Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Missing Christmas...and Wishing You A Happy New Year!! Also, a NEW Urgent Prayer Request

"Hope deferred maketh the heart sick:
but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life."
Proverbs 13:12

A beautiful Nativity we spotted outside a church in Maggie Valley, NC
I sit here tonight, feeling a bit melancholy.
Don't get me wrong.
I am beyond thankful.
More grateful than I could ever hope to put into words.
But, still kind of sad...deep inside....
knowing Christmas is over!

I love it so much.
Because we were away from home for so much of the fall season,
we ended up getting started late in our preparations for Christmas,
so I guess I felt a little bit cheated...
like it sort of passed us right on by before we could relish it enough.
By the time I got into it really good, it was Christmas Eve,
there was lots of crumpled wrapping paper all over our living room floor,
the gifts were all opened, and it was all over!

I don't mean to complain.
Truly I don't.
There are so many people who are dealing with so much pain and heartache,
this seems so trivial to even mention.
It is just that we look forward to Christmas all year, then, in a flash,
the thing hoped for becomes what was.

I am so thankful Zach still feels the magic.
He still gets SO excited!
He had a ball.
After we celebrated and exchanged gifts with dear loved ones,
Zach started his birthday celebration!!

Our little man is now 14 years old!
Can you even imagine?

I do NOT know how we got here.
It has sped by way too fast.
I want time to slow down.
I want to savor these moments.
But, as I try to hold on to them, they pass so quickly and subtly through my hands,
and I find that I am powerless to make them stay.

On Christmas Eve, we decorated his birthday cake together.
He later told me it was the happiest part of his day, 
which said a lot, since opening presents was included in that.
It took us a quite a while, but we got it just the way he wanted it.
Actually, he did it mostly all by himself..while I watched and encouraged him.
I didn't do too great on the writing part and sort of ran the "d" and "a" in "birthday" together.
Oh, well.
He's so sweet....he didn't seem to mind.

Zach is quite the artist and loves to draw.
The best part was being together and having Kevin close by working from home.

So, another Christmas and birthday are past.

The letdown happens, and we miss what was,
all the while knowing we have to pick up and keep going.
Life goes on.
That's just the way it is.

Now we face the ending of another year.
Honestly, I don't ever remember living through a "shorter-feeling" year.
Is it just me, or did it just buzz past faster than a speeding bullet?
It feels like we just sang "Auld Lang Syne" and said "hello" to 2014,
now we are singing it again, saying "good-bye" to 2014, and feeling like it was one, big blur.

My "one word" for 2014 was RESTORATION.
I started out this year with a bad case of pneumonia and some other health issues.
What followed were several months of illness and trying to get back on my feet.
I am so thankful to the dear Lord for the restoration He brought to me this year,
and I am ending the year in a much better place than I started it,
to God be all the glory.

The lull during the week between Christmas and New Years is a time of reflection
and contemplation.
It is a week that I spend trying to reconcile so many mixed emotions, such as....
trying to recover from the letdown of Christmas being over and past,
thinking back over the year that just went by,
a sense of gravity as I realize another year is coming to a close,
and a sense of wondering what the new year will bring.

Mom used to tell me that every year that passes brings us one year closer to eternity.
I don't mean to sound morbid or to be discouraging in any way.
but the older I get, the more I just seem to think about this type of thing
and the more I realize that many of the things I have heard Mom and Dad say so many times through the years really are true.
Nothing drove that point home to me more than when I stood by both of their dying bedsides,
saying good-bye to them for the final time.

God willing, if the sun rises again tomorrow, it will usher in a new day of a brand-new year.

What kind of year will it be?
Only One holds the answer.

As I linger in retrospect and reflect over 2014,
there are so many precious memories and recollections of good times.
Through all of the sickness and things we have been through,
we have proven time and time again that God is faithful.
I am SO grateful for another 365 days of life.
How I praise God that we were still the land of the living...
watching the ushering in of another year!

As I look ahead, I wonder if the new year will unveil a mystery in our lives.
Let me explain.

