A year ago….

Posted: December 5, 2012 in Uncategorized


It was a year ago today that I had what I thought was the worst day of my life.  Up to that point, it was the worst.  December 5, 2011 was the day the neurologist confirmed our fears… that I indeed had Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

One week prior, the doctor told us she suspected ALS, but I needed an MRI to rule out a brain or spinal tumor.  That entire week I prayed that I had a tumor.  In my mind, at least then there would be a battle plan – surgery, chemo, radiation – something to try to fight.

With ALS, there is no battle plan…Instead you read the info on the web and the booklets the clinic hands you and you wait to lose every muscle and every freedom you’ve had.  Eventually you stop reading about it, because you are living it.

I clearly remember walking out of the doctor’s office that day in a fog.  I could already feel the stares of the nurses and staff as they all knew that I had been given a death sentence.  People try to hide their looks of pity, but I can feel them.  It couldn’t be real.  It wasn’t happening, was it?  It was a dream and surely I would wake up from it.

I wish that I could truthfully say that I wouldn’t trade this year for anything;  that I have learned to embrace and enjoy this suffering….but I can’t.  I wouldn’t wish this disease on anyone.  I have had many “worst days of my life” since last December, because each week is more awful than the last.  It’s supposed to be a good thing that the mind doesn’t deteriorate with the rest of the body, but I have to admit that lately I wish I was confused and didn’t know what was going on.

Basically, I am a prisoner in my own body.  Except for Thanksgiving, for the past three weeks, I have not left my bedroom.  I can no longer use my ipad because my fingers are so tightly curled, a crowbar couldn’t open them.  Outside of my peg feeding tube, I swallow only a few bites of pudding or broth each evening.  I am down to 160 pounds.  I can’t stand without help and there is absolutely nothing I can do.  I sleep more than half the day and when I am awake, the only things I can do are listen and watch.

So I listen to my family tell me about their day.  Dena reads to me the mail, other messages and scripture; Parker is reading the Hobbit aloud and also tells me stupid jokes along the way; Paige calls and I listen to her bubbly voice on speaker phone.  We watch something together on tv.  (Besides ND football, I love Duck Dynasty).  Visitors are limited because it just takes too much out of me.

So a year later, I am ready. I know my time is down to weeks, not months.  I have accepted that this is the path God placed me on.  I would not have chosen it.  I don’t like it.  However, I am submitted that God in his Sovereignty, decided before all of time to give me a shorter life on earth.  And if it keeps His name going forward and promotes His Kingdom, then who am I to question it?  Who am I but God’s servant placed here to bring him glory?  It’s not supposed to be about me…it’s about Him.  If this promotes his Kingdom and Christ’s name, then so be it.  Just like Joseph, Job, Daniel, Esther and many others throughout Scripture who ended up in circumstances that they did not ask for and they surely did not like, I daily must choose to focus on submitting to God’s will, crying out for his grace and pointing to my Savior.  After all, my sins are still my worst problem and Christ took care of that.

My prayer is that I can stand before God and say what Jesus said in John 17:4  “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.”

  1. Carla says:


    • Lee Ann says:

      I’m not sure what words to write, I want you to know, you are in my thoughts and prayers. Love, Lee Ann She

    • Amy McChord says:

      Love, prayers, and appreciation from Kevin & Amy McChord

    • Amy T says:

      I don’t know you – well, that will be obvious when you see my name (-: I volunteer with hospice in Colorado. In the past few weeks, I’ve taken on a new home care assignment for a woman named Nancy. She has end stage ALS. She and her husband Dave are not Christian (nor embrace any faith) and they have no support systems outside of hospice and paid care. I give Dave a break, and sit with Nancy and watch TV. I bring him something homemade he can eat off of for a few days. I stroke her arm and make one-sided conversation. I try to discern best how to interact with her in a way that is respectful. I want to help preserve what dignity is left.

      I’ve brought up faith in roundabout ways. I mentioned this week that I’m praying for them. They’re both tender, fairly desperate to hold on to something, and needy. I guess that’s how Jesus wants us all to be, only holding on to Him. Last night I asked my friends on FB to commit to praying regularly for them. Someone I don’t know well sent me the link to your blog. I read every entry today. First: Thank you for your willingness to be publicly vulnerable. I believe I’ll be able to minister more effectively after hearing about your journey this past year. I not only gained insight, but I was deeply encouraged in my own faith walk. In terms of Dave and Nancy, the Lord needs to open up the doors for me to share the Gospel – it’s His mission. At this point I feel compelled to exercise discernment and not trample on people during an extremely vulnerable time. I want to love on them first and foremost, and pray for openings. Yeah, I’m winging it – I think that’s faith to a certain degree, one step at a time. I will faithfully pray for you and your family, Patrick. If Nancy and Dave come to mind, please shoot up a prayer for them. They desperately need Jesus. They desperately need community … it’s a reminder to sow seeds deeply in relationships. I hope this wasn’t all too TMI (-: Much peace.

  2. Joy Root says:

    Dear Patrick,
    I hope you continue to find strength and confidence from the fact that every minutest detail of your life as it is now is preciously guarded by God. Patrick, you will see heaven-side in a clearer way what those of us left behind will see with regard to how your life has left a mark for Christ. It will all be so much clearer to you the beauty of how God wanted to use this path of suffering for His glory. Patrick, you are pointing us to Christ and we can see it. Although you have no voice, your life speaks. Although you have no strength, how you are enduring is strengthening others. Although you can’t eat, we see that your food is also to do the will of your Father who is in heaven.

    Dena, your life and example as your serve your husband is incredible. In spite of your own weakness and sorrow and a multitude of other emotions, you are fulfilling the depths of your wedding vows to Patrick. I admire you and wish I could say these things in person to you.

    I pray that this very day, God will blanket your needy hearts with comfort and sustain you in ways that can only to be understood by those who walk through deep testing.

