What does “18 Words” mean?

You’ve probably wondered abut the name of this blog. Why is it called “18 Words”? Just after I was told in the ER about the tumor,  God put Psalm 139:16 in my head:

All the days ordained for me 
were written in your book 
before one of them came to be.

Those 18 words define the span of my life. Every day I live was ordained for me by God before I was even born. He knows everything that is going to happen to me before it comes to pass, so none of this is a surprise to Him. And my lifespan is not defined by a doctor or a diagnosis, but by God. Not one day can be taken from me by anyone because God has decided my life. It is in His hands, and His alone.

My life is in God’s hands, and He is good, and I can trust Him, so I should have no fear about what is to come. I just need to trust Him. Only He knows how the story will end, and when.

None of us know how many days we have left, although it’s easy to pretend it is way off in the future. I did for a long time, but I no longer have that luxury. It’s crystal clear that I do not decide how long I live.

What I do have is a choice in how I live each one of those days. I choose to live each one I have left as a gift from God, trusting in Him, and seeking what he would have me do. I choose to trust and follow Him completely, whether I have ten days left or ten thousand. Worrying won’t add one day to my life, and will only rob the joy and mercy God has for me in each day.

Every day is a gift, and I intend to live it fully in a way that will honor Him and receive all the blessings He has for me each day, in every smile and kiss from my children, to the wonderful purple of the lupine blooming in my yard. I don’t want to miss out on a single blessing, or a chance to be a blessing and serve Him in whatever way I can.

And when the days ordained for me come to an end, I will go to the place in heaven prepared for me by Jesus and sit with him at the Wedding Supper of the Lamb, and stand in the presence of God where there will be no more sadness or pain.

Until that day, soon or distant,  I need prayers and encouragement to get through each day because none of this can be done on my strength alone. I need prayers for the big things, like complete healing and restoration of my health, to little daily things like appointments and schedules with doctors to align properly, so I can get the care I need.

I am humbled and awed by the number of people praying for me already, and I ask you all to keep praying earnestly and frequently for me. God does listen and we’ve seen evidence of it every day in countless ways so far. I am being carried by your prayers every day, and have a hope and even a joy that I would have never thought possible in this trial.

Thank you for your love and support, and helping me on this journey.

Rich Seiling

12 Responses to “What does “18 Words” mean?”

  1. Tami Rose Says:

    Rich and Susan – praying for you and sharing your fear and your joy. I pray that Gods presence will be with you, and that you’ll feel His loving arms around you all.

  2. korina Says:

    Rich and Susan, your grace is astounding and completely humbling, may God bless you for your continued Praise of Him and choosing to glorify Him unconditionally. My whole family has your family in their daily prayers.

  3. denise jones Says:

    in praying for you the words to “Give” by Third Day come to mind

    You said all that follow you may find
    Comfort and pain, blessings in hard times.
    Were I to leave where else would I go
    The words of Life and of Truth you hold

    All I want is Love
    I confess to this
    I will take it Lord
    All You have to give

    How great the Love lavished on us all
    That we can be the Children of God

    All I want is Love
    I confess to this
    I will take it Lord
    All You have to give

    praying these words over you, for God to sustain you, strengthen you, for His grace upon amazing grace to go before you, for His Life and Truth to be your only Way, for His great Love to be LAVISHED onyou, for you to take all He has to Give.

    we love you guys.

  4. Laurel Rematore Says:

    I’m praying for you and your family ! Thanks for sharing your journey and your inspiring faith.

  5. Kaylene Friesen Says:

    Dear Rich and Susan,
    So much of what you have written is familiar to me because our family wrote very, very similar words 8 years ago. In 2001 our 8 year old son was experiencing increasing amounts of pain in his back and abdomen that ultimately led to the discovery of an 8cm tumor in his upper abdomen, pressing against his spine, and a diagnosis of non-Hodgkins B-cell lymphoma.

    It was the scariest time in our lives and it tested us beyond anything we had ever experienced, and yet . . . and yet God held us in His hands and literally provided His peace that passes all understanding. His followers surrounded us with prayer and comfort and 10 months of meals for our family. When wave after wave of bad news rolled in we crumpled to our knees and lifted our hands to the Only One who is Faithful and True.

    You have already said what we know to be true–walking through that time permanently changed all of us in many ways–and we wouldn’t want it any other way. We can’t imagine going back to how things were even though the road was so very hard and uncertain. The road was uncertain, our Savior was and is absolutely certain.

    God is amazing–when His followers trust in Him, though they may be experiencing unimaginable trials, His strength enables them to pour His words and His wisdom into the lives of others. “Chance” meetings, Facebook & blog posts, walking the halls with other patients and their families are all opportunities to touch and be touched by a God who truly cares and truly loves and truly heals.

    You can count on us to be praying for you–By the way, that 8 year old boy who was diagnosed with cancer is sleeping-in this Saturday morning. He came in late last night after a track meet and he recently got his drivers license and is now looking for his first summer job. His cancer changed him and taught him things about prayer and God and heaven that will be a part of him for the rest of his life. God is just that good. Please feel free to contact us for anything–prayer, venting, questions, anything,
    Craig, Kaylene, Melanie, Mitchell and Mark Friesen

  6. Doug Broussard Says:

    Rich and Susan:

    I’m praying for you all in my own way. You can and will beat this.

  7. Joe Fish Says:

    Rich and Susan;
    Your life is about to become a blessing of gifts. Be open to recieving them. Please look into your heart for anyone who needs forgiveness. Let go of any ill will. Embrace everyone you love fully, and those you don’t. Let your guard down and be vulnerable.
    Thats all I got.

  8. John Sloas Says:

    You are my friend. It was wonderful to spend some time with you at Chuck E. Cheese–I realized how much I missed hanging out with you. When I heard of your illness, it struck me hard because you are a dear friend to me. You, Susan and your children are in my thoughts and prayers. I know you have lots of supporters but add us to list of people that would do anything at anytime for you. –JOHN SLOAS

  9. Suzy Geary Says:

    Hey there Richie! It’s your cousin Suzy!
    I am saddened that it took such horrible news to get back in touch with you, but glad that I am able to “talk” to you again. Aunt Shirley passed on the email your wife sent out and my prayers are with you and your family.
    Suzy (Gilson) Geary

  10. Emily MacGibbon Says:

    Rich- you are a true testiment to Faith. Your strength in God is astounding and makes me realize how important it is to trust in Him alone. My family and I are all praying for you. I am praying for healing and peace, and that you will feel his presence throughout this journey. Please let me know if I can help in any way.

  11. Dana (Clark) Suggs Says:

    Dear Ones in the precious hope,
    Cling to the promises the LORD made to Abraham for we are indeed heirs if we have faith as a grain of mustard seed. May you be blessed with patience, Dana

  12. Todd Fonda family Says:

    Dear Susan and Rich, Our prayers are with you, be joyful in hope… always. The testimony of why the Father gave you 18 Words as the title for your blog is very encouraging, may we all know and remember that He has numbered our days. As you continue to love eachother and serve Him, know that is His will. With love, the Fonda’s

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