Hello there

64C8B14B-91C9-479D-A8B1-F5FCA8FBD3EFThis picture is my a thousand-word image of where most of what I write about comes from.

I’m the girl on the left and those men on either side of me are the souls God has entrusted to me to love.  The man on the far right is my husband of 26 years, James. Towering over all of us on the far left is our 17 year old son Connor. And the handsome blonde to my right is our 15 year old son, Ryland.

Why I write

My husband and I married when I was 19 and he was 21.  About three months into our marriage I realized I was in an “even if” marriage.

1 Peter 3 gives specific hope and instructions for a Christian wife, “even if” she’s married to an unbelieving man.  We’ll have been married for 25 years this September and it hasn’t been easy.  Through these hard years God has exposed my heart, torn down my idols, and used this marriage to purify and strengthen my hope in Jesus.  I write here about my hope in Jesus through my hard marriage mostly so that when I forget (I do that almost every day) I can look at these words and remember the hope Christ has stirred up in me and hold fast in faith another day.

Raising two sons in an “even if” marriage is hard.  Being a parent is hard period, but being a mom who wants to raise her sons to hope in Jesus and not themselves, while married to their dad who wants to raise his sons to be successful by the world’s standards is hard plus some.  I’ve dubbed it being a Timothy Mom in years past.

Timothy was Paul’s son in the Lord, but Timothy’s biological dad was an unbeliever, and it was Timothy’s mom and grandma whose genuine faith in Christ drew Timothy to believe also.

I often feel like all the odds are against me as a mom who wants her sons to love and follow Jesus.  But being in this hard set of circumstances has caused me to realize that belief in Christ that saves is a miracle.  It’s not about odds, it’s about faith and that’s a gift that only God can give.

But whether it’s about marriage or motherhood or my work as a nurse, my focus here is the hope I’ve found in Christ. Much meditation on scripture combined with the fiery trials of an “even-if” marriage and motherhood against-the-odds has produced most of my writings.

I’ve dabbled in poetry and short stories too over the years and occasionally I post some of those here.  Recently I’ve begun reaching out to online magazines and ministries to offer essays and poems as a guest contributor. Currently you can find three of my articles at Desiring God, two at Morning by Morning and one at Revive Our Hearts True Woman Blog.

Some about me

I’m an easily distracted woman who often doesn’t finish what she starts, and usually tries to cram too much into a sentence and a day.  I recently discovered the Enneagram and took the Myers-Briggs type evaluation.  I’m a 9w1 and an INJF (and that apparently means my personality type makes up only 1% of the population… which may contribute to my feelings of being a sojourner).  I recently completed the online RN to BSN program at Grand Canyon University with intentions to finish my FNP there when my sons graduate from high school. I feel nursing is a ministry God has given me and I have prayers and plans for how I could use the years after my sons leave this home to minister to others in Jesus’ name as nurse practitioner.

A few years ago I ran a registered dairy goat farm and started a little hobby business making goat milk soap.  Now that I’ve completed my BSN I’ve returned to making soap. Our soaps can be found online at Goats Make Soap Co., and at the Hilton Royal Palms Resort in Phoenix, AZ.

My husband and I find common ground in exercise- recently obstacle racing together. We also both really enjoy history and finding old things.

I serve as the Kids Ministry Director at my church and write discussion questions and curriculum for our kids ministry for our network of churches.  I love my local church, Valley Life Surprise, and usually sob every Sunday mostly because I feel the weight of my circumstances, have tasted the goodness of God, love a Savior I have never seen, remember the hard things, fight depression and desperately want my husband and sons to worship this Jesus with me.

Thanks for visiting my site. I hope you’re encouraged by what you read here.


  1. Bonnie says:

    Oh sweet sister- your words bring tears to my eyes… I am still on the sojourn of being a Timothy mom to an adult son and a I Peter wife to my husband of 38 years… but my heart still sings praises and my prayers still utter to Our Lord in belief thst hearts will one day open and embrace Divine Love…
    thank you for sharing your journey Sheila
    Love you and believing with you our God is reckless and amazing and goes after the one …

  2. Bonnie says:

    P.S. Love your poetry 🧡

  3. Rute Barros says:

    Hi Sheila, going through the articles of Desiring God, I found your blog and your testimony. I can so relate with your words. I too yoked to unbeliever husband and we are married for 9 years almost 10 in January. We have two kids, 8 year boy and a 3 year girl. It’s hard!
    I was a believer when I got married though I was very angry at God, and I thought that I could actually save my husband. He used to come with me to church and get into church activities, but not anymore.
    Before I got married I was supposed to serve the Lord, went to Bible school, was involve into missions, but when life got hard, and tribulation came I thought that God didn’t want me anymore and that I was put aside. It was a lie, plain lie, but I took it
    Now, as years goes by, I cry my eyes out in repentance before the Lord, how I was blind and rebel. The temptation to ask for divorce is enormous, but I know now that there is Grace beyond my failures, and God is able to redeem but if not I will be faithful until the end, It’s hard, I get tired, it get frustrated but God is there and He meets me in my weakness and in my imperfection.
    Sometimes it’s a challenge to raise my kids with God’s fear, and it’s a constant battle to teach them to walk with the Lord since their daddy doesn’t but I was reminded a few months ago, that It’s my job to teach them but it’s Jesus’s job to save them, not me. I can pray, I can set the example, but it’s all about Jesus and His mercy, and His grace and His lovingkidness so I rest and I wait, not that patiently as I wish 😉 but here I am in this race as you my sister in Christ, when we are weak He is strong

  4. Sheila Dougal says:

    Thank you Bonnie!

