Mold Illness Treatment- Week 2

Saturday, December 28, 2019

We have just wrapped up week 2 of treatment. Because they have had to cut a couple of iv's that I haven't responded well to, my days were shorter than they were supposed to be but they were still about 4-5 hours.

We had Tuesday and Wednesday off due to Christmas Eve and Christmas. The kids had a wonderful Christmas. The landlord where we are staying and their neighbors went shopping for the kids. I couldn't believe how many presents they got! Elijah asked me if he gets to take them when we go home and I assured him that he does, indeed, get to keep his new toys.

This past week was pretty uneventful. My perma cath isn't painful anymore- Praise God! The first week I grabbed Steve in pain every time he hit a bump in the vehicle.

We met with my doctor on Thursday. We met for a hour and went over everything. He wanted to know how I was doing before we moved forward anymore.

First, we discussed the yeast. If you don't remember, my doctor explained that mold and yeast go hand in hand. Once your body has been taken down by mold, yeast starts to take over. This is one of the big reasons that I am losing weight and can't absorb nutrients. Dr. Poteet had started me on Nystatin 3 times a day as soon as I started treatment. I thought that this was to kill the yeast. He said it's not actually killing my yeast. He started me on this dose to see how I tolerated it. This is just to keep it from continuing to take over. I told him that I had some stomach bloating and a little bit of anxiety but it had been manageable. He said we will have to throw some pharmaceuticals or natural yeast killers- or both- at it but it sounds like I'm not ready. 

If you remember, I shared last week that I had some severe sulfur reactions. I was concerned that this would affect my treatment going forward but the doctor assured me that he has plenty of other options for treatment and he is not worried. Because I had had glutathione so many times before, he thinks this is more a saturation issue. He believes that we can take some supplements that will support co factors of sulfur and that will fix a lot of the issues. This is also a future issue that we may address. It isn't high on his priority list.

Right now he has two priorities: the staph infection close to my brain and the colonics. Dr. Poteet said the patient he's had that he can closest compare to me is a patient that also had the staph infection (known as MARCONS). He said that when he started him on the nasal spray (that has an antibiotic, antiviral, strips the biofilm that protects the infection) his anxiety drastically dropped. The reason for this is that the infection is actually putting pressure on the brain and releasing neurotoxins into the brain. He wants the colonics to start removing the toxins that are just cycling in my body. I have one scheduled for Monday.

Originally the doctor had told me 6 weeks for the estimated time period for treatment. This was to get me to 60% and to go home and finish working with my medical time. As of right now, he's not willing to commit to an end date. He wanted to see how the nasal spray and colonics go. He said right now he's just trying to get me strong enough to detox. He has been tracking my labs weekly and said that my inflammation numbers are pretty high. He said he can tell that my body is fighting constantly. The numbers are going down, albeit slowly, so he is encouraged that we are on the right track.

I did start the nasal spray and had a reaction to one of the ingredients. The doctor was out on Friday so we will find out what he wants me to do on Monday. This was one of the things he was worried could potentially slow down my treatment.

The doctor gave us one other piece of information that was difficult to hear. We aren't ready to share it yet publicly but please keep us in your prayers.

Next week will be my first apheresis treatment. This will take about 4 hrs and will clean my entire blood stream, removing a lot of the toxins. My nurse said that people usually feel like they've been hit by a truck for a few days afterward so please keep me in your prayers.

Thank you so much to everyone that continues to pray. Please continue to pray that:

1. I will be strong enough for detox
2. I will handle apheresis and colonic well next week.
3. God will continue to provide for treatment and the cost of being out here.

Thank you for reading and praying!

Mold Illness Treatment- Week 1

Friday, December 20, 2019

We arrived in Arizona last Wednesday, December 11th, for treatment. We were originally scheduled to get my port on Friday, December 13th and we wanted me to have a day to rest from the trip before we had the surgery.

The surgeon's office did not like that my labs were two months old instead of one so they had me come back in for more labs and the port was postponed until Monday.

When we arrived to get the port on Monday we were told that I'm actually getting a catheter instead of a port because we needed that for apheresis. Apheresis is where they clean your blood and I'm scheduled to get that twice while I'm here, starting in week 3.

The catheter surgery was fairly quick and uneventful. My heart rate did shoot up fairly high so they watched me for a bit after the surgery. They said I was probably one of those people that's very sensitive to medications (something I could have told them already).