    Love, JOY Root

  3. Stephen Luke says:

    Patrick, again I cannot tell you how impactful your story is. It has affected me spiritually in ways that I really would have never imagined as it always seems to serve as a proper “check up” and gives me a quick perspective on what’s important. I continue to pray for you and your family, and I don’t think there is much that I can say to you that probably has not already been said……you guys are the ones “in the trenches” fighting the battle and I wouldn’t want to come across as flippant or say anything to trivialize your struggles.
    But, I do know this brother, your struggles are mighty, but they are not in vain, and your rewards in heaven will be great because of it.
    Please know that even though as you said this is not the way you would have chosen it, and if it were me (and it may be one day!) it would not be the way of my choosing either…..yet God IS receiving glory Patrick, and he is shining through you right now as you minister to all that will listen. WOW! Take care and God bless.

  4. Dale and Cheryl Murrish says:

    Dear dear Patrick and Dena,
    The Holy Spirit has through you breathed courage into us to live out our daily challenges before our Audience of One with His grace and His strength, trusting it’s for far bigger purposes than just “having a good day” but for His eternal glory. May His Name be known and praised, and It is through you and your lives and this present darkness you are experiencing. The Light has not forgotten you, and His Glory WILL be known by you and all of creation. Let His Word be your rock and hang on to it in this storm. Oh Glorious Day, the rejoicing you will have when you see your Savior face to face. Lots of love, Cheryl and Dale

  5. Mel Stull, Jr. says:

    My brother the Lord has used you to glorify His great name. I read Spurgeon every morning. I hope this excerpt from his morning evening series will encourage you this day. My brother you have been and will be one of these men!

    God’s Resourcefulness

    Then the Lord showed me four craftsmen.
    Zechariah 1:20

    In the vision described in this chapter, the prophet saw four terrible horns. They were pushing this way and that way, dashing down the strongest and the mightiest; and the prophet asked, “What are these?” The answer was, “These are the horns that have scattered Judah.” He saw before him a representation of those powers that had oppressed the Church of God. There were four horns, for the church is attacked from all quarters. The prophet had good reason to feel dismayed; but suddenly there appeared before him “four craftsmen.” He asked, “What are these coming to do?” These were the men whom God had found to break those horns in pieces.

    God will always find men for His work, and He will find them at the right time. The prophet did not see the craftsmen at first, when there was nothing to do, but first the “horns” and then the “craftsmen.” The Lord always finds enough men. He did not find three craftsmen, but four; there were four horns, and there must be four workmen.

    God finds the right men—not four men with pens to write, not four architects to draw plans, but four craftsmen to do the work. Rest assured, you who tremble for the Church of God, that when the “horns” grow troublesome, the “craftsmen” will be found. You need not worry about the weakness of the Church of God at any moment; there may be growing up in obscurity the valiant reformer who will shake the nations.

    Chrysostoms may come forth from our Ragged Schools, and Augustines from the thickest darkness of London’s poverty. The Lord knows where to find His servants. He has in ambush a multitude of mighty men, and at His word they will take to the battle; “for the battle is the Lord’s,”1 and He will get to Himself the victory. So let us remain faithful to Christ, and He, in the right time, will raise up for us a defense, whether it be in the day of our personal need or in the season of peril to His Church.

    Making mention of you and your family in my prayers to King Jesus,
    Brother Mel

  6. lorie and albert smith says:

    thank you

  7. Amy Hudson says:

    Patrick, Dena, Paige and Parker, Our family continues to pray for you all daily, and Patrick, I so appreciate you sharing on this blog. Your testimony to our Lord continues to be an inspiration, and God is using you to touch our life, and I know many others. We send love to you all! Amy

  8. KRoot says:

    Your family is in my prayers. Every post reminds me of Patrick’s question “Who do you trust?”

  9. Cindy says:

    Dear Patrick,
    You don’t know me, but we have been attending Cornerstone for a month now and have been introduced to you by the bulletin at Cornerstone and have been reading your blog with heartache and compassion for what God has you going through. I just wanted to let you know we will be praying for God’s peace to reign in your soul as you come to Him.”No eye has seen, no ear has heard, the wonderous things I have for you.” “Do not lay up your treasure here, where dust and moth destroy, but in heaven.” Thank you for the courage to express your thoughts and feelings so publicly, and the grace that you have shown in the midst of this trial. You may not feel that you have shown it, but just by your submitting to God’s will over your own and wanting Him to get the glory in your pain, you have shown all those who know you and those who were just introduced, that you are a man of God and you will hear from Jesus someday soon, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into your rest.”
    In the love of Christ,
    Cindy Rauf

  10. Lisa Graham says:

    Hope this posts okay..thinking of this song by Tenth Ave North called “You Do All Things Well” after reading your post–what a testimony you have been this past year to so many–praying for you and for your sweet family

  11. Dave and Kathy Cortner says:

    We respect and love you so much. We are praying for you and we love you and your family.

  12. Jo Weaver says:

    Patrick, your story brought tears to my eyes and I am still weepy. My husband had ALS: so my heart goes out to you and your family. Jack was diagnosed on a Wed. (after 9 months of trying to get a diagnosis) and on Fri. he had a tracheostomy done. He was on a ventilator for almost 3 years to the day before God took him home. His ALS hit him early on in the diaphram and he couldn’t breathe. He was able to eat and talk with the ventilator. God was so good to him in that aspect. He was even able to preach a couple of times from his motorized wheel chair. He was at home after rehab for 1 and a half years and then in a nursing home for 15 months. I told people that I was prepared but not ready. My prayers go out to you and your family. My children were all grown and married when Jack got ALS. May God richly bless you and yours during this difficult time.
    Jo Weaver, missionary in Santiago, Chile.

