Prayers for the Week – Happy Mother’s Day!

Sophie-Mom-Minnie's-Country-House

Hello everyone, and welcome to our special Mother’s Day edition of our Prayers for the Week post!  Happy Mother’s Day to all of the Moms that are reading this post today!  This is a wonderful day for all of the mother’s that are out in our world, and what greater way to honor them then to give thanks to God for allowing us to have Mom’s to look after us, teaching us right from wrong, and moulding us into the strong men and women that we are because of their nurturing touch!  We’ve got a lot of needed prayers, but we’ve also got some huge praises for this week, so let’s start with them first!

Praises!

Our Lord is great, and what better way to show His love for us then through our Mom’s?  My biggest praise today is for my Mom, Ellen, who means so much to me, even though I don’t show it as much as I ought to.  Mother’s Day is a wonderful day to remember our Moms, but we shouldn’t use the single day to do so — so I’m going to strive to be better at doing that throughout the year!  However, Mom, if you read this, know that I love you, and thank you for everything you did to make me the man I am today!

In addition to all of the Moms out there, we’ve got these praises as well:

  • To me, the biggest praise of all is the escape of the women and child from the house in Cleveland.  What a scary, scary story that was, and to me, the biggest thing I can say is that, as traumatic as that was for all of them, they now have the ability to work through all of that, put it behind them as best they can, and live the rest of their life!  Praise God for second chances, and for saving them just as He saved Peter from prison in Acts 12:1-19. However, prayers are still needed for them, so lift them and others like them up in your prayers. Please pray for the unknown victims of violent acts; that God would protect them and keep them safe. Thanks!
  • My sister Robin has some praises for this week, plus a couple of prayer requests sprinkled in, here is what she had to say:
    Well, almost one week down for Stephanie and Shane so that is a praise. I also have a friend who is coming home from Afghanistan and will see his daughter for the first time! Of course there have been Skypes and pictures, etc. but Corey and Lauren will be together with baby Cadence this week.
    We do have an appointment tomorrow with the judge in Jim’s disability case, so prayers for peace will be greatly appreciated.
    I officially graduated even though I still have one class to finish and another to take, but praying for God to open doors as He sees fit and bless me with my own classroom if that is what I am able to do.
    Love to all of you!

Prayer Requests

  • Please pray for my cousin Barb’s husband Tim, who has been diagnosed with cancer. He is undergoing treatment right now, please pray for his health, of course, but also pray for peace, his comfort, and the strength to get through this. Also pray for Barb and their son Jason, who is about to graduate from high school and very likely is going through some stresses because of this double whammy of school and the health of his Dad. Please pray for God’s Peace to descend upon all of them so that they can see the joy that will be created when Tim is recovered from this illness!Thanks everyone!
  • Please pray for my friend Leigh Ann’s sister-in-law Tina.  She has had surgery, and needs  prayers for healing, for God’s Peace to descend upon her and her family, for comfort during this time, and also for strength for the family. Thanks!
  • I also want to lift up my friend Kris, who is a reader on the site! Kris is raising money for March of Dimes for their walk. During the fundraising period, Kris had to have some surgery, so she hasn’t made her goal yet, but she is still going to do the walk, even if she is in a wheelchair! The deadline for raising funds is tomorrow, but more then raising funds, please pray for Kris’ recovery from her surgery, as well as lifting praise to God for this wonderful cause that she is participating in. If you want to donate, you can still do so at this link:http://www.marchforbabies.org/personal_page.asp?pp=4826529&ct=4&w=6121184&u=AmunetThanks! God Bless You, Kris!
  • Please pray for my wife’s co-worker Virginia. Virginia’s mom was just diagnosed with lung cancer, and they don’t know how extensive it is. Virginia also recently lost her mother-in-law, so please lift up her mom with healing prayers, and pray for the whole family to experience God’s Peace and comfort in their lives so they will have the strength to fight this disease. Also pray for their salvation, that they know Jesus if they don’t know Him already.Thanks everyone!
  • Lottie, the creator of the Crunchy Disney Ma blog, is asking for some very special prayer requests! Here is what she wrote:Prayer requests?!?! AWESOME! Add me. Prayers for a happy, healthy pregnancy and smooth delivery of an adorable baby are always welcome.Congratulations, Lottie, on your pregnancy and the upcoming birth of your baby! We’ll be praying for your and your baby’s health, as well as your comfort during the pregnancy, and that, if anything worries you, you would let God’s Peace descend upon you to put you at ease! Keep us posted, please, so we can celebrate with you!

