God did that!” is a phrase I heard several times as I visited with Phyllis Kik this month. Phyllis has seen God’s hand in her life from an early age, and she shares stories of His glorious work in her life with the same joy and purpose as the beautiful, brightly colored flowers in her front garden. With genuine joy, Phyllis shared with me a snapshot of her life—from her faith in God and the ways He’s cared for her, to her love of fun earrings and good books. Have you visited with her? You should! You will find yourself encouraged and uplifted.
Phyllis spent her early life in Boston, where she lived with her parents and sister. She enjoyed church activities, on which her family placed a high priority, Sunday walks with her father, and bike rides. With twinkling eyes, she described what a wonderful man her father was, and what nice times they had together. She also spoke affectionately of Camp Cathedral Pines, where she spent eight weeks of her summer every year! Swimming in lakes and rivers, doing camp activities, and generally feeding her sense of adventure all prepared Phyllis for the life God had planned for her.
Church always played a central role in Phyllis’ life. She sang in the church choir from the earliest age she could, and also played piano. She still enjoys singing in choir, and is great fun to be next to in the alto section of the Evangel choir! From a young age, Phyllis remembers a very deep and steady desire to be a pastor’s wife. “And you DID marry a pastor! What did you do to accomplish that goal?” I asked, without thinking. She enthusiastically replied, “God did that!” As our conversation continued, that phrase emerged as a major theme in the masterpiece of Phyllis’s life.
God brought Frank to Gordon College near her hometown, and placed him and his friends in an apartment that was on the same floor as her church’s music director. The music director invited them to church, where they practiced with the choir immediately. Being a bass, he was seated directly behind Phyllis, an alto, and they developed a friendship. He continued attending her church, and they nurtured their relationship. They married when Frank had six years of school to go, so Phyllis used the skills she had gained during high school business classes to get a job that would support them until his education at Gordon Seminary was finished. God’s hand can be seen in each part of Phyllis’ life, from her hobbies to her long-term goals. God did that!
When asked who were some of the most influential people in her life, she mentioned her childhood pastor, Ken McCowan. He, his wife, and their four children had a profound impact on Phyllis’ life and development. She said all of the pastors of her childhood church were outstanding, but Ken and his family were so devoted to the ministry of the Gospel that they got to know the people of their church and offered genuine kindness and concern, in addition to sound teaching. This would prove to be invaluable as Phyllis and Frank dated and got married—Pastor McCowan and his wife remained close to them, mentoring them as they learned about being married. God did that!
Upon Frank’s graduation, Frank and Phyllis went to New York City, where he pastored a church in Queen’s Village. Five years later, they moved to pastor a church in Buffalo, New York. Five years after that, they accepted a pastoral position here in Wichita, where they stayed for 18 years. After 18 years in Wichita, Frank and Phyllis were called to a church in Indianapolis, where he pastored for three and a half years. The last 13 years of Frank’s career were spent as a professor of preaching at Reformed Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he was dearly loved as a friend and professor. Phyllis spoke fondly of each church she has ever been a part of, and clearly took her role as a pastor’s wife seriously. As is true for all of us, there were times of deep loneliness for Phyllis, but God was faithful, and Phyllis was able to rely on Him to bring her through it. Isaiah 43:2 says,
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.”
It’s written in His Word, and God did that! He is trustworthy!
Together, Frank and Phyllis raised two sons and one daughter, and there are now seven grandchildren! The key, Phyllis says, to life as a mother is daily devotions. Time spent in prayer and in God’s word can change the landscape of a day, and Phyllis learned that it was worth it to get up before the children were up and spend time with the Lord. Phyllis is familiar with the mental and emotional struggles of loneliness, and she is also familiar with physical pain, as she had thirteen surgeries in ten years dealing with an illness which caused a great deal of pain. During this time, she continued to hang on to Isaiah 43:2 and Proverbs 3:5-6. She is thankful for these struggles because, through them, God has given her the ability to empathize, befriend, and comfort those in pain. God did that!
Throughout our visit, Phyllis expressed joy, gratitude, and an extraordinary sense of all that God has done in her life. She expresses deep gratefulness for God’s direction and care for her, and that He has placed people in her path who have invested in her life through friendship, prayer, teaching, and encouragement. The Lord has blessed Phyllis in these ways, and He has blessed our Evangel family with Phyllis!