I woke up on July 4, 1995 as a nursing home resident in Memphis, Tennessee, a little more than six months after the rest of Love In Action had relocated there from San Rafael. “What have I done?” I asked myself.
A little over two years earlier, John Smid (who became Love In Action’s director in 1991) announced that, in response to a vision God had supposedly given him, he’d begun the process of moving the ministry. I wanted to point out the foolishness of making such a drastic decision–especially one that would have a major impact on at least 20 lives–on a subjective vision, but I understood the futility of doing so. Instead, gesturing toward my wheelchair, I said, “Well, obviously I can’t go.”
Over the next few months, as the rest of the staff excitedly anticipated their future in Memphis, I tried to remain stoic. I reminded myself that, even though John erred by basing this decision on a subjective vision, the Lord evidently had His reasons for not blocking it. Therefore, I determined to trust that God willed this move to happen. Of course my heart broke at the thought of being separated from the ministry I loved, and occasionally I allowed my disappointment to show. But I clung to my belief that the Lord was having His way.
One night, after a conversation with a co-worker that triggered my feelings of impending loss, I found myself praying from the depths of my being, “Lord, let me go to Memphis!” My prayer shocked me. I’d thought I’d accepted the fact that, when the ministry moved, I’d remain in San Rafael. But as soon as that prayer came out of me, I knew the Lord had shown me my own heart.
I didn’t tell anyone about my prayer, nor did I consider the possibility that God would actually grant my request. After a few days, I put it out of my mind and got back to the business of correspondence counseling and writing for the Love In Action Newsletter. After all, they hadn’t moved yet, so I figured I should enjoy my job as long as I possibly could.
In the spring of 1994, John Smid called me to ask if I’d consider living in a home for disabled adults in Memphis. Would I? Exhausted from the revolving door of Personal Care Attendants that I’d gone through since the spring of 1993, I embraced the opportunity as an answer to all my prayers at once! I remembered my shocking prayer a few months earlier, utterly amazed by the Lord’s graciousness to answer it.
Although the rest of Love In Action left San Rafael early in the morning on December 5, 1994, I was still on the waiting list for admission to Kings Daughters and Sons Home. I worked long-distance as I worked on my Medicaid application that would allow me to reside in a Tennessee nursing facility, and in May of 1995 I spent five days in Memphis visiting the Love In Action office, Central Church and KDSH. Finally Kings Daughters and Sons called to say I needed to be there on July 3.
As I woke up on July 4, the reality that I’d become a nursing home resident hit me as I faced a gruff CNA who seemed uninterested in pleasantries. But I trusted that, once I started working and got involved in Central Church, I’d have little to do with the nursing home. Jesus had brought me there; He would make it good.