In June of 2014, while away on vacation in the mountains,
a stirring began inside of me.
It happened in the middle of the night.
I was awake and could not sleep, no matter how hard I tried.
This usually means that God is wanting to share something with me,
and no matter how sleepy and tired I feel, it is always SO worth the effort to crawl out of bed
and either hit my knees or find a comfortable spot...and just listen.

Kevin and Zach were sound asleep in our hotel room,
and not wanting to disturb them, I crept quietly to the only private spot I could find.
You guessed it.
The bathroom!
I sat down on the edge of the bathtub and turned my face upwards,
begging God to talk to reveal what it was that He needed me to know.
As I sat there, I was overtaken by uncontrollable weeping,
as my hungry heart and inquiring mind began to hear and understand the voice of God.
As we communed there, some time during our conversation, the stirring began...
a sort of what I have come to call "spiritual restlessness"...
like something was up ahead, and I needed to be aware of it.

It wasn't an eerie feeling.
I wasn't afraid.
It was more of a sense that imminent change was coming,
but along with that sense, an assurance that it would be a good kind of change.

I ended up talking to the Lord for around two hours before I felt our visit was over,
and I could leave what had become a sacred spot and return to bed.

It was precious.
I have revisited that time in my mind so many times.

After we got back home from vacation, the stirring continued to churn inside of me.
Tonight, on New Years Eve, it still does.
I have pondered it and questioned its meaning so many times.
The odd thing is that Kevin and Zach began to feel it, too, shortly after I did.
It has increased, at times, to the point of almost frustration,
because it is hard to feel a stirring, yet not know what you are being stirred to do.

One of the most frustrating points came on the afternoon of July 17th.
Zachary and I were in our back yard having a heart-to-heart talk,
when Little Mr. Wisdom began to spew his typical sage-like words.

"Mama, maybe we should put out a fleece.
Maybe we should set a time of two weeks and ask God that if this is not real
to please take away these feelings, and if there is something to it,
that we will still feel this way when the two weeks are over."

It didn't take me long to agree with what he suggested,
as I weighed the value and wisdom of his words.

So, we prayed right there...together...and we asked God to show us His perfect will.
To take away the feelings of "stirring" and "spiritual restlessness" from us if we shouldn't feel this way, and to let them remain if these feelings were coming from Him.

After Zach and I prayed that day,
three experiences happened during that two week waiting period that I will never forget.
They were profound and extremely telling,
further confirming that these "feelings" we are experiencing are not just whims.
That the stirring that started in June is real, and it truly is from God.
By July 31st, we knew, without a shadow of a doubt.
We had our answer.

Accompanied by the "sense" of imminent change, Zachary had a sort of vision,
that involved a door up ahead of us.
The vision actually happened before my hotel conversation with God,
but when we sat down and talked about it all, we realized it correlated perfectly.

A few things have happened between July 31st and today that have sort of hinted
at the reality and fulfillment of our "stirring", but nothing has been completely definitive.

So, we wait.
And we seek His will.
And we trust His timing.
And, I hate to admit this, but I squirm.

I just want to know now, you know?
I want to know what "this" is.

Is this how Abraham felt?
Concerning his situation, Hebrews 11:8 says,
"By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went."

Jesus' words in John 14:29 have come to hold so much meaning to me.
He said,
"And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass,
ye might believe."

God has let me know, in no uncertain terms, that He will let us know when He wants us to know.
Not a moment sooner.
The door will be revealed, and it will open, in His time, not ours.
All the complaining, frustration, and trying to rush God is to no avail.

God has His Own timetable, and He is in no way obligated to reset it or adjust it to line up with mine.
He sees the end from the beginning, and everything He does is orderly.
I could mess the whole thing a heartbeat.
He knows this.
He, in His infinite wisdom, will allow things to fall into place the way they are supposed to,
without my interference.
Down deep, I thank Him for that.

I think waiting on God is one of the hardest things to learn and come to terms with in the Christian life.
Knowing something is coming,
 knowing He has promised it,
then not seeing any sign of the fulfillment of that promise can be so disappointing.
"Hope deferred maketh the heart sick..."  Proverbs 13:12

As His children, we tend to be like our own children.
You know how it goes when you tell them something is up ahead...
that you are going on a trip,
that it will soon be their birthday,
that a fun event is coming up.
Once they know it is coming, it is the only thing they can think about.
They incessantly ask the same questions over and over and over again...
"Are we there yet?",
"Is today my birthday?",
"How long until Granny gets here?", etc.
 Their frustration ends up causing you...and everyone else in the need lots of patience!

