You Have To Laugh :-)

As I wrote in my post last Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, I have been very ill. To be honest, I was praying for this long journey with ALS to end that night. I was looking forward to getting further along than I did in my near-death experience that I told you about in my last post. It’s funny to me now, but I was even giving God suggestions on how to take me out, “maybe a heart attack or an aneurysm…” My prayers might have been answered if it wasn’t for you people praying that I’d get better.

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3)

I know it’s hard to believe in this enlightened age, but I believe I am going to that place one day, maybe one day soon. However, your prayers are obviously more powerful than mine so I began getting much better after posting on Thanksgiving. By Sunday, I was breathing and feeling much better.

Then, an attack I never saw coming!

Mary has a very detailed routine for getting me ready for bed. This routine takes about thirty minutes if everything goes according to plan. Well, Monday night didn’t exactly go according to plan.

For many years I’ve had a bad case of TMJ. Because of this, I have worn a mouthguard on my top teeth to keep me from clinching when I sleep. The dentists have told me I have the worst case of TMJ they’ve seen. I would crack and crush my mouth guards. They finally made me one out of new stronger material, and they used extra material to make it twice as thick as a standard mouthguard.

Back to my story: Monday night, Mary put my mouthguard in, but it slipped off and began wandering around my mouth and quickly disappeared down my throat! Mary went into panic mode and started sticking fingers in my mouth. I didn’t do it on purpose, but I bit down on Mary’s fingers, and, of course, she screamed like a woman giving birth to a ten-pound baby.

She then put on a big leather glove and tried again, but I clamped down on fingers again. I suppose it’s a reflex reaction. The leather gloves didn’t help, she screamed loudly again. The mouth guard was so far back in my throat that Mary couldn’t even see it. She finally called 911, and eight minutes later, an ambulance pulled in the driveway, followed by a fire truck parked in the street. Before I knew it, six men were surrounding my bed, and two began fishing around in my mouth. I only bit one of them.

They couldn’t see the mouthguard either and began asking Mary if she was sure that it was in there. They were talking about intubating me and transporting me to the hospital. I gave Mary “the look,” and she told the guys that I have a Do Not Resuscitate order. I did not want to be intubated or be transported to the hospital.

We were at an impasse, they couldn’t fish the mouthguard from my throat, and I refused to go to the hospital. As I was lying there with the mouth guard mostly blocking my ability to breathe, I found the whole situation kind of funny. I’ve had ALS for twenty-three years, and I’ve been through numerous painful falls, several cases of horrible pneumonia and flu, and so much else. Now, my mouth guard is going to take me out? I know it’s dark humor, but it is funny in an ironic kind of way.

Obviously, I’m still alive. One of EMTs put my head back up, and when he did, the mouth guard dislodged and popped foreword. I looked at one of the guys, and it’s as if he was able to read my mind. He asked for a tool and slowly opened my mouth and retrieved the blood-covered mouthguard from the back of my mouth. Needless to say, I didn’t wear my mouth guard last night and will never wear it again.

I’m hoping to be able to sleep like Mary’s eighty-seven-year-old mom, who lives with us. She slept through Mary’s blood-curdling screams and, even though her bedroom is at the front of the house, she never heard the sirens or the commotion.

Thank you so much for your prayers!

“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.” (Luke 6:21).

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 4, 2019, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 106 Comments.

  1. Thank you, Bill, for keeping us posted; and for the Lord keeping you among us. Praise Him that He is in control and will take us out of this wilderness in His precious timing. Blessings for you and Mary. I understand how she cares for you. It’s a miraculous love.

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  2. Glad you are feeling better, brother.

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  3. Bill,
    Another wonderful blog post. We read your one on Thanksgiving together at the Johnsons home. It was truly moving and then you crank out another post today! We know that grief is a tricky thing, but we also know that eternity is waiting on the other side. My great Aunt Joyce went to be with Jesus on Sunday. She kept telling everyone last week that she was ready to meet Jesus and see Uncle Frank (who died many years ago). She kept telling everyone what a glorious reunion it would be.
    Although we are sad she is gone from earth, we celebrate knowing she is completely healed.
    Your posts are a great reminder that we should not fear death. We should be in this world, but not of it.
    Praying for peace for Mary, and for her hand. 🙂 Prayers that you will continue to be a light in this world for as long as the Lord allows!

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  4. After following your posts for a number of years, I can say I think I get you finding the humor in all of this horrible situation. I confess, I laughed. The irony of all the things you’ve had to deal with to end with the mouth guard is actually quite funny. At the worst of times, we can only laugh. I’m glad you’ve survived yet another crisis and shared it with us. Even in that, you show your unshakable hope and trust in God’s goodness. Praying for your dear wife who I’m sure was traumatized by the situation, but guessing she will be able to have a chuckle at some point too. Praying that God takes you when his timing is perfect. We will be sorry to lose you when the time comes, but look forward to time in eternity. Can’t wait to meet you one day there! Blessings on your family!

