Never Once Did We Ever Walk Alone

Our walk with God

Up’s and down’s

Well its been a little over a week since our last post and as the title suggests we have had some good days and bad days.

We spent last weekend back in our flat for the first time since this all happened. It was really nice to be there and do normal things. However as some of you may know this will be our last time there as we are moving in with my brother and sister-in-law for a year to aid us with saving for our own place. We thank our great and glorious God for His providence as this opportunity is certainly heaven sent. John and Laura mean the world to us and we thank God for having them in our lives.

Sarah seemed to be making improvements early last week and was becoming more independent. The weekend although enjoyable was difficult as the heaviness and tingling down her right side got worse, which effected her walking greatly. Through prayer and petition we have seen improvements in this and we both have had a restful nights sleep.

We have been hugely encouraged by two things God has spoken through myself and a dear friend. Firstly God reminded me that Sarah has endured ongoing kidney infections that have served by giving her great coping mechanisms. He also reminded me that he has healed her from that, so why would he not heal her from this!

God has also spoken through scripture and brought this word of encouragement through our friend the verse is from 1 Peter 4 v12-16.

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

We ask you to continue praying with us for complete healing and restoration and urge you to praise God for his mercy and grace. If you do not yet know Jesus why not ask Him to reveal Himself to you or contact us through this blog or Twitter it would be an immense privilege to share with you more and talk about why Jesus wants you to know Him.

God bless,

James &. Sarah

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A good weekend…….

We have just returned from a well needed weekend away courtesy of the Rad’s. We came home to find that two very sweet girls from church have put a smile on the families face by baking a stunning rainbow cake! We have been staying in a fantastic hotel in East Horsham near Leatherhead. I am pleased to say that Sarah has been able to do more this weekend than she has done for a long time and we have valued our time away immensely.

We have seen such a huge provision from God through the goodness of those around us as well as your prayers being answered. During this weekend Sarah has been able to swim, walk down stairs with a lot less caution than before; she is improving by the day and making small steps towards normality. Sarah is however struggling to keep up her stamina during all of this and is very tired after a day of activity so we still ask for plenty of prayer for this.

We would like to thank you all for taking time to read our blog as it is proving to be very popular and we need to thank God for providing us a way to share with you in a way that we pray glorifies His name. Please continue praying for complete healing, a second MRI that shows no signs of the original scars, an increase in Sarah’s energy levels, continued success of this blog, continued equipping to cope in these times and an impact of the love of God to those who do not yet know Him.

God bless,

James & Sarah

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Interview check, acceptance on course check, now waiting to start

I am about to embark on the Newfrontiers Leadership Foundations training course at Kings Church Downham. I blessed to be doing this with my good and trusted friend James. James is a thoroughly anointed and newly appointed worship leader/overseer.

I am hugely excited to be undertaking such a prestigious training course and looking forward to the first day on September 16th. We have been blessed with a line up of hugely blessed men of God. Teachers such as Tope Koleoso, Mick Taylor and Andrew Wilson will included in the line up.

Can I ask for your prayers during this time that I get everything I can out of this course and God imparts knowledge and equips me to fulfill His calling upon my life.

I will post more once I have started the course. I am also thinking of starting some discussions based on the topics we cover.

God bless,

James.

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Signs of improvement

Well since Sarah has stopped taking her steroids she has been feeling a lot better. Her walking is getting better by the day, this is a huge encouragement and means that she can be out of the house a bit more. As you would expect we are still having good days and bad days but mostly good.

Great news and huge answer to prayer is that we have now received an appointment to see the consultant on the 5th September so we can gain some more information and plan for the future better. Saying this our prayer is that God will minister a great healing and there will be no need to plan.

Please keep praying as God is answering. The opportunities are flowing from heaven to declare the all-encompassing love of Jesus. He is great in all things and has covered us in his armour. Can we ask you to pray that these improvements continue and gather pace and Sarah remains in high spirits.

God bless,

James & Sarah

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From the headache until now…..

Below is the story so far. Our heart in writing this blog outside of it being a practical way of keeping you all updated on Sarah’s condition is that we may proclaim the sovereignty of Jesus in our lives and the unveiling of His great purposes. If you do not know Jesus as your Lord and Saviour we are praying that through this He may speak in to your life. I would urge you to ask any questions no matter how big or small that you may have as a result of this blog. We are dealing with this trial day by day and looking to Him for courage in all things. It needs to be noted that we would be unable to cope in this situation without Jesus as our ever present hope and the support network he has provided us with in the form of family, friends and church.

