Debbie Alsdorf is an author, international speaker and the founder of Design4Living Ministries. But, it didn't start out that way....
In 1983 a young pastors wife was faced with the challenge of taking over the women's ministry at the church she and her husband pastored. Because she liked to name things, she prayerfully named the women's study, Design for Living. Why? Because she dared to hope that God himself had a design for her life and for all the women that would be coming to the bible studies. Design4Living bible study took off and grew offering both morning and evening studies. It was an exciting time watching God work. But it was short lived. Five years into this new women's ministry Debbie went through an unwanted and unexpected divorce and stepped down from ministry.
Upon leaving the community in which Design4Living began, the leadership gave her a manilla envelope containing everything she ever created for the ministry. Though she encouraged them to keep it going, insisting“ It is God's not mine.” Her friends were sure God would redeem what she was going through and use Design for Living again someday.
Discouraged and feeling like a failure, Debbie went home and tossed the manilla envelope in the trash and began trying to pick up the pieces of her life.
The pain of real life and rejection turned Debbie to Jesus and his love. Not just the “Jesus loves me this I know...” type of relationship, but a new relationship of love where she began to realize that in her pain was God pursuing her, chasing after her, so he could love her and walk her through this life.
After many years of healing and drawing closer to Jesus than she had ever been, Debbie began to have a passionate desire for women to know the love of God in this new and living way. Through brokenness Debbie learned to rely on God and not on herself. She became someone different and she began to again dare to hope that God intended this close love and fellowship for other women, like her, who had been hurt, broken or disappointed in life. She began to sense God calling her once again to ministry. But this time the call included a personal instruction to live out her life as an open book, real, raw and transparently pointing to Jesus.
Following God into a New Season
For the past 20 years, Debbie has once again been doing what she loves the most: ministering to women. She remains open and real. She is a popular international speaker traveling throughout the year, sharing with women of all ages the reality of God's love for them and the gift of His involvement in their lives. A gifted communicator, Debbie shares with conviction, and passion as she holds out the Word of Truth to women in a way that is practical, relevant, and life changing. She connects through her stories, her humor, and her practical illustrations of Biblical Truth.
Coming from a place of personal brokenness, she is known for exposing the frailty in her own life in a way that helps women look at themselves and the places within themselves that are in need of healing and restoration.
In 2000, Design4Living was taken out of the “trash”. The Bible studies Debbie wrote on God's love were published by a Christian publishing house and she was looking for a name to attach to a business license and ministry website. It was then that she remembered the manilla envelope, once thrown away and with delight she realized that now was the time for Design4Living to begin again. In 2005, while on staff at a church, Design4Living began a women's spiritual growth conference in Northern California, bringing in keynotes and break out session speakers from all over the country. The conference became a source of encouragement for many women.
Debbie has served in women's ministry for over 20 years. For almost fourteen of those years she served on the staff of Cornerstone Fellowship, in Livermore, California, as the Director of Women's Ministries. Loving the women and the church, resigning was not something easy to do. But she felt it was God's time for a new chapter in her life path. She could have never anticipated the pain of the initial path. Diagnosed with breast cancer, going through treatments and the emotional pain that comes with that diagnosis. God had her in a holding pattern.
Debbie has come out changed once again. Her passion is stronger than ever, her resolve to see women freed from the Kingdom of self into walking in the Kingdom of God, is the passion that propels her life today as a one year cancer survivor. Her initial thought in resigning from Cornerstone was to develop Design4Living, but life literally got in the way.
As she prayed, “God show me what Design4Living is meant to be...”
And during that time she clearly heard, “ It's bigger than you and it involves a team.” Prayerfully seeking God with every step she is now excited about leading a team of women, from different churches and different parts of the country, who are just as passionate about seeing other women encouraged and changed by Jesus Christ.
Now is the time!
She is now humbled to be the leader of this new para-church non-profit ministry to strengthen women. She is focusing her energies to develop/disciple and challenge women towards spiritual transformation.
In addition to writing, speaking and ministry with women, she and her husband minister to marriages and blended families. She is also a Biblical lay-counselor and AACC (American Association of Christian Counselors), a member of AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association), CLASS ( Christian Leaders and Speakers Services) and is represented by Speak Up Speakers Services, Fabulous Speakers, and literary agent Les Stobbe.
Married for 24 years to her husband Ray, together they have raised a blended family of four children, who are now adults and all married. In 2013 they were blessed with their first two grandchildren, a little boy and then months later, a little girl.
They have three other joys that they now come home to... Molly,Lucy and Teddy...their faithful and much loved dogs. They make their home in the San Francisco Bay Area of California.