Thursday, June 27, 2013

Even in the Valleys

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Psalm 23:4

I recently read an article in Compassion Magazine, a publication by Compassion International. This wonderful organization is responsible for spreading the love of Jesus Christ throughout the world through their child sponsorship program. The article was titled, Highly Vulnerable. Highly Valued. It shared the story of a young boy named Erick who lives in Ecuador. His diagnosis of Bardet-Biedl Syndrome earned him the label of a "highly vulnerable child" in Compassion's terminology.

This heightened vulnerability stems from the fact that  his diagnosis is considered a "social death sentence" in his culture. See, unlike children in the United States who live with disabilities, those in foreign countries are often considered cursed by their family and others in society. And they are frequently abandoned by the very ones who should be loving and caring for them.

The heart break that we should all feel for these children can only be mended by the hope of a loving God who can help them in their circumstances. Thankfully, there are several groups who minister to this population including Compassion and another group called Cause 4 Life, part of the Joni & Friends International Disability Ministry. Many of you may remember Joni Eareckson Tada as the lady in the wheelchair who paints with her mouth. As a teenager, Joni suffered a diving accident that left her a quadriplegic. Since that accident, Joni has been God's biggest champion for people throughout the world living with disabilities.

Below is a Youtube video from Cause 4 Life that I wanted to share. As you watch, note the change in the mother of these two young boys who both have the disability of cerebral palsy. Imagine the sorrow and pain she has endured while watching others in her own community shun her children. Thankfully, through God's love she has renewed hope and help in her circumstances. 

How can we help a hurting world? How can we show our own special children that they are perfect in God's eyes? By sharing His love with them, we can heal their hurts and renew their hopes. One child at a time, through God's Holy Spirit in us, we can make a difference in this world.

Monday, June 24, 2013

There's an App for That!

Ten years ago the word "app" wasn't even in my vocabulary. Neither were the words iphone, ipad, ipod or Twitter. My how the times have changed!

Ten years ago I was living what I thought was the American dream. Our children were one and five and I had gone back to work. My career as an interior designer was thriving and my husband's self-owned landscaping business was also flourishing as residential and commercial development skyrocketed in our area. We had recently moved from our quaint 1800 square foot bungalow home into a historic Georgian manor home and we would soon also purchase a lake home in order to "get away" from the hustle and bustle of our lives. We worked from early in the morning until late into the evening, striving to gain the riches that the world promised would make us happy and respected by our peers.

As our children grew, I began pushing my son to participate in every sports league and social event that a five year old can attend. Our neighbors were also climbing their way up the social and economic ladder. We often spent evenings with them drinking wine and celebrating our successes. We were on our way- or so we thought.

A few short years later things began to make a drastic turn. The career that I had once enjoyed had taken over my life and I realized that I no longer desired to rise to the top in my field. The economy had taken a huge hit and both my work and my husband's business rapidly declined as the real estate markets flat-lined. Our fun-loving neighbors were headed to divorce court and our youngest child was diagnosed with multiple learning disabilities. The ultimate blow was when my husband's father was diagnosed with throat cancer.

A time of reflection and searching followed. All my life I had done what I thought was "right" in they eyes of the world. My work ethic was stellar. I pushed myself to go above and beyond what was expected of me and I demanded that same work ethic from those around me, including my husband and my children. I was hard on everyone. As time progressed, I began to realize that what I had perceived as "right" might not be the answer after all. In this time of searching, God began calling my name.

The Bible had always been a mystery to me. The language and words stilted and hard for me to comprehend. Of course until that time, I'd only read it sparingly. My understanding was that it was simply a framework of how to live a "good" life and I thought I already knew the answer to that. But soon I realized that the Bible was more than just a framework for morality. As I began to study the stories, they made more sense. I found myself relating to the characters and I longed to apply the teachings in my life.

One particular story resonated strongly with me - the Parable of the Lost Son. See, like the older brother in the story, I thought that I was doing ALL the right things. I was always obedient to my parent's/boss's wishes, always the hard worker trying to please others and "do the right thing," always looking for approval and gain along the way. But I was also hard on and unforgiving of others, judging them by my own set of self-imposed standards. I began to wonder what my intentions were. Was I trying to help people? Or was I simply trying to get ahead and stroke my ego? Were my desires for my children to help them find God's purposes in their lives by letting them experience new things? Or was I simply trying to "keep up with the Joneses?"

