Hope Has Hands

“Grandma you are so positive that you are killin’ me! You think the trees are beautiful and the grass is green and Grandma, not everything is great!”

 

Dallas and I were riding to Sonic after school when he burst forth those charming words of support. Let me preface his enthusiastic statement with the fact that he had just come home from a day of school with some negative energy running through him. I guess my positive vigor was just a tad overwhelming.

We laughed off his comments and before long Dallas and I began considering the positive things around us. As a Grandma however, it’s difficult for me to see that my nine-year old grandson already gets weighed down with negativity from the external things. I want to put on my Grandma Battle gear and duke out the issues on his behalf! But I know I can’t. Dallas will have to depend on SOMEONE with greater hands and feet than me!

This year our church sang a song in our Christmas musical that I could barely get through without weeping. For me it represents not only the reason that I remain positive in a sometimes negative world, but why I know that Dallas will be able to withstand the battle. Because both Dallas and I accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior at the age of seven, we have Hope. Our Hope has hands and feet no matter what our circumstances in life.

And sometimes we just need to be reminded that the trees are beautiful!

 dallas 1 Hope Has Hands

In search of a child they travel so far
Led by a star to a place of joy
Now the wise men tell a beautiful story
Describing the glory of a baby boy
Hope has hands
Freedom has feet
Truth will stand
The  word will speak
The holy and lowly will finally embrace
For love has a heartbeat
And grace has a face
Compassion has a tear
Joy has a laughter
And here ever after peace has a smile
Redemption’s blood has veins to flow in
A temple to glow in
Light is a child
Hope has hands
Freedom has feet
Truth will stand the world will sleep
The holy and lowly will finally embrace
For love has a heartbeat
And grace has a face
The holy and lowly will finally embrace
For love has a heartbeat
Love has a heartbeat
And grace has a face

Luke 2:25-32

The Message (MSG)

25-32 In Jerusalem at the time, there was a man, Simeon by name, a good man, a man who lived in the prayerful expectancy of help for Israel. And the Holy Spirit was on him. The Holy Spirit had shown him that he would see the Messiah of God before he died. Led by the Spirit, he entered the Temple. As the parents of the child Jesus brought him in to carry out the rituals of the Law, Simeon took him into his arms and blessed God:

God, you can now release your servant;
    release me in peace as you promised.
With my own eyes I’ve seen your salvation;
    it’s now out in the open for everyone to see:
A God-revealing light to the non-Jewish nations,
    and of glory for your people Israel.

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I Lay My Traditions Down

Thanksgiving and Christmas are my favorite holidays!

I look forward to getting out all the decorations, planning the meals, buying the gifts, entertaining, going to parties, and so on. I love it all! The holidays will be much simpler for the Brady household this season as, “I Lay My Traditions Down.” The focus of this time is to make certain that Beth is on the road to recovery.

 

“Gene and I enjoyed a lovely Thanksgiving at the prison with Jason. When families get together, you can choose joy, no matter what your circumstances are. Whenever I get discouraged, my precious Mama always says, “Have you thanked Him yet?” Then she points me to 1 Thessalonians 5:16-23. “Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens.” Carol Kent

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An amazing writer and speaker, Carol Kent posted the previous comment on Facebook. Carol wrote a book called, “When I Lay My Isaac Down: Unshakable Faith in Unthinkable Circumstances.” Her book is about a mother’s faithfulness against a seemingly hopeless situation. She continues to “Lay her Isaac Down” daily in the way she lives out her life. What a blessing she is to others.

hunger games It gently reminded me even though my circumstances this year were not ideal for our traditional family thanksgiving dinner, there were many who may never experience what is perceived to be the perfect thanksgiving celebration or any other family traditions for that matter. From time to time life situations will not permit traditions to take place.

On Thanksgiving, Beth, Gabe, Dallas, Paul, and I huddled together around her hospital bed with our Styrofoam containers filled with turkey, dressing, and all the trimmings. Everyone had a place to sit including Paul who found a perch on the portable walker. We laughed and enjoyed each other’s company and thanked God for the miracles and blessings of these past few weeks. We spoke to our family members on the phone and connected with each of our friends through social media. It truly felt as if our table was full!

   

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mattchristy and christianAs “I Lay My Traditions Down,” constantly I will give God the Glory for each new day that He grants me. Each situation will remind me that the most significant “tradition “ I need to bring to this holiday season or any day is the good news that Jesus, Christ, is the Savior of the world!

