Never Once Did We Ever Walk Alone

Our walk with God

It’s about time!

‘It’s about time,’ is probably the unanimous cry from many of our family, friends and regular readers! I thought it had been a little while since our last post and having looked at the date of the last one I realised it really was such a long time ago! We hope that you have all had a really good start to the year and our great God has blessed you all.

Sarah has had a mixed start to the year with some symptoms subsiding and some coming back on occasion and reminding us of the illness’ attempts to derail us from our walk with God. Yet as sure as the ground beneath our feet we shall not be shaken as the Creator of the heavens and earth has us firmly in His grasp and is continually using us for His good purposes.

Since I last wrote to you Sarah has had her of first treatment of Tysabri (in February) and underwent her second treatment yesterday. I am pleased and proud to say that Sarah has been doing extremely well throughout, although the side effects post treatment have proved a challenge, thankfully they have been short lived. Sarah has acquired a headache, itchy skin and extreme tiredness for the first 48hours after each infusion of the drug. With plenty of prayer, rest and paracetamol she has been able push through.

On a positive note we have noticed a slight improvement in Sarah’s fatigue meaning that she has been able to go for longer before having to take some time out to rest and sleep. We do not know whether this is a direct result from receiving her treatment but are thanking God for it regardless. Now that Sarah is on the treatment she will go to hospital for each infusion (this usually takes just a few hours) once every 4 weeks. If she is allergic to the drug, a reaction is most likely to present on the second or third infusion, which means we have one more left until we can relax a lot more about it! If she does have a bad reaction she will be taken off the drug immediately with no chance of going back on it. This will be a very difficult issue as there is no better drug for her. Please join us in praying for Sarah that God will protect her from any major allergic reaction as we do not believe He has led her out this far to lead us back again.

I feel it is important to take this opportunity whilst sharing with those we love and who love us to thank God for the never failing support and for being the reason we never walk alone. We have found ourselves in complete hopelessness and darkness at times only to be snatched out by His almighty hand and built back up. I have no idea why this need’s to happen at this time and this way and to my wife, however I know I do not have to understand everything – i can stand firm in spite of this because our God is Sovereign, which means he has control over all things. Even in difficulty, persecution, trials and suffering He is God and He is unchanging. The God who gave over His only Son to death to bring us back into relationship with Him will certainly not leave us on our own during this time. I am greatly stirred by the wisdom of Job, a man who had everything taken from him, without any purpose he could fathom, but could still ask, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” in his search for reason. Even when we cannot explain the negative events and times in our lives we need to cling on to God and trust Him as if you have no choice because He is the only sure thing you will ever find. I pray earnestly that we remain obedient to His call and that through our lives and actions He alone is glorified.

Please join me in praying that Sarah is firstly healed 100%, perfectly and that until then God blesses this treatment so that she will benefit from it in ways we could not imagine. Pray that she is kept safe and free from more relapses and that she continues to smile so brilliantly, the smile that lifts me up and that we all know so very well.

Thank you all for your ongoing support and prayers.

God bless,

James & Sarah

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Praise our Lord & Saviour from whom all blessings flow!

We have prayed for great news and we have been hugely blessed! I hope that you have all had a blessed Christmas and that a sense of its real meaning has stirred you to dwell on the greatest gift any of us ever received or deserved that came in the form of Jesus Christ.

Since our last post we have received much great news with regards to Sarah’s condition. On our last visit to the consultant it was explained to us that as a result of Sarahs second MRI it is confirmed that she has an aggressive form of MS called relapsing remitting. This generally means that Sarah would have shorter periods between relapses resulting in the quickening of lasting disability. This is sad news but not suprising as Sarah has had three relapses since this all began. It was during this visit that the first bit of good news came. The consultant went through Sarah’s treatment options once again and when discussing Tysabri (this was our preferred option but came with a considerable risk) he went back over the risk factor of JC virus (carried by around 50% of the population) becoming PML (a usually fatal neurological infection) due to treatment. We believed that if you were JC negative the risk factor would be 1 in a 1000 and if you were positive you would be 1 in 300. For the most part we were right except for one major missing statistic….. The 1 in 1000 was for someone who was not tested but if you were tested and negative your chances were increased to 1 in 10,000 which is negligible!

