We have a diagnosis

Or as Steve calls it,

“The first day of the rest of my life…”


It’s name is ALS.

And yes,

My heart is hurting in ways and places it has never hurt before

However (and this is a big however),

I didn’t know it would be like this

I didn’t know how His bringing beauty from ashes would work, exactly

I thought there would be a waiting period

First, sowing tears, then


after all grief is spent,

with a wide buffer of time and distance from the source of the heartache

only then

could one expect a season of joy.

I was wrong.

For as surely as the sorrow is right here, right now,

so is the beauty,

the reaping

It’s like a dance of joy in a rainstorm of tears

An odd juxtaposition, to be sure

And yet

it is truly


the most

remarkable thing I have ever



For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8



  1. We stand with you in prayer and love you both.

    Ron & Annette Swor

  2. TheAccidentalDomestic

    Oh, Bo. I’m so sorry and I’m praying. I would love to talk with you or email you privately. My grandfather had ALS, so I am very familiar with where you’re at. Also, my family in Bend is HUGELY involved with the local support group, the ALS Association of OR/WA (which has a local representative in Bend now thanks to fundraising), the annual fundraising walk (which my family started in honor of my grandfather), and advocacy work in DC. I would be honored to be able to connect you with some support people in Bend if you’re interested. I’d also just love to stand with you in this (even if from Tennessee!), pray, whatever. I don’t think I ever met you in person all those years I went to Westside, but I feel connected nonetheless and would love to support in any way I can. xo Jen

  3. But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. 2 Corinthians 2:14-15

    Amongst the stench of death, you smell beautifully like Christ. Thank you for spreading the aroma of Him everywhere you go!

    Confidently believing in miraculous healing,

  4. YES!!! That’s it my friend, oh the joys and oh the beauty of the ashes. It’s EXACTLY what I’ve been privileged to experience this past year and a half! Would not trade it for anything and neither will you, promise! GOD is soooo good and the faithful know it! Loves

  5. Dearest Bo, you’ve been on my heart these past few days…and the prayers of your friends on Team Stern have encouraged and inspired me. ALS is going to stand for ALMIGHTY LIFE SUSTAINER in my life. Adoni, Lord, Savior.

    Blessed are those who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God is Zion.

    Praying strength and comfort for you today.

  6. This brought tears to my eyes. I am praying for you two! I witnessed two people a few weeks ago come off crutches. Know that you are on my prayer list.

  7. Wow. That’s all.
    Oh, and love you.

  8. Oh, Bo… and Steve. My heart breaks for you and at the same time it soars with love. When we are faced with trials and we have no control – it is Him that I seek and He is always there. You are living out that Romans 8 as well as –

    Romans 5:1-5
    Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.

    And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

    It is my utmost pleasure to stand with you in prayer and love – I also walk with you in peace knowing that God’s plan is always better than mine. Sometimes it doesn’t feel better, but it is playing out in my life. My love to you, dear Bo and to Steve and your family – you are in my prayers.

  9. Beauty in the ashes. Amazing Bo. Amazing… continually praying, through the good, bad, hard, ugly, beauty, light and dark, it is good to know God is still the same! Praying continued joy over your family!!

    Here is to the first day of the rest of our lives! (wow only Steve Stern would walk with that beautiful of an attitude! Thanks Steve, your an amazing example!)

    love you ALL much!

  10. Oh Bo, I am so sorry to hear the news. My heart aches for Steve and your family. Steve has always had a special place in my heart…he was the first one to talk to me and welcome me into Oneighty when I was in 6th grade. I remember how much he cared for us and loved on us. I remember him telling me that I was truly blessed, and Steve gave me hope that Jesus cared about my circumstances. Jesus has always shone through Steve, allowing Steve to change lives. You are all in my prayers daily…stay strong and cling to Jesus as you always do.


  11. My heart is breaking with the news.. Processing it all now is what takes time.. for the whole family… What would life be without the Love of our Jesus who will get us through the storms ??? so thankful for Him!! I will continue to pray for your family as this next step begins…

  12. When I was driving home from work last night ,and you guys were on my heart and mind ,I was wondering why” and then how would HE use this for good.What I know is that Bo has the capacity to reach alot of people; to raise awareness,to riase hope,to still teach JOY,and that Steve is still in Gods hands.
    I am not walking in your shoes, but I believe those things and I commit to praying for you.

  13. Heather Hiatt Sutter

    Praying for you all! Thank you for living out a Godly example of faith, trust and true joy.

    Love and prayers,

  14. Bo,
    I am still praying for you and every time I see or hear the word–STRENGTH–for physical strength to be returned but mostly for God’s strength to be poured on your lives!!! He is the same God who created the earth…who parted the sea…who raised Lazarus from the dead…who conquered death…and who lives in us!!! Love you, Cathy

  15. He makes beauty from ashes, but, oh, how I wish he wasn’t having to for you.

  16. Dear Precious Bo —

    As I mentioned on facebook, the kids and I spent some fervent time praying together for all of you today. Believing for overwhelming HOPE to fill your hearts. A HOPE that rests and is founded on God’s unfailing goodness.

