TO BE CONTENT
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Phillipians 4:11-13 (ESV)
At the October meeting of the Deborah Circle, some of the books from the United Methodist Women reading list in past years were offered to members to read. I picked Sum It Up, a memoir by Pat Summitt (with assistance from Sally Jenkins). Pat Summitt, the only person to win an Olympic medal as a player (silver, 1972) and coach (gold, 1984), was the coach of womens’ basketball at the University of Tennessee for 38 years. At UT, she had 8 national championships, 18 NCAA Final Four appearances, and 32 conference championships. Every student athlete in those years completed her degree. In 2012, Ms. Summitt received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She knew how to abound, having such a large number of accomplishments!
The Bible verse above was Pat Summitt’s favorite. She was a life-long United Methodist, having been raised in the Mount Carmel UMC near her parents’ farm:
There, we learned to worship with a simple gratitude to God and affection for Christ.
We were taught that you did not talk about faith; you showed it through kindness to
neighbors, and humility, the recognition that none of us was more valuable than another.
In August, 2011, at the peak of her career, Pat Summitt was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease at age 59. With help from her assistant coaches, she was able to complete the 2011-2012 basketball season but then needed to retire. She learned to be content away from basketball and shared her situation publicly, just as she had shared the earlier abundance of honors. The book was written after Pat’s diagnosis and covers all the highs and lows of her life, and her strong faith. She entered Eternal Life in June, 2016, at age 64.
Prayer: Jesus, we seek contentment through the strength promised to those who believe. Through You, we can do all things. Amen.