Post #1; Purpose of Blog

Since being diagnosed with ALS (“Lou Gehrig’s Disease”) almost 16 years ago, I’ve become somewhat of a “virtual recluse” (socializing almost exclusively via the Internet and email). I’ve decided to start this blog in a small attempt to counter some of the negative stuff I see and read on other blogs, Facebook and the Internet in general.

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from this long trial is that hope, and the joy, peace and faith that always accompany Christ-centered hope, only comes through a conscious determined effort. Or, to put another way, Christian hope is not exempt from the law of decay; it naturally becomes hopelessness if not diligently maintained.

I am not claiming to be some kind of professional cultivator of hope, far from it, but I’ve had my hope challenged many times and I’ve become pretty good at conquering these challenges. I now feel obligated to help others defeat challenges to their hope and this blog will be one of my outlets for doing so.

Actually, my motives are not really that selfless; the truth is that I’ve discovered I lose the battles against hopelessness when I’ve attempted to fight them alone so maybe I can also recruit some people through this blog to help me fight future challenges to my hope. And, as I mentioned, hope must be deliberately maintained so I think this blog will help to stay focused on maintaining my hope.

If you’re like I once was; believing that you could maintain and even increase your hope (joy, peace, faith…) without help from other hope-minded people, I feel for you. Please trust the advice of this once-proud man, you will lose that pride the hard way like I did if you attempt to conquer hopelessness (addictions, depression, faith-challenges etc) on your own. It’s only pride that keeps you fighting these battles by yourself.

assistance,friends,helping,hills,leisure,people,running,togetherness,uphill“Two are better than one…For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up…and if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12) 

Sorry if what I wrote above (regarding pride etc) sounded harsh, but I’m paralyzed and have to type using a computer that tracks my eye-movements; this is tedious and time-consuming so I always take the shortest route possible to get to the point I want to make. Besides, when someone is paralyzed in a wheelchair like I am it’s easier to be blunt and even harsh with people because you don’t pose a threat; people don’t usually hit helpless people in wheelchairs for saying harsh things. I capitalize on this!

Seriously, because I pose no threat and understand what physical, emotional and spiritual battles are like, and probably because I cannot speak, people tend to be more open and honest with me than they would be otherwise. Many people have confessed to me that they’re struggling emotionally and/or spiritually right now. I know of many Christians that, on the outside, appear to have it altogether, but on the inside they’re miserable. These people feel hopeless and are clearly not living the “abundant life” with “joy unspeakable” that the bible describes for followers of Christ.

I would be lying if I said that I felt like I was living that abundant life of indescribable joy and peace all day, every day of the year. I don’t believe we can ever get to the point where we feel like we’re living on cloud nine 24/7, at least not in this life. But I do believe we can retain our Christ-centered hope even through the darkest times. It’s that constant hope that keeps reminding us that, “Weeping may last for the night, But joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)

If it’s possible for a man that’s completely paralyzed and unable to speak and eat by mouth etc, to feel that constant God-given sense of hope, I’m convinced that it’s possible for everyone!

“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

About Bill Sweeney

In 1996, Bill was diagnosed with ALS (“Lou Gehrig’s Disease”) and the doctors told him he had 3-5 years to live. He is now completely paralyzed and unable to speak, but by God’s grace, he’s still alive and through his blog shares a message of hope in Christ - Unshakable Hope!

Posted on July 7, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 44 Comments.

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I only wish a blog like this had existed when my grandfather had been diagnosed with ALS. We could have used the encouragement back then. It has been over 20 years since he passed on but I am still grateful for the encouragement of your post s.

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  2. Hi, Bill. Great post. I appreciate your points about not being too proud to get/ask for help. I also appreciate the way you get right to the point without trying to soften reality. I noticed in one of your posts that you said “I’m not a theologian, but….” I beg to respectfully disagree! Thanks for sharing your life and your witness not just here but with folks around the world.

    I sent you an email a few days ago–to the address here on your contact page. (unshakablehope@gmail.com) Hope you got it. I attached a photo of Diane and her husband Clay. Let me know if you didn’t get it–or if that’s not the best email address for you.

    Elouise
    elouiserenichfraser@gmail.com

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  3. Bill, while you are adjusting to a new computer and program I thought I would visit some of your older posts that I have not read yet–I’m so glad that I did. Your blog is a bright star in the vastness of the blog world. You shine Jesus; you shine hope.

    Blessings to you & your dear family ~ Wendy ✼

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  4. Nice blog. Hope and faith definitely go hand in hand. I will definitely pray for you. I like what you are doing from home with the ministry. I, myself, volunteer with Operation Christmas Child, Samaritans Purse.

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  5. The greatest battle God ever fought for me was sexual addiction. I don’t know how he did it but he did that annoying thing where he makes a battle so tough for you so easy for him. *sighs* I wish he did that in all aspects of my life.

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  6. Please keep being bold! We need it.

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  7. Bill,
    Paula shared with us that you have started a blog, so I decided to begin reading from the beginning. You are truly an inspiration with your undying faith and hope! Plus, your sense of humor shines thru in your writing. It reminds me of those days we spent laughing by Paula’s pool at the old house! I will keep reading and catch up soon. God bless you and your family!
    Alaina

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  8. Look forward to reading more and journying with you. Love your directness. Maybe if more of us had to type with eye movements we would say more with fewer words!

