Blessed Assurance Jesus is Mine!

My last post was on January 31 and now it is May 19! Since then, with exception of a few days in March, one good week in April in one great week in May, I have spent the greater part of my time housebound, my body in unrelenting pain. Winter melted into Spring and passed me by. The isolation has been equally hard to bear as the pain and I have really struggled in my faith.

When my severe Interstitial Cystitis began to improve with the help of medication 2 weeks ago, I resumed life as usual, but had an underlying unresolved issue spiritually. The truth is that I still did not have victory over this great trial in my life. I even continued to blame God for the pain I suffered in the past. All the while praising Him for the relief He had just blessed me with. I could not look back on all those years that my body was riddled with excruciating pain and admit that it was for my good or that God had used it for His purpose. I allowed bitterness to creep its ugly self into my heart and in between my relationship with my Creator. I felt terribly wronged by my circumstances and the years stolen from me. Can you hear it? It was all about ME.............I had never surrendered my everything to God. I desperately held on to the "unfairness" I felt in those lost years. I stubbornly insisted that He had the power to heal me (or at least dull the pain) and was refusing to hear my cry for help. I even thought He should be merciful to me, His child, and just end my miserable existence on earth. I refused to accept even the possibility that my infirmity was a part of His plan for my life. I scoffed at remarks people gave me about God remaining faithful through my suffering etc.....and even though I would never wish this upon anyone, I entertained the thought that if they could experience my suffering for even just a day, then I would like to hear their thoughts concerning God sustaining power.

8 yrs. ago, when I was healed and my pain was finally stablized through medication, I praised Him with my lips but did not fully live for Him. My loyalty was always based on the notion that God could do ANYTHING to me, take away EVERYTHING I loved and cherished but if He allowed me to suffer physically in this way again I could not and I would not be able to bear it. It was an area too raw and painful to let Him have.

I loved God's law but I didn't love Him - I was angry at Him and had been for a long time. I can have all the convictions in the world but if I have not surrendered my all fully to Him, it means nothing. I have been so wrong - my heart is so depraved. Jesus forgave my deepest sin through His precious shed blood. I do not "deserve" anything and God can do whatever He wills with my life because it is not MY life it is His to bring Him glory! My own happiness and contentment are nothing! Even though I "feel" I would be able to better serve Him without this infirmity - that is a lie I have believed and a sin I needed to repent of and confess here in my blog.

How many months I wasted peering out of my window with envy at those able to walk around my neighborhood instead of praying for them! I have coveted the lives of others who have the physical strength to homeschool their children and be Godly wives and helpmeets to their husbands. I was even guilty of not submitting to my husband, who was directing me to be patient and wait upon the Lord instead of continuing on my quest to find the key that would take away my pain. My pride kept rearing it's ugly head saying, "You would have a sense of urgency too Anthony if it was you experiencing this - I can guarentee that you would not be saying lets be patient and continue to wait it out!" My spiritual condition was pretty low, huh? I reasoned and justified my unholy thoughts by saying "All I want to do is take care of my family - isn't that what I have been created for by God as a woman?" "Shouldn't I be able to participate in a weekly church service not lie in this bed?" I am grateful that God loved me enough to not leave me in this condition and that He used the Holy Spirit to convict me and bring to my attention the fact that I had much dirt in my heart that needed to be swept out.

One week ago I could feel the pain appearing again and knew that I was again about to confront my greatest earthly fear. Instead of begging God to stop this, to heal me, I instead fell to my knees. Broken and humbled I begged for God's grace to see me through this - that His strength be evident through own my weakness.

It is still not easy for me to say that I WILL choose follow Jesus and serve Him wholeheartedly even if it is through a life of pain. I still cry out to God day and night but now it is to save me from the SIN that hinders me.........not the pain. I depend on His strength alone to keep my mind and my heart. I need the continual work of the Holy Spirit to convict and change me. Even still my flesh and human feeble mind cannot at this point fathom a life filled with unending pain. If I am truly saved the evidence will be the way I live. My prayer is that in spite of my flesh and all it's wickedness may God keep me faithful until the end through His power alone until I am united with Him eternally in Heaven. His salvation is the source of my joy and I hope it is that to you also sisters and brothers in Christ. May we never lose sight of that!

