Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Year of Our Lord, AD 2017 ~ In Retrospect

"I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill;
but time and chance happeneth to them all."
Ecclesiastes 9:11

As I contemplated the process of closing out yet another year of life,
I began to think of it as AD 2017, and I delved into the meaning of "AD".
This abbreviated term is often misinterpreted as "After Death" of Jesus Christ,
but, in actuality, "AD" means "anno Domini" and the full phrase translates,
"in the year of our Lord Jesus Christ".

I'll be honest.
2017 has been really hard.
Beyond difficult.
I think it is safe to say that the amount of worry I have carried and the tears I have cried this year 
far surpass a lot of other years of living combined.
It started on January 1st...the very first day of this year, 
when my niece, Kristen, who was expecting her first child, collapsed in the Emergency Room,
only to find out that she had a blood clot in her lung.
What followed was an intense urgency placed upon my heart to personally pray her and her unborn baby through the pregnancy and delivery.
It was something that I could not shake off or dismiss, because Kristen is, and always has been, 
very near and dear to my heart.
Though I knew I had no control over any part of the outcome of her ordeal,
I was bound and determined to do all I could to move God on His throne on behalf of her and her unborn baby boy, often asking you, dear friends, to join with me in fervent prayer.
(Which, by the way, you were ever so faithful to do, and I am eternally grateful for you.)
The outcome God permitted was a definite response to the many prayers prayed.
More about the little miracle guy and pictures later.😃

During the time of Kristen's trials, several other extenuating circumstances began to arise,
that required more of me than I felt I could even begin to give.
Time after time, I have been forced way past what I thought were my "limits".
God stretched me in so many ways this year, I realized my "limits" were just points the flesh part of me never wanted to have to go past or deal with.
As much as I did not want to walk past those points, God had other plans, 
and each time He forced me forward into places I did not want to go, it became evident that I was not walking at all, but being carried by arms that refuse to let go.
I know it sounds insane, but the only way I know to describe the way I have felt, at times this year, is that it was like I was having an out of body experience.
It was almost like it wasn't even me....going through the motions, stumbling along, doing what was required on automatic pilot, completely numb and void of feeling.

We end this year much different than we started.
Kevin no longer has an earthly father.
It is a hard thing to watch the effects and depths of his grieving this first Christmas/holiday season without his Dad.
His Mom's struggles remain and loom enormous after a horrific car wreck, in which she totally lost control, hit a rock wall, fractured her neck, and mangled her right arm.
Aunt Vaida's lung cancer is back, and she continues to fight this awful disease.
All three of my dear sisters stand in the face of severe testing...
one, still reeling in the aftermath and ongoing chaos from her home's direct hit from Hurricane Irma,
one, whose whole world was turned completely upside down when her husband, LD, passed away just four days ago...none of us can believe he is gone...the grief is so raw and near-unbearable,
and, one, who continues to suffer from complications after surgery this year.
My cousin, Danny, and his wife, Vickie, both died within eight hours of each other.
Another cousin, Billy, lost his only son, Chris, during 2017.
Our dear, precious family dog, Paige, passed away after suffering terribly.
We will never, ever forget her.

There are a host of other personal things...things that have shaken us to the core and come close to knocking us off our feet this year.
Our future feels very shaky and uncertain heading into 2018.
Things we counted on to be there, can be counted on no longer.
So many chapters many heartaches and changes...seeming to come from so many angles.

Someone said it is a compliment when God allows extreme anguish.
That satan fights hardest against those he considers a threat.
That God entrusts hard things to those He can trust the most.

I'll be honest.
None of this feels like a compliment.
It feels like way too much at one time.
More than once, I have said, "I can't take anymore".
More than once, God has proven that when I can't go another step, He is strong enough to pick me up and carry me...issues, hang-ups, burdens, included.

