Category Archives: Encouragement

He STILL Does Miracles SO Great!


The miracle baby turns 7!!!!  Happy Birthday Aaron!  Everyday you remind me that God is still in the business of miracles that only He can do!


You are Great God! You do miracles so Great! There is no one else like You … There is no one else like You!

I am so thankful for a great God Who still does miracles so great! And today we celebrate first of all our great God! Today, we also celebrate one of His miracles so great … Aaron Joseph Bunts. He is seven years old today and we are reminded of all God has done and we stand amazed.

The Birthday Boy!

On June 12th of 2011 we received a call from Crystal (our oldest daughter) that she was on her way to the emergency room because she had not felt the baby move in the past couple of days. She was 31 weeks pregnant with a baby boy … in other words, the baby was not due for 9 more weeks. At the ER they immediately found a strong heartbeat but kept her there to monitor the baby as he was laying in the bottom of the womb not moving at all. After monitoring her and the baby for several hours and, after doing biophysical profiles on the baby, the decision was made to deliver him early by C-section.

A neonatologist and her team from Toledo Children’s Hospital were called in for the delivery in order to take care of the baby. They really had no idea what they would be facing.

He was delivered early the morning of June 13th … he was born dead: no heartbeat … no breathing. The medical team worked diligently to resuscitate him and were successful, but he was a very sick little baby. His first two Apgar scores were 0 and 2 … they never got around to doing the 3rd one because they were busy just trying to stabilize him.

It took about 4 hours to stabilize him enough to transfer him 20 minutes across town to Toledo Children’s Hospital. As they were preparing to leave, the neonatologist made sure that the transporter was brought over so that Crystal could see and touch her little baby boy … and then told her that Aaron was a very sick baby and that he might die; this might be the only time that she could touch her baby alive. What news to receive about your newborn baby as they whisk him away to another hospital.

I remember so many things about the next weeks and months …

I remember wanting so desperately to be there but we live in Chicago and we had our son’s 3 children … so, it took a little while to get ready and get on the road. I also remember that we had some fantastic people there in Toledo who went up to see Crystal, David, & Isaac and to pray for them and our little Aaron in our absence. We are so grateful for Todd & Donna Hostettler and Ed & Becky Marroquin!

I remember that David (our son-in-law) named him Aaron which means “mountain of strength.” And then Isaac (Aaron’s then 5 year old brother) named him Joseph which means “the Lord provides.” Aaron Joseph: this certainly proved to be a very prophetic name for the fight Aaron was facing.

I remember the first time I walked into the NICU room where Aaron was … it was like walking into a tomb of death. I watched and listened as the doctors and nurses didn’t give our little Aaron any hope to survive, much less thrive … and I watched and listened as they prepared Crystal and David for the worst.

Aaron – 1 Day Old

I remember all the machines … how swollen he was … how bruised he was … that he didn’t move at all because he was medically paralyzed.

I remember how much I loved him from the very beginning.

A Mimi’s Love…and Granny’s too

I remember having to get God’s perspective and to trust Him … even not knowing the outcome; it was a journey of trust.

I remember Amber (our younger daughter who is a NICU nurse) breaking down in tears after talking with Aaron’s nurse. Amber’s tear-filled words to us were, “He is really, really sick and I don’t know if he will make it”. We were so thankful to have Amber by our side during those critical days.

Aunt Amber & Aaron Cuddling

I remember holding Crystal as she cried and cried wondering if she would ever get to hold her little Aaron while he was still alive.

Then I remember God leading us to start speaking His Word of life over Aaron. We spoke His Word to Aaron. We sang His Word to Aaron. We put His Word in Aaron’s room.

“Aaron, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. God did a great job creating you. And God already has a book written about you … he has a purpose and a plan for you.” (Psalm 139:14, 16)

“Aaron, God has a plan for you, a plan to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope.”(Jeremiah 29:11)

“Aaron, God spoke the Word that healed you, that pulled you back from the brink of death.” (Psalm 107:20)

“Aaron, God heals you of everyone of all your diseases! ’Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not [one of] all His benefits— Who forgives [every one of] all your iniquities, Who heals [each one of] all your diseases.’” (Psalm 103:1-3)

“Aaron, Jesus took the stripes on His back for your healing … by His stripes you are healed.”