As always, thank you for taking the time to read and pray for these requests, and for giving thanks to God for our praises!  The more we pray, the better the result, and minute by minute, day by day, week by week, we will make a difference in these lives — and you’ll find that you are making a difference in your own life also!  Thanks everyone!

Prayers for the week, May 5th, 2013

mdod-prayers of the week

This week, my friends, has seen some progression, at least in my eyes, in some of the Prayer Requests that we have had over the past several weeks.  By the way, this is the tenth week that we have been sharing our prayer requests and praises with you, and I thank each and every one of you that has taken a few moments out of your Sunday to read and pray over these requests.  It is the power of Prayer that allows us to accomplish anything that God puts upon us, so keep it up!  As always, don’t forget to include any prayer requests that you have!

Prayer Requests

  • My friend Shannan asks for this prayer request, please read and pray:Please add my town of Erin, TN. We got flooded again last night. Roads are washed out, people are out of homes, businesses flooded, retirement home evacuated, etc.Thanks!Lord, lift up your servants in Erin, Tennessee, as they battle the waters that invade their community. Lift them up, Lord, please keep them safe, and see to it that the community would rally around one another to help each other out in their time of need. It is in Jesus’ name we pray with Thanksgiving, Amen!
  • Please lift up my friend Bambi. She and her family have had to deal with a miscarriage in their life, so please pray for them in their time of grief and sorrow. I’m praying that God would give them His Peace, that loving Peace that only Jesus can provide, and that He would comfort them and give them strength in the days to come. Thank you all for doing this for my friend!
  • Please continue to pray for my nephew Shane and his wife Stephanie.  Shane left on April 30th for Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and will be gone for 19 weeks as he also goes through AIT training.  Please pray for his safety during his training, that he not suffer any injury, and please pray for Stephanie, who is missing her husband and Soul Mate.  They are young, just starting life, and have only been married six months, so this is really hard on Stephanie in particular.  This will be a continuing prayer request until Shane and  Stephanie are reunited, so thank you for your prayers now and ongoing.  Thanks!
  • For any prayer requests that I haven’t had an update on, please continue to pray for them.  God knows all of the details even before we think or say them, so He will know what you are referring to even if you don’t remember every specific detail about them!  Please keep praying, never stop praying!
  • My Dreams of Disney reader Julia has an unspoken prayer request.  Please pray for her at this time!  Lord, you know the suffering that Your servant Julia is going through right now.  We do not need to know the details because we know that You know what is going on.  Please, Lord, lift up your servant, that she may experience Your Peaceful touch upon her, that she would have God’s Peace, Comfort, Strength, and whatever else she needs to see her through this time of tribulation!  It is in the name of your Son Jesus that we pray with Thanksgiving, today and every day!  Amen.
  • My Dreams of Disney reader Lisa has a prayer request.  Here is what she wrote:  “I’m looking for work and I’m also battling severe OCD at the moment. Any and all prayers appreciated!” Lord, please help Lisa with her job and OCD issues.  Thank you everyone for praying for her.
  • My Dreams of Disney reader Vickie also has a prayer request.  Here is what she wrote: “I have family issues. Physical, emotional, mental and legal. Your prayers are appreciated greatly.” Lord, please lift up Vickie as she battles these family issues.  Dealing with family is one of the hardest things sometimes, but God created families for a reason, and we need to remember that.  Lord, please give Vickie and Lisa your Peace and comfort to deal with what they are going through.  Amen.
  • Lastly, Jennifer, my friend and one of the My Dreams of Disney writers, wishes for us to pray — and praise God also — for the following things: “Absolutely! Brynn’s IEP is taken care of, and her sleep study came back almost normal–just not getting into the restorative sleep, so we’ve added some melatonin. Julia has almost made it through the school year and is thinking of home schooling next year, which would be wonderful! Leaving that decision to her, but secretly it’s what I want. Sawyer has learned to potty, making this the first time in seven years that I don’t have to deal with diapers! I do have a BIG reason for prayer related to his health, but I’d rather not go into details, as it’s private. Pray for the next 13 school days, for both the kids and their teachers. We’ve also got a ton of paperwork up in the air concerning Brynn’s health and the finances behind it, so pray for calming for the anxieties and that things would work out the way they are supposed to.”  Jennifer, we will pray for you for all the things you listed, and also give Him thanks for the things that are working out regarding Brynn!  We’ll also lift up you and your whole family to make sure that everything is taken care of.  Thanks for praying with us also, and may God shine His blessings upon you and your family!
  • Brittany is in need of prayers, my friends.  Please read what she wrote and lift up her and her family:“Please pray for me and my family my husband is an activity duty marine suffering from multiple problems both mentally and physically. We are currently separated and I am left with four children to care for and no real income to do so with. I pray god will find a way to keep a roof over our heads and food in our stomachs and that my husband can get the help he needs and we can someday be a family again.”

