There will be others!

It has taken me awhile to figure out what I wanted to post this week. I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t have the desire to sit down and write. Many thoughts and topics crossed my mind but for different reasons, I ruled them out. It finally dawned on me a couple days ago that I was having a hard time being thankful. How can one post on a blog about being thankful in all things when you don’t feel thankful?
Gratefully, I came across this devotional thought from my friend Tom. “One of my “Thanks” this year is finding my Joy in God. ” The joy of the Lord is my strength,”  Neh 8:10. This crisis makes me go deeper into my relationship with the Lord, and the deeper I go the more thankful I am for him.  This  trial has me seeking him constantly, where he becomes, “my joy and my delight.” Ps 43:4.
My friend’s words stopped me from focusing on the sadness of knowing there would not be 35 family and friends (pictured below) packed around tables for Thanksgiving. It provided another lesson learned that adversity makes me lean in and go deeper in the trust I have for the One who created and wants only the best for me. Proverbs 23:18 reinforces this affirmation by saying, “Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.”


If that wasn’t enough, Facebook reminded me of a prayer I wrote last Thanksgiving.
My Thanksgiving poem-

Gratitude for which I strive

Instead of stress eating me alive 

The world wants us to never be content 

Achieving much, asking what’s next. 

So on this another Thanksgiving Day

Lord I ask that my heart does stay 

Focused on you and all that You give

Abundance abounds and in that thought I’ll live

So my encouragement to you is this simple exercise. Stop focusing on what you don’t have, where you can’t go, or who you can’t visit. Instead, take the time to look around you and take in all the abundance you have in your life. Once you have gotten yourself refocused with an attitude of gratitude, find some ways to bring thankfulness into others’ lives knowing this season will indeed pass and another Thanksgiving will be here before we know it. I can’t wait to celebrate it with the folks pictured below 😀


missing Maggie and Caroline

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Will you choose to retreat or strive forward with a desire to impact others?

Last week I wrote about how we can live with Hope knowing from our past that God will be with us. Habakkuk tells us that, “ The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills.” – HABAKKUK 3: 17-19. Notice the tense here is in the future. “He will make” not “He might” or “He probably” or even “He did” meaning it is only in the past. The picture above is not only beautiful but denotes a quandary. When I come into the presence of God, Will I choose to turn left or right, or will I continue to move forward even if I don’t know what the new day will bring? My friend Pamela Bunn gave me permission to repost her blog From this AM because she makes the point In such an eloquent manner.

Never the Same

“When the people of the land come before the Lord at the appointed feasts, he who enters by the north gate to worship shall go out by the south gate, and he who enters by the south gate shall go out by the north gate: no one shall return by way of the gate by which he entered, but each shall go out straight ahead.When they enter, the prince shall enter with them, and when they go out, he shall go out.” Ezekiel 46:9-10

Moses’ face altered in appearance with its heavenly glow. David was renewed with strength for battle with sin and soldier. Nehemiah gained clear direction for what to do next. Daniel and John had visions of their majestic God and His kingdom plans. Once before their Lord, these men of God never returned or saw the same way, but went ahead with Him in new understanding, passion, and power. (Exodus 34:29,34-35Nehemiah 1:4-11Psalm 32:3-5Daniel 2:19-23Revelation 1:10-114:1-11)

Every time we come before the Lord, we have opportunity to retreat unaltered the same way we entered, or to go out different. Spending meaningful time with the Prince of Peace, the King of kings, the Ruler of the universe, changes us, and this is our holy God’s intention. 

When we go before our Lord in devotion, what is our desire and expectation? If our hearts are not malleable, and our ears deaf to all but our own voice, we will miss the opportunity for God to have His way. Are we checking the “Quiet Time” box off our list, or are we seeking genuine worship and communion? Do we bring a list of requests we’ve tallied, or ask Him to search our hearts and speak to us with conviction and instruction? Do we allot a hurried amount of time, or converse, and wait, until He is finished with us? (Genesis 17:2218:33)

Do we approach the feast He has prepared and sup in such a way that when we enter weary, we leave refreshed? When we enter bitter and angry, do we leave cleansed and emboldened to forgive? If we enter confused over relationships, decisions, finances, future plans, do we leave trusting the Spirit to guide one step at a time?

