“Janice C. Loar: Weakness Is Her Strength,” Ensign, Jan. 1990, 68
When Jan Loar (then Jan Christensen) turned fifteen, she contracted polio. She can still remember the despair she felt as a teenage girl who loved sports—especially running and dancing—and had hopes of becoming a mother.
“They put me in the iron lung at the hospital,” Jan remembers, “and I wondered why I couldn’t just die. There didn’t seem to be anything to live for. My whole life was physical—doing things.”
It was then that her patriarchal blessing became a spiritual guide. “My blessing promised me that my supreme calling in life would be motherhood,” Jan explains. “This gave me my only hope. So I set my heart on getting out of that iron lung, out of the hospital, and on with my life.”
In nine months, Jan was out of the hospital and immersed in many projects. Though she did not feel sorry for herself, she did everything with great difficulty because she had limited use of her arms and hands and legs. She had so little strength and such little control over her muscles that even reading a book was an arduous task.
Then a special stand was provided with which Jan could read the scriptures. She found that one passage continually fortified her faith and determination. It was the parable of the mustard seed.
Today, the seed of faith she planted then has grown into a fruitful tree: children. Silver-haired Janice Loar is the mother of seven. Her faith and determination are now combined with her husband Marvin’s as they face some of life’s most difficult challenges.
In 1981, while Marvin was transporting Boy Scouts home from an outing, a drunk driver smashed their car, critically injuring Marvin and killing two of their sons, ages eleven and twelve. Without bitterness, Jan continues to listen to promptings that assure her of mortality’s invaluable though painful lessons.—Lona Shelley Hardy, Mesa, Arizona