About Denise Buss
If you had asked me ten years ago what my childhood was like, I’d have told you it was great. I grew up in a small town on a lake in Southeastern Wisconsin. My family wasn’t wealthy, but we had all the things kids enjoy—waterskiing, endless swimming, our own ice skating rink, and a large yard to explore. Unfortunately something was missing from our home: love and acceptance.
My dad never wanted kids and that’s how he treated me—as an unwanted burden. I spent a lot of energy trying to avoid punishment, and attempting to earn his affection. I did my best to be quiet, do my chores, and get good grades. Despite all of my efforts, I never received love from him—only rejection.
My mom did not meet my need for love either—past hurts had wounded and scarred her own heart, and she built a wall around it to safeguard herself. She taught me to hide problems, bury secrets, and lie to protect myself and others. Life was safer that way.
During adolescence I used alcohol and eventually drugs to dull the pain of feeling worthless and unwanted. And I continued to look for love. Since I didn’t know what real love looked like, I ended up dating “bad boys.” They used me for their pleasure and then discarded me—unless I beat them at their own game first.
The feel-good escapes of sex, alcohol, and drugs pushed me further into the pit of despair for many years. But there was hope for me. At the age of twenty-four I got married and tried to turn my life around. I no longer used drugs and limited my alcohol use. I went to college and became a registered nurse. Unfortunately my husband’s alcohol consumption spiraled out of control, and I divorced him after five painful years of marriage.
I realized my life lacked purpose so I started jogging, went back to college and earned a master’s degree, took up watercolor painting, and learned to downhill ski. Nothing helped. I felt like I was dropping pebbles into the Grand Canyon; nothing could fill my vast emptiness. One morning I concluded there had to be more to life, and I needed to go to church.
A few weeks later I found myself sitting in a large non-denominational church. Near the end of the pastor’s sermon she said, “God is love. And if you’re looking for love, you’re looking for God.” I scoffed. I had closed my heart and thought love was the last thing I needed. But those words penetrated deep, and I was drawn into the arms of Jesus.
I fell head-over-heels in love with Jesus. Like a bride on her honeymoon, I couldn’t get enough of Him. I went to church every time the doors were open, joined Bible studies, did street evangelism, and became involved with community outreach. I experienced God’s sweet presence and was filled with His joy, peace, and love—things I didn’t even know existed.
The Holy Spirit began to convict me of my sinful behaviors; my love for money, the television shows and movies I watched, and my alcohol use. God graciously helped me to get rid of the ungodly stuff in my life. A year into my walk with God, I thought I was all cleaned up because the external stuff, the most obvious offenses were gone. But I was looking only at my behaviors. I had no idea that my heart was badly wounded and scarred.
When I adopted my daughter life got hard. I became too busy and too tired to pray and read my Bible. I didn’t make time for my First Love and my spirit became weak. I lost my joy.
I couldn’t see how far from God I had wandered. But God was merciful and gave me a wake-up call. As I ran back to God, Satan used the fear of rejection and the lies of performance-based love and acceptance that were buried in my heart to convince me that God had turned His back on me. My mind was filled with questions and doubts about my salvation. Anxiety surged. Crisis came.
That was the best thing that could’ve happened to me. God used that crisis to expose and remove the lies that were buried deep in my heart. He healed the wounds of my past—wounds I didn’t even know I had. I am not alone. I believe that no matter what our story is, all of us have invisible deceptions and hurts that hold us captive.
My desire is to see men and women set free from the work of the enemy and be restored back to God’s original design for them. I hope that sharing my journey and the life-changing lessons God has revealed to me will encourage you to allow God to invade your heart and help you live as the person God created you to be.
I’m a single mother of one daughter. My precious gift from God captured my heart in 2006 when I traveled to China to bring her home. When Hannah wanted a bigger family, we adopted Mr. Nibbles. In Hannah’s eyes, he’s the cutest American Short Hair that ever lived. Our small family resides in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota, where I work as a nurse practitioner.
Some of my favorite things include curling up with Hannah and a soft blanket, a good book, and a cup of warm tea. I enjoy being a mother, visiting with friends and family, worship songs, healthy eating, and learning new things.
What I Believe:
Jehovah God exists in a perfect relationship of three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Jehovah is the all-powerful, sovereign God who controls the world’s destiny. While He could predetermine all aspects of life, He sovereignly chooses not to control everything and leave some aspects for free agents to determine. God has complete foreknowledge of the future, including the free-will decisions made by human beings.
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He willingly took human form to show us the Father and reveal His truths. He reconciled us to God by living a sinless life and by accepting the punishment for sin in our place. Jesus’s death and resurrection rescued us from the power of darkness so that we no longer have to be slaves to sin. This work of atonement is available only to those who say yes to Christ’s Lordship.
Salvation is available to all, but God gave people the freedom to accept or reject His gift. Salvation can only be received by grace through faith in Christ. It cannot be earned by works. Those who trust in Christ are “born-again.” Their sins are forgiven and they begin a relationship with God.
For their salvation to be secure, believers must continue to maintain their relationship with God. If someone decides to terminate the relationship, they “divorce” God and the relationship ends. Since there is no salvation outside a relationship with God, this means it is possible for someone to lose their salvation.
A measure of the Holy Spirit comes to live in us when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior. There is an additional filling, or baptism, of the Holy Spirit with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues. This is available to all believers.
The Holy Spirit indwells and empowers believers to live holy lives. He guides us into all truth, leads us, comforts us, and transforms us into the image of Christ. We are to live in the Spirit, walk in the Spirit, and produce fruit of the Spirit.
The gifts of the Spirit are for today. The Holy Spirit distributes His spiritual gifts and manifests Himself through the body of Christ as He wills.
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living. It is infallible in matters of faith and practice.
It is the responsibility and privilege of all believers to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and to help make committed disciples of Christ.
All believers are gifted by God for ministry within the body of Christ. Church leadership roles and roles in the home should be determined by gifting rather than by gender.
All those who are born-again through faith in Christ make up the true church, the body of Christ.
Water baptism is an act of discipleship that should only be done by those who have decided to follow Christ.
Christ will return to this world to establish His kingdom on earth.
There is a resurrection of the body: true believers will have eternal bliss in Heaven, and unbelievers will have everlasting punishment in Hell.
We have an enemy who walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. We need to exercise our authority in the name of Jesus and release the power of the Holy Spirit that resides in us to make evil spirits flee.