A Farmington pastor has published a book about her life and experiences she hopes will encourage readers to look beyond the meager pieces of themselves and look to God who she has personally discovered can transform and magnify even the smallest offering our lives can provide.
“The Miracle of the Breaking” by Solid Rock Family Church co-pastor and international speaker Darlene Rhodes shares her intimate story of rising from what she describes as “an ocean of fear steeped with abuse and disappointment” and “taking hold of a new hope and future with God."
“The Lord has really helped me to understand that I’m not writing this story for me — He told me I’m writing it for those silent voices who never get to tell their story, because God gave me a platform,” Rhodes said. “It’s quite a story how I was given this platform.”
Proceeds from the book go to Women Around the World Ministries.
Darlene and her husband, Pastor Darrell Rhodes, began doing overseas missionary work in 1989. They started in Kenya before moving into Uganda and South Africa.
“We took several people and did that for several years,” she said. “In recent years, we’ve been going to Tanzania — and we will be going to Tanzania next year — but we got involved in Eastern Europe, in the former Soviet Union. In 2000 my husband started going over with a group that we traveled with for many years — Global Advance — and we’ve been partners with them. He started going with them in leadership conferences.
"In 2001 he went to Azerbaijan and then he went to the Armenian Republic of Georgia. He was one of the first trips out after the 9/11 attack here. When he went, he knew I would fall in love with them and so, after he returned, Darrell wanted me to go and speak on a leadership team. They OK’d me for the Republic of Georgia to be one of their speakers. I was the first woman speaker to ever get to speak at their leadership conferences.”
After the conference, the bishop asked to meet with her where he requested that she return and start holding women’s conferences in the country.
Asked how it felt to teach in the country, Rhodes said, “The first time I was terrified. Totally terrified because we had a fairly large team and to be the only woman on that team was just really, really scary. I mean, I’m just being honest. My husband wanted me to do well and we had an older gentleman on there that totally disapproved of women ministers. By the time I came home, my jaws were locked down. I could barely get a toothbrush in, I was so nervous.
“But you know, God was so good to me and allowed me to do that. We went several years with this one minister. By the time we’d gone several years — he passed away about three years ago — we talked to him on the phone and he asked, ‘How’s my favorite woman preacher?’ That was an interesting little journey!
“We have women’s conference here every year in March. We actually started that a year or two after I started the one in the Republic of Georgia. We just decided to have one for our ladies and now it’s grown to around 300 (attendees) a year. There’s no fee to come. This year the bishop’s wife from the Republic of Georgia, Ceri, will be here.
“We tried to get her six or seven years ago, but she could not get a visa. We worked really hard. The door was slammed, but now she has a visa, and so she is going to be here and the interpreter that we used a lot over there, Kote, and Bishop Oleg — I call him that because I can’t begin to say his last name — will be coming with her. It shows you how much they approve of women’s conferences because the bishop will be coming at least to the Friday night service and she will be speaking.”
Explaining the meaning of her new book’s title, Rhodes said, “Why I feel it’s relevant to this day and time is that the divorce rate is very high. This tells my story as a child. I was raised in a pastor’s home. My dad was a very strong man and a very Godly man. My mother had some situations that were very hard as a child. When I was a teenager I got into some trouble. Got married very young and went into an abusive situation. I tell about my children in the book — the life that they lived. My son, Joeie, wrote a little bit in here. My younger daughter said a little bit.
“It really tells about our life and we ended up being a singing ministry on the road. It tells about our life on the road — the platform vs. the everyday life. It’s a very raw story. It was very hard for me, but it’s also a story of redemption."
After years of traveling and singing, Darlene's first husband left her and the children.
"I talk about the healing, forgiveness and a lot of forgiveness to do," she explains. "I felt very second-rate. We traveled for seven years and put out seven albums but being off the platform was terrifying for me when I had to get face-to-face with people.
“It’s real interesting how God has taken those inabilities in me — I was one that stuttered and stammered around a lot to get my thoughts out — and so I still sit back and say, ‘Wow, God! You’re really amazing that you have done what you’ve done. What’s in the book is a story of redemption, about what God can do with us and the healing process that He can bring. He healed my heart. I literally had heart problems after Darrell and I were married for about eight years.”
She eventually would marry Darrell Rhodes, and the couple have now been together almost 35 years.
When asked what message she hoped readers would walk away with after reading her book, Rhodes said, “I want them to know that God redeems us no matter where we’ve been and how insignificant we may feel — that our life didn’t matter, and we made all the wrong choices. That God can take the brokenness of our life and use it to bring healing to someone else.”
The book is available for purchase on Amazon.com. Search for “Miracle of the Breaking Darlene Rhodes.” She asks that purchasers write a review to keep the book from “falling in the cracks.” There’s also a link to Amazon.com at the church website, solidrockfamilychurch.org. Books are also available for purchase at the church.