Part One: Is There a Healing Formula in the Bible?



I started a series on healing last week, and I want to continue it this week by looking at a passage in John 5 where a crippled man is healed.

I never noticed this passage until recently. About a month ago, I felt drawn to read the accounts of healing in John, and I was astounded to see similarities in the John 5 and John 9 passages — similarities that closely correspond with my own healing experience.

I want to share a few of my observations on both passages in the next few weeks, and perhaps some of what I am saying can illuminate some things for you in your own situation.

The Lame Man by the Pool

In John 5, Jesus approaches a man lying by a healing pool. Apparently, the pool was one where the sick (including the blind, lame, and paralyzed) would come for healing. As legend had it, in a particular season, an angel would descend and stir the waters. Once the angel had stirred the waters, the angel would leave, and it was up to the diseased to get in. The first one in the pool would get the benefit of the medicinal qualities in the water. The man whom Jesus approaches has had no such luck; his friends have all had the benefit of getting in the water, but he has been left behind.

When Jesus comes up to him, Jesus asks him if he wants to be healed. The man complains that no one has helped him in the waters, but Jesus doesn’t need the water to heal him. He tells the man to “get up” and carry his mat. The man does so and is able to walk after thirty-eight years of being paralyzed. He then goes out into the streets and is questioned by Jews as to the man who healed him.

Several important things should be noted about this passage.

1. The man was most likely crippled because of sin.

This may be a highly unpopular way to start this discussion, but one thing that we can learn and observe by reading the account of the cripple’s healing is that it shows us that there can be a connection between sin and illness. This idea is implied because after the healing, Jesus finds the man at the temple and says, “See you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you” (John 5:14).

Sin is not always the reason for infirmity, and we must be cautious to assume that our every illness is caused by sin — but, in some cases, our malady can be invited in by unconfessed sin or sin we are not willing to part with. (Please note that illness can just be a result of the state of our fallen world or an affliction we are born with that has nothing to do with sin.)

In my own experience, my unforgiveness and unresolved anger in the past has brought on problems of severe depression and other physical issues. The sentiment in most Christian communities is that our sin has no affect us because of Jesus’ work on the cross; however, while it is true that we are under no condemnation as Christians (Romans 8:1), this passage suggests the correlation in certain instances between sin and sickness.

2. The healing begins with a stirring of the waters.

The healing in the passage started with a “stirring of the waters.” It’s not clear whether the angel that came down to stir the waters was legend or truth; however, what is understood is that the angel descended only at a particular season and it was the job of the diseased to “get in” (John 5:7).

What this has felt like for me has been a “stirring” or churning in my heart during a church service, and I have felt the need to get out of my seat and go down to the altar for prayer. As I have received prayer, I have felt a directive about an apology I need to make or a resentment I need to let go of. For whatever reason, the stirring initiated the process.

On a larger scope, I have recently very much been on a journey these past few years to allow God to reach some of the broken places in me that haven’t been touched in previous experiences. And the stirring has been more of an outside force — a violent storm taking place in my life with me at the bottom of it. I’ve been confused and scared. But in the midst of the chaos, God has stepped in and chosen to use the undoing — the spinning of elements out of control — to be the starting place for an emotional healing.

3. Jesus may use means that do not make any sense to us in our healing.

For our crippled man in the passage, Jesus came directly to him. The cripple voiced the fact that many of his friends had been healed, and he had never been able to get in the waters. I searched long and hard for an interpretation of this, and I couldn’t find much. But a few things came to mind: Jesus sought him out when he thought his opportunity had passed him by. Jesus did not leave him behind.

And what also very much stands out to me is that the man had a very narrow idea of the method in which he would be healed. He fixated on the one way he thought that it would happen for him: He believed that he had to be the first to get in the healing pools (John 5:7).

You and I are very much the same way. We have an idea in mind about how a healing or promise will come to pass for us. We may think that it has to come through a doctor, or a certain series of steps to get to our goal — but Jesus shows us in this particular passage that He can heal us by means that are beyond our understanding of how it should happen. He will ask us to do things or a series of things that don’t seem to have any correlation to what’s wrong with us. Our way to healing is to follow His directive and trust that it may happen differently for us than we originally envisioned. As commentator Matthew Henry notes:

We are all by nature impotent folks in spiritual things, blind, halt and withered — but effectual provision is made for our cure if we will but observe orders.

