What will you choose?

One of the first days I was in the hospital unable to move due to Guillain Barre Syndrome, a friend asked me, “Do you ever ask Why me? I cannot tell you why but I was in a weird way comforted and encouraged that the question had never entered my mind. Instead, I made the choice to have a mindset of “what do I and the people caring for me need to do for me to get better?”

This blog post came into focus from three very different places this week. First, a good friend talked about “why is it always about what I need, I deserve, I earned and entitled to instead of about what God has done in my life? The second was a brief devotional by John and Stasi Eldredge on “guarding your heart so you prevent negative thoughts from growing in this time of social distancing. Here is the link. https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=214262996537588&external_log_id=d77d5d6df9a10b37ff6523ec739b195a&q=stasi%20eldredge Finally, while walking this morning I listened to a sermon, where the pastor challenged those listening, “how has Covid-19 shown you that your identity and security have been in the wrong places?” All three thoughts though different brought to mind the fact we all can choose how we will respond when faced with challenges.

Hasn’t it been a long week? Just a week ago, we celebrated Easter. We sang Hallelujah, He is Risen and found ourselves uplifted knowing we have Hope because God loved us so much that He sent His Son to die for us. A week later, are you still living in Hope or have you gone back into a state of anxiety and discouragement? A week before Easter over 2000 years ago, everyone was shouting “Hosanna in the Highest”. A week later they were screaming “Crucify Him’. In one short week they went from praising Jesus and what He has done to wanting Him dead.

The point is how we choose to live and behave is our chose. Here are some examples of who how we can choose to live our life. Loving vs Hateful, Fearful vs Courageous, Greedy vs Generous, Anxious vs Peaceful, Selfish vs Servant-hearted, Helpful vs disagreeable, resentful vs grateful, bitter vs kindhearted.( *see verses below) Stasi Eldredge shared in the video seeds get planted in our hearts and unless we nourish them positively we can find ourselves succumbing to the attitude “it is all about me”, III, vs desiring to offer hope and light to others.

A year ago, I was in a Rehab Center excited that I had been given the green light to go home. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be there without being able to have visitors. Am I happy that I have been in self-isolation for more than 6 weeks now because of a compromised immune system? No. but I choose to be grateful that this irritation pales in comparison to what others and their loved ones are going through right now. You see, We all have a chose to live our lives out in certain ways. No one can force us to be one way or another. Revelation 3:20 reinforces that very thing. He knocks but it is up to us to answer and open the door. The answer will determine whether you will experience true peace knowing you are living the life God intended for you. One that as Galatians 5:22,23 says produces, ” the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Let’s all go out and encourage others to choose these.

*additional scripture verses. 1 John 4:19 “one who say I love God,” but hates his brother is a liar” “Some people are always greedy for more, but the godly love to give!” – Proverbs 21:26.

Michael [email protected] www.thankfulinallthings.com

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. 

In adversity, Can we Count it all blessing….

Today is Palm Sunday. Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus rode into town hearing the crowds shouting “Hosanna; blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord” (Mark 11.9). Mistakenly, They were celebrating that he was “the Messiah coming to renew the kingdom of our father David!” (Mark 11:10). They had no idea what was to come just a week later. As I thought about this fact this morning, I couldn’t help but think of how a month ago none of us could have imagined we would be sheltered at home because of Covid-19. Each of us has been thrown into uncertainty because our before Coronavirus lives have been turned upside down. The same question needs to be asked, just as back then. Where does my trust lie? Who can I believe to tell me the truth of what is happening and how long will it last? We have been thrown into uncertainty as our lives as we know them have been turned upside down. I am grateful that I count it all blessing because I trust the One who said this to those that were looking for someone to trust. “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” John 14:27. I, we, certainly need to be concerned but we need not fear. Why?

…because our trust is found in the Lord. This is Holy week where we prepare for what God did for all of us. He sent His Son to live amongst us so that He could be sacrificed to fulfill the prophecy of the Old testament. Zechariah 9:9-10 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon a colt the foal of an ass.” Yes, then beaten, hung on a cross, and died so that our relationship with God could be restored. Psalm 22, “”They have pierced my hands and my feet.” and in the chapters of Isaiah 52 and 53 where what happens is written in specific detail. I count it all blessing because God knew what was going to happen to His son and was with him throughout the pain and anguish even into death. This gives me renewed confidence and hope that God knew that Covid-19 was going to happen and will be with me and you as well. I use the word renewed because I saw this and continue to see this play out in my Guillain Barre Syndrome recovery. I have written about it on this blog in the past. God made His presence known time and time again in my darkest hours of GBS so I, and I promise you, can count on Him doing it again now. So…..