That's sort of how I feel right now.
The only difference between me and the little child described above is...
I have no idea what "this" is.
I just know it is out there...waiting for us,
and God will unveil it when He sees that we are ready and the time is right.
Perhaps He is still preparing us, healing us, restoring us,
 and giving us time and a chance to catch our breath before He requires "it" of us.
Maybe we need more time beside these still waters.

The other night, as I experienced one of my more frustratingly baffled moments,
Little Mr. Wisdom struck again.

"Mama, it is in times like this that you have to trust.
God just gave me something.
Do you know what trust is?"

I said, "What is it, Zach?"

Smiling, in his typically charming way, he replied,

"It is....

It was one of those jaw-dropping moments.
I just stood there, folding laundry, dumbfounded and thinking about what Zach had just said.

God is so faithful to speak straight to my heart through the lips of this boy.
It happens all the time.
I am SO thankful for him and to watch him grow in grace 
and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

To Rely Upon Strong Truth.

This is what trust is.
Such a profound revelation.
So needed by me.

Sometimes, truth is all we have to rely upon.
There is nothing tangible.
No written contract.
No audible voice.
Nothing concrete to look at.
Just a promise...spoken, still and small, to the inmost part of the spirit.

So, I face this new year with a sense of "guarded" hope.
Will "it" happen this year?
Will "our door" open in 2015?
I have no idea.
I just know I have our Father's promise,
and I am learning what it means to TRUST.

As you face the new year, with all of its uncertainty and mystery,
I hope you feel the courage to TRUST....
to rely upon the strong truth that He will never leave you nor forsake you,
but will walk with you always.
May you know that every step you take will be ordered by Him.
May each day of the new year bring peace, renewed courage, and every, single thing you need.
God bless you, my dear, precious friends.
Thank you for another year of loyal reading and fellowship here.
I appreciate every comment you have left behind,
every email you have sent,
every time you have picked me up when I really didn't feel like plodding forward in this blogging journey.
Thank you for holding my feet to the fire,
for taking the time to listen to what He has laid upon my heart,
and for reminding me of what He has called me to do.

From my heart to yours,

A NEW Urgent prayer request just came in that I wanted to add here.
I am attaching the exact words from the email I received.

Please pray for Baby Oscar!

"I have a favor to ask.   Our grandson's wife, Emily, is in labor at University Hospital, was admitted yesterday as an emergency.  Baby is not due until Jan. 16th.  Doctors said that the baby is very small and has not been receiving enough nutrients from the placenta.  She was induced last night and is still in labor.  There are some other possible concerns about the baby.  Could you ask the "Charity Community" for prayers?  Emily and most of the women in her family went to Seton.  The baby's name is Oscar! They need to take the baby soon.  We area all so worried. Thank you."

UPDATE 1/1/2015 @12:17 PM
PRAISE REPORT from Baby Oscar's Great Grandmother!!!

"Good news!   Baby Oscar entered our world screaming at the top of his lungs at 11:15 this evening!
There was an "army" of doctors and nurses ready for any kind of an emergency for mother and baby.
Oscar was 2 weeks early and weighed in at 4lbs-8oz, a few tufts of red hair (like his dad), and excellent Apgar score of 9 (meaning cried at birth, color pink, etc).  Unfortunately, he will not be able to sleep in his mother's arms tonight.  Will be in the neonatial intensive care unit for further evaluation. Cannot thank all of you enough for your prayers and concerns.  Please continue to pray for this precious little family until the doctors have finished their assessment of the baby's condition.


Great Grandma Mary and Baby Oscar"

Linking up with...
The HomeAcre Hop

Saturday, December 27, 2014

A Tale Of Four Christmas Miracles

"Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think, 
according to the power that worketh in us..."
Ephesians 3:20

Our God is still in the miracle-working business.
He is still in control.
He still answers prayer.
He still defies the logic and predictions of man.
Faith in Him still moves mountains...and changes the most hopeless of situations.

