It's All About the Journey

Life is about the journey, not always the destination.

I am starting to compose this page, and it will be a work in progress for awhile, as I have time.  I’ll give a short version first, and then flesh it out later.

My name is Mark Van Norden.  I live in Larned, KS, and have since August of 2005.  I grew up in Leoti, KS until age 15, and subsequently lived in Wichita for much of the remaining 20 years of my life, with educational stints in other cities, including Tulsa, OK (attended Oral Roberts University for 1 year), Des Moines, IA (attended Des Moines University for medical school), and other cities for shorter periods of time.  I currently work as a Family Medicine doctor, and have owned my own practice since 2008.  My wife and I also own and operate a retail store, called Scraps, which has been in operation since 2007.  Coffee, scrapbooking, bridal services and catering are our primary business lines.  My wife Tayleene and I have 2 sons now (as of 12/17/10), Ethan (5) and Evan (newborn, as of 12/30/10).

I have been “saved” for as long as I remember (more on the quotes later, if I don’t forget!), and as a child attended the local Methodist or Presbyterian churches at different times, before settling into the Assembly of God church in my late grade school years.  After moving to Wichita I attended charismatic churches until I eventually left the institutional church in 2000.

From day 1 in church I “bought in”.  Being a “pleaser” by nature, I naturally wanted to be pleasing to God.  I attended church whenever I could, was involved wherever I could be, and considered myself a pretty committed Christian.  I wasn’t “really” committed, because I didn’t read the bible enough, or pray enough (my own thoughts).  I  stayed committed through the laughter meetings, where I’d sit in my chair, frustrated because I wasn’t tapping into the spirit, and couldn’t catch the “laughter bug”, so to speak.  I stayed committed through the building projects, church scandals, you name it.  Whenever a question would enter my mind regarding the legitimacy of what I was seeing, this accusing  voice would pipe up and tell me that this was subversion, that the pastor wouldn’t do something that wasn’t biblical.  As I look back on these years, I realize that I was deeply depressed.  I was depressed for multiple reasons, but try as I did to find peace in my walk with God, peace eluded me.  At different stages in my life I was good at convincing myself I was happy, but at the end of the day I was not.  I say now that I bought the religious lies, “hook, line and sinker”.

Around 1999 a close friend of mine, who led worship at the church where I played drums, began walking “outside the camp”, as he called it then.  Actually, his walk out probably began years before, but 1999 is about when he and I began having conversations along those lines.  The idea that the church life I had known for my whole life was not scriptural was hard to accept, but after experiencing more blatant lies and deceitfulness at the last church I attended I finally accepted this truth, and began a journey to find truth in my relationship with God.  Had the Lord not built a relationship between me and my good friend I may have stayed miserable in “church” the rest of my life.

After this decision I spent the next 2 years in flux.  I was traveling a lot for my last 2 years of medical school, so I was never in one place long enough to establish myself with local believers. Even if I would’ve been in one place long enough, I knew that I would not find the fellowship I needed in that environment.   After the last 2 years of medical school, I moved back to Wichita for residency, where I stayed out of traditional churches, but was at that time able to fellowship with my friends who had helped lead me out in the first place.  After 3 years in Wichita my wife and I moved to Larned, where we now reside.

The last 6 years of our lives have been unbelievable.  Six years ago my wife and I started our first business, Scraps, while I was employed at a local hospital-owned clinic.  In 2008 I took a step of faith and opened my own clinic, after contemplating ceasing my family medicine practice altogether.  The trials and tribulations we have endured in the last six years have been hard, but looking back the growth we have experienced has been tremendous.  The lessons we learned will become posts here in the future, so I won’t go into the details now.

Well, I guess this was neither the long or short version.  It may actually seem like the long version, but is probably a happy medium.  I may make adjustments to it in the future.



4 Responses to “About”

  1. Michelle Brooke 5 August 2010 at 11:39 pm #

    Hello, Mark, awesome post….Doug & Kerri spoke to us about you…drop us a line sometime on my email above. I enjoyed your testimony very much! Blessings and Aloha!
    Michelle & Kent

  2. Rodney Ducroq 24 April 2014 at 5:37 am #

    Hey there,

    Great to read about your journey – I miss Kansas but I am always pleased to hear of His exploits there through you all.

    We handed over our church (four Corners Int church) to Joel Potter. Great family who loves the church – feel free to connect with them one day when you visit Wichita and encourage them for me.

    Be blessed and enjoy life

  3. Lacy 10 July 2014 at 9:13 pm #

    I thought I would pass to you an interesting teacher. He shows how God has offered to us the spirit of adoption and that in the book of Romans shows us how this adoption works. An adoption isn’t what we know of it today but is about a Father looking for a son to take on the family business and those that suffer with Christ as adopted sons by laboring in this business will be joint heirs with Christ. His depth of teaching isn’t like any teaching I have found. I understand the bible in away that will blow any pastor out of the water around Wichita. I stumbled on your blog because it was looking for those who were following the sonship curriculum laid out by God through the Holy Spirit in the written word of God. I think you might appreciate this teacher for he has an understanding of the scriptures that is rare. It is so solid that an infant Christian and elder Christrian would be amazed. His name is Dr. Mike McDaniels and his classes are on YouTube, the video isn’t great quality but the teaching makes up for it. I wasn’t sure of the sonship thing but I am 100 plus videos into the series and I am more than convinced. Yes there are over 300 videos in this series, it’s deep. It will have you really excited. I didn’t understand justification and sanctification and Romans was a riddle but now I can explain in depth these concepts using the word of God with confidence. Check it out.

    • Mark 4 August 2014 at 10:44 am #

      Thanks for the recommendation. I will check it out!

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