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Two Sides of the Same Coin

 

This is Florence Marigold.

 

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She is two.  And darling.  And very sick.

 

 

 

This is Steve Stern.

 

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He is 52.  And wonderful.  And also very sick.

 

 

 

Steve has ALS and Flo has SMA, which is sometimes called “Baby ALS” – and if there was ever a term (and disease) that should not exist, it’s that one.

 

 

 

I met Flo through her mom, Michaela’s, blog.  Michaela and her husband are people of great faith, enduring an unimaginable storm.  Michaela writes like the wind – her words roll over and under and through with a graceful beauty that packs a gale-force punch.  I recently told Michaela that I wish Steve could meet Florence (he already loves her through her pictures and her mom’s words.)  He couldn’t hold her, but he would try to sing to her.  He would pray over her and tears would roll wild and he would believe for her.  They are sojourners, Steve and Flo, traveling together through the worst diagnosis and held together by the best God.  They each reflect Him in breathtaking ways.

 

 

I’m sharing this today for two reasons.  The first one is:  read Michaela’s blog.  It’s just beautiful.  The second one is: would you join Steve and I in praying for this family as they walk the soil of the Shadowlands and also welcome a new baby in just a few weeks?  If prayer makes a difference, and I’m certain it does (I’m proof that it does!), then this is worthy place to invest.

 

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And finally, a letter to Florence from Team Stern>>

 

Dear, darling Flo, 

 

Do you know how beautiful you are?  Your life pulsates hope.  Our prayers for you are many and brazen. They are storm-the-gates, rescue-the-damsel sorts of prayers.  And they are also beauty-from-ashes and joy-from-sorrow prayers.   You are so little to take your place among the soldiers fighting a neuromuscular Goliath, but you are not overmatched. The God of David is the God of Flo.  

 

We pray for your heart and your hands and your hope.  We pray that you feel defended and loved every minute of your life.  We pray that Jesus Himself visits your dreams and gives you peace and rest and joy beyond reason.  

 

You are a miracle. Though we are far away, our feet share the same battlefield and we are joined at the heart.  

 

With all our love, 

 

Steve & Bo

 

 

P.S.  Can you just take a second and look at the pictures of Steve and Florence?  Those smiles just make me so happy and challenge me to smile, too.  That’s all.

 

 

August 5, 2014 - 8:37 am

Jane Lellman - Thank you for the introduction to the beautiful Florence!! I will pray fervently!!

August 5, 2014 - 12:38 pm

Michaela Evanow - I’m a speechless mess.
Bo and Steve…
Thank you, is all I can manage to scrape together right now.
xoxo

August 5, 2014 - 1:14 pm

wendy hodges - Only this God…only this God…beauty…for ashes..thanking God for these beautiful faces and hearts..for those who love them and for allowing us to love them too..Thank you Lord..for beauty indeed.

August 5, 2014 - 1:21 pm

Adriel Booker - This makes me so happy – that this introduction gelled and you can be such an encouragement and blessing for one another. <3

August 5, 2014 - 5:24 pm

Sarah Fairbrass - How beautiful to hear of two of God’s warriors finding each other and sharing such a bond. I’ve known Michaela for several years; she is one of my niece’s best friends; and have and continue to pray for sweet Flo and her beautiful family. Now adding another beautiful heart to my prayer list. Thank you for writing this and for being a grounding for Michaela.

August 5, 2014 - 7:41 pm

Teresa B - Prayers for sweet precious Flo. What a darling little one who has to be so brave. Gods blessings.

