We can’t let circumstances get us down because we must focus on living life today. ~~~ Do you know what today is? It’s my big brother Steven’s birthday! He is 3 years and 8 months older than me and I like to tell people that the day I was born was the best day of his life. We grew up preacher’s kids and laughter is our love language. We at times can be a lot to take. When we face time, it’s always an adventure and our goal in life has always been to make each other laugh. We love to laugh. Life’s too short to be so serious. My entire life I have looked up to my big brother, literally and figuratively. We’ve walked a lot of roads together and we’ve weathered many storms, but through it all, we had Jesus and each other. Since it’s his birthday today, and since all this month I’ve been sharing things I’m thankful for, I couldn’t let this day go by without giving thanks for the GIFT of each new day. Now you may already know that every single day is a gift and that if there is breath in your lungs and a beat in your heart, there is purpose for your life, that’s great! I actually count every single day a gift, but here’s the thing, you really SAVOR the gift of each new day and every moment of it when you face a life altering diagnosis. You see, my brother Steven was diagnosed in July 2022 with Multiple Myeloma. This is an incurable blood cancer. I got the call and from that moment forward, each new day with my brother is a gift. Many of those days have been hard for Steven and in turn hard for us all, but still, he has never wavered from the path set before him. While none of us are promised tomorrow and this life is but a vapor for us all, it stares you in the face BIG TIME when you have cancer. All of a sudden each new day looks quite a bit different. Here’s another bit of info about my brother, he is a Jesus Freak. From the first day he walked into his doctor’s office he wore his freak shirt, from DC Talk touring days, and his path has been lit with the love, strength and the deep grace of Jesus. He shines it everywhere he goes. Today, after countless tests, shots, IV meds, chemo, stem cell transplant and ongoing treatments, my brother is in a good place. We are grateful. But what’s been so inspiring to watch is how my brother is now more focused than ever on moving forward with each new day. I recently came across something he posted on facebook one month before his diagnosis. He was struggling. He was battling fear, doubt, uncertainty and insecurity and all of it was holding him back. He began listing self doubts and lies he was believing. He had been lacking confidence for months, but wrote that even as he was writing it all out he was beginning to feel more confident. Sometimes speaking or in this case posting the lies we believe or the excuses we are hiding behind take the power they have over us away. The bottom line was this, as he got to the end of his post, he put it out there. He shined a light on his struggle. He felt better and even declared that this was in fact a new beginning and maybe even another step toward the next chapter of his life. One month later - he received his diagnosis. Now let me tell you, my brother has never looked back since that day. His mission became clearer with each day of the journey. It’s still unfolding, but guess what, all those fears, doubts, insecurities he WAS struggling with? GONE. Now, are there new struggles, doubts and fears that creep in? Yes, but guess what, he’s moving forward with more passion, more focus and more vision for what God has set before him to do. He’s shining a light in a very dark place and he is helping others fight like a freak as well. Philippians 3:14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. My brother runs his race daily. We all do! Don’t allow lies, insecurities or fear to hold you back. Don’t allow circumstances of life or a diagnosis to hold you back. Both are deadly! Keep running and press on friends. There is a prize for those in Christ Jesus at the finish line! That’s the truth. Happy birthday brother. You’re my hero. You and Jimmy Carter. That’s an inside joke. For the precious gift of YOU and each new day we are given, I am thankful. I’m Lori Cline.