Journey of a Differently Abled Life Coach
Did you know that a differently abled life coach can offer a unique and inspiring perspective? My name is Susan Pogue. You can call me Sue if you would like. I live in Olmsted Falls which is in northeast Ohio in the United States. I was born in Lakewood, Ohio, also in northeast Ohio. You might think I never left here, but you would be wrong.
Church was not a big thing to my parents. They made sure my brother and I went to Catholic school and church, but they didn’t go. I was baptized when I was nine days old because that is what is done in that religion. At that time, we weren’t allowed to own or read a Bible. Even so, I felt the call of God. I went to church and confession a lot. My first communion was in first grade and I later was confirmed. I even wanted to be a nun.
While the religion is considered Christian, member contact with God was only through a priest. As I grew I needed to know God on a personal level. He was always calling but I didn’t know who He was, what He wanted me to do, or how to reach him. I was asking questions. The problem was I wasn’t getting answers. If you asked a question, their answer was always, “You need to take it on faith.” That wasn’t good enough for me so I finally got kicked out of the religion because I was still asking questions.
Searching for God
That was the best thing that could have happened to me because I went on a spiritual journey to search for God. I didn’t know where to find Him so I tried a lot of different religions. I tried Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, indigenous American Indian, and even Wicca. But I never found Him. I tried mainstream Christian religions like Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, etc. Finally, I was looking in the right places. I got a Bible and started reading.
Unfortunately, that was when Satan showed up in my life. (You would think he would show up in Wicca but he didn’t because he knew I wasn’t going to find Jesus so he didn’t waste his time). I started partying, drinking, doing drugs, was promiscuous, and more. I became a smoker at 9, an alcoholic by 12, and a drug addict by 19. By the age of 20 I was homeless. Thanks to God’s grace, by 21 I was no longer drinking, taking drugs or partying. I was still smoking but at this writing, I stopped that over 10 years ago. Praise God!
I somehow knew God had delivered me so I began reading the Bible again. Like a lot of people who are new to the Bible, I began in Genesis. I saw how God formed everything and put it on the earth, but then what. When I got to chapter three, I gave up.
I worked at a hospital. Every day I would meet a woman for coffee before work. The night before she was always at church, going to church or going to Bible study (a new concept for me). I was confused. Why would anyone do that every day?
Because she didn’t want to get in trouble at work, she never talked to me about God. She would talk about what she did at church the night before. After six weeks of asking, I finally convinced her to give me the address to the church. She agreed to meet me there.
It was an Apostolic Pentecostal church with speaking in tongues and dancing in the Spirit. I had never seen anything like that. And I was amazed but curious. I stayed in the back row (easy access to the door) and hung on to the pew, literally.
It was the first night of a six-week revival. I didn’t know what a revival was but I kept going back because there was something there that was different. I didn’t know what, but I wanted to find out. On night three, one of the ladies invited me to the altar to pray. I had been watching and hadn’t seen anything really scary.
I went. Then I was surprised to find out they were praying for me but these were different prayers than I had ever heard. They were each talking to God. Again, something I had never seen or heard before. That night I accepted Jesus into my life and a few hours later I was baptized. I felt like I was walking on air for three days. I had finally met Jesus and it was wonderful. That was 1980.
Being Called to New Ministry
I didn’t know it but my friend was married to the pastor’s brother and I was thrown into ministry the very first weekend. I was taken out on bus ministry and the outreach minister also taught the new convert’s class. He had me be his assistant. Two years later, in June 1982, I married that minister. He was also the pastor’s identical twin brother. Jimmy was not just a minister but also an evangelist. With my husband, I finally began my biblical education as we traveled to his speaking engagements. I not only learned about God, but I also learned what faith is. They taught me what it means to live by faith and following God’s calling and direction in our life.
I remember there was a national conference in Louisville, Kentucky. My husband had 8 children from his previous marriage (His divorce was biblical). We didn’t have a lot of extra money. Jimmy told me that God told him he needed to go to the conference. I told him we shouldn’t go because we didn’t have the money to go. His answer to me was “IF God is telling us to go there, He will make a way”. To which I replied, “IF?”