The Bible reminds us in 1 Corinthians 15:19 that we would be miserable if there were only earthly value to Christianity. It is says "And if we have hope in Christ only for this life, we are the most miserable people in the world."

"Our present troubles are small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!" 2 Corinthians 4:17

"This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness,we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another,and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin" 1 John 1:5-7

When Will The Trials End? (Keeping it Real!)

Update - Our 1 1/2 year old kitty, Sweet Tea, died from Hypertropic Cardiomyopthia, a genetic heart condition that we were unaware he had. I was again in disbelief that we were being hit with more calamity.

I woke up 01/23 with excruciating pain. My I.C. has flared again and I have begun instillation treatments for 6 wks. Instills are where medication (Elmiron) and steroids are put directly in to your bladder. This is supposed to help after the 4th treatment or so. I have only had 2, and it takes the edge off the pain until I have to urinate. Then it becomes unbearable again. My urologist has put me on Elmiron, but it takes 4-6mo. to start to see any results. Meanwhile the side effects aren't exactly "fun". I am on what seems like a gazillion medications now. I remember that just a month and a half ago a doctor had commented on how amazed he was with the fact that with all of my medical "problems" I was only on 2 meds. Now I have own one of those enormous pill organizers :(

As I wrote 2 posts ago, this form of suffering is very taxing, and I struggle with frequent bouts of utter despair. My feeble human mind can't understand "WHY?" this is happening again, and especially at a time like this! The amount of stress my situation puts on my husband makes me fear his cancer will reoccur. I try to hide my sobbing from the pain, as to not upset my family, but I fail miserably. I have cried more in the last week than I probably did as a newborn. I hate that my boys have to see me this way. Getting through one day is an accomplishment.I cling to all the blessings these past months have brought and to my memories of a happy time. Today, while lying in bed, God blessed me to be able to do one subject with the boys. It takes me back to when Kamden was a baby, and the all the ways I had to learn how to cope.

I make it a point to be transparent in my blog, so I must include that after a particularly awful 2 days I had to have my husband hide my pain pills (which don't work very well, by the way) because the overwhelming need to escape the pain was so great. I have had to force myself read God's Word - I fear my heart will grow hard if I don't. Bitterness can creep in so easily, and that is something I don't want to happen! Psalm 73:26 says, "My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever."

I want more than anything to get back to teaching, cooking, cleaning & caring for my boys. For now though, I am confined to my bed, along with hanging out in my tub filled with piping hot water A LOT to try and ease the pain. I struggle to see that any good could possibly come from THIS, but THIS is where God has me. I set small goals like getting through one hour of pain at at time. I hate that I am in too much pain to even have a friend come over to visit. I miss my friends, and opportunities to fellowship with other families, but life continues to go on with or without me. I wonder how long this will last.....

Please pray that God would heal my body from pain, and that A's cancer would not reoccur. The pathology report came back saying there was no cancer found in the bone, but there was Perineurval cancer. Cancer of the nerves gives me an unsettled feeling. Anthony chose not to have radiation right now (made the decision before I got sick) but we will re-evaluate after his next MRI in March. We had started eating a "Raw" diet, but since I haven't been able to cook etc....that has been put on hold. I feel terribly about this, but sometimes circumstances plain interfere with plans.

We are always confident......for we live by believing and not seeing. ~ 2 Cor.5:6-7

Dont' Waste Your Cancer - 10 Steps by John Piper

While watching Wretched (one of our most favorite TV shows!)last night, the host showed these 10 steps written by John Piper on the eve of his prostate cancer surgery. He put into words the very things we have felt about out cancer journey since Oct. 09. It was refreshing to hear, and inspired us even more to do all that we can to use this to bring GOD glory! I was just going to list the 10 steps for the sake of space on the blog, but it was all just too good to edit it out. Share this with your family and friends and remember these steps can apply to anything - a lost job, a broken marriage, a prodigal child, Interstitial Cystitis for 14 yrs. (in my case;) Well, you get the idea! There is a note from Anthony on the bottom.


