I want to share two special friends with you. They have given me permission.
I have known Connie and Phyllis for over twenty years. We met when they were looking for a new church. I was happy to learn that they loved teaching, especially women Bible studies. They jumped right in at church. I recall sitting in their class and learning about the book of Genesis. Connie taught. Phyllis led in music.
If you were to meet either lady you would see a sparkle in her eye, a smile on her face, and you would know that there is something different about her.
In the last several years their life has taken a turn, a hard one at that. Connie has been diagnosed with Parkinson and myasthenia gravis. Phyllis has taken on the caregiver’s role.
Watching them travel down this road has been a true test that God does help in times of trouble. They’ve faithfully turned to God for direction, clarity, and wisdom as their lives have shifted to a different rhythm.
For Connie, a retired P. E. teacher, Parkinson has been grueling. Think about that, a woman that taught children about movement and sports, now God has allowed her body to be touched with Parkinson’s and myasthenia gravis.
Phyllis has been retired from years of working as an administrator in the trucking industry. She worked in just about every phase of it, from dispatching drivers, to billing, to the claims department, to the dock, and finally settling in the customer relations department. All involved working with customers and hopefully each customer was satisfied.
Now, Phyllis shifts and put her strengths and talents into action, such as planning and developing Con’s care steps. It’s truly inspiring.
Both women love the Lord, dig into their Bibles, care about their families and friends and have learned much about surrendering to the Lord. Yet, both women have wrestled with the limitations Parkinson has placed upon them.
The hardest for Con has been missing activities and not seeing family and friends at church. Yet the way she fights off self-pity is being proactive. She sends off hand written notes to her friends and family members or calls to encourage them on. And she loves praying by coloring. (see her picture)
Phyllis refuels by being outside. She loves working with wood and keeps the home front going. She grieves for her dear friend, yet knows a positive attitude will help her mind set while she entrust herself back under God’s hand, He is in charge and present.
I love how Phyllis has changed things up in their life to keep stepping forward and invite good things.
No longer do they take long road trips, instead shorter change-up road trips to the doctors and back.
No longer can they grab their fishing poles and head to the row boat, instead Con slowly walks to the dock and views the lake. She sucks in the fresh air and keeps on growing in the attitude of gratitude.
Likewise Phyllis steps outside their country lake home surrounded by tall pines and lets out her sighs of grief. But rejoices that they have such a place to live, de-stress, and yet be.
What impresses me is that both women are pushing forward to know, see, and understand what God has for them in this illness, and still learn how they can make a difference.
1. They have impacted Doctors, nurses, and friends in Florida.
2. In Michigan they have touched family and friends as well as doctors and nurses.
3. They have made heart to heart connections with the nurses and care workers that have entered their home.
4. Con’s prayers are answered, “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16b, NASB). I have seen her prayer book. It includes her great-nephews, niece, her family, friends, and herself. We have witnessed God answering her prayers: from a Doctor’s office calling her, a tree cutting estimate being low in price, a new doctor taking her on as a patient in Michigan, and on and on go her answers to prayers.
5. Phyllis is making a difference in the Care Givers Support Group.
6.They have impacted my life. My list is long. A big one is that they have served as two of my advisers for Hearts with a Purpose and are prayer warriors.
Two women living out their life purpose, right in the midst of what God has allowed. Reaching forward to all that God has called them to. May we likewise, be inspired to face whatever touches our life with an attitude such as theirs.
What challenging situation has God allowed in your life?
What do you believe you are to learn from that?
What do you need to let go of because of the new situation?