Wednesday 6th July:

12pm Sarah gets the worst headache ever. Later on to be described as a kick in the back of the head. Everyone assumes that she is having a migraine as she also developed distorted vision. A few painkillers and the pain lifted but the vision doesn’t improve.

Monday 11th July:

We were due to be travelling to Brighton today for the last Newfrontiers Together on a Mission conference. Sarah’s vision still had not improved so Linda (Sarah’s mum) took her to the GP to be checked out whilst I went to work. The GP concurred with the migraine self diagnosis but refered her directly to Queen Marys Hospital to have her eyes checked to be sure. The hospital told Sarah to rest and return if her eyesight does not improve or gets worse in the coming days. With that we headed off to Brighton (Happy Birthday Becci).

Tuesday 12th July:

First day of Together on a Mission (TOAM). Our good friend and Church Elder Chris was concerned with Sarah’s story so performed a quick eye test and asked her to pop down to his place of work on the following Saturday (to clarify Chris is a Opthalmologist).

Wednesday 13th July:

PJ Smyth preaches at the TOAM main evening session. The preach was one of the most awesome I have had the honour of hearing. Little did we know that this was God speaking to us readying our hearts for what was to come. Praise God!

Please follow this link to listen to PJ’s session (Main Session 5): http://www.newfrontierstogether.org/Groups/174930/Newfrontiers/Resources/Talks_and_Preaches/Select_Event/Leadership_International_11/Main_Sessions.aspx

Thursday 14th July:

Once again PJ strikes a chord with us. What a thoroughly anointed guy, we thank God for this man and continue to hold him and his family up in prayer as they walk with God during their own difficult times.

Please follow this link to listen to PJ’s session (Mobilise Session 2): http://www.newfrontierstogether.org/Groups/174933/Newfrontiers/Resources/Talks_and_Preaches/Select_Event/Mobilise_11/Main_Sessions.aspx

Friday 15th July:

We welcome Edward ‘Teddy’ Steer in to the world, he is so eager to meet us he did not even allow his mum to get to the hospital. We pray that his great parents and big brother are so blessed by him and they continue to enjoy a great life together as a family.

Saturday 16 July:

Back from Brighton now and visiting Chris at work. Whilst there Chris conducts a visual field test, which shows that Sarah has lost her entire upper left hand field of vision. Chris informs us that this is indicative of a bleed on her brain. I think it has been overlooked that this was a difficult thing for Chris to do for us. Yet by God’s wonderful grace he did so and really blessed us by doing it.

Sunday 17th July:

Laura (Sarah’s sister) is awoken with a start at 3am and has the thought that Sarah needs to be taken to Kings College Hospital. That morning John (Sarah’s Dad) picks us up to take us down to the hospital. After waiting in A&E for a short time Sarah was admitted and given a CT scan. The scan showed a ‘bleed’ on the brain located around the rear right of her head. After speaking with a Neurologist the working diagnosis was that she had, had a stroke. This was very hard for us and almost unthinkable at such a young age. Through prayer and petition we sought God and began to glimpse his sovereign plan start to work out through our lives. It was decided best for Sarah to be kept in overnight so her investigation could be conducted as an in patient.

Spending that night alone was incredibly difficult as leaving my wife at this uncertain time was the last thing I wanted to do. Sarah’s night was far from easy as she was woken every hour to test her response levels and at one point she had to complete a swallow test. This was very frustrating as she was no more unwell than she was a week before, yet through all this the care was fantastic.

Monday 18th July:

Ultra sound carried out on Sarah’s neck and heart to check for damaged arteries or hole in her heart. Nothing was found so an MRI was booked in to have a better look for the cause of the stroke. The support we were already receiving from our family, friends and church (I will only allude to all of these great people as family from now on) was overwhelming. We are truly blessed to have all of you in our lives.

Tuesday 19th July:

Sarah was sent for her MRI and hated it! Praise God as it was meant to be 45ins but she was out in 30mins for no other reason than she prayed this would be the case and it was granted. As she was still well she was informed that she would be able to go home. Sometime later we were told that she would be unable to go home as it was not a stroke, the frustration here was that they did not explain what it was. later that evening we were visited by the Neurologist who showed us the MRI scan with the 9 or so scars on her brain and explained that it is highly probable that Sarah has MS (please visit for more info http://www.mssociety.org.uk/). This was and still is devastating news. After leaving Sarah with the rest of her family I decided to clear my head by walking aimlessly around the hospital praying to our Great God. During this time God came and put a peace on my heart about the situation and reminded me that our lives are in Him. This was exactly what I needed from Him and allowed me to be Sarah’s rock during this time.

