Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year, & 4th Update on Brody!

"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, 
forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 3:13,14


I welcome the new year with open arms!
Praise God to be alive on this wonderful day.
A new beginning.
A fresh start.
A clean slate.

Don't we all need those from time to time?

Kevin, Zach, and I started the new year in prayer, as we normally do.
It was a precious time together, and as I happened to be the one praying...and was very "lost in prayer" at the moment...I didn't even realize when the clock struck midnight.

I felt a gentle hand tapping me.

It was sweet Zachary.

"Mama, Happy New Year!"

I don't know what came over me in that moment,
but I just began to weep...right there on my knees.
I was so completely overcome with emotion.
So thankful to be be alive.
To be with the two people I love most on this earth.
That, even though, we are battling some troubling physical issues, we are all as healthy as we are.
I cried for the rough year we just passed through,
and I wept because it felt so liberating to let it go.

Even though I think time goes by way too fast,
and I often long to make it slow down in order to savor the moments more,
I am just so happy and thankful to be standing the now...
on the threshold of NEW.

Change is never easy for me, but I am learning more and more to embrace it.
I am finding that sometimes change is better than stagnant.
Change is not always a bad thing.
Change can be exactly what we need.
Change is sometimes a downright good thing.

A few weeks ago, I was contemplating change, 
feeling overwhelmed and terrified by it,
and the sweet Holy Spirit began to speak to me in that still, small voice,
"Child, you are allowing (then He mentioned specific things) to hold you a prisoner.
You will never be able to move forward until you let this go."

Right around that time, I came across this picture on Pinterest.

I wish I knew whom to give attribution for this picture.
It has spoken volumes to me for weeks.

I feel like that little girl...clutching tight to the way things are.
And, God, in my inmost spirit, is telling me time after time...
there is something better...bigger...but I cannot have it until I let this go.

Why is that so hard?
I look back over my life, and I trace God's hand,
and, in that tracing, I see a very distinct pattern of faithfulness.
Of providential care.
Of protection.
Of guidance.
Of His love!

So, why would I be so resistant to what He has in store for us now?

I think my weeping last night at midnight was an accumulation of all of this.
It was a saying good-bye to the old the past, in general...trials and all,
and an opening up to the possibilities of a future.

I, along with many of you, dearly love Jeremiah 29:11,
and though I prefer to mostly stick to the KJV, I think the NIV words it so beautifully,
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, 
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

A future.
Plans HE made.
Yes, dear Lord, I want that!

Did you catch the acronym?
Isn't this wherein true, real happiness lies?
Smack-dab in the center of HIS will...His plans?

Thank You, Jesus!
Jeremiah 29:11 lays out His plans for me...for my family...for every one of you readers.

So, why would we not embrace what He has for us?
Why not hand Him our little teddy bears, and allow HIM to work out our lives and futures,
according to HIS plans?
He never plans to harm us.
And even though the path He leads us on is many times a rocky, uncertain one,
He never leaves our side.
He walks it, too.
Right along with us.
And, doesn't that make all the journey worthwhile?

Oh, to live and walk and breathe in harmony with Him!
To walk the path He has carved and designed for my feet!
To know that His approval continually rests upon my soul!
To feel His Spirit dwelling within!
To know that I am His, and He is forever mine!
His presence is so real in my life!

Tears are cleansing.
When I cried last night, I felt a sense of relief....a sense of release.
A letting go of the pain of yesteryear,
and an embracing of the new year ahead.

I pray and trust Him to lead the way.

And now, I wanted to post the latest news on dear, little 4 month old Brody.

Update from Tuesday, 12/29

"Today was a good day for Brody. He came off the ventilator and went straight to BiPap. This is such a huge blessing. Brody will be so much more comfortable and it's a big step to getting him where he needs to be. The next couple days will be very busy with more breathing treatments. Jenn and I both will be taught how to operate new machines that will be needed for his care when he returns home. "

Update from Today, 1/1

"He is doing better (hates the BiPap) with his breathing and yesterday looked good as far as him leaving ICU and going to a "step down" unit. But early afternoon X-rays today showed that his left lung still is not quite good enough to leave ICU. He has been off of the BiPap for a couple hours at a time, and I can't tell you how nice it is to see him breathing on his own. God is So Good! He may be in ICU because our God wants him there and to be looked after well. I believe our prayers are being heard and God knows what is best for this beautiful baby boy."

