My Apology



to Marilyn & Jim Howshall,

and to you,

my sisters in the Lord



Barb Shelton






The situation, and my apology


A few weeks back, I made available free on my website several of Marilyn Howshall’s Lifestyle of Learning books. (In particular, the ones used in my homeschool course.)  I also wrote an introduction about my reasons for doing so. The Howshall’s requested that we remove them, and for good reason; we had only made assumptions, and did not have permission from them or any right to assume ownership of her work.  The copyrighted books belong to Marilyn; the Lifestyle of Learning Ministries, Inc. and Lifestyle of Learning Publications, LLC have never left their ownership.  Without any communication with them before taking action, we completely misunderstood and mis-applied our role.  There was simply a huge error in communication between Jim and Dave, and it must weigh in favor of the Howshall's.  I therefore ask that you completely release ANY judgment of the Howshall's regarding their desire to have me remove their books from our website. Their potential market has now been undermined, and so I ask anyone who received PDF files from me to please do the right thing and not make additional copies to pass around to your friends. 


I am ashamed to say, but it is true, that because of my pride and unrepented sin many years ago, my heart turned hard toward Marilyn personally. As any of you know who have followed my ministry over the years, I have continued to promote her message, but there was still iniquity in my heart. This was not just a mere “hidden pocket of iniquity”; because it went on so long, it became a huge canyon!!!  I am just utterly ashamed.  This sin tainted my feelings and thoughts about Marilyn, and other things pertaining to her, as well as tainting my “motives, responses and desires.”  And it ultimately led me to the wrongful free distribution of her materials.  We thought we were justified in doing this, but in truth, we were not. I am deeply grieved at how wrong I have been regarding ~ and how wrongly I have acted toward ~ Marilyn (and Jim). Deeply wrong, but not just “wrong” as in “not right,” but in sin. 


For this, and for our deeper sin of not loving or being concerned about Marilyn and Jim, Dave and I have already repented and asked forgiveness of our sin to Marilyn and Jim personally, and to God.  But I want to hereby make it known to all of you that we have done so.  And then, I (as the main perpetrator) also need ~ and want ~ to ask you, my sisters in the Lord (and any brothers who are aware of the situation) to forgive me, because my sin has affected YOU in very real ways, too.  In my Intro to the LoL Library, I cast a negative light on the Howshall’s that I sincerely regret and am sorry for, and hope that you can release them from, forget, and forgive me for.  I am truly and deeply sorry for my sin and foolishness.


While I thought my heart was sincere, it was deluded by my own sin.  I just read something this morning in Secrets of the Secret Place that explains it better than I can:



       “Rapid, radical repentance opens the channels for intimate communion with God. … Be quick to confess your unbelief and hardness of heart.  …  I am talking about repenting from our iniquities.  Iniquities are the hidden faults that we don’t see, the wicked residue of our fallen nature that discolors the fabric of our thoughts, motives, feelings, responses, and desires.  Iniquities are wrapped up in much more subtle areas of sinfulness, such as pride, rebellion, unbelief, envy, selfishness, ambition, and covetousness.  We all have hidden pockets of iniquity, and we need God’s help to see them.  You can’t repent of something you don’t see, so God will help you to see them.” 


Today, as more of the reality has been coming to me of how “discolored the fabric of my thoughts, motives, feelings, and responses” had become, and how that has affected Marilyn and others, I’ve had waves of sickening nausea. This thing had gone on for a long time ~ more than ten years! ~ and had a lot of deep repercussions ~ in me, and in others.  So I want to ask each of you to forgive me for the “all the above” sin that affected Marilyn and Jim, for how that affected you, and for the bad example that I was to you, as a sister in the Lord, and a leader as well. So I humbly ask any who have been affected by this if would you please forgive me? 