The day of the cath I started having pretty severe pain. If I stood up straight, I almost blacked out. Steve had to catch me once. Thankfully, the next day Envita figured it out. The surgeon had pulled the bandage really tight and it was pulling on the vein that ran above my collarbone. When I stood, it cut off blood flow. Once they changed the bandage, it was much better.

I started treatment at Envita Medical Center on Tuesday. I met with my Patient Care Coordinator before treatment and she gave me the list of medications and supplements that the doctor wanted me to start. It was extensive. I broke down immediately.
I am trying to be strong but I have really struggled with ptsd from the severe reactions I have had to treatments. Starting that many at once was more than I could handle. They understood.
The doctor agreed that it would be best if I started slowly and staggered things in. The first medication he put me on was for my yeast overgrowth. If you remember, the doctor said yeast and mold go hand and hand. The yeast is keeping me from absorbing nutrients as well as causing many other problems. So far, I have handled that medication well.

At Envita, all treatments are IV. On Tuesday, they started me on Oxybosh. Oxybosh is where they remove some of your blood, add oxygen to it, and add it back to your body. This oxygen helps to kill viruses, bacteria, fungi and yeast. I feel really good after this treatment. It seems to give me a boost. After Oxybosh we had Chelation therapy,Vitamin IV and liquids. At Envita, the Vitamin IVs are designed by your doctor based on your labs.
I responded really well to all of the treatments on Tuesday.

I also started Castor Oil packs. My doctor wants me to do these daily to help detox my body as it's ridding of toxins, infections, yeast, viruses, mycotoxins and more. If you've never tried them, look them up. There are a lot of health benefits.

Wednesday treatments went well as well. I was given Oxybosh, Mitostart, and Fluids. Mitostart is to rebuild and repair the mitochondria and the cells. While some patients have told me that they don't feel well on Mitostart, my nurse knew I was sensitive and started me on a very low dose over a long time (2 hours). I was grateful.

Thursday was a difficult day. I came in hurting from the catheter and absolutely exhausted.

For months now I have been stuck at home except for trips to the doctor's office and sometimes getting to go to church. Now I'm going to treatments 4-6 hrs a day and it's wearing me out. I'm grateful and I'm not complaining. I know this is where I need to be- but I am exhausted.

On Thursday they did Oxybosh and attempted to do the Hydrogen Peroxide IV. I was a little concerned about this one because it had magnesium sulfate and manganese sulfate added to it. We had found in the past that I don't do well with sulfur.

No, that's putting it mildly.

We had found that I had severe reactions to sulfur detox methods. My holistic dr back home had ordered genetic testing on me and saw that I couldn't break sulfur down. I told my doctor here about this and forwarded the genetic tests. He thought it looked like maybe I had a mild intolerance and wanted to try it.
I said I would try.

They started the IV slowly but within 10-15 minutes I started having anxiety, confusion, and a fog that felt like it came over my entire body. They stopped the IV immediately and flushed me out with fluids.

Today (Friday) ended up being slightly more difficult.
Ok, more than slightly.
Like an entire medical team around me trying to get me breathing.

Today I had Oxybosh. After that I was supposed to have Glutathione through IV. I have had Glutathione via IV probably 10 times. The only problem I have ever had is that, if they gave it too quickly, I had an asthma attack. It usually wasn't severe. I would just be short of breath for a hour or two afterwards. The clinic that gives me Glutathione back home learned this and slowed down the IV. I haven't had problems since.

I told Envita this so they both put me on a lower dose than I am usually on and a slow drip. Despite this, within minutes, I went into the worst asthma attack of my life.

I started gasping for air like I have never experienced before. The nurses stopped the Glutathione, gave me oxygen, rushed to get the doctor who then put me on benedryl via IV, IV steroids, and then an albuterol breathing treatment.
They then put me on fluids to try to flush it out of my system. Since this was a lower dose then what I get at home, all we can figure is that the concentration must have been higher even though the dose was lower. On top of this, it went in a catheter directly in my chest (close to my lungs) instead of in my arm.
During this episode, I heard the doctor say, "She obviously can't break down those sulfur bonds. I'll tell her doctor but I'm removing this from her rotation."

So, again, sulfur.

We have had a few different reactions when we start talking about my biotoxin (mold) illness:

1. Some people just don't believe me or don't care.
2. Some are convinced that I can see their local naturopathic doctor.
3. Some worked their tails off to get me here because they realized how serious it was.

To the later category, thank you. From the bottom of our hearts.
For those who were truly trying to help and wanted me to go somewhere local, we do appreciate it. Truly.
But this is why I had to go. There are some people that can heal at home.
For me, unfortunately, we have learned that things can get dangerous quickly.

