God Sends An Angel To The ER

My son was born with cerebral palsy.  He was a premature baby and was always susceptible to getting sick.  He was in and out of the hospital and it was tough as a single mom meeting his needs.

When he turned 5 he came down with a horrible cold.  I wasn’t receiving child support.  I didn’t have insurance, and I was barely getting by.  I tried everything homeopathic to help, but it didn’t work.  I gave in and called his father and asked for help to get him to a doctor and he refused to pay anything.

Finally, at my wits end, I picked him up and carried him to the ER crying hysterically and afraid.  He had puss dripping from his ear and the side of his face was swelling.  He had a terrible cough, and I was terrified it was pneumonia.

When I arrived at the busy ER, a doctor was coming down the hall.  Seeing me crying, he walked our way and asked what was wrong and then he looked at my son.  He immediately had the nurses take us back to a room and followed us in.  I explained to him my financial situation and he looked at me and smiled.  He said, you did the right thing.  You are at the right place, and we will take good care of him.  He gave my son a shot of antibiotics to immediately jumpstart his immune system.  He then went down the hall and grabbed a bag.  He filled the bag with antibiotics so that I would not have to pay for more when I left the hospital.  He explained to me how to tent his bed with a humidifier when he was congested.  He gave me his number and told me if my son wasn’t better in 24 to 48 hours to call him.  Then he did something I could not believe.  He looked at the nurse and said I am paying this bill tonight.  This one is on me.

I knew God was present that evening.  I felt him there.  He sent us an angel.  He is always there.

The Blue Rose

A Stranger Called Her Disabled Son A ‘Blue Rose.’

I don’t know how you do your shopping, but when I go into a store, I have a list and a mission — get in and get out. Come to think of it, most of my day is spent like that — a list of tasks I’m focused on checking off.

There’s nothing wrong with being goal-oriented. But I recently came across a story that’s been circulating on Facebook, and it reminded me that God’s to-do list always trumps our own, and for good reason. Otherwise, you might miss out on a very special blessing!

Like many inspiring movies and books, this short story may be fictional. However, the impact that this work will have on its readers is very real. Enjoy!

Credit: ThinkStock

Having four visiting family members, my wife was very busy, so I offered to go to the store for her to get some needed items, which included light bulbs, paper towels, trash bags, detergent and Clorox. So off I went. I scurried around the store, gathered up my goodies and headed for the checkout counter, only to be blocked in the narrow aisle by a young man who appeared to be about sixteen-years-old. I wasn’t in a hurry, so I patiently waited for the boy to realize that I was there. This was when he waved his hands excitedly in the air and declared in a loud voice, “Mommy, I’m over here.”

It was obvious now, he was mentally challenged and also startled as he turned and saw me standing so close to him, waiting to squeeze by. His eyes widened and surprise exploded on his face as I said, “Hey Buddy, what’s your name?”

“My name is Denny and I’m shopping with my mother,” he responded proudly.

“Wow,” I said, “that’s a cool name; I wish my name was Denny, but my name is Steve.”

“Steve, like Stevarino?” he asked. “Yes,” I answered.”How old are you Denny?”

“How old am I now, Mommy?” he asked his mother as she slowly came over from the next aisle.

“You’re fifteen-years-old Denny; now be a good boy and let the man pass by.”

I acknowledged her and continued to talk to Denny for several more minutes about summer, bicycles and school. I watched his brown eyes dance with excitement, because he was the center of someone’s attention. He then abruptly turned and headed toward the toy section.

Denny’s mom had a puzzled look on her face and thanked me for taking the time to talk with her son. She told me that most people wouldn’t even look at him, much less talk to him. I told her that it was my pleasure and then I said something I have no idea where it came from, other than by the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I told her that there are plenty of red, yellow, and pink roses in God’s Garden; however, “Blue Roses” are very rare and should be appreciated for their beauty and distinctiveness. You see, Denny is a Blue Rose and if someone doesn’t stop and smell that rose with their heart and touch that rose with their kindness, then they’ve missed a blessing from God.

Credit: ThinkStock

She was silent for a second, then with a tear in her eye she asked, “Who are you?”

Without thinking I said, “Oh, I’m probably just a dandelion, but I sure love living in God’s garden.”

She reached out, squeezed my hand and said, “God bless you!” and then I had tears in my eyes.

God’s blessings are all around us. But sometimes we miss out on them, either because we’re too busy to notice them or we’re too afraid to answer God’s call. God will often ask us to step out of our comfort zone — to step out of the boat. But when we step out in faith and keep our eyes on Him, we get to be a part of amazing things!