What has God revealed about Himself and His manner of work in individuals, the church, and the world, in recent time together? How has He reshaped our thinking, or assuaged our fears? What niggling sins has He removed, what new resolve has He prodded, what changed attitudes and transformed affections has He created?

When we want much from Him, He will never disappoint. Our prayers may not be answered how and when we desire, but Almighty God will not fail to bring about His intentions for us and for His kingdom. (Isaiah 46:9-10)

Isn’t this so good? I can promise you God through adversity has revealed a great deal to me. 1st through my health challenges due to Guillain Barre Syndrome and 2nd with having to deal with staying healthy and away from any chance of coming down with Covid19. The closer you become to God the better person you will become, your life will have more purpose and and have a positive impact on those around you. I use the future tense “will have” because as Much Afraid learned in the book Hinds Feet, when you step out in faith, God promises an abundant life (John 10:10) and desires that it be full of Joy. (John 15:11)

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Who will stand in the gap?

grand canyon sunset

The definition of the word divide is “a wide divergence between two groups, typically producing tension or hostility.” These days there are so many places we see division; “To wear or not wear a mask”, “how in the world can people be gathering in large groups”, and “aren’t those people lucky they have a cool place to shelter in place” just to name a few. Of course there are much bigger things like “do Black Lives Matter” and what does it mean to “Defund the police” Where we all don’t have the same answer on how to solve the problem. These challenges whether small and petty or large and Important have created divisions even in families and amongst friends for whom we really care about. The question is are the majority of us willing to stand in the gap in these conversations so that love will prevail vs allowing those who espouse hatred to seize control.

Let me take a little poetic license with one verse in The classic song, “what’s love got to do with it”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGpFcHTxjZs As you read the lyrics, Think about engaging with someone who doesn’t think the way you do.

It may seem to you that I’m acting confused
When you’re close to me
If I tend to look dazed I’ve read it someplace
I’ve got cause to be
There’s a name for it
There’s a phrase that fits
But whatever the reason you do it for me

Aren’t we all confused by how people are acting? Haven’t the tensions and yes, hostilities, left you a bit dazed and tired? There are many names for it and a phrases that fit. Here are a few words that might sum it up: discouragement, fatigue, hopelessness, and despair. Along with Phrases such as : you don’t care, you can’t understand, and I can’t trust you all lead up to feeling divided, one against another with a sense that there is no way to bridge the gap. The reason that I can remain thankful in all things in this very different season of adversity is that I have hope that “love can conquer all things” Why? Because Jesus validates it when asked what are the most important commandments?

We are to 1st “love God with all our heart, mind, and soul.” The 2nd is that we are to “love others as God loves us”. If we can figure out the 1st, our personal inward hopes (closer to Christ, relationships, etc.)” we will experience a freedom to do the 2nd an outward expression of loving others in a way that is useful to the Lord, Making it His work not mine. Can it be so simple that if My desire is to Love Him with all my heart, love others as He loves me (even though I often times am unloveable) leads to being released that I can count on the fact that His plan not mine will be the outcome? If so, I can strive to stand in the gap “pressing on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14) The prize these days would be to see divisiveness turned into unity.

Beth Moore exhorts us forward by writing, “True greatness will never come to those who seek to be great. It will come to those who make themselves of no reputation and give their unseen everyday lives, their everyday energies, their everyday faith to serving others amid their own everyday sufferings & unrequited desires.”

1 Corinthians 13 says the 3 most important things in life are Faith, Hope, and Love but the greatest of these is Love. Our faith in each other is wavering which can cause us to lose hope. I began this post with lyrics from a classic Tina Turner song. Let me end it with the chorus of one of my favorite campfire songs by the Youngbloods. Go ahead, take the time to listen to it. 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRbTvoxRNxM


Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now

James 3:18 says “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” If we choose to go out with an intent to love one another, I believe we can cause others to do the same. In doing so, we can in fact stand in the gap shining light in the dark, letting good to defeat evil knowing and regaining the hope that love will conquer hatred.

