Thankful

When I was diagnosed with ALS in 1996, at the age of 36, the Neurologist’s prognosis was that I probably would not live to see my 40th birthday. Our girls were only seven and four years old at that time.

Lauren, Leah and me about the time I was diagnosed

Lauren, Leah and me about the time I was diagnosed

I naturally thought of everything I would miss; like high school and college graduations, interrogating their dates, giving them away on their wedding day and the birth of my grandchildren.

I am so thankful that the Neurologist’s prediction was wrong:

I’ve lived to see both of our daughters graduate from high school and college.

Lauren and Leah

leah graduation

I gave Lauren away on her wedding day two years ago.

Lauren and James

Lauren and James

And last week I became a Grandfather!

Lauren and Jude

Lauren and Jude

Because heaven is our ultimate future and Christ is our hope, the following verse is true for all Christians – even those of us that are facing difficult trials and those who’ve gone on to their ultimate future at an early age:

“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 December 6, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 214 Comments.

  1. When my Dad had his first heart attack, they gave him ten years to live. And he just turned 82 this past October. Only Heaven knows…:)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The True Light!

    A great story my friend! Thanks for sharing…

    Steve

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  3. Praise God for all His many blessing Bill! What love our Father has lavished upon you ;=) Thanks for sharing Bill.

    Be A Blessing!

    LaTrice

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  4. Dear Bill,
    Missing your voice these days, but happy to find this post from December 2013. I pray God is still surprising you with unexpected gifts and blessings! God bless you and your dear family in this new year.
    Elouise

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  5. I loved reading this! GOD is so GOOD all the time and all the time GOD is so GOOD! I am excited–I’ll be a grandma in January (2015) with a new granddaughter. I am happy at all the blessings God is giving me, too. I’ll enjoy the time He gives me here, I know where I’m going when He is ready to call me Home. Congratulations on being a grandpa!

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  6. Thank you for sharing so openly, Bill. Your walk with the Lord is an inspiration to us all. Only firsthand experience can demonstrate that with God we are in the safest possible hands.

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  7. Congratulations on all of the above!! I know the doctors give us their best guess and what not, but in the grand scheme of things, especially when it comes to the amount of time we spend on earth before meeting our Lord, is all in His hands and works according to His plans. God still has a purpose for you and I love that you’ve gotten to experience all of this. As I go through testing still to determine my exact diagnosis, at times the deceiver will seep in and I start wondering if I will be around for these types of things. Then I have to push those thoughts away. For none of us are promised tomorrow. I’ve enjoyed clicking through your site today and reading. Haven’t been here in awhile and you’ve written some really incredible stuff! Congratulations again!

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  8. Just found this post by a very indirect route but am overwhelmed by its beauty and sincerity. May you and your beautiful family share many more joyful experiences and years together. Thank you for reminding me that we can depend on our Lord.

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  9. What a beautiful story of hope and courage!

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  10. Congratulations, Bill. Also lovely you want to share this witnessing with so many. Such witnessing are important in the Work of God, because we can only be happy to be allowed to become his work-instruments and to receive His blessing which overrule all human prospects.

    It always shall be the God Creator of heaven and earth Who shall decide how it shall turn out. Believe in His Power therefore is often (I would say always) stronger than human prediction.

    As a Grandfather I do hope you shall find renewed energy to let your grandchildren also know the blessings you have already received in this life and the hope we all may have in a future life.

    God bless you and your family.

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  11. Congratulations! You have beautiful family and a beautiful testimony to go with it. My dad was told in 1989 he only had 2 years at most to live due to Hepatitus B destroying his liver through cirrhosis; He contracted it working in surgery. He is 75 years old, walks 5 miles a day, and is back working as a consultant for the hospital. Some days he is on his feet 14-16 hours a day. His liver was almost destroyed, but God has kept him alive! Our God is so good!! God bless you mightily!!

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  12. Beautiful! Congratulations on becoming a grandfather! :0)

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  13. The Lord is always faithful to those who are faithful to Him. Someone once sang “Only Him can do what no man can do, only Him can change what no man can change, only Him can handle what no man can handle, only Him can change the doctor’s report”. I join you to thank Him for life, and life abundantly.
    Thanks for passing by, and wish you a healthy 2014.

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  14. Hi Bill! Wow, what an overcomer you are! All I hear from your words that I’ve read so far are the wisdom of God! Thanks for visiting my blog because it brought me here… Praise God!! How great it is to connect with a fellow sufferer who lives to glorify Christ. I must spend more time here reading your words and will share this blog with the readers of my blog, so they can be more blessed and encouraged in their race. Blessings to you and your family 🙂

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  15. Congratulations on becoming a grandfather!

