Stories of Resilience, Part 1″

 

This post begins a series where I share with you stories from church members that illustrate what it means to be resilient. Some of these will be stories you can use with children and youth to begin family discussions about faith, resilience and what it means to thrive during difficult times.

 

The first story I will share with you is one I’ve known about for several years. I met this church member when she was in her late 70s. Think 10 years ago! She graciously gave me permission to share parts of her story with you, as long as I keep her identity confidential. We are sharing this story as a way to glorify God and to illustrate what can happen when we remain steadfast and persistent.

 

My friend shared with the Bible study we were in that when she was born, she was a baby with all the classic symptoms of “failure to thrive.” She did not meet the normal benchmarks of growth. By age 4 she was not able to talk plainly. She did not walk even at 4 years old. Having an older child, my friend’s mother knew something was not ok when her daughter did not reach these benchmarks.

 

Her mother was desperate for help. Imagine being in a rural setting in the 1930s trying to find a doctor to help your small child.

 

My friend’s mother took her to doctor after doctor looking for answers. In spite of repeated sympathetic looks and gut-wrenching prognoses, her mother persisted. Her mother took her to twelve different doctors. Each of them had the same prognosis. There was nothing they could do.

 

Finally, her mother took her to doctor number 13. This doctor had just been to a medical conference where he learned about the importance of the thyroid gland to growth and development. There was a new drug. Experimental at the time. No one knew how to dose it for a small child. If her parents would give him permission to experiment with this medication, he would be willing to try to treat my friend. Her parents agreed.

 

My friend began a daily dose of thyroid medication. She was also put on a medication for her pituitary gland. This medication had to be given every 20 minutes. Neighbors came to sit with her mother to assist in giving this medication at the prescribed times.

 

My friend remembers being made fun of when she still could not walk by age 4. She also remembers catching up to and surpassing her classmates by the time they all graduated from high school, including her.

 

Today, she is a charter member of our church. She is just as tenacious as her mother. Her cheerfulness and determination are models for all of us on staff. She continues to invite neighbors and friends to worship because she wants everyone around her to share in the love of God that her mother demonstrated toward her.

During this pandemic, it is easy to get caught up in the negative news, the “what if’s,” and the collective fear. We need now more than ever reminders of hope, stories of resilience, and messages of God’s love

 

Join me in sharing stories of resilience. Please send your stories to me at [email protected]. Please include your phone number as I may call you to get more details and to make sure I have the story correct. Let’s surround our children and youth with stories of hope, resilience, determination and faith.

 

It’s ok to share stories that do not turn out the way we want them to. As Brené Brown writes in “Rising Strong,” sometimes we really do get knocked down completely. When we work together with God, He can help us renew our strength and find hope even in difficult circumstances.

 

Peace and Hope to you!

Vicki

 

Discussion Questions:

  1. How many doctors would you go to before you gave up?
  2. Can you list all the ways God provided for Vicki’s friend when she was a little girl?
  3. What ways do you see God taking care of you and your family today?
  4. Do we know anyone in our family, or among our friends, that has also gone through a tough time? If so, how do/or did you see God helping them get through it?
  5. In this story, the mother was determined to find answers. Do you think God might be just as determined to get our attention?
  6. When times are difficult and we want to focus only on the bad things happening to us, how might God show His determination to get us to focus on Him instead?