God often uses the weakest vessels to accomplish his work so the world can see his love and power in action. June Jirik, whose membership at Lake Worth UMC and Lighthouse stretches back for more than 30 years, knows something about that.
While June and her husband Alan were vacationing in Florida in early 2017, a severe fall resulted in a head injury, leaving her with a brain bleed and hematoma. Even though she spent 18 days in serious condition in a Florida hospital, June remembers feeling thankful that surgery wasn’t necessary. She told God that if He spared her, she would continue to serve Him with whatever ability she had left.
There were long months of physical therapy in which June “took God’s hand and worked hard,” trusting Him to care for her. And yet, there are physical effects from the accident that will remain. Her vision has been restored in both eyes, but she is unable to read or drive because of the jumbled way the images reach her brain. She has difficulty writing and sometimes finding the correct word when speaking.
There have been emotional effects as well. June says even though she has always had a somewhat fearful personality, she has seen her anxiety increase since the accident. While she has served in several areas of ministry over the years, including leading Bible studies, singing in choir, sewing, and other projects, many of these things were no longer easy, or even possible. June’s limitations made her realize that she had been “doing the things I wanted to do, not listening to God.”
June has been a member of the Good Bad Girls LifeGroup for many years, and Linda Wansing had been encouraging her to join the group for a planned trip downtown to minister to some of the homeless men and women there. June turned her down again and again because she was afraid. Her impression of homeless people was a scary one, and she was nervous about what they would do or say. Finally, she felt she was letting Linda down by not going, and agreed to go with her group.
That decision has been life changing! June lights up as she describes what happened – how gracious and grateful the people were to receive necessities or a simple cup of coffee! She was emotional as the group drove away that day, waving to the people they had served. June is so glad she listened to what God wanted her to do and stepped out in boldness. She is even looking forward to their next ministry opportunity! She also believes this experience will change the way she responds to future challenges, “Now that I know where to find it, I feel God will give me that boldness!”
June is quick to encourage others who are struggling with difficulty or life detours, and that has been a direct result of her growing closer to God through her struggles, and leaning on the deep friendships and support she has received at Lighthouse. There is a sign that hangs in June’s kitchen that encourages her each day. It’s also good advice for anyone who is facing a challenge or wondering how God can use them as they are: “Life is a journey: God your guide, and faith your companion.” Listen for His voice, respond in bold faith, and watch what God will do through you!
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