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A God of Mercy, Then as Now

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A few years ago ABC aired an episode of the sitcom "Dharma and Greg" in which Greg, a lawyer who had recently given up his career to search for true meaning in life, tells his wife Dharma that he plans to read the entire Bible cover-to-cover. Dharma tells Greg that he doesn't need to do that because she can summarize it for him: "Part one, don't mess with God. Part two, be nice to people."

The line got big laughs, probably because many of us suppose Dharma's view of the Bible to be true. Do we assume that God was vengeful and strict in the Old Testament and forgiving in the New? Do we believe that people were just expected to offer blood sacrifices to God before Jesus came and got new orders to love each other after He came?

If so, a closer look at the Old Testament will show us that the message of mercy that Jesus gave to St. Faustina is not as new as we may think. The ancient Israelites heard it, too, through the books in the Old Testament, including those from the prophets who came before Jesus and whose writings we hear at Mass so often at this time of year.

Jesus' preaching reminded His fellow Jews of what they had already heard: that Yahweh is, and always has been, a God who gives and demands mercy. Let us take a look at two major themes of the Diary of St. Faustina — love of neighbor and forgiveness of sin — and see how these ideas show up in parts of the Bible we may not expect.

Love of Neighbor
We all know the parable of the Good Samaritan. In that parable, Jesus showed that the priest and the Levite, although they lived by the traditional rituals of the temple, did not obey God's supreme law of love.

Throughout His ministry, Jesus taught again and again that love is supreme. He criticized the legalism of the lawyers and Pharisees, who thought no work — including works of mercy — should be allowed on the Sabbath. Jesus admonished them: "If one of you has a child or an ox that has fallen into a well, will you not immediately pull it out on a Sabbath day?" (Lk 14:3). Jesus repeated this primary need for love of neighbor to St. Faustina in the 1930s when he told her, "I demand from you deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to your neighbor always and everywhere. ... Yes, the first Sunday after Easter is the Feast of Mercy, but there must also be acts of mercy" (Diary, 742).

Jesus explained to St. Faustina that even though He was giving aching mankind new channels or forms of devotion to receive the outpouring of His grace — new channels that include venerating the Image of The Divine Mercy, celebrating the Feast of Mercy (Divine Mercy Sunday), praying the Chaplet and the Novena to The Divine Mercy, and prayer at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, the Hour of Great Mercy — these channels were not ends in themselves. Rather, they are to be reminders of "the demands of My mercy, because even the strongest faith is of no avail without works" (Diary, 742).

My guess is that few of us are surprised to hear Jesus place love above liturgy, but what if we heard an Old Testament prophet do the same? Generations before Jesus came, Micah reminded the Israelites that the covenant they had with God was founded on His commandments to treat people with love and justice, not on ritual offerings.

" 'With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?' God has told you what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, to walk humbly with your God" (Mic 6:6-8).

The author of the book of Jonah also knew that God wanted us to put concern for each other's well-being above the letter of the law and above our own wills. When Jonah, the story's reluctant prophet, finally preached to Nineveh, he became angry with God for not dealing out the punishment He had promised. Later, Jonah complained against God again, this time for killing the bush that Jonah was using for shade. God replied, "You are concerned about the bush, for which you did not labor and which you did not grow; it came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who do not know their right hand from their left ... ?" (Jonah 4:10-11).

Jonah's story was written to remind Israel of the high value God placed on people and of his demand that the Israelites serve each other, the same demand Jesus made of St. Faustina when he told her, "My daughter, you do not live for yourself but for souls; write for their benefit" (Diary, 895).

Forgiveness of Sin
The story of Nineveh points to another important theme in the Diary and in Scripture: God's readiness to forgive repentant sinners.

John the Baptist promised we could be forgiven if we turned away from sin, and Jesus gave a dramatic illustration of that promise in the parable of the prodigal son. In the Diary, Jesus repeatedly told Faustina how eager he is to rush out and meet sinners who take even the smallest step toward Him. He assured her, "Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to recite [the Chaplet of Divine Mercy] only once, he would receive grace from My infinite mercy" (Diary, 687).

