Meet Athena

Who am I?

I’m a speaker, author, blogger, radio personality, publisher and pastor’s wife and I help women who’ve been wounded by the church or other traumatic life experiences, so they can learn to trust God again.

While I didn’t hear the gospel until I was 33 years old, God was calling me from an early age. I tried lots of avenues looking for Him, even though I had no idea what I was searching for. I’d never been to Vacation Bible School or heard Bible stories growing up. I was just trying to fill that empty hole inside my heart that was desperately longing for the love of Jesus. What I did, however, was accept every counterfeit that came along. Boys, drugs, alcohol, success, even the New Age and the cult of Scientology.

Childhood sexual abuse, abortion, domestic violence, workaholism, divorce.

Before Jesus, my life was a train wreck of relationships that were used to my best advantage, to get what I needed and wanted. The wounding in my life propelled me into an existence of being success-driven at all costs, numbing the pain by working hard, making lots of money, and receiving accolades from my peers.

All the trauma in my life affected me, but I was way too proud to admit it. 13 years after becoming a Christian I took a detour into deception that would cost me everything but my faith, and humble me in a powerful way.

After becoming the pioneer of the independent publishing movement in the Christian market, and building a wildly successful publishing company, I ended up publishing a book for, as I found out many years later, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. This “pastor” and his wife spent the next 12 years capturing me in their insidious web of deceit. This so-called church, really a cult, named “Sound Doctrine” where he ruled as the power broker, using scriptures out of context to manipulate, control, shame and shun me into submission, into silence, and into despair. He and his wife convinced me that the life changing Christianity I’d experienced in my first 13 years of being a follower of Jesus was all a fraud and I needed to start all over again, and fear for my salvation unless I took the words of the leader as gospel.

It took 12 years for me to muster up the courage to see the truth and walk away. But by then, I’d lost my marriage, my adult children, my house, my car, my company and my credit. The only thing left was a smoldering wick, and, praise God, He was faithful to fan into flame the faith I once knew and had allowed the enemy to rob from me.

Since that day, November 10, 2011, God has been restoring me, teaching me, admonishing me, and comforting me as I heal, and grow, and overcome the utter devastation in my life. He’s shown me the areas of my life that made me vulnerable to deception, and given me insight into the ways the enemy can make a lie look like the truth.

Ross and Athena BEST3

And through it all, He has always been faithful.

Even when I wasn’t. He was.

He began to teach me that He’s faithful whether our life is going well and we’re on the mountaintop or if we’re defeated in the valley of death and ready to give up. He is walking right beside us, longing to teach us from those dark and painful places, so that down the road we’ll be able to comfort someone else with that same comfort He gave us.

When I think of all He’s brought me through, and how faithful He has been — how He taught me to wait on Him, be still, and trust Him … all of that to end up experiencing His gracious and loving redemption and restoration brings me to tears.

I’ve been through some crazy hard times, but God has, through it all, proven Himself faithful and worthy of my trust. I love to look for Him in the mundane and the marvelous, and am always asking Him what lesson He has for me in everything I experience.

Trivia

My Uncle Skeeter is a famous actor, James B. Sikking. Known for his part as Howard Hunter on Hill Street Blues and Doogie Howser’s Dad.

When I was 14 years old I owned 7 horses and showed most of them in horse shows across the country.

I absolutely LOVE Vizslas…also known as Hungarian Pointers…I’ve had 2 of them over the last 14 years and am addicted. They are THE COOLEST dogs!

I used to work for Helen Reddy, as an administrative assistant to her manager/husband.

My Grandma’s house overlooked the Santa Monica beach and originally belonged to the silent movie star, Mary Pickford.


3 thoughts on “Meet Athena

  1. Dick "Lefty" O'Neal

    Athena
    God has brought me a miracle. I’m an author under the cloud of Winepress and I live in Universal City ,Texas a suburb of San Antonio. My book was published in Jan of 09 and the book was put in the baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, in April of 09. My world changed wonderfully after that honor. I have been on 4 interviews on KSLR telling my story. Robert Emmitt has my book and probably has not read it or knows the connection. I never received a thank you and that was 4 years ago. You can google Dick “Lefty” O’Neal and see what that book has done for me through Him. The Nations motion Picture group is in the process of funding a movie based on that book which is my life’s story. I would love to meet you personally since we live in the same town so I can get your take on what I should do with my book since Winepress is gone. I had no idea you were the CEO in 98-99 of Winepress. The project leaders I had working with me were wonderful, but since I have read everything about them and you I was shocked. It just proves that we are all human and sinners! I will be at the San Antonio Rodeo next Sunday, 9 February from 9-10 am speaking at the Cowboy Church on the grounds.
    God Speed
    Lefty O’Neal
    (210)241-4349

  2. Elena Nash

    Good morning Athena,
    I was thinking about a verse in 2Timothy 2:15,
    “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
    Is this verse more applicable when you delve into other sources to illuminate the rest of the word?
    Do you work with any teachers/authors who you help you to “rightly
    divide Gods word?”
    Also, I’d be very interested in your take on the book of James.
    Sincerely yours,
    In Christ Eternally,
    Elena

    1. Hello Elena

      Hmmmmm.

      Is 2 Tim. 2:15 more applicable if you use other sources to illuminate the rest of the word?

      No, I don’t think so. 2 Tim 2:15 says what it says, means what it means, and is applicable whether we read another author and see another perspective or expansion of the verse through another believer’s eyes or not.

      I believe God is still speaking today, and He uses vessels who write and speak and minister one on one to amplify His Word. As long as what is being spoken lines up with scripture and does not contradict it, God can use it to help His children to better understand His heart.

      When I was on the air with my Always Faithful radio show, I had a team of believers I was accountable to and their wisdom and insight and spiritual covering was vital. On one occasion one of them questioned the wisdom of a certain guest I had on the show and I was convicted anew of the responsibility I had to vet the guests I interviewed to insure that nothing was getting onto the airwaves on my watch that wasn’t biblically based.

      Now as a full time Christian publisher, helping authors get their message into print through Redemption Press, I have a new level of responsibility to make sure the books I put into print line up with the Word. Being married to a long-time pastor (40 years in ministry) whose studies include a Master’s in Religious Science and very close to finishing his DMin, I find it comforting to have him review from a theological perspective not only the blog posts I write on my personal site (www.athenadeanholtz.com/blog) but manuscripts we publish as well.

      And for your final question on the book of James, I’ve experienced the spiritual abuse of a toxic church where a wolf in sheep’s clothing used scripture out of context to manipulate, shame and shun the congregation into performing works to ensure the security of their salvation. So, my perspective is, perhaps, a bit jaded. I do believe we will prove our faith by our actions but do not believe they are required for our salvation… we don’t lay down our lives and reach out to the hurting and broken in order to be saved, but because we are saved. Being Jesus with skin on is how we live. We are, after all, the body of Christ, and by the grace of God have been drawn by His spirit into a relationship with Him that allows us to spend eternity with Him. In the meantime, if we are to love Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and our neighbor as ourselves, we will DO what James declares.

      Hope this explanation helps you better understand my heart.

      In Him,
      Athena

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