I started this post talking about this being AD 2017, the year of our Lord Jesus Christ.
As we wrap up this beyond-difficult year, the point God is trying to get across to me is that
the year 2017, along with every other year of life, was do with as He chose.
To order, direct, orchestrate, and allow every detail, according to a plan that is so far above anything I can comprehend.
The moments, hours, days, months, and years are His.
Psalm 31:15 says, 
"My times are in Thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me."
It is not for me to dictate when and how things occur in this life.
I have NO control over anything at all.
There is a "fullness of time" for every event that happens to each and every one of us.

"That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him..."
Ephesians 1:10

"But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law..."
Galatians 4:4

We can't rush, nor delay the things that God reserves unto Himself.

If I had my way, none of my loved ones would ever suffer, and I would never be separated from any of them through death.
They would all live to a ripe, old age, in well, healthy bodies, and I would spend every possible moment with them.
Accidents would never happen.
Phone calls that bear bad, shocking, shake-you-to-the-core news would never occur.
All would be well.

I don't always get my way.
That is a fact of this life, and the sooner I accept it, the easier it will be to navigate through all of the things that are "not my will".

We live in a fallen world, so far inferior to the home Jesus has gone to prepare for us.
As long as we are here, there will be many things to endure.

Jesus said,
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. 
In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
John 16:33

None of us are exempt from the human condition.

"That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."
Matthew 5:45

At the end of this year, our hearts are broken shattered.
LD's passing left my family and me completely stunned, and my tears flow like a river.
We all had so much faith for his earthly, physical healing, and when it didn't happen the way we wanted it to, we are left reeling from the shock.
I'm not even going to pretend that I come close to understanding why God took LD right now.
We will miss him forever, and the hurt is going to linger for a long, long time.
He was such a strong, necessary part of our family, and there is just this big, deep void now.
There are no words.

As we mourn and pass through this season of enormous grief,
there is a bright spot that illuminates all of our hearts and souls.
His name is Eli, and, as promised, here is a picture of the little guy.

I love this picture! 
He was looking up at the Christmas lights.
And, in this one, it looks like he is ready to take on the world!
Isn't he a dollbaby?
An aunt has the right to brag, you know.

To God be all glory for the amazing gift of little Eli!

He is our symbol of hope, in the midst of so much darkness and pain.

We suffered deep, deep losses this year, but God sent a precious angel to earth to show us that life must go on, in spite of all.

It sort of reminds me of the year 2000, in some ways.
God took my dear Dad to Heaven in June, but He sent us precious Zachary in December.

It's hard to say this, but "the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD."
Job 1:21

To each of you faithful, precious readers and friends, I say,
Happy New Year!
May God bless each of you in a special way every, single day of 2018.

I end this final post of 2017 with five of the songs that have helped sustain me countless times.
They truly express how I feel right now.


  1. Morning Cheryl, it's Su Ann. Wonderful and heart breaking post. I pray 2018 the Lord's favor and blessings will show so brightly to you and your family.
    Numbers 6:24-26--The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make his face to shine upon you, And give you peace."

    1. Amen, and amen, sweet friend! Both for you and your family and us, too. Praying much for you and trusting God to send you miracles in this new year. Thank you for the dear friend you are to me...I appreciate you so very much and praise God for allowing our paths to cross. Sending love and hugs to you this New Year's Day!

  2. You definitely have had a tough year, Cheryl. Seeing you and your family stand even stronger in your faith as the storms of life seek to take your foundation is an encouragement for me and I'm sure countless others. It is your ministry.

    I'm praying for you in this season of your lives. We all sit in the palm of our Father. May he shield us with His other.

    Happy New Year to you and yours.

    1. Such dear encouragement to my heart today, Floyd. And, I love what you said about how we all sit in the palm of our Father, and may He shield us with His other. Such a wonderful picture that brings to my mind. Yes, dear Lord, please do that for each one of us! Thank you ever so much, and may God bless you and your family throughout this new year! You are such a blessing to us.

