There are so many amazing people in our community, going through hard stuff, navigating life, and making a difference along the way. We want to introduce them to you so you can be encouraged, inspired and above all, know that you aren’t alone.
Meet Jolene Philo. Today’s featured Wednesday Warrior. Read along to hear more of her powerful story and how God has been “reframing” it along the way.
What life challenges have you/are you overcoming?
My mother, siblings, and I cared for my father as he battled multiple sclerosis for 38 years. My husband and I raised a son with medical special needs. Now I am one of my 90-year-old mother’s caregivers. My biggest challenge in all those relationships is healthy grieving. It’s easy to handle grief in one of two unhealthy ways: either refusing to acknowledge and deal with it or wallowing in it and allowing it to consume my days.
What is something that most people don’t know about you, but you want them to know?
In high school, I wanted to become an actor. I chose the more sensible path of becoming a teacher, but did a lot of community theater. Once I became a writer storytelling scratched that itch, and I don’t miss acting at all.
How has God helped you “Reframe” your perspective along the way?
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve seen how God orchestrated my life to lead me to special needs writing and ministry. Through my personal experience, professional training, and my gifts and talents, God has equipped me for what I do now.
What is your super-power?
My negative superpower is making everything about me. My positive superpower is organized creativity.
What good has come out of your trial?
I have wonderful (though not typical) childhood memories of growing up with Dad. Our son is an independent adult, and he has two adorable children. My husband and I have a stronger marriage because of what we’ve endured, and our faith is stronger. Every day, I connect with and encourage young parents who are dealing with the same issues we faced. Many of my dearest friends are in special needs ministry. I could go on and on and on.
How has your faith changed along the way?
My faith is much stronger because I can look back and see God with our family every step of the way. I’m more willing to take up challenges because I trust God to open and shut doors as needed.
How has God used your story?
My family’s story is part of every book, speaking engagement, blog post, and connection I make with special needs families. I stand amazed at how He continues to use it.
What is a highlight of your story?
For 2019, the highlight has to be co-authoring with Dr. Gary Chapman on Sharing Love Abundantly in Special Needs Families: The 5 Love Languages ® for Parents Raising Children with Disabilities. I never would have predicted that!
Where can people find you?