Thursday, January 20, 2022

Breathe - Part One

 


The breath of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life. ~Job 33:4

I'm breathing in your grace, and breathing out your praise . . . ~Matt Redmon, Your Grace Finds Me


Breathe.  In and out.  Day in and day out.

An instinctive activity upon which we rarely ruminate or take pause to consider our consequential fragility if this most mundane of functions were to suddenly cease.

Lying helpless in a hospital bed, oxygen pumping into my pneumonia-riddled lungs at a whopping 10 liters, not even comprehending how thinly my life thread hangs in the balance, I breathe.

Labored, I breathe.

Fear creeping, lurking in the dark recesses of what remains of a mind ravaged by illness, threatens to overwhelm me.

But God.

Do you want a second chance?  I'm giving you one.  Will you decide to take it?  It is a gift from Me, but the acceptance is yours.  It will cost you who you were, but you will have my freedom.  My promise.  My grace.  Decide.

No further explanation from the Lord is necessary.  I have been a smoker for years, not ever having confessed to such here.  I have always had an excuse for my bad habit, in spite of my salvation; never smoking in public, always limiting lengthy interactions with others outside my private sphere, chaining myself to a negative lifestyle that does nothing to enhance my life or the lives of those around me.

Now, I've contracted a renegade form of pneumonia that will be, after lengthy and convoluted diagnosis by the doctors, as one caused by an allergic reaction.  I think all of you easily reach the same conclusion as I do.

Smoking is no more!  Not ever, ever again.

God's breath, His life, His freedom - those become the overwhelming desires of my heart!

From that very moment I surrender to God's grace.

I breathe . . . Aware.  Thankful.  Blessed.

I breathe.

Never again to take such a wondrous gift for granted.

And as I do, my husband, Danny, rallies all my blogging buddies, his friends, our church; and these beloved children of God summon their friends, their churches, their acquaintances, and the myriad prayers rise like a sweet and fragrant, continuous petition into God's listening presence.

Without those prayers?  I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that my healing, though God would have eventually seen to it, could never happen as quickly and decisively as it did.

I realize, in all humility, that I have been the integral part of a miracle.

`

I will continue to detail my journey of healing in subsequent blogs.  I do hope you will join me, and leave your thoughts and reflections in the section provided.

And if you were one of my faithful and tireless prayer warriors, I cannot begin to thank you enough!  Know you and yours are in my prayers of gratitude.

The prayers of a righteous person are powerful and effective. ~James 5:16

Amen!

70 comments:

  1. Praise the Lord for your healing and thanks be to Him.

    Thank you, Martha, for this heartfelt and honest post filled with humility and thankfulness. I continue to pray for you.

    God bless.

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    1. Thank you, Victor, for your continued prayers. I'm getting stronger by the day, and more thankful than ever for God's mercy and grace.
      Love and blessings!

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  2. OH my dear sweet Martha...I cannot tell you how thankful I am for your healing...and for your humble and honest openness to share this journey with us. Yes, we have been praying, and will continue to pray as God continues to heal your lungs and body completely and fully from within. Truly a miracle has taken place, even a bigger one than we knew. How Great is our God! Please continue to take it one step at a time and give your body time to heal. I hope soon there will be some sunshine and warmth that you are able to get outside and enjoy. I know you are anxious to see your sweet little girls again soon. This gift of life is so precious. Praise God He has given you a new start. (((hugs))) and love to you my friend.

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    1. Oh, yes, Pam, I am rejoicing in the fact that God has seen fit, in His mercy, to give me a clean slate and a fresh start. How differently I'm now seeing His majestic and awesome world around me! Thank you for your continued prayers, my friend, as you remain in mine; believe me, I could feel that prayer power in the gloom of that hospital room, shining their light of hope and peace into my heart.
      With every passing day, God's healing continues.
      Love and blessings!

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  3. Martha, I'm so glad you're home! Danny (on facebook) and Bill Grandi (on his blog) have kept us up-to-date. Prayers are answered!

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    1. Yes, Glynn, prayers are answered in a HUGE way! It is so wonderful to be home; I'm gaining strength every day thanks to God's help.
      Love and blessings!

