Sheila Purcell

When I was a kid every night before I went to sleep, mum or dad would ask us the one thing that had made us happy that day. They would tell me how important it was to be grateful for the good things in life, even on a bad day there was usually one small piece of goodness.
So seeing the glass always half full became part of my very existence. It has seen me through some traumatic times when I lost my 5 babies, my divorce, the death of my last partner and the death of my parents. At those times I felt I had little to be grateful for, when I lost my babies it was my parents were the ones who found that glimmer of hope for me.
When I became sick and had to face the fact that I have a limited time left. I remember I left the hospital and sat by the sea, begging God for bravery and acceptance of my situation. God granted my plea and I thank him every day.
I’m grateful for my son John my rainbow baby. All his life I’ve watched him struggle initially with a fight for his life at his very premature birth, and then overcoming the problems his birth at 29 weeks had caused. He is a funny, compassionate loving individual, I’m so proud of his job as a critical care coordinator for turning tides. I’m so grateful that was at the Elim night shelter where he helped and gave him the passion to pursue his career.
I’m grateful for my friends, I won’t name them all or this would be a very long piece of writing. They know who they are, these last few years would have been so much harder without their love and support.
I’m grateful for the career I had as a residential social worker, working with very damaged, lost and occasionally very violent teenagers. It was an honour to touch the lives of these young people, I am pleased to say 5 that the teenagers found me and I’m in regular contact they are all adults with children of their own, life hasn’t been easy for them but I feel most of them are winning.
Moving into the church will naturally lead me to God
This church, this family is something else, I’m eternally grateful to Bernard who encouraged me to try Elim. This church gives me roots and support, like any family we’re all different yet somehow we manage to rock along with each other, sharing good times and bad, and showing each other love in big and small ways.
Now the big one God, always save the best to last! I am immeasurably grateful to him. Let me try and explain that, he’s held, carried and guided me when I’ve been heartbroken, unable to see a way forward.
He has listened and forgiven me with angry prayers, blaming prayers, and always right there when I’ve turned my back on him. To try and rationalise the eternal love he has for me is impossible he chooses just a woman, no one special, full of flaws and failings, he listens to me, he made me a one-off, I can’t put into words how that makes me feel I can’t comprehend how he does it, by his grace I am me and that’s enough. And when he calls me home, I will skip all the there, knowing all the bad things, sickness, pain, and loss are gone forever I finally will be truly home, see I’ve so much to say thank you for.