What Hope Can Do

http://www.rebeccabarlowjordan.com/what-hope-can-do

“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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    Comments

    20 Responses to “What Hope Can Do”

    1. Betty on February 17th, 2014 11:17 am

      This article touched my heart because I have a blood disorder that I am the only child out of 5 that has it. They said that both parents have to be a carrier, but don’t have to have it. My dad died a long time before I found out what was happening. I began to have black out spells, I became a borderline diabetic, and I had heart arithmea before one doctor finally found out that my body produces too much iron. I have had other medical problems before all this happened. But every 6 weeks I go to the cancer treatment center here at our local hospital and have a pint of blood taken out. I have to be on blood thinners, which is a totally different aspect of this disorder, because I have a blood clot in my juglar vein that was cutting off oxygen to my brain and my face would swell three times its normal size. They went in and put a stint in my jugular vein. This is something that I will have to live with the rest of my life. As long as they keep the iron level down, my liver functions properly. Because there are a lot of foods that I can’t eat due to iron content, or high levels of Vitamin K I am restricted to what I can eat and therefore have gained a lot of weight. I can’ t exercise much because I have had surgery on both feet due to nerve damage. so I can understand what Steve has gone through. I have trusted God through it all and my disorder is manageable if I keep having the blood with drawn every 6 weeks. I have also had a Thyroid disorder and had to have a Radio Active Iodine Treatment done and have to see a Thyroid doctor every 56 months. So I know that I have to keep the hope that I have in Jesus. I have learned to be content in whatever state I am in. My faith and hope in Christ is what keeps me going. I would love to read either of these books and would pass it onto others at my church that love to read as much as I do.

    2. carolyn clifton on February 17th, 2014 1:11 pm

      What a beautiful, inspiring post. I would like to have one of these books to share with my adult daughter. Thank you.

    3. Tammy on February 17th, 2014 1:19 pm

      My Mom is a CF carrier and many extened family members. Years before I was born (In the 1950′s) my Mom had a little girl who died at age two due to CF. I would love to give her these books either in the giveaway or buy them for her.
      Thank you for sharing your sons story and yours!

    4. Karen M. Roth on February 17th, 2014 1:43 pm

      This article alone has given me something I have been searching for the last three years. Hope.

      You see, I was getting bummed because my health has drastically been failing for the past 6 years with one thing after another only to find out that I do indeed have Ankylosing Spondylitis and Fibromyalgia, COPD, Bipolar, ADD. PTSD,Major Depression, Panic attacks and Anxiety attacks due to having had to live through several excruciatingly painful flares unmedicated as they did not know what was causing my pain. This past month that have also discovered a very painful Benign Enchondroma (Bone Tumor) in my left hip. I am having to use an inflatable ring to sit on every where I go due to painful Fibroids in my rump. I also have a Bulging disc in my spine that is about to herniate.

      All this to say that I do indeed live with severe pain as my constant companion all day long and it gets much worse at night time. I am to start giving myself Humira injections every other week for the rest of my life. I am trying to prepare myself for that but when I think I am ready to start doing them I end up with either an infection or a minor bodily wound ( ie playful scratches from my beloved Pepper). And you cannot have either with this medication as what it does is it shuts down your immune system to keep my body from attacking itself.

      Right now, I am trying to save up $ 500.00 just so I can go see my parents before my father dies from Alzheimers. and to try to mend broken fences with my mother and to be able to visit my brother who is in prison. We have not spoken in 10 long years because they have disowned me for leaving to get the medical and mental health care I truly needed that they failed to provide. But just yesterday God spoke to me and impressed upon me to go back home for a month. But this decision is very hard for me as you see, I have a Developmentally Disabled husband who is not faring well either.
      You can find my donation for my plane ticket at :

      http://masqueradingcrafter.blogspot.com/2014/02/gentle-whispers-of-love-is-born-but.html

      Sorry this is so long but I have alot on my plate right now and could really use some serious prayer.