Sometimes, we have our eyes so focused on BIG miracles,
we overlook the smaller miracles God sends our way.
We fail to praise Him for the things He does for us.
just because He doesn't do them the exact way we want Him to or think He should.
We completely miss the gifts He places in front of us
simply because they are not packaged the way we expect them to be.

Psalm 103:2 says, 
"Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and forget not all His benefits."

It occurred to me that God, in His infinite mercy, sent some very special people we have all been praying for some very special presents this Christmas.

Over the past several months, I have often posted prayer requests to this blog...
and several others.

While I wish I had even better news to share, 
I wanted to post updates on the four above-mentioned prayer requests,
and share with you about four Christmas miracles our amazing and awesome God performed on their behalf.

A word of warning...
you may want to grab a box of tissues before you read this post or watch these videos.
I sit here now, as I write, unable to stop the flow of my tears,
after finishing watching the video of Makeya and Max Brown.

Dear Lord, have mercy.
This precious family has suffered more in the past four and a half months
than most people ever suffer in a long lifetime.
From the moment on August 2nd that I first received the prayer request for them, 
their story has gripped my heart in a way that cannot be ignored.
So many of you have faithfully carried a prayerful burden for them.
You have prayed, but you have gone beyond just prayers.
You have reached out, donated money, sent cards and gifts, 
left comments here, emailed privately, and shown the love of God in so many ways.

I believe with all my heart that the power of God is what has brought this family this far.
When I think of the Browns, I often think of the Scripture found in Deuteronomy 33;27,
"The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms."

What other force could be strong enough to carry them and the weight of this burden?
For those of you who are reading about them for the first time, 
the original post, along with all of the updates about them, are available here.

After four long, extenuating months in the hospital, 
Makeya and Max were finally able to go home just in time for Christmas!!
God gave them and their family a Christmas miracle all their own!

It is precious, yet so heart wrenching to see Makeya holding Quinton's picture
and to know he is no longer with them.

I am inserting an update from Shyla here, with her permission,
written the day after Makeya and Max spent their first night back at home.

"Well, the first night was a success. 
We had one thing pop up on us, though. 
We did not receive a nebulizer for my son's breathing treatment. 
Thanks to my father-in-law, we got one up here until they bring us his. 
Max woke up this morning with no secretions which is good because he usually had a lot of secretions in the morning at the hospital. 
He also slept all night long until we woke him up at 8. 
At the hospital he always woke up about 4."

Now, for the video that made me cry....

If video doesn't load, click HERE.
This family needs our prayers, dear, as much, if not more than ever before.
The daily challenges, to me, seem near-insurmountable.
The task ahead seems overwhelming.
In many ways, their main trail has just begun.

If the Lord lays it upon your heart to help them, financially, 
there are two ways to donate.
1.  An account has been set up for this purpose at a local bank.

Please mail donations to:

Citizen's Deposit Bank & Trust
P. O. Box 9
Vanceburg, KY  41179
Please write "For Brown Family" on the memo line of check.
2.  You may donate online by clicking HERE.

May God richly and abundantly bless each of you for your kindness, 
generosity, love, and compassion to this hurting family. 

Doctors predicted that Lauren Hill would not live to see Christmas Day.

However, God had other plans.
He had a miracle in store for Lauren.
Prayers ascended from literally all over the world on her behalf,
and Lauren, by God's miracle-working power, was able to enjoy another Christmas with her family!!
She has also been strengthened to play in, not just one, but four college basketball games!

Lauren's goal is to raise one million dollars for cancer research.
As of this writing, $751,554.94 has been raised!!
Each time I have gone back to check and make sure I am posting the latest, most accurate information, the numbers have increased, so it appears that there is a continual flow going.

Wouldn't it be amazing for Lauren to see her goal of $1,000,000 reached?

If you would like to donate to this cause, please click HERE.

You may want to break out that tissue box again before watching this video,
as it will also most definitely jerk the tears.

If video doesn't load, click HERE.

To find more links about how to contribute to Lauren's cause,
to obtain the address to mail her an encouraging card,
to keep up with her Facebook page,
and to read an article about Lauren, click HERE.

Please continue to keep Lauren and her family in your prayers.