I pray the next time you encounter a blue rose, you’ll take the time to say hello. And the next time you feel that stir in your heart to step out of the boat, come back and tell us how God blessed you for obeying the call!

A Woman’s Fight To Escape A Violent Marriage

To call Fraidy Reiss an inspiration is an understatement. She speaks with poise and purpose about oppressed women who are growing up in Ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities — not in some distant country, but right here in the US.

 

Pictured: Fraidy Reiss Credit: The NY Times

She explains how these communities exist in New York and New Jersey, and how their women are expected to cover their hair along with nearly every part of their skin. They are deprived of a proper education, and as teenagers, are forced into arranged marriages, where they will spend their lives doing as they are told and caring for the childre

Being born a female in one of these communities means no college, no job, no choice. And Fraidy knows all of this because she spent most of her life trapped in exactly these circumstances.

 

Credit: “The Hen That Crows” Movie Trailer

At 19, Fraidy’s family arranged for her to marry a man who was essentially a stranger. She was introduced to him through supervised meetings and only three months later were wed. But having grown up secluded from the outside world, none of this concerned the young girl.

“It never occurred to me that I was doing anything other than what I had always dreamed of doing,” Fraidy says.

 

Credit: “The Hen That Crows” Movie Trailer

But that dream quickly turned into a nightmare when Fraidy learned that her husband was a violent man. Just one week into the marriage, he awoke late one morning in a rage — cursing and shouting. He punched a hole in the wall and then left for work, leaving Fraidy trembling in fear.

The incidents only got worse, and he’d regularly describe in graphic detail how he was going to kill her. Within the community, only men were allowed to request a divorce, so Fraidy turned to her family, then her in-laws and finally the rabbis for help. Her appeals were all met with the same response — her husband was a good guy, but just had a bit of a temper. She even tried once to get outside help — going to police after an especially violent episode to try to get a restraining order.

“I realized too late that one of the gravest sins in the Orthodox Jewish community is ratting out your fellow Jew to secular authorities,” she says.

 

Credit: “The Hen That Crows” Movie Trailer

An attorney from the community went with Fraidy to family court and told the judge that she was dropping the request. With no job and no education, Fraidy feared there was no way out.

 

At 27, her situation had not improved and Fraidy finally decided it was time to take a stand. She defied her husband, her family and the entire community by becoming the first woman in her family to go to college, graduating at age 32 from Rutgers University with a journalism degree.

 

Credit: “The Hen That Crows” Movie Trailer

Her family declared her dead and completely shunned her. But Fraidy was now determined to escape the chains that had held her prisoner for most of her life. She got a job and was finally able to support herself and her two daughters. She endured stalking, harassment and death threats, but never gave up and finally succeeded in divorcing her husband, gaining custody of her two daughters and getting a restraining order.

Fraidy’s courage and perseverance is only the start to what makes her such an inspiration. She’s well aware that her story of triumph is not the result for most women trapped in these communities. And that’s why she started the non-profit organization, Unchained At Last, where she is giving a voice to the terrified women trapped in these situations.

 

Credit: Instagram / Unchained At Last

Many of the women and girls who want to escape these communities and the marriages that are often violently forced upon them do not have the means to do so, and are regularly subjected to threats and intimidation. They also live under the very real fear that they will lose custody of their children if they flee the community. Fraidy says this is because religion is one of the stability factors considered during custody battles, and often judges award custody to the parent who will continue to raise the child in the same religion as before the family breakup.

So, in addition to sharing her story as a way to raise awareness of these extremist communities, Fraidy and Unchained At Last also work to provide legal services and emotional support, as well ways for these women to gather the strength and means to rebuild their lives. Of the 90 women the organization has helped, nearly all were forced into marriage, and most have been from New York, though one was from Arizona.

 

Credit: Instagram / Unchained At Last

Fraidy and her organization are incredibly devoted to truly changing women’s lives. One of the women Fraidy has helped to save is Ditty Weiss, who spent 10 years in an abusive marriage before finally getting up the courage to leave her husband and their intensely Orthodox community.

After seeking help from Unchained At Last, Fraidy lined up two prominent Manhattan lawyers to represent Ditty in court. Fraidy personally babysat Ditty’s children when she had to undergo cancer surgery. For the following chemotherapy treatments, Unchained At Last gave her the money needed to hire a caregiver and purchase a used car. It’s the type of life-altering kindness and support that Ditty will never forget.

