A Tribute to brother Bill

A few years ago, I had the priveledge of getting to know Bill Sweeney here on WordPress. Little did I know then, that our brief time here on this blog would bring life-changing comfort at a most challenging time for me personally. I looked forward each month to what Bill had to say and always cherished his words.

Bill was on hospice due to decades of living with ALS. He defied the odds. Decades……catch that? Most people who have that horrible disease die within 2-5 years. But not Bill. He was a fighter, a warrior and persevered until the day he went home to Jesus, Dec. 30, 2020.

Bill made the world a better place. His attitude in the face of extreme suffering was something only few of us could ever have. Not being able to talk, walk, move, eat, and being hooked up to a breathing machine yet maintaining his faith and sense of humor, was a God thing. I loved the way he always seemed to have a chuckle within that he wrote on his blog for us to enjoy. Bill used an eye tracking computer to write his posts which was absolutely amazing! His blogging mission was to a preach the gospel which he always wrote committedly in each blog post while leading others to Christ and helping believers in Jesus who also were suffering. He never mentioned his disease in a sorrowful way, he simply wrote about his life with ALS and the hope he knew in Jesus. His determination to never give up and keep on fighting was personally contagious and I strongly suspect many could confirm the same. Many times I felt as long as Bill was fighting and breathing….. then I could fight too.

Summer of 2020, I reached out to Bill in a message hoping for his address so I could send him and Mary a card. His response to me blew me away. In his email he took the opportunity to encourage me in a way no one ever had. Here’s what Bill wrote…..

Hello, Vivian, 
I hope this email finds you well, relatively speaking, of course. 
I will give you our address, but let me tell you something that relates to you. 
I told you about my friend Les and his horrible TBI. As a result, he has mental, emotional, and physical problems. One of his physical problems is blurred vision and double vision. 
We know that the Apostle Paul had bad vision and other physical problems. We also know that he had been stoned and beaten several times. I think his blurred vision and other physical problems were likely the result of a TBI. Some scholars believe that his bad vision was his “thorn in the flesh.” We can’t be sure, but… Little sister, His grace will be sufficient for you until you get your healing. Don’t give up on believing for your healing. Let’s agree in prayer, Father, Your daughter Vivian and I come together to ask for you to heal her brain injury. We stand together in believing that You heal her. We ask You this in the name of Jesus. 
I am praying with you! 
Bless you, my friend, 
Bill 

This note meant the world to me at a time I was very low physically. I was so humbled that he took the time and used his eyes to write this encouragement. He didn’t have to, but he did. The words he used came at a time I was feeling rather defeated. God knew exactly how to use Bill to help me. And that was Bill. He lived to help others. He prayed with others and supported others. Bill was a global missionary with profound purpose: furthering the Kingdom of God.

I strongly believe that was why God brought Bill into my life and countless others. Bill was God’s tool to grow, encourage, and support His church. Bill was a gifted man who loved God like no one in his condition could. God gave him supernatural grace to push through and finish the race that was set before him. Bill was a miracle.

As I think back on all the interactions I had with Bill, I feel deep gratitude. He understood my TBI and even went as far as to equate my suffering with the apostle Paul’s! No one’s ever done that. He would also check on my posts from time to time telling me he was praying for me which meant the world… I’m honored to have known dear brother Bill and as new tears flow down writing out this post I’ve gained a bit of healing as I have had to say goodbye to a dear friend. It may be sooner or later but one of these days I’ll get to meet dear brother Bill as we worship our Saviour forever in glory.

Much love,

Viv

Brother Bill with grandbaby.
Love this picture

Author: Viv

I'm a TBI warrior whose hope and strength comes from God.

37 thoughts on “A Tribute to brother Bill”

  1. It’s astonishing how God uses ordinary people to help others in extraordinary ways.

    Bill’s faith and perseverance were far above what many of us experience , but the source was the same.

    I’m glad sharing this story helps you heal and deal with Bill’s passing.

    Your faith is also an inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, my, what a tremendous witness and tribute and blessing, Viv! Thank you for writing this beautiful piece and telling us how this saint ministered to you. I greatly appreciate your servant’s heart, and the way you have of edifying your readers.

