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The unknown … bittersweet life journey

The unknown.

The day after Christmas it began. An emotional roller coaster ride of ups and downs as we spent days in the hospital. The winds that howled outside our 5th floor window were no match for the storms that were raging within the walls of the sterile room.

First the doctors say it’s cancer and it’s bad and we have no hope. Then they say it’s totally treatable and my stepson at age 55 has many years to enjoy.

The bottom line…the cancer is stage four, it has spread to his stomach lining with a few suspicious spots on the lungs as well.

It all began the day after Christmas and on into the first weeks of the New Year of 2024. He’s now discharged and just received his chemo port to start regular treatments on February 5th.

Not exactly the way I expected to kick off 2024. Especially this month being our 10-year anniversary, both for Redemption Press and my love story with Ross.

But isn’t that how life is?


We have our afflictions and storms in one or more aspect of our life, and at the same time our victories and successes in another.

The Lord knew I needed to be reminded and He graciously gave me these words:

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters,




because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

1 Corinthians 15:58

My work will not be found in vain when it is of the Lord. This includes: my family, my marriage, Redemption Press, and even declaring His faithfulness through my story in my books.

No matter how much the winds howl, and how its force wants to overtake me, I choose to stand firm and let nothing move me. I give myself fully to the work of the Lord, knowing He sees me, He hears me, He strengthens me, and He gives the victory, whether it’s on this side of eternity or the other.

What winds are howling in your life right now? Do you need encouragement to STAND FIRM? Let me know and I can pray for you. And perhaps when you think of it, you can pray for our family, too.

Thanks for hanging out with me a bit today,

Athena Dean Holtz
Welcome, I'm Athena!

I start each day by tithing the first hour to the Lord in prayer, reading the word, doing word studies of the Text, and asking God how I can live out what I am reading. This time is usually met with meditation on devotionals that are usually written by dead guys like Oswald Chambers, CS Lewis, Charles Spurgeon, AW Tozer, and Andrew Murray.

Right now, I’m reading a daily devotional with a friend called Tozer on the Almighty God for my focus for the day. It's fun to see individually what pulls us in to spur one another on to good deeds!

The Bible is filled with action steps to walk out in practical and intentional ways. This sets my day in motion to walk it out! I hope this is your heart, too.

Consider this a personal invitation to join me in this journey!

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