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Sunday Testimony | Joanne Colby

In case you missed it you can listen to Joanne Colby's testimony here. Joanne shares how God's immeasurable grace has been sustaining her the last 3 years as she has been experiencing the effects of ALS.
"Good morning everyone. I am Joanne Colby and I have ALS. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is a neurodegenerative disease that causes the brain to lose control over your muscles. There is no cure and it is fatal. ALS was the one I didn’t want to die from! My lifespan has been reduced to 2-5 years. By God’s grace, I am at the 3 year mark.
Once I got the diagnosis I was bombarded with many anxious and fearful thoughts. How much faith did I really have?  I knew I had to replace the negative thoughts with prayer. As I prayed, scriptures came to mind like: Phil 4:13- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phil 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  But the toughest verse was 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in ALL circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
But the more I prayed the more I saw that God has been preparing me for this my whole life. He blessed  me with 4 beautiful daughters and 14 grandchildren all who live locally. I used to pray I would be able to spend more time with family and after 40 years, God moved my sister and my niece,  who are both CNA’s, just a mile away from me. My favorite course in school was Anatomy and Physiology. He knew it would help me understand how every muscle in my body works. We truly are fearfully and wonderfully made. Before my diagnosis, God brought my daughter Katie together  with Kathy Spiro as partners for woman to woman mentoring. Kathy’s husband passed away from ALS a few years ago. God had started to build a support system for my daughter. My church was shut down during COVID, and God brought me to Sovereign Grace. A few months later I got my diagnosis.
Most of us will pass from this life suddenly and will never realize just how close God is and has always been. I’m not alone in this disease and I never will be. I have begun to realize just how blessed I have been.
I was always very active. I’ve done just about every hobby from carpentry to crocheting. I was concerned how I would deal with the inability to do these things but God met me here too. Each time I lose the use of another muscle of my body I mourn that part briefly and then begin counting the blessings I’ve experienced from that part. You have no idea how magnificent toes are! Each has its own purpose but together they have enabled me to walk along a sandy beach, dance with my dad, compete on a balance beam, run up hills, and jump down! Two weeks ago, I fell and broke my toe. Typically, you would immobilize the toe, but ALS had already done that for me. And there was very little pain. Another blessing! My legs and hands are starting to go too but I haven’t run out of things to be thankful for yet.
One of the hardest things to lose so far is the ability to sing worship songs but God has met me here too. Before attending Sovereign Grace Katie invited me to the Christmas program. I was overwhelmed with the volume of everyone singing. I said to Katie, “This must be what heaven is like!” Now my singing has been replaced with your voices! I love to listen and watch as your voices and hands are lifted up in worship. I watch the little kids singing and moving as well. What a blessing you are to me.
The lyrics we sing here touch my soul. I’m certain I cried every Sunday at least once at the thought that God could love me so much. But once I got my invitation from heaven that my place was almost ready, the lyrics came alive. I see more clearly the severity of my sins and the overwhelming forgiveness I have received. The promise of heaven has gone from black and white to living color!
We often pray that suffering will cease but it is through this suffering I have grown the most. It’s nothing compared to what I deserve. I didn’t choose this suffering but Christ chose his. 2 Corinthians 1:5 promises- For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.  I feel this comfort. I wouldn’t have chosen ALS for myself but am grateful that I have been chosen for it. When you pray for me, as I know you do, please pray for strength and endurance and that I finish well. My name is Joanne Colby and I have ALS – A Loving Savior."