We Will Know When We Get There
Somehow, I thought of Sarah. This is fictional but I could see it happening. Picture this: Abraham comes home and tells Sarah, “Honey pack up the tent we’re moving this weekend.” Sarah asks, “Where are we going?” to which Abraham answers, “I don’t know. God said he’ll tell us when we get there.”
Well, we went because my husband and Sarah’s were the heads of our households. It was our husbands’ job to lead where God took them and ours to follow. Abraham’s faith was counted to him for righteousness and I’m sure my husband’s was too. Maybe not as much but still obeying.
Unfortunately, my husband passed in April 1999. Since then God has had me on a wonderful journey. He sent me from Ohio to Florida. I was there for 13 years working with homeless people and also starting an after-school program for low-income children. The after-school program allowed the people to get to know me. As a result, I taught Sunday School in my living room for about 25 children and adults. From there, God took me to Douglas, a small town in southeast Georgia.
Blessings of Many Kinds
The Lord has blessed me with multiple sclerosis. I say “blessed” because it opened up my witness to people I would never have met without the disease. I’ve had it since 1982. It is chronic and incurable but in 2018 the Cleveland Clinic doctors said I have outgrown it. Actually, the immune system slowed down and is no longer attacking my body, which is what MS is. Praise God!
In Douglas, I ended up in a nursing home. I was not only a resident but also a volunteer, visiting other residents who were near the end of their lives. I also taught Bible studies four days a week. My brother came to visit me in November 2018. In February 2019 he told me it was time to come home. I said “No.” (Remember Sarah) Then I went to prayer. Too often I begin with MY answer and then ask God what He thinks. It’s a little backward but at least I do ask. After many discussions with Jesus, I knew I needed to come back to northeast Ohio where it was 36 degrees. To think I had just given my winter coat away and was leaving 86 degrees in Georgia.
Now I am back in Ohio. I am permanently other-abled but not disabled. I live in a nursing home because while I am healed, I also have some physical problems that are best handled here. Yes, I use a wheelchair always. My income is only $50 a month. (No, this is not a plea for money. God and I are doing just fine with what I get.)
Affordable Christian Education
Let me tell you what God is blessing me with and doing in my life now. First, let’s address the wheelchair. Everyone talks to me, so it is easy to talk to them about God. People from my church give me rides so I’m able to attend service. I teach a Bible study at the nursing home on Sunday evenings. On Facebook, I’m doing a Bible study called Family of God Bible Study. I am an admin for three Facebook groups for Christian Leaders Institute students, CLI Student Thursday, CLI Student Thursday Prayer Room, and CLI Student Thursday, Sharing the Good News! As well, I am a volunteer and Mentor Minister through Christian Leaders Alliance. God is good and without him, I could do nothing.
My “disability” allows me access to people I wouldn’t see without the disease. It has brought doctors, nurses, aides, therapists, dietary workers, transportation drivers, and other residents into my life.
I am taking these classes because I want more knowledge so I can teach better lessons as I continue my journey with God. I am so thankful to Christian Leaders Institute/CLC because I can now get the affordable Christian education. For awhile I was looking and taking classes here and there. But now I can really get down to work. May God bless you for the work you are doing. Without CLI/CLC, I could never think about having any kind of a ministry.
I have earned an Associate of Divinity and a Bachelor of Divinity. In addition, I have also earned 3 Diplomas, 5 Certificates, 26 Awards, 11 Christian licenses and ordinations including Associate Chaplain Minister and Associate Minister. I continue to add credentials. I have now become a Certified Life Coach. My plan is to offer free life coaching sessions to my church, first to sharpen my skill at it and most importantly, Matthew 10:8, “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.”
This has been an amazing journey. I have had marvelous professors who are men and women of God. They have not only shared their knowledge with me but they have also demonstrated Christian love and how a Christian should live.