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I stumbled through a rough patch this past month. My son had a heart procedure along with panic attacks. At the same time, up in Wisconsin, my single sister was diagnosed with a rare gallbladder cancer and given two months to live.

I stayed with my son in Tennessee until the procedure was performed and another day to allow him to recover. The next day I flew up to see my sister. As I absorbed the unsettling medical reports in Wisconsin, my son’s unstable emotional state burdened my soul as well.

The first morning in Wisconsin I rose before the sun barely peaked out from the rolling hills. As I walked and prayed, I felt a nudge in my spirit to look up. Stretched across the Wisconsin sky was the hint of a water colored sunrise of pastels pinks and blues. Wanting to keep praying, I looked down and continued walking, but I felt that nudge again to take in the glorious sunrise as it broadened across the horizon. Jesus spoke to me that morning: “Look up Sally. I’m with you. I’m in control. See my glory in all of this.”

At night, I lay exhausted, trying to process my sister’s rapidly declining health and my son’s emotions back home. One night my daughter who stayed home from work to be with my son burst in tears under the burden. I holed up in the guest bedroom of my older sister’s house and listened to praise music. I held up my hand and envisioned Jesus holding onto me. Jesus met me in that home in rural Wisconsin surrounded by corn fields.

Jesus showed up for my family through the hands and feet of friends while I was away. Meals refreshed. Prayers comforted. Visits soothed. Calls and texts encouraged. Hugs held.

Jesus displayed his power to save in the hospice room where after 25 years of unanswered prayer my sister confessed Jesus as her Lord and Savior. He ministered through a pastor who drove an hour out of his way to share the gospel with her.

My sister is now spending her final days on earth. Volunteers, nurses and visitors display the love of Jesus to her. Several women from my church who don’t know my sister write cards to her. Why? Because they are impelled by the love of Jesus.

When God told Joseph to call Jesus Emmanuel—which means “God with us,” I don’t think Joseph fully understood the immense ramifications of that truth. I certainly wouldn’t have and still don’t today.

His presence sometimes seems mysterious and veiled yet it is a promise. The longer I walk with Jesus, though, the more I see and need Him. Not only in the upheavals of life but all the moments between sunrises.

Sally Cressman is a wife, mom, writer and friend. She loves a hot cup of tea, a long walk in the woods and a table surrounded with family and friends. Sally has written for LifeWay, Focus on the Family and her church in Brentwood, TN. You can read more by her at

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