If we trust Him as our personal Lord and Savior, no matter what life circumstances may occur, we can count on Him to be present at every occasion. With Jesus in our lives, our table will always be full.

 

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Luke 2 The Message (MSG)

2 1-5 About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David’s town, for the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancée, who was pregnant.

6-7 While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.

8-12 There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.”

13-14 At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises:

Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.

15-18 As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.

19-20 Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!

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New Feathers!

The day before yesterday, I posted updates on Beth’s progress, “We are praying that we have turned the corner on recovery. It seems as if the nausea may have been due to the Chemo. Beth is walking regularly and even ate a couple bites of Jell-O and some sips of Sprite. Watching to see if it all stays down!”
By nightfall the update included “Still progressing, 2 clear meals (somewhat) and 15 laps around the nurse’s station! I am so proud of her.”

Yesterday, however, the update should have read: “Beth is exhausted!”

Beth and Dallas at

I’m not at all surprised. She really pushed herself these past few days. There was a moment yesterday when I had to remind her as she was returning to bed that she was still hooked up to half a dozen wires dangling from a pole.

Her doctor repeatedly tells us that there will be good and bad days. As PRAYERLEADERS (my new word for you (instead of cheerleaders), we all wait, hope, and expect Beth to get healthy swiftly. And we appreciate all the praying and cheering!

I am confident that God does the healing, in His time. She must wait, I must wait, we all must wait.

“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” NASB

Beth is getting new feathers!

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  • During the first year of a bald eagle’s life, its feathers go through a series of feather molts and color changes. Silky down feathers at its hatching are gradually replaced by stronger flight feathers by the time they can first fly at about 12 weeks of age.”
Beth will have to “pass through” the progression of getting new and healthier feathers in order to fly. The process for Beth to get out of bed requires assistance from others. She must wait for help and it forces her to slowly remain still until I can get everything in place. In the meantime, her body begins to adjust to standing, keeping her from undoing the healing that has occurred already.
Beth and I were taking one of our daily walks around the nurse’s station. She said that our roles were reversed. She mentioned that I should be the patient and she should be taking care of me. Jokingly she said, “I guess, I am taking one for the team.”

God knows whose wings He can count on!

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Daily Beth and I are gaining strength. In the waiting we continue to “mount up close to God.” Until the Lord fully renews her wing strength, Beth is greatly blessed to have a crowd of PRAYERLEADERS cheering each time she bounds from the nest. Eventually, we will all give Glory to God as her magnificent, flight wings expand and she soars!

 

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Not Home Yet!

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A Symphony!

“What a beautiful symphony of intercession going up to Father God for Beth and your family. We know He is moved by the prayers of His people and He is doing great things!”

Happy-thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is fast approaching and I am undeniably thankful for countless things.

But today more than ever, I want to thank my Lord for all of you who have continually prayed for Beth and our family. As one of our church members Rhonda Gillespie, stated,

“What a beautiful symphony of intercession going up to Father God for Beth and your family.”

When God’s people pray, He listens! And we are expecting GREAT AND MIGHTY RESULTS!

james

MD Anderson would never be a place I would choose to spend Thanksgiving.

As I sit in the surgical waiting room, I watch others in our area. The family across from us found out this morning that their father’s brain cancer has doubled in size since last week. My heart aches to see them suffer. Many tears have been shed throughout the morning already.

prayerEveryone around us is directly affected by a family member or friend who has cancer. I can see the stress, the pain, the sadness, and the anxiety in their faces. There is a part of me that wants to go to each of them and say. Can I put you on our prayer chain? I know people that WILL intercede and PRAY for you.

I WANT TO TELL THEM ABOUT THE SYMPHONY!

When own my heart starts to be affected by my daughter’s cancer, suddenly my own SYMPHONY begins to ring louder and louder until it overcomes my fears, doubts, and anxieties. I can hear it in my heart and see it on my computer (thanks to FACEBOOK and email)!

Then it feels like Thanksgiving once again. I know that my table is full and filled with a symphony of intercession constantly praying for Beth and our family throughout this journey.

Not Home Yet,

mom teresabrady

I Give Up!

 1380749_10201823348612740_1421986716_nFrom the time Beth was two-years old she was a determined little girl. If she wanted something to go her way, she wouldn’t “give up” until she made it happen. Paul and I would tease each other that we better watch out or before long that tiny two-year old be running the entire household. Eventually, we could gang up on that two-year old and win. But she could put up quite a battle. God made Beth that intelligent, steadfast, beautiful way!

