“If we don’t have hope and faith…we have nothing.”-Craig Sager
To Hope, or Not to Hope-that is the question.
Betty & Her Baby.
At 18 weeks pregnant, Betty found herself experiencing PROM-not the annual high school dance version but instead something called Premature Rupture Of Membranes. In other words, the amniotic sac that her precious baby was in, ruptured and fluid was coming out. One minute she was marveling at the movements of this little one and in the next moment she found herself fearing for her baby’s life. Once in the hospital, the doctors report looked grim. They told her and her husband that aside from resealing the sac, there was nothing they could do AND if the sac burst again, there would really be nothing further they could do about it. So they resealed her sac…but the sac burst again and this time, much worse. It was beyond repair. (This was in the 60’s before ultrasounds and amniocentesis).
They told her that if she lay on her back and didn’t move a muscle, there would be a chance that the baby might live for a while. At 18 weeks gestation, it seemed like there was no hope. She did what she knew to do and turned to God. As she lay there, she held her Bible over her head and spent her time praying and immersed in His Word. To everyone’s surprise, one day turned into a week, which turned into four months. At eight months gestation, Betty delivered a normal, healthy six and a half pound baby girl.
For some, you may be wondering “is this story really true? Maybe it’s one of those internet stories that people made up.” I know it’s true because the lady who told me the story was that six and a half pound baby all grown up and a mother herself.
Victoria Arlen was a normal 10-year old girl who was active and energetic. But when she turned 11, everything changed.
My back and side ached, so doctors took out my appendix. Then my legs began giving out. My foot dragged. Within two weeks, I lost all feeling and function in my legs. Next, my hands stopped working. I couldn’t control my arms, couldn’t swallow properly or find the right words when I wanted to speak. It was as if someone was slowly shutting down the switches on the circuit board that controlled my body and brain. And then everything went dark.-Victoria Arlen
Victoria’s health quickly deteriorated. She lost 30lbs in 3 weeks and doctors were baffled. What began as flu-like symptoms turned into a three-year coma.
Doctors had told her family that she would be a vegetable for the rest of her life and there was a good chance that she wouldn’t live very long. But her family believed otherwise. Even when the doctors offered no hope, Victoria’s family believed in the God who is in control; the one who restores; the one who heals. They continued to talk to her as if she was still there. Months went buy and nothing seemed to change.
Two years later, she woke up inside her body, which was still unable to move. She could hear and was aware of things going on around her but she had no way of telling anyone that she was there. Imagine that.
Every Sunday, Victoria’s mother would turn on the Lakewood Church service on the television. Victoria heard about a God who can do what medicine cannot do and throughout her day, she would declare “I’m a victor, not a victim.” Though no one in her family could hear her, she knew that God could. She asked Him to give her family a sign that she was still there.
Three years later, Victoria though unable to move, was able to open her eyes. Her mother asked her to blink her eyes if she could hear her and understand her. Victoria blinked. That day marked the beginning of a long journey of recovery in which she learned how to talk again, swallow again, and move again. Four years after the whole ordeal began, everything in her life woke up with the exception of her legs. She was paralyzed from the waist down. Grateful but not satisfied, Victoria believed that God had more in store. The doctors told her that there was no chance that she would ever walk again but she knew that doctors don’t have the final say. In March of this year (2016), Victoria took her first step and today is able to walk like nothing has happened.
Today, Victoria Arlen is an accomplished motivational speaker, model, Paralympic gold medalist in swimming (she won gold and three silver medals at the London 2012 Paralympics), and is the youngest on air personality at ESPN!
When it looked like there was no hope, Victoria and her family turned to the God of hope. They knew that “with man this is impossible but with God, all things are possible.”-Matthew 19:26
To learn more about Victoria, please visit victoriaarlen.com
Georgia On My Mind.
What do you do when it seems like you are seeing more rain and facing more storms than sunshine?
What do you do when everything you dreamed about gets turned upside down?
What do you do when everything in the natural seems…hopeless?
Life isn’t easy. But we were never promised a life without trouble. In fact, Jesus warned us that “In this world you will have trouble.”-John 16:33. He goes on to remind us of something even more important “But take heart! I have overcome the world.”-John 16:33
Chad and Julia Veach were overjoyed when they learned that they were pregnant with their first child. Like all soon-to-be parents, they had big dreams and visions for this child. Chad would declare every night over Julia’s growing belly “God give Georgia global grace. Let nations come to know you through her.”
Everything looked great when their daughter Georgia was born. But at 4 months of age, Georgia was diagnosed with a rare, incurable brain disorder called lissencephaly a.k.a. smooth brain. What they thought would be the happiest time of their lives turned into the most trying seasons of their lives. But no matter how grave the situation looked, the Veaches clinged even tighter to God. Anchored to who He is, what He has done and is still doing, what He promises, and His unfailing love, Chad and Julia found…hope. Unreasonable Hope.
It would have been easy for them to get bitter. But God was using Georgia to make them better.
It would have been easy to cry (which they did) and complain. But God was using their story to connect to others with greater compassion.
It would have been easy to be down and discouraged. But God challenged them to dare to believe and live with greater determination.
Through the tears, the pain, the many seizures, the challenges, and the frustration, they have seen God’s unfailing love time and time again. “G” has taken on a whole new meaning.
It’s been said that the trials we go through are not merely for us but to help another.
“The truth is that life isn’t about comparing how much worse one situation is from another. Rather, it’s about standing alongside others as they experience life’s ups and downs.”-Chad Veach
So back to the question: What do you do when it seems like you are seeing more rain and facing more storms than sunshine?
Perhaps remember this:
“Unreasonable Hope” was one of the most anticipated reads on my list this year and it did not disappoint. Chad Veach writes like he speaks-with humour, honesty, and passion. He has this ability to draw you in and you can’t help but feel like you’re hanging with one of your closest friends in an extended conversation. His passion, his perspective on life, and his unshakeable faith is infectious and inspiring. This book is raw, honest, and inspiring. Along with his story, Chad has a way of weaving the stories of others in and out to create a mosaic of hope. It is not a “poor me” book or a “poor you” book. It’s a “we’re in this together” type of book-one that reminds us that we are never, ever alone. Wherever you find yourself today, know that there is hope. Even if it is…unreasonable.”Despite how things may seem, hope is possible even in the most impossible situations.”-Chad Veach
*A special shout-out to the team at HarperCollins for their partnership in today’s post.
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