And, in the words of one of my doctors,
"You need an entire medical team watching you."

We have found that at Envita.

Unfortunately, after all of this, we still had appointments that Envita had scheduled for me this afternoon. I was scheduled for a lymph massage and colonic at a local health center.

The reason for the lymph massage is that your lymph drains toxins when you move. For someone in a wheelchair, that isn't happening.

The colonic is obviously for draining toxins that my body is currently trying to dump from the treatments. The lymph massage went very well and was very relaxing.

My body rejected the colonic. The practioner said that I may have a blockage or hemorrhoid in my colon or just the stress and exhaustion from the week's treatments and today's asthma attack caused enough strain in my body that my colon was "shut down." I am supposed to discuss it with my doctor next week and determine the next steps.

Thank you so much to everyone that is praying. I am going to do my very best to update weekly as long as I am physically able. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.

Real Life Christmas Miracle: A Story of God's Faithfulness

Thursday, December 5, 2019

I love Hallmark movies. Yes, I know there are approximately 4 plot lines to cover every Hallmark movie made. But I love them. I especially love them at Christmas time.

Right now if you pick any one Hallmark Christmas movie to watch, at some point in the movie it will talk about a "Christmas Miracle."

I would love to share ours.

Before I share, I want to say one thing.
Christmas is not about me, nor do I have any desire for it to be.

Christmas is about Christ. It is about the fact that we all fall short of His perfection- His glory. It is about God coming to Earth to live in our fallen world.
About God knowing suffering for our sake and, ultimately,
about God taking our sin and dying in our place.

Even those who don't believe recognize that there is a "newness" about Christmas. We can only truly know that newness through Christ.

Nonetheless, our family has seen an amazing display of God's Sovereignty, faithfulness and provision over the past month and we would like to share it.

If you would like to read the background of our story, you can read it here, here and here.

In the beginning of November we had the diagnosis and the cost. We were looking at close to $50,000.
This included:
-Medicines and Supplements they would have me on
-Steve's missed income for 8 weeks (including travel, port insertion and removal and 6 weeks of treatment)
- RV for the trip over and back
(we were doing this because it is a 2.5 day trip and we have twin 4 year olds. Stopping every 3 hours to go to the bathroom makes for a long trip!)

We were trying to raise money for treatment at the worst possible time.
Now I want to share what happened over the next month.

I wrote this in my journal on November 1st:

Today I shared our diagnosis and asked for help. I am trusting that God will provide. I am remembering that I just finished George Mueller's autobiography. It was God-given that I read it when I did.

Later November 1st:

I broke down crying tonight. I know part of it is emotions over what I learned yesterday. It is also that I was looking at things from a human perspective instead of trusting the Lord.
Please forgive me, Lord.

Tonight we have been given $109. Thank you, Lord, for your faithfulness even when I am afraid and don't trust you. Help me to trust you more.

November 3rd:

I am going over George Mueller's notes on prayer and ascertaining the will of God. God, please guide me in this. I want to honor and follow you.
Psalm 56:3- When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.
Lord, take my fear and fill it with trust in You. Not myself. Not my circumstances. Not a doctor. You and You alone.

Later November 3rd:

Today the Lord showed His grace to me yet again. Steve and I were out driving and I shared that I feel like I have to do something huge with my life to earn treatment. I have been putting so much pressure on myself to raise the money. The stress is making me worse. We agreed that I am going to stop and trust God. We got home and I started relaxing. The money started coming in. Tonight we were given $500 in a period of a few hours. This is where we stand:
$1680 in savings
$105 in paypal
$10,000 pledged by a relative
$500 tonight

November 4th:

Right now I am so grateful to God! God is showing me that He's in control! I woke up to have my Bible and prayer time. After that, I checked my phone because it was going off like crazy!
Someone I don't know sent $75. Steve texted that someone said they were praying for us and were going to send money. My class president shared my story on our class page and someone from my class gave $100.

John 14:27- Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 
Lord, thank you that the peace that you give is greater then any peace in this world. Please keep me in perfect peace and keep me from fear.

November 5th:

I have been praying that someone would check on Steve and I found out that someone did last night. Thank you, Lord!

November 6th:

Last night we received:
+ $175 from yesterday

November 6th (later):

Psalm 13:5-6- But I have trusted in Your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me. 
God, thank you for dealing so bountifully with me!