I soon realized that my role in this parable was not that of the first born child, but of the lost one. I was lost "in the world." And as I responded to God's whisper of my name, I was awestruck by His desire for me, despite my many years of confusion and sin. His pull in my life led me to read His Word, and over time the stories began leaping off of the pages, speaking to my daily struggles and giving me life applications and guidance.

I now know the true reason for the Bible, His holy Word. God never intended for it to sit on a shelf, gathering dust. He never meant for it to be a set of ancient rules that are not relevant to our daily lives or a set of morals for us to use without an understanding of His love for us. God's desire is for us to find ourselves in these stories, and in the midst of finding ourselves, to find Him.

Do you look at the problems in your life and wonder how God can work in your circumstances? Is the Bible still a mystery to you? God's love is revealed on the pages of His Word. The stories are timeless and speak to each of our situations. Open your Bible and you will find the answers you have been searching for. I promise you, the Bible is the ultimate "App" for that!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Faith Sharing Part II

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

In Bill Hybel's book, Just Walk Across the Room, Hybel gives great recommendations on how to approach people when sharing your faith. One of the most important suggestions he makes is to have your own "before-and-after" story. This story is the faith story of our lives; how we fit into God's greater story.

As Hybel shares, "When people grasp the magnificent truth that the gospel has direct implications for the meaning of their stories, all sorts of light bulbs flicker to life:
I can be found like the lost son.
I can be cared for by a Good Shepherd too.
My deepest needs- like the widow's - can actually be met.
I can receive abundant life just by exhibiting the tiniest amount of faith.
It's really true: anyone can get healed, renewed, transformed, and thrust into abundant life."

I am now working on my "story". In the Christian book world, it is called my 2-minute sales pitch of God's purpose for the book I am writing. In the "real world" it's called sharing your faith in hopes of leading others to Christ, or that other word that I used to hate so much- EVANGELISM. It has taken years for me to remove the negative connotations I have personally connected with that word. Sunday mornings of hearing preachers shout and rant about how I was going to hell if I didn't accept Christ into my heart turned my ability to receive God's love into an impenetrable brick wall. But boy does God have a sense of humor! After finally understanding God's love for me (not just His wrath), I am now the chair of the Evangelism committee at my church. Who would've ever dreamed He would lead me down this path?!?

Hybel lists four criticisms for the stories Christians often tell when sharing their faith and I believe that many of my reasons for hating the word "evangelism" in the past stem from these four reasons. They are as follows:
1. Long-windedness- your story really needs to be kept at three minutes. After that, you simply lose your audience.
2. Fuzziness- your story needs to be simple with a clear plot line that conveys the heartbeat of your faith journey. A confusing story is a sure way to leave seekers scratching their heads.
3. Religionese- verbiage needs to be such that those who are not believers understand and appreciate the words used. In the past, before I had experienced God's love, religionese was just an irritating platitude to me.
4. Superiority- pious remarks and haughty assumptions that show a lack of caring for others will never win others over for Christ. Don't talk down to people. Share and, more importantly, LISTEN.
And here's one I'd like to add:
5. Pressure tactics- pressing and threatening someone with the threat of eternal damnation is NOT the way to share a loving God with them. If your story does not lead them to Christ, consider it a seed planted. Only God can turn someones heart to Him. We are simply sharing His love in hopes that others will accept and find it too.

I want to encourage anyone who desires to lead others to Christ to work on their own stories too. And next time someone opens up to you by asking why you are so excited about your own faith or how you manage to live your life with peace and joy, rather than a constant state of anxiety or worry, tell them as simply as possible what was going on before you met Christ and what has been going on since you began following Him. I know in my own life, the differences are incredible and I pray that they are both inward and outward. Inwardly, I know that God has changed me, refined me, humbled me and loved me, enabling me to live with the peace of knowing that His love is always there for me. Outwardly- well, I'm still working on that, but I pray that my actions are speaking much louder now than my words ever did before finding Him.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Faith Sharing Part I

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”
Isaiah 6:8

We had just finished Sara Ashley's first horseback riding lesson with a new instructor and I wanted to let her select a new book for summer reading, so we went to visit our local Barnes & Noble. That's where I found her, parked comfortably in a wooden chair that she had pulled up to the "Young Readers 7-12" section of the book store. On the ground next to her sat a basket full of her already selected books, and she continued to peruse the shelves looking for more. As I walked the aisle, she kindly asked me if she was in my way. Her age and obvious difficulty with mobility seemed to have her pinned to her chosen spot where she was able to reach both left and right for multiple titles.

