I grew up in the aftermath of WWII. Our town was in the early stages of being discovered by everyone looking for warmer weather and a place to take their ailing sinuses. Our skies were blue and you could see for miles. That was Phoenix, Arizona in the early days of the 40’s, 50’s. My mother and I prayed nightly and always included prayers for our soldiers. I remember vividly the day the war ended and all the celebrations.
Growing up, we lived close to my grandparents and they were the perfect models of selfless love. I watched my grandfather gently and lovingly care for my deaf grandmother. My mother was also a loving and giving person who cared for our family in the same way that she had observed her parents. This did not go unnoticed by me, and I found myself following in my mother’s footsteps, serving others was very big for me and made me happy as a child.
I look back on these early days and can see how my desire and passion for others grew, along with my passion for knowing Christ more deeply. Those passions eventually lead my husband and me to join the the Navigators ministry in 1992. Those were very happy and fulfilling days, leading a women’s bible study, doing small group ministry, writing much of my own material. I even had the opportunity to attend a writers conference at the Navigator headquarters in Colorado Springs.
Writing always gave me great joy. Part of our ministry was writing newsletters. My husband would jot down his main points and I would would smooth them out with loving care so that our ministry partners would get the full flavor of what we were doing in our ministry. In addition, I was the card writer to family and friends during birthdays, anniversaries, thank you’s, etc. I did them all, and loved doing it.
All that changed for me when I had my stroke in 2016. The ways I was living out my passions felt like they were taken away from me.
What do you do when the things you are passionate about get set aside by circumstances totally out of your control.
My therapy after my stroke gave me back much of what I initially lost except for one thing. Now all those thoughts that for years flowed through my fingers have become restricted, much like gushing water trying to be pushed through a straw. My words both spoken and written come haltingly, staggered, and sometimes unrecognizable. I have made numerous & humorous “oops there” statements!!!!!
Now I have to consciously choose to share my words, it requires intention and effort on my part. What once was easy and fluid is now difficult and requires work. There are times when I catch myself sitting back and not engaging because it feels like too much work. And, yet the passion that was birthed inside of me as little girl remains. I watched my grandmother and grandfather navigate her deafness, and she didn’t allow it to keep her from connecting with me. I think of her often as I sit to write notes and cards to my own grandchildren or when I am working to talk with them on Facetime.
Saying yes to writing for Red Tent Living has required faith on my part. Faith that the words will come, and that they will be a blessing to those who read them. Every time I sit down to work on these essays I have to lean into my passion and not quit. I also have to allow others to help me, the same way my grandmother had to allow help from my grandfather. It is so interesting how things seem to come full circle, what I watched as a little girl I am now living in my own life.
There is a wonderful promise in the Bible that says, “all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purposes.” I love this promise and believe it to be true. And, it hasn’t always felt “good” in the wake of my stroke. There are days when I miss the “good” of my life before the stroke, teaching and leading women. And, I am seeing that God has not abandoned or forgotten me. My passions still have outlets and my words still matter.
I have found such peace in knowing that God holds me and everything that touches my life in His hand. And truly- what else would I desire more than to be in the center of God’s will and purpose?
Pat Sloan was born and raised in Arizona where she still lives today with her husband of 56 years, John. Together they were on staff with The Navigators for 30 years. She is a bible teacher, mentor, disciple maker, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. In 2016 she survived a stroke and now holds even more deeply that every minute is a gift. She loves caramel lattes, finding the perfect gift for those she loves, and spending time with her husband, family and dear friends.
Pat – As I read this I thought what a beautiful legacy you’ve been handed from your grandparents and what a beautiful legacy you are leaving your children and grandchildren. Those who went before you gave you an example of love and grace. I loved the line, “I watched my grandmother and grandfather navigate her deafness, and she didn’t allow it to keep her from connecting with me.” I had a grandmother who was probably 90% deaf – and she is the grandmother I have the fondest memories of. She taught me to play checkers. She opened her heart to me. And you are doing that for your people. I wish I could hug you and tell you thank you for being YOU. God’s blessings to you this day.
Yes! I agree with Barbara!!!
Your words here touch a place so deep inside my own heart that tears come from the depths. My own sweet mom was also Pat. My own words don’t work the way I’d like sometimes. But your encouragement that there are still outlets for you to use your passions and that your voice still matters has given me great hope today. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for leaning in and using your words. I am greatly blessed!
“There are times when I catch myself sitting back and not engaging because it feels like too much work”. Your honesty here gives me a window into the poised woman, always so beautiful. In that place, I see the cost of you coming to our goodbye. Yet such goodness there is in holding your face in that circle last year. Thank you for stepping in there and here and offering yourself.
This is excellent. You could have remained in the “back seat” of your life, but you didn’t! I’m ever grateful that you recovered and that you stepped into your fear, only to find out that your force was always within reach of your faith. We never know what others go through to ink the most indelible encouragement for those of us who need it now… or will down the road. Nothing just happens! Thank God for you!
Dear Pat, thank you for saying yes to be a Red Tent Living writer. Your wisdom is needed in our world today. You allow me to be calm and remember the deep goodness that we learned as a young child. Your life reflects such goodness back to me as I ponder your childhood and my own. How Phoenix has changed! What you have witnessed must be astounding!