Many of us had successful careers before our illnesses sidelined us, but see how some have found new purpose in life.
They Found New Purpose
It is imperative that disabled persons find new purpose in their lives. Normal life, if “normal” means what used to be, will never exist again for many invisibly disabled or chronically ill persons. Dwellers need to seek new purpose; find new “normal.” Find inspiration in these stories about how others have done it. Then seek your own individual purpose.
SHORT BIO Sam retired early, from an Executive Management career in Banking, due to a rare bone disease. She is a blogger at "My Medical Musings" & the founder of an online support forum "Medical Musings with Friends", a place where the hand of friendship & understanding is offered to anyone living with the effects of chronic disease.
This is the result of Sam’s re-purposed life. Read how she navigated her storms!
Is it your unexpected new life? Have you found a new purpose in living? Adapt what your already knew? Go a whole new direction?
Share with us a 300-500 word article. Or, if you've already written one on your blog, I can link to it. Just use the contact form.
Dwellers, I hope you find encouragement in reading other's experiences.
Observers, I trust you'll discover more of dwellers' challenges.
Kathy was a registered nurse before her storms began. As a single mom of 6, now ages 17-30, how does she cope?
When she could no longer work, she looked for a new dream.
She wrote a devotion about hens and chicks that is in the Hard Times section.
Read about her journey at her blog Upbeat Living: Thriving Despite Chronic Illness. I really like the title--what we all aim for.
Longtime Worship Leader Branches Out
Gary Mink knew from a young age that music would always be a big part of his life. Early days of singing and playing instruments with his siblings evolved into a family musical group that performed on local television, in coffee houses, at state fairs and in churches.
“We would go anywhere that my dad saw an opportunity for the gospel to be shared,” Mink said. “We just got out there, played our instruments and sang about Jesus and dad wanted us to expand our opportunities."
A move to California as a teenager brought those opportunities. Mink and his sister, Sherry, toured for two years with Continental Singers, formed another musical group called New Image, and then settled in as a duo singing concerts anywhere they were asked, including as guest musicians at Saddleback Church.
Six months later Pastor Rick Warren asked the pair to lead worship at Saddleback's weekly gatherings.
“We were well received because we were real,” Mink stated. “They were bringing in big names already in the early '80s and I was 20 years old at the time. I grew leaps and bounds because the worship was so different and I cut my teeth on worship that was about the moment and being led by the Spirit.”
Mink developed worship teams, auditioned potential musicians and eventually became an artist in residence for Saddleback, traveling to help other churches get started.
His sister's move to Seattle drew Mink to the Northwest in the early 90s to continue performing with her and he accepted the worship pastor position at Green River Baptist Church in Auburn, WA. He has since served at several churches throughout the Northwest including the last 11 years at Greater Gresham (OR) Baptist Church.
“I give God the glory for how he has directed my life,” Mink said. “I love working and making an impact in growing a team to see their potential in leadership. My job focus has been more than a worship leader on the weekend, but to affect the life of the church for the future.”
Music continues to fuel his passion for seeing God work in people's lives, even though his own circumstances have changed dramatically.
Vocal problems began afflicting Mink in 2012 and by 2013 he noticed there were certain words he just couldn't sing. A diagnosis of spasmodic dysphonia abductor, a neurological disorder causing muscles around his vocal cords to spasm out was given, with no known cure or surgical procedure available.
“I was having hard conversations with God about why he was taking my singing voice away,” Mink noted. “The normal questions we ask when things go wrong. I began to look for ways to utilize the gifting he has given me in music without my voice. A wise person told me that my voice doesn't define who I am -- but it had since I was 10 years old and I depended on it my whole life. God wants to use this and it has stripped my dependence on my voice and turned it to seeking what he can do without it.”
His role at Greater Gresham has been redefined as one of mentorship, allowing Mink time to pursue a music consultation ministry with pastors and worship leaders throughout the Northwest.
“My vocal condition helped guide me where God wanted me next, a place I may not have gone without it,” Mink said. “I want to share my 30 years of local church ministry experience with churches large and small. I hope to help leaders assess their worship ministry by evaluating their program and can include assistance with recruiting musicians, auditions, making rehearsals more effective and improving the service flow. Training and mentoring is high on the list of what I have to offer.
“The power of worship is not just music, but every aspect of the service,” Mink added. “Prayer, communion and other creative elements help us avoid getting into a rut.”
Churches seeking more information about his assistance in improving their worship services may contact Mink at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Allen, Sheila. ”Longtime worship leader branches out.” Northwest Baptist Witness. September/October 2015: 16.
When Gary lost the ability to sing, he looked at his past experience and applied it to a new vocation. He parlayed it to a consultant position in the same field. If you’re still able to work, be creative in looking at remaining abilities and find a new purpose.
Francee Shares How She Achieved a Re-Purposed Life
Re-purposed lives are redirected lives. I would be going about life in one way (independently), at one pace (fast), in one manner (efficiently), with one aim and one goal, and suddenly, my life would get redirected. Sometimes this would happen because of my own doings and sometimes because of the world we live in, but this one particular time, it was because my health failed. My way, my pace, and my manner all had to change, and at first, I was not necessarily okay with that. Yet, after experiencing such heartbreak, shedding many tears, and releasing my hopes and dreams, I realized that my aim and my goal was the same: to live a life surrendered to God and to bring Him glory.
So the question was how exactly I was going to do that in a body that no longer worked correctly. Well, that is where the detective work came in. But even before I got around to detecting, I had to prepare my heart to be re-purposed. I had to re-surrender my life to God. I had to let my hopes and dreams die. I had to let go of who I thought I was, and who I thought I was going to be by a certain age in life. Essentially, I had to determine to let my vessel be used differently now—yet still allow it to be used. This meant not throwing a temper-tantrum, not falling into inconsolable depression, and not setting myself on the “antique collectible shelf” to gather dust and not be touched anymore.
Being re-purposed means I take this vessel in the state that it is in and I allow it to be used in a fresh new way. When we give attention to a broken piece of furniture by giving it time, a new coat of paint, a new space to reside, and a new exposure to light, beauty comes forth. If I allow God to put new touches on my life with His timing and attention, allow Him to set me in a new space, and allow Him to put a new light on who I am, beauty is going to shine forth.
We all have skills, abilities, and talents that may need to be tapped, dusted off, and strengthened. In these bodies that do not work quite right, we have a new arena in which to create a beautiful display. We have a new arena in which to use the things with which we have been endowed. We just have to take the time and focus the attention, and then beauty is going to come forth.
God’s mercies are new every morning, and they can be new in you and through you. You can have a greater impact now than you ever had before—as you allow God to redirect you into a new avenue of purpose.
©Francee Strain, May 2017
Francee now writes. See her book info on Books. She has a website, Come unto Me Ministries. She also speaks at conferences and teaches piano lessons. She is often sidelined for days to weeks or even months by multiple health issues, including severe migraines.