Mighty Warrior and Servant of God
Tanya Reece is strikingly beautiful, very petite in stature, soft-spoken, and gentle in her ways but within her heart, spirit, and soul she is a mighty warrior and servant of God!
Tanya was born on December 27, 1946, to Arthur and Dorothy Shedrow. She and her four siblings were raised on a farm in Winamac, Indiana. Tanya was always very quiet and very shy. The family went to church occasionally throughout her childhood, but she recalls going to church often with their neighbor man. He would pick Tanya and her brothers and sisters up to take them to church with him. Even though Tanya did not go to church regularly, she knows she always prayed.
When Tanya was eighteen years old she went through some difficult times in her life; her parents divorced and Tanya moved to Hammond, Indiana, where she spent a lot of time by herself. She would walk to and from Morton High School each day and along her route she would pass this little quaint Nazarene church. Something in her heart drew her to that little church but yet each day she just passed by, never going in. One weekend her sister Sheryl came to visit her, and they decided to go to that little church where they met an older pastor and his wife, Brother and Sister Allison. After Sheryl returned home Tanya did return to the little church by herself but just two or three more times.
One evening Brother and Sister Allison knocked on Tanya’s door. While visiting, they asked her if she would like to give her heart to the Lord, and she answered, “Yes.” At that they all knelt on the floor by a chair and Tanya asked the Lord for His forgiveness and He saved her! This experience encouraged her heart so much as she had been going through such a hard time. Brother and Sister Allison blessed Tanya abundantly by leading her into a personal relationship with her Savior. Not long after this Tanya graduated from high school and moved to Marion, Indiana, to be closer to her sister and her aunt. She lost contact with the Allisons, but she always remembered what they did for her.
Tanya’s family grew larger over time as her mother remarried and had two more children, giving Tanya another brother and sister.
As the years went on Tanya continued her relationship with the Lord but found it had become more like she was living by the law or the rules of the church to get into heaven. Her church was very loving but also very rigid. It wasn’t until after she was married and into her thirties that she began to attend this church where she learned there was more to religion than the rigid law.
Tanya was employed at the Marion VA for thirty-one years where she began as an LPN. She later became a physical therapy assistant so she could have a more consistent work schedule which was so helpful while raising her son. Tanya continued to hold her physical therapy assistant license even after her retirement.
Tanya decided to take a part-time job at Ivanhoe’s after being retired from the VA for two years. She needed something to get her out of the house and moving. It definitely got her moving as it was a very busy, fast-paced job where she fell in love with the people and stayed for the next ten years.
In 1992, twenty-five years ago, Tanya was diagnosed with cervical cancer. The doctor did not recommend surgery because of her age and the fact that the cancer was fast-growing so the battle plan became radiation treatments.
She was healed and was cancer-free for two years! She was then diagnosed with cancer a second time. It was found in a lymph node near her kidney. This time she did undergo surgery along with chemotherapy and more radiation treatments. Tanya stated very pointedly with no hesitation, “Twenty-five years ago God healed me! The cancer was fast-growing and it had spread outside of the contained area. I am so blessed because He healed me!”
Two years ago, in 2015, Tanya was diagnosed with cancer a third time. This is when she began her battle with uterine cancer. The sixty radiation treatments she had endured in the past had caused extensive scar tissue, so surgery was not an option. Tanya, in her always positive and courageous way, began chemotherapy treatment again. This time was different as she became very ill with pneumonia and anemia. She continued to grow weaker, and it was at this point she made the decision not to receive additional chemotherapy. In discussing this decision with her doctor, she asked him what he would recommend if she were his mother. He agreed with Tanya’s decision to stop treatment.
Tanya then began receiving palliative care. She was given medication for her nausea, her low energy level, and to improve her appetite. This made such a difference in how she felt, and she was so thankful for it. At the time of her interview on October 31, 2017, Tanya shared that she still had cancer growing slowly in her with a couple of tiny spots on her liver. She said even with this knowledge she would continue to pray for healing and she would continue to thank the Lord for healing. Tanya also shared that she did not know what her future held, but she was going to continue to praise Him for His goodness to her.
Tanya did her best to be thankful. She had formed the habit of thanking Him more each day for every little blessing, from receiving a card from a friend to seeing a beautiful tree. Tanya shared, “You know we all have to go sometime. I still have hope that I will be healed and I’m trying to enjoy life as much as I can. His healing was such a blessing to me twenty-five years ago, but even in the life I have now I know I am blessed! It has drawn me closer to Him.” Tanya shared she would love to be here as long as possible to do just a little more for her family, especially her mother, husband, son, and granddaughter, but she knows the Lord will be here for them as He has always been for her.