Likewise, the ancient prophet Isaiah taught Israel that no sin is greater than God's mercy. When the Israelites had broken God's covenant, Isaiah first condemned them to make them know their guilt: "Ah, sinful nation, people laden with iniquity, offspring who do evil, children who deal corruptly, who have forsaken the Lord, who have despised the Holy One of Israel, who are utterly estranged!" (Is 1:4)

After rebuking them, however, Isaiah assured the people that God's forgiveness could be theirs: "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool" (Is 1:18). Clearly, the God of today is the same as the God of yesterday: "a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing" (Jonah 4:2).

Finally, remember King David. He committed one of the worst sins in Scripture when he had an affair with Bathsheba, the wife of his foot soldier Uriah, and then had Uriah killed when he found out that Bathsheba was pregnant and he could not cover it up. The prophet Nathan shamed David by reminding him that God had blessed and anointed him, and in return David had broken God's commandments against adultery and murder. David repented, saying, "I have sinned against the Lord" (2 Sam 12:13), and Nathan replied, "Now the Lord has put away your sin; you shall not die" (2 Sam 12:13).

Although Bathsheba's baby died, David's remorse and grief were so complete that God blessed the couple with another son, Solomon. Despite David's sin, God did not abandon him. No wonder the psalmist who reflected on God's covenant with David began his psalm with these words: "I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, forever; with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations. I declare that your steadfast love is established forever; your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens" (Ps 89:1-2).

When Jesus was born into Judaism, he inherited a tradition founded on God's mercy to mankind and on his command that his people practice mercy, too. Remember that Jesus himself quoted Hebrew Scripture when he said that the two greatest commandments are "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might" (Deut 6:5) and "you shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Lev 19:18).

If we ever feel tempted to view the God of the Bible as distant or uncaring, we can read these words from Jesus to St. Faustina, "My child, do you fear the God of mercy? My holiness does not prevent me from being merciful ... I am not surrounded by a retinue of guards. You can come to me at any moment, at any time; I want to speak to you and desire to grant you grace" (Diary, 1485).

Lord Jesus, teach us to obey the law of Moses and the prophets, the law of love that your Father gave to our spiritual ancestors out of His great mercy.

Marian Tascio is a freelance writer and school teacher who lives in Yonkers, N.Y.

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Be a part of the discussion. Add a comment now!

Bridget - Dec 26, 2006

Dear Marian,
This note is for you.
How canthis topic be applied to a pre-adolescent son who is challenging our values as a Christian family?
I think you are a teacher of junior high children?
Thanks for the topic.

Dominick - Dec 28, 2006

I have prayed and made two novenas to St Jude. I have prayed everyday to Sts,Jude,Anthony,Teresa,Philomena,Joseph,Micheal to Jesus and directly to God. I have asked that my wife of 10 yrs return home qwith our daughter and renew our marraige. My wife and I have know each other for 30 yrs and now she deosn't want to be married or wear her wedding ring. She doesn't want a realtioship, a home a mortgage, any problems or any stress. she is of the age of a mid life crisis and doesn't belive that her daily Paxil medication isn't the casue of her attitude and personality change.
I have gone to amnarriage counsler who sort of agrees with me that there is a problem. She is seeing a therapist now for about over a year.
I asked for some help and no seems to be listing to me or answering my prayers. I have been good father and provider for all these years. I was a policeofficer for 33 yrs and a fireman(vol) for 23 yrs. I need help and am asking God to help, but it seems that he is not listing to me. I don't want to sound corny or rude but I can't figure it out why after doing the novena to St Jude, where they say after the 8th day your request will be granted. It didn't and and I did two novensas and nothing.

Therese Dec29 3006 - Dec 29, 2006

I can understand what your wife and you are going through, Dominick. Me and my husband are in somewhat similar situation. I was diagnosed as Bipolar after my second live baby in 1998. I am on paxil since then. There has been no relationship between us since then, though we have remained married. My husband has taken to drinking beer ...but the kids seem happy enough. Yet, something is missing and I know how you feel. I will pray for you. God Bless

richard - Dec 31, 2006

to all. how hard u try to correct or have corrected what seems wronged in ur life. we all do this. but submit urselves to the Lord. place urselves in this precious hands and let HIM lead you. until u ACCEPT EVERYTHING, praise GOD and THANK HIM in and for EVERYTHING in ur life (even the worse conditions) you unknowlingly shut Him out. return evil with good. my prayers are with u all.

