Hello. My name is Beth Withrow and I am the Counseling Director for New Hope Ministry Counseling Center in Centerville, Iowa.
I have been a believer in Jesus Christ since childhood. Our family of eight resided on a small dairy farm located between Castalia and Postville, Iowa. My mom was adamant about her children being raised in church, so we started attending a Lutheran church in our home town of Castalia, Iowa, attending Sunday School and church services, along with Bible School in the summers.
Music has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember. I attended Cora B. Darling Elementary school in Postville, Iowa and during the music class, my teacher, Mrs. Drewes, asked if anyone played the guitar. My neighbor, Barb Kleve, knew that I had been learning to play, so she grabbed my arm, raising it high and said, “She does!” I wasn’t quite prepared for that but it made me run upstairs to my room every day after school and practice, practice, practice!
After a while, I became quite good at it and I played for several Christmas programs at school and at church. I also discovered that singing was my forte’ and began writing songs and we (our class at school) even performed some of them at school concerts. At age twelve, a young couple approached me to write a song for them and sing it for their wedding. That was quite an honor.
Little did I know that God was preparing me from the very beginning for something awesome, but I wouldn’t find out just what until much later.
At age fourteen, my parents packed up all six of us kids and we moved to a dairy farm in southeast Iowa. I was halfway through confirmation when we moved, so we found a Lutheran church in Bloomfield, Iowa, but I never got around to finishing. We ended up joining a Methodist church in Pulaski, Iowa and I was involved in the music and Bible school programs.
At age 15, some of my siblings and I started a family band and we played for many dances in the area. After high school, I joined up with an opry show in Osage Beach, MO, singing and playing bass guitar.
In 1980, I became a wife and mom and had joined several other bands and traveled around playing music, but it wasn’t rewarding; I knew there had to be more than this. I had been going to church on a pretty regular basis; I, like my mother, wanted to see my children raised in church, but I felt like I was just “going through the motions”; doing my duties singing in the choir and painting a picture of what a Christian should look like, but there was something missing; I think it was God. But He was always in the background, watching over me and waiting patiently.
In 2011, after a very rocky thirty year marriage, my husband and I divorced and went our separate ways, but God was still working in my life. With many prayers, more ups and downs, and the help of true Christian believers, I finally understood what God wanted me to do with my life. For many years, I had hoped to become famous with my singing and travel around, performing and making lots of money. Instead, God planted me in a local Christian church, singing and playing for Him, and that was very rewarding and filled my spiritual cup to overflowing for almost twenty years. Through Wednesday night prayer meetings, Bible studies, and the Sunday services, I had grown so much as a Christian and follower of Christ.
During my walk at the Lancaster Christian Church in Lancaster, MO, I met up with some women who sang with me in the worship team. These two women and I formed a singing group that eventually would be called “Woven Hearts,” and we traveled around singing for church events, festivals, women’s Christian conferences and even cowboy church! These two women would eventually become my sister-in-laws when I married their brother, Randy, in 2012. I had prayed for a Christian man to come into my life and Randy was definitely an answer to prayer! He is a singer as well and it’s so like God to know just the right time and the right person to come along. Woven Hearts has sung for several events that New Hope Ministry was promoting and I attended a Life Empowered Conference at Honey Creek Resort where the New Hope Ministry’s staff members were the main speakers. I knew what a wonderful ministry they had and heard women talk about the magnificent Bible studies they provided.
From 1996 to 2013, I had a job with an agricultural publication where I did advertising sales and ad production. After close to 20 years, my outside sales position was dissolved, which was disheartening, but I knew God had a plan. He kept telling me to start my own paper, which was frightening for me because I really didn’t know the ‘behind the scenes’ part of the business, but after more encouragement from my Heavenly Father, I made the decision to give it a try. Thus ‘Cattle Auctions Weekly’ was born in the fall of 2014. I traveled to many livestock auctions, signing cattlemen up to receive the paper and business was good. I had recruited advertising livestock markets to email their customers lists to add to my circulation and one of these customers was Bob and Janiece Self. Janiece was to play a significant role in my future involvement with New Hope.
I attended a mother/daughter banquet at the Moravia Nazarene Church where a young lady I knew quite well was the speaker. After the event, a woman walked up to me and asked if I was the woman who put together the cattle paper they had been receiving. After telling her that it was me, she was so excited, that she introduced me to her pastor’s wife who she had been talking to about my paper. The excited woman was Janiece. And if memory serves me correctly, I believe it was Janiece who got me started taking the New Hope Discipleship Series with a group of ladies from Centerville. A friend from my church attended with me but after going through a ‘rough patch’ with this friend, I stopped attending the study.
Friend Janiece came to the rescue and wouldn’t give up on me. She believed that I needed to finish this study and took it upon herself to hold a one-on-one time with me each week to get it done. That was the year 2015 and it is now 2018, and we still haven’t finished. With family obligations, sickness and just life in general, we were not able to meet every week. But God found a way and has laid this study on our hearts to finish it, and it has been an inspirational journey of spiritual scales removed from my eyes and heart, forgiveness of offenses, strongholds broken, and true love revealed through Christ, my Savior.
Towards the end of 2017, Cattle Auctions Weekly was in financial crisis and by February of 2018, Randy and I decided to shut it down. I was heartbroken and I kept saying to God, “What happened, Lord? You told me to start this paper and now it’s done…why?” Cattle Auctions Weekly had evolved into a Christian cattle paper shortly after it started so this was even harder to understand since I was sharing the gospel every week with lots of people. But God was silent and I had no answer to my heart’s cry.
So, I made the decision to take a CNA course at Indian Hills in Ottumwa. I needed to find a job quickly because there were still bills to pay and I had heard that CNAs were always in short supply. Upon finishing the course and receiving my certification, I began my job search. A week or so later while attending the New Hope Discipleship study with Janiece at her home, she informed me that Cindy Farrington with New Hope had contacted her. She mentioned to Janiece in a text message that she had heard I was taking nursing classes and was heartbroken to hear this because God kept bringing me to her mind for the Counseling Director position that was going to be coming open soon. Janiece informed Cindy that I wasn’t taking nursing classes but had just finished a certified nurses’ aid class. Cindy was thrilled! As I sat at the table in Janiece’s kitchen, with a shocked look on my face, all I could say was, “Is this a job offer?!” Janiece said, “YES!” She was also crying with joy and said, “I love it when things like this happen!”
Since then, I have looked back on the past few years and I have realized that God wanted me to start publishing Cattle Auctions Weekly so I would meet Janiece Self and through her love and commitment to Christ, lead me to New Hope!
This is the awesomeness of God to plant me where I will surely bloom to become everything He wants me to be for Him and His ministry. I have been in training with Cindy Johnston, who has held the Director of Counseling for the past four years and she is simply amazing! She and her husband, Lloyd, are moving back to her home state of Kansas this fall after Lloyd’s retirement from the pastoral position at the First Baptist Church in Centerville. They will be greatly missed!
It has been an enlightening journey to get to this point – God has humbled me and continues to work on me every day, and through His Grace and Mercy, He will never stop working on me until I meet Him face to face.
He has even included music for me in this ministry, singing prophetically at the New Hope Prayer Center in Mystic, IA every week! I am so thankful and I’m praising Him for the many, many blessings He has provided, and I pray that I will be a blessing to Him and many others who walk through the doors of New Hope Counseling Center!