Tanya and Roger were married on August 10, 1968. They celebrated 49 years of marriage together. They have two daughters and a son, DeAnna (Doug) Asscherick, Trena Langlands, and Jason (Heather) Reece. They also have seven grandchildren, Rikki, Trevor, Russell, Briana, Blake, Trent, and Chelsie. Their daughters live out of state and their son Jason lives in Swayzee, Indiana. She shared how good Jason and his wife Heather have been to her. Jason calls her twice a day just to see how she is, and he is always doing something for her.
Tanya’s love of sports started at an early age. Her daddy loved the White Sox and the Cubs. Those teams will always hold a special place in her heart. Roger also loved sports, and that became a special part of their life together. For many years they attended most of the Eastbrook games no matter what the sport. They also enjoyed watching sports on TV together. They shared favorite teams, the Indianapolis Colts even though they are not doing very well this year and the Green Bay Packers.
Tanya started attending Center Chapel Church after she was married but later attended church in Upland in hopes that her son would join the youth group. Because Tanya was so quiet and only knew a few people she never really got involved or participated while there. So twenty-four years ago she decided to return to Center Chapel where she felt more comfortable and where she would become more involved. And that is what she did!
Tanya became a mighty woman of God and a servant for Him. She led the Outreach Ministry at Center Chapel for several years. About every two months they would start a new project which was focused on our community. They would collect items for the women’s shelter, items for the Bashor Children’s Home in Goshen, Indiana, fill shoe boxes as Christmas gifts for the Red Bird Mission in Kentucky, and send packages to military personnel. Tanya was a member of the team that hosted Senior Saturday. She had so much fun coming up with new themes and things to do but it also became quite challenging for the team to come up with new ideas after eighteen plus years. Tanya believed Senior Saturday blessed those who attended because they enjoyed a meal, received prizes, laughed, and had so much fun together!
Tanya and Shirley Rumple have shared a very dear and special friendship for many, many years. Not only did they attend church together but Tanya drove Shirley to and from work at the Marion VA for probably twenty years. Some days they would talk a lot and some days they would be quiet during their drive together. After Tanya’s retirement in 2002 she and Shirley began visiting individuals in nursing homes and those who were shut-in. In recent months Tanya was not able to go on their visits together because of her lack of strength and energy, but she always loved it so. The people she visited always blessed her! She and Shirley, along with other team members, would also send cards to those in need of encouragement through A Loving Touch ministry.
Another area where Tanya served God was through the church choir. She absolutely loved singing in the choir and enjoyed the music so much! She hoped to be a blessing to someone else, but she was always blessed too!
Tanya spoke of being sick and how the people of the church blessed her by sending her cards. She just loved them all so much so she tried her best to be kind and to cheer them up in return. She decided that would be good and was something she could do. We discussed that to be like Christ we must pour ourselves into others as Christ did for us.
Tanya believes that God intercedes in bad situations. She knows that God is there interceding for us because He loves us and our names are written on His hand. Tanya has experienced situations in her life that have been more difficult than the cancer; she will not give up hope. Tanya has never questioned the Lord and has continued to praise Him. She has been so thankful that we have a merciful God. At the mention of mercy Tanya began to get emotional. She stated, “Merciful is the most beautiful word to me. I know love is great but when you are hurting, mercy is just so wonderful.”
Tanya Reece went to be with the Lord on Sunday, November 26, 2017, before her beautiful and amazing story was ready for publication. What a wonderful spiritual legacy she has left for her family, friends, and community. She has shown great vigor and courage throughout her battle with cancer. She became a mighty warrior who engaged in warfare and never lost hope because of her love and faith in her Lord. Tanya continued to pray for a healing and continued to praise Him even though she knew the cancer continued to grow.
Tanya demonstrated God’s power and strength along with true courage that often lies within the gentlest of hearts and spirits. Our precious Tanya received the answer to her prayers as she now has been completely and totally healed. She is still praising Him, but now she is singing to her Lord face to face. I believe the heavens are rejoicing but those of us left behind mourn our loss. Our spirits rejoice for her but our flesh hurts. We must not forget what Tanya learned during her journey and then shared with us, “Merciful is the most beautiful word to me. I know love is great but when you are hurting, mercy is just so wonderful.”