Praises!

I mentioned at the top of the post that some of prayer requests are seeing some improvement, in particular I would like to focus on two incredible children…

  • Last week I mentioned that Kennedy, the beautiful daughter of my friend Amanda, had her surgery and came through it with flying colors.  She continues to improve, thanks to all of your prayers and God’s Healing power upon her!  Thank you Lord!
  • I also mentioned my friend, who’s nephew became a Daddy, but that the baby was born a month early, the baby’s mother was addicted to drugs, and so was the baby.  Well, that little bundle of love has progressed incredibly well, and he came home from the hospital on Thursday!  He’s still on medicine to get him off of his addiction, but he is doing incredibly well!  However, please continue to pray for the mother of this baby; I know that she has some issues, and her addiction to drugs will not end unless she acknowledges her problem and seeks help for it.  I pray that she would do that, and that she come to realize the life she has lost, and work towards being able to enter the life of that little one — when he is ready for her and she is complete once again.  If I were her, I would be racked with such feelings of guilt, it would be such a hard thing to even move from day to day!  So please keep her in your prayers.
  • My Dreams of Disney reader Laurie has some praises!  Here is what she said:  I HAVE MANY BLESSINGS, THANK YOU!!!. Just got 20 year old buttons and 4 collectible watches along with some rare pins. Bougth a van with 6 month insurance and tags for $2500/ thanks for the prayers
  • My Dreams of Disney reader Michelle also has some praises!  Here is what she said concerning her daughter:  Our daughter who was diagnosed with JIA at just shy of two years old received a great checkup this past week. Currently, there is no active arthritis in her little body! After having injections and losing knee tissue and cartilage due to the injections, she is doing great now for three years. Her eyes so far have not been affected either. We are most blessed!
  • My friend Donna from Disney Donna Kay (and a fellow Magical Blogorail Red team member with me!) shared with us that her son Eric is coming home from Afghanistan!  He was deployed there last fall, and his picture with his brand new baby was featured in my Veterans Day post on November 11th.  He is slated to leave Afghanistan on the 9th of May, and will be home within two weeks!  That is great news, indeed!

 

Prayers for the Week – April 28th, 2013!

mdod-prayers of the week

Hello everyone, and thank you for stopping by our site for our weekly Prayers for the Week segment.  This past week has been an emotionally trying, but spiritually uplifting week, full of immediate and incredibly powerful miracles by God!  To God be the Glory, Great things He has done!  Let’s get right into it, and lift up our praises to our Heavenly Father right now!

Praises!!!