August 19, 2014 - 2:22 pm

Cyndi B. - I just found your blog from Facebook with your comment about the ALS ice bucket challenge. You write with such honesty and faith and I really love it. I too am struggling as a care giver for my husband but his disease is not physical. It seems very easy to play the “We don’t deserve this” game. I have to work regularly to accept that this situation is exactly where the Lord wants me so He can support me and our family. I read something that said here on earth is the only place the Lord can support us and bless us in this particular way. In Heaven we won’t need that same kind of support. I found that thought brought me much needed understanding about suffering and struggle. None of us deserve anything, good or bad, so that eliminates that argument. It’seems not why is this happening to me, rather how am I going to deal with it? Alone or depending on the Lord? I choose not to go it alone, finding strength that I never imagined I could have (most days I am successful at this but I’m still growing.)
In my research to help my husband with his health issues and being willing to look at any and everything I came across information on Cannibus and it’seems neurological properties. In particular a strain called Charlotte’so Web that has been developed for children with seizure disorders. It’seems being used to treat several neurological diseases such as MS and Parkinson’s. It was very interesting and hopeful. One of the websites I came across was Realm of Caring. Just wanting to share anything that might bring relief in any form.
You and your family are in my prayers.
CB

Three Hours of Darkness

 

Last week was rough and it culminated in one very difficult night as I was preparing to leave town for 24 hours and dealing with everything necessary to do that while also making sure Steve has round-the-clock care. I wrote this on Friday night and I’m only sharing it today because we are -thankfully – on the other side of it and feeling so much better and stronger now.  I think it’s important to tell the dark parts of the story, too.

 

———————————–

I’m sitting here in bed tonight, listening to Steve struggle for breath, and struggle harder still for hope and it is almost more than I can take. We have each felt beaten today. This morning I complained to him about how I need a break, a bit of time away, a good night’s sleep. I regretted my words almost immediately and then I went for a run and replayed them in my head for 3.74 miles.  Tonight I feel suffocated by my own inability to get this right. He feels suffocated by his own body and a sickness that is cruel beyond telling.  We are a sorry pair.

 

I’ve written a lot about ALS, pointing to the beauty buried in the soil of this battlefield, but tonight it’s hard to see it. It’s hard even to see my hand in front of my face – everything is inky black and there is no sign of sunrise. I keep thinking of the thief on the cross, suffering the cruelest death, discovering the promise of a home in paradise, and then hanging there in the dark for three hours. I can almost see him – suspended between the end and the beginning; fighting for every breath and wondering if the promise was true. Would this death end in life?  I feel like we’re living our three hours of darkness.  So the truth I cling to is this:  Even though the thief couldn’t see Him, Jesus was very near; just one cross away.  He is surely in our dark too.  He is intimately connected to our suffering and infinitely aware of all the ways we are gasping for hope and strength to keep fighting this battle.

 

On the beaten days, faith is all I’ve got. I’m not a single bit tempted to toss it out and go it alone. The amount of muscle and ingenuity I have to bring to this battle on my own is laughable.  He is my only hope.

 

Since I started writing this, the medicine I put through Steve’s tube an hour ago has begun to work and his breathing sounds better. He is drifting to sleep and I am praying for rest to sink deep into his bones and into his heart and into his hope. And I’m trusting the only One who can see in the dark.

 ———————————

 

 

 

As I said, we are better now and we are thankful.  If you would like to shoot a prayer up for us, we are looking for some help with Steve’s care at night and it’s not an easy spot to fill. We’d love prayer for supernatural fitting together of the pieces we need to walk this road with grace and joy.

 

With hope,

 

Bo

 

August 4, 2014 - 9:18 am

Connie Reid - Prayers to Steve and you–I know they will be answered..and HELP is on the way!!!–Peace and comfort to both of you and your children.Connie

August 4, 2014 - 9:25 am

Vangi - My prayer went something like this for you and Steve:
(Burst into tears) Jesus….Jesus…Jesus…
(Burst into tears) Jesus…Jesus…(a few somewhat intelligent requests)…Jesus
(Burst into tears) Jesus…Jesus…Jesus

Not my most eloquent of prayers, but I know he weeps with you, and that’s a good enough example to follow.

Thankful for medicine. (hate this disease). Thankful for the “Someone” that is listening in the three hours of darkness, and is, truly, “a very present help in time of trouble.”

Love you, sister!

August 4, 2014 - 10:04 am

Angie - Praying for peace, strength, hope, and joy in the midst of your battle. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, for your transparency.