To read all posts about Lauren, click on the links below.
After starting Hospice care, Jimmy Neff has continued to decline and grow weaker.

The Hospice nurse has predicted that Jimmy doesn't have much longer to live.
But, God, in His infinite mercy, allowed Jimmy to be with his family for one more Christmas.
He was able to sit up in the living room and enjoy visitors as they came and went throughout the day.
What an amazing gift from God!

Memories of this Christmas will linger long in the hearts and minds of my brother, David,
(Jimmy's step-dad), sister-in-law, Dorothy, (Jimmy's mom), and all of his family and loved ones.

To read previous posts about Jimmy, click the links below.
Connie Flanders has been hospitalized since the middle of September,
and has had many close brushes with death.

She nearly died as recently as the early morning hours of 12/21,
when she had to have another emergency operation,
but, God in His great mercy, defied death and brought her through one more time.
By December 23rd, she was off the ventilator again!
Chris Thompson wrote that Connie would be able to be awake and see her family on Christmas Day!
Even though she wasn't well enough to be home, God sent the miracle of extended life.
What a gift!

To read previous posts about Connie, click the links below.

Things could have turned out differently in all four cases.
But, God mercifully allowed the Brown family, Lauren, and Jimmy
to be in their own homes with their families this Christmas,
and He permitted Connie to live and be awake enough to see her family on Christmas Day.

At the onset of the accident, there was a chance that both Makeya and Max would not live.
During the aftermath, there have been many scares, bumps, and setbacks.
But, each and every time, God has answered our prayers and pulled them through.
We have witnessed Divine intervention over and over again.
If you go back and read through the 25 posts about the Browns,
you will see what I mean.
Things would seem to be going in the right direction, when out of the blue,
something else would unexpectedly go wrong.
As recently as the December 10th post here, I was pleading for prayer for Max,
as he had contracted pneumonia and was back in ICU,
and for Makeya when her sugar dropped, and she had to be hospitalized again.
The next thing I heard, they were both much better and plans were being made for them to go home!

According to doctors, Lauren would not live until Christmas, but she did.
As Jimmy's condition continued to deteriorate, it has been very "touch and go",
and no one knew if he would see Christmas Day, but, by God's grace, he did.
Connie Flanders nearly passed away on 12/21, but she was awake in time for Christmas,
just four days later.
None of this is coincidence.

I have prayed for bigger miracles.
I'm sure you have, too.
From the bottom of my heart, I wish things could be different for all of them.
I long to hear that Max and Makeya are completely healed,
that they are both walking again, with no need for wheelchairs,
that Max is completely off the ventilator,
that both Lauren and Jimmy are totally healed and cancer-free,
and Connie is completely recovered and back home with her husband and daughters.

This is what I wish I was writing about tonight.

But, even though God has not seen fit to answer those particular requests,
He has chosen to bless in so many other ways.
Sparing their lives until Christmas 
was miraculous and gracious of our loving Lord.
For these and so many other overlooked miracles, I give God praise!!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014!!

"And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men."
Luke 2:13, 14

Merry Christmas!!

From the Smith house to your house,
we wish you these things...
special times with family, making brand-new memories to cherish,
sounds of laughter that rings loud and echoes long,
enough of everything you need,
and a fresh, new appreciation for the precious Christchild born so long ago.

Aren't you thankful He came?
Even though He knew He was born to one day die for our sins,
He chose to come anyway.

We pray that you feel His sweet presence especially close to you on
this Christmas Day!!

Much love to all,
The Smiths

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Max & Makeya Will Be Home For Christmas!! UPDATE on Baby Obed, Connie Flanders, & Jimmy Neff

"But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
I Corinthians 15:57

Yes, you read that right!

Max and Makeya are going home today!!

Once again, God came on the scene, and He has answered the many prayers you have prayed for these two children.
Max improved, to the point that he was able to graduate from therapy 
and to be able to go home in time for Christmas!

How great is our God!!
I can't even imagine the joy in the hearts of Steven, Shyla, Shiela, and their other loved ones.