  • The incredible power of God is, at times, impossible to comprehend.  This past Tuesday, April 23rd, I got a text from my dear Sister-In-Christ, Brenda.  She told me that she needed prayers for her son, Johnnie, who had a heart attack, and that an irreparable hole behind his heart was found.  He was transferred to St. Luke’s Heart Hospital in Houston, where it was discovered that he didn’t have a hole in his heart, that instead, he was diagnosed with Myocarditis.  I’m going to let Brenda tell the rest of the story in her message to me:This is an update on Johnnie and a warning to all of you and your loved ones. The Cardiologist has diagnosed Johnnie with Myocarditis. Myocarditis is by definition inflammation of the heart muscle. What literally happened is that Johnnie came down with a virus or bug with fever on Thursday which he had until Sunday. The virus invaded the heart muscle. With Myocarditis, after the initial infection subsides, the body’s immune system continues to inflict inflammatory damage to the heart muscle. The inflammation around the heart caused him to have a heart attack.In 20% of the cases of sudden death in young adults, Myocarditis is the cause. I feel very blessed and grateful that my son was not part of that statistic and, in fact, lived through 3 different ER visits on 3 days.Please be warned that if you or someone you love comes down with a bug and subsequent horrible chest pain, get them to the ER ASAP. If they do an EKG and say the heart is fine, insist that they do a blood test for heart muscle enzymes (CPK levels). All 3 of Johnnie’s EKGs came back normal. Only the 3rd ER checked his enzyme levels because no one thinks a 27 yo is having a heart attack. His enzyme levels were off the chart and in fact they did the blood test again thinking the results were false. Please take care!Now that Johnnie has had a heart attack he is at a greater risk of having another one than others his age. I will be working very hard on giving this to God as I deal with the fear that something will happen again. Knowing that Johnnie was held safe in God’s hands while he could have fallen into that 20% sudden death statistic is something I am eternally grateful for.Johnnie is 27 years old, and he went home from the hospital yesterday!  What started as a fear that we would lose Johnnie was totally turned around by God into a miracle, right before our eyes!  I told Brenda that God has something in store for Johnnie, because otherwise he wouldn’t be with us right now.  Praise God!  Thank you Lord!
  • You may remember that my friend Amanda’s daughter Kennedy has some medical issues.  Here was the update I posted on our April 14th Prayers for the Week edition:

    BIG UPDATE!!

    The surgeon’s office just called and Kennedy does not have CDH (Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia), she has a Paraesophageal Hiatal Hernia. From what I’m understanding (and nursing friends feel free to correct me) her stomach has bulged through her diaphragm around her esophogus. They will be doing a nissen fundoplication (Huh?) laproscopically to repair the problem.

    Surgery is set for 4/26 and she’ll be there at least a week. She’ll also be given a feeding tube which we’ll have to use for the first 6 weeks but will stay in for 2 months.

    I’m not sure if this is good news because some of it sounds scarier than the originaldiagnoses.

    Please pray for Kennedy, for her healing, pray for the skill of her medical team, that God would use them to cure Kennedy of this ailment, and please also pray for Kennedy and her family, that God would send his Peace, Strength, and Comfort to Kennedy and the family so that they will know that she is going to be okay. Thanks everyone!

    Well, Kennedy had her surgery yesterday, and with all of our prayers, she came through it with flying colors! Thank you to everyone that prayed for this sweet little girl!

With these huge praises comes some prayer requests also.  Let’s take a look at these next.

Prayer Requests:

Despite the huge praises we just shared, there are still many prayer requests that we need to share with you.  Please pray for each of these, and thank you!  Don’t forget to ask for us to pray for you also, as it is through prayer that we will all be able to overcome anything through our Lord Jesus Christ!

  • My sister Robin has some prayer requests for us.  Here is what she left for us last Sunday:Mike, my co-worker Julie has a cousin with a brain tumor. He is only 8 or 9 and it is inoperable. I don’t recall his name.
    My other co-worker Bob left early Friday, I am hoping he feels better and will be back to work on Monday.
    Charles, my wing-man in the SpEd dept has a brother who was in a car accident I believe. He has been out all week and will be out most of this week so prayers for the entire family will be appreciated.
    Of course prayers for my students and my children (both kinds) are appreciated :-)
    Love to all of you!
  • Please pray for my good friend. Her nephew just became a father, but the mother of the baby is addicted to drugs, and the poor little baby was born one month premature and addicted to substances. Please pray healing for the baby and for the mother, and pray also for all of the family involved in this. While this is a tough way for him to start his life, he is surrounded by a lot of love, so please also give thanks to God for His new servant! Thank you everyone!
  • Please pray for my dear friend from Pennsylvania. She is going through some hard times with a business venture. She is a strong Christian, and feels God’s Peace on her even though she is troubled by these actions, and she has given up this problem to the Lord, but more prayers are always welcome and appreciated, so thank you!
  • Please pray for my friend Donna, who is going through some medical issues that needs treatment. Please pray for her healing, and for her comfort and her and her family’s Peace and strength at this time.
  • Please pray for my friends wife, who is likely facing gallbladder surgery later today. She has been through a lot, breast cancer and now this, and I can only imagine her mindset right now. Please pray for healing, both physically and emotionally, and pray for strength and God’s Peace to come upon them.UPDATE: My friend’s wife had her gallbladder surgery, and it was a successful procedure.  Please continue to pray for her healing, and for her strength and for God’s Peace to descend upon all of them at this time.  Thanks!
  • Please pray for the safety of my new nephew Shane, who leaves on the 30th for Basic Training and AIT Training for the Army Reserves.  He’s going to be gone from home for 19 weeks, and my niece Stephanie, his wife, will miss having him around.  Please pray for Shane, keep him safe, and pray for Stephanie during this time of separation from her Soul Mate.
  • As always, please go through the previous prayer requests posts and pray for those that you find there.  The link that you find will take you to the category where all of the prayer requests posts are located.  Thanks everyone!