    I hope you had a nice Christmas. May your 2014 be filled with God’s blessings.

    Nancy

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  16. Wow God is incredibly good, what a testimony

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  17. Congratulations, Bill, on the birth of your grandchild! It is always a huge blessing to read your posts.

    Merry Christmas to you, Mary & family ~ Wendy

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  18. Thank you for sharing such an inspirational journey. And, by the way, congrats on your new grandson! I have my one and only Xander. He is just 15 months old and the light of my life. Regardless of how I feel, he can always make this grandma smile. The love for a grandchild, is only known by a grandparent. So glad you beat the odds. Keep up the good work. Spread the word. You are so inspirational, I’m going to start following your blog right now. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

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    • Thank you very much for your encouraging words and for following my blog. Merry Christmas to you and yours – I’m sure you’re spoiling your grandson this Christmas.

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      • You’re quite welcome. I hope your Christmas was a good one. I spoil my grandson every day. LOL just can’t help myself. Now, you have the best New Year, ever! I’ll be seeing you around when I make my rounds to other blogs. I first have to reply to each and every notification I receive and that sometimes takes quite awhile, but I will be back around to see how things are going for you. Stay well, my friend.

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  19. What a lovely family! Maybe you should send a group family photo to that neurologist (grin). As an RN, I can tell you that neurologists and neurosurgeons are not noted for their bedside manners.

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    • Thank you, Sheryl. You are so right about the lack of beside manners. I quit going to ALS doctors many years ago because I don’t really need a Neurologist – there’s no (medical) cure for ALS so it’s kind of pointless for me, after 17 years with ALS, to go to a Neurologist. Besides, that doctor is about a 90 minute drive.

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  20. 🙂 Amazing! Beautiful! Bill, I am creating a puddle and I can’t get the water to quit flowing. 😀

    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful part of your life. Congratulations, Grandpa!!! 😀 Take care and I hope you have a very Merry Christmas! – Amy 😀

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  21. Thank you for visiting my blog – and leading me back to your wonderful story of courage.

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  22. This has me so misty-eyed–what a beautiful story of hopes realized, and proof that God is Sovereign over all that happens here on earth, including drs diagnoses/prognoses. I’m so happy for you, Brother–what a lovely family you have. God Bless you BIG, have a joyous Christmas–love, sis Caddo

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  23. Deeply inspiring. Wish you very well and seasons greetings for a merry Christmas.

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  24. My aunt was given 6 months to live over 40 yrs ago when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer – she passed away last year at the age of 85. God’s plans sure do not agree with doctors prognosis at times does it! What a testimony of faith you have as well for everything God has done for you in the midst of your trial. May God continue to bless you with His presence and congratulations grandpa – the perfect gift is that of a baby!

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    • Thank you, Patty. As you know, Pancreatic Cancer is one of the most difficult to treat and the outcome usually is not good. But, like your aunt, I have a friend that has Pancreatic Cancer and was given a similar prognosis nine years ago. I am so thankful for doctors, but they’re humans too – they cannot KNOW what the future holds.
      Merry Christmas!

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  25. Wow, this was a very impactful post. And for reminding us all to celebrate the good even when the difficult comes. What a beautiful daughter you have!

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  26. What a beautiful Christmas story, full of hope and joy. May your faith continue to uphold you in times of challenge. Many blessings.

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  27. What you’ve wrote here is very inspiring. I hope that you continue to have a good and happy life.

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  28. Reblogged this on Totally Inspired Mind… and commented:
    The story I aired about Gabby and her new diagnoses of ALS got the attention of an extraorinary man who writes a blog called Unshakanle Hope at http://www.Unshakablehope.wordpress.com.
    I want to connect him to Gabby and her parents. He would be like an angel bearing great news and proving doctor’s sentences are oftentimes wrong. After all, they aren’t God!

    Paulette Motzko

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  29. What a wonderful story to read. You beat the odds and besides, doctors are far from God. It would be like thinking all lawyers are honest-which I already know they aren’t three times over!
    (I would like to see an honest one!) 😉 My name is Paulette Le Pore Motzko and I am happy you spotted the story I wrote about Gabby and being diagnosed with the same thing as you.

    You could give great hope to her and her family in so many ways.
    As a person who is an “abled disabled” lady, I was diagnosed with epilepsy when I was 9 and the doctors were wrong all the time.
    Where do you live? Are you close to CA?

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  30. Wish there was a LOVE button, by the way. 🙂

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  31. Congratulations, Bill. Tears of joy and gratitude for you and your entire family. What a blessing. XO!