  3. Love you, dear Cheryl, and I am praying without ceasing for you and your precious family during this difficult time. Just wanted to share this with you, my favorite December 31st Devotional from My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers:

    You shall not go out with haste.for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard -Isaiah 52:12

    Security from Yesterday. "God requires an account of what is past" (Ecc. 3:15). At the end of the year we turn with eagerness to all that God has for the future, and yet anxiety is apt to arise when we remember our yesterdays. Our present enjoyment of God's grace tends to be lessened by the memory of yesterday's sins and blunders. But God is the God of our yesterdays, and He allows the memory of them to turn the past into a ministry of spiritual growth for our future. God reminds us of the past to protect us from a very shallow security in the present.

    Security for Tomorrow. "the Lord will go before you" This is a gracious revelation- that God will send His forces out where we have failed to do so. He will keep watch so that we will not be tripped up again by the same failures, as would undoubtedly happen if He were not our "rear guard." And God's hand reaches back to the past, settling all the claims against our conscience.

    Security for Today. "You shall not go out with haste" As we go forth into the coming year, let it not be in the haste of impetuous, forgetful delight, nor with the quickness of impulsive thoughtlessness. But let us go out with the patient power of knowing that the God of Israel will go before us. Our yesterdays hold broken and irreversible things for us. It is true that we have lost opportunities that will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past rest, but let it rest in the sweet embrace of Christ. Leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him.

    Love you,

    1. Oh, what wonderful, encouraging thoughts you shared, dear friend! Thank you from the bottom of my heart! I love this is so fitting right now. God bless you many times over for all you have done and for all of your encouragement to us. Love you and appreciate you so very much! I trust this new year will hold many special blessings for you and your family!

  4. You and your family have had a very difficult year. Praying the Lord is with you and gives you strength and a happy new year!

    1. Thank you, dear Bethany! You are an encouragement and blessing. I trust God will bless you and your family with a wonderful new year, also!

  5. Dearest Cheryl,
    Sending you heartfelt wishes for a blessed new year and healing as well. Your little nephew is a darling gem.
    Happy New Year to your my dear,

    1. Thank you ever so much, sweet Jemma. Healing...yes, dear friend, that is surely what we stand in need of right now. May God have mercy. Thank you for your kind words about the little one...he is surely a bright spot, and yes, I would have to agree that he is a darling gem! Sending love and hugs to you this New Year's Day!

  6. Aw, little Eli is so sweet! I remember the year Katie was born, was a sad year...Lee lost his dad, a brother, and a grandma that year....Katie was our little ray of sunshine in the family.
    I pray 2018 will be much better for both of our families.
    I remember the first time I heard "Even If", I cried like a baby! I love that song!
    Much love and hugs to you, my sweet friend! Continued prayers for you all!

    1. Oh, thank you, dear friend! My, that is just awful about how many died in Lee's family that year! And, this year! Oh, I know this Christmas season was SO hard for you all, and I have been faithfully praying for you and also Lee's sister. I know how hard this all is, and I just trust Jesus to minister to your dear, hurting hearts and bring you through all of the pain and grief. I pray 2018 will be much better for all of us, too...please, dear Lord. I love that song, "Even If", too. It just touches the deepest parts of the heart. Did you ever hear him tell the story behind the song? It is so moving. I send many hugs and so much love back to you, my friend, on this New Year's Day! You are such a dear blessing to me.

  7. Yes, it has been a hard year for you and the family and I wish you all God's wonderful blessings for 2018.


    1. Thank you so much, Diana. I am praying for your little mother and am SO happy she is feeling so much better. God is so faithful. I trust God will bless you all abundantly in this new year, my friend!

  8. A hard year indeed -- and one that in many ways I know you are glad is over. While yes, of course we know that the Lord walks through these trials with us, it does not make it something we enjoy. I'm so sorry to hear that LD has passed. I was on a blog break and didn't know this. But yes, isn't it amazing that even in the midst of this all, He gave you all such joy with that little blessing? What cute, cute pictures!

