Still TRUMPED by SOVEREIGNTY: a family update

You’ve met my friend Sara Stophel here before when I reviewed her book and when I told you she completed her college degree. Now she has more exciting news- a wedding.

You’ve met my friend Sara Stophel here before when I reviewed her book and when I told you she completed her college degree. Now she has more exciting news- a wedding.

Nik, the son of Sara and her late husband Chuck, married a beautiful young woman Alivia in a spring wedding. Sara gave me these photos to share with you.

a bride and groom posing with flowers
Mr. and Mrs. Stophel

I know how it feels to welcome a girl having raised 2 sons. Sara is thrilled to have a daughter in her family now.

In case you missed it, here is my review of Sara’s book where she explains how her life has been…

TRUMPED BY SOVEREIGNTY:

Juggling Faith, Healing, And Submission to God’s Perfect Plans

a memoir BY SARA STOPHEL

“Damen Ballard, twenty-five, left his apartment on April 19, 1995, to grab a pack of cigarettes at the convenience store. On his way back he took the shortcut…crossing I-44 on foot at rush hour. He was hit and became a John Doe while doctors tried to save his life. Even as we were watching the terrible news of the Oklahoma City bombing down the road…and fighting against all of those feelings of desperation when we discovered no hearts would be coming…Chuck’s new heart was just two floors above us in the very same hospital.”

Sovereignty is a word you may not use or even hear often; I know I don’t.  Probably the most common usage is in a political sense, like the sovereignty (authority) of a nation. Maybe that’s why Sara Stophel offers this definition on the back cover of her book;

“‘Sovereignty’ means that God, as the ruler of the universe, has the right to do whatever he wants. Further, he is in complete control over everything that happens.

In a game of cards, a trump card overrules any card previously played … But what happens when that “game” is actually life? And what happens when you realize that God’s sovereignty is the final trump card?”

Trumped by Sovereignty is two stories in one book.  One story relates the multiple medical challenges faced by Sara, her husband Chuck,  their children and extended family. The other story describes how Sara coped with these challenges, especially in relationship to her Christian faith.

I have known Sara and her family for several years and already knew much of their story although not all. I know Sara to be direct, truthful and frank. She does not mince words.

(I did not consult Sara prior to writing this review.  I paid for my copy of her book.)

This is not one of those “how we went through a horrible experience and survived by our unshakable faith” stories; rather it is “how we went through extraordinary stress which tested our faith which survived and grew anyway”.

Sara doesn’t tell you how she solved her problems; she admits that her problems caused her to change the way she looks at life, faith and God.

Sara’s book describes multiple medical conditions that afflicted her family (yes, afflicted is exactly the right word). The list reads like a medical textbook, so much so that you may need to look up some of the terms to understand what they are; she does not describe them in detailed scientific terms.  (I’ve included some links for you to use.)

Between Sara, her husband Chuck, their children and extended family they endured –

Sara and Chuck met in college, a Christian university that is known for its belief in divine healing. However, Sara’s home church did not teach miraculous healing. So it was a new concept for her, and one she found difficult to reconcile as her family’s serious health issues continued to worsen and not respond to medical treatment much less prayer.

Sara Stophel with her late husband Chuck

She does not expect you to believe that she endured these challenges and tragedies due to strong and unwavering faith; rather she freely admits otherwise. As she puts it, her “truster” frequently breaks and needs repair.

“I could not commune with a God who did not honor my bigger-than-mustard-seed faith. I was more than certain God loved people…but I was also nearly certain He just needed me as a tool of transparency. My truster was broken. Having loved God my whole life, I couldn’t think of anything better…anywhere else to turn…so I just kept on serving and assuming the love and peace of God were for everyone but me.”

Sara sense of humor never wavers, both in her writing, and  in life; she probably could not have made it  through some of the days she has lived without it.

You will laugh, cry, or both at some of her stories like-

  • Her annual physical (which was a year late) with her doctor, Dr. LionKing (an offbeat humorous pronunciation of his real name)
  • Her first CPR class after a family death

And you may get angry as she describes her shabby treatment by the IRS, the cell phone company and the local fire department first responders who refused to take her critically ill husband to the hospital.

Sara recently with her 3 sons

I encourage you to buy and read Trumped by Sovereignty. I know Sara and her sons which means I also know that their challenges are not over; in fact, they may be bigger than ever. I believe she will continue to face them with the same courage and humor that she has so far; and maybe in a few years she will write volume 2 of her story.

 

 

Trumped by Sovereignty is published by Paladin Publishing, Tulsa Oklahoma.

Sara Stophel welcomes invitations to speak; you can follow her on

Facebook  at Sara Stophel -author .

Sara at a speaking engagement

Sara’s son Nikolai Stophel is a professional writer/photographer for Samaritan’s Purse. Prior to that position, he  covered the turbulent weather we have here in Oklahoma. His photos of Oklahoma storms illustrate this previous post. You can find more of his work on Instagram. 

On the 6th anniversary of Chuck’s release from illness and pain, his wife Sara reflected on her Facebook page-

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

          Dr. Aletha  

Celebrating romance and marriage on Valentine’s Day

a look at some unique marriages for Valentine’s Day


What the word needs now is love, sweet love, that’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.” 

Hal David, lyricist

I’m glad you found this post, enjoy it, or view an updated version at this link.

a red heart
Valentine heart graphic from Lightstock.com, affiliate link

One of my Sunday traditions is reading Parade , a magazine in the newspaper. One of my favorite parts is the “Ask Marilyn” column where Marilyn Vos Savant answers complex questions on a wide range of subjects- math, science, medicine, technology, economics , games, sports and just about any topic you can imagine.

I have wondered how she does it, imagining it must take hours and hours of research.

But then I learned her history.  She has one of the highest IQs in the world. She is certifiably the world’s smartest woman. 

One week,  Parade published an article about how she met her husband. She is married to none other than Dr. Robert Jarvik, developer of the artificial heart.

They met when he called her after reading   a magazine article about her, and had a long distance courtship lasting one year.

At their wedding, science fiction author Isaac Asimov walked her down the aisle; the best man was the 7th recipient of one of the Jarvik artificial hearts! How’s that for romantic. They have been happily married since 1987.      

Isaac Asimov: The Complete Stories, Vol. 1


Books by Marilyn Vos Savant 

Growing Up: A Classic American Childhood

The Power of Logical Thinking 

Another love story-Austin and Jessica 

Another couple  featured in the issue, Austin and Jessica were literal childhood sweethearts, having met as toddlers. They and their parents met in a support group- for families of children with Down Syndrome.

With their parents’ support, they have overcome their disability to build a loving , stable marriage- and maybe because he “treats her like a princess.”

These are two very different couples who share something special-

respect, caring and commitment to the person they love.

As Beatles John and Paul (Lennon and McCartney) told us many years ago,

All you need is love.”

 

(These and some other links in this post are to affiliate sites that may pay this blog a small commission. )

My love story

It wasn’t Valentine’s Day, but my husband and I shared a romantic dinner on vacation in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Read about our romance at the link below the photo

man and woman at dinner
Dr. Aletha and Raymond

Two Words That Changed My Life

LIGHTSTOCK.COM, AFFILIATE LINK


 

Share the LOVE

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Gabriel & Co. fine jewelry

                              Dr. Aletha