"No, your just fine. Thank you, " I replied.
Sara Ashley and I continued our search. Me pulling books off of the shelf and reading the backs, looking for Newberry Awards and interesting plots. Her looking at the cover photograph or illustration and for pictures of horses. It is always a challenge to find the "right" book for her, not wanting to select something too difficult that will deter her from reading, but also not wanting to select something so easy that she doesn't learn or relate to it.

"Have you heard about the summer reading club for kids?" she asked me.
"No, thanks for sharing, " I replied, and she passed me a flier. On it were listed free books that could be earned by reading ten books over the summer. The free books were divided by grade and gave me a good idea of some suggestions for my daughter.

I began pulling the suggested reading from the shelf when she engaged in more conversation.
"I'm looking for my granddaughter. She likes dragons and fantasy. Does this look like something your daughter would like?" and she handed me the book.
Sara Ashley is not a dragon kind of girl but I gladly accepted the book and thanked her. It was then that I lamented to her that I had a hard time finding just the right book for my daughter, although I didn't go into details.
"Well, I do too," she agreed. "My granddaughter has a learning disability."

Really??? Wow! Of all the people I could have run into that day, God sent me to this kind lady who shared her story with me about her "granddaughter." As it turns out, this ten year old isn't really her granddaughter at all, but is the child of a friend who is down on her luck."Nana", as this woman is affectionately called, has taken in this young girl and is raising her as her own. Nana is a retired school teacher and media specialist doing the best she can to help her "granddaughter" navigate the school system and get what she needs in order to maximize her potential. As we lamented about the challenges involved, I looked for just the right moment to share how God was helping me and others through this often painful and frustrating process.

My heart urged me to share with her how God was working in my life and my daughter's life to show His love and glory. Regretfully, although we talked for about 15 minutes, I never found what I thought was the right opportunity to tell her this. Although I'm sorry that this opportunity didn't seem to present itself, I still know that by simply slowing down enough to have this conversation, we were both blessed in the process.

The following Sunday in church our pastor's sermon was on "Storytelling." He encouraged us to step out in faith and share with others who are hurting our own personal stories of God's love in our lives. After all, His love is not limited. It is for everyone. Of course, this reminded me of my time at Barnes & Noble earlier in the week and my missed opportunity. How many more opportunities have I missed over the years? How many do I miss every week? God puts us in situations to minister to others, and to share His love. I don't want to have to live with regret next time I am faced with this opportunity.

How can we step out of our comfort zones and share our faith effectively? God has done so much in my life that I often find myself wanting to shout it from the mountain tops. But, knowing how I would've reacted to that type of "evangelism" in the past, I don't want to scare away others who are still on the fence about their faith in God. Be sure to read Faith Sharing Part II on Thursday to learn how God can effectively use each of us to share His love.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Speaking "through your heart"

The other night as I put my daughter to bed, she shared with me some of the events of her day. At age eleven, I am always excited when she decides to share because this age has brought with it her need to keep some secrets from me - like crushes, girl-talk, basically social issues - but that night she wanted to share. She told me that as she had been playing with someone that day she became frustrated with his behavior. The child was a good deal younger than her and was obviously struggling with wanting to be the center of attention. How he got that attention- by doing good things or bad- didn't seem to matter to him.

"I told him, through my heart," SA said, "that he was being mean and that he needed to share and not be ugly to me and his sister."

"Through her heart", I thought. What an interesting concept. She filtered what she had said through her heart so that it wouldn't sting and so that it would come from love rather than frustration and anger. I absolutely loved her choice of words! She was also spot on with her thinking. If we would all just filter our thoughts and actions "through our heart" before acting on them, this world would be a much better place.

I have often found that children offer profound thoughts. This seems to come from their innocence and the purity of their intentions. God's intentions for the children of this world are far more than we might expect, and this especially includes children who face life challenges. So many times in the bible we come to verses that illustrate this fact.

