Written by Jeff DeClue
Copyright © 2002
Acts chapter 20 references Jesus’ assertion that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” As Christians, we are challenged to rise above a consumer mentality, and to give of our time, talent and treasure in order to glorify God and further His Kingdom. Sherri Connell ’85 is an extraordinary example of a follower who understands and applies this principle.
Sherri Connell lives a life that is far from envious. Sherri struggles daily with disabling fatigue, pain, memory loss, paralysis, blurred vision and cognitive difficulties, just to name a few of her painful symptoms. Following years of anguish, she realized that although her disabilities caused by Multiple Sclerosis and Lyme Disease were unmistakable to her, they were indiscernible to those around her. While trying to overcome and conquer these invisible disabilities, Sherri lost friends and family members who struggled to understand how someone who “looks fine” could be so sick. Depression and anger were just two of the emotions that she had to overcome due to her isolation and pain.
As a result of her struggle, Sherri began writing in her journal about living with a debilitating illness. Copies were later handed out to to loved ones in hopes they could understand her fight with these invisible disabilities. Over time, her husband Wayne suggested posting her writings in a website; this site has evolved into a nationally renowned ministry, IDA – The Invisible Disabilities Advocate. Wayne and Sherri’s website, www.invisibledisabilities.com serves as a comforting resource to hundreds of thousands of people around the world. The website encourages others who struggle with these trials, and it also provides their loved ones with a place to understand the medical and emotional impact of these disabilities.
IDA has served as a platform for Wayne and Sherri to minister around the world. Writings from her journal have been printed by notable organizations such as The Lupus Foundation of America, Queensland ME Quarterly, MS Society of Great Britain, OBGYN.net website, Canadian RSD Network, Moody magazine, Kwantlen Chronicle of Vancouver and the Gloucester Daily Times. In addition, on the website, Sherri shares her faith in Jesus Christ openly and honestly. Viewers from around the world have found the website and have responded with tears and gratitude that someone has finally explained the pain they have been living with for years.
Growing up, Sherri had very different goal and ambitions than she has today. However, it is evident that God has used this extraordinary alumna of Colorado Christian University to transform the lives of others through The Invisible Disabilities Advocate. In short, despite her overwhelming life fight with Multiple Sclerosis and Lyme Disease, Sherri has experienced the blessing of giving, and is impacting the world for Christ.
Alumni Profile – Sherri Connell. Alumni Connections. Journey Magazine. Colorado Christian University. Issue: Fall 2002.