It will not do to say that God only uses our cancer but does not design it. What God permits, he permits for a reason. And that reason is his design. If God foresees molecular developments becoming cancer, he can stop it or not. If he does not, he has a purpose. Since he is infinitely wise, it is right to call this purpose a design. Satan is real and causes many pleasures and pains. But he is not ultimate. So when he strikes Job with boils (Job 2:7), Job attributes it ultimately to God (2:10) and the inspired writer agrees: “They . . . comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him” (Job 42:11). If you don’t believe your cancer is designed for you by God, you will waste it.


“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). “There is no enchantment against Jacob, no divination against Israel” (Numbers 23:23). “The Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11).

The blessing comes in what God does for us, with us, through us. He brings his great and merciful redemption onto the stage of the curse. Your cancer, in itself, is one of those 10,000 ‘shadows of death’ (Psalm 23:4) that come upon each of us: all the threats, losses, pains, incompletion, disappointment, evils. But in his beloved children, our Father works a most kind good through our most grievous losses: sometimes healing and restoring the body (temporarily, until the resurrection of the dead to eternal life), always sustaining and teaching us that we might know and love him more simply. In the testing ground of evils, your faith becomes deep and real, and your love becomes purposeful and wise: James 1:2-5, 1 Peter 1:3-9, Romans 5:1-5, Romans 8:18-39.


The design of God in your cancer is not to train you in the rationalistic, human calculation of odds. The world gets comfort from their odds. Not Christians. Some count their chariots (percentages of survival) and some count their horses (side effects of treatment), but we trust in the name of the Lord our God (Psalm 20:7). God’s design is clear from 2 Corinthians 1:9, “We felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” The aim of God in your cancer (among a thousand other good things) is to knock props out from under our hearts so that we rely utterly on him.


We will all die, if Jesus postpones his return. Not to think about what it will be like to leave this life and meet God is folly.Ecclesiastes 7:2 says, “It is better to go to the house of mourning [a funeral] than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.” How can you lay it to heart if you won’t think about it? Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Numbering your days means thinking about how few there are and that they will end. How will you get a heart of wisdom if you refuse to think about this? What a waste, if we do not think about death.


Satan’s and God’s designs in your cancer are not the same. Satan designs to destroy your love for Christ. God designs to deepen your love for Christ. Cancer does not win if you die. It wins if you fail to cherish Christ. God’s design is to wean you off the breast of the world and feast you on the sufficiency of Christ. It is meant to help you say and feel, “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” And to know that therefore, “To live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 3:8; 1:21).


It is not wrong to know about cancer. Ignorance is not a virtue. But the lure to know more and more and the lack of zeal to know God more and more is symptomatic of unbelief. Cancer is meant to waken us to the reality of God. It is meant to put feeling and force behind the command, “Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord” (Hosea 6:3). It is meant to waken us to the truth ofDaniel 11:32, “The people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.” It is meant to make unshakable, indestructible oak trees out of us: “His delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers” (Psalm 1:2). What a waste of cancer if we read day and night about cancer and not about God.


When Epaphroditus brought the gifts to Paul sent by the Philippian church he became ill and almost died. Paul tells the Philippians, “He has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill” (Philippians 2:26-27). What an amazing response! It does not say they were distressed that he was ill, but that he was distressed because they heard he was ill. That is the kind of heart God is aiming to create with cancer: a deeply affectionate, caring heart for people. Don’t waste your cancer by retreating into yourself.


Paul used this phrase in relation to those whose loved ones had died: “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). There is a grief at death. Even for the believer who dies, there is temporary loss—loss of body, and loss of loved ones here, and loss of earthly ministry. But the grief is different—it is permeated with hope. “We would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). Don’t waste your cancer grieving as those who don’t have this hope.


Are your besetting sins as attractive as they were before you had cancer? If so you are wasting your cancer. Cancer is designed to destroy the appetite for sin. Pride, greed, lust, hatred, unforgiveness, impatience, laziness, procrastination—all these are the adversaries that cancer is meant to attack. Don’t just think of battling against cancer. Also think of battling with cancer. All these things are worse enemies than cancer. Don’t waste the power of cancer to crush these foes. Let the presence of eternity make the sins of time look as futile as they really are. “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” (Luke 9:25).