My Guillain Barre Syndrome story which is what started this blog can be found by visiting www.caringbridge.org/visit/michaelguthrie You can contact me by making a comment here on the blog or by emailing me at michael@mrg7175.com

How could this year be seen as worse than last year

If you have been reading this blog since the fall of 2019 or following my journey through adversity Via www.caringbridge.org/visit/michaelGuthrie, you know that an immune system disorder led to a syndrome called Guillain Barre. It left me unable to move for 17 days and gave me the “opportunity” to be in a rehab facility while I regained my strength allowing me to walk out and go home 43 days later. March-June of 2019 were pretty much lost. So, why would I say 2020 has actually been worse than the same time in 2019?

Dottie and I were struck the other day that we have lost the same 4 months this year because of a completely different type of adversity, Covid19 aka The Coronavirus. I have found myself discouraged and on edge in a way that Is not normal for me. I am sure the pandemic has some you feeling the same. This discouragement and angst oozes itself into all aspects of my life which results in a sadness that has led me to ask why? Dottie’ answers, “It is the uncertainty of not knowing what to expect with Covid19. Your bout w GBS was different. Once we knew you were not going to be put on a ventilator, we had the confidence that although it would take a long time, you would get better. We have no idea where the pandemic is taking us and what will be its long term effects.” I find myself fighting this realization but at the end of the day, she is absolutely right. Whether one wants to say this is not a big deal or that it is being over blown by the media, the fact remains no one knows the long term effects of the Coronavirus be it physical, psychological, or economically.

The second reason for 2020 being worse than 2019 will not come as a surprise to anyone who knows me. It has been the subject matter of several blog posts here. I MISS MY PEOPLE 😀. We are not made to travel this life alone. Jesus knew it and that is why he sent the disciples out in twos. “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.” ~ Luke 10:1 We need others in our lives to keep us uplifted when it is so easy to fall into despair.

There is also the African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” My recovery from Guillain Barre was indeed a group effort. Friends spent the night with me in the hospital and in rehab. People brought us lunch every day. I had so many visitors that Dottie had to, lovingly but fiercely, become the gatekeeper so I would get my rest. I was in a bad way but throughout the ordeal and even after we came home, we had people cheering and encouraging us along the way. 2020 is harder than 2019 because this is a fresh and different kind of adversity. I am sure that many of you are struggling with the pandemic’s “shelter in place” in some of the same ways. GBS without a doubt was the biggest challenge I have faced in my life. The difference this year is I don’t have the people around me as I did last year. Dottie and I are fortunate to have each other but it is tough going through this pretty much by ourselves. Like us, You are tired, lonely, and Frustrated. Asking, “When will this ever end?” You are longing life to get back to normal. I am grateful that Jesus says in Matthew,  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Picked this one because i wish I was at the beach 🙂

Reading through Proverbs in June teaches God want us to wait on Him. Be patient. Trust that He already knows the outcome of the Covid19 story and as this song reminds us, He has never failed us yet. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0B_lnQIITxU When we do Isaiah 40 lifts us up knowing “those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength”. I will look unto the hills, to the One who loves me, for rest in my soul and a renewed strength. How bout you?

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What does it mean to Wait?

I write this on The Saturday after The Friday and before The Sunday. The day in the middle after Christ died and before He left the tomb empty and appeared to the two men on the road to Emmaus and then to the disciples who should have known better than to fear. A little over a year ago I waited in a hospital bed for my body to respond to the plasmapherisis treatment that would hopefully allow my body to start functioning again. As I have written in a previous blog, I can’t explain why but I did not ask “Why me?” Once I knew I would not be put on a ventilator (little did I know what that would mean a year later) I never was afraid because I had been told by those I trusted that I would get better; That my paralyzed body would once again function properly. I also never doubted God was with me even though it took longer for the treatment to work and in the darkest of nights when I couldn’t sleep. Psalm 91;5 “Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day” I chose instead to focus on Isaiah 40;31 “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Just as we are doing now, the disciples waited. John 20: 19 “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.”As we wait on this Saturday for Sunday, the difference now vs then, is we know how it ends. As we wait for this Covid-19 to lessen its grip, don’t wait in fear like the disciples did locked up in that room. Had they listened, the you would remember that Jesus told them what was going to happen. Mark 10: 33.34  “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.” Once they saw that He had conquered death, they went out proclaiming the Good News that he is not dead at all. Are we waiting in fear because of Covid-19? Or will we too go out bringing Hope and Light into our part of the world trusting knowing Sunday is coming and when it does we will celebrate that He has Risen. Hallelujah. 

