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361. Empowering Lives With Purpose, Interview with Dr. Marina Hoffman

By julie

Dr. Marina Hofman is a professor at Palm Beach Atlantic, author of an award-winning book, Women In the Bible, and she navigates today’s challenging times as a leader with strength, character, and courage.    In today’s podcast, Marina shares her miracle message of survival and overcoming debilitating anxieties into a life of serving God.   *****

Kimberly Hobbs   Welcome to Empowering Lives with [urpose. And I’m your host, Kimberly Hobbs. I’m the founder of Women World Leaders. And today I’m so blessed to have our guest with us Dr. Marina Hoffman. Welcome, Marina. 

Dr. Marina Hoffman   Oh, Kimberly, it’s so great to be with you today and our friends around the world listening and being encouraged in the Lord. 

Kimberly Hobbs   Amen. Amen. We’re in for a wonderful day, a wonderful afternoon and can’t wait to talk to you and let the ladies get to know you further and hear about your story. So ladies, this podcast is for you. And we are here to encourage you and inspire you to walk closer with Jesus. That’s what we’re all about it women world leaders is just a closer walk with our Savior and King. And there are so many ways just to encourage and strengthen the body of Christ together. And one of them is by sharing our stories and our personal accounts of what we’ve been through our walks. And many of us have had tumultuous walks, some of us have had a little bit easier walks, but when we share them and share how God moved in our life, through our walks, and storms and trials, and sometimes blessings and wonderful ways to we just see how God moves. And some of us can relate to each other and therefore be encouraged, inspired, have hope. And that’s our purpose. So that’s what we want to bring to you today. So God is working in you ladies giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. That’s Philippians 213. And we just believe that each of us have a purpose. And God is going to lead you to that purpose because he’s given you gifts and talents and the power to do what he’s equip you to do and his name. So let me tell you a little bit about Dr. Marina Hoffman. She has her PhD and she’s a professor at Palm Beach Atlantic University. She is the author of the award winning book, women in the Bible. And we’ll talk about more about that later in the podcast. But it’s a small group Bible study that she’s put together and in beautiful Marina thank you for doing God’s work in that way. Marina illuminates the leadership, strength and character and courage of women in the Bible to bring an inspirational message of hope and encouragement to all of us who must navigate today’s challenges and uncertain times, right? Because we are all walking through some uncertain times in this world. And today’s message is a story is a powerful story. It’s a god miracle in marinas life. And we titled this today trust because I asked Marina, what is that word that you can equate to your story and she said trust. So it’s trust and from suffering to surrender. So Marina, as we start in to your story, you survived. You are a survivor. So can you tell us and share about what God’s miracle was in your life through what happened? In this story you’re about to share?

