told him how I’ve been thinking the same thing all these months! Mike said your dear friend Margo had the same thought! He arranged for you two to be at a dinner at he and Hannah’s home.. Dan and I had the privilege of being there and to witness the beginning of a beautiful relationship! The Lord orchestrated the two of you to meet… to happen!

Mike was so incredibly proud of Matthew, I’ll never forget the day he asked me if I was interested in meeting him. Mike, always keeping others on their toes, told me about Matthew’s life, all of his wonderful qualities before actually telling me who this guy actually was [laughs]… 

And we have been praying for Matthew to meet you for many, many years! He had been discouraged how it seemed like everyone around him during college had someone, but I just continued to encourage him that maybe God wanted him to just focus on school for now and  he would meet “her” outside of school, at church… and then I had prayed with a friend who had known Matthew since he was young and she said that maybe his wife would be someone from his past? And here you are! Such a blessing. We are glad to be gaining a daughter.

Awwww. Well I am so flattered and so very blessed. It’s kinda ridiculous how we’ve all taken a liking to each so quickly. I see you and Dan more than Matthew does actually. Haha.

Now, we can go on and on about Matthew for hours (at least I know I can) [laughs]– but I want to get talk about you and a little more about your life.

So, tell me how you spend your days?

Daily, I start by being in the Word and praying. Then I am off and running! My days look different now, since I am retired and have an empty nest. There are days the Lord sends people He wants me to connect with and sometimes they contact me and I learn about their life situations and needs.

God blesses me with the ability and time to serve them through prayer, and at times, actually to “be there” for them in whatever way is needed… visits, meals, shopping, errands, etc. Flexibility is a blessing at my current stage of life!

That is so sweet. I love that you are so open to what God wants you to do in this season. I have seen first-hand how you so lovingly care for your family and I know you strive for excellence in all that you do, because that’s just who you are.

You are originally from Hawaii. Born and raised. Now how did you come to CA? Can you talk a a little more about your life in Hawaii and career as well?

 Hah! Well God took my nevers…I was content to be a gerontological social worker… to never marry….to not have children…I was completely content! I was settled!

[Laughs] God likes to do that a lot. I said never to a pastor! Well, then someonecame into life and your life took a turn didn’t it?

Dan entered my life when I least expected it!! He was stationed in Hawaii and we together for 2 years before we married. He had to leave for CA so that is how we arrived in Oceanside. Soon after, Matthew came along and God gave me a new career: MOM!

I left my career back in Hawaii, and was blessed to be a full-time mom to my one son, who has always lived up to his precious name, Matthew: “Most Precious Gift of God”

Then, Dan responded to the Lord’s call to serve Calvary Chapel Oceanside… a new calling on my life, from being the wife of a marine, to being a pastor’s wife.

Pastors wives have a special place in my heart. They are all so different and come from so many backgrounds, and support and care for their man as he serves the congregation. How do you feel your background in social work has helped you minister to others at church?

Social work taught me to appreciate how to uniquely and preciously made God’s children are. When God leads me to help someone, my desire is to understand theirperspective of life events that are ongoing. Getting an idea of theirstory, history… it gives me a glimpse into how they are coping with their life events. My hope is to meet each person’s need as the Lord has led me to minister to them.

Can you discuss a little bit about how you came Christ and He changed you?

I was a 21-year-old student that was on “cruise control” for far too long in my freshman and junior years at the University of Hawaii. Suspension from UH was the wake-up call that I needed. It was ingrained early in my childhood that college was a given and not a choice– so suspension was utterly devastating. God found me in that broken place, in the midst of depression and anxiety.  And then, Julia through Campus Crusade, prayed for me one day on campus… I’ll tap her on the shoulder in Heaven someday, and thank her!

That’s so wonderful. It must be crazy about all the time that has passed since that day. And all that God has done in your life since.

 In the time we’ve known each other, I’ve seen how much you have a love for God’s Word. Can you tell me how you go about studying the Word? How does that look for you?

The Scriptures are indeed alive and available to us through the power of the Holy Spirit, to exhort, teach and mold us. The Lord uses His word to teach me about Him, His character, and as Kay Smith always taught– How to leave to please Him! My desire is that I continually grow to be who He desires me to be… to live for Him… and to please Him!

For my personal study, I have a song set on my phone or I use our Amazon Echo to play praise and worship songs. Then prayer, and I dive into God’s Word.

Personally, studying God’s Word in a group setting keeps me accountable. I appreciate structure and time frame to completing Bible studies. It helps me to keep on track and dig deeper! I also love to hear how the Lord speaks to other members of the group through the study, it is so very enriching! I love when the formal group studies include digging deeper into the background behind the Scriptures for the week.

Lastly, can you speak on the different seasons of life and how studying God’s Word looked for you in each one? As a single woman, then married and then as a young mom!