Out of brokeness can come beauty

Phillippians 2:4 “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

bottom left picture is from my “Self-Isolation Rapunzel Self-Isolation Tower” above our garage

I shared my word for the year was Generosity in my 1/1/2020 blog post. My friend Liza Borches Myers in her keynote speech to my company shared her company’s word was Courage.  Little did we know then how both would be so desperately needed at this time due to the Coronavirus world we live in today. “Things are bad and probably are going to get worse” Do you remember these words? They were shared by a doctor friend of mine right after I had been admitted to the hospital. He then said, “but you will get better.” That gave me hope then and it gives me hope today. It took courage for me to battle back from the effects of Guillain Barre and the generosity of so many to encourage us along the way. Dottie wrote this on our CaringBridge a year ago this weekend. “Meals delivered, overnight help, visitors, cards and notes of encouragement, and prayers have sustained us. We are blessed and grateful.” That statement is as tru today as it was then. Like my recovery, I have hope that the world will recover from this Coronavirus and we will find it better. There are reasons for such confidence. We sit in this incredible dark time and yet can glimpse the first slivers of the dawn’s light as we watch the Coronavirus’ impact releasing its grip in China and South Korea. Even in Italy where things are at its worse there are signs that have brought hope. I shared the following on Facebook a couple of days ago.

 In attempts to see the positive out of this pandemic, here is a quote translated by an Italian journalist to read whenever we feel worried. I added a few things in parenthesis. “The people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced, (many sang to each other from their balconies. A US ship in port played the Italian national anthem from their PA system.)And the people began to think differently. And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal. When the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully (as evidenced by the canals cleaning up so that dolphins have been spotted swimming there) and they had been healed.”

Further proof of the world being made better is found in this quote “The bottom line: “Beyond the public health and economic crises, [Riccardo Valentini, a professor at Italy’s University of Tuscia] said, the pandemic ultimately could trigger the most significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of the past century.” God’s Word is true. Paul wrote about my sickness and the Coronavirus challenge we fact today in Romans 8:28  “know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

I love the song “I can only imagine” by Mercy Me. It talks about what it will be like in heaven. If you haven’t heard it, google it on YouTube. Philippians 2:4 says, Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Could it be that with, what is going on and how we are generous and mindful of others, itwill make a very positive difference in our world going forward? We can only imagine.

Even in darkness, the light always prevails. Candle in the “Rapunzel Tower” window

How one prepares for the onset of adversity.

I went to a concert last night. Unfortunately, because of my recovery routine, I did not get to see Mercy Me perform. I did get to practically apply a lesson I learned earlier in the week. “Discipline is doing the right things even when you don’t feel like it. The picture here is me getting up early to row

Last night I left the concert before Mercy Me because I need to be in bed no later than 9:30. I was tempted but knew the decision to exercise this discipline was the right choice. I did get to enjoy Jeremy Camp and look forward to the new movie, I Still Believe, coming out soon.

Matthew 6;33,34 says, “But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you also. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Jeremy Camp shared this verse and then said and sang a song that prodded me to write this latest post

🎼Singing oh Lord, keep me in the moment
Help me live with my eyes wide open
‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me
Singing oh Lord, show me what matters
Throw away what I’m chasing after
‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me 🎹
Keep me in the moment
Oh, keep me in the moment
Keep me in the moment
‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me🎶

