She Overcame Adult Illiteracy and Changed Her Life

A mother and grandmother takes the courageous step to improve her limited reading and spelling skills and reclaims her life in the process.

Read Lisa's inspiring story from the November 2017 issue of Guideposts!

I was afraid to let anyone know that I had trouble reading because I was I'd be judged, and it was just easier for me to keep that to myself.

Hello, my name is Lisa Patterson. My difficulties reading affected my life to the point that it made life a struggle every day. I didn't have a problem getting a job, I was having a problem ... well, not even getting promoted in a job--my fear of someone knowing that I had problems reading and spelling, I didn't know anyone to know that so it was easier for me to back down out of a job or quit a job or just turn it down because that was my secret. I didn't want to share it with anyone.

My relationship with God was affected because I prayed, I believed and I just didn't undersand why, of all the things that could happen to me, that was it. That affected the way I helped my children with their schoolwork, it affected my finances, it affected every aspect of my life. So I was real upset with Him because I just couldn't figure out why He did that to me or why wasn't He helping me find help. 

I'm getting older and my life wasn't going anywhere. I was still just the kids' mother, the sergeant's wife; I wanted my own identity and I wanted that to help me grow. I wanted my independence.

I did not give up on my literacy classes because of my husband. My husband is my rock, and he helps me, he gets whatever I need. He sits with me, he studied with me, he'd go over words with me, and that gave me hope. And then I was getting it, I was actually getting what she was saying at the class. I was, like, "I'm actually learning this; I can do this."

And then it's my kids and my grandkids. I can actually help my grandchildren now. I read to them at night and help with homework; I missed that with my children after a certain age. I wasn't able to do that with them. And now it's like God's given me a second chance.

Now that I'm more of a confident reader, it has changed my life because I'm not as afraid as I used to be. I had such a big fear of someone finding out that I was having problems reading and spelling, and I just didn't know if I'd be able to handle it if that got out. Now, that's who I am. I'm working on it, God's working on me, so I'm trying and it's getting better, so that's where my confidence is coming from.

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