August 4, 2014 - 10:42 am

Terry Scanlon - Dear Bo,
As I care for my brother who is in the late stages of ALS your words have brought me such strength and clarity of Faith. I pray for you and Steve and thank you for this post which reminds me I am not alone in those moments of human frailty when my anguished heart seems to be coming apart. Light does return and I know my redeemer has carried me through once again. Blessings

August 4, 2014 - 10:52 am

Jacqueline Rice - With tears rolling down my cheeks, the prayers are being sent up for strength and peace during this time. And a compassionate and competent person to care for Steve at night.

August 4, 2014 - 10:58 am

Beth - Jesus be their strength right now. Be their peace and rest. Clasp them tight to your bosom Jesus.

August 4, 2014 - 11:08 am

Sue - (I am Rob’s mom and Laurie’s
mother-in-law)

Late last week I was abruptly
awakened by not a thought or
picture reminding me to pray,
but two large printed words:
STEVE STERN.

Steve, Bo, your family and your
battlefield were/are completely
covered in prayer. Father, Son
and Holy Spirit are present,
holding you, comforting you,
giving you wisdom and being
glorified in your struggle.

Steve and Bo: you are an
inspration to our family.

August 4, 2014 - 11:16 am

Beth Yancey - Dear Bo,

I can’t thank you and Steve (and your kids)enough for fighting the good fight and sharing about it so openly. What a good metaphor to use the theif on the cross. Since you share, other precious ones will have courage to face their hours of darkness. Praying for the Light of the World to shine on you and for you to reap a thousand fold for all the good seeds you sow. Also joining you in prayer for the perfect help to fit right into your family and bless you all with tender, skilled, and compassionate care.

August 4, 2014 - 1:18 pm

Jane Lellman - Although I am sharply knowing some of what you are going through, I feel helpless. But I am also absolutely convinced he is there with us in the dark. I am praying his light continues to reach you where you are. Please know my heart is hurting for you.

August 4, 2014 - 1:18 pm

Kathryn V. - Hugs and more hugs and steady prayers.

August 4, 2014 - 4:27 pm
August 4, 2014 - 4:29 pm

Cindi Dunn - Bo…I have known you have been struggling, I guess I should say I knew Steve and you both were struggling, as I have been awakened both Sat night, (early Sun morning actually…2-4:30am, and last night, from about 1am until 3:50am or so…both times you and Steve, were on my heart & in my prayers, and I felt like I was told to breathe for Steve early this morning…so I did…so glad things are better (some) today. I love you both so much! Only eternity will reveal all that our wonderful Father is accomplishing in these 3 darkest of hours! Love you so! cindi

August 4, 2014 - 9:23 pm

Denise Miller - Dear Lord, Though Bo and her family feel a weakness at times in the hours of darkness may she rest assured in the strength that you have for her in each new day and the strength that she gives to others who share in this battle. Please provide the perfect in home health person to share with the nightly care for Steve.

August 4, 2014 - 11:05 pm

Phil Camden - Hi Bo and Steve.

With tears, love, prayers and much love from Australia.

August 5, 2014 - 10:21 am

Laura R - My heart is so full, all the pain people I care so deeply for are going through. I have found myself on my knees, pleading with Jesus for some understanding as to why there is so much suffering. I have felt so powerless….I can’t help…..the Lord showed me this morning that I can through prayer! So know that you are in my heart, thoughts and abundant prayers..love and hugs Laura R.

August 5, 2014 - 12:35 pm

Helen Campbell - I don’t even attempt to understand your trial, but I know our God is great. I know that He will never leave you. I know that He is LOVE. May you have unbelievable strength and power. May you digest His sweetness and rest in His goodness. May God grant you the desires of your heart. May Steve be mightily healed in the name of Jesus.

Sincerely in Him,

Helen Campbell

August 18, 2014 - 12:15 pm

Nicole - I can’t help but think of how my Mom felt when we were taking care of my father. Every time we caught ourselves feeling tired and drained from the hard work of it all we would immediately feel guilt. Guilt that what my father was dealing with was far more frustrating and guilt that he often felt like such a burden to us. I remember telling myself, ‘God only gives you things he knows you can handle.’ And I have to say, God must think pretty highly of our personal strength.