      P.S. Dear Rebecca, your precious books are my lifeline and I am forever indebted to you, Thank You so very much, hun {{{hugz}}} ~ Karen M. Roth

    5. AnnMarie Dixon on February 17th, 2014 6:12 pm

      I am writing because I feel compelled to. Here I am complaining at insignificant things and sometimes having a pity party and there was Steve who was sick and not complaining. He found time to give thanks to His Maker and to find hope in Him. This story has touched my heart and I amazed at the person Steve was. He truly lived for an audience of one, God. Thanks for the blessing.

    6. Emily H. Lucas on February 17th, 2014 6:17 pm

      Thank you Rebecca for this inspiring post of Hope. My only son is on home dialysis for four years and is on the kidney transplant list. He had a mild stroke and was diagnosed with Diabetes at this time. The diabetes caused the loss of sight in right eye and also caused kidney damage, which resulted in dialysis treatment. He lives each day with HOPE and if it is GOD’S he will receive a kidney. Please remember him in your prayers (Mike Lucas). I would love one of these books. Thank you for blessing me today with this message of FAITH and HOPE.
      Love.
      Emiky H. Lucas

    7. Mary T on February 18th, 2014 8:34 am

      Rebecca, Fran’s story of Steve’s journey is such beautiful testimony to God’s purpose for those who have faith and trust and hope in Him in all things! HOPE is my “word” this year! I have always been an optimistic person, but HOPE is the promise He gave us in Jeremiah 29:11-14…HOPE and a future! I have probably commented about my miracle grandson, Andrew, many times, but his life is always the first to come to mind when I remember Hope fulfilled by God! He is medically fragile with an extremely rare genetic neuromuscular disorder leaving him with very little movement of his head, hands, and shoulders. He is trached and vented. He uses his eyes to communicate via an eye gaze computer. We were told he would not live 3 days. We told them that it is God who is the Creator, Lord of life and we would not leave Andrew’s side. 103 days later, Andrew came home. He is 6 years old in a typical Kindergarten class and at the level of his peers. He will go to First grade next year, God willing. He struggles with respiratory illness but has thus far been blessed with God’s great love and healing! I would love to read either of these books to enhance my great hope and joy in the Lord in all things! Thank you Rebecca and Fran! God bless!

    8. Elisa Rodriguez on February 20th, 2014 10:06 am

      Rebecca, Fran’s story of love for her son reminds me of the love that Jesus has for us. he died for us because he loved us that much and he came so that we could have LIFE,and for us to Live it to e fullest. I believe in my heart that Steve lived a full life even though it was cut short he made the best out of every situation and he had FAITH… That would carry him through and through. He is a prime example of love and courage when facing a difficult situation . I am blessed to have come across Fran’s story, I have a sister in Christ who is also suffering with CF and for years she had no idea why she was feeling the way she was and now that she has been diagnosed she is able to understand better the nature of her illness and she deals with it one day at a time. She received The Lord as her savior a few years ago and she is coping with her illness and treatments as best as she can. She is my inspiration and after reading Steve’s story he is my inspiration too. We really need to evaluate and be thankful for the health that we do have and form now till The Lord calls me Steve and his parents will always be in my prayers.

    9. Fran Sandin on February 20th, 2014 8:00 pm

      Dear Betty, Carolyn, Tammy, Karen, AnnMarie, Emily, Mary, and Elisa,
      Tears are streaming down my face as I have read your stories. My heart goes out to those of you who are dealing with physical challenges and the emotional demands of it all. I’m also identifying with the caregivers as I understand that, too. Thank you for taking time to comment, and honoring my son with your beautiful words. Yes, he was truly amazing! Most of all, our Lord is to be praised. He is our HOPE and our helper and every day answers our prayers.
      God bless each of you as you remain steadfast in faith,
      Fran Sandin

    10. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on February 20th, 2014 10:48 pm

      Thanks for joining our comments, Fran, and for sharing your story–and Steve’s books–with others. And to all of you who have shared your “stories” of ongoing challenges, and to others who will continue to enter the drawing and share with us, God bless each of you. I agree with Fran’s prayer and words.