    I was sharing with a church today about how Osanidde got started, and how God worked through a tragic situation of a precious prayer-warrior little orphan girl — who I dearly loved — who was diagnosed with AIDS. She was so innocent, and only God has brought her need before us. Through her story, God dug DEEP in my heart, and motivated me (us) to establish a ministry for children orphaned from AIDS. What began with 30 kids, is now at over 700 kids today (it’s our 5 year mark today), but the story doesn’t end there. This little girl was totally HEALED. I remember when I was so devastated when I first of her diagnosis, and then when she got worse, and nearly died. But that wasn’t the end. I also remember how shortly after we heard about her condition, that God began allowing us to hear about encouraging miraculous stories of people who were healed of this incurable disease.

    I also know that no matter how this all ends up — God is good. He is real. He is miraculous. He is your sustaining power. He is trustworthy. He is faithful. No matter what. My brother-in-law battled ALS for 15 years, and entered heaven on Christmas Day two years ago. Even in the muddy snow on the way to the hospital that Christmas morning (as my sister-in-law gave him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation as they drove to the emergency room, she said, “Well Hon, we’re just gonna have to make out all the way there.”) God’s JOY was ever present. Even still today…

    Do know that we’re believing and PRAYING for LIFE LIFE LIFE!!! and HOPE HOPE HOPE!!! and JOY JOY JOY!!!! every day. every moment. No matter what.

    Nothing can separate us from His love.

    I’m so sad, but I’m reaching upward for His strength and for His JOY. Isn’t it amazing that God focused your heart on the study of JOY. He knew what you would need.

  17. {{{Bo}}}

    Now that we know the target.

    Our prayers will be the arrows.

    God will perfect our aim.

  18. Bo, today I read a story to my 4th graders about a little Japanese boy who, in the chaos of tsunami warning is rushed to the safety of his uncle’s house. There, however, from the safety of his mountain-side perch young Jiya witnesses his village — and parents– engulfed in a tidal wave below. The story progresses and his wise uncle allows Jiya to grieve, while his own son questions the cruelty of Life that left its victims dead AND alive. But gently Jiya’s uncle teaches his son that “Life is stronger than death” and assures him that “in the midst of danger one learns to love Life .” I don’t presume to even remotely fathom the depths of this journey you’re on, but I’m sure ALS like the tidal wave has the power to engulf, and depending on where you’ve been placed in the landscape—with very different perspectives. But as I read Karen’s insightfulness and conviction that ALS now means Almighty Life Sustainer. Adoni, Lord, Savior, I thought of others: Amazing Loving Safety, All-encompassing Living Sustanence. I was also reminded that In Jesus we have the privilege of not being defined by the world’s numbers or titles or … even letters. We need only listen to the labels that our Father has placed on us: a child of the Most High God, chosen, beloved. You have been chosen, sadly yet with high honor, to a private internship with the Master –placed purposefully into his Alternative Learning Sanctuary. Already it has yielded such beautifully wrapped lessons for so many whose lives you touch. My personal hope, is that during those times that ALS stands for Afraid, Lost and Scared, the presence of Jesus engulfs you . Our prayers are with you, Bo, on this continued journey.. with a continued hope for a miraculous, heart-stopping healing graduation!

  19. And THIS is EXACTLY what distinguishes the people of God from the world! I love you and wish I could be there to dance in your tearstorm with you.
    WE LOVE YOU and continue to stand with you – and don’t forget to write on those days when the joy seems far! That’s when you will need the rest of us even more.

  20. P.S. Happy Birthday to my birthday buddy, Tess!! What a beauty.

  21. Bo, your words haved touched my heart many times since I started reading your daily blog. What wonderful examples of Gods grace and love and beauty you reveal in your writing. Thank you for sharing your life. You and your family are in my prayers. I am amazed at the beauty from these ashes.

  22. Hi,

    I know that you will have 100’s of people praying for your family during this time. I hope you don’t mind, I belong to a wonderful forum with a group out of England. I am one of about 4 administrators on the site along with a few hundred members and the others are from different parts of the world that have a following of their own sites as well. (England, Africa, Austrailia, New Zealand, and America) I have requested prayer for your family from them and I am sure it will create a mass prayer community for your current situation with prayer warriors from all over the world. We love you and pray Gods peace and mercy and His will at this time.


  23. Thank you friends – one and all – for so much love, hope and – most importantly – prayer. We love you.

  24. Amazing Grace—-
    Amazing Love—-
    Amazing Comfort—-
    Amazing bottle to hold our tears.

    You are loved.