    1. I tell you, I am not one to ever wish time away or be glad when it passes, but you are so right...I didn't hate to see 2017 end nearly as much I usually feel sad when a year ends. We were on our knees praying the old year out and the new year in, and all of a sudden I heard a female voice singing "Hallelujah!" It startled me, but then I realized Zach had hit the button to play that song on my laptop right at midnight to show how happy he was that the year was over!!! LOL! Yes, my friend, LD is gone...totally unbelievable. I am still in complete shock and can't believe it is real. God help us all in the new year, and may He bless you and your family in many ways! Thank you so much for your kind words and prayers. :)

  9. I am so sorry that 2017 has been so difficult for your family. There is no way to even try to figure out why God has allowed all of this. Can you even imagine how folks without the Lord handle these things? But your faith in your God still shines like a star in the darkest night. God bless you, sweet friend and may 2018 be your best year yet! Hugs & prayers for a bright New Year! ♥

    1. You are right, sweet friend, there is no way to even try to figure it all out. No, I surely do not know how folks without the Lord handle these things, either. Thank you ever so much for your dear, kind words and prayers and friendship. You are such a blessing, and I appreciate you so much! God bless you and your family in this new year. I know your heart is hurting over the loss of your dear brother. I am praying for you and sending much love your way!

  10. Oh Cheryl, this year has been a very rough one for you and your family. Recognizing that it's not what we want, and that it is in God's hands is a wonderful thing for you to do. No, it's not easy...we want control, don't we? However, little Eli is such a bright spot! He is so adorable and looks like a tiny elf. Thank you for sharing that darling with us. My own dear, little Mom, fell in her kitchen and broke her right shoulder. I am flying to Ohio to help my sister with her care. Please say some prayers for her, as she is in terrible pain.
    Happy New Year to you...may 2018 be a much better year for all of you.

    1. Yes, dear friend, we surely do want control. I think that is one of the main things God is trying to teach me...that there is truly nothing over which I have a drop of control, and I need to just stop thinking I can control anything. Aww...thank you for your sweet words about the little elf! That is so cute! Oh, I am SO sorry to hear about your precious Mom having a fall! Bless her dear, little heart! I trust Jesus to protect you in your travels and give you strength to minister to her in his difficult time! I am surely praying for her and will continue to. Please let me know how she is doing if you get a moment. I am so, so sorry. God bless you, sweet friend.

  11. Dear Cheryl,
    OH my tears are flowing as I read your words tonight. And then to see that precious little Eli, along with your words that "he is your symbol of hope." Our Lord is so much higher than us, and our ways, isn't He? But yet, He stoops to our level, and continues to find ways to help us to hold onto His hope in these dark and heavy days. Even as my heart is so heavy praying for you and your dear family, my heart is also so encouraged by your words sweet friend! May the Lord bring back to you the same encouragement that you share with each one of us. And may your New Year be filled with overflowing Grace. Love and Hugs to you.

    1. Yes, dear friend, His ways are so much higher than us...I will never be able to understand the whys of this year or why so many things have to pour down at once. But, He knows, bless His holy name. Your tears that flow with ours is such a demonstration of the love of Jesus that is so full in your heart. You are such a living, breathing example of what it means to love like He loves. I am SO very blessed to have your presence in my life, and I will never be able to thank you enough for your dear encouragement and friendship. Sending much love and gratitude to you this New Year's night and praying often for you, my dear, faithful friend.

  12. Through it all, we must trust in Jesus that in the background He is pulling it all together. May your 2018 be full of confidence, boldness, peace, grace and mercy and through it all may you be blessed without measure. Happy New Year to you and your family. Love the photo of sweet boy.

    1. Thank you so much, Hazel. I trust God will richly and abundantly bless you in this new year, also!

  13. Oh, that little Eli, what a cutie. What a tough year, Cheryl. You are more than a survivor. You, daughter of God, radiate his love. Can't thank you enough for that beautiful, uplifting Christmas card. I wish you and your precious family a happy, healthy, prosperous New Year. Bless you for all you do for others. May God bless you with miracles!