At least 3 or 4 times now I have been down on my knees praying and donations came in while I was praying.
Today we have received:
$100 and grocery store gift card

November 7th:

I am learning to release control. God keeps showing me that this is in His hands, not mine. And that's the best possible place for it to be.
Today's donations:

WATE called. They are on the way to interview. God, please glorify Your name through this. Show me what to say! Guide every word.
Col 4:6- Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

Today we are at $13,200

November 9th:

These verses have been in my mind:
Psalm 127:1-2- Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for He gives His beloved sleep.

Lord, we are doing everything in our power to raise money for AZ, but unless you bless it, none of it matters.
Lord, I want everything to be done for Your glory so please guide this entire process. Please show us what you want us to do. Guide every step I take today, Lord. I can do nothing without You, nor do I want to.

Today's donations:


November 10th:

Lord, I am exhausted. Give me strength to wait for You. Deliver me quickly!

Today's donations:


November 11th:

I have cried out so much to God today! He sent $2,100.
Total now, $16,780

Lord, thank you for Your continued patience to me and great mercy.

November 12th:

Lord, I can't make anything happen. I am exhausted. I have tried to fix this and carry it.
I can not.
Please provide for our needs. Our help and hope can only come from You and You alone.

Psalm 40:1-2 I waited patiently for the Lord; He inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.

Lord, I will wait patiently for You. Please hear my cry! Lord, make my steps secure. Lord, help me to wait patiently for You!

November 13th:

I can tell that I am weak and vulnerable today so I am praying that the Lord sustains me and keeps me from sinning against Him.

Today's donations:

Total: $16,805

November 15th:

We need Your provision, Lord! Please deliver me. You guided us to Envita.
I don't believe You did that just to finally give me a diagnosis and leave me in it. That's not Your character. I am dependent on You, Lord! If you don't provide money, we can't go for treatment! Lord Jesus, please provide.

Someone sent $2,622. Praise God!
Total $19,427

November 16th:

Thank you, Lord! $70 more came in last night!
Total: $19,497

November 17th:

Today's donations:

Total of $20,472

November 18th:

Lord, let Your name be glorified in all of this!
Today's donations:

Total: $20,572

November 19th:

Yesterday the Lord really watched over Elijah! He fell in the garage and hit the back of his head really hard. There was blood everywhere! I called 911 and police, firemen and paramedics all came out.
The hospital PA said it was amazing that Elijah didn't fracture his skull with how hard he must have hit his head. He didn't even need stitches! He was no longer showing signs of concussion so he didn't need a CT scan. God really took care of him.

November 20th:

I have prayed that if God wants us to go to Envita in December, He will provide another $9500, a RV and a place to stay. It is up to Him when He wants us to go.
Another $30 came in last night. Praise the Lord!

November 21st:

There is a 3 bedroom house 15 minutes from Envita with half an acre lot! They said we can stay for the cost of utilities. What an amazing answer to prayer!

I fell apart crying tonight. Hope is fading that I will be going in December. I thought I would be more ok with that.
Then $60 came in. Just the Lord still showing us that He's in charge.
Lord, You know everything. You are over all. Please provide in Your time and Your way. Help me to trust in You.

Today's donations:

Total: $20,662

November 22nd:

As I was crying out to God and trying not to fall apart, someone just sent $100.

I fell this morning. Hands starting to get weak and curl up. I had tried to schedule my ketamine appointment for next Friday but they could only do next Monday. God knew I didn't need to wait until Friday. Thank you, Lord, for going before me.

November 23rd:

Donations today:

Total: $21,127

November 24th:

We found out last night that the house we thought we had, fell through. I was upset at first, but I had an overwhelming peace and assurance that God would work everything out and that everything will fall together at the same times in a way that only He can. It will take a complete miracle for us to go in December but that is certainly something He can do it it's His will. We may not go til January or later but He will sustain me until I can go.

Donations today from Fundraiser and gifts:

Total $22,082

November 26th:

Donations from Fundraiser and gifts:

Total: $23,314

November 27th:

God would have to provide $6700, a house and a RV. He can do it if it's His will! Part of me thinks that God is going to work it out so that we can leave next week but that seems so crazy! God, whatever You do, let it be Your will. Not mine.

Psalm 119:81-82- My soul longs for Your salvation; I hope in Your Word. My eyes long for Your promise; I ask, "When will You comfort me?"

Lord Jesus, how long?

Proverbs 13:12- Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

Lord, let my hope not be shaken.