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  9. Thank you for your visit to my blog!
    It’s through your visit I found your blog, and I’m so glad. Your testimony of hope is just beautiful.
    I’m looking forward to reading your posts in the future!
    your sister in Christ,
    Rachel

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  10. Thank you for commenting on my post today. I am certain we have a lot more in common than it may have appeared from the few things I’ve managed to get online so far. God bless you in your courage and your drive to give God glory. Looking forward to getting to know you better.

    Sande

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  11. Bill,
    I have been following Margaret’s blog for a while and I am so thankful she told me about yours. I suffer from a chronic, physician-caused condition that has been a severe trial for my faith, but your testimony of God’s grace helps me put my own suffering in much better, and humbled, perspective. Thank you.
    Bryan

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  12. Bill,

    Thank you for taking the time to come to my blog site today. It has given me the opportunity to discover your blog site. And, I especially thank you for sharing the amazing realities of our unshakable hope — the Lord Jesus Christ. In all of our pains and challenges, it is so easy to dwell on just — pains and challenges. Their reality is all too real.

    But, you have been blessed with seeing the truth behind it all, and I’m ever so glad you are going through the efforts to share your experiences with a world that really needs to see and understand how God is truly our unshakable hope in every circumstance.

    It was because of these truths that so many of God’s children have been able to endure martyrdom and all sorts of trials. I pray that through you many will come to know the blessings of our unshakable hope.

    Margaret

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  13. Thanks for sharing. Indeed, I say “Amen!” to Romans 15:13. I would add Romans 16:20 as well. Hold fast to the God of peace! He will preserve your whole spirit, soul and body blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ!

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  14. Right there with you brother…I could say the same almost word for word, but Our God is a good and gracious God that has allowed me to live and experience the “joy unspeakable” of which you write, perhaps not every minute of the day, but more often than not. Thank you for your honesty which is always the most helpful part that one can give to another. Wayne.

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  15. I like your Christian testimony, humor and hope. I wish you blessings by the bushels!

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  16. I challenge those that say God can not be found in all circumstances to think again, our creative God is able to work in us and through us to the glory of his name. I personally found that in helping others I am helped, keep up the good work.

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  17. Bill, I am encouraged by your strength in an obviously difficult situation, but even more so, I am encouraged by your faith and trust in God. Truly you have found peace that surpasses human understanding.

    God places us in trials to develop us, and to give us empathy for others. You are a source of strength to others in similar situations.

    God bless you!

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  18. Billy you took the time to come over and read an entry of mine and even say you liked it. I appreciate that. I came over to read this entry and I was blown away by it. Very good writing, sir, and you have challenged me again (because it’s not as though I get enough challenge from looking to be like Christ, right?).

    God bless you in your efforts, it is a pleasure to add your blog on me Google Reader thing and I look forward to reading more of what God inspires you to write.

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  19. Bill,
    I look forward to reading more of your thoughts on hope! Having faced some adversity myself over the last 10 years (the unexpected deaths of my sister-in-law and mother and the life changes that has gone along with those circumstances), I often find my hope and faith tested in ways I never dreamed they would be. It is encouraging to read your words, given all you have experienced, and realize that you still cling to that eternal hope we have been given. I can’t wait to read more. I think it means even more when the words come from someone who has “been there.”
    My love to you, Mary and the girls!!!
    Sharene

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  20. I am a friend of your brother Vincent. Your words are truly inspirational and I too believe that hope is the one thing we can count on. you truly are a blessing and have lifted my spirits with your words. Bless you and your family always.

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  21. How has Christ helped you? Your hope is well formed, how is it founded? What have you built your hope on? Is it the Bible, is it friends and family, and or have you had spiritual encounters (transfigurative moments) to know that God IS. Sorry for being blunt while meeting you, but I thought it was ironic.
    Your reflections about the Law of Decay are such a welcome witness. I thank you for your witness as it is powerful!! How do you renew these eroding or decaying virtues that so remarkably define one who takes up their cross as you have?

    With love and prayers
    Your brother in Christ

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  22. Hi there Bill, I work with Mary, I look forward to reading your blog! Hope is pretty much the currency I live on as well, and your words are so true – you have to have other hope-minded people to help you propagate and expound on your own hope, it does not work very well otherwise. Hope is a choice, every day, every moment of every day, just as is happiness. So here’s to hoping with you, and thanks for sharing yourself through your words!

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  23. Absolutely wonderful! I’ve NEVER thought about hope the way you describe or the consequence of “decay” on hope. I love your writing and cannot wait for the next entry!

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  24. You never cease to amaze me. I am so proud to be your sister!

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  25. Bill –

    I was directed here by your brother Ed and I so thank him for gifting me with you and your words!

    Blessings being sent from Chi-town. . .

    to wherever you may be found!
    :^)

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  26. Bill, you are an inspiration to all of us and I look forward to following your hope-centered blog. I hope you know I think about your family often and pray for you always. Your message is one that everyone should read. I miss you all dearly and love you much!

    OH…and we’re starting a blog at work…would you like to be a contributor?! You’re an excellent writer and being the Christian-centered association that we are, well…I might just be serious!

    Love you,
    Jamie

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  27. Thank you for the encouraging words, Cheryl!
    BTW; I’m still a delinquent:-)

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  28. Cheryl Turner

    Billy, it’s so funny to remember back when you were the child delinquent that you were back in the days!! You have been dealt a hand in life that you have handled with such a gracious and loving heart. The support of your loving wife, Mary and your darling daughters, Lauren and Leah have kept the sanity in your home. But YOU are truly an inspiration and I love how centered you are and God loving. This blog is a wonderful outlet for you and I truly hope that others will enjoy reading it as much as I have. God bless you always, Billy.

    Love, Cheryl T.

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