Dr. Marina Hoffman   Yes, you know, Kimberly, before it happened, things were going quite well in my life. I had been in school for forever. I finally graduated in September, I got in at Christmas time. I got a job over January. So I was very excited to start work in the fall. And just things were so filled with hope. And I thought, wow, I’ve spent my whole life in school. Finally, I’m getting out. And I can do something to honor God and to serve others. Well, would you believe we’re coming home from a trip up north in the middle of February, and very suddenly, out of nowhere, the car coming toward us? His head drops, and the car plows right toward us. And the setting Kimberley is the word driving about 65 miles an hour. He’s driving 60 miles an hour, and the highway is under construction. So it narrows down to one lane and there was nothing Kimberly but a few inches between us. So there was really no options. Everything happened in a split second. And Kimberly I would love to share that my life paths before me but it didn’t. I simply thought Oh, I’m dead and I thought that was the end of my story. Thankfully, my husband is a much quicker thinker than I am He responded marvelously. He controlled the car as best he could. And Kimberly when he felt that All was about to fail that he would have no chance of survival. He thought at least he can do his best to save my life. So very kindly, very sacrificially. He throws his body across the, the middle of the car and leans over me and protects me from all the airbags with my own body. And you know, Kimberly, that simple act of sacrifice started off an avalanche of miracles in our lives. So in this car crash, our engine ends up getting pushed into the driver’s seat where he should have been, and no one knew how he survived. Three or four days later, the detective comes and says, Sir, I can’t put unexplained miracle in my report. How are you alive? And so Larry begins to unravel the story of throwing his body against me and breaking his own rib doing it because if seatbelt was still on, and how his body really wasn’t fully in his seat, and that saved his life, although he had many injuries, and for me, the seatbelt gave me four lacerations. So I was you know, Bile is pouring out of my system, I’m about to die. If I had had those airbags Kimberli in a heartbeat, I would have gone on to life with Jesus in eternity. But my husband’s body took all the airbags, I also had a very significant brain injury. So it was very close to you know, being a vegetable I couldn’t talk I had no memories, I still suffer a bit with those implications. But my husband put my his hand on my head. And I believe Kimberly, that that really prevented me from getting any worse injury, which also could have led to my death. So here I was alive. Um, God just brought, you know, retired firefighter, empty worker EMT workers running around the car to save me to hold me in my place. So I didn’t move. I get to the hospital I near dead, and the nurses doing their job. They wanted to pull me through all these tests, and that would have taken two or three hours. Again, Kimberly, another miracle through the life of the surgeon that comes to check on me and says, No, this this girl has minutes to live. We’re opening her up right now. And she knew that maybe God spoke to her. She said it was just unexplainable. How she came to check on me out of order, and canceled all the tests opened me up, found all my injuries closed me up. And that was Kimberly, life saving. But I will also share with our friends today that I had a long road ahead of me with severe PTSD, severe anxiety. You know, we’ve shared before how the beautiful verse have no anxiety, right? We have nothing to fear in the Lord. And yet Kimberly, I feared every single thing all the time, I was shaking around the clock with fear and anxiety after all the trauma that this created in me and my brain being a mess. So I had a long road of recovery. But God was with me every step of the way.

Kimberly Hobbs   Amen. He sure was and just seeing that and what gave me goosebumps when we were talking. We had the privilege to have dinner last night together and we’re gonna see each other again tomorrow but I’m just hearing more of this miraculous story and you were sharing how when when you were impacted you were forced to stay in your seat and the paramedic that just happened to be in one car that jumped out and then the firefighter like if you would have gotten out of that car the doctor said you would not be alive if you stood up you would have bled out and that would have been it you would have been done and so these miracles I can just blows my mind how God had everything step by step by step plant and ordained to make sure that you were okay. And I we just thank God for that. But yes, you did. You had suffered day to day about the overcoming anxiety and the the debilitating fear that you are constantly feeling like PTSD. And so the Bible tells us to be anxious for nothing. But in everything with prayer and thanksgiving. let your requests be known to God. That’s Philippians four, six. Ladies, when you’re suffering from fear and anxieties, God wants us to let our prayers and petitions be known to him because he’s there to listen. But he says also with thankfulness. So you had a heart of thankfulness. Can you talk right now about overcoming the anxiety and fear in your day to day?

Dr. Marina Hoffman   You know, there are so many tips that professionals give us Kimberly and I think there’s a place for them all. They were very helpful to me all kinds of techniques that helped me to live to start to live on the path of a normal life and to at least begin to take care of myself again, which itself was a major accomplishment just to get out of bed in the morning seemed impossible with through all that, and alongside all the things that we can do, to help ourselves as human beings, really my anchor was Christ. And I know the only reason I could get up in the morning was because I knew that Jesus Christ had a plan for my life. And I could not see it. And Kimberly, I did not feel it. I did not feel my faith in those weeks. Initially, I didn’t even feel my faith really in the hospital and ICU, I thought I was all by myself, I felt utterly alone. I didn’t know if my husband was alive. And none of that was true. I was surrounded by family. And they told me over and over, my husband was alive. But in my world, Kimberly, I was so utterly alone. And yet, despite the feelings of feeling isolated as a human, I knew God was with me. And Paul talks about, you know, to live as Christ. And that’s my testimony. I remember very little, but I remember hour after hour laying in the bed saying, I know that right now, the power of Jesus Christ is literally pumping through my body in my house. Yes. And it was not the feeling that God had a plan for my life, but the knowledge of it. So I’ve been a Christian forever. I, you know, from the age of three, I was aware of the Lord, and wanted to commit my life to Him. And all those years of drilling those verses in me on some deep level, Kimberly, I really feel God used that to help me to keep going.