So, please keep up the praying, dear friends.
God is hearing our prayers!
For previous posts about Brody, click the following links:

Don't forget to stop by our FREE Online Thrift Store
and pick out some goodies for yourself!


  1. Wonderful thoughts today. I plan on rereading them again and again to let them sink in. And...wonderful news about sweet Brody. I will keep on praying.

    1. Thank you ever so much, dear Betsy! I so appreciate your dear, encouraging words and your faithful prayers. May the dear Lord bless you and yours throughout this new year! Much love to you!

  2. Dear Cheryl, That picture speaks thousands of words! I pinned it!
    The thought of you bringing in the new year praying was a sweet picture in my mind, too. We were with friends. As soon as we got home to bed, my husband grabbed my hand and prayed. It was so sweet to start the year like that. Being unemployed and completely dependent on God can draw us closer to him. Thank you so much for your prayers for us. I'm so glad to read that Brody is doing better. I shall pray again for him, for you, and for your family as soon as I hit publish. I do hope this is your very best year yet. God is yet good.
    Laura Lane
    Harvest Lane Cottage

    1. Oh, you are SO does speak thousands of words. There was so much swirling around in my head as I looked at it and studied it. That is so sweet how your dear husband prayed with you like that. So precious. My heart goes out to you all so much right now, and I am praying for you. May God just send a miracle and supply your every need and open up a wonderful door for you. I can't thank you enough for your faithful life for God and your prayers for us and others. Sending you much love and many prayers.

  3. Still praying for Brody. But also, still praying for you and yours.

    We often doubt the future and fear what it might bring. We doubt because it is in our nature to doubt. God made us that way and He knows that some doubting is good, because it makes us question and re-affirm our beliefs. He forgives our doubting and He stands by us in the future just as He has done in the past and is doing right this moment.

    God bless.

    1. Thank you ever so much for your prayers, Victor. You will never know what they mean! I love the thoughts you shared about our is so true. We feel so condemned for doubting, but God works even our doubts together for our own good. God bless you abundantly for the encouragement you are to me and so many others.

  4. Happy New Year, darling Cheryl, to you and those you love and have the fortune to live by your side !
    I'm going on praying for this little baby-child, even if he's getting a little better, poor darling.

    Sending love and sweet hugs


    1. Thank you so very much, Dany!! You are such a dear blessing to me and to so many! Your prayers are so appreciated. Happy New Year to you and yours, too!! Sending you much love across the many miles. :)

  5. Happy New Year Cheryl. That picture really speaks to me today. Glad to hear the good report about Brody!

    1. Happy New Year to you, too, dear Wanda! You are a blessing to me, sweet sister. Much love to you!

  6. Hi Cheryl. What a beautiful new year's post. It is tough to let go of some stuff but I too have had a few light bulb moments in the last month where God has helped let go of the last of some very big hurts. He is faithful even when we can barely trust Him for the next step... Lovely encouraging post and I look forward to all your words of wisdom and love in the year to come.
    God bless

    1. So happy you stopped by, Tracy. It is always a dear blessing to see you have been here! I trust God will continue to bless you and that you have a wonderful new year! Sending you much love across the many miles! :)

  7. Hi Cheryl! I think you needed that cry, don't you? It can be such a cleansing thing. What a lovely thing that your son rang in the New Year with you. So special! I hope that his year will be one of healing and peace for you and your family.
    I've seen that image on the web too, and it really does 'say it' doesn't it? We all have things we need to chuck out of our lives, and swap it for God's will. I wish you great graces with your challenges, I know God is there for you!
    Blessings in 2016. Can't wait to see what God has in store for you,

    1. Oh, yes, dear friend! I think I did need the cry!! Yes, dear Zachary is such a blessing to Kevin and me. He loves to pray, such a dear God be all the glory. Yes, that dear picture! It does speak a thousand words! God bless you, dear Ceil, and may you have the happiest of new years!

  8. Cheryl,

    Your poignant recap of your New Year's Eve touched me. The Glory you brought to the Father I know was well-pleasing to Him. Your life and words are such a testimony to us all. Praying that the Lord will heal both you and your husband's physical ailments and that 2016 will be filled with the greatest of joy in Him. :-)

    Thank you for sharing the update on Brody. Oh what good news you have brought. I have been praying for him and will continue to do so.

    Happy New Year dear friend!

    1. OH, dear Karen! Thank you ever so much for your precious, comforting words! They meant so much to me tonight! How I value your prayers for us, and I trust the dear Lord will bless you and your family with a wonderful new year! Sending you much love, sweet friend.