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  32. Congratulations on your new grandchild, a true blessing from the Lord. We are inspired by your strength and will keep you in our prayers.

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  33. The Almighty is using you in many lives. I know if we stand strong, there is no doc alive that can predict when our Father will bring us home.
    Congratulations on the grand baby!! Praise Him
    Stephanie

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  34. I so praise God for you and your wonderful, touching family posts. How you inspire others with your incredibly positive outlook on life, despite personal adversity. You are consistently and literally in my daily prayer walk each day.

    Later on today, I am going to nominate you for an “Excellence in Blogging” award so please look out for it on my site. This one’s easy to accept because you simply pass on a list of those who have exhibited excellence in blogging. This certainly describes you! I know God is going to be so proud to say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!” when He welcomes you . . . but hopefully, not yet, not yet. I’ll talk to you then. 🙂 Blessings,

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  35. AMEN!! Congratulations to you and your family. With God nothing is impossible 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

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  36. Congratulations on the new bundle of joy and addition to your family!

    What a beautiful post. It’s another treasure to hold close to your heart, along with your beauiful testimony that continues to touch many lives. Thank you for sharing.

    After my husband pasted away, there were many of those same milestones where there was an empty place no one else could fill. What a blessing for all of you to have those wonderful memories together.

    May God continue to provide many more opportunites to share your “Unshakable Hope”!

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    • Thank you very much. I am so sorry that your husband wasn’t there for those milestones; I feel terrible for young widows and widowers, especially those with children. How long ago did your husband pass away?

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  37. Have no idea how I found you this evening, but so glad I did. You are a light that will not be hidden. Bless you for continuing to shine and allowing the Lord to use you to build His kingdom. Bless you for your surrender to a God that frees us with His undending love.

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  38. This is so beautiful. What a blessing. How beautiful to witness the arrival of your new grandson and be a part of special events of your children lives. Doctors only know part of the story. God knows the full story from beginning to end. Isn’t it wonderful to know God’s plans are never the plan of man. Amazing! Blessings to you and your family.

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  39. Praising God that He is the Great Physician and Comforter. So glad you got to experience all these wonderful moments. Praying for many more for you. Skye

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  40. noordinaryjoy61

    God’s grace is greater… Congratulations on your beautiful new grandchild!

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  41. Pictures of God’s grace….love it!!

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  42. Beautiful, Bill…congrats on that lovely grandbaby, too!

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  43. optimisticgladness

    I’m glad that you disproved the doctors. What a wonderful post. I’m so happy for you. Congratulations!

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  44. Congratulations, on so many life events you’ve been here to celebrate.

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  45. God is Good !!! When he opens a door, no man can close it. The last verse you quoted reminds me of what apostle Paul said, To live is Christ and
    to die is gain for the believer.

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  46. Your life is a reflection of God’s truth. None of us knows what a day will bring. None of us can predict the minutes or years. What a beautiful thing, to know that your fears were honesty talking, yet God has blessed you with additional years and a JOYFUL life beyond your wildest dreams. I hope you continue looking to him, the Author and Finisher of our faith. I cannot fathom walking through the difficulties of life without Him.

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  47. Congratulations on your grandson! I’m so glad that God has the final authority on the number of our days, and that He is blessing you with many more years to spend with your growing family.

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  48. Congratulations, grandpa! Thank you for sharing.

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  49. Congratulations on the birth of your grandchild. Praise God for your wonderful news! He is indeed a miracle working God. Season’s greetings and God’s blessings.

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  50. You and your loving family are such an inspiration to all. Thank you so much for that. May God continue to love and protect you and yours. (Thanks Paula for sharing. I remember visiting a few years back!)
    Marie Jones

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  51. It gave me chills of joy to read your post! My heart overflows with thanksgiving for all our wonderful Heavenly Father has done and is doing in your life. You are a walking testimony that our God truly is the God who makes the impossible, possible! (Mark 10:27). What comes to mind is “a child is born, rejoice”. I am pretty sure there will be lots of rejoicing in and by your family this Christmas season. Enjoy!

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  52. Praise God for His many blessings! How fun your Christmas will be with a new little one!!

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  53. God is so very good! Loving your testimony, and would love to read more. Blessings to you during this sacred season.

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  54. Congratulations Bill. How awesome. Yes, what a testimony. God is certainly with you every step of the way. In our weakness He is strong, if we let Him be. I am blessed to know you and your story of courage via WordPress. Many Blessings. Leslie

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  55. Wow. I love that you are being graced with God’s miracles. It;s a comfort to be reminded how active God is in our world everyday. Sometimes I begin to doubt and then I read something like this and feel God is speaking through you in this accounting of your life.