The more we found out about Tysabri the more impressive it became. With Sarah’s form of MS it can cut relapses by 80%. During the hospital visit we visited two ladies who were having their monthly drips and they again were saying how great it is and how the day to day side effects are minimal. God seemed to be lifting off the darkness that day and giving us a renewed hope! We wanted Sarah to go on to Tysabri and we began to pray for a negative result from her bloodtests for JC.

Goods news two! Sarah attended an eye test requested by the DVLA. The last eye test was the one that showed that she had lost a quarter of her vision which later led to her hospitalisatation. She could only have an error of 10% to pass and retain her licence. She passed! Not only did she pass but she passed with 100%, I can see this as nothing less than a God given miracle.

Good news three! This one is hot off the presses, we had the results of her blood test today………. She is negative for JC! This means we will be going ahead with treatment from mid February. Praise God.

Although we seem to suffer much in His name, should we think that we would be immune from such things? Even during all of this we have seen and been in receipt of rich blessing. God has blessed us, strengthened us and given us great oppotunity to share what He is doing with our family, friends and even those we do not know.

We have had such a fantastic Christmas with family and friends and we hope you all have to. I hope your plans for New Years eve are finalised and your all very much looking forward to them. We shall be spending the evening with our good friends James & Ally Lumgair, Becci Riseley and Esther Wilks. It is friends like these and others which remind you of how rich your blessings are.

I look forward to writing to you all in the New Year.

1 Peter 4v13 But rejoice insofar as you share in Christ sufferings, that you also may rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed.

God bless,

James & Sarah

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Not so regular update!

Well we are one day away from the start of December so that means Christmas is nearly upon us. I hope your Christmas shopping is well under way and the turkey has been ordered. I do not mean to brag (but I will) but thank’s to my incredibly organised wife not only is our Christmas shopping complete but it has been wrapped since Children in Need night! I make no claim to helping in this; it is all down to my wonderful wife serving our family so magnificently.

Since I last blogged Sarah has suffered another relapse which left her numb down her right side. To be honest it has not been anywhere near as debilitating as her previous relapse that had similar effect, however it has meant that she has had to stop driving for a while, this is also a concern as to the speed in which the MS is progressing. Consequently we have now made the decision to move in with her Mum and Dad until such time as we can afford our own place and I am driving.

Speaking of which I am taking my theory test on Friday and I am now well underway with driving lessons. It has taken a long time to finally get this sorted but it is imperative now if I am able to look after Sarah as best as I can. I am praying that our Lord God blesses me and speeds up a process that can take some months.

In other news Sarah’s appointment with her consultant has been brought forward to the 14th of December instead of the 28th. There has been no explanation offered as to why this is the case so it has left us slightly nervous. This being said there has been a weekly dedication of prayer for all those in our church in need of healing and this may be one of many answers to those prayers.

During this time of year everyone is looking forward to Christmas. For many it means a time of getting together with friends and loved ones, eating, drinking and generally having a good time. I feel so often the true meaning of Christmas is lost or not thought about. Christmas marks out a time when God, the one true God, creator of heaven and earth came down to us in the form of the man Jesus. His purpose was to bring us back to himself, to pay our unpayable debt by dying on a cruel cross and provide us a way to live out our lives in worship to Him.

During the coming weeks when you’re buying gifts and preparing for the festive celebrations think about the gift that was given so freely to us. A gift that if we receive it will literally cost us our very lives as we will be born again to a new living hope in Jesus our Lord and Saviour.