Today's donations:

Total: $23,714

November 28th:

Today is Thanksgiving. Not going to lie, it has not started well. I've already fallen and Steve is in so much pain with a tooth that he's trying not to cry. How long, O Lord? Is it not enough yet? Will You only be pleased to completely crush us?

November 29th:

Yesterday was an incredibly difficult day. I am at the end of myself.

In Phil 2:14-15, Paul says, "Do all things without complaining or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world."

I'm at the point where I don't want to complain and dishonor God so I need to be silent. God, help me to be silent and not to dishonor You. Show me Your strength and Your provision in my silence.

Today's donations:

Total: $23,884

November 30th:

Today was a good day. I got to help put up the Christmas tree- well put on some decorations anyway. I seem to be regaining some ability to stand and walk just a little- Praise God! The ketamine seems to be building in my system. I pray that God helps it to continue to work while we wait for treatment. 
Lord, please provide for treatment! You seem to have big arrows pointing to Envita so please provide!

Today's donations:

Total: $24,239

December 1st:

It looks like I get to go to church today. Praise the Lord! God, please sustain me and enable me to go to church.

Today's donations:

Total: $24,734

December 2nd:

I have been needing new clothes because I've lost so much weight. A friend sent me 7 bags of clothes that she was getting rid of!

WOW! Tonight God has blown us away! He provided the rest of what we needed to go to AZ!


Total: $31,284

God provided a place for us to stay!!!

Although sharing my journal writings is deeply personal, I wanted to do it for 3 reasons.

1. God has done amazing things over the past few months. Many of you have shared our story, prayed for us and given. You are walking through this journey with us and I want you to see what God has done.
2. So I can see for myself what God has done.
3. Lest anyone have any illusions that I am stronger spiritually then I actually am, I want them to see my fear. My struggles. My lack of trust.
And God's faithfulness despite that.

We are leaving for Arizona on December 9th. I will get my port on December 13th and start treatment on December 16th.
Here are so ways you can pray:

1. Safe travels to AZ. Strength for Steve who will have to do all of the driving.
2. Safety during port surgery
3. That I will respond to treatment well
4. We still need about $10,000. Pray that God will continue to provide.

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your prayers and giving. If you would like to help you can go to our GoFundMe page or send via Paypal to

Practicing Forgiveness: Forgiving Others During Chronic Illness

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

While it is my sincere hope that this blog post will encourage everyone that reads it, this particular post was written to my fellow spoonies. It is dedicated to them.

You don't have to look on social media for long to see that there are more people with chronic illness now then maybe any other time in history. Search the hashtags #spoonie #autoimmunedisease #lymedisease and more on Instagram and you will see images of people in hospital beds, walking around with IV poles, in doctor offices and in wheelchairs.

Not only are these people sick. They're lonely.
Friends and family have long tired of hearing of their illnesses and have moved on. Doctors don't listen to them. Many have to document reactions and flare ups on video and pictures for proof. 
They walk in with baggies and folders full of lab results that document what has become of their lives.

These people have been fighting for so long that they don't know how to stop. Fighting doctors. Fighting Family.
Fighting for their lives.

Bitterness and anger threaten to take over.

How would God have us to behave?

As followers of Jesus Christ, God has laid out how we should behave regardless of our circumstances.

We are to forgive.

At the end of the Lord's prayer, in Matthew 6:14-15, Jesus says,

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Jesus also tells a parable in Matthew 18:21-35:

Then Peter came up and said to Him, "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?"
Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times."
"Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.' And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, 'Pay what you owe.' So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, 'Have patience with me and I will pay you.' He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you? And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."

Years ago I was discussing a situation and person that I was having a hard time forgiving with my counselor. I had told this person on multiple occasions that I had forgiven them but each time this person did something wrong, I would bring up the old incident. The counselor told me to do something that I have never forgotten.

He said, each time that memory comes up, pray this:

God, I thank you that you have forgiven me and I have forgiven ___________.

An amazing thing happened. After doing that for a while, the bitterness was gone. I had remembered how very much I had been forgiven and I was finally able to forgive.

Let us also be people of grace.

We have discussed being a person of forgiveness, but let us also be people of abundant grace! 

How can I, in my illness, serve others?

In James 1:22-25 we are told:

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he is like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

In James 1:27 he says,

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

The book of James is written to the early Christians. They were hated by their fellow Jews and persecuted by them. They were being dragged into court, robbed of their possession and killed. They knew immense trial.
Yet they were told that as believers in Christ, their faith would work. Now these works did not save them, they were evidence of their faith.

