What Hope Can Do

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 FacebookTwitter, 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.

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Tribute to Mothers

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

What Does God’s Love and Grace Look Like Today?

September 25, 2012

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth even more. During his message as a guest speaker for our church Sunday, Max Lacado showed this you-tube video to illustrate the depth of God’s love and grace for us. I just wanted to pass it on. Whether you’ve seen it or not, it’s worth reviewing often. What a powerful picture of not only a mom laying down her life for her kids, but of a Savior who gave His all for us! Read more

What If You Can’t See God’s Footprints?

August 27, 2012

What If You Can't See God's Footprints?

Photo by Rebecca Barlow Jordan

My mom graduated to heaven a few years ago. The night before her funeral I was still struggling with not being able to see her just before she died. I looked for God’s footprints in all of it and coudn’t find them, even though I prayed and searched diligently.

That same night a terrific storm blew in–one that literally shook the house with loud thunder claps and lightning bolts that lit up the room in Mom’s house where I was trying to sleep. When the storm finally calmed, I turned on a nearby lamp and grabbed my Bible on the stand. When I opened it, the pages fell to the book of Psalms. I began to read through chapter 77. As if highlighted by lightning, these were the words that especially spoke to me: Read more

A Mother’s Day Tribute: How Can I Thank You, Mom?

May 7, 2012

A Mother's Day Tribute: How Can I Say Thanks? Poem by Rebecca Barlow Jordan Years ago, I wrote this poem for my mom on Mother’s Day. I’m sharing it with you today as a tribute to my late mom and to mothers everywhere. By now, you can tell that I enjoy Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poetry?  :-) Read more

A Mother’s Hands

May 6, 2011

photo by RBJ

 A Mother’s Hands…

reach out to bless her children and

reach up to praise the Lord.

They’re always loving, often praying, and

ever giving more than she keeps for herself. Read more

Preparing Your Kids for Life: Encouragement for Women, Moms, and Grandmoms

April 6, 2011

photo by RBJ

At one time or another, we moms may think we’re not doing “enough” to prepare our kids for life. Deep down we feel inadequate. We may not feel skilled or talented or creative. Sometimes we even start comparing ourselves to others as parents, which totally makes us feel worse.

Every mom, young or old, is concerned about making wise decisions. Are we giving our children the right training? We fear for our kids. Are they being bullied? Are they safe enough? We all want our kids to “turn out right.”

If you are a mom or grandmom, here are four things to remember that might encourage you as you prepare your kids for life: Read more

How to Accomplish More with Only One Thing

January 8, 2011

photo by IndianSumm at http://www.sxc.hu

We hear it all the time: “Focus on the 6 most important things for today.” “List 3 things you most want to accomplish.” “What are 10 things on your bucket list?” But is it possible to  accomplish more with less? Have you ever tried the pricinple of the One Thing? Read more

The Christmas Rat

November 29, 2010

Courtesy of Microstock Photography


Today features a true Christmas tail (er, tale) written by my brother in his recent book, Just Rememberin’:

The Christmas Rat

by Bob Barlow

“I’ve had lots of memorable Christmases, but one of those has a unique and somewhat humorous, even embarrassing meaning to me. 

I was in elementary school, about the third grade, and I came down with the mumps about a week before Christmas that year! Swollen throat like balloons was a sight to see! 

We lived in a two story house, with my bedroom being upstairs. My dad was the preacher at the Baptist church in town, and the parsonage had been enlarged from its original size to include a master bedroom on the back side of the house. Since my bedroom was upstairs, it was inconvenient for my mother to take care of me and check on me by going up and down the stairs, as well as preparing all the food and goodies for Christmas time. So they had me to stay in their bed during the daytime, allowing her to easily see how I was doing with the mumps. 

Where Is Santa’s Stash?

Are you a curious person?  I am.  Read more

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