No Reserves, No Retreats, No Regrets

Just what I needed to hear this evening. God is working tonight!

Brian L Powell

No Reserves No Retreats No Regrets

In 1904 William Borden graduated from high school. For his graduation gift, his parents gave 16-year-old Borden a trip around the world. He was born wealthy as heir to the Borden Milk family fortune. As he traveled through Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, he felt a growing burden for the hurting people of the world.

William Borden wrote home about his desire to become a missionary. Some expressed skepticism that he would be throwing his life away as a missionary. Many thought he should assume his place with the family empire. In response, Borden wrote two words in the back of his Bible: “No Reserves.”

Borden arrived on the campus of Yale University in 1905. His classmates quickly noticed something unusual about him and it wasn’t that he was wealthy. One student wrote: “He came to college far ahead, spiritually, of any of us. He had already…

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Matthew Hennessey did an excellant job writing this piece!

The Ninety Deuce

I’ve never met Eric and Ruth Brown, but I want to share their story with you, for this family’s extraordinary witness to life, and their humble trust in a loving God, has inspired in me a new commitment to being the best husband and father I can possibly be.

The Browns live in Nashville, TN, a city I think I may have driven through once on my way from one place to another. I came to know them in the way that folks meet each other these days—through social media. My wife and I frequently write about raising our daughter Magdalena, who has Down syndrome. Believe it or not, we get a lot of blowback. Something about the online intersection of disability, healthcare, and anonymity brings out the worst in the people. I know I am not the first to point this out.

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A Letter to Sweet Baby Pearl from your Aunt Cara

Sweet Baby Pearl,

I’ve written this letter over and over in my head, trying to think of the perfect words to say to you… but words fail me now. You, sweet baby girl, have consumed my thoughts and my prayer life for months now. The summer before you were born, Brennan and Abbey spent several days at Granny and Granddaddy’s house and went to our church’s Vacation Bible School. My responsibility was to share the Bible stories with each class. During that week, God spoke directly to my heart about you. I shared a line from the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego with the children, – “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego knew that God could save them, but they didn’t know if God would save them.”  The line pierced right through my heart. I knew, in my heart of hearts, that God could save you, could heal your body, could defy the diagnosis that scared me so… I knew he could. But I didn’t know if he would. Hope felt scary, not hopeful.  One of the many things that I have learned as I’ve witnessed your story, is that God sometimes uses difficult paths to accomplish His purposes. I see it all throughout Our Story—He hardens Pharaoh’s heart before delivering the Israelites—so that all of Egypt would know that He is the Lord. Christ himself chose to make himself low so that we could know him. And he allowed those three Hebrew men to walk into the fiery furnace just to meet them there.

Sweet girl, I don’t have answers. But thanks to you, I am embracing questions more fully—head on. I am thinking more about Christ being the antidote to the diagnosis we have all been given at one point in our lives, “not compatible with life”. Through Him alone our prognosis is changed to life eternal.

I’m beginning to feel as though this letter is more for me than for you. But there are a few more things I’d like you to know. I love your fiery red hair. It reminds me that you are the spark I prayed that you would be (Isaiah 62:2). I continue to pray that your life will effect change in many many people. I love the way that your long skinny tongue pokes perfectly from your mouth. I love your big beautiful eyes that seem to soak it all in. You are special. You are sweet. You are wonderfully made. You’re one of the toughest I know, yet so vulnerable. You are so fortunate to have parents that are willing to fight for you, even when the “experts” say their efforts won’t matter. You, sweet girl, are a gift. You remind us all that life does matter. Every bit matters. Even more so as we look through the lens of the eternal. Thank  you, sweet girl.

With all my heart,

Aunt Cara

A letter from Granny

Dear Sweet Pearl,

Seven weeks ago you came into my life and changed me forever.  You really started changing me when we found out about your rare condition.  Your Granddaddy and I had committed to a daily time of prayer around that same time period at our church each morning.  As I began to cry out to God on your behalf, he began to show me some things about myself.  I had become selfish.  He reminded me that we are not guarenteed tomorrow, and it was time to share my life of blessing with those in need.  I have done that and now know what true blessing is!  When I met you, I fell in love with you instantly as I did with all my grandchildren.  There was a really scarey time when I thought I would not see you again.  And even though I don’t get to see you as often as I would like to, I know you are in God’s hands, and He knows best!  I love you more than words can say!

Hugs and kisses,


A Letter to my Granddaughter, Pearl Joy Brown

Oh Baby Pearl,

What does a Granddaddy say to his seven week old Granddaughter?  Well, I love you! that’s what! And Happy Seventh Candle Day!