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  4. Praying for continued healing. God is Good.

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    1. Thank you, Regine! Yes, God is good, all the time.
      Love and blessings!

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  5. oh how thrilled i am to see you here again!!! we have been praying for you over at the blog and everyone has been concerned for you. rest well as you recover, as you mend, as you catch your breath in all the ways that matter.

    i am rejoicing this morning, dear Martha!
    xo xo

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    1. Thank you, Linda, for all your prayers and for prompting others to get on board. Whew! Did those prayers ever make a difference! Alone in that hospital room, I could feel the presence of so many loving on me from far away, and how that lifted my spirits and renewed my hope. God is good, all the time!
      Love and blessings!

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  6. I'm so glad you're sharing this. You are honest and I love that. What a difficult journey. But also a good one, I read. The value of hardship is that it can lead us to complete surrender to Him. And where that surrender is, there is true freedom. There He will fight for you and you may be quiet yourself. (Ex. 14:14) He will help you.

    I read this prayer for breath and share it with you:

    "Lord, thank You for blessing my life in so many ways. I know I often don’t deserve those blessings, yet You love me and continue giving to me anyway. Open my eyes and make me see the overwhelming abundance. Give me a grateful spirit. Father, thank You for the air I breathe. Help me to never take that for granted again. Thank You for the breath to serve You and others. Remind me to put that to use for You each day. Amen."

    Source: https://www.guideposts.org/inspiration/inspiring-stories/the-blessing-of-breath

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    1. Oh, how I love this prayer you shared here from Guideposts, Aritha! It speaks right to the heart of what I've tried to express here. Yes, hardship can definitely lead to complete surrender to God - that's exactly where I am and where I want to stay. He is fighting for me!
      Love and blessings!

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  7. Tears spring in my eyes and my heart says, "Thank You, God" that you are on the road to recovery and sharing honest lessons here. Having lung disease and having been in the hospital several times in my life with pneumonia, I truly empathize with you, dear Martha. It makes a person truly appreciate every breath we take, doesn't it? My heart was aching with you. My husband was a smoker but quit for me because it exacerbates my condition, so I know through him how hard it is to quit. So I will continue to pray not only for your full recovery but also for the strength and grace with quitting, that God will remove those urges. Love and hugs and blessings to you!

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    1. Thanks so much, Trudy, for your honesty here, too. Having pneumonia once was quite enough for me, so I can't imagine going through it multiple times. What a loving husband to quit smoking for the sake of your health. Yes, quitting isn't easy, but the nicotine patches are really aiding the transition for me. I'll take the "cheat sheet" on this quiz, that's for sure!
      Every time I do get the urge, and I admit it is faint, I remember the freedom God has promised, and I rejoice!
      Let us celebrate every breath!
      Love and blessings!

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  8. Know that I am both praising God for your return home; and for His help in your battle to break a habit I too long fought. It took two heart attacks and stents to finally put them down in 2009, but it was the second best decision I ever made in my life. I'm praying you achieve a full and complete recovery from your pneumonia my friend; and know we're here with any prayer requests you need. God's blessings precious friend. And by the way, I knew you were a smoker even though we've never met in person.

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    1. I'm amazed that you somehow deduced that I was a smoker, J. D., as I never even intimated it in any of my blogs. You, my friend, have a sixth sense!
      Thank you for being so brutally honest about your addiction to tobacco. It isn't easy to quit, but the nicotine patch is really pulling me along in the positive direction. I am home now, getting stronger every day, and so thankful that God showed me a new way of living more fully for Him and for His glory. All praise be to Him!
      Love and blessings!

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  9. Oh Martha! It did my heart such good to hear (from Pam) that you were recovering; and now, to 'see' you again. How well I know the near-shame associated with smoking. The only reason I quit (back in 2013) was on account of Tom's lung cancer. Despite a 41-year habit, it was miraculously easy to stop. Thanks to the Chantix, the physical cravings were gone before two weeks had passed. Unfortunately, the psychological is something else. The last 6 months I keep entertaining thoughts of buying another pack. Just one. Your powerful testimony has, however, changed my mind. Thank you, dear friend!