  13. Deb says:

    Dear Patrick, when I read your posts what always touches my heart is your honesty. So often, especially in the “christian” world, people don’t say it how it really is. What you are dealing with sucks. You don’t sugar coat it. And I appreciate that you say how hard it really is. Thank you for being honest. We dealt with a very harsh reality for 8 1/2 years with our son before he passed away, and I wasn’t afraid to say how hard it was… And I’m not afraid now to say, grieving him is really tough. I think people need to know, so they can also know that it is in Christ that we can find everything we need. It is only through HIM that we can know we will see our son again, and in this we have true hope. That doesn’t mean everything is fine… that means that through the unbelievable times, we have hope IN HIM. My heart goes out to you and to your family, as we know how hard serious illness can be on a family. We pray for all of you each day for God’s love to envelop you, and cover you. That his grace is sufficient for each day. Hope and peace, Deb

  14. Linda Herhuth says:

    When you were diagnosed with ALS my first thought was that this was the cruelest disease that I knew of. I had watched the father of two of my middle school students die from ALS. Observing, even from a distance, how his mind was totally intact – you could see it in his eyes – yet his body was totally unresponsive, I prayed that God would never ask that of me. ALS seemed the worst kind of nightmare. Watching you deal with this disease, trusting in God’s will for you, your greatest concern being that God would use your experience to glorify Himself and to draw others into the Kingdom, is an incredibly humbling and inspiring experience. Of course you would not have chosen this path for yourself, but you are walking it with dignity, courage, faith, and love. Thank you SO MUCH for the incredible example you have set for the rest of us to live life as if every second counts – because it DOES! Soon your journey on earth will be over and you will be LIVING in totally sinless perfection! I know that your heart aches for those you leave behind, but I also know that you totally trust God in this area also – that He IS working everything for their good and for His glory. I am praying for you a deeper communion and communication with God during these last weeks/months than you ever thought possible and for the incredible comfort and faith for Dena, Paige, and Parker that ONLY GOD can give. ALL OF YOU are a tremendous example of James 1:12, “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him!” Our love and prayers are with all of you daily!

    Love in Christ, Linda

    • Mandi says:

      Linda, I don’t know you but I love your thoughts here and they are so well written. The thoughts are an encouragement to me as well and encourages me to “press on.” God works everything for His good and His glory – that is such a great reminder. During the hard times even though it is hard for us to trust it is our privilege to trust and serve our Lord!! Thanks so much for your words today.

  15. Roseanna says:

    Patrick, please know we are praying for you. Thank you for sharing on this blog and showing us how we are called to live out the gospel even when life is very difficult. There is so much more I’d like to say but I don’t know how to put it in words. Love and prayers, Roseanna

  16. Shannon "Friend" Nally says:

    So thankful each day for the impact you & Dena had on my upbringing. My heart hurts to hear of your pain and like everyone else, I wish I could make it go away. Your journey has made an impact for Gods Kingdom in ways you will never know. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I can’t imagine it is an easy story to tell. Through it though we are all inspired by a true warrior of Christ. I pray God will continue to watch over all of you & will give all of you His peace.

  17. Del Warbington says:

    Patrick, Dena, Paige and Parker,
    As you continue to drink this cup that God has set before you, we, your brothers and sisters stand along side you to comfort and lift you all in prayer. We know that God is sovereign even in this, and that He has had this written in His plans from the beginning of time. Having my family gone down this road as well, I understand what your family has been facing. I continue to pray intensely for all of you, feeling empathy as you face each new day/week and the challenges that come. May the God of all comfort be with you in the days and weeks to come. 2 Cor. 3-7
    Del Warbington

  18. Judy Stafne says:

    Each time I read your blog, I have to cry as I so totally know what you are going through since my
    son has ALS. God has given him 8 years of living with ALS but Iam not sure that is a blessing. As you say, it is the worst disease that anyone can have. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers and only our Lord can help us through this.
    Judy Stafne

  19. Mandi says:

    Well written Dena!! I know you are writing these and expressing Patrick’s thoughts well and that the computer keyboard is drenched with your tears. Thank you for writing and keeping everyone updated even though it is hard. Parker and Paige sound like they offer some light moments for you both which I am sure is much needed. LOVE YOU BOTH!!! Praying God will grant you both what you need for each and every moment of everyday. Even though we haven’t seen you much since college we have heard from you and about you:) I know that you have had a love for God that is contagious and has impacted many lives for the kingdom of God. Yes, I am sure that God will say,”Well done, thou good and faithful servant!”

  20. b0bk4rr says:

    Patrick and Family,

    I pray that you be granted the peace which surpasses understanding, as it can only be found in Christ. Your testimony of grace, acceptance, and submission has been sobering, yet encouraging.

    I have been taking classes online for my masters (since Patrick has pointed out the value of education and training), and my current class is on church history. I have found it inspiring to read of the church fathers who stood for truth and godliness in their times of difficulty and persecution. The class discussion often gravitates toward questioning whether that faith is still present in the modern church. Your persecution, testimony, and proclamation of truth despite circumstances, displaying biblical endurance answers that question. Thank you.

    You will continue to be in my prayers throughout this time of need,
    Bob Karr

  21. Kara P. says:

    As always, your posts leave me crying out to God on your behalf and praising Him that this trial has proven the great depth of your faith. Your soul has not curled in on itself but is still beating hard for our Savior. Praise God!

  22. Laurie Switzer says:


    I have read every post you have sent and have prayed for you and Dina and the kids weekly. I am so sorry that you are going through this journey, one that you would not have chosen. I am amazed by your strength and conviction and how you Praise God for everything.

    I want you to know how much our family loves you. Thank you for the time you invested into Kandice’s life while you were at Calvary. We will never forget you Patrick!

    We look forward to seeing you in Heaven!

    Jim and Laurie Switzer

  23. Denise Adams says:

    Patrick – I was brought to your website through Ryan Buchanan’s, who is a good friend of my neice Hannah. I am praying for you and your family as you near the end of your journey. My boss was diagnosed 22 months ago yesterday with ALS, and I have seen first hand this disease in action. I am so sorry. You have truly glorified God through your journey and that is such a example to others. I have cried and cried for you and your family. I HATE THIS DISEASE! I pray for your peace and comfort, and for your family to. God Bless you MIGHTY SERVANT!