Dominick - Dec 31, 2006

OK, richard your comment sounds good. I can't however thank anyone for the torment I have gone through in my life. Sure I have asked fir it. I had sworn an oath to accept the pain and suffering ( little did I know that the same job would help ruin my life) that came with the job. No one told me of the pitfalls I would encounter, but I did the job anyway. Here I ask for some relief and I get none. I ask for help an all I get is words. when I worked I had to respond quickly and when I was in charge I expected things to get done right away. Here I am in a quandry. My wife leaves me after 10 yrs of maraige and I am left with a hole in my insides. I have spent over 30 yrs of my life with this woman and have been married to her for the 10 yrs. I asked St Jude for help, as he is patron of lost causes. I prayed every day and received nothing. I have begged and pleaded with her to come home and she doesn't want to. Our 9 yr old cries about wanting to come home. I only wish this would end and this nightmare be over. In my line of work you really don't ever give up, and if you do you are dead.( Not literalty)
This new year coming I have bad feelings about. I feel I will be out in the cold and possibly homeless for the first time in my life.
My family is dwindaling down and I feel there will be deaths this year coming.
It is a gloomy outlook I have for 2007. So I will sit and wait to see what happens to me this year. What else could go wrong?

richard - Jan 1, 2007

hi dominick, my prayers are with u. i dont pretend to be a counselor or advisor. all i am is a person being molded by my God. but i do have 1 comment. not to take away any pain i have gone thru OR to minimize the suffering u have experienced BUT i have not heard u place all this in Gods living and merciful hands and give up on everything u want and only accept His will. u may find that in giving up control or fighting to gain it back that u actually are at peace and able to walk the new path that God is trying to light up for u. Gods peace and love be with you this new year.... and in everything give thanks dominick (these are Gods words).... richard

Therese - Jan 1, 2007

Hi Dominick, its me Therese the Bipolar mom from Toronto again. Please do not lose heart....leave and surrender all to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary. I am with you and will pray for you.

Dominick - Jan 1, 2007

I had been a push over for a long time. I went into the service to become a man, of sorts. I joined the Police Department to do my part for the citizens of my city.(so i thought) {Politics shot me down there too. I have never given up on anything. nor will I ever giove up. Wehn I die there going to have to drag me out by my feet. I am a fighter and have become a survialist. I was hoping to fight back to back with our Lord on the last days agaisnt evil. But, here and now I want my wife and my child back, I want my life back, I want the things I fought and bled so very hard to maintain and keep all these years. I can't take living like this. This is not a life. It is isolation like a solitarty confinement. I am not clostrophobic but I don't feel like I am getting a fair or square shake on life right now. I dedicated my life all of 33 yrs worth to protect and serve my fellow man. I put in 23 yrs on the volunteer Fire Dept along with my 33 yrs. so all total I put in 56 yrs of service (combined) I think I deserve a little peace that I am not getting.
I didn't have the stomach to celebrate this holiday season. I let a lot of children down ( I Played Santa clause for 30 yrs in one place and 11 yrs in another and so on. I played Santa every year in 4-5 different places)
I feel real bad about not doing this for the children in my town. I haven't fogotten that Chrsitams isn't all Santa Clause and presents under the tree. I know it is a celebration of the birth of our Lord.
I'm not looking to barter my cause I just want peace and it seems that I am going to suffer until I finally close my eyes for the last time. But I will never give up trying.