    1. Dear Mary! How I appreciate your kind words and encouragement! I am expecting those miracles, my friend...not only for my family and me, but for you, too! I am praying often for your healing and believing God to answer. Sending much love and many hugs your way!

  14. Oh, Cheryl...your words just bring tears. You so eloquently share that God is good despite the hardships. There are blessings among the bitter. Your little Eli is such a miracle baby and he's adorable! I said so many prayers over that little one and it's so wonderful to see his sweet face!

    Your year has been too much to comprehend. I can't even imagine going through it all. My heart has ached, and continues to ache, for all your losses and the stress you've been under.

    I'm so grateful for your friendship and I'm so grateful you shared this precious post on my Counting Our Blessings linkup. This will truly, truly bless so many when they read it.

    You are in my prayers, my friend! I pray for God's comfort, peace, and strength as you go forward into 2018. I pray that the burdens will be lifted and that your year will end on a note of joy!

    Blessings and love - Julie

    1. Dear, sweet friend, I know you surely prayed for little Eli, and you have been SO faithful to us in our trials. I am so grateful for your precious friendship, too, and am praying much for you and your healing and for God to see you through all you are facing and going through. Surely He is a faithful God, and He places us in each other's lives to pray and intercede on behalf of one another. Your prayers and support and friendship are invaluable gifts to me. Sending many blessings and much love back to you!!!

  15. Oh my sister, what a encouraging post..honest, that you could even pen down your past year and still end with the grace and mercy of the Lord. I love that you tucked the pictures in of that sweet baby..what joy it brings just to look at him, all smiles, trusting others for everything that pertains to life. All the heartache goes on yet he smiles, trusting, just enjoying life. It's been a tough year for me also but I am confident that He will waste none of my tears or sorrow. We are made more like Him in our suffering then in our joy. Happy New Year...

    1. Oh, dear sister! Thank you for your comforting words...they were so encouraging to me today! Yes, little Eli goes right on smiling, and through those smiles, he brightens the whole world around him! What a doll and precious gift from God he is to us all! I love what you said, "We are made more like Him in our suffering than in our joy" very true. These pressing times release the fragrance of Christ in us, and even though, they are so painful to endure, we come to know Him better through it all. God help us to always be faithful to Him! I am SO sorry you have had a tough year, and I do trust God to allow this new year to be better for all of us! Happy New Year to you, too!

  16. Dear Cheryl, I am so very sorry to hear of the passing of LD and your sweet family dog along with all the other things that has happened in 2017. Your faith seems so very strong and you have been a perfect example of standing firm in your faith regardless. This has been such an encouragement to me. To praise Him when there seems to be nothing to praise for. To have joy in the midst of hurt and pain. To be CERTAIN of who HE is when all things seem so uncertain. I appreciate your transparency with your posts. I am praying for you right now dear Cheryl. I do wish you dear lady a wonderful and HAPPY New year! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

    1. Thank you so much, Cindy! Your dear words are a great encouragement and comfort to me! And your prayers are surely an invaluable gift to us at this time. I am so grateful for your support and friendship, and I trust God will send you and your sweet family a wonderful new year, too, my friend!!

  17. Cheryl, I'm sorry to hear of LD's passing. ((Hug)) Continued prayers for you and your family. 2017 was quite the year for you, sister. Prayers for all the aunts and sisters and everyone in need of healing. --- And, praise God for little Eli. So fun to see the answer to our prayers growing and thriving. --- May 2018 be good to you, Cheryl. Happy New Year. ((hug))

    1. Thank you so much, Brenda! Yes, dear sister, it surely was a rough year. Thank you ever so much for your prayers and kind words. Dear little Eli surely is the answer to all of the many prayers prayed for him, and we are most grateful to our dear Lord! Happy New Year to you and yours, my friend!

  18. Little Eli is precious! I am sorry to hear of your losses but we know God is with us in our journey to comfort us. Your words are a comfort and a beautiful reminder that there is good to be found in our trials. Blessings to you and your family!

