Name Them One by One

Posted: March 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

How many of you immediately had a tune come to your mind when you read the title to this blog?  Many of you who have been in churches for over 20 years surely must recognize this tune. Like it or not, it’s not easily forgettable.  And while we may find this jingle to be dated and somewhat annoying, the message is based on truth.

From the first minute when I wake in the morning to the second I fall asleep at night, I have in the forefront of my mind the fact that I have ALS.  Even throughout the night, as I wake up several times because I can’t turn over easily, and my shoulders are aching from the pressure–I am acutely aware of my weakened condition.  In order to avoid depression, I have to make a choice of what to focus on:  what I can’t do and what’s changed in my life OR my many God-given blessings.

Name them one by one…

Today I am thankful for my church family. Universally I count all believers of Jesus Christ as part of my family.  Throughout the world right now I have friends in many countries: Ukraine, Russia, Canada, Jamaica, South Africa, Ireland & Australia. Many of those are places I have actually been to visit – how many people can say that?  In our own country, I have friends in many states–too many to name, lest I forget one.

Near and dear to my heart are many churches that have had impact on our lives at one time or another:  my former church, Calvary Baptist in Covington, Kentucky, where Dena & I began our ministry and where both our children were born.  There is also my home church where I accepted Christ, Sharon Baptist of Sharon, PA; Dena’s home church in Des Moines, IA is Grandview Park Baptist and we have received quite a bit of support from our Iowa connection.  My brother-in-law‘s church, Granger Community Church, in Granger, IN has many people praying for us. Even my alma mater, Baptist Bible College of PA has been such an encouragement with friends driving many miles to visit and pray for a few short hours, bringing with them care packages of love and notes.  I truly believe that the “tiny” college I attended has a better support system of alumni and current students than any major university out there.  We’re a family and it makes a difference because we have the same common bond that started at the cross.

Closest to home is my local church family of Cornerstone Baptist in Roseville, MI.  I can not thank you enough for your continued prayers, your smiles, your cards, along with the unexpected meal, gift-card or fruit basket.  Words can not express how good it feels to even be treated as “normal” and talk about the weather or March Madness.  You have treated us with dignity and privacy, yet your love oozes over in many unspoken ways.  You have been there for my kids and allowed them to be the normal teens that they are, while subtly watching for ways to show them you are there if and when they need it.  The volunteer youth staff whom I spend the most time with are truly some of my best friends. I love you. The church staff whom I have had the privilege of working with for 12 years, has been awesome.  You understand when I just need to work and not chat.  You understand when I call and say I am too tired to come in and will be working from home that day.  You believe me and I am working.  We have that trust.

Name them one by one…

My family, extended and some that the world would call “step”, include loved ones in California, Texas, Pennsylvania, New York, Iowa, Indiana & Michigan:  Thank you for your concern – I know you wish you could be here more often to help in tangible ways, but I truly understand and I feel your love through your messages, texts and calls;  My brother-in-law who regularly makes the 3.5 hr trip just to hang out, but ends up helping in some major way; my in-laws who live 4 blocks away and moved here so we could take care of them – go figure – and often now take care of us; my wife and kids who live with me and keep me grounded, knowing when to help and when to laugh.

Name them one by one…

Little things now are a blessing:  the knob on my steering wheel that makes gripping and turning easier; the  shower chair; the christian radio stations that encourage my thoughts to be on the Lord; a friend’s text with a scripture; laughter at any time; my flannel sheets that keep my pigglies warm.

Name them one by one…

I have been given 46 years of life and I still have days left.  How many days, I don’t know…but I have today!  I live in the greatest country in the world with so much freedom.  I live next door to a city with one of only 24 ALS clinics in the U.S.   Food, shelter and transportation are three things I never worry about.  I have an amazing support system.

Name them one by one…

Most of all, I have my relationship with Christ.  I know I am in His hands and I know who holds my future. As Bob stated in Sunday’s message from Isaiah 26 – It’s the destination that gives meaning to the journey.”  So I live life in view of the goal.