“I cannot even describe,” Ditty recalled, “what it’s like to have an angel sweep down and kiss you on the forehead and then hold your hand and tell you, ‘I’m not letting go until you’re O.K.’ ”

It’s terrifying to know that women as young as 10 are being forced into marriage right here in the United States. We pray that Fraidy’s story will help to put an end to this practice, and that other women being trapped against their true will are given the strength and support to escape.

Fraidy will be featured in an upcoming full-length documentary called “The Hen That Crows.” The film will show women from various religious backgrounds and how they’ve escaped their arranged marriages.

Soldier’s Testimony From Suicide to Saved

Chad Robichaux risked his life as a police officer and a military man. But after being surrounded by so much pain and death he was suffering terribly from PTSD. He couldn’t escape the desire to kill and the pain he had being at home. Time and again he tried to end his life. Until one day he realized his wife and kids needed him. So he looked for help in the church. And hearing how God changed him and his family will inspire you! This I Am Second testimony you need to hear!

Lourdes Shrine Officially Records 69th Miracle

.- The famous Marian shrine in Lourdes, France has received an official declaration from the Bishop of Pavia, Italy stating that the 69th miracle has taken place there.

“I have the joy of reporting to everyone my healing, which just a few days ago was approved as a miracle by my bishop, which is a beautiful thing,” said Mrs. Danila Castelli, who experienced the miracle on May 4, 1989 after visiting the baths in Lourdes.

Castelli said in an interview posted July 18, 2013 on the Lourdes Sanctuary’s YouTube channel that she wants to “thank Our Lady for all of the joy I’ve received, not just the joy of a healed body – which is also important because health is a gift of God and we have to protect it and ask for it, life is a gift – but the joy that Our Lord has given me throughout my entire life for as long as I can remember.”

However, her condition did not improve, and in Nov. 1982 surgeons removed part of her pancreas. It wasn’t until 1983 that doctors discovered a tumor near her bladder and conducted several surgeries between then and 1988 to try and resolve the issue, all without success.

Danila was planning on visiting the Mayo Clinic in the United States in 1988 when she decided that she would instead make a pilgrimage to Lourdes, fulfilling a longstanding desire.

Together with her husband, an Iranian-born doctor, she made the trek and emerged from the sacred baths with an “an extraordinary feeling of wellbeing.”

Her husband waited for her at the exit, and as soon as he saw her he said, “Danila, I know that everything now has passed. I know that everything is behind us.

“You were right,” he said, referring to her years-long desire to visit Lourdes.

She reported her allegedly miraculous cure to the Lourdes Office of Medical Observations a short time later, beginning the 23-year process that culminated in the June 20, 2013 declaration by Bishop Giovanni Guidici of Pavia that the healing was “prodigious-miraculous” in character.

An official from the Vatican’s Congregation for Saints’ Causes who requested anonymity explained in a July 22 conversation with CNA how the process works.

“When a miracle is recognized by the Medical Bureau of the Sanctuary of Lourdes, the paperwork is sent back to the diocese of origin. When recognized by the local bishop, it is recognized officially by the Church as a miracle through the intercession of Our Lady,” he said.

Before making its finding that the event was miraculous, the Lourdes medical bureau met five separate times between 1989 and 2010.

Doctor Alessandro de Franciscis, head of the medical bureau, explained that at its final meeting in 2010, more than 100 doctors and nurses –with one abstention– approved the cure as miraculous after a “lengthy” and “very passionate” discussion.

“This lady was judged, indeed certified cured in a way unexplained by current medical scientific knowledge,” Dr. de Franciscis stated.

Throughout the years since Mary first appeared to Saint Bernadette Soubirous in 1858 at the Lourdes grotto, the shrine has investigated over 7,000 cases of reported miracles. Since then, 69 have received the official approval of a bishop, with the majority of them coming from France.

MIRACLE OF THE INCURRUPTABLE COURPSE

SAINT CATHERINE LABOURE

Saint Catherine Laboure reported her first visitation by an apparition of the Virgin Mary in France in 1830. Her tales quickly spread throughout France and then around the world as thousands of Catholics began wearing medallions commemorating her visions. According to her story, she placed her hands on the lap of Mary as the Virgin spoke to her in an empty chapel.

She was buried after her death in 1876, and remained so until 1933, when her body was exhumed as part of her official beatification. An examination concluded that “the body is in perfect state of preservation, and its joints are still supple.” Today you can visit her body in Paris and see Catherine Laboure just as she was in life—with one exception: The praying hands that you see are fake. The real ones were severed and are stored separately, in memory of the lap they supposedly rested on.

 

A Baby at Death’s Door: The Miracle Story of Ethan Stacy

Ken Hulme – 700 Club Producer

By the time Ethan’s parents took the long painful walk through the cemetery to see the place where they would bury their son, Ethan Stacy was within days of death.

