The Boat

Today’s a new day! At one point during my beautiful life, my friendship list looked like a big cruise ship. Many people laughing and having fun. Life was great. Then I got sick and the boat began to get smaller. Of course that was rough to endure, but God gave me peace.

Then I experienced a beautiful miracle and all of the sudden the boat started getting bigger, but most of the relationships were not real. They were based on what God had done in my life. People cared more about the miracle than they did about me. Once again tough to endure, but God guided me through this storm. He even told me on a walk one early August morning, that my inner circle would get smaller. There would be fewer people on the boat. This did not scare me, it actually gave me peace.

Then I had a stroke a few weeks ago and more friends jumped off the boat. This time I was prepared for it. Less phone calls checking in or returning my calls or text. God had clearly prepared me for this time. That doesn’t mean there was not some pain and disappointment.

But as I continue to walk through this new crazy beautiful health journey, I cling to the friends who have decided to stay in the boat with me. The ones who actually reach out to me without any prompting and reassure me they are not leaving the boat regardless of how big the waves get. We will endure together. How blessed to have people in the boat who reassure me they are not abandoning me. Who tell me they don’t care how small the boat gets. No matter how rough the waves become. “Todd, I am not leaving the boat.” How encouraging those words are as Laura and I move through this new storm.

As I wrote the words above, I realized I have never needed rescuing from the boat. God has always been and always will be in the boat with me. He has never thought about abandoning me. I am thankful for those God chooses stay in the boat with me. But my hope and peace comes from God who created the boat and me. The One who can calm the raging seas with just a whisper.

If you are dealing with a storm in your life, look around and see who’s in your boat. When you find them cherish them. During the storms of life, learn to sit in the boat with others. Embrace those in the boat. Encourage those in the boat. Empower those in the boat. ~OC

Conversation With God

Hello. As I walk through this crazy beautiful health journey, God has been sharing and teaching me a lot. I thought I would share some of the lessons and conversations with God.

*I will not experience healing on this side of heaven. Yes, God clearly shared that with me during one of our morning conversations. I am at such peace. There is no fear, worry or anger. Just the sweet peace of God flowing through my life. Do you have that kind of peace?

*Healing comes in many different forms. We get caught up in the miracles we can see with our eyes. Those are beautiful! But God is performing miracles daily that we cannot see with our eyes. Those healings and miracles are just as real as the ones we can see.

*Keep sharing the story God has given me. The thorn in my side is health issues. Still God is using my health issues to minister to a broken world. A broken world that needs the beautiful light of God. A world that needs encouragement.

*Be bold in sharing the true gospel. A lot of false theology being pushed in the Christian community.

*I did nothing to lose my miracle from 2019. My current health battle is not from sin in my life or an evil spirit living in me. That healing from 2019 was real and from God.

*God shared he owes us nothing. Everything He does in our lives is a beautiful gift. A gift of love, forgiveness and grace.

*God will not always answer our prayers the way we want them to be answered, but He will always walk with us through the journey. We have to learn to be okay with His plans for our lives and the lives of our loved ones. Also every trial will produce lessons. We learn more in the valley than on the mountaintop.

*Then Jesus asked me a question. I did not hear the audible voice of Jesus. He asked me “Who has suffered more than me?” Jesus shared he suffered most of his life. Suffering is part of the journey. But as Christians we never want to walk that journey. But by choosing not to embrace the journey of suffering, we are missing out on some incredible lessons Jesus has for us and others.

I pray these words bring you comfort today. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Stay Focused. Finish Strong. ~OC

A Good Friend

Having good friends who love and support you makes life more happy. Making memories with friends is amazing. Having friends who stick with you during your biggest storms is priceless. So my question for everyone is “What makes a good friend?”

  • A good friend is with you during the good times and bad times. If you are walking through a storm keep an eye on those that walk with you and those that bail.
  • A good friend will never judge you. They may speak truth in your life, but it will be done with no judgment.
  • A good friend will never deliberately hurt you.
  • A good friend will always show respect and kindness.
  • A good friend is someone who will support your wildest dreams.
  • A good friend will never gossip about you.
  • A good friend will always be honest with you. Even when the truth hurts.
  • A true friend will cry and laugh with you.
  • A good friend will pick up the phone just to check on you.
  • A good friend will always listen.

This is just a short list qualities to look for in a friend. I encourage you to spend some time making your own list. ~OC

My Incurable Walk

I am often asked how I pray and talk with someone dealing with an incurable illness. For me if comes a little easy because I have been dealing with my own incurable diseases for over 15 years.

For some the thought of speaking to someone dealing with a incurable disease can fill us with fear. Whatever your feeling, you can trust that God hears our cries. He hears even our most desperate prayers. I am grateful for all of the prayers offered up for me during my own crazy beautiful health journey.

When we pray with someone going through the worst storms, it can bring hope to that person. I am always strengthened by the prayers of others. And I am always blessed and strengthened by the prayers of others.

So if you are walking through an incurable storm, I encourage you to pray for others and allow others to pray for you. Allow your incurable walk to help you grow into the person God created you to be. Blessings. ~OC

Dear Stroke

Dear Stroke,

You tried taking me out a few weeks ago. You thought you had me down for the count. But once again God had other plans for me. So God 1 Stroke 0.

I have some things I want to share with you stroke. I want to to know you do not define me. I am not Todd the stroke patient. No, I am The Blessed Overcomer who just happened to have a stroke. You get no victory. God gets all the praise.

Yes, my left side is still weak and I still do not know the days of the week. But I truly believe I will experience complete healing and restoration in those areas. Dear Stroke, you will never win. God and I will not let you. I will push through therapy and continue to make improvements. I plan on ditching the cane one day.