August 18, 2014 - 7:23 pm

bo - Phil Camden – a million tears, prayers and SO much love back to you, sir! In this together, you know. -Bo

August 19, 2014 - 12:10 pm

kathy - Thank you for sharing Bo. I too face the same struggle as you and it is comforting to know I have a sister in Christ walking the same road who truly gets it.

August 23, 2014 - 11:37 pm

Patricia Frisco, BSN, RN, CDE - Enlightenment much appreciated. I am so sorry for your struggles…prayers sent…

Collisions

 

Yesterday, I filmed some devotions to go with my new book. It was a pretty involved process since we needed lots of them and each one requires several takes.  By the time I fell into bed last night, the whole experience was still buzzing around my brain to the degree that I dreamt about it. And in my dream, as soon as I was done filming a video, the tech crew would remove it from the camera and pour it into a feeding tube.

 

Now, I’m no dream analyst, but it would seem my work-life and my home-life are colliding.

 

This dueling focus between my investment in the career that I love and the man & family I adore is a battlefield for me.  I have chosen to stay committed to work and writing during Steve’s illness for a variety of reasons, but the main one is: I feel certain this is the will of God for my life.   I know many spouses who quit their jobs and devote themselves entirely to the care of their beloved.  Others walk away from the marriage entirely (and I have to assume that’s a result of preexisting issues in the relationship and not just because of the diagnosis.)  This decision to embrace both caregiving and career is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done and some days I feel my toes dangling over the edge of that great and terrible cliff called burnout.  Some days I feel certain God has overestimated me.  So when I want to call in sick to my life, I have to keep reminding myself of a few primary truths and they are thus:

 

  1. The call of God comes bundled up with the resources we need to accomplish that call.  He equips us in the same way we equip our kids with the right backpack on the first day of school.
  2. I don’t have to do this perfectly to do it well.  Screw ups are part of the landscape and that’s okay. In a season of life when the watching world is being so generous with their approval (i.e. we hear a lot about how inspiring we are), I am living in undeniable proximity to my own inadequacies.  My dumb mistakes and obnoxious self-centeredness smack me in the face on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis.  It is built-in humility.  And I’m grateful because I am old enough to have seen the profound impact humility makes on those who hope to change the world.
  3. He will not be in debt to me.  I can easily play the martyr (“I just give and give and give….”) but sometimes when it’s quiet and I’m surveying the blessings our great Creator has piled on my life, all I can do is whisper, “You’re outrageous.”  His love has been lavished over me in handfuls and heaps and I will never be able to pay Him back.  He will not be in debt me.  Not ever.

 

 

So, I’m thankful today to serve the One who came to bring  ever-increasing levels of peace into our collision-course existence.  He is God at the intersection of too much and not enough, of sorrow and celebration, of beauty and ashes.  He is God at the corner of Saturday work and Sabbath rest.  He is.  And we are His.

 

 

With hope,

 

Bo

 

 

 

 

July 29, 2014 - 1:12 pm

Sherri - Amen.

July 30, 2014 - 1:04 pm

Teresa B. - Call in sick to my life…..wow, that hits home for me today!!

Thank you for sharing the truths. I have truths as well and sometimes it’s hard to remind myself of them. But for my sanity and to keep me in check with our Awesome God, I have to!

I know you were called to write. Your books are amazing and have helped so many…including me!

Blessings to you and yours!

August 4, 2014 - 4:55 pm

Liz Lutz - I go to Horizon Community Church and heard both of your sermons this summer. We bought your 2 books and we will pray for you and your family. Thank you for your transparency and your open heart. God bless.

Two Roads Diverged

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Back when Steve and I were both healthy, I occasionally thought about what it might be like if one of us got sick (**see footnote below). I imagined many of the challenges that might go along with a terminal diagnosis and I was right about some of it  – but I missed a big one completely.

 

One of the most difficult things about navigating a marriage around ALS (for me, at least – I certainly don’t speak for everyone) is that for the first time ever in our relationship, we are heading different places.

