February 24, 2014
Book Review: A Look at the Painful “But if not’s” of Life
Carol Kent’s new book, Unquenchable, takes a hard look at the fiery struggles and trauma in the lives of believers who have walked through the painful, “but if not’s” of life. With transparency and honesty she identifies with those who have faced crises of belief, sometimes questioning God’s actions and their own faith as a result of difficult, life-altering events. Carol shares even more insights from her own personal journey involving her incarcerated son as well as other experiences from her own life and family members. Read more
February 17, 2014
“How does a young man in the prime of life deal with an incurable disease, loss of strength, the news that he cannot be a father, and the likelihood of a shortened life-span?”
Today’s guest post by Fran Sandin will challenge you to rethink your capabilities, refill your hope tank, and encourage you to discover God’s incredible plan in the midst of impossible circumstances. It’s not only a story of hope; it’s a testimony to God’s continual faithfulness.
Be sure and read to the end to discover how you can enter today’s book giveaways.
His Journey of Hope Begins
At the age of 29, our son, Steve, began a journey we never expected. After completing his Master of Physical Therapy degree, he began working at a hospital and soon became ill with pneumonia. His doctor said, “Steve, I believe you have cystic fibrosis,” Two positive tests confirmed the diagnosis, and he began respiratory therapy that he would need the rest of his life.
He Became His Own Caregiver
My husband, Jim, and I, were shocked as no one else in our family had his genetic disease. About 10% of CF patients are diagnosed in adulthood because one of the parents carries a mutation of the CF gene; and tests verified that truth for us. Cystic fibrosis destroys the lungs by clogging them with thick secretions and causes other organs to malfunction. Digestion is also affected, so Steve also began taking digestive enzymes. No cure is available for cystic fibrosis. As part of his physical therapy training, Steve had learned how to treat patients with CF, but he had no idea that he would eventually become his own caregiver.
Hope Finds a Permanent Home
The shock of this news had barely become reality when Steve almost died with kidney failure due to IGA nephropathy, a separate autoimmune disease. Added to his respiratory treatments, he then needed three trips a week to the hemodialysis clinic. Still, he continued working part time in home health PT. After three years, he switched to peritoneal dialysis that allowed him to use a computerized machine at home where he dialyzed at night. Finally he did not have the strength to continue his profession, but he used his time to begin a home-based business.
Steve lived every day with HOPE. As a child he had received Jesus as his Savior, and he continued growing in faith throughout his years. He prayed daily for healing, and believed that God could completely heal him, if it was His will. But one day Steve said, “Mom, I know God can heal me, but if He doesn’t heal me on earth, I know I will be healed in heaven.” His ultimate healing came following much suffering at his last hospitalization when irreversible complications of CF accelerated; and at the age of 43, Steve moved peacefully to heaven on Sept. 22, 2012.
God’s Incredible Faithfulness
My son taught me many lessons about courage, faith, perseverance, and hope. Between numerous hospitalizations in 2005 and 2008 he wrote two books. One day he said with a wry grin, ‘Mom, God has given me a project and I’ll let you know when I’m finished.’ I had no idea he was writing a book until one day he showed me the manuscript for Jesus Really Said It. He searched the four gospels and categorized the words of Jesus to address forgiveness, healing, faith, deliverance, relationships, conflict resolution, and more. He wanted to reach people who might not pick up a Bible but who would read a book addressing topics of interest to them.
He later wrote another book using Proverbs and addressed subjects of guidance and instruction, wisdom, warnings, finance, words, children, anger, pride, joy, mercy, and others. Make the Right Choice: A Personal Decision Guide, is a great resource for young people–or for anyone seeking wisdom for life’s decisions.
Steve didn’t want anyone to feel sorry for him and he did not openly discuss his physical limitations. However, he attended church and Bible studies when possible, and often asked for prayer. Many, many people prayed with Steve and for Steve’s healing. About two months before he passed away, Steve wrote a tract with the title, So What Happens Next? in which he addressed the subject of eternity. To date approximately 8,500 tracts have been distributed in the U.S. and beyond.
A Legacy of Hope and Inspiration
Although Steve lived in a townhouse about an hour away from our home, I helped him regularly and stayed with him during his hospitalizations and recouperations. Just a few days prior to his last hospitalization, Steve said, “Mom, you know I’ve been sick for a really long time.”
“Steve,” I said, “God will not take you home until your work on earth is done.”
Now breathing the breath of heaven, Steve has left behind a legacy of hope and inspiration for anyone who is facing life’s disappointments and physical limitations.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15: 13 NASB).
You can find Steve’s books here and find out more about talented author and speaker Fran Sandin at her website here. Like her son, she is a tender, compassionate woman of incredible courage and faith. Steve’s books are not only personal hope-lifters, but they are great resources for individual studies.
What About You? - Book Drawing Giveaways
Fran is offering both of Steve’s books in our book/drawing giveaway. We will draw one name for each book. The giveaway will end in two weeks. To enter, please leave a comment below answering either of the two questions:
Why would you like one of the books?
How has God has given you hope in hopeless situations?
It’s Your Turn
Please leave your comments below. Your words might encourage someone today. You won’t be hounded, prodded, or automatically added to my mailing list if you leave a comment. Feel free to email this Christian blog to someone or to re-post on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media, using the buttons below, or to “like” it below or on my Facebook networked blog. If you want to re-post any of my blogs on your own blog or website, please contact me for permission first. And I’d love for you to sign up for my blog/newsletter and updates at the top of this website page/sidebar if you’ve not already done so. That way, I can drop this encouraging blog into your e-mail box weekly, as well as notify you occasionally of any new updates, specials, contests or book giveaways.