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  5. I only know you through reading your blog posts, and feel an overwhelming feeling of love towards you and your family. May The LORD comfort and protect you, and fill you with His peace. 🙏

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  6. Bill, I am truly sorry you have had sickness and crazy situations like this on top of ALS but I love your sense of humor despite your circumstances. I was also very moved by the personal sharing of your NDE. Thank you for that. After reading Imagine Heaven with a collection of such experiences, heaven seems so much more tangible – as does the love of God – and your experience just further confirms that. Thank you.

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  7. I want to be just like Mary when I grow up! She’s amazing. She is the exact image of a godly wife. I’m sure she feels she falls short sometimes and has her flaws but seriously! She’s amazing. You’re an expert story teller! I’m glad you’re feeling better but sorry our prayers are being answered. You are too good at bringing glory to God, I guess.

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  8. Joy. Relief. Hope. Laughter. Your humorous perspective is light in the darkness, Bill. Love and prayers.

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  9. The Lord is obviously not done with you, my dear friend. That you survived so many different fingers poking into your throat with a sense of humor is a reflection of God’s greater picture. And a little of His humor. I’m glad you’re still with us–I cherish your posts because they put life into a bigger perspective for me. Your perseverance has encouraged my heart more than you will know. I look forward to the day when we’re all in heaven together and you can tell stories about the blessings of what you’ve been through for 23 years–and we’ll all praise God for His presence and perfect healing.

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  10. I’ve been trying to find a way to change a football players mouth guard to drain saliva out of my mouth. after reading your post I’ve changed my mind. So far I have been able to get things out of my throat by making myself gag. I’m like you. Once it’s over, you just have laugh.

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  11. So good to hear from you brother Bill! We’ve been praying for you and Mary. This all brings to my heart our dear friend Tony who died 3 years after his ALS diagnosis. Yet, beloved brother, you are here, it’s the Lord!
    I just re-read thru Jeremiah and learned that, in 26:20, there was another prophet Uriah, called by God to proclaim the same hard message. He preached briefly and was killed, Jeremiah, who wanted to die, lived on to suffer and preach.
    Brother, somehow the Lord of Hosts confounds the darkness thru your weak body. What rewards and warm welcome await you and Mary! Oh what a day that will be!

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    • Thank you, Lisa. My part in building God’s Kingdom isn’t a big one, but I think part of the reason I’m still here is to show that He can use “weak things.” When it comes to weakness, I’m definitely qualified 🙂

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  12. Only God could give you the ability to laugh at such harrowing experiences. So glad you’re still with us, but I understand your wanting otherwise, especially having seen what lies ahead. Blessings.

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  13. Goodness, what a terrifying experience! And yet, you still keep your perspective. You teach us the power of God’s grace every time you write. And we learn from you that that power is so far beyond our logical comprehension that it can still surprise us when it arrives. And that one way that it arrives is in the beauty of those who love us most. I am in awe of you and Mary, and continually in awe of the God whose grace can overcome the terrors of the night and save us from despair. And even bring laughter! Thank you for your witness to a life lived well in the grace of our Creator.

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  14. For my own sake I’m glad that you are still here, however to be totally honest I never pray for a believer to stay here for the same reason I have a DNR order. If they get to go be with the Savior in heaven, I don’t want to be one that hinders because of my own selfish desires.

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  15. Hi Bill. I’m glad you are still here. That is a pretty funny incident. I am a caregiver and we too have some of those “what the heck?!” moments. Hang in there – God knows the number of our days and has great plans for you and Mary! Thank you for sharing.

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  16. Oh my! I love the lessons God is teaching you. “For your thoughts are not my thoughts and your ways not my ways…”

    My daughter has severe TMJ also. She can relate. We had a great laugh this morning.

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  17. You have my prayers, my best wishes, and a great appreciation for your humor.
    I wish you and your family abundant joy and peace.

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  18. Mary, the hero of the story.😉
    Good you are still here Bill. Your place in the Father’s House is not ready yet.
    Blessings and prayers

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  19. Paul was stoned at Lystra…and died. I have heard it said that God intended the Apostle to be immortal until his assignment was finished. Now in your case Bill the obstacle popped out of your throat. You are still immortal. Chuckle on that one for a while…Doug

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  20. Dear Bill —

    I could not help but be reminded by your story of Paul’s own experiences. He writes at 2 Corinthians 11:

    “From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness…”

    As ministers of Christ, you two will have much to say to one another when your time does come. For now, I am deeply grateful to God that you are still w/ us, my friend. May God watch over you and Mary both.