Count your blessings always being humble and give thanks for everything in life. Be thankful that God through Jesus Christ is with you and promises to walk you through this storm. Be thankful for food, friends, family, but most of all God’s Love. Appreciate everything you have and remember there are people who are in a way harder situation than you. Use this special Holy Week to reach out to those who are alone or are in need. Ask God to show you how He wants you to make a difference in your world. Who knows, maybe you are the one who God uses to show someone He is with them during their darkest hour,

Matthew 25:40- “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Romans 15:4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” And in doing so, maybe others will count it a blessing for what you did for them.

How can we not fear?

As I thought about what I would write this week, I received this CaringBridge post from a good friend whose wife is in the same rehab facility while recovering from Guillain Barre at this time last year. His perspective is right on and reminded me of an earlier post where I wrote about how close I felt to God when things were the darkest. People would ask me, “are you not afraid”? My answer, honestly and I don’t know why, was no because God is with me and He promises to be with me not matter what.” Fast forward a year and we are all facing the fear of coronavirus together. Here is what my friend wrote about it.

“I don’t know about you but these virus precautions are getting to me. Our lives have been turned upside down.No dinning out. No church. No school. No NCAA basketball. No Masters! No easter services. Is this surreal or what? The final epitaph for COVID-19 has not been written yet but somewhere in there will be the damage from fear.

This is a good time to test your personal fear barometer. Do you let events unsettle you? Fear overwhelm you? To a degree, most of us probably do. For me, during the COVID-19 crisis I have tried to gauge my trust in God. Is it enough? If not, why not? My fear of losing my wife has made me face these questions. 

God shouts to us in our pain and suffering. Are we listening? I don’t want to miss anything when He has something to say to me. I am listening closely these past few months.

We have told you about how she on occasions can’t see or hear well, so she mistakes us for someone else. She sees things that aren’t there which confuses her and those talking to her. These are normal results from brain trauma but no one prepared us for how this manifests itself. My fear of the unknown strikes at me as I struggle to deal with my response to her.

So, as we live through COVID-19 and her recovery let’s face our fears with Him. Let’s give them to God. He is our great healer. He cares for us. We can rest in Him. He is our rock. He does not change. He is our refuge and strength. He is always near. As I tell my sweet bride, there is power in the name of Jesus. If you need help, call out his name. He is mighty to save!

Thank you for your persistent prayers and support. We are encouraged by each one of you. We will pray for your courage as you face COVID-19 and life.

Yes. It does take courage to face your fear but I can tell you from 1st hand experience, that is much easier to face them when you look back on adversity and remember that God was there and got you through it just like the psalmist promises in Psalm 23. I posted this the other day on my Facebook page. It came from me thinking about what I wanted to share with those who follow this blog.

Where is God wanting to take us? What does He want to teach us?
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me (Psalm 23:4
Greg Laurie-“Yet the Lord is saying, “You see that mountaintop in the distance? The way to that mountaintop is through this valley. You come with Me now through the valley.”
We all go through those valleys in life, those hard times. Whatever valley it is, remember this: You are not alone. That is God’s great promise to those who believe.”

In closing, I want to repeat something my friend wrote above with the hope that you will try and apply it to your life these days. ” God shouts to us in our pain and suffering. Are we listening? I don’t want to miss anything when He has something to say to me. I am listening closely these past few months. ” Many distractions have been removed from our lives. Sports, concerts, movie theaters, and restaurants to name a few. Why don’t we take this time of isolation from the distractions of the world and have a personal revival where we focus on what should have been our 1st priority all along. God. Psalm 22 shows God knew that His Son would be crucified. We can count on the fact He knows what we are going through now. You can call out to Him trusting He hears your voice. Move toward Him to hear His. Fear not and Trust in Him for all things.

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

Happy day after St Patrick’s Day

My hope in these uncertain times that these two now versus then videos will bring a smile to your face.



Dottie and I are doing our best to navigate this thing they call self-isolation. These pictures represent the view from my Rapunzel tower above the garage and still supporting businesses by getting our curbside lunch from our friends at Chick-fil-a

We remain Thankful in All Things but most especially our great God who knows all and each one of you are following our journey through yet another season of adversity. “Take courage all you people of the land, says the Lord; work, for I am with you, says the Lord of hosts, according to the promise that I made you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit abides among you; fear not.” Haggai: 2:4a – 5.