 As a mom of a baby… of a toddler… it was difficult. Time and energy were at a premium and there seemed limited, if any, amounts left for Bible study.

Yet, I was parched and not able to function in the godly manner that I couldn’t accomplish on my own. It was easy during that time to lose perspective, being mired in the busy-ness!

Similarly, when I began working full-time when Matthew was older, many times I came home exhausted, trying to fulfill my roles as wife and mom to a teenage son… without God’s Word and time at His feet, I kept running into a wall! The enemy planted depression, frustration, anxiety, guilt– I was exhausted!

 I learned a very important lesson: being at His feet, first and foremost, changed everything. God will bless and multiply time if you honor Him first in your day. He will allow you to accomplish all that He would have you to do in your day. God is in control and sovereign. I had to learn, I am still learning to daily turn over the reins to Him and let Him reign!


Well folks, I think I just fell in love with Cindy all over again while putting this blog post together. I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s not hard to do. Others are quick to say, that she is one of the most thoughtful and genuine people you’ll come to meet.

 She’s pretty fun too and has the most contagious laugh. A fun fact would be that she and I realized that we… are lacking a sense of direction. Honestly, like I think east is west and I can’t get anywhere without my maps app. Once, I got lost in a mall with Cindy and it took me a half hour to get us out of the mall… and it took her another half hour to remember where she parked the car. Also, we both laugh pretty easily and love reading!

Enjoy this picture which accurately describes our relationship (and lack of direction… why am I pointing to the sky?! I guess some of us are more challenged than others.):


New Blog Project & Interview with Emily

Hi friends, Debbie here. This year an idea was birthed of interviewing women in my wonderful church community and sharing it on my blog. One of the books I read this year talked of a godly woman who interviewed those around her she wanted to learn from and found as a positive influence in her life. She tucked these interviews away in a file and cherished the wisdom*

What a brilliant idea. Of course, I had to steal it. But in wanting to make in my own, I’ve decided to post them here on the blog so many more can gain from the wonderful wisdom shared in these pages.

So what to expect? All these women come from all different walks of life, they have impacted my life or someone close to me, are different ages and have different ministries… but they are all united in this: They are all amazing godly women and many are blessed by their lives.

I will try to share one interview per month, to get this thing going…

and where else should I start but with my friends?

(Who am I kidding, everyone is my friend. I love everyone you’ll read about in the coming months. Part of me just feels like I should name this blog series: “Meet my friends”.. Catchy? Yes? Eh, no. OK, I’ll go back to the drawing board… but for now, ‘til I come up with a better title… Meet Emily, everyone–)


Emily is a joy to know and a deep well in her love for the Lord. I got to know her only early this year. Our new friendship taught me to take chances and be open to getting to know new people. Our first impressions or preconceptions of others may completely cloud how view we someone… you might have heard a story or something they said or did might have rubbed you the wrong way and you completely write the person off— I almost wrote Emily off and I was closed to new relationships, but God had a different plan. I’m really glad God didn’t let me get my way or I would’ve missed out on the best fun. I stepped out of my comfort zone and hoped the best in her and fast forward a few months after… and I’m a bridesmaid her wedding only a few short days away!

Whenever Emily and I are around each other, we are constantly laughing, teasing each other about how much we love our boyfriends (well fiance for her now) and how much we cry and love to sleep (the power nap is an art we’ve perfected) and how sassy and awkward we can get. We know each other from co-leading some of the high school girls at our youth group at church together, and we love our girls dearly and consider it a privilege to be a part of their lives. God has done so much in our lives through the youth ministry and through mentors living life alongside us that it is an honor to be able to give back in this way.



Recently, I was able to sit down and ask Emily to share more about her and her testimony:

So tell us a little bit about yourself, about your family, how do we know each other?

Well I’m 21 and I moved to Oceanside (our city) about a year ago from Big Bear, CA. I’m from a wonderful family of girls with wonderful godly parents.

I have amazing parents– my dad is a detective, and naturally super protective poured into us growing up. He’s definitely the dad that run background checks on guys and made sure I was safe walking out to the mailbox. Haha. I was heavily involved in competitive dance all the way into my teens and by God’s grace I was able to start a dance ministry in my teens at my church that grew beyond my greatest expectations and I also started and sold a small business that I based out of my home in my teens. I had just always been really crafty and made these headbands that friends and family bought from me and it became really popular that I had started selling them online.

Can you share a little bit about how you got to the Oceanside area? I love your testimony.

After high school I felt God calling me to bible college, which was the best and I made so many amazing friends and grew so much in my faith, but after finishing in 2017, I kinda felt lost without direction and I felt God telling me “we are going to take a step in a new direction” and I was all– OK I don’t know what that really means [laughs] but okay. And soon after there was this opportunity to go to Peru and I was very against it– [laughs] I just, it was out of my comfort zone and very new–

I feel like all the best things God calls us to start with some of our stubbornness, right?!

