Author and speaker Jean Abbott will be sharing her message of courage, forgiveness and faith at Zion United Church of Christ in Le Sueur on Sunday, Jan. 19, during the 9 a.m. worship service. Zion is located at 240 Elmwood Ave. in Le Sueur.
When she was a young child growing up in Minnesota, an internationally known medical expert diagnosed Abbott with spastic diplegia. It was a form of cerebral palsy, which caused her feet and knees to not function properly and made walking extremely difficult. For 33 years, she went through surgeries, treatments, physical therapy, wheelchairs, and body casts, only to discover that she had been misdiagnosed. A simple drug therapy allowed her to live a normal life.
One might have expected Abbott to be angry and bitter about so many years of needless suffering. Yet, through it all, Abbott learned to appreciate the little things in life. In her faith, she found the power to forgive.
She wrote: “I can’t help but think of my physical abnormality as a gift from God.... I learned to fight, work hard, and conquer what was possible. Don’t feel sorry for me. Even if I had the chance, I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Abbott will give a brief sermon during the 9 a.m. service and a full presentation following the worship during the coffee hour. Her book, “Misdiagnosed: My Thirty-Year Struggle with a Debilitating Disorder I Never Had,” will be available for purchase.
Abbott’s story offers life lessons for us as well: learning to accept the circumstances that life hands us, withholding judgments based on appearances, letting go of the past and forgiveness, and living and celebrating each day as a gift from God.
Abbott has shared her story on the national stage, including the Today Show. Jean has endured the “trial of Job” and lives a life of incredible thankfulness, forgiveness and inspirational gratefulness.