“Aaron, I believe that He’s your Healer. I believe that He is all You need. I believe that He’s your portion, I believe He’s MORE than enough for you! Nothing is impossible with Him!”

“Aaron, you are a mountain of strength and the Lord is providing all you need to be healed. You will live and not die.”

I remember how strong and brave and caring and loving Crystal was.

Mommy’s Love

I remember how David stayed with Aaron to watch over him at night. He was the watchman on the wall.

Daddy – The Watchman on the Wall

I remember that Jim and I were scheduled to leave for Colombia, South America a few days after Aaron was born. And I remember knowing that my mission had changed to Toledo, Ohio and to Aaron, Crystal, David, & Isaac. Jim felt he was to go ahead and lead the trip and he and I stayed in daily contact regarding Aaron’s progress … and I remember the cell phone bill. Everyone Jim and the team came in contact with in South America saw pictures of Aaron and were praying for him .

I remember Amber posting on FaceBook that this is every NICU nurse’s nightmare … to have their family experience such a traumatic birth and sickness for their newborn baby. I also remember her saying what a true miracle Aaron really is … and knowing because of what she sees on a regular basis in NICU … that is really saying a lot.

I remember all the people from all around the world praying and believing and speaking words of healing and life. I remember them encouraging and taking care of all of us. I especially remember the Yockey family and how they prayed and believed and encouraged us (as well as how they helped with Isaac and how they brought us snacks!). What amazing people God placed in our lives! Thank you for choosing to take this journey of trust with us!

I remember the day Aaron started making a turn-around toward life and healing. What an awesome day that was! After that first day, the healing came so fast … it was amazing. Some days, something new happened every time we turned around. God’s Words of life were breathing life and health into Aaron. We watched in awe of all God was doing and of how our little Aaron was fighting for life!

No More Machines!

I remember watching the excitement and amazement of Aaron’s neonatologists and nurses as he got better each day. They referred to him as “a strong little fighter” and “the miracle baby.” And he is a miracle baby thanks to our God Who does miracles SO great!

I remember the first time Crystal got to hold him … the look on her face … the tears in her eyes … the joy!

Finally…my Mommy gets to hold me!

And I remember the first time I got to hold him … the love … the joy … the tears … and how tiny he was!

A Happy Mimi!

I remember when Jim got home from South America and saw Aaron and how far he had come … and when he held him for the first time.

Aaron and Papa

I remember how excited Isaac was to see his baby brother. It was so precious to watch him and to see how much he loved Aaron. He was so happy when he finally got to hold him. And every time he went to see him he wanted to know if they could take him home “today”. And over the past year it has been amazing seeing how Isaac watches over and loves and challenges Aaron. God knew what He was doing putting those two together! And Aaron adores his big brother!

Big Brother Isaac holding Baby Aaron

I remember after Aaron proved he was going to live and Crystal & David were told that Aaron would be in NICU for months … and I remember the day he went home … just a few days before he was 1 month old! God is so awesome!

The Bunts Family a few days after Aaron went home

I remember the nurse that did home visits to evaluate Aaron’s progress crying because of how great he was doing. She told Crystal that they rarely see babies that were as sick as Aaron was … doing so great! God is so great!

I remember Isaac in Cubbies at church when one of the other kids was sharing about getting a new baby brother or sister and Isaac popped up and said, “I have an Aaron. He’s a miracle”.

I remember month after month, appointment after appointment as we got good reports of his progress and development. He is right on target or above in every area … And he just finished first grade! He is a miracle in his body and his developmental progress and he continues to amaze us and the medical profession.

I remember Amber’s kids talking about Aaron being born dead and Eddie (who is 7 months older than Aaron and they are best buddies) popping up saying “that means Aaron saw Jesus for a little while”.  Out of the mouth of babes.


So today we celebrate our miracle, Aaron Joseph Bunts, as he turns 7 years old! He is perfect and whole in every way!

Sweet Miracle Boy

And we are all forever grateful … And we will never be the same again after being a part of God’s miracle and this journey.

Thank you God for being Who You are and for Your miracles so great!

Happy Birthday Aaron … Our Miracle So Great!

Happy Birthday Aaron!

The Road


Again, my guest blogger this week is my hubby, Pastor Jim Garrett. Read his blog and be encouraged and  be challenged.