Christians are never anywhere by divine accident. There are reasons for why we wind up where we do. Consider what Jesus said about painful, unplanned circumstances: “They will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. This will be your opportunity to bear witness” (Luke 21:12 -13). So it is with cancer. This will be an opportunity to bear witness. Christ is infinitely worthy. Here is a golden opportunity to show that he is worth more than life. Don’t waste it.

Remember you are not left alone. You will have the help you need. “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

~Life is even deeper to me now than before. I pray that I don't waste my life on trivial things and use it more for the glory of God. I'm so blessed. -A

The Post Without a Name........

Today I awoke to the gnawing pain in my bladder for the 8th day. I am at a low point. The pain from the UTI, migraines, jaw and leg infection over the past week have finally took their toll.
My flesh has always struggled to praise God in the midst of physical pain. It seems that this has been my "thorn" throughout life, and one I have often wondered "Why?" Since we cannot choose our sufferings, I have tried to take things as they come with grace and reliance upon my Savior. I have failed many times though, in the face of pain.
I awoke this morning to fear that this infection would set off my bladder condition again to the point where I was at age 19-22 yrs. A point where a young dance teacher was reduced to lying in bed most days,and the only place I was able to sleep was in a hot bath. I lost quality of life and almost hope. There was no medication available that could ease the type of pain I was experiencing. I tried all kids of natural remedies,but nothing worked.
Anthony was young too, and the circumstances he found himself in,left him questioning also. Life seemed far from fair as he worked hard to pay for my medical bills,etc.... We were unable to get quality care because we couldn't afford insurance through his work. Anthony was the one person who got me though each day because I just wanted to go home to Heaven - where there is no more pain or suffering. We weren't always Christ-like in our behavior. Both of us failed many times over this period in our lives, but that is a story for another day.

In early 2000(I believe - it is hard to remember dates now because I was too sick to journal during this time) I found relief, unexpectedly, from a anti-depressant a psychiatrist happened to put me on. From there I finally got a formal diagnosis of Interstitial Cystitis and Lupus and cluster headaches(affectionately called suicide headaches by the people who get them.) The lining of my bladder had deteriorated and I had ulcers,and had had an untreatable UTI infection over the course of 4-5 years. I was elated that we could finally get to work on treating my condition.

From there, after over 2 more yrs. of medical treatment I found Garden of Life products. I followed the protocol for Lupus in Jordan Reuben's book -Patient Heal Thyself- I also drastically changed my diet. After 3 mo. I started to feel better and blood tests revealed that the Lupus had gone into remission. I have stayed in remission since 2003. Although my bladder will never heal,unless God chooses to heal it, I.C. pain has been controlled with Elavil taken daily. I also have been able to greatly reduce the amount I have to take for it to be effective. I am so thankful for that medication!

I still do not understand God's timing, as far as when He chose to take away my pain. It is through bitter tears that I remember where I have come from. Anthony says it made me a better person, but that can be tough to swallow!

Please remember to pray for me to recover from this UTI without it sending me into another bad bout of I.C. My tendency is to start to get paranoid and think the worst will happen, but in those times I have to change my thought patterns by taking in God's Word. I am still waiting to hear back from the lab about the culture that sent out last Mon. I am resistant to so many antibiotics and I don't think this one is working - judging from my pain level. Pray that no further damage would be done to my bladder and that I can quickly and effectively get rid of the infection. I am anxious to get back to the place where I can care for my family - I have been pretty useless around here! Pray for Anthony to have some relief from his pain too - we are quite a pair now! He is counting down the hours until Tuesday morning when he can get that gauze and opturater out of his mouth!

Best Case Scenario

God proved Himself to be SO faithful yesterday! After dealing with a UTI infection and spending the afternoon in urgent care (not the way we wanted to spend the day before surgery!)it ended up being a good thing that I went because my left leg had become infected because of the dog bites. Every time I start to complain, I am immediately reminded of a blessing within a certain situation.

After a long day which included pain,a delay in the surgery time and having to exercise lots of patience, I finally got to see A in recovery 8pm. The surgery was a complete success, as far as being the least invasive. He only lost a half a quart of blood and the operation was much shorter than expected. Apart from having a descent size hole up through his mouth into the sinus cavity, things look great! The opturater is wired into his mouth and covers almost 90% of the hole. In the hole is 6 ft. of gauze! The gauze will be removed in a week and things should be smelling pretty awful by then!