  24. Samantha Sasso says:

    I came across your blog when I saw that an old friend of mine was praying for you and your family. I didn’t put it together until afterward that you are the friend that our lead Pastor, David Whiting, has spoken of. I am compelled to say thank you for your transparency, your words and life are truly inspiring and encouraging to my husband and I. We have been sharing your faith-driven story with many others who are facing difficult times. God is using you and your family in great ways, more than you know now and will only find out in heaven. I am so happy to have read that God has granted you comfort in knowing that He is in control and your suffering is being used for His glory. I know this comfort and unexplainable peace personally, only after my surrendering to God’s plan 7 years ago when I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I can’t help to think that you are touching so many more lives, having ALS. Keep your eyes fixed on the Savior, as we pray for you and your family’s comfort and peace through this time. I am so grateful to know your story, I plan to keep it with me forever. I wish I could be there as the Lord greets you at the gates!

  25. Deborah says:

    Thank you so much for continuing to trust and live in the grace and power of Jesus Christ, and for sharing your thoughts with the rest of us, both of you. God is using you in my life, amongst many, and I know that you are knowing His faithful provision for you, as well.

    I am much in prayer for youall, and will continue to be throughout the days, weeks, months and years ahead. ❤

  26. Julie Rosol says:

    Dear Dena and Patrick,

    Lately I my thoughts have taken me back to a conversation I had with Patrick during the kid’s Soccer Camp of 2011! I made light mention of him to “look around” this was the next generation he would soon have to teach as their Youth Pastor. I remember him distinctly counting on his fingers and then shaking his head “no”! We talked briefly talked about age, getting older and not being able to do the things we once did. I remember driving away from Total Soccer feeling very bummed that my children would not be able to sit under both of your teaching; like a “how dare you moment! 🙂 I know, very selfish!

    Later in the year it was brought before the congregation that Patrick would be moving into the Associate Pastor position and then I understood his “no”! 🙂 Though I was happy for Patrick, my mom side was still a little disappointed!

    Oh how wrong I was to think my children would not have the opportunity to learn from you and your family! You have preached a message to them that God has been preparing you for for over the last 40 years! And that sermon will continue to preach to other generations long after we all have departed this earth! Preaching is just one side of our walk with Christ, but what we truly believe is seen in the Fruit of our lives! This disease, though not what you wanted, has not been able to stench the sweet smell of Faith, Hope, Love in a Savior, Peace, Submission and Joy! The Victory has been won and it is ours because of Christ!

    There is no doubt, our human hearts ache for your family and this sinful disease that has been allowed to rule in it this past year! But oh, how our Spiritual hearts rejoice that soon you will have a New, Unstained Body and be in the Presence of our Savior! Our family weeps along side yours knowing the sting of loss all to well for those of us left behind, but we have Joy in the Knowledge that those who rest in Him will all be united again!

    So, thank you, for preaching a sermon to my children(me) far beyond any prepared sermon could teach! Thank you as well for allowing them to serve you in the small ways their hearts were led!

    We love you and continue to pray for you and yoru family!
    Julie, Ken, Zachary and Zoe

  27. Wednesday, December 5, 2012
    Pastor Patrick, You are my mentor and my friend! The Lord Jesus has used you to teach me so much! Thanks for sharing about how you came to Jesus in church in April. I love all the salvation verses you shared that morning. I love the fact that anybody can come to Jesus through that zsermon! 🙂
    Our family sends our love and prayers to you and your Dena and your Parker and your college girl, Paige
    Linda for all The Nikitin Family ZX

  28. Steve says:

    Thanks for sharing this past year. We have a deacon (head) that may have ALS and we are waiting to see if this is the case or not.

    I saw the video that was done for BBC and so glad that they chose to bestow on you this honor. I don’t know if your former room mate (my brother-Dan) get these updates or not but I will forward this on to him.

  29. Tom and Lee Ann Hedges says:

    Patrick, we so understand! Tom is now in a wheelchair. On oxygen, unable to stand for more than a few minutes . Hands are gradually weakening. Don’t know how long we have together.however he still can teach and has a large class at our church. We praise The Lord for small things like going to dinner with froends. Dena I like you am finding out what it means to be a care giver, and sensitive to any small change. We pray for you both daily.

  30. Lesley Hinman says:

    Patrick, my heart goes out to you all. I know this is not the path you saw for you life. I am so humbled by the way you have approached this chapter in your life. I have only witnessed this one other time in my life and it was during the last day I had with my father before he went to glory. God has chosen you to be His beacon to the rest of us. I pray God gives you strength during this time and will also pray for your family to feel His presence as I did that day with my father. You all are in our prayers and have a special place in all of our hearts back in Kentucky.

  31. Jane McEwen says:

    Patrick, Dena, Paige and Parker, The posts that have already been made say so much of what is in my heart….I agonize over your suffering and wish it wasn’t so, but your submission to what He has allowed and wanting to still bring glory to Him blesses and encourages me and makes my struggles seem small indeed. I think of what Corrie ten Boom said, “There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still.” With love in Christ, Jane and Hannah

  32. Rick Stanley says:


    i keep U & Ur family in prayer, as U battle EVERY second that God supplies. Home is so much closer & U & Urs shine BRIGHT 4 Jesus! “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
    Patrick, i appreciate Ur faith, strength in faith & testimony, honesty, & bravery as U enter the final healing and are with Jesus in Heaven! Jesus has overcame the world! God bless you & family.

  33. Thanks for fixing my eyes on Jesus and the reminder that life is not about me. My plans and my desires often cloud out the purpose for which God created me, to bring glory to Jesus.

    I recently was reminded of the song “All I Have is Christ” and was encouraged by the final line “Oh Father, use my ransomed life In any way You choose. And let my song forever be My only boast is You.”