All we have to do is “observe orders” by reading the Word and putting ourselves in a position to hear from God to do what He says. However, even if we have completely screwed things up, He still comes for us.

Quite frankly, in my journey of inner healing these past few years, I feared that my chances for God using me had passed me by. I knew I had made bad choices earlier in my life, and I didn’t know that God would open any more for me. But even as I had squandered some of my earlier opportunities, God has found me in a similar way that He found the lame man and given me some steps to get free.

4. You may have to participate in the process.

When Jesus approached the man by the pool, he posed the question: “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6). Obviously, the man wanted healing. He had been paralyzed for thirty-eight years. However, Jesus asked the question because he wanted to know the man’s commitment level to the process: Did the man really want to participate in his own healing? According to Henry:

In spiritual cases, people are not willing to be cured of their sins, are loth to part with them. If this point therefore were but gained, if people were willing to be made whole, the work were half done, for Christ is willing to heal, if we be but willing to be healed.”

As Henry notes, “Christ is willing to heal, if we be but willing to be healed.” And again, we see the implied connection between the man’s sin and his infirmity. Jesus is God. He can do anything He wants to. He can heal people in multiple ways through multiple means — with just a snap of his fingers. And often He does.

However, what I have found to be true in my experience is that God has asked something of me. When my infirmity or brokenness is spiritually rooted, I have to repent of the sin to be healed. The way it has happened for me in my most recent journey is that He has presented me with some things to do in digging back in my past — make some contacts. That has been the “getting up” in my process.

As I finish with one, another pops up. I haven’t wanted to do them, and I haven’t even really understood all the reasons why God has given me the directives that He has. I can’t tell you how many times people have told me that I didn’t have to do anything because of God’s grace. But what I think can be said about that is that my journey has not been about earning forgiveness or earning God’s favor — it has been about obedience. As I have been obeying God, He has begun to work in me supernaturally to bring about change.

5. He didn’t get up in his own power — He got up in Christ’s power.

A strange thing happens when we obey God. We stir ourselves to act, but it is actually Christ who strengthens and straightens our limbs as we get up. Note what Henry says about this section of the passage:

But if he had not attempted to help himself, he had not been cured, and he must have borne the blame; yet it does not therefore follow that, when he rise and walk, it was by his own strength; no it was by the power of Christ, and he must have all the glory.”

Even in our action, it is still Christ’s power which enables us to walk.

Jesus will not take the steps for you. He will point you the way, show you the step, meet you in the act of faith. But there is a movement on our part that has to happen. We see that just as there is a “getting in” component of the sick into the healing waters, there is a “getting up” component to Jesus’ command.

Jesus can heal people any way He wants to and there is not necessarily a formula that Jesus uses every time He heals in Scripture; however, we can observe some of the steps that occur in His approach to the lame man and recognize how we can allow those to be implemented in our own lives.

Carol’s note:

It can be really scary to read a post like this because the enemy wants to get into your thoughts and condemn and accuse, but we should notice how compassionate Jesus was in this story. He wasn’t concerned with accusing the man; he was concerned with healing the man. One of my favorite verses is Romans 8:1 because it reminds us that we are forgiven no matter what we’ve done.

If you feel like you have a disease that is spiritually rooted but aren’t sure, ask God and see what He tells you. He promises to give you the wisdom you need (James 1:5). I would also recommend getting prayer at church by your elders or prayer team (James 5:14). In addition, Henry W. Wright’s A More Excellent Way is an excellent resource that gives further insight into spiritually rooted disease.

Related Bible Verses:

John 5:1: “Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie — the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’ ‘Sir,’ the invalid replied, ‘I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.’ ”

Romans 8:1: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Related Resources:

The website is a free online Bible resource. It offers different translations of Scripture as well as notes and commentary (such as Matthew Henry commentary) to better understand the meaning and context of Scripture passages.

Are you interested in the spiritual roots of many diseases? Henry W. Wright’s A More Excellent Way: Be in Health talks about spiritual causes for many illnesses such as depression and his advice about how to look at disease from a spiritual standpoint.