 

Our 29 years together have been filled with up’s, down’s and a whole lot of middle’s.  We have not done marriage perfectly by a long shot, but the one thing we’ve always contended for in our relationship is unity of purpose.  We have really tried to have the same goals in mind:  raise happy, healthy kids, upgrade the car, improve our education, serve with excellence, etc.  We are a good team because, while we disagree on plenty of shallow things (he likes oysters.  Ew. How can I agree with that?), we always agree on the big things and we help each other believe that we can get where we’re going.  We’ve had to adjust our course through the years, but we’ve always adjusted together.

 

But when Steve was given a 2-5 year prognosis, it was like we both heard the word “recalculating” spoken independently to each one of us. From my vantage point, Steve’s journey is far more difficult than mine, but his destination is much more beautiful. He’s moving toward resolution.  Toward the ultimate cure. Toward a life that is unknown and yet not – we know it will be beyond all dreams or imaginations.  He has no decisions to make about his future life which I know is both unsettling and comforting.  My destination is also a mystery, but I feel so responsible for it and for the children who trust me to lead them.  I feel like I’m entering a world with no map and without my trusty sidekick who’s helped me with directions for 30 years. He’s also made the journey really fun. So I can’t say that where I’m headed looks in any way dreamy.

 

And yet, I have this assurance that circles through my brain when I start to feel suffocated by thoughts of an unknown reality and you already know what it is because I say it here all the time.  The God I’ve chosen to follow has already been to every minute of my life.  He knows where our respective roads are going and I do believe He calls them both, “good”.  He has good plans for me and beautiful plans for Steve. He’s always known where the road will take us, and He’s not wringing His hands in heaven over the fact that the details look murky to me.

 

So, we walk, Steve and I.  We walk together.  I help him get where he’s going and he helps me.  He talks with me about what to do with the house and the kids.  He has father-son talks with Corey about how to help me navigate the road ahead. He generously sows into a future he may only see from the balconies of heaven.  And these conversations?  They are painful. Yipes, they are painful.  They are filled with rolling tears and gaspy sobs (me – all me, Steve doesn’t cry about this stuff).  They are filled with brutal, raw-edged beauty that I will remember always as the most intimate moments I have ever shared with the love of my life.

 

I don’t have a clever application point to end this with.  I can’t tie it all together for people who are not steering their way through the Shadowy Valley.  I only share it to point to the goodness of God in a world of uncertainty.  Also, as a marker I can return to when I wonder where the heck I’m going and where is that map and how do I read this compass anyway?  I hope it gives you hope that you can find your way as well.  A verse to end with seems like a good idea:

 

That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day. 2 Timothy 1:12

 

 

With hope,

 

Bo

 

 

 

 

**Note to healthy people:  try not to do that.  Just enjoy being healthy.  And if you DO imagine tragedy, just remember: you can imagine the pain, but you can’t imagine the grace that comes with it.  That’s all.

 

 

July 25, 2014 - 9:11 am

Patti Bryant - Bo, you always manage to bring a smile to my face, put a tear in my eye, affirm the hope in my heart and re-focus my eyes on Jesus. You are the real deal girl! Sending you a hug and always praying.

July 25, 2014 - 9:13 am

Jami Steeley - Beautifully written Bo. As a woman who is struggling with her own painful road, I’ve been reminded of the hope in my future because of my God whom I love and follow. So thank you. You and Steve are always in my prayers.

July 25, 2014 - 9:44 am

Jennifer - Love your sweet, humble words of truth. God is so good.

July 25, 2014 - 9:52 am

Sherri - With tears of joy and hope…Thank you, Bo.

July 25, 2014 - 9:58 am

Helen Washington - God knows our roads and ours have been different.
But II Timothy 1:12 has been a security blanket, a life raft
and ever present comfort and reality during a hard season.

I am so blessed to know and love God and to know that there is no bottom to Him and that His resources continue to supply you all moment by moments no matter what is contained in that moment.
Thank you for being so generous to liberally share the evidence His grace and provision in your lives.