    Thank you for being a living testament of these words. I am strengthened by your example!

    In Christ,


    All I Have Is Christ (lyrics)

    I once was lost in darkest night
    Yet thought I knew the way.
    The sin that promised joy and life
    Had led me to the grave.
    I had no hope that You would own
    A rebel to Your will.
    And if You had not loved me first
    I would refuse You still.

    But as I ran my hell-bound race
    Indifferent to the cost
    You looked upon my helpless state
    And led me to the cross.
    And I beheld God’s love displayed
    You suffered in my place
    You bore the wrath reserved for me
    Now all I know is grace.

    Hallelujah! All I have is Christ
    Hallelujah! Jesus is my life

    Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone
    And live so all might see
    The strength to follow Your commands
    Could never come from me.
    Oh Father, use my ransomed life
    In any way You choose.
    And let my song forever be
    My only boast is You.

  34. Dale Shafer says:

    Reblogged this on IN the Lead and commented:
    This is such an inspirational story. I cannot begin to image what Patrick and his family are experiencing on many levels, but I am amazed at the faith they maintain through this situation. The loudest words, in my opinion, are when Patrick writes: “Who am I but God’s servant placed here to bring him glory? It’s not supposed to be about me…it’s about Him. If this promotes his Kingdom and Christ’s name, then so be it.”

    Please take a few minutes and read this post, then say a prayer for Patrick and his family.

  35. Robin says:

    Thinking about you, Patrick. With love from your Cousin Robin.

  36. Russ & Karin Arbuckle says:

    Man cannot tell when it is his time to be with God, but God has given him a purpose and a journey unlike any other man. We are all different and we will all pass differently. God the Great Creator and King of Kings has a plan for all of us. When one seems to give up on life or by their own hand takes that life, Satan seems to have one. But, God is merciful and gives His Grace to us all who believe in Him. When your journey ends you will be in the present of God and you will be able to touch His face in knowing that He has you engraved in the palm of his hand. Isaiah 49:16
    We love you, Dena and Parker and Paige. Russ & Karin Arbuckle

  37. Danny and Brenna says:

    Though your outward man is perishing, your inward man is being renewed daily. I am guessing your soul will not experience much culture shock when you leave this tent and enter your eternal home. Thank you for reminding me that we were all made to seek a city whose builder and maker is God.
    Danny and Brenna Capon
    (privileged to call ourselves friends with Ross and Karen)

  38. Linda Nienaber says:

    I just want to thank you for being a shining light for the Lord during this time. You’re consistent, that’s for sure! At CBC you and Dena helped form a young girl into the godly woman that she is today, and for that I’ll always be thankful! Of course, I’m speaking of Kristin. I’m so sorry that you have had to suffer like this, but as you said, God knew from the foundation of the earth what He had planned for you. I pray that God uses this to draw more and more people to saving faith in Christ, and I’m praying that He comforts you and your family and brings you joy.

  39. dawn says:

    Thank you for continually pointing us to Christ, Patrick. Your life has forever changed my life. It was through you that God led our family to Cornerstone. More than a decade ago you spoke to those Fresh Start campers at Lake Ann with honesty and genuine love for God. Your impact on Brien and me was so tremendous that we couldn’t wait to have you speak again each summer, and we are so thankful for you. Your zeal and devotion to God continues. Our family prays for you, Dena, Paige, and Parker every day. In Christ, Dawn

  40. Darren V says:

    Patrick and Dena,
    Your blog post has forced me to do something I have never done…and that is reply on a blog. I been touched by reading your posts throughout this journey. I can’t help but admire you for your strength and candor…which I know is a God thing. After I read the post I was reminded of the opportunity you gave several of us at CBC to be lead by you in our first round of Growing Kids Gods Way. Might seem like something small, but at that point when we were brand new parents, the content and the discussions you lead were just what we needed to help us frame how we were going to approach parenting and getting to the heart of our child. We have since gone through the program several more times with other couples, but for us, it all began back when you introduced it to us at Calvary…that truly shaped how we were lead to parent our children. Thank you for your testimony and we pray that God provides you with continued peace that goes beyond all understanding.

  41. Lisa Davis says:

    Don’t know what to say…prayers for you and your family, and thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings.

  42. Patrick,

    I know it’s been a long time since I’ve been in touch. After reading this post I wanted to write to say Thank You because your life continues to speak my friend. You truly are a disciple of Jesus who has made multiple disciples. Your honesty throughout this journey and your continued desire to keep your eyes on Jesus are truly encouraging. I am praying for you, Dena, Paige, & Parker. You are loved my friend.

  43. Rich and Cheri Engle says:

    Dear Patrick and Dena,
    We continue to pray for you on this difficult journey. May His grace and strength be evident to each and everyone of you on a moment by moment basis.
    Thank you for the influence you have had on our two oldest children at TLC, but the impact you are currently having on their lives. Our grown children follow your blog even now. You are pointing them to Christ, the Sovereignty of God in the realities of a sin cursed world, and to a faithful God who uses all for our good and His glory, even when it seems unbearable.
    Thank you for your heartfelt honesty and your encouragement to each one.
    With love in Christ,
    Rich and Cheri

  44. Lee Wise says:

    “My prayer is that I can stand before God and say what Jesus said in John 17:4 ‘I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.'”

    Pat, I cannot imagine your not being able to reflect those words when you see Jesus… and see Him much sooner than you would like. As you might expect, I am at a loss for words relative to all that has transpired as it concerns yourself and those you love. However, I meant what I just related to you.

    And, while I have mentioned it before, I so much appreciate your testimony, Dena’s, and the entire family during this journey. Your openness is appreciated… and applauded. The day when no more of the darkness of sin, suffering and death makes its way into our lives as believers in Him will be one very, very welcome day. During that time there will be the final “trade,” but I hear you when you say you would not trade this for anything. Who would want this?