How the Howshall's responded to us


My pride, my sinful flesh, needed to go to the cross, and be dealt a death blow to them.  God graciously used Marilyn as His instrument.  And what ultimately happened was ~ and I was NOT expecting this ~ COMPLETE RESTORATION!!!!!!!!!!!!  I was utterly amazed at Marilyn (and Jim’s) grace and kindness. She was (they both were) sooooo full of grace and love!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I can’t even express it!!!!!!!!!!!  As we talked, my walls of pride and delusion ~ about myself, and the way I had perceived everything, and had proceeded ~ began to crumble as I started coming into the light of “the truth” about me.  Dave actually started the repenting ~ because he had been part of it ~ and then I followed, and said in my own words everything that *I* needed to say to them.  At this point, Marilyn dug into her bag and pulled out something, and placed it in front of me…  Stuck to the top of a picture, covering most of it, was a beautiful heart-shaped rose-filled note with these words she had written:  “All I ever wanted was you.  Jesus loves you and I do too. M”    (“M” is how she always used to sign her notes to me, and “B” is how I signed my notes to her…  throughout our seven-year friendship.)  So Marilyn’s GRACE-filled note was the final “straw” that aided the melting and breaking of my hard and sinful heart, (in cooperation with what the Holy Spirit was already doing, of course!), and as I came to the place of repentance, the dam broke, and I crumpled in brokenness to Marilyn…  as she immediately received and embraced a very tearful and ashamed “me” with open arms.  At this point Jim got up and came over to us, and covered and embraced the two of us, and, tearfully, I repented to him, too, and he too received me. 


GRACE ~ totally “unmerited favor” ~ ooooh my goodness!!!! ~ what a TRULY amazing thing it is!!!!  “I once was blind, but now I see!”  When you have been at the depths of needing grace, it is felt all the more deeply!!!  …  That whole process took almost 3 hours, and THEN we went out to dinner for another 3 hours!!!! ~ and did ten years of catching up!!!!!!  It was utterly amaaaaaaaaazing!!!  I am just soooooo very humbled…  amazed…  and thrilled!!!  GOD HAS DONE A WONDERFUL THING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Today (as I write this "the day after"), as more of the reality of what I have done has been coming to me, I’ve had waves of sickening nausea, but that’s okay; it’s part of “let there be tears for the wrong things you have done.”  I’m letting God sink it all deep into my heart, melt any other iniquity that He might find lurking and hiding in there, and am asking Him to forgive and cleanse me thoroughly.  This thing has gone on for a long time ~ ten years! ~ and had a lot of deep repercussions ~ in me, and in others.  So I want to ask each of you to forgive me for the “all the above” sin that affected Marilyn and Jim, for how that affected you, and for the bad example that I was to you, as a sister in the Lord, and a leader as well.  (I have already repented to God and to Dave, too.)  So, sisters, would you please forgive me?  (Please feel free to email me privately at to respond, if you would like to do so.)



Request for further discussion of this to cease


And then, in closing, I would humbly ask, and deeply appreciate it, if you would end all public discussion of this matter, as it’s all speculation, based on incomplete and erroneous information.  I am the one who gave out this information by what I wrote in my intro and thereby caused the speculation, so I take full responsibility for how this all started.  But that intro was based only on my incomplete side of the story; you did not hear Marilyn’s thoughts, so it was entirely unfair to her.  At this point, now that you have heard my apology and how the Lord has shown me my misunderstanding and sin, continued discussion of this matter from here on is just not appropriate.


To any who feel they have a right to ask questions or express their opinions about this:  It is one thing to ask sincere questions and express thoughts, but since no one ~ other than myself and Marilyn ~ has any idea of the facts of our situation, there is neither any point, nor anything good, that will result from asking questions of people who have no idea of the answers; only fruitless and damaging conversation.  And since all that is going to be said has already been said, there is no need to ask any further questions.  …  Additionally, to any sisters-in-the-Lord:  “Gossip” is defined as “sharing or discussing information about which one is not part of the situation, nor part of the solution.”  And since, other than Marilyn and myself, no one else is involved in the problem or the solution, continued discussion from here on would be nothing other than gossip.  So please, sisters, resist the temptation to engage in “foolish discussions” and, instead, only rejoice in what the Lord has done.



What about obtaining these books?

I have some very wonderful news for any who desire to obtain these books...  Marilyn and Jim and friends in their Lifestyle of Faith Community church have been in the early stages of getting Marilyn's books on-line in e-book form. They think this project will be ready within a month or so, and I will be given a link from my web site to their book store.







I got the rosebud background from:





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