Answered prayer leads to couple's love and marriage
By Bill Stough
BRODHEAD, Ky.--"God has taken good care of me," said Debbie Witt just before her wedding on Sept. 2. "I've learned He's always there even if you think you can't go through your trials."
Miss Witt, now Mrs. Frank Cykowski, is a quadriplegic who was paralyzed in an automobile accident in 1980 at age 19. She moved on after the accident, determined to succeed in life. With the help of her father, she eventually opened and ran an auto-parts store from a building adjacent to her residence.
Mrs. Cykowski has been featured in The Journal (see the Jan. 31, 1999, issue) and in The Louisville Courier Journal. The Louisville paper featured her on page one of the "Kentucky" section for her example in dealing with adversity.
A love story
One hundred seventy-five people from eight states attended the wedding in Berea, Ky.
"We were overwhelmed by the support and loving-kindness shown by those who attended and sent gifts," said Mrs. Cykowski.
"God has good timing in answering prayers," she said. "We just never know when, where or how. Endurance, patience and continued prayers pay off."
Mrs. Cykowski told how she met her husband, Frank.
"I met Bill and Scarlett Stough at the Feast of Tabernacles at Lexington, Ky., in the early '90s," she said. "Bill introduced me to Ronda Oprean through correspondence, and she would write me encouraging letters. Ronda met Frank Cykowski at a church youth camp in 1998. She recommended to Frank that he write to me.
"We started corresponding December of 1998. Frank lived in Chicago at that time. He visited me August of 2000. For some reason I missed him instantly when he left."
Mrs. Cykowski had prayed for more than 17 years that God would help her find someone as a life mate who would "look beyond my disability."
"I got to thinking at one point that maybe there is no one for me, and then it hit me. I asked God, 'Surely, out of all of the millions of people in this world You can find one man for me.' Several years later, when I was least expecting it, Frank came along."
God has "good timing," said Mrs. Cykowski. The trials she has undergone, though difficult and frequently traumatic, have made her a better wife, she believes.
"I feel God wanted me to wait until I'd learned things. I needed to learn to be patient. I had to learn to not just want my own way."
Evolving concern for a sister
The Journal asked Frank Cykowski how it all happened.
"My initial concern for Debbie was as a sister in Christ," he said. "She was not able to go to church regularly, so I decided to visit her and do what I could myself. I drove the 425 miles from Chicago to Mount Vernon, Ky., and spent some Sabbaths with her. We'd play sermon tapes and discuss the Bible. I did this several times."
He then introduced her to the Living Church of God congregation in Berea. Until then she had attended as a member of the United Church of God congregation in London, Ky. He arranged for someone to pick her up every week to take her to church.
Frank tells what in Debbie he found so attractive.
"She has a deep inner beauty," he said. "She sets people at ease. It's very pleasant being around her. She just radiates something, and I love her very much. There is something about her character. Everybody wants to help her. Her positive reputation in this community is astonishing."
Mrs. Cykowski radiates her "inner beauty" when she meets people, he said. People tend to confide in her.
"Here she is in a wheelchair and people open up to her. They bare their souls."
Mr. Cykowski's interests are similar.
"I am trained in clinical psychology and earned my living in that field," he said. "I entered that field because I wanted to help people."
Also, he has noticed, when Debbie prays God listens--and answers.
Coaching and vending
Though Mr. Cykowski holds a master's degree in clinical psychology, he grew disillusioned with that field for reasons that included "exaggerated fees."
So for seven years he coached high-school football and began a medical vending business in the Chicago area.
After he was baptized in 1997 and became a member of the old Global Church of God, he reentered social work as a "house parent" for abused and neglected children. "This is the kind of work that God would be more approving of," he said.
My new Kentucky home
After the wedding, the couple moved to Brodhead, 20 miles from Mrs. Cykowski's former home. She no longer runs the auto-parts store, but it was not doing well financially anyway. She hopes to do accounting for clients from her home.
Mr. Cykowski had hoped to work as a schoolteacher or start a vending business in Kentucky, but, if he earns more than $617 per month Mrs. Cykowski's vital state aid and health care will be cut. So he spends full time, at least for now, taking care of his new wife.
"I think this is what God wants me to do," said Mr. Cykowski. "It's what I like doing, and there is nothing like having someone care for you who loves you.
"We have been going for walks all over town, sometimes for hours. Debbie, of course, remains in the wheelchair. We meet neighbors who start opening up to us. They call and come over continuously.
"One neighbor had just lost her husband of 60 years. 'What am I going to do?' she asked us. Debbie empathizes with people, so they open up. They seem to do it with me too. We let people talk."
Mr. Cykowski looks at their house and the town they live in and wonders how it all happened.
They can't live in the house much longer, however, because their landlord plans to sell it.
"We'll have to move again," he said. "We hope God will open a home we can buy nearby, but He must provide financing. God can do that."
At the wedding Ronda Oprean sang "Why Not Me?," made popular by the Judds. One line says, "Your Kentucky girl has been waiting for you." Mr. Cykowski says he likes that line.
Write to Frank and Debbie Cykowski at P.O. Box 182, Brodhead, Ky. 40409, U.S.A., or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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