  9. So why do I not embrace what He has for me? Why am I so resistant? Good questions. I think my answer can be summed up in one word - fear.

    F rightened
    E neverated
    A nxious
    R eeling

    So often I am paralyzed thinking about the future. I am afraid of completely letting God take over my life. For His perfect will does not always guarantee good times, good circumstances, good outcomes. Often His will takes us through some deep valleys and dry wilderness. Do I trust Him? Absolutely. Do I trust Him to always do the easy thing? No, but I know He'll always do the right thing, the best thing. This is why I continue to pray for my stubborn will to yield its tight control on my life, to learn how to surrender more, even when I'm scared...

    And, as part of this journey of learning to accept, to welcome His plans in my life, I am embracing the word that He gave me for 2016 - grateful. Yes, it will change my heart, I'm sure. It will stretch me. But I am grateful that God cares enough about me not to leave me alone. Sanctification continues, and I am refined...


    (Brody - words cannot express this most hope-full update. May the Lord continue to work a miracle...)

    1. Yes, dear friend, FEAR. What an awful spirit to have to fight and deal with! We know God doesn't give it to us, but yet, we continue to battle it. How familiar I am with it, and how I wish I weren't so often overcome by it! His perfect love...that is what we need more of! Thank you for your prayers and love and support and encouragement. God bless you in this new year, and may it bring brighter days to all of us.

  10. Thank you for visiting my Blog.

    God bless.

    1. And thank you for stopping back by here, Victor! Have a blessed day!

  11. <3<3<3 Happy New Year! I pray this year is your best one yet!

    1. Oh, Susannah! I pray it is, too. Hoping and believing for brighter days this year. God bless you and your sweet, little family with a wonderful year, too. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  12. I never fail to be blessed mightily when visiting you here Cheryl! What a precious moment that was when Zac wished you Happy New Year! I do believe that it will be a year of precious happy moments and great blessings from the Lord as He ever draws us closer to Him! And I think we are always learning the lesson that the little girl in the picture was! We clutch so tightly onto the things we can see, and it is hard for us to trust Him for the things we cannot see. Such a beautiful picture, one we probably need to pin up somewhere where we can be reminded daily of the creative goodness of our Lord who has far greater things in store for us than we can see now. It is a joyful thing to know and believe, and I look forward to what the Lord is going to do in this new year! What a mighty loving God we serve, and how greatly He wants to bless us... oh if we can just learn to trust and let Him do what He desires. Much love to you dear Cheryl... may the joy of the Lord be your strength in all you are doing for Him! :)

    1. Oh, dear friend! How I appreciate your sweet words! Yes, it was such a precious moment when Zach did that...bless his heart, I suppose he will never know how very much he means to his Daddy and me and what an encouragement he is to us. I am looking forward to this new year, too, and just believing God for brighter days! He has been so good to see us through the past, and I know He will guide every one of us in the future. Sending you much love and many hugs!

  13. Dearest Cheryl...this was the most beautiful, thought-provoking post, and oh! How I loved reading of you praying and then weeping as you let go of all that was in last everything to our Lord Jesus! How mighty, how powerful He is, and I believe we can be excited about what He has in store for each of us in this coming year... Oh, that we would simply cling to Him! I love Jeremiah 29:11 so dearly! Dear Cheryl, may the Lord watcj over you and your precious family... Blessings to you in His name!

    1. Dear Kelly-Anne! What a blessing your dear comments were to me tonight! Your sweet presence is always SO appreciated here! God bless you abundantly and keep you always in His care. Sending you much love and many hugs!

  14. Cheryl, What a beautiful sentiment for the new year and so very inspiring! I wanted to take a moment to thank you for sharing all your edifying posts on the Art of Home-Making Mondays in this last year as well as for beginning the new year with us. You are such a blessing! Will be praying for baby Brody.... Love, JES

    1. Thank you so very much, dear JES! I was so abundantly blessed by your precious comments tonight. So thankful for your visit, sweet friend. May God bless you abundantly in this new year!

  15. How sweet it is to be in prayer as the new year enters and to have your sweet son wish you a Happy New Year. May this year bring new possibilities and doors open for you and your family. Thank you for the update on baby Brody, and for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story.

    1. Yes, it was a precious, tender moment that I hope I never forget. Zachary is such a dear encouragement to our hearts. I SO appreciated your kind words about the new possibilities and doors to open for us. We are believing God to make this so! Love and appreciate you, dear Hazel!