I'm having a hard time focusing on much this morning. Physically I'm sitting here in my office in Cookeville Tennessee. But my mind and heart are a couple of hundred miles away in Cincinnati. Our good friends and wonderful supporters of Rising Above, Jimmy and Kim Thorpe, are in a Cincinnati hospital expecting to give birth this week to their first child. Some you who follow this blog may have attended one of our By the Brook retreats this year and met the Thorpes. They are caring, giving, selfless supporters of our special needs community. They have a heart for all of us.

They have given so much to our ministry. Jimmy wrote the song, "Hope is Rising" as our ministry theme song and performed it live for us at several events including the By the Brooks this year. Kim was our production manager at the events. But that's just a small fractional part of what they do and mean to us.

Today I'm asking for you to help my friends.

Their daughter Ruthie will be born in the next few days. Ruthie has a rare and very complicated mass crushing her lungs. The doctors will have to deliver Ruthie, and operate on her immediately to remove the mass while her umbilical cord is still attached.

In other word, Kim will be her own daughter's life support system during the operation.

The procedure is so rare only a handful of hospitals even perform the surgery, and even those that do only see a few cases a year. More than likely, this will happen Tuesday.

After surgery Ruthie is looking at a long time in NICU, potentially several months.

Many of you who read this have been there. You remember the anxiety over life and death surgeries, rare diagnosis's, and excruciatingly long hospital stays away from home.

You remember the dazed, tired, and wearily overwhelming feelings from such ordeals. You remember wanting to cry but being too tired to find the tears.

You remember putting on the brave confident face on for everyone else, and then lying in bed scared to death at night when the lights are off and no one can see.

I think that is why I hurt and ache so bad for my friends this morning. And why I can't get them off my mind.

But I also know that the Thorpe's have a faith that few people have. And I know they are clinging to our God with all their might right now. Because God is good, all the time.

It's when we are in the very furthest heights of the storm that we often find ourselves the closest to the hand of God. And it is through the thickest, darkest storm clouds that we clearly see God's presence.

And I know that Ruthie is wonderfully made, created for a plan and a purpose, and destined to glorify God somehow through all this.

This is God's story, and this is Ruthie's part in His story.

Would you stop for just a moment today when you read this, and say a prayer for little Ruthie and the Thorpes?