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    1. Oh, Myra, I'm so glad to know that I'm not the only one who has had to quit what we both know to be a nasty, unhealthy habit, and that Chantix worked for you. I may look into that on down the road. Right now, the patches are doing their job, my lungs are clear (oxygen average 97-98), and I couldn't be happier. I'm so humbled that my testimony here persuaded you NOT to go out and buy that just-one-pack. Let's stick together on the good side of things!
      Love and blessings!

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  10. Oh my! I didn't know you'd been sick, Martha. I'm so sorry to hear this! :( But I'm glad you're improving now. My prayers are with you too.

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    1. That's why I was such an interim visitor at your blog, Lisa. I've never been so sick in my life! Thanks for the prayers now as I, thankfully, continue to heal.
      Love and blessings!

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  11. Dearest Martha Jane,
    It's exactly one month ago that I left you a comment on your previous post... Never knew that you got pneumonia some time thereafter.
    Sure glad that you're bouncing back to good health and also happy that you finally give up on your smoking habit.
    My Pieter quit cold turkey when he turned 50 and probably that was one of the BEST things he ever did!
    We need our lungs.
    Hugs and continued good healing.
    Mariette

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    1. I'll toast with Pieter as quitting the smokes being the best thing we could have ever done. No COPD down the road, or cancer, for that matter! God's healing power has already improved my lungs and their capacity beyond all expectations. I'm embracing this new-found freedom God is giving me in my submission to Him.
      Love and blessings!

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    2. We lost our best friend due to lung cancer... SAD!

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  12. Martha, you have been and will remain in my prayers and I am praising God that you are home and healing!! Smoking... been there. I quit, cold turkey, in 1983. Joe had asthma and told me that if we were to continue seeing each other, I would have to quit smoking. I did. Those were the days when we could smoke at our desk, at work. All of my friends smoked. But quit, I did. It is doable. Prayers!! xo

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    1. Another testimony that makes such a difference to me and my decision, Terri - thank you for sharing!!! I do remember those days when the workplace was filled with smoke; more people, it seemed, smoking than not. Glad you could quit cold turkey - not easy!!! The nicotine patches are helping me immensely, though I do plan to wean down on them as the weeks go on.
      Thanks for your continued prayers, my friend. Those are what got me through those bleak days/nights in the hospital.
      Love and blessings!

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  13. Oh, Martha, so thankful you are home and recovering. I know Danny said you would be very weak when you were released from the hospital, as I'm sure you are. So honored to pray for you my friend, stand in the gap for you before the Almighty for breath and life and grace and healing. Love and hugs and continued prayers.

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    1. Yes, Karen, I thank you, dear one, for standing in that gap for me during my time of illness and uncertainty. You joined in with hundreds more, some I will never know and never have the joy of thanking in person or here at the blog. I am getting stronger every day, and looking forward to all the new adventures and discoveries the Lord has in store for me. Hope to detail more of these in blogs to come.
      Here's to every breath God gives us!
      Love and blessings!

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  14. Bom dia Martha. Deus está no controle da sua vida. Ele é com você em todos os momentos. Desejo recuperação total da sua saúde.

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    1. Thanks so much, Luiz! God has me well on that recovery road, and I am so grateful.
      Love and blessings!

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  15. So very powerful, Martha. Your testimony stirs memories of a couple of people I loved who were smokers, one of them a "closet" smoker, and who didn't win their battles with cancer. I am blessed and encouraged by your courage to share this window into your life, and demonstration of your faith. I'm also freshly blessed and grateful that God delivered me from my addition to tobacco when I was about 23 (That's been a whole ago, by the way). Leaving it behind was one of the hardest things I had ever done at that point in my life, but it's a battle that I may not have been able to win later on. I love your acknowledgment about the priceless and powerful impact of prayer, both yours and those of us who love who you are and what you do to honor Jesus Christ and to advance His Kingdom. Thank you for your transparency and for allowing us into this part of your life.