Kimberly Hobbs   Yes, yes, God says in His Word, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. And that’s what you had you had that peace of God, even though yes, you’re in the flesh, you experience we all experience these things that we have to go through fears and anxieties and things like that, but but the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, right, it guarded your heart through that time, and it carried you through. So as God led you into, deeper into your life, there was one thing you were told when that surgery was performed, and all of this, and that was that you wouldn’t have children, you know, you’re impacted so severely Can you talk about that? 

Dr. Marina Hoffman   Yeah, the chance of having a child was more or less zero. And of all the things that happened to me, I knew God somehow the way God’s Kingdom works is that suffering is never in vain. And we see that in story after story of Scripture. So I knew somehow God would use all my suffering, for His glory, whatever that meant for me. But one thing I could not accept was that someone falls asleep at the wheel. And suddenly, I can’t have a family and I can’t be a mom. And I just felt that that was so unjust. It was very hard to walk every day I prayed and prayed and prayed in this reality. But there was a point when I was at the doctor, and they showed me this the results of all these tests, and it was way less than, you know, 1%. It was 0.000. And I thought in that moment, you know what, it’s no longer about me trying and what I had for dinner last night. And if I did a whole mile of walking or not, I can be as healthy as I can, Kimberly, but this was so major. This was in God’s territory. And you know, I had prayed so hard, Kimberly. But in that moment, I felt the burden lifted off me, even the burden of prayer. And I remember on the way home, I said, God, I have prayed so much, I’m actually going to stop praying, I’m just going to leave it with you. And I’m going to leave it with a few of my close friends that promise to continue to pray every day for me. But Kimberly, I couldn’t keep living my life, in a sense, obsessing over prayer for this. So I was able to trust God. And you know, there’s a verse in Hannah where this happens. she bakes God for a child. And then it says, she got up she ate and drank. And her face was no longer downcast. And that spoke to me so much. I said, that’s what I need to do. I need to start living life, and not where the burden of this on my face anymore. And of course, you know, in the way God works, sometimes, sure enough, in a couple of months, I did get pregnant.

Kimberly Hobbs   Amen, amen. And I know that Hannah was just a so closely related to your story. And so that became special to you. And even as you wrote about women in the Bible, and you turned it into a Bible study, you know, that was somebody that really stood out to you and wow, God performed miracles in your life miracle upon miracle. So now, let’s talk about the miracle that God performed with Willow.

Dr. Marina Hoffman   You know, there was so much prayer from my own heart and my husband and my Family But dear friends as well. And I think sometimes God does something really special in those circumstances. And she isn’t an ordinary child. And again, um, what an answer to my prayer like Hannah, I believe she’s already becoming a leader among others. And you know, Kimberly, she has been an instrument of joy and healing to so many people. And that’s even when she was a little, she would say the things that would just pierce people’s heart. And I remember one time a dear friend of mine who lost his daughter at 19, he was broken, he couldn’t bear with his family to have Christmas up in Canada and their home. So they came down here just to change things and help them through. I remember he held her for two hours, and she slept. And he near wept. Kimberly, there was something he said about the power of healing that touched us very hard just holding her. And that has marked her whole life as well. So sometimes out of our suffering, are come something more beautiful than we could ever have imagined. And for me, as a mom, it is never a day goes by where I take her for granted. Every night, I tell a little story of how I prayed and prayed and prayed. And one day God answered my prayer, and wow, I was pregnant. And it was a girl and we call her Willow. And I say that every night and I remind my own heart, this thing that I prayed for so much, and I suffered so much with to be attuned to what God has to do in my life as a mother and to make sure that my suffering will always have a purpose. And I think that’s a beautiful reminder in our lives, Kimberly, the things that we suffered with and through the trials we had, God wants to use for His glory. But I think we also have a role in continuing to be humble, and allow God to use that even if it means opening up and sharing our stories of hurt and suffering with others to bring them healing, as we testify of God’s faithfulness.