Each and every day I get out of bed and face the challenges of the day and take back everything you tried to steal. The battle is not over. You might be powerful and strong, but you’ve got nothing on the power of God for those–like me and those who pray for me–who believe. ~OC

Angels Among Us

In an earlier post, I shared about the four angels God assigned me. Here is a little update.

On September 15, 2022, I suffered a stroke. I spent some time in the hospital after having the stroke. Every night as I rested in my hospital room, there were four angels surrounding my room. Those angels were protecting me as I dealt with this new medical experience. I was completely filled with peace. There was no fear, as I dealt with the unknown of having a stroke. Those angels gave me strength in the middle of the night. I thought back to that early morning walk in August, when God prepared me for a new journey. I never thought that new journey would include a stroke, but I am excited to see how God uses this new adventure. I will stay focused and finish strong. ~OC

A Walk With God

For the last 20 years, God has been waking me up every morning at 1:00am to talk. Mostly it’s me listening to God downloading some amazing words into my heart. On Saturday August 20, 2022, I experienced something very different.

That morning, God woke me up at 1:00am as usual, but this morning would be different. As God woke me up that morning, he called me to go for a walk. I wanted to go the gym because August in South Florida is warm. Even at 1am. The gym I belong to is open 24 hours a day. But on this Saturday morning the gym was closed. So I started walking. That’s when the adventure began.

As I was a few miles into my walk, all the sudden I saw four huge angels. They were at least 9 feet tall. Two were standing in front of me and two were standing behind me. These angels were dressed for battle. I thought to myself, I must be having a hallucination. But God quickly shared I was not having any hallucinations. These angels were real and God had assigned this four angels to me at birth. I was totally at peace.

God shared I was going to walk through a new journey. One that I had never walked through before. God shared these angels would carry me when I could no longer walk. These angels would protect me and my inner circle during this journey. God shared my circle would continue to get smaller as I walked through this new journey.

As I continued to walk that morning, God filled with with extra strength. I ended up walking 20 miles that morning. God shared he was allowing me to have this one last long walk. This was a gift from Him. ~OC

Skydiving

In September of 2007, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. I thought to myself I needed to mark this moment. So what should I do? I had always wanted to go skydiving. Why would anyone want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane? I got that question a lot. But I always thought it would be a great experience. So, after my Parkinson’s diagnosis, I decided I was going to jump out of a perfectly good plane. On a cool November morning, I filled out some paperwork, watched a video and prepared myself to jump out of a perfectly fine airplane. I was doing fine until I got on the plane and started getting further away from land. I started thinking is this really a good idea? Could I really jump out of a plane? I thought to myself I survived cancer, major surgery, a new diagnosis of Parkinson’s and countless hospital visits. Should I really be jumping out of a plane? I knew this was only fear trying to keep me from this incredible experience. I knew I would regret it if I tapped out and stayed on the plane. No, I was not going to allow fear to keep me from this opportunity. So at 14,000 feet up in the air, strapped to my instructor I decided to jump out. Before we jumped out, the instructor asked if I wanted to just jump out or did I want to do some flips on the way down? If I was going to do this, I was going to do some flips on the way down. What a fantastic view and experience. I loved every minute of this adventure. We landed safely and my wife had a big smile on her face. I think there was some relief mixed in with that smile. Embrace the adventures! ~OC

Seasons

I know what it’s like to have your world come crashing down in a life changing way. In 2002, I entered a season of health issues that would effect my life in one way or another for next 20 years.

My career and love of running were taken away, and I have been fighting for my life for the last 20 years. I have been pushed to the brink in every area of my life. I would never want anyone to endure the journey I am traveling. Yet, in this season I have learned how to find and spread deep and authentic hope, love and encouragement.

During this season, which continues today with the diagnosis of covid long haulers, God has blessed me with the opportunity to share his love in many different circles. To share hope with many who feel hope has slipped away. I have been blessed with the opportunity to encourage others as they walk through their own crazy beautiful journey. This season has not been easy, but I would not change a step. This season has been filled with amazing lessons and memories. A season of beautiful interruptions. ~OC

A Love of Reading

I love to read. My reading journey is a beautiful story of a teacher’s love. A wonderful story of a summer that forever changed my life. Here we go.

I did not always love reading. It did not come naturally for me. Putting words together was very frustrating. But one summer, a neighbor and family friend made it her mission to help a young kid learn how to read. Not just to read, but come to love reading. That person was Mrs.Speirs. She and her husband were both dedicated teachers, who lived two houses down from my parent. I was great friends with their daughters. That summer, Mrs.S took it upon herself to help increase my reading skills. So Monday through Friday, I would walk down to her house for tutoring. Mrs. S, knew I loved sports and used that to her advantage. Upon arriving for tutoring each morning, Mrs. S would hand me the sports page and have me pick out an article, which we would read together. She was very patient as I struggled through the article. Mrs. S would always encourage me and let me know she believed in me. What a gift she had for shaping young minds. After reading the article, Mrs.S would have me explain what I had just read. Once again, she had a lot of patience. As the summer flew by, something amazing happened. Mrs. S did not have to sit with me as much. I began reading the articles on my own. I started sharing what the articles were about without Mrs. S prompting me. The words began jumping off the page. I found myself getting lost in the words. The stories became so real to me.

That summer literally changed my life. From that summer on, reading became a passion. I could not read enough, and books became a huge part of my childhood. I would escape into the stories as I read the words. That love of reading followed me into adulthood. I love to sit around with a good book and let the words flow. Nothing like a great book that puts you right in the middle of the story. I love a book that challenges me to be a better person or one that ignites me to action. That is what reading can do for you. It can change your life.

I am so thankful Mrs. S took precious time out of her summer break, to help a young boy fall in love with reading. ~OC

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