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    1. Ron, it was such a relief to finally be transparent about my addiction to smoking. My mother was a life-long smoker, and I do think, looking back, that I started the habit so she and I could actually share something in common; we were always so different, and I always felt I couldn't quite earn her approval, though I know I was wrong on that. Anyway, you are so truthful when you confess that quitting is hard; I have the advantage of the nicotine patch. Every time an urge even flits and floats in my brain, my mind races back to the Lord's promise of His freedom - how deliciously satisfying that sounds! I will hang in there and continue to get better. Glad COPD/cancer are no longer in my long lens of life.
      Love and blessings!

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  16. Words fail me Martha when I try to find a way to express relief and also gratitude to God for your recovery. It never ceases to amaze me as well how God uses ugly situations and turns them into positive life lessons. I have never been a smoker but I know many who have and pray for your complete victory over that. I'm just glad you took that offer of another chance. I look forward to hearing more.

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    1. Bill, when God gives us that second chance, we had better sit up and take notice! That experience was so ground-shattering real for me - I actually heard Him speaking! How can you say "no" to that???
      His freedom is my new hope and promise for the future, and I will cling to Him for all I'm worth. Submitting to the will of the Father in all things.
      Love and blessings!

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  17. Pamela had posted asking for prayer for you and Danny. Of course, we began praying immediately and have not stopped. I am so sorry you have been so sick and Danny too but I love when God speaks to us directly. He is such a lifeline. Many days, including today, I have clung to his safety. Our oldest daughter has smoked and she has loved to blame my parents. But my father had smoked since the days of his childhood. He caught his chair on fire smoking and drifting off to sleep. He tossed those cigarettes in the trash and never looked back. For many it is not easy. My cousin Danny recently passed away and it was Congestive Heart Failure. Years of smoking since he was young but we never knew it. I think he was private about it. My husband, although not raised a Catholic, had a good friend who was a Catholic priest. He tried everything, including hypnosis to stop but could not. My husband would tease him but Pastor Pettit would come back with Scripture and my husband always smiles when we think of him. He felt his calling was difficult, he would say you perform a funeral in the morning and a wedding in the afternoon and it is always difficult to switch gears. IT is easy to understand and I am glad your conversation with the Lord has given you hope to stop. I think sometime this world is filled with too much judgement and not enough kindness. I will be praying for you and your husband and hope you will be much healthier very soon. It is hard to recover from illness. Please take care and know how important you. You always have so much kindness in your heart. You have no idea how good that is to someone who struggles with others bullying. God bless you.

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    1. Oh, Anne, how your heartfelt and honest words here have spoken so deeply to me today! Yes, we all have our struggles with the vagaries and temptations of this life, and we tend to think that our bad habits will never catch up to us. Well, looks like mine had an entirely different idea!
      And God? Well, how can I thank Him enough for His all-too-timely revelation and invitation to submit more fully to Him, that I might taste what true freedom in Him is like. We are only free, indeed, when we are free in Jesus. I feel unbound, unfettered and deeply blessed for the first time in many, many years. May we not judge others, however, as you state here, but to love them and show the same kindness the Lord has shown to us.
      Thank you beyond words for all your prayers, my friend. They were heard, felt, realized, and appreciated beyond measure.
      Love and blessings!

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  18. Oh Martha, I did not realize you had health struggles. It sounds like you are on your way to restoration. I used to be smoker, the Lord delivered me a few months before I actually gave my life to Him, He cleaned the house :) And that was a new beginning. Pray the same is true for you!

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    1. God has certainly convinced me to clean my house, Marja, that's for sure! Like you, so many here have confessed to having been former smokers, so it helps me to know that I'm not alone in this quitting business - the nicotine patch really helps!
      Hope my lengthy illness explains why I wasn't a recent visitor to your blog, my friend. Oh, what a joy to be a t home a recuperating.
      Love and blessings!

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    2. I assumed you were still busy with family visits. I am praying for you!

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    3. I wish it had been as simple as that!

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  19. No doubt this is something in which the Holy Spirit will help; we all have our addictions which only divine help can resolve.

