1. Honestly, I could have used this song to sum up my entire year and laid aside the other items on my list.  This song is “Never Once” by Matt Redman. Redman is probably my favorite worship artist and I fell in love with this song when I first heard it back in September. I just talked about losing my Grandpa on July 6, as many of you probably already knew. What many don’t know about is the intense spiritual battle our family went through just the day before.
   On Tuesday, July 5, 2011, my brother was undergoing his second set of steroid injections in his lower back to ease intense pain from two bulging discs. The procedure went fine, but as he was coming to, the doctor in charge of his procedure joined him and my mom in the recovery room. My mom made a comment in passing about “when Taylor gets better.”
   In what I fully believe was a direct spiritual attack against God’s word that had already been spoken to Taylor and our family about his full healing, the doctor began to repeat over and over again in a very unnatural and combative manner, “Who told you he would get better? People don’t recover from this injury. He is never going to be better. He is never going to get better…never get better.”
   Her words literally started making my brother and mother feel sick.
   You can ask my mom and brother for the full story, which I recommend because there is more than I am even able to fit in this post.
   Late that evening, when it was just the four of us, we spent quite a bit of time in prayer and praise, with the reassurance that the promise of healing was indeed true. Why else would the enemy try so hard to distract and discourage us?

What am I trying to say?
We are not unique.
We are not better.
We are not special.
Other families go through similar trials. Others go through far more intense trials.
I am simply sharing our story.
My brother’s back injury, my Grandpa’s death, other struggles and transitions were all negative events, at face value. They were laden with pain and grief, interlaced with unanswerable questions and wrapped in tears and stress.
But the story doesn’t end there. 
And that is the most important point, the only point, in fact!

Just like the song said, never once did God leave my family alone. Never once, did He leave ME alone. All our victories are because of Him. We were, and continue to be, carried by his constant grace and peace.  In the face of pain and loss, in the very face of what the Enemy meant for evil, God has returned manifold blessings to us.

Our family is closer and stronger than ever before.
Taylor is fully healed and is currently playing basketball WITHOUT any pain at the collegiate level.
My brother and I both had an awesome semester of school: his first, my next-to-last.
Special people have been brought into our lives, in ways that can only be attributed to God.
The list could go on…

More lessons will be learned. More grace and blessings will fall. We do forever breathe in His grace and breathe out His praise. Welcome, 2012!
“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.”
—Proverbs 31:25 

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