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 19:14


Earlier the same day that my daughter shared her thoughts with me, I received an email from a friend. A blog was attached. It shared the journey of Christian man named John Knight who works for John Piper. Knight has a disabled son who, although 18 years old, operates at the intellectual level of an 18 month old. Despite his son's disabilities, the young man loves to sing praises to the Lord. This sometimes happens in grocery stores and public settings where others will hear him. John shares that when his son sings he is acting as a spiritual warrior against Satan and glorifying God. Although John's son is not what this world would call "strong", he is strongly valuable to God! Here is what John shared:

Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. (Psalm 8:2)

John states: So if this is the case, and I believe it is, my weak and disabled son — with all his limitations — is part of God’s plan to still the enemy and the avenger. And that makes him an effective warrior against a vile and spiritually violent enemy, equipped by God to do what those who are strong and proud cannot do, no matter their physical or intellectual giftings. (Reference to 1 Corinthians 1:27-29)
John's son sings "through his heart" to a world who needs to hear God's love and he quiets the enemy by sharing this Love.

For Bobby, another child I will be writing about in the future, spoken word is not necessarily his gift, but his actions speak much louder than words. Bobby has autism and his verbal abilities are limited. Despite these limitations, Bobby still finds ways to effectively express himself. As he interacts with the world, Bobby has the viewpoint that everyone is his friend. His father, Doug, shares that when Bobby experiences kindness from people or simply feels a need to express his love for them, he shares his emotions freely by giving them a huge bear hug. His most recent recipient was the "cookie lady" at Publix. These gestures of physical kindess are received unexpectedly and, usually, very warmly by others who recognize that, "through his heart", Bobby is sharing the pure love of our Creator.

These are just a few examples of how God shows His glory through our special children. From them and others, I have learned that we should never underestimate His ability to use us in ways that we least expect.

18th century Woodcutting showing Christ healing the disabled.

In John 9 we learn of a boy who was born blind. Assuming that his afflictions were the result of sin, the disciples asked Jesus, "Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus' answer was this: “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do” (The Message).

Isn't it just like us to want to blame someone for our perceived weaknesses? Instead, Jesus tells us to stop right there - there is no one to blame! Instead, let's look at what God can do with what the world calls weak! Infinitely more than we might ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). God can turn our pain into pleasure, our trials into triumph, and our struggles into strengths. Only He can take our weaknesses and, "through His heart," turn them into something truly beautiful and lovely, allowing those we would least expect to bring the gift of glory to Him.

Monday, June 10, 2013


This last weekend left me with some time on my hands and I used it to read a book that's been on my list for weeks. Seems when you are writing a book it's not easy to find the time to read other books. :) But I'm glad I took the time to read this one!

The title of the book is Why? Trusting God When You Don't Understand, and it is written by Billy Graham's daughter, Anne Graham Lotz with a foreword by Joni Earickson Tada, the quadriplegic Christian artist, writer, and founder of Joni and Friends International Disability Center in Agoura Hills, California.

The topic of the book is obvious and it's a question that I've feared someone will ask me when I speak about children living with life challenges. I fear it because I am doubtful that I can answer it in a way that will be satisfying to someone who is in the depths of pain, anger and fear. The answers are plentiful and are backed by scripture, but they are not always what we want to hear and I've even heard them called "irritating platitudes". However, I did once find myself in a dark place, asking "Why?". And I did find the answers through friends who taught me about a God whose love and comfort provide peace in all circumstance. So although my fear sometimes rares its ugly head, I am trusting God to help me through it by studying material about this subject and by studying scripture. My hope is that one day I can introduce God's love to someone who is also trying to understand "WHY?".

I found that this book gave an abundance of great information about this age-old question and I want to share it with all of you. Here are some of the best take-aways:

1) God is bigger than our suffering. We can have hope as we place our trust in Him- in His faithfulness and in His ability to work out in our lives His purposes that will be for our ultimate good and His eternal glory.

2) Faith that triumphantly soars is possible only when the winds of life are contrary to personal comfort. That kind of faith is His ultimate purpose in allowing us to encounter storms of suffering. Trust Him!