And while their hearts are filled with overflowing joy, 
the task that lies in front of this dear family must seem completely overwhelming.
How their lives have changed since they left their home on August 2nd!
Now, after over four months of hospitalization, not only must they acclimate themselves to life outside the hospital walls, but they must face that life without the smile and love and presence of their little five year old son, Quinton.
I am sure when they left home that August day, they never dreamed how much their lives would change and the nightmare they would endure before they ever stepped foot back into that familiar space.
Their lives will never be the same, and now, they face the aftermath,
with two little ones who are paralyzed and in need of continual care.

I am copying Shyla's words from December 10th here...

"Max is back to his regular settings on the vent, and he is doing a lot better. 
Thank you everyone for the prayers.
 Keep them up."

and from yesterday....

"Last night was rough for me because I had to leave the hospital to get things taken care of
 before we go home, including the house's electric checked for Max's vent, 
my van put in my name and insured, and then back up here at the hospital. 
It was the first time I have been back in LC since my baby boy was laid to rest. 
Today was the first time I have been in my house since Aug 2nd, and that was very hard. 
I am back up here at the hospital now doing the last things we have to do before he goes home, which is the 24 hr care. 
He took and passed the car seat test today,where he had to sit in a car seat for 3 hrs. 
As long as the ambulance people don't have an emergency, we will finally be leaving this hospital on Thursday at 1:30 pm."

The future must loom like an insurmountable feat in front of these parents.  
It occurred to me today, as I began writing this post, that the Brown family probably needs our prayers now as much, if not more, than ever before.
There is an odd sort of "letdown" that falls after someone has been in "survival" mode for an extended period of time, then must walk forward and leave the familiarity of it behind.
There is a feeling of insecurity, knowing they have to deal with these extenuating medical circumstances, on their own, without a nurse being instantly available, at the mere push of a button.
There is the emptiness that fills up the atmosphere, caused by the stark realization that a familiar voice no longer echoes off the hallway walls of their home.
There will be reminders of Quinton everywhere they look.
The reality of his loss will sink in now....more staggeringly than it has yet.

This is what life will now look like.
This is their new "normal".
Accepting it will be the most difficult stage of the process.
Healing will take a long time.
Not to sound hopeless, but in reality, they will never fully recover.
Because something precious has been removed from their lives,
and no matter what they are given from this point forward,
the void of his loss will remain.

Bless their dear hearts, to say their challenges are daunting seems like a very insufficient choice of words.
After all they have been through, it is now that their biggest trials begin.
I can't imagine how scary some of this must be.

Christmas is right around the corner, and I am sure it will be very bittersweet for them.
They will, no doubt, continually compare life this Christmas to what it was like last Christmas...
and Christmases before.

As you hurry about, doing what needs to be done this Christmas,
please keep the Brown family in your thoughts, and most importantly, your prayers, 
will you?
Pray that God will send needed comfort in every moment of overwhelming grief,
that He will give strength for each new challenge-filled day,
that He will hold them extra close and enable them to accept life as it is now,
and that He will continue to heal Max and Makeya. 

I don't know about anyone else, but I am still not giving up on their complete healing.
Just because they have been sent home and doctors have reached their full potential of a cure,
does not mean our God is finished with this miracle.
I still believe He will confound us all by raising them up and allowing them to walk again.
I sounds far-fetched and unreasonable, 
but this is GOD we are talking about, friend.

The God Who created the Heavens and the Earth and Who holds the universe in place
by only His Word.
The God Who parted the Red Sea and allowed His children to safely walk across to a place of freedom.
The God Who became one of us on that first Christmas night,
Who walked and lived and breathed in a human body for 33 years,
Who was scourged, mercilessly, under the hand and whip of a burly, hard-hearted Roman soldier.
Every stripe left upon His precious wounded, mutilated-beyond-recognition body
was for the purpose of our healing....for Max's and Makeya's healing.

Jesus suffered, that we might be healed.

"...He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities:
the chastisement of our peace was upon Him,
and with His stripes we are healed."
Isaiah 53:5

As He suffered, He knew there would one day be a little 2 year old boy named Max
and a little 6 year old girl named Makeya, and an innumerable multitude of others,
who would be severely wounded.
So, He stuck it out.
He suffered.
He did what He had to do.
To make a way for them to be healed.

God's thoughts are so far above our thoughts.