    You know that I always have appreciated the contacts we have had, Pat. You and Dena are a great team and have been faithful examples of how to strive to walk with Jesus over the years. You may be quiet now, but you weren’t exactly the most quiet guy on earth when walking down the halls of BBS, lol! Of course, when you and Dan were there… whoosh! Your love for life and enjoyment of the same has been witnessed and appreciated by many.

    You quoted John. One of my favorite motivational verses in John over the years has been John 15:16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you to go and bear fruit — fruit that will last.” I feel that you all are bearing that fruit, my previous intern friend, and I can only hope that in the future the same will be true for myself.

    Sherry and I send our love and prayers to you and the family… and, yes, we are a couple of ND fans as well!

    In Him,


  45. Joe & Gail Asaro says:

    Patrick, Dena, Paige and Parker,
    All of you continue to bless our hearts with you godly focus and understanding of God’s sovereign care.

    God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him. (Jim Elliot)

    Joe & Gail
    Rom. 8:31-32

  46. Laura Sommons says:

    Dear Pat and Deena, My name is Laura (Howell) Sommons and I was a freshman at BBC when you both were seniors. You both are in my prayers, Deena thanks for the example of what it looks like to honour the wedding vows.

    In Him
    Laura Sommons

  47. Jim Parks says:

    Patrick, your last sentence: My prayer is that I can stand before God and say what Jesus said in John 17:4 “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.” I believe that you can know God will say “Well done my good and faithful servant…) Matt 25: 14 -30. You used your talents well.

    I have read most of the above comments and am Truly inspired by the legacy you have built. Thank you for being a man of God and living the life He gave you.

  48. Tracy says:

    Thank you. Thank you for your willingness to share this journey, the pain of which I cannot begin to grasp. Thank you for showing us all how to courageously walk through the worst of worst days. Wanting so deeply for this cup to be taken, yet surrendering with such honesty, strength, dignity and even joy. You and your family have displayed a depth of God’s grace I have rarely seen in my lifetime. You, Dena, Paige and Parker are so often in my thoughts and prayers, and always with love and gratitude. May God’s deepest peace and grace surround all of you both now and in the days ahead.

  49. Carl & Lori reichanadter says:

    Patrick and Dena, You are loved!

  50. Donna (Cogley) Bish says:

    Glad you were able to enjoy your birthday with your family. Your title makes me think of an OLD song from growing up days…Evie’s “Four Foot Eleven, Going to Heaven.” :-0) Thinking of your family often and praying for you all!

  51. Erin says:

    Patrick and Family –

    Years ago, I worked at Lake Ann and we have many mutual friends. I began following your story when Andrew Dodd posted a link to your blog on Facebook.

    2 1/2 years ago, my dad was diagnosed with Guillain–Barré syndrome, which is an acute polyneuropathy. The doctors tested him for ALS and many other diseases before diagnosing. My family held our breath until we received the final word.

    Although far less aggressive, many of the symptoms are the same. Reading your story has been encouraging to me in many ways. What you have been able to express has given me insight to what my dad may be experiencing and struggling with. Seeing his freedoms stripped away and being replaced with physical limitations which had not existed before, has been taxing on him and especially my mom. I have encouraged them both to read your story.

    I think of 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

    You have been a comfort to me. Thank you.


  52. Mark Beaujean says:

    Patrick my brother and friend. You are so loved. Right now your hands are clinched because of a body that is failing you. But soon they will be open as you lift your arms to praise God for all eternity. For now you rest your head on a pillow, soon you will rest your head in Gods bosom. At this time you cannot walk. Soon you will dance like David. You my brother and friend are going to do what every follower of Christ should long for. As a friend I agree completely. I would not want to go home in the manner that God has chose for you. Over the past year I have questioned God . I have asked Him to take away your als. His ways are not our ways. For a long time I saw your circumstance as not right ,unfair. Because of all that I knew that you did for the people God had put in your care. And you faithfully sacrificed your time so that others would know Jesus Christ as their savior. And many of those have a personal relationship with God because of your obedience to God. The word that comes to my mind as I write is IMPACT. You led and live a life that continues to impact everyone that knows you. As a brother I encourage you to stay focused on the One who loves you more than any of us could. A very wise man asked me recently, who do you trust. I plan to rely on that question while your praising God. I wish I could say I’ll do as good as you have. God knows I love you. I hope you know that as well.

  53. Renee says:

    Dear Patrick, please contact Dr. Martz as seen on Youtube’s “2011 IDA Research Award – Dr David Martz.” If you go to that youtube clip he’ll explain his Lyme story. I hope this is what you have instead. I have chronic Lyme and it is a long haul but not always a killer. Rocky Mountain Chronic Disease Specialists might be able to help you.

  54. Renee says:

    Dr. Martz was diagnosed with ALS also.

  55. adminwho says:

    Yours is a powerful, moving testimony of the gifts of faith and of family. I thank God I have read your story. I thank God for your life and what you have made of it, especially with your sickness. I thank God for your family who’s standing by you so bravely and so lovingly. Thank you for your faith in God and love for him – it strengthens mine. I can’t imagine what incredible joy our Lord must be preparing for you. I pray for you and for your family.

  56. Christoph Jewell says:

    Pat, it has been a while brother. I will never forget your energy and zest for life during our time at BBC. We will continue to pray for you and your family. God will show each of you his grace and peace.

  57. Sue Forry says:

    I can clearly remember you coming to stay at Mimi and Gramps’ with Matt! I think your uniforms were blue and white! If fact, if I remember correctly once the whole team came! I just recall that you and Matt were best of friends! I have followed along a little over the last few months as Matt has shared links. Finish well and when you are finally Home, I am sure Mimi will have some goodies waiting just as she did for the soccer team many years ago!
    Sue (Matt’s cousin from Lancaster)

  58. Yvonne says:

    This candle that flickers ever so slightly… that is you. But I sense a serious revival fire growing. May the Holy Spirit use your words, Patrick and Dena, to engage hearts to reach those around them. For man does not know the day or the hour when he will be called to eternity.