The Road

It was a hard, cold, snowy winter in the mid-west this year. Historical temperature and snowfall-level records were broken and new ones were set. And schools in my area surpassed their allotted levels of cancellations several times over. Some have even said that the students are going to have to go well into the summer break in order to make up for those cancellations.

And many people continually fussed about the depth of the cold. In fact, it seems that complaints about the winter of 2014 far exceeded the appreciations.

But I chose to take a different tack. This year, I am learning to count my blessings and to appreciate the winter, the cold, the snow, and all other parts of life. In fact, for four weekends in a row, my wife and I had to travel between Chicago and Toledo round-trip. We experienced icy roads, sub-zero temperatures, white-out conditions, cars and trucks driving too fast and dangerously, and a doubling of travel times.

But rather than complain, I learned (and am still learning) to embrace this winter. I learned (and am still learning) to appreciate the cold, the snow, the wind, and the long travel times.


Because the Bible tells us that we are to focus on “what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8 NLT)

Our attitudes must be transformed from the negative, sorrowful ones that many display into that which is full of hope, purpose, and vision. In fact, one of my favorite Christmas movies expressed a similar attitude as Bing Crosby sang:

When I’m worried and I can’t sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep counting my blessings
When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep counting my blessings

As I looked at the snow, felt the coldness, experienced the wind, and drove through the extreme slowness of the traffic, I chose to count my blessings, and to enjoy the journey of being blessed by Him.

I embraced this winter season.

Can you embrace the winter season of your life? And THEN move beyond it.

Wider … Longer … Higher … Deeper


God’s love for you is wider than you will ever need!wide and long and high and deep love

God’s love for you is longer than you will ever run!

God’s love for you is higher  than you will ever rise!

God’s love for you is deeper than you will ever sink!

“Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow
down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand,
as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.
May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then
you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians 3:17-19 NLT

As you open up your heart for Him to take up residence … as He makes His home in you then your roots will grow down deep in His love.

  • His love completes you.
  • His loves keeps you strong.

Praying that you experience His love in new ways today!

Absolutely Nothing!


EngravedNOTHING can separate you from God’s GREAT love for YOU!  Absolutely NOTHING!

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death
nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about
tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.”  Romans 8:38 NLT

BE convinced today that He loves YOU with a love that nothing can EVER separate you from … death CAN’T … life CAN’T … NOT angels … NOT demons … Your fears CAN’T … Your worries CAN’T … not even the powers of hell can ever separate you from God’s love for YOU!

Speak this to yourself and meditate on the TRUTH of His great love for YOU until you are convinced!

He loves YOU so much that you are engraved on the palms of His hand!  Now that is better than being a picture on His refrigerator.

Who are you?


This morning I want to encourage you by reminding you of who you REALLY are …god-says

YOU are chosen by God.
You ARE redeemed.
You are FREE.
YOU are forgiven.
You ARE blessed with every spiritual blessing.
You are HOLY.
YOU are blameless.
You ARE without fault.
You are MARKED with a special mark that identifies you as belonging to Him.
YOU are guaranteed to receive ALL He has promised.

You are EVERYTHING God says you are! You HAVE everything God says you have. Receive it! Walk in your true identity today!



afresh each morning

Today I want you to grasp another truth about this GREAT love that God loves you with!  And that truth is that God’s love for you is LOYAL.

“God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left.”  Lamentations 2:22-24 MSG

The definition of loyal is to have or show complete and constant support for someone or something.

God’s love for you is shown in complete and constant support for you.  His love for you is constant … dedicated … devoted … good … faithful … steadfast … steady … and true.  That is what loyal love does!


  • His love for you is loyal…it never runs out on you.
  • His love for you is merciful…it never dries up on you.
  • His love for you is new every morning.

How GREAT is God’s faithful love for you!  Live today in His amazing, loyal love!  Stick with Him!


That Kind of Friend


FriendWomen are busy, busy people!  And taking care of ourselves many times …. most of  the time, ends up on the bottom of the list.  We absolutely can’t be our best  if we are not caring for ourselves.

In this post I want to talk about taking the time to develop friendships.  This is vital to your wellbeing!  We can develop friendships with lots of women with whom we can have fun, go to coffee, go shopping, go to a movies, etc.  And that is GREAT!  We NEED those friends!