Anne-Marie - Jan 1, 2007

Dominik, I will keep you in my prayers. I too went through a very rough road... I will not even start the litany of it; I was ALL ALONE, I thought, until I came back full time to the Church, to the love of Jesus in the most Holy Sacrament of the altar. That is where I found Him after over twenty five years of being away from my God. Thanks be to God to a dear priest who showed me The Way, The Truth and The Life. I have abandoned myself totally in the arms of Jesus and Mary, and when times go "not the way I would like to", I look up at Jesus on the Cross. He has gone before me, rejected, moked, beaten... and what did He do wrong? He also asked the Father if it would be possible to "take the cup from Him," but added right away, "but Father, your Wiil be done."
I am not in your shoes, and what you are going through is very painful. I feel for you and will keep you in my rosary and will make a Holy Hour this coming First Friday during Adoration. A little suggestion: did you read the Diary of St Faustina? She also is a great saint to pray to. Anne-Marie

Dominick - Jan 1, 2007

Just spoke to my young daughter age 9. She had conversation with my wife while on the way to our home. Mom told her to get used to the fact that her and I are not living together. Wife tells me that our daughter said she is angry with Mom for what she is doing to me. Mom says too bad, she can hate me for the rest of her life. I think the therapist isn't doing anything for my wife excpet take our money. I am starting to panic now, as I can see this year going really down hill. I did try and pray the St Faustis prayer group too. Nothing is working I am getting desparate. Nothing looks good on the horizan and I am starting to feel backed into a corner. All the good words and reasurances are not doing me any good now. All I can see is me out in the cold without a home or getting forced out of our home becasue my wife can't figure out what she wants out of the rest of her life. She seems to just want to satisfy herself and no one else. There is no one I can speak to about this near our home who knows us. Her Pastor evidently was warned off by her meddling mother as I have written him several times and he just answered me in a passive note. It is now the new year and I just can't wait to see what new tricks I am going to get hit with.

richard - Jan 2, 2007

Dominick, my prayers will continue to be with u (and rosaries too). Pls read Ps.37. That has been my rock at times in my life. God loves u and is speaking to u, even now when u feel that awful feeling of abandonment. know that u need to let go and rest ur head on Jesus' shoulders. richard

Marian - Jan 2, 2007

Hi, Bridget. I"m sorry I didn't respond to your message sooner. I was away and didn't have internet access. That's a tough question but a very important one. Yes, I am a middle school teacher, and one thing I've learned about teens and pre-teens is that they are constantly experimenting to find their way and their identity. Most rebellion is the kid's attempt to separate from his parents in order to figure out who he is on his own. That said, I think your son probably hears you more than you realize, even though he challenges you. Listening to my students has taught me that what their parents say is very important to them, even though it may seem to fall on deaf ears. Now, I am not a parent, so my advice may not be helpful, but I have prayed and thought about your question, and I believe that one good thing you can do is continue to set a Christian example for your son and try to explain to him gently why you choose to live as a Christian. When I taught 8th grade CCD, I tried to tell the kids how prayer and following the laws of the Church have made me a happier person. I think they feel less preached-at and therefore less defensive when someone just speaks simply about her personal experience. When I've spoke to peers (I'm in my twenties) about my choice to remain chaste before marriage, I always stress the reasons why I feel chastity has helped my health (physical, emotional, and mental) and my personal happiness and satisfaction. People listen to stories like that, while they resist moralizing. The only other suggestion I can make is that you continue to listen to your son when he wants to express his doubts. I think listening is one of the best ways to demonstrate love, and your son needs to know that you can accept his thoughts and beliefs before he can learn to accept yours. Finally, there is the important step of remembering that God has a plan for each of us, and although we may look at a loved one and think, "He is on the wrong track," we honestly don't know that this phase in his life won't become an important step in his faith journey. We must pray for God's will to be done in his life, even if we can't see what it is. Maybe an unmarried twentysomething doesn't have much advice to give to the mother of a preteen son, but I have done my best to answer your question, and I hope I may have been a small help. God bless you.

Marian - Jan 2, 2007

Dominick, you and your family will be in my prayers. It sounds like you may at some point want to consider seeing a counselor yourself to help you with your pain. When it seems that there is no one and life is black, that is the time to reach out for help from someone who really knows how to give it. God bless you.

