Let’s see, I’m not sure if this “eggshell” will be the size of a robin’s egg – or an ostrich’s! I’ll try not to ramble too much…and we’ll see how it goes.
March 1966 – I was born, Robyn Start, to John and Shirlie Start in Detroit, Michigan. We moved when I was about two, and I grew up in Wyoming, MI – a suburb of Grand Rapids. I have two younger sisters, Jill and Johnna.
1971 – 1978 – I attended East Elementary School in Wyoming, Michigan.
1978 – 1980 – I attended Jackson Park Junior High School.
1980 – 1984 – I attended Rogers High School. I loved studying Spanish.
1984 – 1988 – I attended Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa and majored in Spanish. One of the highlights of my college education was studying in Madrid, Spain during my Junior year – I love Spain! When I started at Northwestern, I had planned to become a missionary, but God had other plans for me. Before my Senior year, I decided that I should get a degree in Secondary Education so I could work for a while and pay back my school loans before going into mission work.
November 1987 – I met Gary Mulder at a friend’s thanksgiving card party and we started dating right before Christmas.
May 1988 – I graduated from Northwestern College.
September 1988 – I began teaching Spanish at Unity Christian High School (I taught there for two years).
December 1987 – June 1989 – Gary and I dated off and on (mostly on, except for a few times where I doubted God’s will for my life and wondered if I was supposed to go into missions instead). Finally, I felt peace about our relationship and we got engaged.
February 10, 1990 – Gary and I got married in Rock Rapids, Iowa.
1990 – 1999 – We lived on a farm northwest of Rock Rapids, Iowa. Gary raised hogs and grew corn and soybeans. I helped outside when needed, even though I am more of an “indoor person”.
October 1992 – Our daughter Erin was born.
June 1994 – Our daughter Allison was born.
August 1994 – I found myself going into an extended period of anger. It surprised me, and I felt terribly guilty and worried about the intense feelings of anger which surfaced often. I struggled with those feelings for over a year, until finally, the joy in parenting came back. I share more of that part of my story in the articles section of this website – I want to help other moms by sharing some of the things God taught me as I went through that difficult time.
May 1997 – Our son Blake was born.
December 1998 – Gary told me he felt called to go to college and seminary to become a minister.
June 1999 – We moved to Orange City, Iowa and rented a house close to Northwestern College and Gary began classes in the fall.
March 2000 – Our son Dylan was born.
August 2001 – Gary was accepted to Western Seminary after only two years at Northwestern and we moved into our house in Holland, Michigan on the hottest day of the summer.
August 2001 to May 2004 – Gary attended Western Seminary. We were blessed with many new friends, Gary learned so much in his classes, and we learned so much about ministry through the wonderful people at Gary’s teaching church – Bentheim Reformed.
May 27, 2004 – We moved into the parsonage of Chandler Reformed Church in Chandler, Minnesota.
July 1, 2004 – Gary officially began his ministry at Chandler Reformed Church. God blessed us with a loving congregation and we enjoyed our time there serving that rural community. Nestled in a pretty little valley along the Buffalo Ridge, I always enjoyed coming over the hill and seeing our town, surrounded by modern windmills. I can’t imagine our lives without knowing the wonderful people we got to know there (and in every city we lived in before that).
September 2009 – We loved our church in Chandler, but after discerning our next call, we moved into the parsonage of Trinity Reformed Church in Allison, Iowa on Labor Day. We are enjoying serving this wonderful group of people and we have also gotten to know many other people in this community of about 1,000. We’re glad God has called us here at this time in our ministry and we look forward to what He will do in the future!
Before I finish my ”life story” on these pages, I want to ask you an important question: If you were to die tonight, do you know where you would go? To heaven, you hope? Good! But, are you sure? What if God asked you, “Why should I let you into heaven?” Would you know what to say? Would you say, “Well, God, I’m a good person…I’ve tried to do good most of the time…I’ve gone to church since I was a kid…I haven’t ever really hurt anybody…” Can you picture God’s sad smile as he replies, “I’m sorry, but that’s not good enough – you can’t come in.”? I can imagine someone reading this and getting very angry with that thought. “God is supposed to love everyone! He can’t let me go to hell, can He?!” Yes, He can. God is perfectly loving, but He is also perfectly holy and just. There is only one way He can allow anyone to be saved and go to heaven.
First, admit that you are a sinner. We all are – and sin separates us from God. Romans 3:10 says, “There is no one righteous, not even one;” There is a big “gap” between God and man, and nothing we can do will bridge that gap. Romans 3:23: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. Good works, religion, morality…nothing can help us get to God – we fall short every time. Sounds pretty hopeless, doesn’t it? But there is hope! John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” God sent Jesus to die on the cross for each and every one of us, and if we believe that and accept Him into our hearts, we can be saved. John 1:12: “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” Confess this as you receive Jesus into your heart. Romans 10:9-10: “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”
Admit, Believe, Confess, Receive – it’s that easy! I’ve been procrastinating about putting this amazing process on the web site…afraid that I would offend someone or not say it as “perfectly” as I would like. There is so much hatred toward Christians in our society today – you can see it in subtle and blatant ways in the media and all around us. Christianity is a “crutch”, some say. I’d have to say that I agree somewhat with that idea, except I’d take it a step further and say that I could do nothing if I didn’t have faith in God. When I try to do things on my own, I fall flat on my face; but when I draw on God’s power and wisdom, the results are wonderful – and He gets all the glory! Maybe you don’t like the hypocrites you see who claim to be Christians. I don’t like to see that either! God wants us to be totally devoted to Him, and if someone says one thing and does another – they are clearly off track. That is between that person and God. Don’t let their hypocrisy stop you from having a relationship with God. I’ve been a Christian since I was a child…but just in the last few years God has been teaching me what it really means to follow Him. I used to be very legalistic in my thinking and felt bad if I didn’t think I was measuring up to what God expected of me. I loved God with all of my heart, but I was wearing myself out trying to do everything I thought I had to be doing for God. Although I still go through seasons of struggle and growth at times, I also know that God wants us to enjoy life with Him completely. “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me. Watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30, The Message Bible
I do not have a perfect life because I am a Christian. I still struggle with doubt at times, I make wrong choices and suffer the consequences for them, some days I feel lazy and don’t want to do anything productive. In spite of these difficulties (maybe even because of them?) I would not give up my relationship with God for anything. As I learn to trust and obey Him in every area of my life, He brings peace, hope, and joy into our family. That’s my life story so far, and I can’t wait to see where the rest of the journey takes me!