Carol Whitaker

Carol Whitaker is a coach's wife, mom, writer, and singer. She left a career in teaching in 2011 to pursue a different path at God's prompting. While she thought that the path would lead straight to music ministry, God had different plans -- and Carol found herself in a crisis of spirituality and identity. Out of that place, Carol began writing about the lessons God was teaching her in her desert place and how God was teaching her what it meant to be healed from a painful past and find her identity in Him rather than a title, a relationship, a career, or a ministry. These days, Carol spends her time shuttling her little ones back and forth from school, supporting her coach-husband on the sidelines, and writing posts. Carol also continues to love music and hopes to pick up piano playing again. Carol is a self-proclaimed blog junkie and iced-coffee lover. She resides in Georgia with her husband and three children.

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How Helping Others Helped Me Get Over the Tragedy of Miscarriage

An ultrasound when you’re not pregnant has to be just about the saddest thing ever.

That was my thought as I walked into my doctor’s office a week after a devastating miscarriage. I was scheduled for a follow-up ultrasound to check to see if my surgery at the hospital the week before had successfully removed the remaining tissue.

I could visualize it now: my empty uterus blown up on the screen, its rounded walls encircling life no longer. No comforting blinking blip of a baby’s heartbeat — just a yawning expanse of gray fuzz where a fetus had been just a few weeks earlier.

To make matters worse, I was not feeling great. I had a racing heartbeat and low iron levels — walking from the car up to the office was an effort for me. I was feeling sorry for myself, and I was prepared for others to feel sorry for me too. I figured God had arranged a motherly ultrasound tech to do the ultrasound, perhaps a kind nurse to minister to me in my time of brokenness.

But God had other plans.

The ultrasound tech who found me in the waiting room was not the maternal tech I was hoping for — she was younger than me, thin. There was a vulnerability about her. Although she gave me instructions in a most professional way about what clothes to remove and where to position myself on the table, I felt a sensitivity immediately in my spirit, a prick.

We chatted pleasantly for a few minutes. As pleasant as a conversation about a lost baby can be. Yes, I did just lose my baby in the hospital one week ago. Yes, I was supposed to have my 12 week ultrasound today, but instead they changed it to my post-miscarriage ultrasound. No, this was not my first pregnancy. The conversation then took a rather innocent turn. I had mistakenly thought that my ultrasound was going to be after my doctor exam and had filled up on water. So, I commented on how excruciating it can be to have an ultrasound with a full bladder. She began to relate a story to me of an ultrasound she had had recently where she was in intense discomfort.

I assumed she had children and asked how many she had. She quickly explained that she had no children but had actually had an ultrasound to look at a cyst on her uterus that she had been having problems with for the past few years. The moment that she said “cyst” a word dropped into my brain, and I tried to shake it off, but it came again. Unforgiveness. She continued to talk and the word came again. Unforgiveness. It drowned out all other sounds and kept interrupting my thoughts like an incoming message chime in an email.

As much as I would like to say that I am a wonderful Christian and that I wanted to speak to this woman and tell her about my own past struggles with unforgiveness and the physical problems it caused me, I really didn’t. However, I also know that God gives me very specific words for people at extremely inconvenient times, and when I ignore his assignments I always regret it. Feeling a thin film of sweat develop on my brow, I made my way off the table and into the bathroom to get the rest of my clothes on. God, do you want me to tell her that her condition may be caused by unforgiveness in a relationship? I only heard silence and the efficient hum of the ultrasound tech’s movements on the other side of the door.

I already knew the answer.

In the least awkward way possible, I opened the door, smiled at the woman and said to her, “I am not a medical professional, and this may not even be for you, but when you were talking about cysts a moment ago, I got a word in my mind for you.” I then proceeded to tell her I was a Christian and how my decision to hold onto hatred for a friend after she had hurt me had caused a problem with bleeding.

The issue continued for over a month until I felt convicted about it and apologized to my friend. The very day I forgave her and sent her an apology the problem went away. I told the ultrasound tech that sometimes we just get physical problems (we live in a fallen world and experience illness as a result), but at times we get physical problems as a result of emotional or spiritual problems. I offered her my story and told her I did not want her to suffer, so she could weigh out if what I said applied to her.