I also glad it is not redundant to say that we continue to pray for God to do His work as only He can.
xoxo

July 25, 2014 - 10:08 am

Gretchen - Beautiful.

July 25, 2014 - 10:14 am

bo - Helen – “there is no bottom to Him”. Yes. I’m going to put that line in my pocket today.

July 25, 2014 - 10:20 am

Uncle Robert - Thanks so much for this post Bo. you are truly a warrior. As I read it this morning,, I noticed that many of the things you said applied to me. At 82 years old, I find my self thinking the same things. So you have been a real faith builder for me. I know it’s not the same, but I want you to know that you have been a real blessing to me through out your difficult journey. And I am so proud to be your Uncle. We are praying for you.

Uncle Robert.

July 25, 2014 - 10:45 am

Dora - Bo, I hear your heart because mine is right there too. Richard and I have hard discussions about the future when I must travel on alone (if this is God’s plan). He says the hardest thing for him about ALS is having to leave me. I know we need to have the discussions because he wants to prepare me and there’s so much I don’t know, but I can hardly breathe for the tears and the pain. Sending you a hug today. Thanks for putting into words what I’m feeling.

July 25, 2014 - 11:59 am

Becky Aylor - XOXO- B

July 25, 2014 - 12:47 pm

mike smith - Bo thank-you it is a blessing even knowing you people GOD LOVES US SO MUCH MIKE

July 25, 2014 - 1:09 pm

Kathryn Vai - Hugs. Hugs. Hugs.

July 25, 2014 - 1:47 pm

Alia Joy - My father passed away 3 years ago after quite a few more of being progressively sicker. To watch my mother soldier on after 37 years of marriage with a relatively long life ahead of her, navigating it alone now, but also never alone, is sheer grace. I’d say she knows a thing or two about God’s mercy and also joy but she’s known suffering and I know it sounds trite to say she’s better for it, but I’ve never seen anything so beautiful as her walk leaning hard into God these past few years. It’s all of that wrapped up and walked through. Thank you for sharing your story.

July 25, 2014 - 1:48 pm

Debbie Nugara - Hi Bo, I’m pretty sure you don’t remember me… I was sent your web page somehow a few months ago. I have been so encouraged as I read your posts. I met you 21 years ago in Lincoln Nebraska. I remember being in church and hearing you and your daughter sing while playing “This Warrior is a Child”. To this day when life seems difficult and the valley seems deep… I remember that song and what a comfort it is… you truly are a warrior. Debbie

July 25, 2014 - 2:16 pm

Vangi - Oh, Bo. How I love you…and the beautiful, gripping truth that you wrap up in such beautiful words and phrases. Astounded and blessed by both. I weep as I read this for your family…but not without hope or life or an acknowledgement once again of the goodness of God.

July 25, 2014 - 4:50 pm

Shell - Bo- Thank you for always sharing your truth, faith, raw honesty. As I am going through my own very dark time. I thank you for allowing God to shine through you. Bless you both.

July 25, 2014 - 5:36 pm

Ryan Rhoden - We are praying for you Sterns. Bo, you blow me away. So wrecked just reading this. God is real, this is real, this is happening and He’s right in the midst of all of it. His presence is dripping off your life and your words. You carry a heavy, but powerful mantle, but you do not carry it alone. I see God draping it over your shoulders, like a heavy blanket, but it’s huge. It is more than you could ever lift or stand under, and you look up at him and say “I can’t”. I see compassion in His eyes, and He looks around your life and nods and those who are standing nearby. One by one, they understand, and come and slide under it with you, allowing the weight of it to rest on their shoulders as well. More and more silently come, no words needed, and before long what was heavy is light, what was a burden is a covering, and what was impossible is possible. (Gal. 6:2, Matthew 11:30). Thank you for taking the time and energy to let us into this walk with you. You have allowed God to change lives through you.

July 25, 2014 - 6:14 pm

Roger Levasa - THANKYOU!

July 25, 2014 - 6:54 pm

bo - Ryan Rhoden – Wow. Thank you so much. The word you’ve shared could not be more meaningful or powerful in my life today. I’m going to hold onto it with both hands.