Great news as there is nothing more to do at this point so at 10pm they allowed us to take Sarah home. for the first time Since Saturday night I had the honour and pleasure to share a bed with my wife.

Wednesday 20th July:

Sarah is now at home and in better spirits. We have many questions now, what does this mean long-term? What does this mean in terms of having a family? What will God be doing for his good purposes during this time?

We had a visit from Kay who brought flowers from the church (they were huge, red and stunningly beautiful, specially selected by her lovely baby daughter, thank you Erin). This was such a spirit lifter.

A prayer meeting was held at church for Sarah, me and the rest of the family. A gathering of the saints is an awesome event and the power of prayer is not to be underestimated. When we pray Heaven listens! These prayer meetings have continued ever since on many evenings and people have opened their homes for them just to accommodate. We are so blessed to be receiving such love from our family.

Saturday 23rd July:

Happy Birthday Laura Jane! A great day of celebration and a glimpse of normality.

Sunday 24th July:

Sarah triumphant in Christ sings in the worship team at the Sunday morning meeting, hallelujah! Another great meeting at Bexleyheath Community Church. We sung a new song today, Matt Redman’s ‘Never Once’ (this later inspired the title of this blog), what a great song, this has built us up as we continue to faithfully trust in the Lord God Almighty. Follow this link to listen to the song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=722zPX1npcA&ob=av2n

Excellent news Tyler Drew Walker is born to a wonderful Mum and Dad early this Sunday morning. Our prayers are with them and cant wait to spend time with the newly increased family.

Wednesday 27th July:

Still coming to terms with what is happening and remaining in prayer. Sarah calls me at work to say that two of her finger tips have gone numb. Honestly this nearly brought me to my knees as I had a brief moment when I felt without God! This is never the case He is with us at all times even when I feel alone He is there. His promise is ‘ I will never leave you or forsake you’ (Hebrews 13v5-6). Sarah had spoken to the doctors and they had informed her that this is quite symptomatic of MS.

Thursday 28th July:

Praise Jesus, Sarah’s fingers are feeling better and her eyesight is improving greatly.

Friday 29th July:

After Sarah had, had breakfast with Becci and her mum she began to become tingly and numb completely down her right side. Very scary for Sarah and myself. This left her with some limited movement.

Saturday 30th July:

Moving day (almost) for John and Laura. They are coming to live in North Heath to be closer to the church but are moving to John and Linda’s for a week or so whilst we get the new house straight. Sarah has very limited movement on her right side and is unable to walk properly.

Sunday 31st July:

Praise be to God again and always, Sarah is back up in the worship team for the Sunday meeting. I stand amazed at the work God is doing in her yet heartbroken as she has to sit because of the numbness. What a gracious God we have to continue to raise her up in this way. Prayer meetings still happening for Sarah, people reporting a real sense of spiritual warfare (all be it one-sided battle 😉 )

Monday 1st August:

Sarah taken to Kings as there is still no improvement with her right side and the feeling is making her feel sick as well as still effecting her walking. Sarah prescribed a five-day course of steroids and anti sickness tablets. We are yet again blessed to be treated by a great Neurologist who answers some of our questions and went as far as giving us his pager number to contact him directly if we have any concerns. Sarah instructed to hold off for one more day before taking the meds and to speak to him by phone in the morning.

Tuesday 2nd August:

Sarah wakes with a sore throat. This is concerning as steroids destroy your immune system so could mean if it is an infection she will be unable to start the steroids. After a visit Doctor Super Sister she is given the all clear to start her meds. Almost immediately they began to make her feel sick and the next five-day outlook becomes even more difficult.

Wednesday 3rd August:

Steroids are still making Sarah feel ill, agitated and unable to sleep soundly. Continued prayer and thanksgiving see’s her through this time ensuring we keep our eyes fixed on Him who is greater than us.

Friday 5th August:

One more day of steroids to go with signs of improvement. We are praying for a miracle, another MRI will be on the horizon and we pray it will show no scarring on her brain and proclaim God’s greatness.

Saturday 6th August:

Last day of steroids yay! They have not taken her back to normal but have hastened her recovery. I went to Newday on this day but I will update you all about this in a separate post.

If we could ask you all to pray that God’s healing power comes on Sarah and takes away this condition. That Sarah’s side is restored and she no longer feels sick. For constant strength for me to support Sarah as her husband. That God is glorified during this time. Sarah is kept in high spirits during this time and that the burden is taken up by Jesus.

God bless, all of you reading this I hope you find encouragement in our words. May God be glorified in all that we do.

Love

James & Sarah x

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