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Mary Ann Yaconis has a Bachelor’s in education from Indiana University of PA, a Master of Science degree from the University of Maryland in Family Counseling, a Master of Arts degree from Regent University in Counseling, and she is currently a Ph.D candidate in Pastoral Counseling at Loyola College in Maryland. She was a high school teacher for many years in Fairfax County, Virginia, and now volunteers at Living Hope Community Church as a licensed mental health counselor.
Mary Ann tells her story of how different beliefs about salvation affected her relationship with God throughout her life. She started out with a fairly typical “churchianity” background where she and her husband participated in the church a lot but didn’t really experience God in a profound way. Then, she joined another group in which she was taught the doctrine of permanent unconditional salvation. During this time she grew a lot regarding faith and walking with God, but her conscience kept pestering her about her sin. Even though the leadership kept telling her that she was saved no matter what, and that all she had to do was ask for forgiveness, she couldn’t help feeling distant from God. Then, by God’s grace, she learned about repentance–that sin was not to be forgiven alone but that corresponding life-change was necessary. As time went on she found herself moving steadily closer to God as she partnered with him to overcome sins one at a time. Since then, Mary Ann has been very active in counseling ministry and she shares some deep insights into the barriers we erect between ourselves and God.