    1. Oh, thank you, Robin! Eli surely is a bright spot and so sweet! Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. May the dear Lord bless you and yours in this brand, new year!!

  19. Oh Dear Friend, The rawness of this post is so palpable. My heart breaks with yours. But God... In your incredible humility and devotion to your Savior, even in the midst of extreme trial, heartache and raw honesty, in the end, you always lift the Lord high in praise in adoration. Oh what Glory you bring to our God and Father.

    I trust that the Lord will redeem 2017 and bless you with exceedingly abundant joy. That will be my prayer for you and your family.

    Blessings and much love sweet friend.

    And OHHH what a cutie your nephew is! Oh my!!! :-)

    1. Dear friend! You have been a steady, constant source of encouragement and prayer and support through it all. I will never cease thanking God for the blessing you are to me! I love the way you worded that..."that the Lord will redeem 2017". YES, that is surely the desire of our hearts, too...and we long for that exceedingly abundant joy. Your prayers mean SO much, and I just trust Jesus to bless you, too, dear, faithful friend. I pray for you so often and wish a very happy new year to you and yours!

  20. Dear Cheryl, Thank you for the sweet email comment. I am humbled by your words and so glad you are blessed by sweet Stephanie and I could be a small part. Reading your post here my heart breaks for the sad times and loss you have faced this past year. Precious Eli is a sweetheart and I know helps to fill your hearts with hope. Isn’t it a blessing to know that our Lord holds our hand every step of the way. Even when we think we can’t take more, HE shows us the way through the darkness. I pray you have a beautiful new year and that 2018 brings you much comfort. Thank you so much for your note. Sending big hugs your way. xo Celestina Marie

    1. Dear Celestina Marie! You are most welcome, and every, single word came straight from my heart! I am still just so overwhelmed by dear Stephanie's love and kindness and your amazing talent. Your work is just SO beautiful and precious. God shines through your wonderful gifts! Thank you so much for your kind, comforting words, and I trust God will bless you and yours with a wonderful new year! Sending many hugs back to you this day with much love!

  21. Grief is a heavy weight to carry, friend. Nothing prepares you for it. Rest is important, so please give yourself permission to slow down and even take a nap as needed. Praying for you -- May God wrap His comfort and courage around you like a warm blanket. HUGS

    1. Thank you, Lyli. I am ever so grateful for your kind words! God bless you, my friend.

  22. Oh dear Cheryl, where to begin? So much I want to say... 2017 was such a tumultuous year for you, and I didn't realize the first day started off with Kristen in the ER room, wow. So incredible how the Lord undertook in that situation though, and allowed little Eli to be born safely, and with the cutest, most darling little life of joy! Oh I can see the joy in his face. Truly the Lord's hand is upon him, and that precious family. Such tragedy have undertaken your family this year, the magnitude of it is almost hard to comprehend. I know you feel pulled in ever so many directions, to try to encourage and support your family who are in such troubled times of grief, sorrow, sickness and suffering. Truly the Lord is the only hope that we have in these situations, and the knowledge that He will look out for and care for those left behind who are grieving, thinking of Mark and Debbie. We will certainly be continuing in prayer for you dear friend, as we know that is a lifeline that we can depend upon in our hour of need. I appreciate your deep love for the Lord and pray that 2018 will be much better for you and your precious family!!!! Much love and hugs to you dear friend!

    1. Thank you so much, sweet Marilyn! Yes, dear little Eli is such a bright spot and dear blessing to us! The Lord surely is our only hope and refuge through the trials of this life. Your dear words are such a comfort to me, and I appreciate you and your precious friendship and prayers more than I could ever say. Much love to you, my faithful friend!

  23. It can be so heart-wrenching to go through such tragedies and trials in this earthly life; I found your resilience inspiring to me. I also struggle with accepting the hard, unfair, grief-stricken things in the world, but I try to refocus my attention on God's purity and trust that even though I don't understand it in this life, it will all be okay in heavenly paradise.