The awkward thing for me in that moment was I could very well have been wrong. I could have imagined the words in my head and imagined that it had anything to do with her. I could have greatly offended her and made a stressful situation worse. Yet, Jesus was bold with people. He gave them actions to complete and didn’t mince words. He was compassionate, but he didn’t just stand around and lament the condition people were in. He healed them.

Truthfully, I wasn’t feeling very much like Jesus, but if He was indeed giving me these words for this woman — He was offering her a step to healing. And a step to Himself.

I was just a flawed woman in a doctor’s office after the loss of a pregnancy. A woman who could be wrong. A woman feeling dizzy and lightheaded and sad for my baby. But when I began talking, I felt such strength and power — as only Christ can provide, and I didn’t feel sad at all. My problems were so far removed from me at that moment. And I really felt that there was something sadder than an ultrasound when you aren’t pregnant: a person without the hope of Jesus Christ.

Even in my condition, I had a hope to lean the weight of my sadness on.

She didn’t say much in response, but I could tell by the look in her eyes that something had moved her. And because nothing else came to mind and she looked like she needed a moment to process everything, I gave her a hug and stepped away. I didn’t know what was going on her life or what was going on with her body — but God did. And all I could do was offer Him.

The lesson I learned in the ultrasound room is this: God wants to use me even when I feel that I am at my lowest and weakest point. He always has others on His mind, and while I mainly have myself on my mind — reaching out and ministering to others in my own broken state can heal not only the other person but can help to heal my own heart. As Shelene Bryan notes in Love, Skip, Jump, “It is in sacrificially loving others that God can use us and fulfill us in a way that nothing else can. By surrendering our plans and desires to Him we can be part of something He wants to do.”

Is there something right now that the Lord might be asking of you? Something that makes you a little scared, a little uncomfortable? You may have to push aside your own desires or even reach out in the midst of your own suffering; but I promise if you do, you may be able for a moment to forget your own sadness and feel the goodness of God in the midst of your pain.



Carol Whitaker

Carol Whitaker is a coach's wife, mom, writer, and singer. She left a career in teaching in 2011 to pursue a different path at God's prompting. While she thought that the path would lead straight to music ministry, God had different plans -- and Carol found herself in a crisis of spirituality and identity. Out of that place, Carol began writing about the lessons God was teaching her in her desert place and how God was teaching her what it meant to be healed from a painful past and find her identity in Him rather than a title, a relationship, a career, or a ministry. These days, Carol spends her time shuttling her little ones back and forth from school, supporting her coach-husband on the sidelines, and writing posts. Carol also continues to love music and hopes to pick up piano playing again. Carol is a self-proclaimed blog junkie and iced-coffee lover. She resides in Georgia with her husband and three children.

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3 Keys to Emotional Healing


Three years ago, when I began a path to healing, I did not get a neon sign from heaven or a magic wand waved over me. In fact, I didn’t even know what God was doing or what plans He had for helping me to address my guilt, shame, addictive tendencies, and problems with relationships. He didn’t tell me where He was leading me at all.

It really began with a crisis in my life: a crisis that unfolded when I stopped teaching, birthed another baby, and attempted to float seamlessly into a role as a full-time volunteer on the worship team and other ministry teams in the church.

Absolutely nothing was working for me in that very dark summer after I left teaching — my son was colicky and never slept. My daughter developed insecurities and issues when my attention had to be shared with an infant. Our money ran dry.

And nothing was clicking with music — the new direction I felt I should be going. I was exhausted, depleted, frustrated — and completely worn out. I kept coming up against a wall that I couldn’t get around; and I didn’t even know what I was fighting against, but it was making me crazy.

In the midst of my crisis, I attended a couples’ retreat. Sitting there listening to our senior pastor and his wife talk about the need for honesty in relationships and life, I was so in denial about where I was really at that I sat through the entire presentation feeling pretty good about myself. My internal dialogue went something like this: This must be for someone else. I am pretty honest with people. I don’t have a problem with this.