It’s an extremely good thing that she doesn’t “give up” easily because if she hadn’t been that determined woman during this past year, the doctors would have not found the cancer again. Her will and fortitude have allowed our family to not have to consider hospice in the near future but instead to prepare for major surgery and hope for a miracle at MD Anderson on November 15.

Time and again, throughout this battle with cancer, Beth has been the one who has had to observe, research, and make certain she is getting the best treatment available. Beth’s cancer is so exceptionally rare that in truth, the majority of doctors will just shrug their shoulders and turn away. They have no idea what to do with her.

Consider what it would be like it if doctors actually sent you letters and dropped you as a patient just because they “gave up” on you? Their words are terminal, therefore, set your plans in order.  At the age of 31, would you “give up?” Throughout these past couple of years, many people have given up on Beth as well. Often they aren’t brave or strong enough to walk this journey with her and they “give up.” There are days when Beth can barely make it out of bed and she feels like “giving up.” As a mom, I hurt for her. We all struggle. Where should we be? How often? When? On those weary and worn days, we all want to “give up” at times. On the other hand, what about Dallas? bethdaGabe? We constantly pray, God, please bring healing. Bring it today! WE NEED A MIRACLE, LORD!!! 

beth-and-me[1]Since the day I found out I was to become a mom, I fell head over heels in love with both of my girls. Yes, they are my world, the picturesque days and the not so sweet days. It doesn’t matter. I’m their mom. When they celebrate, I celebrate. When they hurt, I hurt. Paul grins at me and says, “Now, how many times have you talked to them today?” I tell him, “Who’s counting.”  Besides, I talk to my own mom, rather often as well. Truthfully, there is something special about moms and daughters.  God made us for relationships with each other. To mentor, to love, to hold tightly, to be together through crisis, sickness, marriages, births, deaths, and all that life brings. I count it a privilege that my both of my daughters want their mom to be there when these life events happen. And for this reason, once again…that is where I plan to be in the days ahead.

Our daughter, Bethany Provencher, has a very rare form of cancer as many of you know. We appreciate that people from all over the world have prayed for our family since July of 2010 when this horrible disease was discovered in her body. Beth has been through many difficulties since first learning of her cancer, more than I could ever put into words. (Read her page on Beth’s Journey). The unfortunate side of her type of cancer is that it never really goes away according to the doctors. (We are still praying for a MIRACLE!!!) Once it is large enough to show up on a scan it is time to do something major. And that is where we are again.

Beth has tried to live life to the fullest. But as the days progressed, the pain worsened. For over a year she kept telling me that she felt like the cancer was growing in the same place as where it originated. She knew her body and she was right. It has additionally grown in other areas as well. Beth is a fighter and God has gifted her with determination!

“I won’t give up.” That resolve that frequently we wanted to harness when she was younger, I want to let loose! I am asking God to use this unshakable determination that He has given my daughter to help her fight for the battle of her life! We need healing beyond anything we can even imagine.

 “I give up, God” can be one of the most difficult phrases to utter as a mom. I realize that I can’t win this battle for Beth and as a mom and I wish I could. This battle belongs ultimately to Beth and the Lord. I’ll stand watch in prayer but I must “give up”, and let God win this battle!

I Give Up! From my hands to God’s Hands

Lord, she was your daughter first

I Give up!, from my hands to God’s Hands

Lord, give her peace, calm her fears

I Give up!, from my hands to God’s Hands

Lord, restore her health, we need a miracle

Yes, I Give up!, from my hands to God’s Hands

Lord, from my will to your will!

 

30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint

Isaiah 40:30-31 (NIV)

 

 

For those who would like more information on Beth’s surgery at MD Anderson on November 15, 2013. Please check out her page (Beth’s Journey).

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One More Day

Focus on the Family, a well respected family and marriage resource group posed a question this week.

How would you spend one more day with your dad?

If you could turn back the clock and spend one last day with your father, what would you do?

Or if your dad is still living, what would be the ideal way to enjoy his company?

With Father’s Day approaching, how will you spend it? Repeatedly, we put more effort into Mother’s Day then how we spend Father’s Day. We justify this with by saying that dad really doesn’t want all the fuss. That’s most likely a true statement. Abandon the ties! What he actually needs is our love, respect, time, encouragement, and support.