Pathology is taking a look at what is removed and if there happens to be enough cancer free bone/tissue surrounding it then radiation might not be needed. The Dr. said sometimes radiation can do more harm than good.

Anthony just ate a yogurt (1st solid food) and is fast asleep, thanks to the pain meds. just administered :) His jaw is quite painful because they had to open his mouth so wide to operate - ouch! My TMJ hurts just thinking about that!

We are hoping for the possibility of a reconstruction skin graft operation to be able to be done. Skin from his cheek, nose and arm would be taken to cover the hole. This operation is very hard, as grafting in that location doesn't take too well, but this would greatly improve his quality of life if possible.

Well, I am wiped out and still in my pj's too. Can't wait for these infections to clear up! I am looking forward to sleeping flat in my own bed (instead of a recliner thing) an we might go home tomorrow! We miss our boys so much.......we were able to Skype today and there was Dr. Loegan dressed up in his medical garb. He even sang Jesus loves Me to Daddy!

God has answered our prayers and we want to give Him the glory for the great things He has done!


Ever have one of those days, week, months when you feel like you are under attack? Well, that is how we have been feeling lately. I am normally not hugely into spiritual warfare and the such, but it has become quite evident that the devil is trying to mess with us – big time!

This past month we have had to go to the emergency room twice. The 1st time was when Kamden got a fishing hook through his cheek. He was carrying my one year old nephew to the car to put him in his car seat, when he bumped into a fallen fishing pole it came back to hook him right in the cheek. I almost passed out trying to cut the line……comical now, but not at the time! The miracle was, other than not being hooked in the eye J, was that Braylin didn't get hurt. If that had happened to the baby he would have yanked the hook out and caused a lot of damage to his face. The doctors were able to remove it, and there is hardly a scar on Kamden's face. The doctor asked if he could take a picture – think hook, lead weight, feather thingy, all dangling from his face. He was quite popular in the waiting room and was very brave. He even got to keep the hook as a souvenir. Whew! What a day that was!

The next trip was today. What began as a quick stroll around the neighborhood (I had 15 min. before Anthony & I had to leave for an appt with the prosthetic doctor) turned out to be a nightmare. I was going to take Loegan in the stroller and have Schuyler come along too, but at the last moment they decided not to come because we weren't going to have time to stop at the playground. I had my Bluetooth, and was intending to finish up some phone calls that I needed to make on my power walk *smile*. This was around 2:00. I only got a few houses down when I saw a neighbor on the opposite side of the street open his front door. Then I saw 2 angry looking dogs bound out the door and head straight for me. I was utterly overwhelmed at that moment and managed to utter "It's ok puppies" in a sweet voice as they stared at me with bared teeth. For some reason, which I am curious to know, they were just really ticked off. A split second later one bit, and then the other - over and over :( I tried to kick, but couldn't because either one or the other was always latched on. I kept looking straight at them - I think I would have turned around, but I knew my kids were back playing in my yard. They had me cornered anyway. I resisted screaming until I couldn't handle the pain. Boy, that hurt!!! A large golden retriever had also followed the 2 "demons" out of the house and was standing there growling and snarling. The noise of it all, coupled with my screams was overwhelming. I was so stunned that I didn't know if he was growling at me or the other 2 dogs. I was so scared of his teeth that I cried out "Help me Jesus!" I kept my arms up and put my hands in front of my face. My dad, who was working in the yard, finally heard me. He thought it was just a dog fight he was hearing, but when he realized it was my voice, he came. The dog's owner seemed to be in shock and it seemed like forever until he reached us. The dogs wanted to eat me I think because they just didn't quit! The owner had to kick the dogs off of me because they didn't respond to any verbal commands. I am really surprised he didn't get bit too. He said "They didn't break through the skin did they?" I told him that judging from the pain I had/was experiencing I thought so. I gingerly lifted up my jeans and showed him the blood. Then after locking the dogs back up he walked down to where my Dad & I were. He said he was really sorry, but I wasn't in the mood to chat. I apologized for having a minor panic attack because of "everything" that was going on in my life. It's hard to be Christ-like when you are scared and in pain, but I tried! Then we were off to the ER.