"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways,
and My thoughts than your thoughts".
Isaiah 55:9

I don't know what His plan is for these dear children.
But, what I do know is that God is not any way.
He is not hindered....except by our lack of faith.

"And He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief."
Matthew 13:58

God has the power.
We must believe.

I know I have asked many, many times before, but at the expense of sounding like a broken record,
and at the risk of over-trying your patience, I put before you a repeat petition.
Will you please seek God's will about possibly sending the Brown family a blessing this Christmas?

Now that they are home, they will face many new needs.
We all know bills do not stop pouring in, just because life has been rearranged
and employment has been suspended.
Life goes on....and so do the expenses.

I know there are a lot of needs in each one of your individual circles,
and sometimes, we feel that donating to one more cause, no matter how deserving,
would be one too many.
But, just in case you feel the Spirit of God leading you, 
I will, once again, include instructions for ways to bless the Brown family.

If  anyone would like to send the Brown family a card of encouragement,
please contact me, and I will provide the mailing address to you, individually.

If anyone would like to make a monetary donation to this family,
there are two ways to donate.

1.  An account has been set up for this purpose at a local bank.

Please mail donations to:

Citizen's Deposit Bank & Trust
P. O. Box 9
Vanceburg, KY  41179
Please write "For Brown Family" on the memo line of check.
2.  You may donate online by clicking HERE.

You can read the original prayer request post and each update by clicking the links below.

Baby Obed continues to slightly improve, praise God!!

This is his Daddy, Travis' latest update...

"Obed’s cardiologist appointment went well.  He currently weighs 10 lbs. 10oz.  She increased his medicine just a bit due to him retracting slightly while breathing. Our next scheduled cardiologist appointment is on Dec 31st, so I guess that means he will not be having surgery this year!  
I’ll let you know if anything changes.  Thanks again for praying…"

Did you hear that, folks?
God has answered our prayers, thus far!!!

Let us not become weary in interceding to God on behalf of this precious, little one!!
Please keep praying and believing God for no surgery...EVER.

Jesus said, "According to your faith, be it unto you."
Matthew 9:29

So, if we believe Him for no surgery, can we not expect that He will grant our request?

Maybe I am just plain too simple-minded to just believe and take things at such face value.
But, I still believe that if we have faith the size of a grain of mustard seed, 
we can speak to a mountain, tell it to move, it will move, and nothing will be impossible unto us.
(Matthew 17:20)

To read previous posts about Baby Obed, please click on the links below.

Connie Flanders endured a five hour surgery on Friday.
It was probably the most extensive operation I have ever personally heard about.

Still hospitalized after over three months, 
Connie continues to need a LOT of prayer.
Her road to recovery will be long and hard to tread, 
but we know God is able to bring her through,
and our faith relies on that.

To read previous posts about Connie, click on the updates below.


Jimmy Neff is now under Hospice care at home.

His condition continues to worsen.
Please pray for peace and strength for Jimmy,
my brother, David (Jimmy's step-dad),
my sister-in-law, Dorothy (Jimmy's mom),
his siblings, David, Naomi, and Melissa,
and all other family, loved ones, and friends.

To read previous posts about Jimmy, click on the updates below.


Christmas will be very different and difficult for so many this year.
Please pray for all who are hurting, both physically and emotionally,
and who will not be able to rejoice this Christmas season.

Do you ever become weary from the burden of so much suffering...
both in your own life and in the life of others?

The Apostle Paul put it this way,
"If in this life only we have hope in Christ,
we are of all men most miserable."
I Corinthians 15:19
(Emphasis added)

Aren't you thankful we have a hope beyond this life?
That this life is not all there is?

Aren't you glad that there will be a day when all of the suffering of this life will have passed away,
and we, as Christians, will have inherited a Heavenly home, void of all sadness?

Click here if video doesn't load.

Revelation 21:4 says,
"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes;
and there shall be no more death,
neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain:
for the former things are passed away."

Even though this life is hard and there are many burdens that weigh down our spirits,
many moments of pain and anguish and grief and misery,
God gives sufficient grace and assures us that it is better farther on.

Click here if video doesn't load.

Click here if video doesn't load.
Please keep praying, and
press on, dear friend, press on!