    A.

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  21. Get a string around your mouth guard, so Mary can just pull it out next time and save her fingers 😄 Glad your still hear!

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  22. Glad you’re still here. God has the BEST reason for keeping you here. “Suddenlies”… I’m excited!

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  23. “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…”

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  24. Oh my goodness! So glad y’all (and we) can laugh now!

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  25. So glad that you are feeling better. That mouth guard incident was quite a scare and am glad that God brought you through it all to laugh about it and share it with us.

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  26. It is remarkable how people like yourself who suffer so much can still find the words to comfort and amuse others. My daughters friend, Mike Crisp, a fine rugby player til 4 years ago, has ALS. He writes a blog called A Pain in the ALS. He is full of life and positivity like you. It is humbling and inspiring. I’ll join the others in wishing you well and I too want Mary’s mums secret to a deep sleep!!

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  27. I really enjoy reading your posts Bill.

    (Now you know what a fish feels like in catch-and-release sport fishing up there in lake Conroe). 🐟 🚤

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  28. For someone who is paralysed, you can sure cause a commotion! I don’t know who to feel more sorry for, you or Mary! Awfully glad you’re still with us and looking forward to much more of your wise counsel and humor! God’s grace and blessings to you and yours Bill!

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  29. We just never know. God isn’t through with you yet and for that we can be thankful. None of us are promished tomorrow but I can’t think of any thing better than just going to sleep and waking up in heaven.Could happen….we never know.

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  30. Wow, what an experience! Praying for you and Mary.

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  31. I’m shaking my head in amazement, here. One, you’re feeling better already–praise God! Two, that paramedic was finally able to dislodge the mouthguard. And three–most-amazing of all–you can laugh at your circumstances! You and Mary are INCREDIBLE people–so positive and perseverant. With your other “fans,” I am very glad you’re still with us.

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    • Thank you, Nancy. As it was happening, of course, we didn’t think we’d ever be able to laugh about this. It was traumatizing. I don’t remember how I worded it, but it wasn’t the EMT that dislodged the mouthpiece, nobody was even looking in my mouth at the time. They were trying to get me to go to the hospital. I felt the mouth guard pop forward and I glanced up at one of the guys and he seemed to have read my mind and asked another guy for the forceps and retrieved it. I think God dislodged it.

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  32. Paula Sweeney Corey

    You are twisted and I love that about you

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  33. Dearest Bill – it has been a long time since we have communicated, so much so that since the last time, my wife died in my arms on the 5th of May this year, aged just 54yrs. It was totally unexpected and the whole ordeal over in just 16 mins of calling 999 (or 911 in the states. It was a Pulmonary Embolism caused by an undiagnosed Deep Vein Thrombosis. In the very early hours of that morning and many hours before Stacey went to the Lord, the Holy Spirit whispered to me “Today will be a new beginning” – little sis I know what that was to mean. On the Wednesday morning following the Sunday that it happened, I asked God to show me this terrible situation from His perspective. I was given an instant vision of my wife in heaven. I wouldn’t say it was the literal heaven, but it was the state she was in that God wanted to show me. Her countenance was that of PERFECT JOY. There was not so much of an itch in her life, no pain, hurt, upset or heartache- it was so pure. Stacey was in complete peace because she knew that God had it all in hand, not just me and my family, but the beginning from the end of humanity and creation, it’s all taken care off, every last detail. Next I was shown that every sin I had committed against my wife and toward every other person was only ever a sin against God. Every human is created by Him and therefore it is Him alone that we come against. In this revelation, I saw that every sin was left at the gate of heaven through His Son Jesus Christ and in this – I have received a full and new and real as real revelation of salvation. The only thing that matters in this life, is salvation for the eternal one to come. There is no greater priority. Your near death experience of perfect joy and peace is real and assured and having never met you in the flesh my brother, we are sure to do so in eternity. Love Craig (worn to won)

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    • It’s great to hear from you, Craig. I’m so sorry for your loss. So sad. I’m glad that God gave you this powerful revelation. I know it’s brought you much comfort in your grief. I will be praying for you and your family.

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    • Dear Craig and Bill,
      This is exactly what I needed to hear today, Bill and Craig. I am so blessed by both of you and Stacey and Mary. May the blessings returning to you, pressed down, bubbling up and overflowing. And may today be the beginning of a new song as you are led forth, as if the the sea has parted, and the wilderness is behind you. May this be a time of renewal—new life, new hearts, new songs. New birth! He says, “Behold! I make all things new!”
      Thank you,
      Deb

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  34. Bill you have an amazing sense of humor!! God bless you!

