Rap Sheet

Hello friends. I have always tried to be open and honest about my health journey. I have never wanted or allowed my health to define who I am. I am a child of God’s. Wonderfully created in His image. A lot of people have reached out to me since my stroke to see what was going on with my health overall. So after praying about it, I have decided to share my medical rap sheet (HaHa). Once again, none of these conditions define who I am. I share this to encourage anyone walking through a storm to stay positive and use their story to encourage others. Please do me a favor. Do not fill my comment section with home remedies or ways to fight these conditions. I have a great medical team taking care of me. Thanks. Here we go….

  • I am only the 28th person in the world to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s and Myasthenia Gravis at the same time. Yeah me!

*Covid Long Haulers.

*Still recovering from a stroke.

*Based on being so many medications over the years, the doctor shared my pancreas is fried. So I have been diagnosed with Diabetes. Currently taking insulin.

As you can see, I am in a real fight. But I am not walking this journey alone. God is walking right by my side. Holding me up when I cannot stand myself. I am blessed with a beautiful bride Laura West Shoemaker, who is an incredible caregiver. I have a wonderful circle of friends standing in the gap. I am blessed with a great medical team. I am thankful I have great insurance. I will continue to fight and share the story God has given me. I am far from giving up. I am excited about the wonderful plans God has for me. Living a blessed life. ~OC

Radical Obedience

Today’s a new day! Radical obedience to Jesus does not seek to conform to the standards set by the world. No, radical obedience to Jesus is completely laying everything at his feet. Radical obedience is pursuing Jesus at all cost. Radical obedience is saying yes to Jesus when he says “Sell it all and go serve me.” Are you walking in radical obedience to Jesus?

I pray every Christian will pray this prayer each morning:

Dear Jesus, fill me with your radical faith that does not waver in hard times.

World Stoke Day

Hello. Since today is World Stroke Day, I thought I would share a little of my experience since having a stroke a month ago. ~OC

*Still cannot remember the days of the week or the months of the year. Thank goodness for my cellphone.

*Still having memory issues.

*Still having difficulty putting words and sentences together.

*Still having weakness on left side and balance issues.

*Still cannot bend over without getting a tremendous headache and dizziness.

*Still very fatigued.

*Still takes me forever to text.

*What I can do:

*I am still breathing.

*I am still walking.

*I am still laughing.

*I am still trying to make a positive difference.

*I am still trying to encourage others.

  • I am still making memories.

*I am still moving forward.

*I am still standing.

*I am still living.

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

Character and Integrity

Today’s a new day! Christians should be the last people on earth posting fake stories on social media or anywhere else. Even unintentionally. As believers, we need to spend the extra time fact-checking before we post something on social media or share a story. Character and integrity should mean something.

This is not a game. When the integrity of God’s people is undermined the truth of the gospel gets called into question. That can come with devastating consequences. And not just for Christians. The eternity of many are at stake. Speaking and posting the truth should always be a higher priority than pushing our agenda or getting likes. ~OC

Halloween

Halloween:

As I scroll through social media, I see a lot of post about Halloween. Some people love this holiday and some do not based on their faith. So as a Christian, I wanted to share my thoughts on this subject. I believe how people of faith react to Halloween is important.

Please do not judge another person on how they decide to celebrate or not celebrate Halloween. Whatever your beliefs about Halloween, live them out for God’s glory. Yes, Christians may differ in our beliefs about this holiday. Maybe some Christian friends chooses not to do anything at all and their family turns out all the lights and refuses to even say the word Halloween. That is their choice. We do know what life experience might have led them to this point of view. Maybe another friend decorates their entire house and embraces this time of year. Once again, we do not know what experience might have led them to this point of view. I personally do not have a problem with either decision. I also do not have a problem with churches having nothing to do with Halloween or other churches having alternative events at their church. Once again their decision.

I encourage all Christians to show love and grace regardless of your point of view. Let our brothers and sisters freely live out their convictions and keep your own convictions between you, God and your family.

Is there a right or wrong answer about how a person celebrates Halloween? I think the only way to know is to seek the Lord on your own about it. He will show you the way for you and your family. ~OC

Your Inner Circle

Today’s a new day! We are influenced by the people we spend time with. We also influence those we hang around regularly. Scripture tells us to guard our hearts. Be careful who you bring into your inner circle. Each person will have an impact on who you are, how you live and what you believe. ~OC

Power of Hope

When we wake up and are still facing the storms of life, we need to reach up to God and grab onto the hand of hope. The bigger the waves, the worries and troubles, the more the stage is set for God to move mightily in calming the waves. God cares about our storms.

One of the lessons God wants to teach us during the storms of life, is to fully trust in Him and not lose hope. Hope is a life changing word. No matter how many tears have filled the boat, how many prayers seemingly unanswered, or how fear grips us there is hope. We can cling into that hope during the worst storms. God will always be by our side as the crashing waves try to take us out. Plant your feet in the beautiful hope of God. ~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

Stop Gossiping

Have you ever been outside watering your lawn and a neighbor comes rushing a across the street to share the latest neighborhood gossip? Or worse, you are in church and a group of folks call you over to share the latest church gossip. We have all been there. How do you react when someone wants to share the latest 411 on somebody. Here are some tips I hope help in the fight against gossip.

* Confront the person sharing the gossip. This can be difficult, but is necessary to stop hurtful gossip.

*Shut it down. Do not even let the person get the words out of their mouth. Once again, not easy but necessary.

*Totally surprise the gossiper and say something positive about the person they are sharing dirt on. You may have to pick them off the floor.

*Remind them that somebody is probably gossiping about them. Check out the look on their face with that one.

*Share true facts about the situation if you have been given permission to do so. Sadly, a gossiper really doesn’t want to hear the truth. Where’s the fun in that? I am kidding of course.

*Turn gossip into a time of prayer. Instead of getting caught up in the gossip, take time to pray for the person or situation.

This is just a small list. Take a moment and come up with additional ways to shut down gossip. ~OC

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