    11. Caroly Boyles on February 22nd, 2014 9:44 pm

      Rebecca, thank you for sharing Steve’s story with us.

      I am a spinal cord injury/traumatic brain injury survivor 19 years after injury. My initial diagnosis on the brain injury was that I would never be functional again beyond the basic level of a housewife. I have a BA and an MBA and have completed one year of law school and I wasn’t going to let that diagnosis stop me.

      I had my initial spinal cord surgery in 1995 (it took the idiot doctors months to figure out I even had a spinal cord injury in the neck). I had complications in 2002 and 2004, resulting in additional spinal cord surgery in 2003 and 2005.

      I worked my way back up on the brain injury after being homebound for two years, starting as a receptionist and working up from there until I was a Marketing Manager for AT&T Wireless until I was laid off in 2001.

      After the first SCI surgery, I looked for “the book I wanted” on recovery. I couldn’t find it. After the second surgery, I looked for the book and couldn’t find it. After the third SCI surgery, I look for the book and couldn’t find it.

      So I wrote it and self-published it. I have received e-mails from people all over the world thanking me for writing the book. I have recovered the costs of the self-publishing, but not made a profit.

      In 2001 when I was laid off, I couldn’t get another job, and my health began deteriorating, my husband suggested since I had always enjoyed reading and writing so much, that I try my hand at writing.

      I did so and have had some success (had a second book published in 2012), but I haven’t made enough money to be able to help our household income as our medical expenses have gone up, insurance has been cut back, and inflation is killing us.

      I am very discouraged at this point and I could really use some hope.

    12. Caroly Boyles on February 22nd, 2014 9:46 pm

      I forgot to mention, I’m trying to start a small freelance editing service. I’ve got the domain, but my health hasn’t allowed me to set up the website yet, much less do any work for anyone.

      I got a gig as a freelance content editor for a small publishing company, but I made, for all practical purposes, nothing all last year.

      So here I am, not knowing what to do, as my husband’s health worsens and my health worsens.

    13. Fran Sandin on February 23rd, 2014 4:19 pm

      Hello Caroly,
      It sounds like you are a very talented lady with your experience in marketing and writing. I was wondering,,,with your MBA–would you be able to do some accounting work from your home–or help with tax forms, etc.? Also, do you have a good support group at church or a prayer group praying for your needs? I will admit that it is difficult to make enough as a freelance writer to pay the bills; but with your experience in marketing, you might be able to do copywriting to bring in some income. Just remember that your identity is in Christ–not in your physical limitations. He is able to do over and above what we ask or think (Eph. 3: 20). When Steve was ill, I raised my HOPE level by praising God and thanking Him every day. I memorized Psalm 145: 1-7 and quoted it aloud daily. I began each day thanking God for His faithfulness–His mercies are new every morning. We are in a spiritual battle, and the devil loves to drag us into the ditch of discouragement. It happens most often when we are weary. I know there are no pat answers, but I would encourage you to take good care of yourself physically–healthy foods and rest–and think Scripture thoughts. In other words, when you are anxious, remember Philippians 4: 8. God is very creative, and He can give you just what you need. Love and prayers, Fran

    14. Carolyn Boyles on February 23rd, 2014 10:08 pm

      Great writer I am. I can’t even type my own name properly.:)

      Accounting and I do not get along in any way shape or form. One of the classes you have to take to get an MBA in the time I got mine was Cost Accounting. I just didn’t get it. We had weekly quizzes and every week I failed it. I was in the instructor’s office every week, desperately trying to understand.