However, on the way home I started to feel guilty — and all of these things from the past that I hadn’t even thought about in a long time began surfacing. Even though I wanted to repress them and send these memories back to where they had been hiding, they stuck around in a really annoyingly persistent way — so much so that I was having problems concentrating on anything else.

Suddenly I found it really difficult to get through the day — difficult to sing on a Sunday — and difficult to feel relaxed in my Christian walk. I was having an internal crisis of guilt, anxiety, and fear. My past had reared its ugly head, and it wasn’t going away this time.

And then, as if I didn’t feel stressed enough already, I felt the undeniable nudge to do something about these memories from the past. Not just ask Jesus to forgive me for my past sins — but to actually contact some people, write some letters, and initiate some tough conversations.

Some of the first contacts I made were to a school I had taught at apologizing for some ways I could have been more professional in my demeanor and in the handling of student fees; to a manager and a store I had shoplifted from as a teenager; and to a family of a girl I had been way too involved with in high school. (Yep, you got that right. I did just say that — more on codependent relationships in later posts.)

I was paralyzed with irrational fear. What in the heck did any of these things have to do with my desire to go into ministry? Why was I getting an urge to do this so many years later?

I didn’t realize those contacts were just the first few baby steps Jesus used to point me in the direction I would need to go to find some relief from the weight of my inner chains. Those contacts were the first steps in helping me realize that I had an addiction to others’ approval.

And the pathway out would include a whole lot more conversations and letter writing.

3 Keys to Emotional Healing

The journey for everyone might look a little different, but the first place to start in a quest for inner healing is Jesus Christ. Just like the place of denial I was in at the couples’ event, most people are really out of touch with their real problems and are self-diagnosing and looking in the wrong places for help.

Their physical problems may be the result of emotional issues. While I understand the need to take care of our bodies and look after ourselves, some women focus on their health to extent that they have little time for anything else. They may be going to chiropractors several times a week, specialists for specific maladies, and naturopathic doctors for diagnoses.

While I certainly have faith in the medical community and the wisdom of doctors, I believe that the reason that we sometimes don’t get any better is because we consult doctors without really including God in the conversation. And prioritizing emotional or medical ills above God is a big mistake.

Another mistake is pretending there aren’t any problems and existing in total denial — like I did for the longest time.

Start with God

The Bible is clear that we must “Seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33) before we can expect other things to be added to us. What that basically means is that we should start with Jesus and not the problem. I will be the first to admit that my natural inclination is to do things the other way around.

One of the most beneficial things I did when I quit working was join a weekly women’s Bible study. When I began to get serious about digging into the truth of God, many things in my life started to get some painful but good magnification.

In this process of seeking God, honesty is essential — honesty with God and honesty with ourselves. The Bible says that the Word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword — and it pierces, convicts, and helps us get rid of the junk that weighs us down (Hebrews 4:12). We have all sorts of defense mechanisms — pride, excuses, denial, blaming of others — we use to convince ourselves that we are fine and do not need to change. I am the worst offender in this area! Truly!

Once we pursue Jesus, however, He will bring all of our deeds and actions into the light (John 3:20). Once He does this, we will have the choice whether to allow Him to extract some habits weighing us down or continue to walk in darkness.

The truth is that looking at ourselves as we truly are is painful, but we can be encouraged by the fact that we are forgiven and blameless in His sight. However, our sins have consequences and may affect us emotionally or spiritually if unaddressed. Some important keys to freedom that I have been walking through (touched on in Henry W. Wright’s A More Excellent Way: Be in Health) address our relationship with God, others and self.

Key 1: Our Relationship with God.

The first key to freedom is to understand who we are and what Jesus did for us on the cross. We are fully loved and forgiven — however, His grace does not give us a license to sin, and He must have priority in our life. We must surrender to Him as we learn the truth about what it means to follow Him. If we have had hard things happen to us, we may be angry at God, blaming Him for the bad in our lives.

For me, my greatest revelation in experiencing a release of a major burden was understanding that anger against God is a sin — I needed to forgive Him for the areas I felt He let me down. And say it out loud: God, I was angry when such and such occurred. I felt that you had abandoned me. I forgive you. Help me not hold that against you anymore.

I needed to accept and thank Him for the person He created me to be.

Key 2: Our Relationship with Others.