As always, I thank you for taking the time to stop by and visit us at My Dreams of Disney.  Even more importantly, I appreciate you taking the time to take a few minutes and read our prayers for the week posts, and lifting up those people that need prayer.  If you have any prayers you need us to pray for you, please do not hesitate to share them with us!  We are a loving group, not a judging group, and the more people you can have praying for you, the better off you will be.  Thanks, and have a great week everyone!

Prayers for the Week, April 21, 2013

mdod-prayers of the week

Well, my friends, the week that lasted a month is finally over!  This past week has been an emotional one for millions of people across the country, even across the world, so let’s get right into the numerous prayer requests and praises that we have for this week!  First, though, if you want to re-read the prayers for the week from last week, please do so!

Praise The Lord!

  •  Lord, today we give a big shout of Praise to You for giving the Police Departments such a great ability to track down and capture the person they believe is responsible for the Boston Marathon Bombing.  At the conclusion of that roller coaster ride that so many people were put through, the one thing that I keep coming back to is how much prayer was lifted up to You during this week!  Despite all of the tragedy — and we’ll go into all of that in our prayer request section — despite all of that, and despite all of the evil that exists in our world, the world is not lost yet, because so many of my Brothers and Sisters call on You to guide and lead us.  Thank you Lord!
  • Lord, I would also like to give you praise for all of the goodness that we saw in people this week from around the world.  The people in Boston, those that helped out with the tragedy in West, Texas, and others that we don’t even know about, witnessing such an outpouring of support and love for our fellow man certainly is uplifting, and I know that Jesus was smiling at all of the help being shown his children.
  • Lord, I also want to give high praise and thanks to You for guiding the hands of the medical staff that worked on my friend Donna’s surgeries.  She was very sick, but through prayer you saw her through, and she is doing much better now.  Please stay with her as she continues her healing, and thank you!
  • Lastly, I have a huge praise!  I want to give the Lord highest Praise for the recent engagement of my writer friend Theresa and her new fiance Chris!  Congratulations you two, I know that you will be happy for years to come!

Prayer Requests:

  • Please continue your prayers for Dustin, he has been through a lot, and has a long road ahead of him, but our prayers, coupled with God’s healing power, plus the incredible skill of the doctors treating him will see him through this latest challenge.  Here is what my dear friend Beth had to say:Thank you so much, for including Dustin, Mike! It is hard to imagine that a two year old would have to endure so much in less than a year. He has beaten cancer and we know he will beat this too. He is the strongest two your old I know!
  • Please pray for my friend Jon and his family. An update on his Aunt is that she is extremely weak, has multiple spots on her lungs, and right now there is not much they can do to treat it. Please Lord, give her the comfort she needs, and Your Peace and Strength to get through this. Everyone, please also pray for her salvation, that she would know Jesus and that He know her as well. Lastly, please pray for Jon and his family, for their comfort and strength, and for God’s Peace to descend upon them as they struggle with this. Help them in their time of need to be able to focus on the things that matter. Thank you everyone!  Jon was able to travel home on Friday, so he is with his family during this time.
  • Of course, the tragedy in Boston — while deserving of praise that the police got the person they believe was in on the bombing — is still needing of some serious prayer for the vicitims and their families, in fact, for the whole community.  Here is what I wrote earlier in the week:Please pray for the victims and injured of today’s Boston Marathon bombing. It is such a terrible tragedy that such evil exists — it truly shows just how much hold Satan has on this world. We live in a fallen world, my brothers and sisters in Christ, and you and I all know that only Jesus can change that. So please, please, please, pray for the families of the victims and injured, pray for the town and the people that witnessed this, pray for the nation, but most of all, pray that these tragedies would strengthen us, and cause more and more of us to turn to Jesus, for without Him, we are truly lost.Thank you, my friends!
  • Please pray for Stephanie and Shane. Stephanie is under the weather and has been for too long, so pray for healing for her, but also pray for Shane. Shane leaves at the end of the month for Basic Training in the Army Reserves, so please see him through this safely and return him home quickly. Please pray for Stephanie at this time — that she and Zazzy not miss him too much, and that the time be done before they no what hit them!We were able to go visit them this weekend, and that was a big Praise, so thank you Lord for that!
  • Please pray for my Mom and Dad also. My mom is battling a shoulder condition, and it has given her considerable pain. Please pray for her for healing, and for my dad also so he doesn’t have any ailments also. They are both getting older, so their bodies are not as easily recovered as they used to be. Thanks!
  • Please pray for all of those affected by the explosions in West, Texas at the fertilizer plant. I don’t have any details, but I don’t really need them — God knows, and He knows what is needed best. Thanks, please just lift everyone up — including the firefighters, the citizens, and everyone else.Since I typed that the night I heard of the explosion, more details are out, and huge praises are in order for the people who have gone in and worked tirelessly at trying to save people from the nursing home or other homes around the area.  The area looks like a bomb went off, it is scary how much damage there was.  Please continue to pray for the town, for the investigators, for the survivors, and lift up those that did not survive, and their families in this time of trauma and grief.  Pray that God would give His Peace upon all of them, that they would feel His comfort and mercy on their lives and know that He is with them.  Thank you everyone!
  • Also, there was a fire at an Exxon plant near Beaumont, TX. One of our readers reported that her friend had 3rd Degree burns over 88% of his body. Please pray for those affected in this separate incident as well. Thanks!
  • My friend Deb — you know her as the creator of the site Focused on the Magic — is going through a bit of a personal struggle right now because her son is on his way to Colorado to start the next phase in his life. Please pray for a safe journey for him, but also, please pray for the Mom and Dad as well — because it’s something you know will happen, but despite that, there is still some feeling of emptiness and worry over your son growing up. Fortunately for Deb, she has another son — so they aren’t total empty nesters yet! Thanks, everyone!
  • Please also pray for my buddy Jay, who has been going through a lot lately physically, and it has us worried. I won’t go into specifics, but please pray for healing, Peace, strength, and comfort for him and his family. Thanks!

My Lord, you know all of the other prayer requests that we have floating around in our heads, spoken and unspoken, and it is my prayer to you that you take care of all of those as well.  Thank you for leading me in doing this Prayer post, it has been a huge honor to me that people would give up their prayer requests to me to lift up to you, and it humbles me that people from all over the world see this post.  Thank you for all that you have given to me and my family, Lord, all of it is because of You and your Grace upon our lives.  I especially give thanks to my family, Cindy and Sophie particularly, but also all of my other family and friends as we strive to do your will in this world.  Thank you, Lord, all of these things I pray in the name of your Son Jesus with Thanksgiving.  Amen.

Where my Faith Comes From

mdod-prayers of the week

So many tragic things have happened this week, it can really have an affect on a person.  One thing that you really need to be careful about when all of the horror of this week piles on one after another, that you don’t lose faith that God has things in control.

Of course we have all heard about the tragic bombings in Boston on Monday, but maybe you haven’t heard about the explosion at the fertilizer plant in West, Texas yesterday.  Couple that with the poison laced letters to one of our US Senators and President Obama, and you really do start to wonder if God is paying attention.  Well, my Brothers and Sisters, I’m here to tell you that I am not worried about  God’s priorities.  I know that Jesus is my man, that I love Him, no matter what, and that I know Him and He knows me.

How do I know this, you ask?  Well, that my friends, is an onion with many layers, so I’ll start at the beginning.

My Mom was the oldest child of my Grandparents, and when she was one year old, she was bit by a mosquito and contracted encephalitis.  She had to learn how to talk again, she had to learn how to walk again, and she has always been emotional.  In the 1960s, my Grandpa was stationed to the Washington, DC area to supervise construction of the maintenance hangar for United Airlines, so my Grandma and all of the family moved to Fairfax, VA.  My Dad was living in Vienna, VA, a town close by, and they met on a blind date, fell in love, and were married within six months.

Those two things, well before I was born, while not a distinct reason for my faith, still are evidence that God has a plan for me, because all it would have taken was one little thing to happen, and I would not be here today.

Cindy has a similar background.  When she was born, there was a blizzard that started when they were driving the hour or so to get to the hospital where she was born.  Her parents had to make it through that blizzard, and they did.  Then, when Cindy was one year old, she developed pneumonia and had to go through a lot of growing again after she was well.