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    1. Absolutely, David! Only God could help me realize the error, perhaps deadly, of my ways. I'm so thankful that I listened and heeded and am continuing to do so as I get better at home day by slow day. Our loving Father's grace is overflowing and all-encompassing.
      Love and blessings!

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  20. Martha,

    Thank you for sharing this; I had no idea. God clearly still has a ministry for you on this earth. I appreciate your transparency here and look forward to reading more of your journey.

    I can tell that God is growing your faith and giving you a hunger for Him, His presence, and His Word.

    Love and blessings!

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    1. So wonderful to see you here, Kim! Yes, I've been brutally honest here, because that is what this situation calls for - no more "hiding" and "denying." God called me out just in time, and thank goodness and His grace, that I had the wherewithall to listen to Him and heed in submission to His will.
      God is definitely growing my faith by leaps and bounds, in ways I could never imagine. I'm filled with joy and hope, trusting in the Lord for everything.
      Love and blessings!

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  21. Martha, you poor dear! Oh, I am SO sorry to know of all you have been going through. I forget where I saw a prayer request for you, but I saw it and prayed and am so thankful God has blessed you to come through this. Your testimony is so powerful! Sending much love to you, sweet friend, and so, so thankful to see your post in our inbox today!

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    1. Cheryl, I am living, breathing proof of God's infinite love and grace. I can't stop being thankful for everything He has done over these last three weeks - nothing short of a miracle!
      Thank you so very much for all your prayers!
      Love and blessings!

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  22. Martha, I wondered why I hadn't seen your blog in my inbox. How very scary for you and Danny.
    Thank you for such a candid post. Praying for complete healing of your lungs and freedom from addiction. No judgment here. Just praise and prayers, my friend.
    Much love to you!

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    1. Thank you, Beckie, for withholding judgment and simply loving as any friend would do - you are such a blessing to me! Yes, this was one of the scariest times I've ever been through, and frightening for Danny, too. He was all but sure he had lost me.
      But God . . .
      Healing with His divine presence in my heart and soul.
      Love and blessings!

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  23. Oh my dear sweet Martha... My heart is overwhelmed by gladness and praise that God brought you through this ordeal. He heard our prayers and answered. And don't forget that little critter in the card declared unto you, "Be healed!" Amen. How grateful we all are you're back writing and glorifying Him - as you always have. You are a beautiful soul, much needed on this earth in this dark time.

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    1. Debra, I can't thank you enough for your kind words here, and for that amazing get well card that brought a smile to my face! Yes, God has certainly done the healing, and continues to work on this old soul with every passing day. Not an easy journey - plenty of bumps along the way - but I'm grateful beyond measure to be here.
      Yes, God did and does answer our prayers!
      Love and blessings!

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  24. Dear precious sis ❤, Wow, sad to hear of your unwellness, but rejoicing to hear of recovering. Truly only the LORD God of glory knows the length depth of our days, and He alone guides us through it.
    You are on my daily prayer list so am sure the Spirit taylored my prayers for you according to your need, as only He can!

    I read this a few days ago, and praying more specifically since.
    But was on iPad, and since latest update won't allow me to comment on any of three web browsers. Annoyingly.

    Now on mobile, Android so okay.. for now.
    Thanks too for comment on my Christian blog.
    You always fill my heart with joy!

    Thanks for sharing, and may God bless and keep you and all whom you love safe and well.
    Prayer hugs, Shaz in Oz. X

    {Wonderful Words of Life - Shaz in Oz}
    {Calligraphy Cards - Shaz in Oz}

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    1. Thank you, Shaz, for all your heartfelt prayers sent from "down under." Yes, prayers do not need tech devices to be shared, and that's a great thing! I'm getting stronger with each passing day, and your continued thoughts and prayers are helping with that.
      Love and blessings!

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  25. sooo good to hear from you and yes I am praying for you continual recovery. You are loved!

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    1. Oh, Jean, it is soooo good to be back! Every day sees a new corner turned, and I am looking forward to discovering how God is healing me and leading me into a better version of myself, the one He's always had in mind.
      Love and blessings, and thanks for all the prayers!

