Ellen was born with spina bifida in 1941, long before many of the medical advances that now mitigate the health challenges connected with spina bifida.
She endured numerous difficult surgeries as a young person and survived all the way into her 80s. In fact, Ellen was recognized as the oldest living person with spina bifida. She was very active in helping to shape the policy of the National Spina Bifida Association. With her husband Larry, they raised two sons and enjoyed being grandparents.
As she became more frail over the years, Ellen could have easily let the daily challenges of aging with a disability narrow her focus. Instead, she and Larry invested their energies as volunteers and powerful prayer warriors supporting our outreach at Joni and Friends Texas. (Here’s a picture of the two of us dressed as princesses at Family Retreat where Ellen served on the prayer team).
Every summer at the beginning of each Family Retreat, Ellen and her prayer team would move about the campus and pray over each room and every family.
Her gentle spirit always moved me, and I considered her a woman of Titus 2:3-4 for the way “the older women can teach the younger.”
Her example of persevering through every challenge, her passionate approach to prayer, and her unflappable enthusiasm for life were a constant source of encouragement to me.
Just recently, Jesus called Ellen Dibler to her home in heaven, and I know many will miss this faithful servant of God.
For as long as I knew her, I wanted to be like her “when I grew up.” Please join me in praying for Ellen’s family and all who were impacted by her love over the years. And if you have a memory you’d like to share about how you were blessed by Ellen, be sure to do so on the Joni and Friends Texas Facebook page.