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    • Thank you, Amy. I may still have ALS, but, as you said, God has graced us with miracle after miracle. It’s okay to doubt; doubts and other challenges (persecution, trials…) to our faith result in growth. At least that’s what I’ve found.

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  56. Your testimony is so inspiring & encouraging. May God blessings & healing continue to flow throughout you & your life. Be blessed always!

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  57. Wow, praise the Lord all the day long! Congratulations! You have a beautiful family and I’m glad on your behalf for the experience of such joyous occasions!

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  58. Such a wonderful witness of the Lord’s grace … His love … and your trust and hope in Him … congratulations all round .

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  59. Reblogged this on Hopeful and commented:
    Great inspiration!

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  60. God’s plan was somewhat different than your neurologist… so glad that you are able to share in so much of your family’s lives…. Diane

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    • You’re right, Diane, God’s plans are usually much different than man’s. I am thankful for doctors, but when it comes to predicting the outcome of diseases like ALS or Cancer the patient has to be careful because the prediction can become self-fulfilling.

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  61. So glad that you got to be a grandfather – congratulations!!! And so glad that Christ is your hope!!

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  62. Congratulations, Bill. God bless you and yours!

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  63. How cool is THAT!!! Congratulations! 🙂

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  64. I am so happy for you. Being a grandparent is the most wonderful blessing. We attended the first of many Christmas programs this morning. I am so thankful for my eight grandchildren. They make me smile all the time. I am also so grateful that you are here and being able to enjoy all the blessing that are coming to you. You have gone above and beyond and you are here to support your daughters. I have lost three wonderful people from my life to ALS. I know the difficulties that go with it. God Bless you every day.

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    • Thank you, Linda. Eight grandchildren! Wow, that’s great; you will be attending many Christmas programs – hopefully for many many years! I am sorry that your life has also been touched by this dreadful disease!

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  65. What a beautiful post. Thank you for being in our world and sharing yourself so generously.

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  66. Congratulations Grandpa Bill! Your verse from Jeremiah is one of my favorite verses. Best wishes for a very Merry Christmas to you, Mary, Lauren, Leah and the rest of the family!
    Paula’s friend, Alaina

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  67. Congratulations on becoming a Grandpa! As a grandma I can tell you that being a grandparent is the most wonderful gift we receive from God. When my first grandchild was about to be born, an elderly family friend told me that grandchildren have a way of making you forget anything bad ever happened in your life! 🙂 Enjoy every precious moment! What a wonderful God we serve! I am so glad that the doctors were wrong with your life expectancy. What a blessing! I am so happy for you and your family with your new addition. Merry Christmas!

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  68. Awesome. I got chills reading it and seeing the paper. God is so, so gracious.

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  69. I am THRILLED to hear the news about little Jude. What a legacy that little fellow has in his Grandma and Grandpa–their strength, perseverance, and faith under trial!

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    • Thank you, Nancy. “Little Jude” isn’t so little; he was 7 pounds 15 ounces at birth and Lauren didn’t have an Epidural. She’s tough – women are tough! 🙂

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      • My congratulations should have included Lauren and her husband. (Shame on me.) Jude IS good-sized for a firstborn. Yes, women ARE tough. Whoever called women “the weaker sex” didn’t know what he was talking about. (He was probably single!!) To be fair, though, men have to be tough in other ways.

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  70. Isn’t our Lord gracious with His grace and ever so tender with His mercy that He would give you this time. Praise the Lord His faithfulness never ceases. ~ Blessings ~

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  71. Awesome! You have indeed been blessed and I wish you much more of the same. But you’re right; our ultimate hope and future is in those beautiful mansions above.

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  72. Beautifully put. HE knows , He knows. 😀

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  73. Congrats! Awesome post! I really enjoy your blog. It often refreshes me when I need a boost.

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  74. Thank you for allowing God to use you through your thanksgiving and trials. Your blog is truly an inspiration. Your daughters are beautiful . . . . Congratulations Grandpa!

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  75. Congratulations! What a beautiful family you have! God is SO good! You are going to LOVE being a Grandpa, it’s truly one of God’s greatest gifts 🙂 I am so happy for you and your family!

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  76. “Looking at them, Jesus said, ‘With men it is impossible, but not with God, because all things are possible with God.’” Continually I’m reminded of His goodness. This post was one of today’s reminder. Merry Christmas!

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  77. Congratulations, Bill! …I’m still here too! 🙂 Whate’er betides, the Blessing abides.