As a kid, we didn’t go to Church that much, but that didn’t mean I didn’t know who Jesus was.  But truly, I didn’t become a Christian until after my sister was married and Mom and I started going to Church at Round Hill Baptist Church in Round Hill, VA — my sister’s church.

I was a late bloomer — I didn’t move out of my parents house until I was 25 years old.  Then I moved in with some co-workers in Manassas, VA, and just a few months after that I got a job offer — for a temporary position — with the company I now work for.  I went from living at home to living in Manassas to moving to Raleigh, NC in the span of less then a year.

My temporary job — it was supposed to be a 30 day job setting up some computers.  30 days became 60, 60 became 90, and before I knew it, I was a temporary going on almost 3 years.  But now, I’m still with the same company, 16 permanent years later (nearly 19 if you count the temp time)…how’s that for a temporary job?

The point of all of that is that I met my wife Cindy when she was hired to work at the same company.  In fact, she had a computer question her first day on the job, and I helped her out.  We were friends for a year before we started dating, but once we started dating, we were engaged in less then a month; we were married in August, four months after we started dating; we became pregnant with Sophie in November of that same year, and we had her on June 19, 2001 — almost two months before our first anniversary.

I’ve probably lost all of you that have been reading, and I apologize for that.  The true reason for why I have such a strong faith comes in this next life event — the birth of Sophie.

In June, Cindy got sick; her liver enzymes were completely out of whack, her blood pressure spiked, and she was sick.  The important thing was that we had a doctors appointment the day she got sick, so I picked her up and took her in to the doctor.  She was immediately admitted to the hospital.  The diagnosis: HELLP Syndrome, a rare and particularly serious form of pre-eclampsia.

Cindy’s blood pressure — which I saw from the fetal monitor — spiked at 220 over 190 — and things were extremely serious.  But despite all of the stress, the anxiety, and the uncertainty — despite all of that, I was extremely calm, both on the outside and on the inside.

My Brothers and Sisters, I was that way because of my faith.  It wasn’t part of my thoughts, certainly, but looking back, I think I just knew that God was in control, that Cindy was going to be okay, that Sophie was going to be okay, and that it would be all right because He decided it would be.

Too many things had happened — both in our lives before we were born, and also in our lives together, to prevent this from happening.  To a cynic, an unbeliever, they would be very quick to say it was all coincidence, that there is no way that any one being did all of that.  They would say that it was just dumb luck that got us to this stage.

To them, I say they are just flat out WRONG — that God has a plan for Cindy, a plan for Sophie, and a plan for me — and that is why everything worked out.

Sophie: From Beautiful Baby to Birthday Girl

Sophie at one day old. Look at her tiny, beautiful fingers.

Sophie was born 7 weeks early, weighing a meager 4 pounds, 2 ounces, and measuring just 17 1/2″ long.  It was expected that she would need Oxygen to help her breath for some time, but within hours of being born, she had pushed the breathing tube away repeatedly, and never needed it again — her lungs were that well developed.

Sophie ended up needing to stay in the hospital in the NICU ward for just two weeks.  It was the hardest thing Cindy and I ever did — leaving the hospital without our baby — but it also gave us time to learn the things that new parents to learn — how to properly burp your baby, how to properly change her diaper, and so on.  We learned from the true experts — the nurses!

All of this, my friends, has shown me over the years that my life is not a series of lucky happenstances; that God has plans for me — which he outlines in Jeremiah 29:11:

“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.”

So, as tragic as the events that have occurred this week are, as inexcusable as the bombing in Boston was, the beauty of it all was how the people responded, both in Boston, around New England, and across the country and even the world.

Despite the tragedy, despite the lunacy with the poison in the letters, and despite this latest tragedy in Texas, despite all of that, my friends, the one constant that is God.  While this is hard to deal with, especially for those that have lost loved ones this week — the way to dealing with our grief is by turning to God, and letting Him take on that burden for us.  It’s what He has already done once, over 2000 years ago, and what He will continue to do for those of us that believe in Him.

My friends, I thank you for taking the time to stick this out, to hear what I had to say, and for your prayers for everyone affected in these horrible tragedies, plus those that are listed in our latest Prayers for the Week post.  Faith.  It’s a beautiful word, a powerful word, one we should all know.