Ethan was already under the care of a hospice nurse. His body was rapidly shutting down.

According to Dr. Melissa Rhodes, Ethan had AML, an aggressive type of leukemia. She serves in the oncology unit at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville, Tenn., where she was one of Ethan’s physicians.

“Children who are actually born with leukemia don’t usually do very well,” Dr. Rhodes says. “The best that we could offer was to put Ethan through difficult chemotherapy and still not know that he would make it through.”

In fact, chemotherapy is so toxic for newborns that doctors gave Ethan’s parents the option not to treat their son. After two weeks in the hospital, Chad and Mandy made the painful decision to take their son home.

“The chemo could kill him,” Chad says. “There are all kinds of risks.”

“We came home and I remember lying in bed and praying,” Mandy says. “We said, ‘God, give us an answer’. We both woke up the next morning and both said, ‘Nope, we’re not going to put him through it’.”

Most doctors at Vanderbilt supported that decision. “We figured if Ethan truly had the kind of leukemia that we felt he had, then even with full treatment he may not do well,” says Dr. Rhodes. “For that reason we felt it was right to honor the family’s decision.”

After only a few days at home, Ethan’s baby acne, which is common in newborns, had become infected. So they went back to the hospital. That’s when the tumors began to show up…

“We noticed a lump in his calf,” says Mandy. “We paged the doctor, and they told us that it could be a blood clot or a build up of the leukemia cells, which is called chloroma.”

Tumors started popping up in other places such as Ethan’s feet, hands, and his forearm.

“Leukemia itself means cancer of the blood; it’s a blood disease,” explains Dr. Rhodes. “But in this particular kind of leukemia it can also go out into the tissues. That’s what we believe was happening with Ethan. He actually had leukemia in his skin, in his hands, his feet, and his legs, as well as in his liver and spleen which is more common. So he was showing that he had a very advanced disease at that point.”

Ethan was now about three weeks old, and his condition really started to decline. He stopped eating and began to experience sleep apnea.

“[The nurse] told me that he might develop what’s called sepsis, which would be a total body infection, and that he would go peacefully or he might hemorrhage,” Mandy recalls. “I would see blood in his diaper or maybe coming out of his ears. I was so scared to open up his diaper to even change it.”

When the hospice nurse arrived, Chad and Mandy knew they were near the end but Chad, Mandy and their friends continued to pray… believing God for the impossible.

“I remember rocking him and singing, ‘Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. I want to see you’,” Mandy says. “I knew that if I just focused my mind on Christ that’s the only way that I could make it through.”

The night that Ethan faced his greatest medical crisis, something happened. “Mandy late that night started feeding, and he started taking his bottle a little bit at a time,” Chad says.

The next day, Ethan was a little stronger… But was he having one final rebound before death?

Chad and Mandy StacyMandy says, “I remember sitting at the kitchen table and saying, ‘I believe God’s healing him. I can see God working.’ Then he just gradually started getting better. And over the next week, we were back up to six ounces of formula every three hours.”

Over the next two weeks, Ethan improved! And when Mandy took him back to Vanderbilt to check his blood counts? “His platelets level was like 415,000 — in normal range, where it had been 39,000 at his lowest point.”

This stumped Dr. Rhodes and her colleagues. “Ethan had gotten about as sick as a baby could possibly get and then spontaneously got better. So we wanted to look. We did the bone marrow test, which showed no evidence of leukemia. The tumors gradually went down over a period of probably a week or so. It was just remarkable to witness it.”

Chad and Mandy knew they had witnessed a miracle when they repeated the bone marrow biopsy in July with the same results.

Ethan Stacy todayToday, Ethan Stacy is a strapping two-year-old, who loves playing with his dad and big sister Kaylee. It goes without saying that the Stacys are thankful.

“The prayers of my friends and church members meant everything to me,” Chad says.

Mandy agrees. “It’s just awesome that we have a God like that… I just can’t get over the miracles. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for him because I know it’s going to be big.”

The Moon is Round

A young girl was suffering with cancer and when she passed, they found the words “The Moon is Round” written on the front of her journal with a large moon drawn below.  They began to wonder why she would write “The Moon is Round,” and so they started reading her journal.

One evening her father discovered the significance of the phrase.  She wrote.  Even though I cannot always see it, even though sometimes it appears in different shapes and forms, I know the moon is always there and I know the moon is round.

I know that Christ is with me every day, even though I may not always see him, no matter how he appears, just as the moon is round.