Meet Kaye Barrier

Meet Kaye Barrier

This month’s “Woman of Character” was nominated by Marsha McCollum. The following is an excerpt from her nomination letter:

Kaye Barrier could definitely be described as a “Woman of Character!” Despite a horrible car accident which left her paralyzed from the waist down at the young age of 16, Kaye has managed to overcome this great “barrier” in her life through faith…I first met her when she reached out to a dear friend of mine who was suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease. She helped lead a Bible study each week at the friend’s home instilling hope amid the suffering. She is currently serving as the Assistant Lecturer of Community Bible Study, which meets weekly at Ocean Drive Presbyterian Church where Kaye is an active member…She started what she calls her “Backyard Ministry” for her grandchildren and some of the neighborhood kids. After the children gather in her garage and have a snack, they work on their homework and hear Bible stories from Kaye. Her life speaks volumes!

Meeting Kaye is a humbling experience. A light shines from within this remarkable woman. She has been in a wheelchair for 46 years, surviving (and thriving) much longer than most, and, to complicate matters, she has developed a syndrome common to people with spinal cord injuries that is slowly taking more and more of her movement away. In spite of these circumstances, Kaye, through her strong faith, spends her days helping others without a trace of self-pity.

Tell us a little about life after your accident.

I was so young and could not comprehend what was happening and what my life was going to be like. There were many dark days, and I tried to commit suicide many times. I am a born again Christian, and finally I cried out to God in total desperation – “I cannot do this!” That cry was answered, and I began to focus on what I had rather that what I had lost. I began my own personal boot camp in my mind. I accepted that I would no longer be the bouncing cheerleader, but rather the girl on the sidelines in a wheelchair. But, I was alive; I had eyes to see and ears to hear. God had left me a voice, and I made a conscious choice to use that voice.

You reach out to those in need. Is there one experience that stands out; one you’ll never forget?

There have been many, but I’ll have to say the most recent one that Marsha mentioned. This beautiful woman, our dear friend, was suddenly stricken with this disease. I can relate to the suddenness of it; one day you’re normal and the next day life will never be the same. I knew I wanted to reach out to her and didn’t know if I had anything to give her except friendship; friendship and hope. And to help her not to believe in what she saw, but to believe in what she knew. She knew that God was with her. I really don’t feel like I gave anything through this, actually I received much more than I could have ever given.

Marsha mentions your “Backyard Ministry.” How did that get started?

I had never worked with children in ministry, except with my own children, but the Lord gave me this idea that children need to know that life is all about fully relying on God. This program, F.R.O.G., is not my idea, but we use it with the children. We have transformed our garage into a classroom, and my backyard has a tree house, a trampoline, a water slide and there’s fishing and canoeing in the lake. God gave us this house to use for His ministry.

Kaye, how do you maintain such a positive attitude?

I believe that my circumstances have allowed me to tap into inner power that that I would have otherwise never had. I am alive, and I am happy. Forty-six years is a long time to do anything, and when I look at where I was in the beginning, and where I am now, I am very grateful for all that I have. Every day is a brand new slate, and I believe that I am what I think I am, so I am constantly in the pursuit of being thankful. We all can be pulled down by the stuff in our life, but we also have the opportunity to flip that and say, “So what!” I have no power over the circumstances, but I do have power in my life.

Kaye lives in a beautiful home in North Myrtle Beach with her mother, daughter and grandchildren.

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One Response to “Meet Kaye Barrier”

  1. Liz McStay says:

    I love the Bible class concept. If you ever want to hook up to one on the phone, its awesome! Right now: Be Ye Transformed, latter another. You are a great inspiration. Blessings! Liz

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