As Christians who are ill, we should still be asking for places where we can serve. Can you pray for someone else who is suffering?
Can you send them a card encouraging them?
Can you pray for your family?
Can you pray for your doctors?
Can you lift of the very ones who have ignored you?
Not out of vengeance, but love.

What if you are so ill that even that is too much?

Joni Eareckson Tada tells an amazing story in her wonderful book, A Lifetime of Wisdom (a book I HIGHLY recommend),

Perhaps more than any other person, Kim showed me that my life- and your life- counts. And it counts more than we can possibly imagine.
I first learned about Kim when an elder from her church in Pennsylvania called to ask if I could contact her with a few words of encouragement.
"Kim is a brilliant twenty-six-year-old Christian woman who has always been active in our church," he explained. "But last year she contracted motor-neuron disease and now must stay in bed with a feeding tube." The elder paused a moment, then added, "Kim is very depressed. She's wondering if her life is worth living anymore."

I telephoned Kim right away. Her mother tucked the receiver against her ear and against the pillow. I could hardly hear Kim's voice, her breathing was so faint. We discussed many things, including our favorite parts of the Bible, the subject of heaven, and prayer. Finally, Kim said faintly and with great labor, "Joni, they want to give me a ventilator to help me breathe, but I don't know whether I want one. I'm so tired. Do you think I should go on a ventilator?"

For a moment, I was speechless. Finally, I took a deep breath, whispered a quick prayer, and replied. "Kim, there are a lot of things to consider- not the least of which is that your decision will affect many people around you. But of the two choices facing you, I think there's a better one." I then proceeded to tell her about a simple but powerful Bible verse that has encouraged me and guided me through the toughest times of my forty- plus years of quadriplegia.

2 Peter 3:8- But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.

We all know the old adage that God looks at the last two thousand years as only a couple of days gone by. But what about the other half of that verse? The part about seeing each day as a thousand years?

What kind of math is that?

It's the math of One who lives outside of time, is not bound by time, and can step in and out of time whenever He pleases to accomplish His purposes. If we can really come to grips with the fact that God can pick up any twenty-four-hour day He chooses and give it an eternal impact of a thousand years, then each day of our lives becomes immeasurably important- and brimming with opportunity. Each day God gives us precious hours to invest in the lives of others- investments which will have eternal repercussions in our lives and theirs....

... Kim perked up as I began to speak with her about these thoughts. "But I'm in bed," she reminded me. "I can't go anywhere or do anything. How can my life count in this condition?"

"First Kim," I replied, "you can pray. No matter how feeble or fainthearted your prayers may seem to you, they have a very special power to God. It says in Psalms 10:17- 'You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.'

"Do you realize what this means, Kim? It means that the Lord cups His ear to listen when someone like you prays out of great affliction. He bends over backward when people offer Him a sacrifice of praise. Please hear me Kim. I mean this with all my heart. God will use your intercessions to shake the lives of those around you... as well as the destiny of nations."

Joni goes on to share:

I should tell you that Kim ended up living another month and a half after our conversation on the phone. But as her mother told me later on, those forty- five days- she looked at them as forty-five thousand years- were some of the most meaningful and important weeks she had ever lived.

Friend, whatever trials you've endured- you're enduring...
Your life matters in the eternal.

If you do not know Christ as your Savior and you want to know more, please message me. If you're struggling to take the next step- whatever that is, know you are loved. Reach out.

Be a Bertha, Not a Naomi

I wanted to wrap up by sharing a story about two women that I met when I was about 10 years old, Bertha and Naomi.

When I was about 10 years old, my dad took over as Pastor of a church. This church visited nursing homes where my dad would give a short sermon to encourage them and our church would sing with them. After that, we would visit with them for a while before going home.

There were two women in particular that my mom had a heart for- Bertha and Naomi. They were roommates and as different as night and day.

Bertha was one of the sweetest women I've met. She was full of joy. She waited each month for us to come and visit and she would save chocolates for us kids.

Naomi was bitter. All she could think about was the fact that her adult children never came to visit with her. It may have happened, but I don't ever remember seeing her smile.

These women were in the exact same circumstances but one was full of joy and one was full of bitterness.

My friend, as we are struggling with our health. As there are needles, doctors visits, sickness, tests, loneliness and more...

Let us ask God to show us the joy.

We are told that the Joy of the Lord will be our strength. (Neh 8:10)

It does not have to come from within us, it can come from HIM!

Let us be full of forgiveness, for we have been forgiven much.

Let us be full of grace, for we have been shown much.

And let us praise the Lord in ALL circumstances.