Kimberly Hobbs   Amen. Amen. And there, there are so many stories of pain in purpose, and that God teaches us through those times he he starts to equip us to go forward into the future with these amazing testimonies. And how would we do that? How would we be able to testify to others unless we walked in those steps, you know, and we suffered through it. And now we have these tremendous stories of faith and perseverance, strength, you know, honoring God, no matter what. And I praise God for your story. I praise him that you are testifying and sharing that. And Revelation 1211 says, they overcame him the enemy, he wants to take us all out, he wants to destroy our life. He he wants nothing more than to conquer somebody that is destined for a life of following Jesus. But revelation 1211 says they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, and the word of their testimony. So Marina, as you go out into the world, and you continue to share these miracles upon miracles, and the tragedy you went through is horrible, and the suffering you and your husband endured. But the faith that you had the mustard seed faith, brought you to have this precious little girl, and I met Willow and she is beautiful. And she does melt your heart, and says the most amazing things. And I know that she is going to be part of your serving as she grows in your family. And can you tell us about women in the Bible? Because you were talking about the there were certain women in the Bible that stood out to you? And I know Hannah was one of them. But how are you inspired to write this book and turn it into a Bible study?

Dr. Marina Hoffman   Yes, so until this acts, and I had been studying women of the Bible academically as a scholar, and publishing articles, and it was lovely. But you know, these stories, took on a whole new meaning after my brain injury. And all this trauma I went through when I read them again, simply for personal encouragement, I felt so lonely, Kimberly, I needed someone to walk alongside me. And I didn’t know where to turn. So I opened up my Bible to some of the stories that I had studied academically. And of course, as your listeners will know, I mean, the story of Hannah, she became my friend. She understood my sorrow because she had walked through, and she exemplified what it means to be faithful in the various situations I faced. And I found many women like this had gone through things just like we’re going through today. It’s incredible, isn’t it 1000s of years ago, but we say we face the same challenges, and especially in the last few years, with the change we’ve undergone and culture and society. These are hard times, and what beautiful friendship and encouragement I found in women of the Bible. And as I spoke to women about it All of them kept asking me to write it down. And so that ended up in the devotional, the small group study women in the Bible. And on my website, there’s a free video series where I share really how these women impacted me personally. And that video series is free women in the Bible dot info. And if the for the women who want to dive into these stories and say, what are they really about? What did these woman’s struggle for? What Can God speak to me through their lives and their examples? This is a wonderful little book, you can go through it alone, eight studies, or I always say Kimberly, with a friend, because we all need friends,

Kimberly Hobbs   That’s for sure. Oh, my goodness, I that just like brings joy to my heart, women in the Bible. Because, you know, we all hear about, you know, the top two or three, you know, but there are so many significant women in the Bible that had amazing purpose in their life, and God chose to put them in his word for a purpose. So what you’ve done Marina by drawing, you know those stories out and unpacking them in a Bible study form is just so special. And I just thank you, I thank you for not balling up in a in, balling up in a ball, curling up in a ball. And just wallowing in your fear and your anxiety. No, you, you walked forward by faith and what you knew and God led you, and then you fulfill this amazing purpose and started writing for him. And I know you you teach at a Christian college at Palm Beach Atlantic, I know you are raising a daughter with such just beauty in the Lord Jesus Christ and how you pour into her. Can you just look at the women that are here on this podcast and speak directly to their heart. And give them something from your heart today that can inspire them to walk in their beautiful purpose, to run after God with all their heart, despite those moments that they’re curled up in a ball in their bed, just crying out to God, you know, like, how do they get out of that ball and just go running after God like you did?

