Pat Murphy is a faithful friend, spunky grandma, loving wife and mom, and servant to the Lord. She thinks “outside the box” all the time. When asked to share five words that best describe her, she came up with six! Those words are:
Pat is all these things and more. She shares that the best things in her life right now are “participating in activities with my family, including my church family. Hearing from my children about the adventures of being a parent, experiencing their children's first steps, first tooth lost, and their children building relationships with Jesus in their own churches...” She loves just being a grandparent.
She also loves watching parents bring their young child to church for the first time, seeing the pride and awe as they place their child in the preschool and knowing that she may have an opportunity to renew friendship in many of their lives as these are the second generation of children that she has been privileged to help guide spiritually at church.
She also loves her family dearly. She and her husband, Jerry, “have three beautiful daughters and three sons-in-law who have blessed us with nine grandchildren, ranging from 6 year old twin granddaughters to a grandson of 21 who is a recent college graduate. We grandparent long distance as our oldest daughter and family live in south eastern Oklahoma; our middle daughter's family lives in Georgia; and the youngest daughter and family live in southwestern Oklahoma. My husband retired a few years ago after spending 38 years with the department of defense and we now enjoy long walks, hunting (actually I walk while he hunts), fishing, sitting on the front porch, travel, visiting with neighbors, and spending time with our family. We both enjoy working in our yard and being outdoors.”
As a child, Pat dreamed of working with children. She says, “I always dreamed I'd be a mom who had a houseful of children to nurture and love. At one point I thought I might want to be a houseparent for children without homes.” Her dad’s job required lots of moving, and in her positive way, Pat saw this as an opportunity that provided her with the privilege of attending school in many different states. This also gave her the opportunity to meet and form friendships continually. She graduated from high school in Oklahoma City and attended college in what was then Central State University, majoring in education with an emphasis in early childhood. She says, “My direction in ministry was guided as I took courses offered through the seminary extension programs of Southwestern. God continues to challenge me to read, attend seminars, and listen to Godly men and women who have experience and wisdom in helping families learn more about God's plan for their lives.”
Pat remembers that she first felt God’s call to ministry when she was a youth at Falls Creek. She recalls, “I felt God was calling me to a special work. I came back to my church and shared in our small church that I felt I had been called to serve however, I had no idea as to exactly what, but it was clear that God had a special plan for me and that it would include working with children.”
In her role as Director of Preschool Ministries for Edmond's First Baptist Church, Pat’s main focus is “assisting families in finding a place to worship, serve, and grow as Christians.” She is working to build a church based education program to guide children into an understanding of who God is and the discovery of the plans He has for each individual person. She loves helping families connect with other families that have similar values and goals as they parent children in all stages of life, whether it be as a first time parent, single parent, or grandparents raising children. It is her goal to “provide a support for parents to help instill in their child a desire to form a strong relationship with Jesus Christ, and to create a warm inviting climate where boys and girls of all ages want to participate in activities that make them laugh, learn, and desire to build a relationship with Jesus. She works daily to provide materials for parents and children that meet their constantly changing needs.
When asked to tell us about her favorite books, Pat replied, “Of course the Bible is top in the list as it provides a guide for my daily life. Proverbs is one of my favorite books, a chapter a day keeps me seeking more. Barbara Johnson's books such as Fresh Elastic for Stretched-out Moms, Stick a Geranium in Your Hat and Be Happy!, I'm So Glad You Told Me What I Didn't Wanna Hear, and others. I like these because they make me laugh and they relate to different stages of life for all families. I also enjoy reading a variety of children's books.”
Pat’s all time favorite foods are “anything chocolate,” Italian food, and fresh baked breads. She says, “I love to bake different kinds of breads experimenting with different textures. Kneading bread is a good way to think through what the future hours or days may bring.” She admires Helen Keller and enjoys her biography “as it is a reminder that there are no throw away people.” Pat firmly believes that God has a plan for everyone. “Alone, we can do so little – together we can do so much,” is a favorite quote from Keller’s biography. That is such a true reflection of the church and its members.
Pat is usually smiling, so it was harder to pin down things that don’t make her smile, rather than things that do, but she provided a short list of some of her favorites. She said, “My husband makes me smile as he reminds me of the blessings we receive daily. People make me smile as I see their successes. Children, just being themselves without any pretense make me smile.” Making her laugh isn’t a difficult task, either. She says that her family and friends help her laugh, not just at a funny story, but things in life. “I laugh as I spend time with children as they enjoy life, from looking at a flower for the first time to climbing a hill just because it is there.
I laugh at a funny story, or movie, occasionally a whimsical e-mail sent by a friend, playing games with children including my own grandchildren, and an occasional ride on a backyard swing.”
When asked about her goals and dreams, she replied, that she hopes to:
- Establish within our church and community a place for families to connect and discover God's plan for their lives on an individual basis.
- Events and programs designed to help boys and girls, along with their parents, to work deliberately to hide God's word in their hearts with an understanding of His word and His plan for their lives.
- Help Edmond's First Baptist Church become the "hub" for children's and preschool activities that revolve around keeping Christ as the center of all that is done.
Pat had already given this subject much thought and prayer and she added, “God has worked in my life over the past few months to give me a desire to stretch and do more toward helping families in several areas including these:
- My prayers have been redirected toward not just planning programs or events, but creating environments that provide activities that will make a difference in the lives of families at church and throughout the community.
- Elementary age children still are formulating values and need mentors to help them make good decisions based on God's word.
- Parents are searching for answers and need a person to listen, provide resources, and be an advocate for them and their child.
- God has given me insight and new direction for keeping focused on what is important – not just the routine stuff of life.”
Pat says she’s learned lately that “God is ever present and His desire for every person is to know Him more fully – in every aspect of life. His plan includes a constant stretch to reach new goals. God is the same today, yesterday and will be in the future.”
Today Pat is most thankful for “Life and the constant change along with the knowledge that God is God and His plans are perfect.” When asked what one sentence she would share with someone that had the potential to change that person’s life she easily replied, “Read God's word to discover His plan and purpose for life.”
Just as Pat had trouble choosing only five words to describe herself, she also chose more than one favorite Bible verse. She would like to share the following verses with us:
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths."
"Teach a youth about the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it."
"Only be on your guard and diligently watch yourselves, so that you don't forget the things your eyes have seen and so that they don't slip from your mind as long as you live. Teach them to your children and your grandchildren."