But don’t stop there.  Don’t fool yourself into thinking that is the only kind of friend you need.  See you also need 1-3 friends that are the kind of friends that stick through thick and thin.  They are there when the budget overflows and when the budget drys up.  They can hang in there when all hell is breaking lose and you don’t know what to do.  They will stay with you in in the long droughts and then celebrate the rain.  They get your passion and dreams … and are there to see you accomplish them.  They won’t let you give up.  They encourage you and admonish you and speak life into you when you feel hurt and defeated.  You can trust them … completely.  You can share your heart and know they still love you and they are still in your corner.  They pray for you and with you.  They cry with you and they celebrate with you.  They tell you to get over yourself when you need it and you are okay with that.  They tell you the truth even when the truth is not very pretty.

I must be honest and say that these kinds of friends don’t come along very often in a lifetime.  So when you get one cherish her.  I have one such friend in my life at this moment in time.  She has been my friend for over 20 years.  She has seen me at my worst and at my best.  And she has told me the truth even when I didn’t want to hear it.  She has come after me when I just wanted to crawl in a hole and hide.  She prays fervently for me.  She encourages me.  She is my “iron that sharpens iron” friend.  We kind of lost each other for a few years when I moved to Chicago.  We emailed some and texted some.  She got breast cancer and I got too busy.  Thank God that He reconnected us since I have been back in Ohio these past few months.  I love her.  I need her.  And I am so much better with her in my life.

“There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.” …OR a sister…  Proverbs 18:24

It takes time and vulnerability and investment to build this kind of friendship.  They don’t just happen.  But I need them … and YOU need them!

You NEED a friend that will stick closer than a sister!

Very Glad


GladBe VERY glad today!  Glad that you have the freedom to go to the house of the Lord and worship Him.  Glad that you can connect with a community of believers that love and support you.  Glad that you belong to Him and He belongs to you.

Today … Go to the house of the Lord and encounter Him … and come home changed.

“I was very glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go up to the house of theLord.'” Psalm 122:1

Let us go…



Your-love-never-fails-it-never-gives-up-it-never-runs-out-on-meToday I want this truth to reign in your heart and in your life.  Speak this truth to yourself all throughout the day.  It is amazing … He is the only one that can give it to you … when you get it … it will change you FOREVER!  That truth is…

His love for YOU is UNFAILING.  There is NOTHING you can say or do that will cause Him to  stop loving you.

“For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.” Psalm 103:11

You can trust in His unfailing love that RESCUES you.

“But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me.” Psalm 13:5

His unfailing love PURSUES you all the days of your life.

“Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6

His unfailing love is RELIABLE.

“But the Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love.” Psalm 33:18

In His unfailing love He stands with you letting you look down in TRIUMPH on ALL your enemies.

“In his unfailing love, my God will stand with me. He will let me look down in triumph on all my enemies.” Psalm 59:10

His unfailing love for you NEVER quits.

God remembered us when we were down, His love never quits.Rescued us from the trampling boot, His love never quits. Takes care of everyone in time of need. His love never quits. Thank God, who did it all! His love never quits!” Psalm 136:23

Unfailing love that nothing can stop … that rescues you … that pursues you … that is reliable … that takes care of us … that empowers you to triumph … that NEVER, EVER gives up or quits!

You are one very loved person!  Receive and walk in His unfailing love for you today.

His love never fails … never gives up … never runs out on you!

Draw Me!


he-holds-my-heart-jesus-lover-of-my-soul-200x300Pursuing the heart of God all starts when we respond to His love for us.  He loved first.  He gave His all  first because of His great love for us.  And it is that love that draws us to respond to Him.

He is the lover of our soul.  He loves us at the deepest place of our hearts … of our minds … of our souls.  A place no human can go.  It is who we really are.  That is who He loves.  He knows our good … our bad … and our ugly.  And He still loves us.  He is the Lover of our soul.  He loves us like no other.  Deeply.  Passionately.  Intimately.  Thoroughly.

This kind of love causes us to desire to be with Him.  To know Him more and deeper.  To love Him greater.

This is my cry today…

“Draw me to you!  I run after you!  Bring me into your Presence!  I will be glad and rejoice in you!  I will remember your love which is more fragrant than wine.  I sincerely love you.”  (From Song of Solomon 1:4)