And I preach to myself the true message of counting my blessings…

For truly they are many.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23

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Comments
  1. And I name the blessing of knowing you, Patrick, and witnessing your faithfulness, which I knew you would do. I know it is not always easy, but you know what to do in the dark moments and that is to immediately praise Jesus Christ! I will contiinue to pray for you to have the strength to do this for His glory!

  2. Jessica says:

    Wow – all I can say as wow. As a friend of Joyce Griffin and the Godin family…and an alumni of LHN, your family has been in my prayers since you announced your diagnosis. I love how God works and how He works in the midst of the stuff of this life. Thank you for allowing God to work in and through your life and for continuing to follow hard after Jesus…you are His testimony and reading your blogs reminds me of a God who is faithful in even hard hard things (and sickness)! May He continue to be your peace, hope, and strength! You and your family remain in my thoughts and prayers!

  3. Cheryl Bringazi says:

    What a beautiful and impactful gift of expression you have been given! As I read your blog message, it was as if you were sharing a cup of coffee with me and baring your daily struggles, triumphs and insights — such transparency is rare and humbling. Although we do not know what tomorrow will bring we know with certainty “whom we have believed, and are persuaded that He is able…”
    (another old one.)

  4. lorie smith says:

    AMEN
    THANK U
    I DO UNDERSTAND
    PRESS ON PILGRIM

  5. Kathi Sherrill says:

    Thank you Patrick for taking us on this journey with you. You uplifted in prayer, even by the little ones. Thank you for reminding me to count my blessings. You and your family have been one of those blessings. May you always feel God’s loving arms around you.

  6. John Cesarz says:

    Amen. I needed to hear this.
    Thanks Brother
    John Cesarz

  7. Dianne Stobbe says:

    God is amazing. You were wondering how God was going to let you communicate when your voice was weakening. God has opened a forum for you. Thank you for being so vulnerable and willing to allow us to see God at work. None of us know the future but we know who holds the future. Yet another oldie. Lifting prayers for all of you.

  8. Stacey Young says:

    What a lesson to my heart and soul that you have taught me today. Thank you for this message that my human self needed! Your testimony in this post reminds me of Corrie Ten Boom where she thanks God even for the flees in their bed during the holocaust! God was there with her, and He is here with you, and He is here with me! Thank you for your powerful reminder to “Name Them One by One”!

    Stacey Young

  9. Kristi (Petersen) Parker says:

    Thank you for reminding us to think on truth. Very encouraging words for this morning! And happy to be part of your BBC family!

  10. Amy Hudson says:

    Patrick,

    Thank you for these updates! You are such an encouragement. You are always saying “thank you” to all of the people who have touch your life, but I want you to know how much our Lord has used you to touch our lives. Your family is such a blessing! Your children have showed such love and kindness to my kids, and we are so grateful. Getting to know you and Dena has been such a blessing as well. Brett and I pray for you and your family each morning on our drive to school. Kind of has become our routine. We will continue to lift you all up in prayer, and give thanks for all of you!

    Blessings on your day today!

    Amy Hudson

  11. Tracy says:

    Patrick,
    Couldn’t agree more with your post and these comments as well. There is indeed such a change in perspective when we see everything…even the most challenging trials…through the lens of gratitude and grace. I’ve been keeping a journal for just such things. As your post so beautifully describes — when your heart and eyes are open to the blessings, you truly see them everywhere. God is most definitely using your openness and vulnerability to teach and encourage those privileged to know you and your family. What a gift. With continuing prayers…

  12. Jay Long says:

    :You certainly are a testimony through all this, and it is appreciated so much. I need not tell you again that you are in our prayers. Dena, too, has been a blessing; so glad you have such a great family. Keep that glowing Christ-centered spirit, Pat.

  13. Carl & Lori Reichanadter says:

    Patrick, You have encouraged me, my brother. May you and your family continue to be blessed by those caring and loving people whom God is using to minister to you. Thanks for faithfully serving our Lord and for showing us how to be transparent and vulnerable. Love to you and your family. Carl

  14. Michelle. says:

    Patrick
    we pray for you all daily.we are amazed by your strength and attitude.we love you much and trusting in what GOD has done and will continue to do through you.