Anthony had to be at his check the fake upper palate for his mouth(Ewww, poor A!) He would have come if I had insisted, but his appointment was too important to miss. My mom came with me, and the boys stayed cooped up in my Dad's truck until Anthony was done. The wounds, which hurt while they were happening, didn't stop hurting. My lower legs BURNED and ThRoBbEd(like my word picture?;) They gave me ice packs and elevated my legs which helped a lot. They gave me the form to have animal control sent over to my neighbor's house. When I finally was seen the puncture wounds had to be boiled out – and if that sounds bad – IT WAS. I don't believe they don't give you a little "something" before that happens- this coming from a girl who refused any pain meds. during childbirth.

6:00 pm and 1 strong anti-biotic prescription later I was home eating a bowl of chicken soup on the couch, trying to calm my nerves. I am exhausted. Please pray that this situation will be resolved, that the dogs will be up -to-date on their rabies shots and that they will be put down in a timely manner, because I believe they are a threat to others.

I am struck by God's greatness and His protection. Things could have been a lot worse, had I brought the kids with me or had I been wearing my usual jogging shorts, instead of my thicker jeans - ouch! I know that I had angels watching over me. I would really like a quieter day tomorrow though! ;)

If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your dwelling, no evil will conquer you............For he orders His angels to protect you wherever you go.

The Lord says, "I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in My name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue them and honor them. I will satisfy them with a long life and give them my salvation."
~Psalms 91:9,11 & 14-16.

~ What a great passage of truth to hold on too!

-The Rains Came Down and the Floods Came Up, but the House on the Rock Stood Firm -

Just a couple days before Anthony's cancer diagnosis, Loegan came to me and asked me, "Mommy, can you teach me a new song?" I thought for a second, and then the song, The Wise Man Built His House Upon The Rock, popped into my head. Loegan and I sang it - complete with hand motions (I was a little rusty .J) I hadn't sang that for years, and I had no idea how symbolic that little tune would become!

Back in the beginning of August, God really impressed upon Anthony's heart to become more of a spiritual leader in our household. Don't get me wrong, Jesus has always been central in our family life, but Anthony's heart was being stirred to go even deeper, to disciple his children on a daily basis and to spend more exclusive time together in the Word. From that time on, each member of our family has individual personal Bible and prayer time each and every day (I read a devotion to Loegan), and we also have a Bible study daily as a family. There have been some days that this fits nicely into our schedule, and other times when we have had to "make" time, even if that meant waiting up for Daddy to come home from work @ 11pm! On a number of occasions when children have been sick or tired and cranky, when I had a migraine or desperately needed to get some things done around the house or when Anthony was beyond exhausted after working a 12 hr. shift, we were tempted to skip it just for that day. We had to come to a point that skipping Bible time is not an option. I am not sharing this to say that we have our lives in perfect order, by any means! We still have a LONG way to go in submitting our lives to Him and aligning our lives and hearts to His will. Rather, this is a testimony to God' s greatness because HE prepared us all spiritually before this trial. We were obedient, but it was our loving Father who guided us to firm up our family's foundation so it would be strong enough to withstand this storm. Fathers, committing to grow your family spiritually is a hard task, but God will bless you for it! I am aware that it can be tough (or sometimes nearly impossible) to get the whole family together in one place, but the time you have to carve out of your schedule to spend in the Word NEVER returns void.

We had no inkling that this "Bible" time would become so precious to us. I am crying tears of joy, and of heartache right now because we don't know exactly know how we will manage spending time with God as a family during Anthony's hospitalization. We have no idea how this will work, but we will probably have to get quite creative! The doctors have told us that Anthony will have great difficulty speaking after his surgery – and from that time on. :( This saddens my heart, but I am convinced that God will take all these struggles and use them. We want God to be glorified through our weaknesses – sometimes that is when God can use us best! I challenge you to prayerfully consider shepherding your own little flock too – while you still have breath and while you have a voice! We wish we had made this commitment sooner, but we are grateful to have had this sweet time – you never know when your time here on earth will run out, so be effective and seize the day

6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. 8 Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6:6-10