About Cyndy Gusler - Founder and Executive Director
Proverbs 16:9 says “In their hearts, human beings plan their course – but the Lord establishes their steps.”
God hard-wires each of us differently. He fills each of us with a passion, a longing, and/or a talent that gives us joy. Since I was a little girl, I have had this overwhelming desire to stand up and speak…to encourage people, motivate them, and help them be the best they can be. In middle school, I remember being mesmerized by a motivational speaker that visited. To this day I cannot remember what she had to say, from where she came, or who she was. But I do remember God speaking audibly to me. “I need you to do that!” From then on I was filled with an exploding passion to reach people! In high school and college, I wrote numerous stories, plays and newspaper columns. I was in every play production, speech class, Reader’s Theatre…you name it. I graduated from college with an English/Drama degree and was told by my writing professor to pursue it professionally. Adventure and imagination awaited me! (I even had a secret wish to go to Broadway.) But instead, I didn’t believe him. Too many bad, ugly things had happened in my childhood and I had very low self-esteem. So I pushed aside my talents and personal passion and became a middle school teacher for ten years, using my skills to teach English, Drama, Newspaper, History and Speech.
After marrying and becoming a mother, I left my public school classroom, we moved to Texas and I started attending our church’s ladies Bible studies. There I saw a variety of women, but constantly compared myself and felt like I was failing fast. The Lord led me to a small group of older, precious women who sheltered me, comforted me and advised me in the aspects of being a Godly wife and mom. Years later, I joined the ladies ministry team and helped teach Bible studies, planned retreats and served hundreds at various events. God allowed me to see women from all walks of life, bearing tremendous burdens and seeking friendship, encouragement, and above all - Jesus Christ.
As I taught published lessons and studies, I found myself teaching between the lines – asking the ladies “wacky” questions to get them thinking outside of the box. Eventually I began writing my own studies. I started reading more and more. Then I started researching – looking up Greek words and Hebrew words, studying maps and family relations…and after a while, I found myself immersed not only in His Word, but in His love, His mercy and His promises. I saw the lives of Biblical women unfold. I began feeling their pain, breathing their anger, smiling in their joy…I found myself walking in their sandals. I began sharing these wonderful stories with my friends, telling my children about things I had learned … and I began writing down everything. In less than six months, I found myself typing the final words to a 12-week Bible study entitled “From Prostitutes to Prayer Warriors: using your past for His glory.” There it sat – right in front of me, my passion and joy! Hundreds of pages filled with Great Women of the Bible – all sharing and breathing their stories. They became some of my dearest friends. I remember being so excited and in complete awe of what God had done through me!!
I first taught the study out of my home with 12 neighbors and friends. I was able to teach the study a couple more times in the church, but I held it very close and almost guarded it. Looking back, I think I was terrified. I was afraid of putting myself out there on the line – even though my college writing professor had told me I was gifted to do this - even though the ladies who attended my study sincerely loved the writings. I am confident that God opened their eyes and hearts, and their faith grew. I know that God blessed the whole process of me writing and teaching the study. I had the passion and began to believe I was called to do this … but I was content to stay inside the comfortable church walls.
Again I felt God calling, so I presented the study on a monthly basis for a year teaching to ladies both inside the church and outside in area communities. The year finished and we had a great time! But still I felt God urging me to “do more with it.” But I was so afraid. The human side of me began to shadow my purpose in Him. I felt a calling to venture out, but Satan used my whole life against me – a stormy childhood, the difficult teen years that stripped my self-esteem, the many years before I finally found the right man to marry. Satan even taunted me about my mothering skills and how my past abusive life would just be repeated with my own children. He has told me I am a failure at whatever I think I am equipped to do, even today. But that 12 week study did not come from my talent or my desire to be famous – it came from God and from His Word! And THAT is why Satan is so mad! He cannot destroy God’s Word! So he daily tries to destroy me.
Despite my fears, my heart was still open to God’s leading. In 2008, I stepped out with “From the Vine Ministries” and began teaching and reaching women in the Cypress, Katy and Tomball areas. As I spoke at Christmas banquets and retreats and continued to teach Bible studies in my home and coffeeshops, God began to grow a vision in my mind of a serene place where women could come together to get support, teaching, resources and friendship as they navigated all the seasons of their lives. Just as God had provided me with the support group of older women I needed when my children were young, I wanted to provide similar support to women as they struggled with many different challenges and life transitions. He was urging me to create a SAFE HAVEN where women of all denominations (and those ladies not attending church) could come together to study His Word and grow closer to Him.
For the next seven years, God provided glimpses of what He wanted and I wrote them all in a file: the design of the house, the winding driveway leading up to it, and the sheltering trees in a garden-like setting … a welcoming place that offered women and teen-age girls refuge from the world’s judgment, impossible standards and comparisons. “The Vineyard” took seed in my heart. He had me write down the names of each room and all the classes/programs that would occur there. I thought about it constantly, and then one day God said, “Now go tell others about this.” I panicked and said, “You must be wrong, Lord! I can’t tell people about The Vineyard! I don’t have a plan, or a budget, or volunteers, or … They’ll think I’m NUTS.” But eventually, I listened and obeyed. I began putting it out there on social media and talking about it to friends and immediately felt the reassurance that this was a much needed ministry. Donations and offers of support began rolling in, and my excitement grew as I watched God work out all the details! From the Vine Ministries would now have a location: The Vineyard, which eventually became a reality, and it has been my great privilege and joy to be used by God in a way that allows me to see lives touched on a daily basis in both big and small ways by His love!
As the old song goes: “He’s not done with me yet.” Ephesians 3 tells us that we cannot fathom how deep, how wide or how long His love is for us. We only see glimpses of it as we walk in blind faith. We trust Him enough to let Him lead us to another job site: to another blessing and another opportunity to be used. But the key is to keep moving! Keep following – keep pursuing Him. Do not just sit back and think you are done. He created you for so much more than you can ever imagine! Ladies, you cannot feel His wind in your face, unless you run with your hand in His!
Please pray for me to stay obedient to His calling!
Psalm 119:32 says “I run in the path of your commands, for You alone have set my heart free!”