Please continue to pray for Sarah, pray that her resolve and faith in Jesus never wavers, pray that she is healed magnificently by God and that I can continue to honour Jesus in all that I do and be the husband that Sarah so rightfully deserves.

God bless,

James & Sarah x

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It’s been a while…..

Well looking at the date of the last post I haven’t blogged in quite sometime! I am pleased to say that Sarah is doing very well but we still have some big challenges ahead.

The last month has been an incredibly busy time for us but filled nicely with some great events. I have been hugely busy with work as the company I work for has won numerous new contracts that have presented with their own unique challenges and I have been very pleased to be able to be a part of it. Me and James have completed our second month of Leadership Training (I will blogging about this soon) and we have just completed the first half term of our 11-14’s group at church. We have recently enjoyed a holiday to North Wales with John and Linda. I do not believe I have ever been on such a well needed, well-timed break. Not only was the company and scenery fantastic but God allowed us to truly rest (mentally and emotionally if not physically!). We thank God and John & Linda for this time away as it was just what was needed.

I am greatly pleased to say that Sarah’s good friend and bridesmaid Jenny is herself now getting married to a great man and has asked Sarah to be her bridesmaid, which is a huge honour for Sarah and another exciting thing to look forward to.

Sarah has now made contact and met her MS nurse, we had been praying for a caring, realistic person and God has provided just that. The MS nurse will serve as the first port of call for Sarah when she feels ill or needs to speak to anyone. The nurse has suggested that she could put Sarah into contact with a young lady about the same age as Sarah who has just started on her drug treatments. I am believing for God to anoint this potential friendship for the edification and support of Sarah as well as providing a way for Sarah to show His great love, mercy and undeserved grace to this young lady.

Sarah and her sister Laura have spent a long time going over the possibilities of medical treatment which range from daily, weekly and monthly injections to a monthly drip administered in hospital. All the medications have varied degrees of effectiveness and side effects. The issue is that the better the drug the worse or potentially serious the side effect. Please could I ask that if you pray, pray for wisdom for both me and Sarah as we decide which treatment is to be the most viable for Sarah at this time. Sarah has recently had her second MRI, which went incredibly well in comparison to her first. God once again comforted her and lowered the time from the stated 1 hour to around 25 minutes! What a great and glorious lord we serve. The results of this MRI will greatly determine the choice of medication so again please pray for no more lesions.

Me and Sarah have been reading through the book of Ruth in the old testament and are being continually reminded of God’s faithfulness and providence in all of our lives. He is active, never passive and He will ALWAYS work out His good purposes for us. He loves us and He loves you and is waiting for you to reach out to Him through His son Christ Jesus to know Him and to share in His great love.

God bless,

James & Sarah x

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From the diagnosis until now…..

Well it seems like a good time for another update from me and Sarah. There has been some big events since our last post; it was my 25th Birthday this Friday just gone as well as our good friend David’s 30th on the same day! It was also a great honour and privilege to be a groomsman to my friend Daniel on Saturday for his wedding to a wonderful lady named Pearl. It was fantastic to see two people honour God in marriage and for our Church to rally around them and bless them with a beautiful wedding day. Daniel has an awesome testimony about God’s abundant grace and healing hear it on the Bexleyheath Community Church website by clicking here

Sarah is doing incredibly well at the moment but still struggling with the associated fatigue so please, please keep praying. We have now received more information about the drug trial that Sarah is eligible for (according to initial requirements). It is a very difficult decision for both of us and the thought of taking any sort of medication is difficult for Sarah. Even with my support it is hard for her not to feel alone in taking it. Sarah is suffering with random twitches whilst doing things like eating etc, which can cause some embarrassment for her if she drops her cutlery for seemingly no reason. We pray that God continues His healing work in her until this is rectified. We need to seek God thoroughly in making this decision and trust that sometimes the answer to prayer is the response to the need. Please continue to pray with us as we go through this time as your support has been like a rod to our backs keeping us upright and steadfast.