370121_100001580371678_94716463_nOne more day with my daddy would be listening to him preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s when I love him the most! It makes me so proud that he continues to follow God’s call on his life even through his retirement years.

Spending one more day with daddy would positively include sitting across from him and my mom in their living room, sharing stories, sharing ministries, getting tons of advice and encouragement. Honestly, visiting with them is my favorite thing to do these days! They encourage us that no matter how difficult the journey, God is faithful. christmas 2011 098

One more day with daddy would be to hear him laugh. He has the greatest laugh. Occasionally, we have to make him stop, because he laughs so hard he cries.

 

Thanksgving 2011 013One more day with daddy would be spent viewing all his slides and pictures that he has taken of us throughout the years. Of course, we couldn’t get it done in one day. He loves to take them and we certainly opposed him in our early days, but now we are so thankful for them.

One more day would include watching him love on my mom. He still sees her as his young bride and after 54 years, he only has eyes for her. 557498_324665507596126_1457715617_n

One more day with him, would be to hear his story of how Jesus changed his life years ago and the difference that He has made since.

My one more day list could go on forever. After writing down a few things, I’ve decided that I really need a lot more days.

I’m not waiting one more day to let my daddy know that I love him. How about you?

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Exodus 20:12 – “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”(NIV)

 

 

PS. Daddy, I know you are reading this…Happy Father’s Day!  I love you!

 

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His Story

Someday I am going to write a book.

 

Often I share with others how my story will be written down when God stops doing so many amazing and exciting things in my life.

Perhaps then I will sit down and compile it all into a manuscript. The overall theme would absolutely be how God continues to create beautiful things out of what I once considered frequently lost.

When our daughter, Beth discovered she had cancer, she was in the process of trying to have another child. Paul made the statement that her longing to give life could have possibly saved her life. What many do not know is that from that time forward, she and her husband, Gabe have been seeking and praying about the possibility of fostering or adopting.

As a mom, there was a portion of me that honestly thought at first that maybe she needed to focus on just getting well. As time went on, she became more and more persistent. Eventually, I realized that her heart was moving in this direction and there was no way it was changing. Beth would say to me over and over again, “Mom, this is a ministry that I can do.”

A few months ago after much prayer, she and Gabe began the application process. They took the training and got their home prepared. Beth began stocking up on baby, toddler, and children clothing and equipment. Each time we would visit their home there would be another baby or child item in the corner, hallway, or bedroom. As I watched her through this nesting process, I could see renewed hope. God was giving her a new purpose and vision.

Last Friday, Gabe and Beth signed their final contract to be foster parents. Two hours later, they received their first phone call. With a little fear and trepidation by all, foster parents; newborn baby girl and toddler boy met each other for the first time a few hours later.

Dallas had been staying at our home that day. As we were preparing him for things to come, he looked in the oven where I was baking some Zucchini bread and said, “Grandma, I need to take the big one, because we have five people at home now.”

When we took him home, it was one those moments that I will reflect on forever. Dallas ran into the house and immediately sat down and played with the two year old.

Beth took me into the bedroom where the newborn was sleeping.

I looked over at her and she said, “Mom, I’m in Heaven.”

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The cancer has changed a great deal of our lives.

Beth’s longing to give life has re-scripted our stories in ways we would not have thought to pen.

Each day I am realizing that it is not my story to write, but His story.

My role is to play the part He writes for me.

Nothing is lost when He does the writing.

Beth’s longing to give life is once again, saving lives.

 

These days while reading and watching His story unfold, it appears to be one of the most beautiful stories ever written. And we are all blessed to be a part of it!

Psalm 10:14

New International Version (NIV)

14 But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you
you are the helper of the fatherless.

 

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Right Under My Nose


“I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet simple things of life, which are the real ones after all.” Laura Ingalls Wilder.

vacation 2012 061

Paul and I discovered first hand that you don’t have to go very far to enjoy a genuine vacation.

Last week we were scheduled to get away for a much need break. We had reservations to go to the lake with a couple of friends and then go on a motorcycle ride for the remainder of the week.

Plans change when you have family.

On Thursday before the vacation, not one, but both of our daughters ended up in the emergency room. Christy was able to go home that day, but Beth ended up staying in the hospital until Sunday. She seemed to have a virus and it took her until Wednesday to get better. Needless to say, we stayed close to home.