July 25, 2014 - 8:12 pm

Deb Adams - What a beautiful verse. And I know that God is in this and He is GOOD!

July 26, 2014 - 7:20 am

Genia Melton - Hi Bo, thank you for sharing your heart. I’m praying for you.

July 26, 2014 - 9:56 am

Angie - Amazing and beautiful. My prayers are with your family.

July 28, 2014 - 4:29 pm

Nancy Gayman Shaw - Wow! So true. When someone asks me how my day is going I say, “It’s always a good day when I can get out of bed.” Today I got out of bed, only to be confronted by spiritual warfare concerning my wayward granddaughter, Anika. My heart is breaking to see what she is choosing to do with her life when I have friends in Christ who are walking thru the valley. At 17 she feels immortal and that life is meant to do what ever she chooses and party, party and getting into trouble is no big deal. Her password on her IPod is 666, which we have asked to be removed and she thinks it’s a big joke to mimic satanic gestures when she post photos of herself on instragram and facebook. She knows Jesus is the way the truth and the life but tells us she is not ready to make that a commitment and of course, her actions show it. I grieve for her soul and life as only God knows how much time she has to live for Him. I refuse to listen to her lies because I know where they come from. It’s almost like watching a disease steal a person’s dignity if they let it. My only hope and nothing less is Jesus Christ and His righteousness. I would like to go to bed and pull the covers ovwer my head and when I wake up have everything normal, whatever that is. Know God doesn’t promise us normal, whatever that is. Everyday is a new day, a new walk, new experience with Him. Some days are diamonds and some days are stone, some days the cold wind won’t leave us alone, as John Denver sand once upon a time. But God is still there no matter what kind of a day it is. This too shall pass. Thank you Jesus for Steve and Bo and all the words of encouragement because if they can rise above what has come upon them then we all can too. LOL

August 8, 2014 - 8:20 pm

Laura - Thankyou Bo, just simply Thankyou. God Bless you and your family deeply! Love you with all of my heart, because that is the gift you share every time you write. Thankyou!

August 9, 2014 - 6:01 am

Verna Talbott - Thank you.

August 9, 2014 - 9:07 am

Karen Hermann - Bo I don’t have adequate words to express the impact of your words. The responses of so many people clearly show that god has gifted you with a unique ability to share at a raw vulnerable amazeingly honest place. My heart breaks for you Steve and your family. I too am blown away with the power of your faith and the integrity with which you all are living out as you are in this particular time and place. I was in your first beautiful battlefields bible study. I still talk about its impact. I bought many of the materials and have given them to people who needed it. You have challenge me to examine my life on many levels and I thank you for this. I truely hope that as one of your blog writers wrote that you feel supported by those who come under your blanket of burden with the attempt of makeing it a bit easier to bear. You and Steve are truly special and powerfully being used by god!

August 10, 2014 - 12:27 pm

Laura - Oh Bo,
Thankyou so much for last night and your amazing words, you are so truly anointed by God, and do such an awesome job speaking His Truth!! I was so excited when I saw we’re going to be our speaker and teacherlast night..we haven’t made it much this summer 2 our regular Saturday night services but..last night was very special because it was with my son who is going into highschool and my nephew who is here from out of town and is going to be a sophomore this year and since I didn’t realize there were no high school programs on Saturday night they sat with me…..which quite honestly blessed my socks off…. your message hit home with all three of us but to see the two young men that they are becoming and to truly hear you was a miracle and to hear what you were saying and “get it”. God is so faithful and so good!!! Thankyou……there’s so much more to say but I just more than anything wanted to thank you for sharing for sharing your heart break your heart
aches, suffering ,the struggles and the good stuff I know you don’t know me but I love you dearly and your family and pray for you everyday, thank you!