  15. Russ Arbuckle says:

    Thank you for being you. Your love for the Lord Jesus Christ can be seen in your face Patrick.
    You know your name is on the palm of His hand and He will never let you go. It’s a blessing to me
    to hear you give the lesson every Wednesday morning in our Senior’s class. You still have that
    corny humor which I love to hear from you. Continue your journey and stay focus in Christ. We love you………………Russ & Karin

  16. Mike Risheill says:

    Hi Patrick
    You have a new friend in Troy Ohio (yes a buckeye) who is praying for you every day and my church, Brantwood Baptist Church who pray for you every week at our Wednesday prayer meeting. I received your name from our friend Cara Farrell.

  17. Chris Gossel Woodward says:

    If I was able to stop in to visit, we could talk NFL football … Manning’s release from the Colts, free agency, the upcoming draft, etc. (I am simply echoing what I’ve been hearing from the men in my house this week!) But I would probably prefer to have you sit and chat with our oldest, Thomas, about your passion to reach teens. Thomas just shared with us this last week that he feels God may be leading him to be a youth pastor – God has been working in his life in big ways this school year (sophomore year of high school), and it is exciting to watch!
    So keep typing and blogging, Pat – God continues to give you much to share, even in your pain, and others need to hear/read it. You have been a blessing already in all that you’ve written.
    I know I am not the only one at Northridge Church of Rochester praying for you – several of us from your BBC family worship and serve there. We are praying much for Dena, Paige, and Parker as well.

  18. Kelly Schrecengost says:

    Pat, as usual, your post both made me cry and inspired me. God is truly using this during a time when some would give up. I admire your willingness to share your vulnerabilities but yet show us how to rejoice during the hard times. I think of you, Dena and your kids so often. Sometimes just as I am cooking dinner or doing a very mundane task God brings you guys to mind and it is my reminder to pray. I know you guys must have moments/conversations in the privacy of your home that none of us would ever choose and I pray for you in those times that God would just wrap His arms around all four of you and make His presence so real! Loving and thinking of you guys from Cumberland, MD….part of your BBC family, Bryan and Kelly

  19. Pamela E. Bennett says:

    We continue to pray for you. Our grandson, Caleb, prayed for you the other day. I wanted to cry. May God continue to bless you and Dena and Paige and Parker.

  20. JROD says:

    Patrick,
    Thanks for the update. It was good seeing you last week while I was home for Spring Break. Although I did miss the lunch we had grown accustomed to have, I hope we can catch up soon! Praying often for you and the family and can’t wait for the fall to have Paige on this side of the state. Let me know if I can help in anyway.

    Grace & Peace

  21. Carrie Tarvin Goodgames says:

    Pastor Pat:

    I wanted you and Dena both to know that I have been thinking of you and praying for you and your family since I heard about your diagnosis. I have to say that I am not at all surprised by your courage, honesty, openness, positive outlook, and your devotion to your Lord and Saviour and continuing to give Him all glory and praise.

    I remember these qualities and have very fond memories of my youth pastor and his wife from many moons ago when I was a senior in high school preparing for college. I remember the college trip to Clarks Summit, PA-when I fell in love with Baptist Bible College! It was God’s plan for me to be there but He used you and Dena to guide me there. I am blessed to have been a part of the “beginning” of your ministry as are all those you have ministered to since.

    I will continue to lift you up in my prayers and appreciate the time and effort you put in to this blog to keep everyone informed and as to how we can pray.

    Love,

    Carrie

  22. Erin McCarthy says:

    Love you brother! My thoughts are with you daily. Thank you for being the inspiring, wonderful and brave person that you are!

  23. Keith and Marilyn Kaynor says:

    I know my comments are late in coming. We were in the Philippines when you wrote but I still wanted to write. Your blog helps put things in perspective. We have no right to complain about anything. God is always in control. We just have to submit to what he allows. And you and Dena are such a testimony in doing just that. Thank you so much for sharing your innermost thoughts with us. We will continue to pray…

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