  5. Sheila Dougal says:

    “our God goes after the one…” I LOVE that! Thank you for the encouraging words Bonnie!

  6. Kim says:

    thank you sister for your willingness to write and share. I have a very similar story, my two sons are just a bit older, the oldest is married. we have been married for 26 years. Saying a prayer for you and your 3 men now.

  7. Lindsay says:

    I’m 25 years old and just broke up with an unbeileving boyfriend. The pressure I put on myself in trying to “fix him” and not letting the Lord do it has literally made me sick. Physically, emotionally and spiritually .

  8. Sheila Dougal says:

    Hi Lindsay. Trying to “fix” anyone will make you sick for sure. I know. I’ve done it. If your boyfriend doesn’t believe, it’s right for you end the relationship and set your eyes fully on following Jesus. Just like the woman at the well in Luke, Jesus would come to us, expose the sinful appetites at the heart of our relationships, and he would offer us a relationship that will fill us up, give us confidence and hope, and the ability to press on in faith. Father, please bless Lindsay with your presence. Please surround her with your people. Please let her taste and see that the Lord is good and be satisfied. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

  9. babyvanivgmailcom says:

    Love is Above of All
    The gift of oneself .,

  10. ninety94 says:

    Hello, Sheila. I have come across the article you’ve written at Desiring God and it’s been a blessing to me to know I’m not alone in this situation. I am a single Christian woman and the guy I’ve been getting to know more just recently is not. I’ve shared the gospel to him as often as I could and modeled what a Christian is however I know it’s not my power to change his heart.

    Am I disobeying God’s word in 2 Corinthians 6 if I continue to get to know this person/develop a deeper friendship?

    I apologize if I reached out to you in this manner but I was hoping if you could give an advice to a fellow sister in Christ (and a colleague too as I’m an RN☺️) in this situation?

  11. alicia halikas says:

    My name is alicia halikas. i am currently a PA student at des moines university. I have some questions for you regarding my current relationship. i am not surrounded by anyone that is dating an unbeliever and I just wanted to see if you had an hour to just talk about some things and to gain some wisdom.
    thank you

  12. Dear Sister in Christ-and Sister in and “even-if” marriage, how I thank God for bringing me to you through John Piper’s Desiring God this morning.

    The short version—Married almost 22 years, I was saved 8 years ago. I believe and trust God’s Word on all levels for our marriage. Last year I even got to speak at a woman’s conference about trusting God with our holy call to remain in our marriages “even if” as you have stated.

    These past couple days have been brutal, and I started to believe some lies, which surely manifests itself as anything but the face of Christ.

    So this morning, I was looking to John Piper’s website and found your encouraging article from Feb 20, 2018.

    Sadly, to many Christian wives don’t understand the text we speak of, and they have forsaken their holiness for their happiness.

    I needed to be reminded today of God’s holy call over my life—“even if” I never get to see the worldly fruit of it that I so desire.

    Thanks be to God! \•/

    Enjoy this day and find new encouragements.

  13. Sheila Dougal says:

    I’m so glad that article was helpful for you! May God keep you! He is faithful!

  14. Sheila Dougal says:

    Hi Alicia. I am sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you. Feel free to email me at awomanfound@gmail.com. I’d be glad to have an email conversation with you!

  15. Sheila Dougal says:

    Hello! I am sorry it’s taken me this long to get back to you. I believe the Bible is clear that Christian’s should not marry non-Christians. Dating a non-Christian would just set the relationship up for failure. Better to simply be a great friend the unbelievers in your life, including those you might be interested in dating. By being their friend I mean, be willing to listen and serve them. Share the gospel with them. Praying for you!

  16. Anne McDonald says:

    Hi there
    I have just discovered your blog and writings. I’m encouraged to see I’m not the only one who is married to an unbeliever, have been for 40 years. I always feel I’m alone in this so thank you for so much support!


  17. Trudy Logan says:

    Oh — my dear sisters in Christ! Persevere, persevere, persevere. We are approaching 54 years of sharing an unequal yoke. As a spiritual single at church, I know your loneliness. In childrearing, there can be much anguish and heartache, but God loves our children more than we do, and promises to be a husband and father to us and our children. I often wonder if my husband has not come to the Lord yet because there is so much more work that my precious Lord wants to do in me first! God’s most important early lesson to me was to “get in his boat” — listen to his heart, his words, learn to love him as he is, not as you want him to be. We have moved from his hostility to God and much conflict as a result — to his encouragement to me in my Bible study and teaching, and making me feel loved and cherished as never before. He even went to Israel with me. Stay strong in the Word! It is your hope, your foundation, and your strength!

  18. Anne McDonald says:

    So so good to know I am not alone in this situation as it often feels like it, so thank you for the encouragement!!

  19. JEM says:

    Absolutely gorgeous blog, from start to finish. What a voice. You glorified Him with every word.

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