In 2007 after thirteen years of marriage Denise’s battle for her home ended in the heartbreak of divorce. For a year Denise did not write or travel or lead the Bible Study ministry that she had led for years. Instead, she focused solely on her healing and went on a desperate journey to reclaim her heart.
During that journey, a heart that had been shut down to fear and disappointment came back to life as Denise learned to shed her people pleasing fear and to let go of the pain of the dreams that had not come true. Through that pain God birthed a new dream and Reclaiming Hearts Ministries was born and the book from that journey, Reclaiming Your Heart: A Journey Back to Laughing, Loving and Living and its fiction companion, Secrets Over Sweet Tea were birthed as well.
But God wasn’t done. Denise returned to ministry all while praying a prayer, “God if you have a man for me, I just want one. No free dinners. No drama. Just your man.” He assured her He was more than capable of getting His man to her. And He did. In 2009 Denise met Philly Jones over a plate of fried fish and cheese grits. She will tell you quickly, “His heart captured me.” And in 2010 they married and she became the bonus mom to five amazing kiddos. “It’s like drinking water from a fire-hydrant”, she describes. “And marrying this man has been a beautiful part of reclaiming so many of the places in my heart that had been so deeply wounded in my first marriage. This man wouldn’t even google me!” She says with a rich laugh. “He wanted to get to know me. Just me.”
Where it Began
Denise Jones grew up as a preacher’s kid. By the time she graduated high school she had lived in eight different cities and gone to as many schools. Yet South Carolina held her deep family heritage and her heart. It also afforded her a stable college season at The University of South Carolina where she majored in Journalism but dreamed of becoming a Christian singer.
Two weeks after she graduated with her BA in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports, she made her way to Nashville, Tennessee to chase that dream. But it wouldn’t be caught. Instead, she would. By God’s dreams for her. Six months after her Nashville arrival she met Nancy Alcorn, Founder and President of Mercy Ministries of America, and was asked by Nancy to help her finish writing her book “Echoes of Mercy.” It was with that invitation that Denise found not only a passion, but discovered her gift for writing.
For ten years she would write for other people. During that time she would also discover both a passion and gift for teaching as well as she was invited to begin teaching a college and career class at her church.
In 2002 Denise decided that she wanted to write stories of her own. Her heart gravitated to non-fiction. She wanted to be known for powerful Bible Studies and Christian Living books that would impact people in their deepest places. But she couldn’t get them published. However, her belief that she was called to write caused her to ask herself if she could write fiction. Having never written a page of fiction at all, “but told a great deal of it” as she likes to say, she wrote her first novel, with the three things that she knew: crazy people, the south and rigged beauty pageants. In 2004 her first novel, Savannah from Savannah, about a young newspaper reporter who writes human interest stories for the local newspaper, writes her first column about a rigged beauty pageant of which her mother is a former queen of. The “gift of that story” as she says, was the beginning of her fiction journey that now spans eight novels.
A powerful teacher to this generation and the next, Denise Jones has a message of the redeeming power of God and the beauty of our God designed hearts.
Denise loves reading a good book, enjoying a cold Coca-Cola, and spending time with her beautiful family over Sunday dinner. She loves laughing with Philly, eating Mexican with anyone and the deep friendships she is blessed to know.
In 2007 Philly’s marriage walked through a painful season that brought about separation and ended up eventually in divorce, forcing Philly to admit how painfully shut down his heart had become to trying to perform his way through life and through a deeply rooted place of fear. That painful place of his story brought him to an intentional journey to reclaim the man God had created him to be. He liked Denise walked with counselor Ken Edwards. Philly dug out of that pain and found Denise at the end of it. “I wasn’t looking to get married. I was just settling in to what it looked like to be a single dad and to love my kids through this new season of life. But when she ordered those grits I knew this was some kind of woman.” He laughs over the story as well. They’ve been eating fried fish together ever since! And he partners with Denise in multiple ways in Reclaiming Hearts.
Where it Began
Philly Jones grew up in a football coach’s home. Born in South Georgia, his family moved quite a few times as his father took coaching jobs at schools across Georgia. Philly enjoyed years of playing football with his father as his coach and a strong leadership role in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in which both of his parents were actively involved and where his mother worked as a regional director in Northwest Georgia.
A typical first born, Philly set three goals for himself when he graduated high school: become valedictorian, get a full scholarship to college and have perfect attendance. He accomplished all three. Thinking he would become a football coach like his father, Philly attended Furman University and played quarterback for the Paladins. Applying himself diligently to his Math degree and his football, Denise often jokes with him that he wasted four really good years. But he was dedicated and focused. However, in the third game of his senior year he suffered a season ending injury. Making the decision to red-shirt the rest of that year, so he could return the following year, didn’t turn out the way he had thought. His quarterback spot was not retainable from the quarterback who had replaced him after his injury. Now, his college career was closing out much different than he had thought, and he began to realize that coaching wasn’t what he really wanted to do either. So, using his Math degree he headed into an entirely different world.
Upon graduation he began working for Arthur Anderson in Atlanta. He spent the next few years obtaining his CFA and eventually left Arthur Anderson for Clark Consultants and then in 2005 he moved to Nashville and parlayed his knowledge and expertise into the creation of a financial advisory firm called Fiduciary Vest.
He loves SEC football, coaching his kid’s sports, and playing golf. He loves adventure and the mountains, anything that gets him outside and loves doing it with his children and his wife.
Owner and Managing Director of FiduciaryVest
President Provident Leadership and Counselor MDiv.
Former Owner Packer and Associates
President and Founder of HopeHouse International
Assistant VP of Finance Nashville Metropolitan Airport
President and Founder Reclaiming Hearts Ministries