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  35. Bill, I’m so relieved the moutpiece was dislodged. I love the look! My late Dad had one of those for me too when he refused to go to the hospital. Your spirit and sense of humor are inspirational. Thank you. I will hold you in my prayers…It’s cool you and my dad have the same name. 🙂

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    • Thank you for your comments and for your prayers, Deb. I’m sorry you lost your dad.

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      • Oh, we had the most blessed last four years together after my had mom passed away. They had shared 62 years of marriage and the time I was able to have with my dad became the stories for my first book! We never know how God is going to use our situations, do we? But we know it will be beautiful. 🙂
        Deb

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  36. Hi Bill,
    I’m glad you are feeling better. I prayed for you and Mary. I too grind my teeth in my sleep but that only started with the ALS. I used to wear a mouth guard but I am unable to open my mouth enough to put it in now. Also, anyone who puts their fingers in my mouth is guaranteed to be bitten. Not on purpose of course. It’s just what happens. I can’t believe you had your mouth guard in your throat for so long! I think I would have panicked. I agree that it is funny. After everything we go through daily, A piece of plastic is what sends you to God? I see the humour. Oh sure, it’s dark and that is okay.
    I have had days where I have made “suggestions” to God on ways he could bring me home. I’m happy to say that I way more days where I tell Him all of the ways that I am grateful for still being here. I know you are the same.
    Be well my friend!
    Lisa Marie Da Ponte xo

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  37. Too funny (in hindsight that is) … I am sure among all the people praying we got pretty much the entire gamut covered … Somehow though, the mouthguard slipped our radar … and down your gullet. Sorry, we won’t let that happen again 🙂

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  38. Oh Bill, I didn’t laugh but I sure smiled because this post is about seeing joy and humor even in the most challenging of life’s situations. I will need to borrow Mary’s mom’s sleeping aid so I can sleep right through any noise 😅
    This part got me, “ My prayers might have been answered if it wasn’t for you people praying that I’d get better.”
    How dare these people pray for their beloved Bill 😉
    Love you and Mary always.

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  39. I am so grateful God chose to keep you around a bit longer and delighted to see your sense of humor. Thank you for making me smile today. 🙂

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  40. Sense of humor is such a treasure! Yes,I agree, you have to laugh 😉

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  41. You got a little choked up!! I’m crying because that is funny!!

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  42. That is FUNNY! BTW, I’m so glad that our prayers are stronger than yours. Looks like we joined forces on that one! 🙂

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  43. Awww, that’s so difficult—and, as you say, really pretty funny. Thank God that He’s given you a sense of humor 🙂

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  44. I get it, Bill! We think we’re going to go out in a blaze of glory, but we end up getting choked by mouth guards. I am also selfishly glad that you are still with us, but I certainly understand the desire and yearning to want to move on. I was reading Revelations this morning and I long for no more tears, no more pain, and a new body! I can’t wait for the day when God dwells with his people, that means us!

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    • Thank you for your prayers, Terri. The Bible reading plan I follow is in Revelation right now. Like you, I really believe this stuff and can’t wait!
      “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain… ” (Revelation 21:4).
      NASU

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  45. Bill, we were praying for you, not to be healed or a home going for you, but for God’s will to be done…obviously, he still has work for you to do. Reading this post made me laugh so hard (now I have to reapply my makeup). I can just picture the whole scenario and, I know you and Mary so well that I could see exactly how it all played out with your description.

    I love you and Mary soooo much. Please let us know if there is anything we can do, something that Mary may not say, but she might need.

    Thanks for being so real!

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  46. I am very glad you got better, praise God! Thank God they were able to get the mouthguard. What a night! I wear a mouthguard at night too. I’m praying for you Bill! God is with you!

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  47. Flet like writing so much in this comment but find myself with less of words..but to sum.it all up all I can say is you are an amazing person Bill.Stay strong.God bless

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  48. Ha! That totally sounds like something that would happen to me. Doesn’t sound like much fun, though…

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  49. It’s good that you can laugh through those moments. We all have a place to go once our residency ends on Earth. If we can fathom that God’s love is so immense that we cannot experience its magnitude here, just think how amazing heaven is!

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  50. Listen Bill, you’re not getting out of here that easy! He still has work for you to do and I am so grateful for that! We love you Bill!

    Liked by 3 people

  51. Quite the story, Bill, and glad it ended well! When we reach glory, there will be eternal laughter. For now, we laugh through the pain, trials, and tribulations. Richest of blessings upon you!

    Liked by 4 people

  52. Oh my!! Sometimes you have to laugh, just so you won’t cry 🙂 I’m glad you are feeling better and that you found some humor in your situation. I get the “dark humor” hehe I would be saying the same thing!

    Liked by 5 people

  53. Clearly I do not grapple with all you do but I have a tooth-grinding problem. I think I will pass on the mouth guard for a while. Selfishly I am glad God still wants you with us.

    Liked by 5 people

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