Dominick - Jan 2, 2007


Thank you for the well wishes and the prayers. I think that it is over and I just can't see the forest for the trees. I have prayed and nothing seems to be working. I pray ever day and night sometimes to the early hours of the morning. The wife won't listen and she won't listen to out 9 yr old who cries that she wanted us back together for Christmas. My wife said that she doesn't care what our daughter says or thinks. She told our daughter that she better get used to Daddy not living with Mommy. She won't listen to reason and she refuses now to even wear a wedding band. I have not hurt this woman in any way and feel that now that she has a salary that surpasses mine that she doesn't need me anymore. How does someone throw thirty years out the window, how does that same person throw ten years of marraige in the trash too?
I am losing what faith I have in prayer and mercy. I feel lost and feel as though there isn't anything left for me to do. This hurts so deep that I get pains in my chest and can't breath sometimes. My wife seems not to care if I am ill or feel ill or even if I were to die. I guess she feels that I would be doing her a favor. I can't help but feel anger, hatred and pain towards her.I tell my daughter never to hate anything, but this is beyond reason. This hurts too much.
I am looking now for a miracle that I know will never come, no matter how much or how hard I pray and who I pray too.


Jenn - Jan 13, 2007

Many times we ask our Lord for things we want done right then and there and forget to be patient and trust completely in him. When we give everything up to the Lord all worries and wants it is then that our Lord provides us with what he thinks is best for us. Whether it is what we want or not. It is all about his will. Remember that "IT IS YOUR WILL LORD NOT MINE!"
From my experience with break ups and sorrow is to get close to the Lord and work on your relationship with him first. Put him first and instead of asking him fully for things to happen try asking for the strength to cope with things that may come in your life. FOr he knows all our wants and needs aready. I will pray for everyone and God Bless ;)(With God all things are possible)

R.E.S. - Jul 30, 2007

The bible is full of contradictions. Ever heard of how God loved one sibling but hated(yes, my bible does indeed say HATE) the other(like Jacob and Esau)? Or how he looked in total favor toward Lot who offered his virgin daughters to a horny mob so they wouldn't bother the angels in his house. Sick? Yeah, more than I could explain.

Moderator - Aug 4, 2007

Dear R.E.S.

Discovering apparent contradictions in the pages of Sacred Scripture is an awesome opportunity to dig deeper and to find how they may be reconciled. For example, although Mal 1:3 says that God "hated Esau," how do we reconcile this with our understanding that "God is Love" (1 John 4:8)? I can think of two possibilities: 1) that the word "hate" is not to be taken literally but figuratively so as to understand that God has a particular love for Jacob and his descendants which Esau and his descendants did not share to the same degree. 2) That the word "hate" applies to those who have cut themselves off from God and His love by their own free will. Recall that in Gn 25, Esau had squandered his birthright, his inheritance, which included the covenant God had made with his grandfather Abraham. As for Lot and his daughters, recall that Scripture tells the story of God's people. That includes their good actions and decisions but also their sins. I encourage you to continue wrestling with and meditating upon the difficult passages and apparent contradictions that you find in the Bible, asking the Lord to enlighten you and trusting that He will do so.

Dominick - Aug 20, 2007

In His revelations to St. Faustina, Our Lord asked for a special prayer and meditation on His Passion each afternoon at the three o'clock hour, the hour that recalls His death on the cross,
I find several contridictions in these passages, why is this?
1.In this hour, I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion (Diary, 1320).
2.In this hour you can obtain everything for yourself and for others for the asking; it was the hour of grace for the whole world — mercy triumphed over justice. (1572)
3.Through the Chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will. This I don't unsderstand. I have asked every day for amlost a year now and have prayed the chaplet for the same amount of time and have said the prayers of St Bridget too for almost a year too.
I have asked that I be helped getting my family back together again. Namely my wife of 11 years and of 31 years of knowing her. she has our 10 year old daughter with her who crys every day that she is being torn apart by this separation.
I only ask that I get help we have been tpo marraige counslers and Threapists and my wife still won't come home becasue of money, job taxes, mortage and avasious other responsilbities that she has to face to raise a family and maintain a home.I am retired and she is not.
I look for spiritual help from God and I am either forgotten or ignored.
I don't believe in Free Will as God and Jesus who are both all powerful can't change her mind or make her see the light or even push her in the right direction. I don't mean to ask for the ridiculous or am trying to be wise guy but I am at wits end here and need help now more than before.

