Debby’s Growing Up Years
Debby Thieszen was born in Holyoke, CO to Gorman and Arlene Foley. She is the youngest of 3 girls. Debby’s Dad is a pastor and so they moved often when she was a child. They lived in Wyoming for a bit and several places in NE and KS. While in Wyoming, Debby has memories of her mother rocking her, playing with toys and always wanting to run barefoot even if there were stickers.
Once Debby grabbed hold of a barbed wire electric fence. The main shock of it all was that she couldn’t let go! An older girl came to help her. She laughs that it didn’t really hurt, but that she thought it should so she really howled to get some attention.
After Wyoming, the Foleys moved to Milburn, NE. She lived there till just before she turned 5 years old. The town had a population of 10 ,so when their family of 5 moved, half the town left!
They lived in Hordville, NE from the time Debby was 5 till her third grade year. She has fond memories of meeting her best girlfriend, Myla, while they lived in Hordville. Debby and Myla are still friends and see each other occasionally.
Debby attended Nebraska Christian High School. She met Elroy Thieszen and they began to date during the first month of her sophomore year. Nebraska Christian High School held dress-up dinners and Elroy took her to one of them as his date. Elroy and Debby have been a couple ever since.
Elroy and Debby become Mr. And Mrs. Thieszen!
After they married, Elroy’s plan was to become a missionary aviation pilot. His Dad, however, owned a farm near O’Neill, NE. Elroy and Debby had begun to realize that God had not given them a peace about going to the mission field. They decided to go to the farm by O’Neill, thinking it would be for just a brief period of time. As soon as they drove onto the farm, they had a strong peace from God that they had arrived home. They still live on the farm by O’Neill.
The Thieszen’s have raised 4 children: 2 girls and 2 boys. The girls, Jody and Jewel and their husbands live in Washington State. Travis lives in Nebraska and Troy lives in South Carolina.
Debby’s Journey with God
Debby remembers asking her mother one night how to accept Jesus as her Savior. Her mother explained what it meant and Debby knelt by her bed that night.
In Junior High, Debby sat one night on her bed, looking out the window. She could see a fence. It made her think of the saying, “sitting on the fence”. She made a decision that night that she wouldn’t “sit on the fence” when it came to Jesus. Jesus would be her hero. She also decided that night that she would marry a Christian man.
Later, when she was a mother herself, she can remember kneeling on her kitchen floor. She felt as if there was a wall between herself and God and she begged Him to tear it down. She began to learn how God could tear down anything that was still dividing her from Him.
For a while a group of women from O’Neill traveled to Norfolk to be discipled by women from Christ is King church. Debby was one of the women that went each month. She remembers this discipleship being a time of spiritual growth and awakening. Some of the women that were discipled in Norfolk later created a ministry named Heart-to-Heart.
As Debby raised her children, she began to understand God’s love for her more fully. Word pictures would come to her as she would think about how much she loves her children and what she would be willing to do for them. It became clear to her that God loves us that much and more and wants to bless us.
There is a verse that has been very special to Debby. Colossians 3:13 says: ”Bear with one another and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Debby hit a point in her life when she knew she had to forgive God, childhood offenses, and all the past. Forgiveness has freed up more of Debby’s spirit and she continually seeks to live in forgiveness.
For a period of several years, after Troy had gone off to school and she and Elroy had an empty nest, Debby felt driven to sit at the table each morning, weeping, praying and studying the Word in awe before the Father. She wasn’t sure what God was doing in her life. She just felt aimless and without purpose. During that time, Elroy’s niece and her children lived with them for a while. Later, Robbie Kercher came to live with them during his high school years. When Pat Anson approached Debby about FLAME and asked if she would pray about being part of the ministry as a prayer coordinator, the pieces began to fall into place. Debby began to know that her devotional time had been leading her to this time and place. She frankly felt overwhelmed and inadequate, but God continues to assure her that He is enough whether she feels like it or not.
Motorcycles, Swings, Books and Movies….
Debby loves old movies like “The Easter Parade” and “White Christmas”. She has a special love for the Christmas season and starts early listening to Christmas music and watching Christmas movies. “Emmanuel- God With Us” has always been one of her favorite names for Jesus. Christmas makes her think of all the children coming home to a special feast that she’s prepared. She thinks that God waits for us the same way. He can hardly wait till all the children are home with Him at the Wedding Feast!
Debby thought of 3 books that have impacted her life. “Hinds’ Feet in High Places”, “The Way of the Cross”, and “The Purpose Driven Life”. “The Purpose Driven Life” prompted her to write down her purpose for life which has helped to guide her decisions.
Elroy and Debby love the freedom of riding a motorcycle through the mountains and just took a trip again in September. Her favorite food is pizza and her favorite way to escape is to go outside and swing as high as she can! Soaring high in the sky is her favorite “Calgon take me away!” moment!
Debby’s Growing Up Years