    Stoke the fire, my friends. Stoke the fire. And then count on God using this “imperfect” circumstance perfectly, and for his continued glory.

    Can’t wait to reunite in heaven someday!

    Love much, Yvonne

  59. Pat Bradford says:

    We love you..love you..love you….all

  60. Dear Patrick and Family,
    You are in my thoughts and prayers. I just learned today of what you and your family have been going through this past year. As I read your blog with many tears and heavy heart tonight I know God has a plan for you. I lost my sister 7 months ago and today I lost my Grandmother at the age of 101. We have asked God many times ” What’s the plan” and we know now that my sister and Grandmother know the plan and we will have to wait. God loves you,
    We have talked about you so many times in the past year. Courtney was looking to play college soccer and of course your name always came up as being the BEST COACH she ever had. She learned so much from you Patrick, she loved playing for you. You called her your little antelope, (LOL) and off she went this year to play for Rochester College.
    I am sending you a big hug for being the wonderful person, teacher, husband, father and friend that you are.
    God Bless you Patrick and Thank you,
    Dee, George, Matthew, Courtney and Jorjan Wildner

  61. Kellie Benge says:

    Dear Patrick and Dena,We pray for you so often and just want to thank you for continuing to minister to us in this dark time in your lives. We see the bright light of Jesus and his grace shining through you both and Paige and Parker, as well. I was just reading a verse from Zephaniah that might encourage you: 3:17 – “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” What a God we serve! His love truly is amazing! I think each of these phrases builds to a climax of celebration. He is with us (will never leave us or forsake us), but not just as moral support–He is mighty to rescue us. He’s not just like a stranger doing a good deed then going on with his life–He actually delights in us, calming all our fears and strengthening our weaknesses with his quiet love (peaceful, comforting, reassuring). As we respond in rejoicing and trusting in Him, His love bursts forth in joyful celebration. There is so much here to think about. This is the God who first loved us in all of our unloveliness–how can we not love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength? We will continue to pray for you and ask God to be all of these things to all of you right now. Our love from Ukraine, jerry and Kellie Date: Wed, 5 Dec 2012 13:03:09 +0000 To: ksbenge@msn.com

  62. Jill and Jeryl Hostetler says:

    Dear Patrick and Dena- You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers! Our daughter is Paige’s suitemate, right next door and she sent this link to me this morning. After reading most of your entries this morning, I am so blessed by your words. You are definitely an inspiration! I just wanted to let you know that you are having a positive impact on more people than you can know. Peace and comfort to you-
    Jill and Jeryl Hostetler

  63. Debra Armstrong says:

    Patrick, you have been and continue to be a stellar example from which we learn. We are all getting a glimpse of what courage looks like in the face of trial, and how Christ can be served in the most difficult situations. I am grateful for how you have allowed Christ to use you, the example of submission, the choice to be thankful in all things, and that you find even this disease to be something to bear as reasonable service to your King. We continue to keep your family in prayer to be faithful to the finish line. At the end of all things, we’re glad to know we will see you again!

  64. Tim Vermilyea says:

    I pray for you and your family. Patrick. I pray that in your waking moments of the day the Lord will bring to your mind thoughts of Himself and His promises… and give you peace.

  65. Jim Lytle says:

    Patrick, I feel a bit selfish in saying this, but you have enriched my walk with Christ. That started when you were a student — overflowing with energy, growing in Christ and becoming a man of God. (My only disappointment is that you became an ND fan…there is a reason why the sky is blue and the clouds are white!) I love the way that you have ministered for Christ!

    God is using you (read the comments on each blog post!) and He will continue to do that. Diane and I are praying for you, Dena, and the kids.

  66. MaryEllen Newman says:

    Patrick, Dena , Paige and Parker…You are all so present in our thoughts and prayers and have been since we first heard. Wethank our God for you and pray for His abundant grace to enfold all of you moment by moment. Our little congrgation at Hope Reformed in Aztec, NM, faithfully prays for you all weekly, too. A few Sundays ago Pastor Bo used your blog entry from a few weeks back as the basis for his sermon. Dearest Patrick you will soon know the incredible ramifications of your faithfulness to Him. You are a living example of a”good and faithful servant”. Thank you for teaching me

  67. Tammy Hughes says:

    Dear McGoldrick family. I have been praying for Patrick. I am also praying for you guys as you have to walk through this tough time. I am honored to have gotten to know you over a few breif years. Please give Patrick a hug from me.

  68. Kristi Walker says:

    Patrick, thank you for faithfully serving Christ. Thank you for faithfully serving teenagers. I am a youth worker in Berlin, Germany and have been for 8 1/2 years. I don’t want to have designs on my life outside of what God has for me. To live on this earth is Christ, and to die will certainly be gain. Thank you for your example. You have GAIN ahead of you!! Praying you and your family have sufficient courage, comfort and peace as God leads you Home. His grace be with you all!

    Kristi Walker (Mel Walker’s daughter)

  69. Prayers and tears. Full stop.

  70. […] months, my focus has shifted. And I am overwhelmed with gratefulness. I have a front-row seat to watching a man praise God until his dying breath. He is a prisoner in his own wheelchair, yet does not curse God. He endures […]

  71. Vicki Alkema says:

    God has honed you; such stealth perceptions and deep insight gifted to us. Patrick, you have made a difference in my life. I look forward to our introduction in Heaven; I look forward to that day when you are perfected in His image and health. I am unworthy to write anything except my thanks for your life and wisdom. Praise His holy name: Jesus the Savior!!