As hard as I try, I will fall short of fully expressing my love for you. Every time I hold you, I tell you I love you, and I truly do! But I have also told you that Jesus loves you! In all of life’s trials, remember that.  Jesus loves you!

You are more valuable than all the pearls in the world.  The joy you bring is indescribable!   You have two parents that love you so much; and a brother and sister that love you too! You have aunts and uncles and cousins that love you; grandparents that love you too! You have friends you’ve met (although you may not remember them just yet) and family and friends that have only seen pictures of you. There are bloggers blogging about you and newspapers and websites sharing your story; you are being tweeted about and posts put on facebook about you. I gotta tell you Pearl, for being just 49 days old, you are pretty famous!

I need to let you know though, you are here for a purpose.  And it isn’t about you. You are here to bring glory to your Father, God.  He made you so very special! He loves you more than all the people who know you here on earth could ever love you.  Pretty cool, huh?  You have purpose!  You are loved! You do not realize it yet, but you have touched a lot of people.  God has already used you, and you cannot even walk or talk yet.

I have to admit, I envy you a bit. I can only imagine the conversations you have with your Creator,
Jesus. You haven’t learned an earthly language yet.  So I figure you and God must be communicating in His language.  Oh, to be able to eavesdrop on those conversations.  I know He tells you of His love for you.  But what else does He say? I guess that’s just to be between the two of you.

“Be a spark that starts a fire…”          Isaiah 64:2 (CEV)

Your momma quoted that Scripture a few weeks before you were born. I think you have done that.  You have started fires in people’s hearts. A passion to watch God work His wonders to behold! People from coast to coast have been praying for you and your family for months now.  And God has heard these prayers and He has been answering them.  He is still answering them! He hasn’t answered them all the way we thought He should or would.  He has answered them the way He knew was best.  He has been the giver of HoPE.  He has given peace and comfort.  He has encouraged and emboldened! He has quieted and stirred up!  He has both extended grace and helped others to extend grace. He has stretched us; challenged us; loved us; held and helped us; He has been right there with us as we cried and laughed and prayed and wondered!  And Pearl, He has done these things through you.  Wow.  Who would have thought…

I think it would be accurate to say that you have had a hard go of it so far.  I have a pretty good feeling that there are more hard times ahead for you and your family.  I also know the same God that formed you in His very image will carry you through all this.  He will be ever-present.  When you were still in the hospital, your daddy put your footprints in ink and on paper. See.  Cool, huh?

It reminded me of an old poem.  A poem that reminds us that God is always there.  He is always watching out for us.  He is always there for you Pearl.  He made you and is caring for you.  He has plans for you that I know nothing about.  I do know they are good plans though.  I know that because God always wants what is best for you.

Oh Pearl, I have rambled on long enough.  There is a lot more I could say.  But here is the important stuff.  Keep listening to God.   Soak up His presence.  Continue to let Him work in and through you.  As much as you are already a miracle baby, I sense that God has a whole lot more He wants to do for you and through you.  Yes, little you. The baby of promise and hope!

I love you Pearl!


Happy Grandparents Day!

I have to think back to Paul, addressing Timothy.  He talks of the faith Timothy has, and how he saw it first in Timothy’s grandmother.  What a heritage!

And that sends me thinking of my mom and dad, and step-dad, Papa John.  Each a hero of the faith in their own right, and yet the glory for anything they passed on to me or my kids, (their grandkids) must go to God.  He is the Author and Perfecter of our faith.

Of course, that further leads me to think of my grandparents.  My mom’s parents and my dad’s parents.  Each of whom taught me various things about life.  And faith.  And most importantly, God. 

Thanks to each of you, I am who I am.  Thank you for the things you have taught me.  Grandma Pomeroy was so subtle, and yet so strong in the way she taught me.  Great-grandma Walker too!  Grandma Franklin was such a powerful influence in my life, and yet I didn’t really realize it until I was an adult.  And Grandpa Franklin. I guess he is the one who I look up to the most.  Smart, quiet, yet forceful and full of Godliness. A preacher who to me, lived what he preached.  Not perfect in actions maybe, but truly a man who loved God with body, soul, and spirit!

I pray I leave a Godly heritage for my grandkids.

Hello world!

Well here it is. I am beginning a blog.

I am not too sure where this will go.  I guess from the beginning, I need to say that I understand not everyone will agree with everything I put on here.  That is okay.  I just ask that if you disagree with me on something I post, be kind in your response.  I also will try to temper everything I put on here with love and tolerance.