    Like

  3. This is very encouraging, sister. Bill was such a blessing to so many. He was always a great encouragement to me in my suffering, and it still encourages me to think of him. God bless Bill’s wife Mary and his whole family, and God bless you with strength and healing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad it encouraged you Ryan. Bill and Mary really touched my life. I just got a note from her today…..she wants to stay in touch which means the world to me. Praying always for you. ☺

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Vivian! I’m Bill’s brother, Ed, and Mary just shared your blog and tribute to Bill with me today. Our hearts are so full for the blessing of yourself and others in Bill’s life! It’s one thing to witness through Bill’s words on Unshakeable Hope, but I think what we were not fully aware of is how he ministered to so many others, one on one, as you did to him and do with others too, through your blog. Such an enriching community and spirit of faith! Thank you for being in Bill and Mary’s life, you, and so many others were the reason for his unexpected and miraculous longevity….God needed him, much as he needs you to inspire others to faith. May God keep you well, and hearty of mind, body and spirit!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow Ed, this comment blew me away! Thank you so much for reaching out to me…..you’re a lot like your brother Bill. I’m so sorry for your loss but thankful the Sweeney family knew such strong love. I can tell this is a wonderful family by your words and of course by knowing Bill and Mary.

      My life has been touched by Bill and his blog/friendship. I am so thankful God led me to Unshakable Hope a few years back. Bill was an example of the Grace of God lived out every single moment. I miss him. But, I’m so thankful he is with his Lord.

      This blogging community is a family really…..I’ve met lifelong friends here. It’s a gift to be able to fellowship even though I’m homebound mostly.

      God bless you Ed, and may you be blessed in every way today.
      Viv~

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Viv! This post is so beautiful. I read it with tears rolling down my eyes. I know you blessed my mom and dad as well. I am praying for you today as well. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Thank you for taking the time to write this. Love,
    Lauren (Bill’s daughter)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh dearest Lauren, I’m so sorry about your dad. Please know this comment means so much to me.🤗 I’m so glad God gave me the strength to write this post in honor of Bill. I deeply appreciate your prayers and comforting words. Many hugs and prayers dear one.
      ~Viv 💚

      Like

  6. Thanks so much for sharing! I had no idea Bill passed. He was definitely an inspiration to so many. I’m so glad that Bill encouraged you and touched your life in the way he did. God is so good to give us those special friends (brothers and sisters in Him) to keep us going and hanging on when the health stuff is so difficult. Keep praying for your healing. Joining you in those prayers as well sweet sis. ❤❤❤❤ Love you Viv.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He really was such a blessing to all of us. Yes, the health issues are so rough, and I’m thankful we can share our HOPE in Jesus to comfort others. I’m due for several MRIs next week due to my condition getting worse. Would you pray dear sis? Love you too!💚😍

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Viv. I am Bill’s sister, Paula. Your kind words are very healing for all of his siblings who read them. He truly touched so many people and you are doing the same sharing his , and your story. I celebrate him every time I read a post from his many friends. You are a strong and spiritual woman who has a gift for saying the right things at the right time. I wish you all the best and will keep you in my prayers as you focus on feeling better. You are very special. Paula

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Paula, I’m so touched by your kind comment. Bill was truly one of the best people I’ve ever known. I’m overwhelmed by the awesome feedback I’ve received from you, Ed, Lauren and Mary. It’s blessed me deeply this week to get to know his familly better and to remember Bill. Although I never met him in person, I feel like I knew him so well through reading his blog. He was an inspiration and I’m so thankful to have met him here on WordPress. Thank you for praying for me, it means so much and may God bless you always. Hugs!❤🤗

      Like

      1. He was a great inspiration and still inspires me every day to not ever give up. I’m so glad to have met him here. I’m so glad to know YOU!!❤❤🤗🤗

        Like

    1. Oh yes Wendi…..
      his tribute touched my youngest so much when I read it out loud to the kids, she ran into the bathroom to cry. She’s a tender girl. Love you Wendi. Big hugs❤🤗❤🤗🙏

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.