November 18, 2013
Whether you classify your worry habits as “partly cloudy,” or “stormy,” we’ve all dealt with worry in our lives. Today’s featured book drawing deals with that subject–and of the deeper issue of trusting God–one I like to emphasize often in my blogs.
A writer friend of mine, Kathy Collard Miller, has written a book called, Partly Cloudy with Scattered Worries, Finding Peace in All Kinds of Weather, that challenges women to examine this destructive Read more
October 21, 2013
It’s easy to form the wrong opinion of ourselves when we listen to the wrong voices. But there is one voice that rings true every time. You are indeed beautiful to Him. Read more
October 14, 2013
Seasons of life run their course, and no matter who we are or at what stage we’re at, we often see balance as an impossibility.
You can focus on a project you love and not even miss eating. You may procrastinate your unpleasant tasks or bow to the tyranny of the urgent. You can help others reach their dreams but never realize your own. You may even teach about intimacy with God but never spend time with Him yourself. Do any of those fit you?
We can usually find an excuse to fit every situation: It’s the kids, my boss, my husband or wife. It’s my health, my editor, or my age in life. Believe me, I’ve offered my share of excuses along with you. But I long for this thing called balance, don’t you?
Keeping Life in Balance
Keeping life balanced is not easy for anyone, but here are 10 simple ways that help me daily. Maybe it will give you a good place to start: Read more
August 26, 2013
One of the best ways you can prepare your children this year as they go back to school is through prayer. And praying Scripture over them is one of the most powerful ways to pray. Here are five back to school prayers you can pray for your kids and grandkids: Read more
July 29, 2013
“It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone. Don’t you know he enjoys giving rest to those he loves?” Psalm 127:2 MSG
It’s not just moms who struggle with 60 + hour week loads. Writers, ministry leaders, business professionals, retail workers, yes, even some seniors juggle packed schedules. Most of us have been there at one time or another. “Hurry up!” flies out of our mouths more times than we care to admit.
Technical advances intended to decrease our work load and increase our efficiency only offer more gadgets to consume our time and energy. All our efforts to slow down seem hopeless at times.
How do you ease the pattern of too much pursuing and too much doing? How do you remedy the pattern of too little resting and too little nesting? Even at night our sleep-deprived bodies may fight the tendency to “work,” as we count undone tasks rather than sheep. Does God offer any help?
I believe God offers another way. He invites us to wrestle less and trust Him more. He, who designed time, gives us all the same number of hours. And He does promise sweet sleep and rest to those He loves who will receive it. When you go to bed tonight, try nestling in His love. Leave your work outside your room, and close the door.
Five Things to Help You Sleep Sweeter
If your inability to sleep or rest is physically/medically related, by all means check with your doctor. But for those who identify with over-stress, here are some simple suggestions that might help:
1. Take frequent breaks throughout the day. Give your body–and mind–a chance to relax. Whether you walk, stretch, or indulge in a 10-minute “power” nap, give yourself a break.
2. Ask God to give you wisdom on how to prioritize your day. And while you’re at it, make Him your number one priority. Matthew 6:33 says when we seek Him first, “all these things will be given to you as well” (clothes, food, work, etc.). I like to think that means we can trust God to provide all our needs. Has He ever failed to meet yours?
3. Shut down early. A warm bath, reading a good book, meditating on Scripture–add these to your evening ritual, and subtract computer or mind-robbing activities late at night.
4. Mentally give God your worries, cares, and yes, even your unfinished projects for the night. If necessary, try climbing an imaginary ladder and hand them off to God for the night. Or place them outside your closed door and ask God to stand guard over them (The sooner you can cast your cares permanently on the Lord, the sweeter that sleep might be).
5. Try praising God as you go to sleep. I love to go through the alphabet thinking of names or character traits of God. Or read a Psalm before you turn off the light. Allow God’s Word to calm your Spirit.
Remember not to take on more than God assigns. He cares more about your character rather than your completed checklists.
Ah, worry-free sleep. Sweet dreams!
It’s Your Turn
What about you? Are you wrestling or nestling? Share your comments below.
Your words might encourage someone today! You will not be hounded, prodded, or automatically added to my mailing list if you do so. Feel free to email this Christian blog to someone or to re-post on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media, using the buttons below, or to “like” it below or on my Facebook networked blog. If you’re reading this via newsletter you can always “share” my blogs from the large buttons at the end of each blog on my website. If you want to re-post any of my blogs on your own blog or website, please contact me for permission first. And if you’d like to, you can sign up for my blog/newsletter and updates at the top of this website page/sidebar.
Now when you sign up, you will automatically receive a download of “20 Day-votional Truths To Live By,” some of my original quotes to inspire you. Your e-mail address will never be sold or given to anyone!
May 12, 2013
Mothers deserve praise! What makes mothers so special? What would you say about mothers? According to our Mother’s Day poetry contest winners, mothers are truly gifts from God. Thanks to all of you who entered! As I promised, here are the three winners of our poetry contest and their tributes to mothers. Read more
May 6, 2013
Women and Stress
Is your life blessed or stressed?
Whether working inside or outside the home, today’s moms, grandmoms, and women of all ages deal with stress. Here are ten simple stress busters women can practice daily: Read more
April 29, 2013
In Honor of Mother’s Day
Instead of a devotion today, in honor of Mother’s Day, we’re having a poetry contest. I’d love to feature one of your own poems about mothers. Send me a poem you’ve written about mothers, rhymed or prose, no longer than 100 words. It must be original, and make sure that you own all rights to your poem, even if it was previously published.