Once we understand who we are in Christ, this changes how we interact with others. People who are wounded go on to hurt others, however unintentionally.

Becoming free from my chains has meant doing what the Bible says in terms of relationships: forgiving those who have hurt me, seeking peace in relationships, apologizing for past wrongs, and continuing to do this in my relationships now with the full knowledge that I can end up in bondage again if I am not careful.

One surprise I found in this area is that many Christians aren’t following what the Bible says. In fact, they will try to persuade you that it is not really necessary to act in your relationships in these ways because God’s grace covers over all sins.

What they are forgetting is that grace doesn’t exempt us from doing what the Bible says. We are commanded to seek forgiveness and make amends when we do wrong, go to our brother when he has wronged us, and seek harmony if at all possible in our relationships.

Even if I am rejected or my apology is rejected, I am accepted by Christ, and I have the peace of knowing I did the right thing even if the other person did not respond in the way I think he or she should have.

Key 3: Our Relationship with Self.

Another important key to wholeness is our relationship with ourselves. I spent the majority of my life beating up on myself — not realizing that self-rejection can have extremely damaging emotional and physical effects on the body.

A factor for me in my healing has been to understand that I make mistakes, I am not perfect, and I can forgive myself. I had unresolved anger at myself for not being as perfect as I wanted to be. I blamed myself for my relationship failures, for my past mistakes — and I had the misguided idea that I was being humble.

However, I came to realize that a healthy person must have a healthy view of self. Humility is believing that apart from Christ we are nothing — but rejoicing in what He has made us to be and what He has done for us. When I let go of my anger and decided to see myself as Christ does — forgiven, under no condemnation — I could let the guilt and shame go.


Giving up bad habits, addictive tendencies, and unhealthy relationships is tough. I wanted an escape hatch out of my crisis when I left teaching, an easy fix; I didn’t want a journey — especially not a journey that I had to go through without first having all the answers.

Writing letters wasn’t an act I had to do to receive forgiveness from God or earn grace — because that had already been given to me. That process was one that helped to illuminate something about myself to me — something I didn’t know. I felt shame for the bad things I had done in my past, but I didn’t know the reasons for my behavior. But God did.

He revealed to me a truth that was very profound somewhere in that process: I was so dependent on others’ approval that many of my bad choices were made to please others.

In the case of the school, I was extremely reliant on the approval of my classes and wanted to be a well-liked even if it meant laughing when I shouldn’t have laughed or cultivating the worship of my students.

In the case of student fees, I got really overwhelmed with paperwork and didn’t want to admit I couldn’t keep up with all the book money and field trip money kids were throwing at me.

In the case of the shoplifting, I got pressured into it by some friends and couldn’t say no even though I knew it was wrong.

In the case of the unhealthy relationship, I wanted acceptance when I couldn’t find it in normal relationships — and compromised myself to get that.

God knew that — and while the process of admitting my flaws to others was excruciating and is still ongoing in some areas — He had to extract out of me that tendency toward wanting others’ approval more than His approval. While it felt like God really hated me for wanting me to go back to my past, it was because of His kindness that He wanted to help straighten my paths (Hebrews 12:11).

I don’t know where you are in life or what your situation looks like — but start with God. Christ is the answer to all our problems and will lead us to freedom if we will follow Him — no matter how hard or unusual the way.

Getting to that place of freedom means letting Him have access to the dark places we are hiding and trusting Him when the road out is bumpier than we originally anticipated.





Carol Whitaker

Carol Whitaker is a coach's wife, mom, writer, and singer. She left a career in teaching in 2011 to pursue a different path at God's prompting. While she thought that the path would lead straight to music ministry, God had different plans -- and Carol found herself in a crisis of spirituality and identity. Out of that place, Carol began writing about the lessons God was teaching her in her desert place and how God was teaching her what it meant to be healed from a painful past and find her identity in Him rather than a title, a relationship, a career, or a ministry. These days, Carol spends her time shuttling her little ones back and forth from school, supporting her coach-husband on the sidelines, and writing posts. Carol also continues to love music and hopes to pick up piano playing again. Carol is a self-proclaimed blog junkie and iced-coffee lover. She resides in Georgia with her husband and three children.

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