 

Our time at home turned out to be one of the most enjoyable vacations ever. We began the week trying to get the inside of the house caught up. Paul and I turned my bedroom into a resort hotel room and bathroom by repainting and redecorating. We spent what it would have cost for a couple of nights rental. Now I will have a vacation retreat all year long. vacation 2012 002vacation 2012 007

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The second half of the week was spent in our backyard. I picked blackberries from a wild blackberry patch that is on the hill behind our house. After that Dallas and I made a blackberry pie. He probably made most of the pie himself.

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We picked green beans from the garden and we learned to can them!

This is a first for both Paul and me. We have put up seven whole quarts but looking at the garden, I think our work is cut out for us this summer.

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Traveling down a path Paul had made last fall on our property, I got to see the wild sand plums that will be ready soon. I suppose plum jelly making will be my new thing to learn as well.

 

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We harvested zucchini, yellow squash, peppers, carrots, onions, cauliflower and broccoli. There was some fabulous home cooking going on at the Brady household last week. No fast food. vacation 2012 032vacation 2012 046vacation 2012 045vacation 2012 043vacation 2012 033vacation 2012 034

At one point during the week Paul asked me if I wanted to go to the movies. I looked at him and said, “No way, I like it here too much!” Consequently, we rented a movie and stayed home. We finished out the week with family dinners, a short motorcycle ride and some rest and relaxation.

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Time and again, we feel disappointed when our plans are interrupted. But His Providential plans exceed all of ours! Last week, God reminded me that I have so much to be grateful for.

And it is

Right under my nose!

I don’t need to go anywhere else to see it!

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The well of Providence is deep. It’s the buckets that we bring that are small.

Mary Webb

Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

 

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Give Him all I have!

My job as a recruiter carries me to five different counties in Oklahoma. While traveling I appreciate my personal time of reflection with God through prayer and praise. Generally you will find me tuned into Christian radio. Often the words to the songs will inspire me to make better choices for the day ahead.

A week or so ago, while driving I heard a song that moved me more than most.

It was called, “Live Like That.”

It spoke of how I want my life to be remembered. It reminded me of how each day should be a reflection of Christ in everything we say and do. No matter what type of position or responsibilities we have, we need to give all to the glory of God! We should never hold back loving others as Christ has loved us.

Wouldn’t you know it, while walking from merchant to merchant that very day, God would provide me an occasion to give all!

As I inquired of a lady for assistance with my cause, she shared with me about her own needs. She communicated the difficulties of raising her own four grandchildren and dealing with her adult children. If I had been just doing my job without thinking about giving God the glory, I would have left my wares and turned to leave.

Providentially, I knew what we must do next. Before long, we were both sharing a prayer to the One who gave all He had!

I Want to Live Like That!

I Want to Give Him all I have!

 

 

 

1 Corinthians 10:31

New International Version (NIV)

31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.(A)

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When did your life change?

Last Sunday Paul’s message was loud and clear.

Fathers, whatever you do, make sure that you tell your sons and daughters you love them and that you are proud of them.

In all sincerity, I must say my parents didn’t lack at all for those treasured words. “I love you” was spoken daily during my childhood and even now.

As a Christian, I would like to include an additional item to the list. This needs to be shared as many times as possible in our homes. 

It is our testimony.

That life change moment when you surrendered your life to Christ.

When did you last share your story with your family, friends or loved ones about when you received Christ as your personal Lord and Savior? Have you ever? Since Dallas received Christ this past year and was baptized he repeatedly asks me about my salvation experience.

“Grandma, when did you ask Jesus into your heart?”

“At seven, Dallas.”

“You were baptized at seven, just like me, weren’t you?”

“Yes, I was Dallas.”

My greatest accomplishment would be that when I am no longer on this earth, my children would never have to worry or question about where their mom or grandma is spending eternity.

Dear Family, Friends, and loved ones,

I love you, I am proud of you and because I asked Jesus into my heart when I was seven years old at Cincinnati Avenue Baptist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the end of a Revival service, I have a hope of eternal salvation in Jesus Christ my Lord!

My life changed when I was seven.

My prayer would be that you would have a life change as well.

Romans 10:9-10New Living Translation (NLT)

9 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

 

Paul’s Mom-Patricia Brady Leake

on Mother’s Day of 2011

sharing her Life Change Testimony!

Patricia Brady Leake on Mother’s Day 2011 sharing her testimony

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