August 5, 2014
God prompted me to re-visit this blog I wrote in the past. The devotional message never grows old. Enjoy.
I read Florence Littauer’s challenge years ago in her book, It Takes So Little to Be Above Average. But God reminded me of that principle in a truly simple way this week.
I had just semi-closed the misaligned door of the old armoire in our bedroom. But as I rounded the corner to the hall that book title popped into my head–as it sometimes does when I’ve given a half-hearted effort to do something. Read more
July 1, 2014
In fiction, asking “What if?” can create dozens of plot possibilities. But in real life, can asking “What if?” steal your joy or bring you peace? Read more
March 17, 2014
We associate various meanings with the quality of greatness. Probably none of those equal the way Jesus explained–and lived–greatness. Read more
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.
January 20, 2014
When the “winters” of our lives descend, leaving a trail of destruction and hard times to endure, how do we deal with it? No matter who you are: parent, grandparent, single or senior, writer or teacher, blue collar or white collar, here are five ways to make hard times better: Read more
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 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
September 30, 2013
Whether you’re writing, teaching, parenting, or gardening–no matter what the season, activity or occupation–these three keys will help you be more successful.
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