My moment for almost a year now has been dealing Guillain Barre And the serious impact on my body and now slowly but surely doing everything I can to fully recover. Whether it is exercising when I don’t feel like it or having to leave something early from a concert are “keeping me in the moment” decisions. Jeremy went on to talk about Ebeneezer Stones. “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.”(1 Samuel 7:12) Ebenezer is only mentioned three times in the Bible. By definition Ebenezer means “stone of help.” This reminded me of a book, Hinds Feet in High Places, which brings me back to the title of this post. Like the character, Much-Afraid, I prepared for my journey through adversity by experiencing God’s presence in my life when I faced struggles, fears, anxiety, etc. The God figure in Hinds Feet shares, “Whenever you are willing to obey me, Much-Afraid, and to follow the path of my choice, you will always be able to hear and recognize my voice, and when you hear it you must always obey. Remember also that it is always safe to obey my voice, even if it seems to call you to paths which look impossible or even crazy.”

I was called into a sickness where recovery at the onset seemed impossible and yes, not being able to move was even crazy. It would have been easy to succumb into fear and discouragement. Instead I chose Hope in what was to come because I had my own Ebeneezer “stones of hope” experiences. Did I not want to go work out? Did I not want to leave the concert? You bet. However, I did both because I knew having that discipline would allow me to be a little bit closer to a full recovery and encourage me to make my life even more dependent on the One who loves me and wants what is best for me. He promises to do the same for you. All you have to do is ask. Hallelujah.

Your life can be a candle in the darkness

It has now been 9 months since Guillain Barre Syndrome wreaked havoc on my body which I am still slowly but surely recovering from each day. I still struggle with fatigue and lack of stamina and often go through my day feeling light headed and a bit unsteady on my feet. There are many things I am learning as I deal with this new normal physically, mentally, and spiritually. The one sweet aspect that has been so special is constantly being told that my attitude throughout this significant health challenge has been an encouragement to others. The following are just a few comments I received over the Thanksgiving holiday.

As PTs this is the best part of our job that really makes everything worth it ❤️ It has been so special to be a part of your journey… not everyone battles so courageously.

 “One of the highest of human duties is the duty of encouragement. … It is easy to laugh at man’s ideals. It is easy to pour cold water on the enthusiasm. It is easy to discourage others. The world is full of discouragers. We have a Christian duty to encourage one another. Many a time a word of praise or thanks or appreciation or cheer has kept a man on his feet. You have been this for me.

——LOVE this! So true and so applicable to anyone’s journey! you are so right the world is full of discourages and the older we get the duller those dreams get as ppl battle with the hardships of life. It is our job to encourage others. Such a beautiful message Thankyou for reminding the world ❤️

Grateful For all that u have shown and inspired in me! Love you like a brother!

Happy Thanksgiving Mike, to you and your family.  Your perseverance and trust in God was very inspirational to many, including my son and me.  So happy for you as your full recovery continues.  God Bless you.

Thank you Michael. I really enjoyed reading all about your journey after GBS and am grateful for you sharing it and for reaching out to others to provide hope. A truly inspiring story.

Awe, Mike, it was my pleasure to lift you up to the Most High God and I praise Him for the healing he has brought to you 🙏🏾🙏🏾 Happy Thanksgiving to you, Dottie and your beautiful family

We’re all made better by having you in our lives Michael!  Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂

and even from a Va Tech fan 🙂 I’ve always admired how you always find the positive with your recovery. Happy thanksgiving MRG and everyone else. And go Hokies 🦃

If you visit my Caring Bridge site https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/michaelguthrie or my Facebook page, there are so many uplifting words for me but also folks sharing how I have offered them hope in their own lives. This has become an unexpected blessing (silver lining) and yes a glimmer of light in what has been a pretty dark time in my life.

glimmer of light through the beach clouds

As we ponder the Wonder of God’s love over this advent season, remember a candle is lit each Sunday to remind us “unto us a Child was born” who brings us hope. I have experienced Hebrews 11:1 personally which says, ” Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” I am honored that God has used me to offer hope to others who are struggling in one way or another. I hope this blog post will encourage you to be a candle in the darkness. So many folks have made a difference in our lives. I can assure you that choosing to trust God and finding ways to encourage others can make a positive difference in someone else’s life. Why, because no matter how small the light provided by your candle, it will always defeat the darkness around it.

light always defeats the darkness