Yes exactly! [laughs] Even the morning of the trip, I was crying telling my mom I didn’t want to go and she was all, you get out of bed and you are going! [laughs]

Shout-out to Mama King, YO [both laughs] your mom is great!

So I ended up going and God so changed my heart and we were able to help with a church plant and see lives changed– so while we were there a team from CCO were there and great people but I didn’t think much of it.

Director of the bible college in Peru did say said there was an opportunity to go back and work– which I was really excited about, but I came home and had been praying about it and God kept saying no.

Around this time, I was at work and saw a Google ad for Oceanside– never been there before– but there was this joy, and there was no other explanation than it was God pointing me in that direction.

And– at this point, Emily, you had never even visited Oceanside!

Yes, and it could have been terrifying but God just gave me so much peace and so much joy and I just felt really content in this.

So I contact the one person I knew in Oceanside and saw if they knew any people I could rent from and I had contacted the missions pastor from Calvary Oceanside that I met while in Peru, and he had offered me a job, and internship at CCO… and next thing I know I am renting a room from a lady I had never met (she is so nice and sweet) and working at our church at the Children’s’ ministry. It was such an incredible experience. I learned so much.

So talk about how it felt like working in a church was it what you expected?

Oh man, I had started this internship thinking “Oh I’m gonna do so many awesome things, God orchestrated my move and everything and this is going to be amazing” [laughs] but I literally spent the first 3 months of my work filing paperwork. It was really humbling and God changed my heart and my mindset and I realized how selfish I was and thought the year was going to be about the great feats I was going to accomplish things.

And I don’t blame you for expecting that– you’ve done some pretty amazing things in your teens– its sort of been these past years of incredible highs: starting and leading the dance ministry at your church in big bear with 70+ girls, the small business that you started and sold in high school It was one “great” thing after another.

–Yes, and God really taught me so much about just being faithful in the little things and giving in the glory in the smallest things and not seeking to be in front of people and serving Him to be seen. He really just humbled me. I’ve always struggled with being this perfectionist, and many times when I am serving the Lord it slips in me trying to serve Him to get more love which is not right. God showed me that when we serve others it is an outpouring of deep knowing His love for us so that we can share it with others. That is what true service is.

That is so beautiful, Emily. What a beautiful testament of how God works in our lives. I’m still not over it! Thank you for your vulnerability and honesty too, it is one of my favorite character traits about you.

Ok, now to the boy stuff [both laugh], since you’re now “almost engaged” you say– what does that even mean? [laughs] tell everyone about your man and how you met him.

[laughs] Lately, when people ask how I’m doing I say “I’m almost engaged” I will vote is an acceptable status. [laughs]

I vote it is too, I mean you’re practically engaged. I’ll run with it. Almost engaged; it should be a relationship status on Facebook [laughs]

Haha. So if you’ve ever been a single woman new to a church you realize the single guys kind of just pay more attention to you. Or actually, a lot of people do, trying to set you up. [laughs] and there were definitely a few failed attempts at setups that were really awkward and we had dinner at the pastor’s house and yeah, it was a little awkward. And it’s hard when you all work together and go to church together and know each other on all these different levels.

I mean to be fair to the guys and everyone else, I remember the same feeling when a new single godly guy shows up at college group, and now being part of a successful set-up with Matthew (my boyfriend) I have the strong temptation to set up people [laughs]

Oh no, matchmaker Debbie. I still can’t believe you tried to set a couple up. [laughs]

You and Matthew are like the 1% of successful set-ups so that’s different! Oh, Debbie [laughs]

I can’t believe it either! Who have I become? I’m happy and I just want to spread the happiness. [laughs]

So I met Caleb when I least expected it while on a missions trip to Mexico at our church (if she never moved to Oceanside she wouldn’t have met him!) and that’s all it took and I could seem to think straight anymore. After getting to know each other for about a month, we started dating, and it couldn’t be any clearer that this relationship was from the Lord. He loves the Lord and is full of His joy. We have such a great friendship, we are both such dorks and laugh all the time and we just have so much fun together. It’s been a great year together with him, we’ve walked through a lot of highs and lows and he knows me so well. He is a constant reflection of God’s grace to me. I love him so much.

Awww so sweet. Thanks for sharing Emily. And thank you for your sweet friendship. I love you a lot and I am so grateful for your influence in my life. I’m so glad that we get to do life together and share many laughs in between.

(if any are you wondering, Caleb proposed to Emily later the same day we did that interview and 3 months after… in less than a week… the two are getting married in her dream December wedding)



*I read about this idea in a “A Woman After God’s Own Heart” by Elizabeth George. An incredible book.