Archive for the ‘God’s Faithfulness’ Category
|My family in the Bottoms 1974|
I grew up in Meredosia, Illinois: Dosh—a small town of less than one thousand people. Dad sent Mom away when I was eleven. He was abusive and all my sisters and I had were each other. Our house burned to the ground that Christmas. A new house trailer replaced it, but we were on survival mode only. When our stepmother, Mary, and her four kids joined our family, we were isolated from the world we knew.
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Looking back over my life, I see God’s hand in every day, even before I knew Him.
Eight months later an accident severed my spinal cord. I came home weak and weary six months and nine days after my injury. My power wheelchair had one true asset then—it reclined. I withdrew from life, laid back and hid behind veiled eyes. I refused to face my future.
It took years for me to adjust to my new life. Paralyzed from my shoulders down with minimal use of my arms, I sat in a large black power wheelchair and stood out in a crowd. People stared and I often overheard them talking about me. “What’s she doing here?” “What does she want?” “She can’t sit there.” Many said they were sorry I had to be in a wheelchair while still others yelled at me as if I couldn’t hear. Most people just walked around me. In my pain, I withdrew and hid behind veiled eyes.
Until one day, someone asked me to teach a Sunday school class. I didn’t want to do it, but God wouldn’t let me go. I accepted knowing He would be my strength. That single invitation gave me the courage to step out of my uncomfortable-comfort zone and speak up about the healing love of God’s presence in my life. My disability opened many doors for ministry; the wheelchair however, couldn’t go through all of them.
Do you ever feel like God has forgotten you? Or forgotten a promise He made to you? I have. A few months before my injury I attended a spiritual gifts workshop. We filled out surveys then broke into small groups. My group determined my gift was “healing,” a repeated theme in my spiritual walk that I had ignored because everyone knew I was a nurse. That day I believed it and it scared me.
I talked to a friend who listened and prayed with me. When he got up to leave he said, “You have to be healed before you can heal.”
I didn’t understand. I wasn’t sick.
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After three months in ICU, Earl had me transferred to a rehabilitation hospital that focused on spinal cord injuries. I felt comfortable there, surrounded by others in wheelchairs with injuries like mine. Yet once at home, I felt lost. Who am I? A pastor’s wife? A mother? A nurse? I’d had those roles before the accident.
“God, why did you let this happen?” I prayed. “I’m a Christian. I read my Bible. I go to Sunday school and Bible study.”
The church we were serving, Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church, remodeled the parsonage, held fundraisers and gave me time to recuperate. The churches in our Conference, and people everywhere, who had heard about my accident, prayed and took up special offerings for us. Strangers visited, prayed with me and lay down checks.
At our second church, Maple Spring UMC, I tried my hands at teaching Sunday school. At the third, East Dyersburg UMC, I wrote for the church newsletter, taught Sunday school and started a telephone ministry with women who had difficulty getting to church. While serving our fourth church, Concord UMC, I added many areas of ministry within the local church, the district and the conference.
God’s love and the continued prayer and encouragement of you who are reading this carry me through the hard times. Today my life is everything I thought it couldn’t possibly be.