josefina 8/22/07 - Aug 22, 2007

dominick,,, u N me has 1 thing in common em still waiting for answers to some of my prayers. way back before i used to wrestle w/ God and question Him if He really is listening to me is He going to answer my prayers ,if so when. then one day i found myself on my knees,crying out to him like a child telling Him i can not do anything but He can and I said I trust in Him , that He can change my life I continue to keep HIS Words in my heart to trust HIM ,these are one of His words that I hang on to "trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path" I also learned that sometimes He wants me to wait for His answer and He let me see the things I need to do in my life ,I learned oftentimes I have to shut myself out of distractions :worries, problems etchera, then I could hear His Still Small Voice ; many times I hear Him say "my daughter I love you , I will never leave you nor forsake you I will always be with you, i oftentimes remember the footprints in the sand How He will carry me in times of my weakness, i know He has me in the palms of His Hands I hang on to His many beautiful promises to us . i know God has not promise me no trials and tribulations but I know He promised me solutions to these only if I believe. Our God loves you too Dominick in your waiting time He will make this time beautiful for you. I know this for I have left my husband before for many years but i went back to him ... all because he waited , and prayed w/o ceasing N expectations that God will answer his prayer, our children were praying my mother too .Believe God convicted me .my husband did not change me God did.and God change him too he read the Bible and devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help daily .Dominick may you continue to trust in JESUS,amen.

Dominick - Sep 12, 2007

I have just about given up. All the nights I have prayed to St Philomena, St Anthony, have said the Chaplet of Mercy, have said a Novena to St Philomena Twice, another to St Anthony twice, Four to St Jude and Have prayed the Prayers of St Bridget every day with out fail. I even went out and bought the Cord Of St Philomena. No luck or no difference I can see.
I am now questioning my faith and my beliefs that I have lived my entire 63 years worth thinking that someone is listening to me. I figure there is no one listening to me or they have forgotten my name. I still believe in God, but I guesss I am not one of the chosen people.
My situation has steadly grown worse, I am still alone and I feel that I am being pushed to do something that I would rather not do.
I am tired amd losing sleep am not feeling well at all.
I really don't have anyone to talk to and I am getting the sensation that no one gives a dam.
I hope I don't wind up in the street soon.


Mary - Sep 23, 2007

Dear Dominick,

I'm so sorry for your great pain and suffering. I hear you. I am listening. You are not alone. I too have suffered greatly throughout my life and have often questioned when the suffering will end. Please rest assured that your suffering is not in vain. It sounds as though in spite of all your marital problems you have been gifted with a beautiful daughter that loves you very much. She is a beautiful joyful gift from God and deserves to have her father well into her adulthood. My own father suffered greatly with a divorce that he never wanted and for many years suffered greatly as my mother moved on with her life. The stress of all of this, combined with health issues took him from this world at the age of 47. I wish I would have had the words to help heal him before it was too late, but I was too young. Perhaps, by the grace of God, I can help you. I beg you to consider the joy your daughter brings you and the hope for the future you most certainly must see in her eyes. She needs you Dominick. Be strong for her. I wish I could talk to my own father face to face today and that he could be active in the lives of his seven beautiful grandchildren, but I can not. I know God hears you, but the question my dear Dominick, may be do you hear Him? He loves you more than you will ever know and gave you the beautiful gift of your daughter. Yes, he is allowing pain and suffering in your life, but offer it all up on behalf of your daughter. Even if things do not reconcile with your wife, you have this tremendous blessing before you. Please do everything in your power to stay strong for her and be there for her future. You are a strong man, a police officer for 33 years. Do you realize that in and of itself is so very Christlike? Our Dear Lord Jesus lived for 33 years also in service to mankind. Take inventory of your strengths Dominick, you have so much to offer your daughter and others through the knowledge you have gained through your own unique sufferings. Keep fighting the good fight for your daughter and yourself. Ask God to open your eyes to the gift you are to others inspite of your pain and suffering. Thank-you for sharing your story, it reminds me so much of my father's own painful courageous journey on this earth. May you be blessed with many more years with your daughter and us all. Trust in Jesus with all your heart, mind and soul!