Dr. Marina Hoffman   You know, there’s a time for us to be quiet before the Lord and to just heal and to be one with God and to shut out the world to the point where sometimes we need to silence everything around us to hear from the Lord. But then I think Kimberly, and friends who are listening today as God begins to work in your life, and as Kimberly shared today, there is power when we share our testimony. And to begin with that might be just a few words. But as we begin to share our testimony more and more, and to share the faithfulness God has shown us as we walked through the valley of the shadow of death, and as we struggled, something incredible is released within us. I will say one practical example. You know, I was lonely for two years, you can imagine what two years right, we’re all cut off from each other. I was so lonely that it hurt me, not just my heart, but my body was hurting with loneliness. And finally, Kimberly, I was so desperate, I began just to tell people that I’m so lonely. And you know what happened? Friends, I found community because there was all kinds of wonderful women around me who were lonely too. And I boldly invited them to come to my house, which was not the thing to do during those days, you know what they showed up. So even showing the little bit of way that I was suffering, and showing God’s faithfulness to me opened up my heart for more healing from God, because I was able to expose my heart and say, Lord, heal me. And the Lord spoke such words of life to me, even from the women I will share with, but I also gained friendships. And you know, I think that happens when we open up our heart to others, to share our sorrows, and to share God’s faithfulness, what happens, they open up their hearts back to us, and of course, being wise about who we share with but there are wonderful women of God all around us. And I think it’s a worthy prayer to say, Lord, show me who they are. build me up that we can bless each other and grow in you together.

Kimberly Hobbs   So beautifully said so beautifully said. Community is so important. Friendships are so important and the correct ones those that love the Lord, surround yourself with those people that are going to lift you up before God that are going to pray over you that are going to speak life into you and not death and that woe is me talk but they are going to lift you up in Jesus and those are the friends that you want. And I’m so thankful that God brought community at a time where you were so just desperate for love and connection and you were just like suffocating because you didn’t have it, and God provided those that he knew or not afraid and still reached out to you during that time. So I just thank him for that. I’m thankful that you and I got to meet Marina and that we were able to become friends and this just short amount of time. But when you have abandoned Christ, so deep and you’re, you’re just connected because of him. Things like this just happened so quickly. And ladies, that’s for you to go out, go outside of your doors and reach out there are so many people out there that just want to connect with you that God is going to allow into your paths for his greater purpose, trust Him for it, and ask him for it. So I just want to thank you, Marina for sharing with us today. And how can women reach you if they want to reach out to you if they want to get your book? How can they reach you?

Dr. Marina Hoffman   Yes, please visit womenintheBible.info and you’ll see my free video series, my email address, if you want to connect my testimony, if you want to share with others, and lots of resources to encourage you, I would love to hear from you. And you can get the first chapter for free as well. Or you could buy the book. It’s like I think $13 on Amazon here in the US, but it’s distributed internationally. So that’s womenintheBible.info.

Kimberly Hobbs   That’s wonderful. That’s wonderful. So thank you for sharing that. Thank you for being a guest today on empowering lives with purpose and also look for Marina more because we are connected here at women, we’re leaders and we’re just excited to see what God has in these future friendships that are made through this amazing ministry. So ladies, I just want to leave you with the scripture that God tells us to call on me when you’re in trouble, and I will receive you and you will give me glory. Oh my goodness, when we call on him, he he just encompasses us with His love, right? And he turns us around and we’re going to glorify Him by trusting Him. He is amazing that Psalm 50 Verse five. So ladies, as we close out today, just know that God loves you so much. He has a purpose for your life, a plan for your life, even when things may look dark and dreary. Please don’t let the enemy lie to you. God has a plan for you. From his heart to yours. We are women, world leaders all content is copyrighted and cannot be used without expressed written consent. Thou bless you Marina thank you again for sharing today.

Dr. Marina Hoffman   Thank you so much. And ladies, just embrace the love of God today. And whatever you’re suffering you know, surrender to the Lord and I’m praying that you find community as well as you’re willing to share God’s faithfulness with others.

Kimberly Hobbs   Amen. Amen. We prayed over you today ladies before we even started this podcast. Marina and I and my husband we pray before every podcast and and also you were prayed for today and we will close praying for you too. So God bless you all have a beautiful day.