AHOSKIE – There’s an old saying that when life only gives you lemons, learn how to make lemonade.
Figuratively speaking, Patricia Watford of Ahoskie learned how to make gallons of it in her 55 years.
Plagued by medical problems since birth, Watford’s life took a dramatic turn in March 1998 when an 11-hour operation successfully replaced a kidney and pancreas. Both organs needed to be replaced due to complications from childhood diabetes.
Now, almost 25 years later, Watford believe his life was spared for a reason.
“God allow me to still be here. There are so many people who have had the same transplants as me and who are no longer with us. I guess God still has a plan for me. He has work for me,” she said.
Although he couldn’t work due to vision problems caused by diabetes, that didn’t stop Watford from returning to school. Using magnifying glasses provided by Services for the Blind, she worked towards earning a bachelor’s degree in Christian counseling in September last year through online courses provided by Grace Bible Theological Seminary, located in Rich Square.
She also uses several other aids to improve her vision.
“I carry them around all the time to help me out,” noted Watford, who also got their minister’s license in May last year.
“I didn’t let my poor eyesight get me down. I always insist. Now I want to go back to school and get my Masters in Christian Counseling,” she added.
In the meantime, Watford can be heard on WRCS (97 AM) where she spreads the word of God and offers encouragement to those in need. It is not paid work, but it accepts donations from the public and the faith community to continue its dissemination.
Armed with the master’s degree, Watford wants to open a consultancy business.
“I already do it now, but I want to do it in the school system and I need a master’s degree to qualify for this kind of counseling,” she said. “I have to be a licensed counselor.
“There is always someone who needs advice; someone who needs to lift their spirits with words of encouragement,” she added.
Watford said she reads her Bible every night, looking for verses that offer comfort and love.
“I may not have great eyesight, but I believe God has blessed me with peace, love, joy and compassion. I have God and that’s all I have It encourages me to go out and help people in need.
Watford is also a published author. In 2011 she published a book of poetry – “Reflections: A Great Miracle Through the Storms”.
The poetry, which takes up 116 pages, is listed in chronological order, starting in 1984. Watford said her favorite is on page 47 (My Faith Has Made Me Whole) where she writes: “Over many years of needles and finger pricks, every day something inside kept telling me that the Lord would make a way. Passing out at night, lying close to death, how the Lord saw fit to send someone to find me and help me.
“These poems touch every phase of my life,” said Watford, who uses the pseudonym “Patty P”. “I wrote this book because I feel there are others in my place who need encouragement. The poems were my release…the Lord was my release, he was the answer to all my problems .
This book has recently been reissued with a new cover.
“I plan to write another book. I want to do my autobiography. I want to tell the story of my life, but first I want to finish school. My goal is to finish my degree in the next two years .
In the meantime, she will continue to “make lemonade” with a smile on her face and words of encouragement in her heart.