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  26. Hi friend, I am just now reading this, and praying for your continued recovery.

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    1. Thank you, Andy, I so appreciate your thoughts and prayers as I continue down this road to recovery. It's slow and bumpy, but God will see me through!
      Love and blessings!

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  27. SO THANKFUL for you healing. Now praying for God to take away your addiction. One of my ladies from The Well put her cigarettes downs after her cancer diagnosis. I KNOW you can do it too!

    Have you thought how God could have caused all this to happen to give you incentive to put your habit behind you?

    Blessings, My Sweet Friend!

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    1. I have thought of nothing else, Lulu. I know this was absolutely intentional on God's part, and my nicotine patch is working beautifully in subduing any urges I might have to return to smoking. I want only the freedom the Lord has offered me in His infinite grace, and He has assured me that it's mine. Looking forward to discover all He wants me to be/do in this future He's given me.
      Love and blessings!

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  28. So thankful God let you remain here Martha. I feel as you do concerning my life threating bout with my kidneys. I abused them for years not knowing they were silently shutting down. I am left withe 1/3 of one working. Had to do a massive change in meds for that is probably what destroyed them and a lack of enough water which I forsook for soda and tea and coffee. I have a huge sign in my kitchen that says, "just breathe". It reminds me to be thankful I am still alive and at this time not on a machine to clean my blood because my 1/3 of a kidney does not do it so well. But I am still breathing. In and out with thanksgiving.

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    1. Betty, thank you for so candidly sharing your own health struggles here. Who knows to whose heart your words will speak, offering hope and comfort? I do need that same sign, "just breathe," my friend, to remind me day in and day out how the Lord has saved me before I even knew that health crisis was upon me. His miraculous interventions never cease to amaze and astound me. I'm glad, too, He wasn't quite yet ready to take me home to Him - that day will come when the time is right.
      Love and blessings!

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  29. What a delight to see your name in my inbox, Martha! Praise God for His healing; praise God for His strength to empower you toward pristine health!

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    1. Praise God, indeed, Nancy! He has shown me His great mercy and healing, and I am forever grateful.
      Love and blessings!

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  30. Martha , I didn’t know you were Ill, but it is good to hear you are recovering well. We just have to take it easy, so we both can recover and be who God wants us to be. I haven’t been reading much. That is why I didn’t know about your ordeal. I have been in the hospital four times in the last 6 weeks with complications from heart and kidney failure, however; I am on the road to recovery too. God bless you abundantly. FSt healing!!! 🙏🙏🙏❤️❤️❤️

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    1. Oh, wow, Nells, what an ordeal you have gone through!!! Yes, I'm lifting you in prayers for continued healing, my friend, and will continue as the days flow on. So, so happy to hear that you are on the mend at the moment; may God continue to work His miracles within you.
      Love and blessings!

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  31. I am delighted you are home and recovering, Martha.

    I didn't know you had health problems.

    Love, hugs, and blessings!

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    1. Thank you, Veronica. Yes, the pneumonia came on quite suddenly and unexpectedly, but now I'm home and thankful that God saw fit to restore my health. Still have a ways to go, but with the Lord's help, I'll make it.
      Love and blessings!

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  32. What an incredible testimony Martha! How thankful I am for your recovery after such a scary time in the hospital! I will continue to pray for complete healing and recovery of your body, and for the goodness of the Lord to be proclaimed through this miracle that took place for you! Truly there is a great power in prayer! I pray that in those moments of struggles with the bondage of addiction, that the grace and strength of the Lord would be your refuge and source of strength to carry on. With hugs, love and lots of prayers!

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    1. Oh, Marilyn, thank you so much for your continued prayers! Yes, I'm healing, but there are some issues with leg pain that I just saw the doctor about today. Trying to alleviate the pressure with Lasix treatment, so we will see how that goes. One of the complications from having to take steroids. Oh, well, I'd much rather have this discomfort than be stuck in the hospital!
      And yes, the power of prayer can never be underestimated. How it got me through those dark and weary nights!
      Love and blessings!

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His Healing Touch

  And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and...