3) Pain and suffering is so immediate and can seem so permanent that we can easily lose sight of the big picture. The pain can be so crushing and our hearts can be so broken that we just don't understand why! Why me? Whenever that question tends to fill my mind, I hear Him whisper to my heart, "Why not you? Just trust Me!"

4) If God were small enough for us to understand, He would not be big enough to save us.

5) While God doesn't always protect those He loves from suffering or answer our prayers the way we ask Him to, He does promise in His word that He will be present with us in the midst of our suffering and pain.

6) And finally...the quote that spoke very loudly to me as I travel through this journey:

Joy also in this-
that your sufferings, your losses and your persecutions
shall make you a platform from which
the more vigorously and with greater power
you shall witness to Christ Jesus.
- C.H. Spurgeon
Morning and Evening

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is struggling or feeling persecuted. Finding God in our circumstances, understanding His love for us and how He desires to develop a trusting relationship with us transcends us from the question of "Why?" to the answer of "WHO."

God loves us. To Him we give all the glory!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Happy Dance!!

We all have days when we wonder how successful we are at raising our children. Are we giving them the guidance they need to make the decisions that will shape their future? Are we placing them in environments that will foster self-worth? Are we working to insure that they know the importance of humility and a servant's heart? Are we teaching them about respect for their elders? And how are they being affected by the things that we can't always control, like their peers, and the media?

The other day was one of those days when my heart did a BIG happy dance. Some of these questions that I often ask myself were answered in the form of notes written by Sara Ashley for her teachers' end of the year appreciation luncheon. I had been asking Sara Ashley to write these notes for three days and I was a bit frustrated at her procrastination, but the results certainly made them worth the wait. They gave me a wide peek into my child's heart and soul. They also revealed much to me about her feelings for her teachers, her school, and her own self-worth.

Here is some of what she wrote:

"You have been such a great teacher and you push us so hard in a good way! Your pushing us so hard this year has made it to where I've learned a whole bunch! Thank you!"

"You are the best principal! You work so hard for us! Thank you for that. Everyday you raise your hand in lunch and I emetley (immediately) pay strate etenchen (straight attention)!"

"Everyday is a blessing for me coming to the school you created for kids like me! Thank you for looking out for us! Even though we're different, you make it to were (where) we love being us!"

It brings me joy and peace to know that my child is receiving such wonderful instruction, guidance and nurturing in her school environment. Saying that it takes a village to raise a child is not an understatement. There are so many factors beyond our control that play into our children's upbringing. This can be scary for parents! And while real world conflict can create resiliency in a child, I find it very comforting to know that my child feels loved and accepted in her school environment. I think this is especially important for a child with disabilities, where school can often be a place of fear and dread. Recently I saw a quote that gave me great insight into what it must be like to have a learning disability. It reads:

“Imagine going to work and not being able to do your job. Now imagine that you can't leave your job. Imagine having to do that every day. This is what life is like for children with learning disabilities."

Dr. David Urion
Director, Neurology and Learning Disabilities Program,
Children's Hospital, Boston

I can't imagine the frustration that kids with learning differences must experience on a day to day basis. So to know that my child's school environment is not adding to that frustration is truly a blessing. More importantly, to know that her school is encouraging her and elevating her to be a person of true character is like the cherry on top of an ice cream sundae!

Finding the right school for each child is an important part of parenting. Someone once reminded me that our children spend more awake time in school each weekday than they do in their own homes. What an eye-opener! This certainly magnifies the importance of choosing the best school environment possible. So if you haven't found the right fit, don't give up! There are schools out there for each child's learning style and temperament. Public schools, Charter schools, Magnet schools, Private schools and even home schooling are all options. And don't let a price tag keep you from exploring. Many schools offer scholarships for students and families who desire to help their children. Don't forget about the Special Needs scholarships that are offered in certain states too. These can often cover partial or entire private school tuitions.

Our kids are counting on us to provide the parenting they need. They are our future! And we owe it to them to find a place where they can learn their best AND feel that they are accepted and loved for who they are and who they aspire to be.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Grateful that it's JUST CP (cerebral palsy)

Today's post is about a precious family who has a faith so strong that it amazes me. I have the honor of personally knowing Beth and David Royal and their twins, Mimi and Suzy. Our paths actually crossed long before any of us had children of our own. In 2000, Beth and David bought a home from us where they still live today. Shortly afterwards, the twins were born and Sara Ashley followed a month later. 