Now I would like to share with you about our wonderful God honoring church. I have alluded to them on many occasions whilst writing this blog but I feel it incredibly important to publicly give thanks for their support of us and our family. Our church like any good God glorifying church have rallied around us during this time and clothed us in prayer and support. I do not believe that we could ever truly express our thanks and gratitude for what you have all done for us. To those of you reading this who do not come to our church, why not pop along one Sunday and see why we could not be in a better place to be dealing with this situation

Jesus came to us as God incarnate to die for our sins, be raised to life by the Father and  bodily ascend to Heaven to reign with Him, forever interceding on our behalf. By bringing Gods Kingdom on earth he established the church to be His bride and outwork His power through the Holy Spirit so people could be gathered to His mighty name. God knew as Christians that we should not be ‘lone rangers’ and should find a place in the body of Christ (the church). As it says in 1 Corinthians 12:27  “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” If we also look at John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” we can see that God’s promise is that if we come to know Jesus as our Lord and Savior we will live for eternity worshiping the living God and will be able to take our place in His church. If we were not safe in this assurance we would not be able to cope with most parts of our lives let alone something as life changing as MS.

whoever you are, whatever race you are, whatever walk of life you are from, whatever beliefs you hold or whatever life you have lived Jesus loves you and gave up His life for you so that you may know God the Father as intimately as Him. There are no promises of an easy life, money or perfect health but there is an assurance that your life is in His hands and whatever happens God is sovereign and will outwork His great plans for you.

God bless,

James & Sarah

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The diagnosis……

Well the summer seems to have well and truly come and gone as we start to welcome in the autumn. We have spent sometime away from the blog over the past few weeks to try to process all that has happened and look to our great and glorious God whilst we plan for the future, however uncertain.

Sarah has recently celebrated her 24th birthday that was enjoyed by both friends and family. We played ridiculously funny games (as concocted by John and Laura) and enjoyed a family BBQ on the bank holiday monday.

We had the first consultants appointment this Monday at Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital, which had been long anticipated. We thank God for an answer to prayer as he gave us the most fantastic consultant who seem’s to be nothing short of an expert at the forefront of his field. He sadly confirmed the diagnosis as Multiple Sclerosis, which although deeply saddening comes with a peace from God and a final understanding of what we are dealing with. The next thing on the ‘MS calender’ will be Sarah’s second MRI. This was a very unpleasant experience for Sarah the first time so could I please ask that if you pray, please pray for a quick and less traumatic experience this time around. The consultant has begun talking with us about the different kinds of medication available. However as he aptly put the medications available are a ‘two edged knife that cut both ways’ meaning that the better drug the worse the side effect. We will be spending much time seeking God in the lead up to making our decision. (please visit www.msdecisions.org.uk for more information on MS and its treatment).

Now for some good news! Sarah’s eyesight seems to have fully returned, if it has not recovered fully then her brain has adapted to make up for what was lost. Her tingling and numbness has now all but completely been healed, which means she is walking well and she can be touched on her right side. Due to this healing she is now able to drive again and has done so over the past few days. Please join us in praising our gracious God for his providence during this time.

Over the past few weeks/months during this trial we both have drawn closer to our saviour and looked to God for support in our lives.  First Corinthians 10:13 in the NKJV reads, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” This Scripture teaches us a powerful lesson. If we belong to Him, God will not allow any difficulty to come into our lives that we are not capable of bearing. This shows that God allows these trials in our lives to work out His great purposes for us, it is wonderful and glorious although unquestionably difficult. We are called to lean wholly on Jesus and the work of the spirit and not to depend on our own strength.  James 1:12 assures us, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

In all that we do and in all that we are, we are called to bring Gods kingdom on earth as it is in heaven and see people saved through Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and bodily ascension to heaven to sit at the right hand of the father. We pray that through our trial you will see a hope that is greater for the trials you face within your own lives and look to Jesus as your friend and saviour.

God bless,

James & Sarah x

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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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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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