    Eli is so precious!

    I wish you a happy 2018!

    1. Thank you ever so much for your kind words and sweet visit, Jade. It was such an encouragement to me. May the Lord bless you, and I wish you a happy 2018, too!

  24. I actually just hopped over to your blog from mine, because as I was recounting all the miracleS of the year, you came to me. I almost felt badly for feeling so happy, when I remembered the year you've had. When we named all of our blessings (well, not ALL, lol) from the year, we included little Eli and his mom. :) Thank you, Lord!! And in our prayers, we listed you all. I don't know why God allows things; especially at the rate that your family has received them lately! BUT...I KNOW there is a reason and I believe you'll see at least a part of it soon. You are very special to Him and He has big plans for you. I know the testing must have been unbearable at times. But I have a feeling 2018 holds some mighty great things for you all. :) I can't wait to hear them! You are ALWAYS in our family's prayers. :)

    1. Oh, NO, my friend! Do NOT feel badly about feeling so happy!! I praise God along with you that you received such miracles last year! I pray for you so often and always and only want the very best to come to you and Eric and your sweet family. I know you have lifted us and our burdens to the Father so often, too, and we appreciate your and Eric's faithfulness to stand by us the way you do. I hope you are right that we will see at least a part of the reasons soon...actually, you are right, because God has been revealing some precious things to us, and I am going to claim your prophecy that 2018 holds some mighty great things!! I can't wait to tell you about them, either. :) Sending much love to you today, sweet friend!

  25. Is Eli's name from Elijah? It means God the Lord, the strong Lord.

    When you wrote, "We live in a fallen world," it reminded me of when my Dad passed. The reason it is so painful is that we were not made for this. Mankind was created to live in the garden and not die. We live in a fallen world, but it will not always be this way.

    I wish I had something to say that would make it all better. All I can do is offer a hand of friendship.

    1. Actually, it is not short for Elijah, but he is certainly a favorite Bible character, too! I LOVE to read of Elijah and his faith and Elisha's, much wisdom and inspiration comes when I read about them and so many others in the Bible. I am so sorry to hear about your Dad passing away, and my heart surely goes out to you. I miss my Mom and Dad SO much, and I know how you feel. You are right...we were not made for this, and that must be why it hurts so much. I never thought of it that way, but that is so true and explains a lot to me. You DO say things to make me feel better, you so often encourage me when you come by, and I can't thank you enough. Your friendship is a treasure, and I trust God will bless and reward you greatly in this new year! Thank you ever so much.

  26. Oh, we can do so much with God on our side. Thanks for this reminder. Every year is the year of our Lord. Amazing He is.

    1. Thank you for your sweet visit, Lux! May God bless you in this new year. :)

  27. Hi Cheryl! Thank you so much for printing the photos of Eli! I have prayed for him and for your family this year, and I'm so sad to hear about the passing of LD. I can't imagine the pain in your family, and in yourself. You have had an incredibly challenging year (you and Job should talk...), and yet your faith keeps rebounding, stronger and stronger. What an incredible faith you have my friend. You inspire everyone here with your words of sorry, confusion, and love of Jesus.

    I hope that 2018 will be more peaceful. But I know whatever it brings, you'll bring Christ along with you.
    Grace and blessings,

    1. Oh, thank you so much, my friend! Your prayers and support are invaluable gifts to my family and me. We so appreciate your kind words. Our hearts are just so shattered over the loss of LD. I still cannot believe it is true. Me and Job...boy, would I have some things to discuss with him. I can tell you this, he has been a great inspiration to my little family and me so many times, and the song "Job's God" has become a favorite. Yes, praise the Lord, whatever this year or however long God gives me life and breath holds, I will bring dear Jesus along with me. He is a Friend that sticks closer than a brother, and oh, my, how I lean on His strong, capable shoulders! Trials definitely draw me to His arms time after time, and He is ever faithful. I have never loved Him more! God bless you, faithful friend.