The Refiner’s Fire

Wanda Parker is a senior saint. She has a remarkable story to share.

Wanda has faithfully served the Lord for over forty years in a variety of ministry roles. She’s served as a children’s ministry director/family pastor in three different churches in Southern California. She worked with Campus Crusade (now Cru) to develop a ministry model for kids in the inner city. She’s helped develop a ministry curriculum for children living in difficult circumstances. For the last sixteen years, she’s been involved with KidTrek, a ministry she founded to help churches reach families in crisis. She’s even served as a guest blogger for us!

Wanda and I have been following one another’s blogs and social media platforms for a number of years. As is often the case for those who seek to faithfully serve God, Wanda has experienced far more than her share of adversity in recent years. Wanda’s husband (Joe) has experienced a series of medical conditions that left him unable to work. After 49 years of marriage, Wanda and her husband lost their home and found themselves living in an unfamiliar city (Atlanta) 2,000 miles away from the people who surrounded them throughout their adult lives. Wanda’s Facebook posts have been a reflection of the remarkable faithfulness and perseverance she’s demonstrated through difficult circumstances. But I didn’t know the half of it. I’ll let her describe what happened next…

Friends began to write me offline, call or come for a visit and I would tell them more of my story which I hadn’t told on Facebook – e.g. more than Twenty years of Terror when I continually cried out asking God to take me home.  Because of those 20 years I truly believed that my senior years would be easy. After all I had done my suffering. NOT!

The friends who connected off-line shared their own struggles. I was overwhelmed with how many who walk with the Triune God are going through pain and there is nowhere to share it, nowhere to get support. There are some things that can be shared openly; however there is much that is kept hidden for fear of judgement or because it involves others – depression, anxiety, betrayal, children not walking with God, addictions (sexual, drugs, gambling). The list is long.

I began to study what the Bible has to say about suffering and discovered it is more of a gift than I ever understood before.

Then some friends began to encourage me to share my story – to write a book. I prayed and prayed. What I feel the Lord has led me to do is write a Blog.

Wanda has begun to share her experiences of faith and  suffering through Refiner’s Fire. Her life experiences and witness will be a great blessing and encouragement to all families affected by disability, both visible and hidden. Along with her story, Wanda has shared lists of her favorite books, music and Scripture for persons who are suffering.

I began to follow Wanda’s story as it is being revealed at Refiner’s Fire and have found myself taken aback by the way God’s presence within her has been so powerfully manifested through extremely trying circumstances. You’ll be encouraged by the words of someone who’s been through the fire and emerged to live a life that gives honor and glory to God. Check it out today!

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shutterstock_291556127Key Ministry encourages our readers to check out the resources we’ve developed to help pastors, church leaders, volunteers and families on mental health-related topics, including series on the impact of ADHD, anxiety and Asperger’s Disorder on spiritual development in kids, depression in children and teens, pediatric bipolar disorder, and strategies for promoting mental health inclusion at church.

About Dr. G

Dr. Stephen Grcevich serves as President and Founder of Key Ministry, a non-profit organization providing free training, consultation, resources and support to help churches serve families of children with disabilities. Dr. Grcevich is a graduate of Northeastern Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), trained in General Psychiatry at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at University Hospitals of Cleveland/Case Western Reserve University. He is a faculty member in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at two medical schools, leads a group practice in suburban Cleveland (Family Center by the Falls), and continues to be involved in research evaluating the safety and effectiveness of medications prescribed to children for ADHD, anxiety and depression. He is a past recipient of the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Dr. Grcevich was recently recognized by Sharecare as one of the top ten online influencers in children’s mental health. His blog for Key Ministry, www.church4everychild.org was ranked fourth among the top 100 children's ministry blogs in 2015 by Ministry to Children.
This entry was posted in Families, Hidden Disabilities, Key Ministry, Mental Health, Resources, Stories and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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