      Well, it got to giving out final grades and I had a D. That would have flunked me out of the MBA program. The instructor told me that it wasn’t for lack of trying that I had a D, that I had worked as hard as anybody at trying to learn it, but my brain just didn’t work in the right way for it. He gave me a C instead and my MBA program had an allowance if you got one C, as long as you got an A somewhere to balance it, you’d be alright, because you had to maintain a B average. I got that A later on.

      My health is bad enough that I am unable to attend church or prayer group meetings or anything like that. Same with my husband. We have no support network other than each other and God.

      I am working on slowly putting together a freelance editing business, as my health will allow.

    15. Martha Rogers on February 24th, 2014 11:23 am

      Rebecca, what a beautiful post and tribute to your son. Our grandson, Robert Mikell is 20 and was diagnosed with CF when he was 2. We know both our son and his wife are carriers of the gene, but we’re not sure which line it came through as there have been no other cases in the family. RM had a liver transplant at age 10, has a permanent feeding tube, has diabetes and takes all kinds of meds. He is optimistic and is a sophomore in college. He also works at a veterinarian clinic because that’s what he wanted to be, but the doctors tell him the courses are too strenuous for him, but he’s trying anyway.

      We pray that his life will have an impact as your Steve’s life did. What a blessing to know Steve will live on through his writings and be a blessing to others.

      We may not understand why God does things the way He does, but we can always trust that it’s the right thing and He is in control.

    16. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on February 24th, 2014 12:04 pm

      Martha, this was not my son. If you read closely, Fran Sandin, an author friend of mine, wrote this story and allowed me to put it on my blog. She is my guest blogger today. It was her son.

    17. Janine Thompson on February 27th, 2014 6:33 am

      Hello, I am a woman who’s ministry revolves around serving other women and leading to or strengthening them in Christ. This past year I have had the most horrible situations occur. They are life altering ones. My best friend who I would share anything with died. We had been friends for 40 years. She was the one I would run to in tears when no one else seemed to have time to listen. She would. I was able to be a part in her passing and to say goodbye and that was a blessing. Since that happened several other friends that were part of my life passed on. They weren’t as close, but one was a really good friend, another almost like a relative. These were minor though compared to several other events that changed my future (they are so awful I do not wish to mention them here), as I saw it, forever. I have many friends, but none like my best friend (Rhonda). I have to keep a face too for the women I serve. Although my friends number in the 100′s I pray God sends me another friend like my Rhonda, but for now He chooses for me to rely on Him and know Her is the only for certain forever friend I have. This is my message to you, no one man can be relied on forever only God, and once you realize that life is much sweeter for it – even in your sorrow. Blessings, Janine

    18. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on February 27th, 2014 8:20 am

      Thanks, Janine, and to so many others for stopping by and sharing your story. Indeed, God is reliable–and faithful!

    19. Karl on March 16th, 2014 3:23 am

      A few reasons. A friend if mine in Chicago is in intensive care with Mesothelioma. Very similar circumstance as your son. Right now he is tired,very tired. I don’t know if I will see him. Another guy I see each week has his own health issues;one being depression. I have been trying to build his faith and it really is challenging. I don’t have the answer. Part of it his wife doesn’t show much outward, at least, interest I things of the Lord, at least not yet. I have given both of these guys some books, one of them I believe just placated me, it’s really too bad.

      In have hope, like your son said, if nothing else, I will be perfectly healed i heaven. Tis is my second cancer Prostate this time. Hope? Absolutely, I know I have things to do down here,even if it doesn’t look like I am doing much. I think, like your son, people listen for help from others that ave gone through stuff. By never complaining , many people get touched by that. They certainly do not understand it.
      I wold like the book because. It will lead, at least water the oats, people to The Lord.

      Thank and God bless you and your family,
      Karl

    20. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on March 17th, 2014 9:14 am

      Thanks to all of you for sharing your heartfelt stories. Your words have encouraged many! Winners of the books have been drawn. If you did not win, I hope you’ll keep watching for future giveaways. I so appreciate all your comments.

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