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  78. It reminds me of Caleb in the scriptures, who at around 85 years old, recounted how the promise God had made to him more than 40 years earlier held true. Testimonies like these are vital in strengthening the faith of our brothers and sisters. Thank you because it did just that to me. To God be the Glory, To Him and His Son Jesus-Christ forever. Amen!

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  79. very beautiful post!!! you are a miracle, ALS usually kills swiftly. But as you and I know, the last word lies with God and God alone, may you see your grandchildrens children 🙂

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  80. We serve a faithful God! He has certainly been with you and your family.

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  81. Thank you for sharing your story with us and reinforcing how amazing God is!
    May you and your family have a wonderful Christmas season and continued blessing in the New Year and beyond!

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  82. Beautiful! Congratulations on becoming a Grandpa! God clearly didn’t listen to the Doctors. 🙂 Blessings to you and your family!

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  83. Yay!!!!!!! Congratulations and many blessings, Grandpa! Thank you for your encouraging thoughts and bringing God’s Word to light!

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  84. Praise God Grandpa! Thanks for sharing this journey and congratulations!

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  85. Congratulations on being a grandfather, Bill. What a sweetie! What the doctors evidently did not know back then, is that our Lord still has work for you to do. 🙂 What you do here, your encouragement and your gift with words, is a marvelous testimony to the goodness and grace of our God. I always look forward to your posts and am always in awe of our Father when I read them. Grace and peace to you today!

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  86. For that reason we keep our eyes on Christ for he alone has numbered all of our days. No other report matters! Praise God for his goodness in your life. He is faithful! Thank you for sharing.

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  87. Precious milestones you were blessed with! And the precious future you’ll see…

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  88. My reader did not display the while post. Now I see you not only gave your daughter away. You became grandpa! This gives me chills. Praise God!
    What a Christmas gift!
    Peace of Christ to you,
    Alexandria

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  89. Wonderful! God is so good. We’ll look forward to those wedding pictures!

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  90. Wow! Congrats! What an amazing testimony!

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  91. Wonderful and all praise to Jesus! Also, congratulations, grand-dad!

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  92. Thank you for continuing to point to our Hope in Heaven and the person of Jesus Christ. I sense the Holy Spirit here whenever I visit and read. He is using you … and one day you will see to the depth of how much He has done that.

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  93. Your daughters and your grandchild are beautiful!

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  94. Even though I do not know you personally, I, too, am thankful the prognosis was incorrect. My heart soars to read your posts. Praise God from whom ALL BLESSINGS flow!

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  95. Thank you for sharing the blessings and struggles of your life with us. What an inspiration:-) May God continue to bless you and your beautiful family.

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  96. Bill
    I’m thankful that you are still here to have touched my life so! Love the verse! Thanks for sharing! Beautiful baby! Congratulations Grandpa!

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  97. Bill, this is a beautiful testimony to the enduring healing power and very great love and mercy given to you by our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and that He desires for us all. I am so thrilled for you to have witnessed these incredible milestones in your daughter’s lives and now you are a grandfather! Many, many congratulations to you all!

    The scripture you shared at the end is one that the Lord spoke to my heart as a new Christian some 32 years ago and I see His hope and His future in all that he has blessed me with even when so many things seemed to go so very wrong.

    God bless you and your family Bill and thank you for sharing this inpsiring message of Hope and beauty 🙂

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  98. Thanks for the testimony. I need it-I have cancer.

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  99. \(^_^)/ Crying tears of joy for you and your family. Congratulations!

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  100. Amen! What a wonderful, happy post. A blessed Christmas to you and yours, grandpa!

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  101. God is good! Bill, you are a ray of hope to people! Thank you for so generously and graciously sharing your life journey with us. May you and your family enjoy each other and every good gift from the Father above, this Christmas.

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  102. You constantly inspire me!

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  103. Congratulations on the new little life, and it’s wonderful that God is in control of life and that the drs. cant be sure when Gods timing will come into play. I am encouraged by your testimony and am very glad you know Him as Savior. Recently I was going over what has happened in my life and I can’t imagine going through any of it without God. Without God, there is no hope. I am so glad God is in your life and you have been blessed with seeing what you could have missed. Have a great day in Jesus.

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    • Thank you, Correna. So many times Mary and I have talked about how difficult this trial would be if it wasn’t for God’s grace. I agree with you – without God there is no hope! I am glad you have that hope too.

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  104. Bill,

    Congratulations on becoming a grandfather!!! What a CHRISTmas it will be this year!!!!!!!

    Patrick

    Like

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