John 16 says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled” OK, then why do I feel this way?

These last few days have been troubling for me. I have been on edge but found it hard to figure out why. Certainly the Coronavirus all over the news doesn’t help especially with me being considered “immune system compromised” I have been dealing with emotions that I haven’t been able to understand.  I continue to feel better but being put in a “cautious” category by my health care folks, physical therapist and most importantly my wife, has left me in a very strange place.  I find myself wanting to live trusting the wisdom of those who care for me while not wanting to live by fear. The answer is found in Isaiah 43. O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. “

Dottie reminded me this morning that not walking in fear does not mean not being wise in my actions. I think I finally heard her and it made me realize why I have felt such angst over the last few days. As much as I want to declare myself better I am not fully recovered. Even though people see me and say I look great, the reality is my recovery can take 6 months to 2 years and there is a very good chance my immune system, which caused Guillain Barre syndrome to occur, very well may still be compromised. Therefore, I need to seek wisdom from those who know much more than me. Please Lord make me “A wise man who will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding who will acquire and trust wise counsel. (Proverbs 1:5)”. Larry Burkett writes, “Acquiring wisdom and knowledge can’t be underestimated in it’s importance when you have vital decisions to make. The Bible says in James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” In asking God for wisdom you partner closer to God as you listen first and then take His counsel.” It has taken some time but I think God has gotten through to me via His Word and hearing counsel from Dottie and others who love me and are concerned for my well being. I will move forward from here as this image captures.

Knowing I am not fully recovered but with a Hope that God is in control and with a renewed commitment to learn patience (no wonder it is a virtue 🙂 in allowing His healing work to continue in his time not mine.

May my actions be more honoring to God now that I have begun to figure out this next stage of my journey

What motivates you?

I have spent this week preparing for a special night on our company’s calendar. Each year we set aside an evening to congratulate those who have achieved great success in 2019. The theme for this year’s program is how it takes Courage to reach your goals and how we all need to be encouraged to realize the potential we have inside us. The message is that Courage comes from Believing in yourself so you cross the T out in I Can’t so that you have an attitude of I Can! We then need to trust the process and make the decision to keep moving forward even when there are setbacks and obstacles along the way. For those of you who have been following my recovery from Guillain Barre either on www.caringbridge.org/visit/michaelguthrie or here on the blog, you know it was one year ago this week (3/1/2019), where GBS rendered me paralyzed unable to move for close to three weeks. I then spent 43 days in a rehab facility working hard to regain my strength. Gratefully, I ultimately walked out to head home on April 25th about 6 weeks sooner than those caring for me expected. Guillain Barre took me down just a couple of days after last year’s company celebration so You can understand why preparing for this company event this week has been a soul searching time.
I wasn’t sure what to expect as I approached By day of GBS infamy, March 1st. Walking into JPJ on 2/29 to watch Virginia beat Duke was crazy because the year before I was in the ER while they played their last game of the season against Miami. My friend Dr Diduch coming in after the game with his son Tyler to share 4 things which I will never forget. God loves you. It was going to get worse before it got better. I couldn’t be in a better place to get treated. I was going to get better. He was right on all 4 accounts. What we didn’t know was there would be a fifth. I was going to be given a platform to share the lessons learned from my journey Through adversity

March 1st has come and gone. I was grateful for the folks who remembered and reached out to mark the day but, in all honesty, I was struck by how it came and went without much fanfare. Another day in my “GBS recovery likes routine” new normal lifestyle. Not over doing so that Dottie can relax knowing I am doing everything I can to take of myself. I guess what I am saying here is the answer to the title of this blog is “what motivates me” has changed because of Guillain Barre. I am a little bit closer to living out this scripture in my life. 2 Chronicles 15:7 “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” My work now is living a life of faith that encourages others who are struggling in one way or another God does indeed love them and will be there no matter what. After all I have been through I now have the platform from where I can say, “I Can” because “I Believe” and now can move forward knowing God was there before, is with me as I continue to recover, and will be with me always no matter what.

There were a lot of Roy Wheeler awards given out Thursday night. Folks were recognized for their achievements in 2019. One person stood out that night. When announced there was A heart felt response and a long standing ovation. It was for the person who motivates me to e the best I can be. Wife of the Year, Dottie Guthrie

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.