It is my great privilege to offer this special edition of hopeforkip. My dear wife Judy has been my inspiration and encouragement for over 44 years – well before my injury! Here is a transcript of her comments written for a ladies group at our church:
What does it mean to ‘know the Lord’? We use that phrase for ourselves and for others to show that we are really believers. I grew up in a church that taught that you could lose your salvation. Scary. You always were in fear that you weren’t going to make it or that your friends and family had missed the mark.
At an early age I realized that I needed Jesus to save me from my many sins, but it took much longer to realize that He did the work not me. He just wants me to trust Him. That simple fact is the hardest part, to trust Him with every asspect of my life.
Kip and I met while we were in college and were married just before he went into the Navy for flight training. Just before he started the last part of the training he switched to the Naval Investigative Service and we ended up in Norfolk. Through various people and events we started going to Tabernacle Chruch in Norfolk. Dr Dunlap took an interest in Kip and encouraged him to go to Seminary. At the same time there was a special speaker who challenged the congregation to follow the Lord completely. Kip and I were very moved and committed ourselves to follow the Lord in every area of our lives. Though life has had many difficulties we knew that we never wanted anything else but a life that belonged to our Savior.
When Jesus called his disciples he called them to a life of devotion and hardship. In Mark 8 he says: ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’ That is not a prosperity gospel.The Israelites spent forty years following the pillar of fire and the pillar of smoke. They did not know where it would go or where it would stop. They had to obediently follow in faith.
Our life in ministry has not been without problems, problems in the churches we served, problems with our children, problems with the health of family and even death.We have moved more times then we care to think about. We identified with Abraham and Sarah completely. It did not surprise us as that is what Jesus told us would happen in this life. In fact, we thought that maybe we had experienced more then enough.
Five years ago this May we found out that we had only been in training. Kip went out for a 15 miles bicycle ride and came home 13 months later. That eventful ride ended with Kip losing control of his bicycle and landing in a ditch. He knew at once that he was paralyzed and could feel nothing below his shoulders. When I arrived at the scene they were ready to carry him from the ditch. As I stood beside him he told me how sorry he was for me, knowing how it would affect my life. Even then I knew that God had a purpose in this and he would provide for us. I also kept thinking of Joni Erickson and her journey as a quad. If she could serve the Lord from a wheelchair so could Kip.
When he did come home he came driving his wheel chair with his chin and ready to serve the Lord in any way he was called to do so. My role as help-meet has become much greater than before. That year he struggled with multiple infections and amazing adjustments to his new life. I packed my suitcase and lived out of it so that I could be with him almost every day except for going home occasionally to pay bills, get the mail and get a good night’s sleep. When we finally got home, I had to make myself put the red suitcase away, it had become a type of home for me.
Once we got home, Kip’s care has become my full time job. We do have aides to bath, dress etc. but I must manage all the other details. A year and a half ago we made the huge move from New York to Virginia, it was quite the ordeal.
So you ask, how do you do it? I am not going to say that life is a breeze, but I will say that it is okay. We are living a journey that is part of God’s plan. It is a great comfort to know that He is caring for our needs and giving us the strength to continue. I am proud of Kip and his love and devotion to his Savior. I am constantly amazed at what the Lord enables me to do and I can boast about it because it is not my strength, cleverness, or tenacity, but the Lord in me!
Our Lord has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.’ 2 Cor.12:9-10