August 19, 2014 - 9:22 am

Brenda - My dad lost his life to ALS 32 years ago.He was 39 I was 19. Now so many years have passed it almost seems some days like it was a dream, but then I remember the pain my parents suffered both of them. I will pray for you and your husband and the rest of your family.May God bless you…

Living on a Prayer

 

I could tell you all the ways this prayer hit my heart when I first read it. I could list all the tender places it touched and the bold challenges it issued to my sagging spirit. I could explain that I’m certain it was supernaturally nudged into my path today…in this very now of my life.  But I don’t want to add my baggage to this gift.

 

Instead, I want to place it gently in front of you, like a platter of french pastries or a necklace from Tiffany’s in a turquoise box.  Like something very fine and very perfect and sacred for your very now.

 

 

On our own, we conclude:
there is not enough to go around

 

we are going to run short
of money
of love
of grades
of publications
of sex
of beer
of members
of years
of life

 

we should seize the day
seize our goods
seize our neighbours goods
because there is not enough to go around

 

and in the midst of our perceived deficit
you come
you come giving bread in the wilderness
you come giving children at the 11th hour
you come giving homes to exiles
you come giving futures to the shut down
you come giving easter joy to the dead
you come – fleshed in Jesus.

 

and we watch while
the blind receive their sight
the lame walk
the lepers are cleansed
the deaf hear
the dead are raised
the poor dance and sing

 

we watch
and we take food we did not grow and
life we did not invent and
future that is gift and gift and gift and
families and neighbours who sustain us
when we did not deserve it.

 

It dawns on us – late rather than soon-
that you “give food in due season
you open your hand
and satisfy the desire of every living thing.”

 

By your giving, break our cycles of imagined scarcity
override our presumed deficits
quiet our anxieties of lack
transform our perceptual field to see
the abundance………mercy upon mercy
blessing upon blessing.

 

Sink your generosity deep into our lives
that your muchness may expose our false lack
that endlessly receiving we may endlessly give

 

{Walter Brueggemann}

 

 

 

July 23, 2014 - 6:52 am

jane r williams - oh. my. gosh. Perfection. Thanks, Bo.

July 23, 2014 - 7:38 am

J Hoff - Wow!

July 23, 2014 - 7:39 am

Sherri - As I was studying The Lord’s Prayer, I came across this teaching on the passage where we ask for bread- The traditional translation “give us our daily” seems odd and repetitive because the task of translating the original language here is so difficult. However, the old Syriac commentaries (earliest and closest culturally to that of Jesus) translate it like this- “Give us the bread of continuity” – or “the bread that doesn’t run out”. So…Jesus was addressing this fear of being in need that is in all of us. He wants us to be free from that fear.

I know that I, for one, need to be reminded of this truth daily. The prayer you shared is a beautiful, tender whisper from a gracious Father that His child will have enough. Amen and amen.

July 23, 2014 - 7:41 am

Chris Earwicker - This takes my breath away.

July 23, 2014 - 7:51 am

Gail - WOW… Thankful for HIM!!!

July 23, 2014 - 7:55 am

brit - “They found grace out in the desert,
these people who survived the killing.
Israel, out looking for a place to rest,
met God out looking for them!”
God told them, “I’ve never quit loving you and never will.
Expect love, love, and more love!
And so now I’ll start over with you and build you up again,
dear virgin Israel.
You’ll resume your singing,
grabbing tambourines and joining the dance.
You’ll go back to your old work of planting vineyards
on the Samaritan hillsides,
And sit back and enjoy the fruit—
oh, how you’ll enjoy those harvests!
The time’s coming when watchmen will call out
from the hilltops of Ephraim:
‘On your feet! Let’s go to Zion,
go to meet our God!”

July 23, 2014 - 8:42 am

Michaela Evanow - That was just what I needed this morning, and probably again in the afternoon, and before bed. Brueggemann….love it.

July 23, 2014 - 8:53 am

pam - wow. just wow.

July 23, 2014 - 12:29 pm

Teresa B. - Beautiful!!! Love this prayer. This is one for my office wall.

July 23, 2014 - 3:27 pm

Gina - Pure gold.

July 26, 2014 - 12:47 pm

Lisa Alexander - Lord Jesus, please transform my thinking; renew my mind.
Bo, thank you.