  72. Jennifer Smith Williams says:

    Hey! I have been following your blog, and have tried to keep up with what has been going on with your family. I will be praying for you all through this time and holiday season. I am so thankful for you and your family. I was one of your students at Calvary Baptist Church, and you had such a huge impact on my life. You opened your home to me on Sunday’s so I could make bible study on Sunday afternoon so I could go on my first missions trip to New York City. A trip that has impacted my life. The first trip of many. I loved being with you and your family. I am married now, and we are currently living in Decatur, IL. My husband is a youth minister at a church here. We have just recently moved from a church in Knoxville, TN. I learned many things under your time at Calvary, and enjoyed getting to know you all. I have thought about you all over the years, and thankful that God placed you in my life. You all have been a blessing to me and so many more. Thank you, and may God continue to use you to minister to others, and may He continue to give a Peace that only He can give! I love you all.

  73. You are near and dear to my friends Ray and Grace Brandon. I did not have the opportunity to meet you when you were here because my husband was preaching. I listened to your message on line and I was greatly encouraged by you. I will be praying for you and your family. It is so bitter sweet but how wonderful you will be with our Savior soon and you have left a wonderful legacy for you Children and you wife. Though you have only shed a glimpse into my life I am honored to have ears a testimony so beautiful! Praying for you.

  74. mbeau24 says:


    My name is Michael, I am the pastor of a small church in Bluffton, South Carolina. Before moving to SC my family and I ministered in Indiana (which is home for us) as well as in Burlington, KY, just down the road from Covington!

    I read your blog post from a link on Facebook (Tim Stevens), and I’m so glad that I did. Tomorrow morning I am preaching about the gift of legacy, and I would like to both ask your permission to tell your story as well as to thank you for the legacy you are living. While I cannot fathom the last year you have lived, I appreciate the faithfulness in which you have lived it. May God continue to shine on your family. In the legacy you are living, I am certain that Hebrews 11:13-16 could not be more true … our God full of pride, not ashamed to be called your God, because of your faithfulness.

    Thank you, & God bless,
    Michael Beaumont

  75. shllynn_grant@yahoo.com says:

    Hi Patrick, you continue to be a blessing to me as the Lord work in your life. I know that in every thing God is still in control working in your life and your family what He will. Just want you all to know that I have not cease praying for the family night and day. I love you all.

    2 Samuel 22:31 as for God, His way is perfect;the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him.
    Sent from my BlackBerry® device from Digicel

  76. Kayla Farris says:

    Dear Ms. Dena and Patrick,
    You probably don’t know me that well personally, but you both have had such a tremendous influence on my life. I love you both dearly and am praying for you daily. Patrick, I love you like my second father and I read your blog and cry. You are in my prayers all the time, subconsciencsly too. I can remember on an all nighter when we were at total soccer and I was (for the first time) enjoying soccer- I was really getting into it- and even though I thought I totally sucked, you came up to me and said that I was a natural soccer player. And it made the trip, knowning maybe I wasn’t “horrible.” You have done so much for me and the youth group – with just being there for us. I can remember camp cobieak… idk how to spell that… Lake Ann.. the work trip at michendo, other winter advances.. All great times with you and the youth group. Lately my trips to church have not been constant, if fact it has been about three months since I have been to sunday school yet I do feel closer to God then I have in a while. Patrick, you are the one who made me love Cornerstone. I looked forward to seeing you and knowing that you cared, when I was there I felt needed and wanted. Now, I feel like I don’t belong there and have no ambition to go to church lately. I’m not telling you guys this to be upset or anything, I just have a need for you both to know how much you had an impact on my journey and closeness to Christ. I have been wanting to physically mail this letter to you on Patrick’s birthday, but have been extremely busy lately. And I need to write this letter, I need to tell you both that you are loved, cared for, and just amazing. I wanted to mention my friend, her name is Renee. Her father was basically diagnosed with ALS. Before thanksgiving his last hope was for cancer, and that hope was exterminated. I feel so bad for her because I know and have discussed this with her mother that she won’t grow closer to God through this, she will blame him. There is a very odd situation here, she is the oldest sister, and she has a younger brother. About the same ages apart as Paige and Parker. I try to be there for her, she is one of my great friends, she is on my bowling team, but doesn’t like to even mention her father having this horrible disease. I feel, and have for a while, that this may be one of the reasons why God knew that you could be the example. I have talked to her mom about you and how you have been, I’ve made her cry, on accident telling her that I would pray for her and her family. But, I honestly feel that through this, some way some how, that you and I can make a difference in their life. Please pray for them. I know this is a strange request but for me too. I will be praying for your family. I love you all. Patrick, I just would like you to know that you are like second father. You would always be there for me if I needed you. I love you guys! You are in my prayers always and forever. You are such an inspiration to me- you can praise and love God in your harsh circumstances- which many could not do. I love you again!

  77. Lisa Kotal says:

    We love you Patrick!

  78. Palleschi Family says:

    Coach, we thank God for putting you in our path. Sending love and prayers to you and your family.

  79. Jo Ann Gasparotto says:

    Dearest Patrick, Dena, Paige and Parker~ I was away when this latest blog came in. As I read these words , my heart aches for each one of you, for all different reasons. Patrick, it is a constant reminder to all of us who know you, to trust in God and what He has for us. Your transparency , being so honest, so real, allows others to not feel alone in what they are going through. God has chosen YOU Patrick , as you have called yourself His Servant, He is using you in a mighty way.
    Our whole family loves you, Dena, Paige and Parker so much. You have been there for everything and made yourself available to all of us whenever we needed. It is selfish to say we need you here, when Our Lord, is preparing to take you home… how could we not want that painless , lovely, eternity for you.
    PLEASE , PLEASE know that we will be missing you so much and have been so very blest and honored to say you were our friend… you will always be.
    Our praying will continue for your family as God directs us~

    With love,
    Jo (Mama), Mario, Joel(Sara), Ryan, Logan & Lia, and Haley xoxoxo

  80. Some genuinely great articles on this site, thanks for contribution. “I finally know what distinguishes man from other beasts financial worries. – Journals” by Jules Renard.

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