Degree Education Opportunity
Hello, Christian Leaders! I am thrilled to have the degree education opportunity to study at Christian Leaders Institute! My name is Dain Deutschman and I married my beautiful wife Monica in 1998. We have five beautiful daughters and live in Shakopee, Minnesota. I am an IT professional with over 25 years of experience. Currently, I work for a Silicon Valley-based software company as a pre-sales engineer.
I have been a born-again Christian for over 20 years, although I always believed in the Triune God and prayed even as a child. I did not, however, fully understand my condition as a sinner and what Christ did for me until our marriage counselor/pastor explained it to me in pre-marital counseling. Since then, life has had its ups and downs, but the hope and joy within me have always been present!
My Early Story
I grew up on an acreage by a small town in Minnesota, several hours from Minneapolis and St. Paul. We lived by a lake where we canoed in the summer and snowmobiled on it in the winter. We had horses and chickens, a pig, a goat, farm cats, and other creatures. I helped around the farm in the garden and at the shop where my Dad repaired and painted automobiles. In the fall, we went deer hunting. It was a pretty great way to grow up.
My father’s side of the family has a history of alcoholism that went back generations, and my own father struggled with alcoholism as well. My father’s addictions and behavior coupled with other negative family dynamics contributed to a dark side to my upbringing that ended up spiraling out of control. Growing up in that environment led me to develop psychological protection mechanisms in order to survive. Dad was pretty mild, but things could get crazy at times and I was emotionally neglected and experienced some unhealthy things.
The attitudes and behaviors that I learned and developed became part of my personality in ways that, as an adult, do not serve me well. I identify with the idea of “Adult Children of Alcoholics- ACoA”, “Personality Disorders” or “Dry-Drunk Personalities.” Consequently, I made some bad choices throughout my teens and even adult years.
The first of a series of bad choices resulted in a marriage and child at 16 years of age followed by a divorce two years later. The terrible stress of this predicament completely humbled me, and I felt hopeless. I lived alone as a caretaker at my sister’s farm with a part-time job and accumulated college debt for my degree education. A custody battle was happening where I could potentially lose access to my daughter.
How would I afford lawyers? How would I defend myself and my daughter? I was lonely and rejected. Who would want a poor, depressed man with the baggage of a divorce and child? I prayed for God to help me out of this mess and stand me back on my feet. Even though I didn’t fully understand God or live a godly life, I prayed for a future wife that was a strong, beautiful, loving woman who cared about me and loved God. In my mind’s eye there was a beautiful woman with long blonde hair, but no face.
A few months later, God answered my prayer! My family helped me get started in defending myself in the custody battle. I was able to start working a regular job, and I met my wife Monica at this job. Guess what? She is a beautiful blonde with long hair who loves God. She truly is a blessing as a wife and mother. Now, I know what her face looks like. It’s a lovely face!
A New Life
Monica and I became very good friends, even before having romantic feelings. She dove right in as a positive adult influence on my daughter. She also brought me to her church. It was amazing. I had never heard the Bible preached as they did! The truth I was learning was a cold drink of water for a man who had been lost in the desert. The biblical teaching was filled with ideas and truths I had never heard before. I left church every Sunday morning crying. I was a mess in a good way. My heart was changing, and God was preparing me for a new life.
Over time, we knew that we wanted to marry, so we set a date and started to attend marriage counseling with our pastor. One of the first things he addressed was the question of our salvation. Monica knew Jesus, but I was less sure. I was still confused about what it all meant. Pastor Byron asked me, “If you died tonight and were standing in front of Jesus, why should He let you into Heaven and not cast you into Hell? What would you say?” I didn’t know.
My Aha! Moment
Pastor Byron explained that salvation is a gift that can only be received by faith. I already believed that Jesus is real, that He lived a sinless life and died on a cross, and that He rose on the third day and ascended into Heaven. Through our discussions, I learned that His death meant that He took the punishment that I deserved, for my sins. I knew all of these things in my head, as knowledge, but not, in my heart as truth.
Then, in a moment, I understood! I was completely amazed at how simple and beautiful it all was! Salvation, eternal life, forever in Heaven with God, was all a simple gift! It was so simple! So amazing! So beautiful! I believed it was true in my heart and walked out of that counseling appointment skipping, jumping like I was walking on air. I felt so light, so happy, so amazed!!
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30
Our life has been beautiful and also challenging since then. We started off in a traumatic, stressful situation right away. I had baggage. We had to fight for shared custody of my daughter. It was hard to watch my oldest daughter deal with the strife of the situation she was born into, and it affects her to this day. Although the custody was decided rather early on, the process of sharing my daughter and dealing with a difficult co-parent lasted for years. It was draining.
Being conformed to the image of Christ is not as easy as it sounds. Life is full of stress, pressure, and temptation. Bad things happen along with the good. Being a good husband and father is not easy. These “fiery trials” are where my upbringing-acquired personality traits really got in the way, making it hard for me to maintain self-control. Although a Christian, I was not following “The Way” very closely and was becoming more and more worldly.
God Makes New
Finally, the way I was behaving caused our marriage to hit a breaking point. Being humbled by my failure as a husband and father, I repented and turned back to my Savior. I have been growing deeper in Him since then, seeking more purpose and a way to serve Him, using my God-given gifts and experience to build His Kingdom. I went back to the Word, prayed regularly, studied theology and apologetics, participated in men’s groups and other fellowships. Aso, I served in the church and other ministries to get back into a solid life as a follower of Jesus.
Most importantly, I keep my focus on my relationship with Him and enjoying God for who He is. Learning from Him, I am so thankful that God loves and forgives His children. He is able to take the broken pieces of our lives and make things new!
My Degree Education and Future Direction
I have taught in the business world for many years and have a passion for teaching, speaking, creating a curriculum, and communicating with my students. When it comes to spiritual doctrine and situations in life, God gives me discernment. I also enjoy listening to others and relating the knowledge I have learned in scripture to the situation they may be going through. I believe that God will allow me to advance His kingdom through teaching and using my gifts.
However, I need some formal training to really do that in the best way possible. Since I have a demanding career and important family responsibilities, attending a more formal, expensive institution isn’t an option for me. The flexibility in education, as well as the ability to be tested on my knowledge and earn credits toward a degree at the Christian Leaders Institute and the Christian Leaders College, is the right fit.
I’m not sure exactly where or how God will lead me in this degree education journey at CLI and CLC. But, I do know that He is a light to my path, and I’m going to take steps in that light as I walk with Him. Thank you, Christian Leaders Institute and Christian Leaders College for this degree education opportunity!