Recently Beth shared with me her family's journey since deciding to start a family. While it hasn't been an easy one, the Royals have been blessed by God through their daughters and through His faithfullness in their lives. 
Below is an excerpt from their story that will be featured in my forthcoming book.

Beth and David Royal waited until later in life to start their family. For the first ten years of their marriage they lived life to its fullest, enjoying each other’s company and the freedoms that come along with life without children. Best friends and soul mates, their desire to start a family came later in their marriage. By this time, Beth, 37, was considered post maternal age. However, she knew many women who successfully conceived and gave birth later in life and was not terribly concerned about her ability to get pregnant. But by age 40, and still not expecting, David and Beth consulted with an infertility specialist. Finally, after the second round of invitro, it appeared that the Royals had a viable pregnancy. They also soon learned that they would have twin girls. A double blessing!

The due date for the Royal twins was December 7th, 2001. On August 1st, at 20 weeks gestation, Beth went into premature labor. A little more than half way into her multiples pregnancy (gestation period for multiples is 36 weeks on average), the parents learned that birth of the babies at this time would be fatal. So Beth was hospitalized, put on strict bed rest, and her labor was stopped temporarily with medication. At 24 weeks she went into labor again. This time a heavy drug called Magnesium Sulfate was used to stop the contractions. This drug is thought to affect the amount of calcium in the body. The uterus must have calcium to contract, so by reducing the amount of calcium the contractions are slowed. Use of Magnesium Sulfate gives doctors time to administer life-saving medications to help premature babies’ lungs quickly develop. Unfortunately, the drug also comes with side effects and complications. In Beth’s case, these complications proved to be life-threatening and she quickly had to be taken off the medication.

Mimi Elizabeth Royal and Catherine Suzanne Royal were born on August 25th, 2001.Each twin was only about the weight of a can of soup and barely 12” long, but miraculously, they were ALIVE; breathing on their own, with ten fingers and ten toes. Twins Mimi and Suzy Royal entered this world, 15 weeks premature, as fighters. And they haven’t stopped since.

Suzy Royal
During their first few weeks of life, both girls suffered multiple medical challenges. Mimi, initially the sicker of the two babies, began her life struggling with feeding problems and lung development issues. She also developed retinopathy of prematurity which can cause blindness. Thankfully, in her case, it has only caused vision challenges which her parents are hopeful can be corrected with future laser surgery.

Suzy also developed feeding problems, lung issues and retinopathy of prematurity. But her biggest struggle was when she suffered a Grade III intraventricular brain hemorrhage. This brain hemorrhage would be the cause of her later diagnosis of cerebral palsy.

Mimi (left) and Suzy (right)
Despite these setbacks, the girls grew and thrived under the care of their doctors and parents. And Beth and David know that God's healing hands are the biggest reason for their girls' survival. They credit their strong faith and trust in Him for allowing them to remain at peace during the storms of their daughter's struggles. Particularly, they have looked to Ephesians 3:20 for their hope and comfort:

"Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think."

At a year old, Suzy was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Strangely, learning this fact did not shatter the Royals as one might expect. Instead, through their continued faith, they have an attitude of gratefulness. As Beth shares,
“We are told to give thanks in ALL things. I wake up every day with a prayer of thanksgiving on my heart- and that is a prayer of thanksgiving for what I have and what I don’t have. One cannot sit in the office of a neurosurgeon, a neurologist, a neuropsychologist, an orthopedist, or an opthamologist without recognizing that there are people who have it harder than yourself. I am thankful for Suzy’s cerebral palsy and often times thank God that it is just CP. "

This perspective continues to allow Beth and David to remain at peace in their circumstances, loving their girls and living life to the fullest. And though they remain vigilant in overseeing their daughters’ battles, they know that they will continue to grow stronger in the Lord, in the strength of His might, (Ephesians 6:10), by ultimately turning it over to Him. And over and over, through this challenging journey, they choose to rest in the shadow of the Almighty, His strength evidenced through their children and through the unexpected gifts with which God blesses them.  

The Royal Family
Mimi, David, Suzy and Beth (from left to right)