biblewilliams biblewilliams

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Amanda Bible Williams  David’s wife. Mama to E, L, J, & T. Co-founder & CCO of @SheReadsTruth, @HeReadsTruth, & @KidsReadTruth.

I’d give you my KitchenAid mixer before I’d give up this thin metal spatula. My mom gave it to me when I first had a kitchen; she has one just like it. It’s the perfect size for brownies and cookies, which is key. But even better, it reminds me that I’m my mother’s daughter. If you know Brenda, you understand.

Btw, these cookies are SO GOOD. Thanks, @brookewarnock & @lostvalleyranch fam. Love y’all. 🐎🌄🍪

The bravest boy around turned five last weekend.🎈We’d planned to celebrate with balloons, singing, and a taste of icing on his mouthcare sponge. Instead, his team asked if they could extubate, and of course I sobbed “yes” in response.

He was extubated for 48 hours—long enough for us to see his tube-free face for the first time in nine weeks, for friends and family to whisper birthday wishes in his ear, for me to hold him in the matching badge and birthday crown his nurses made, and for his lungs to show us they are so much stronger but not quite ready. The day was precious in the truest sense of the word: of greatest value, not to be wasted.

Our Tobias Rex Zhu is five! He survived, and he is healing, and he is a miracle through and through. This long and unexpected road after surgery has been heavy with pain and uncertainty, but there is also joy—deep, relentless joy in the gift of each day with our Toby boy, and in the presence of the God who made him and made us a family. Thanks be only and always to Him.

#tobythebravestwizard #theboywholived 😭⚡️💛

Merry Christmas from the room where miracles happen. God has come to dwell with us—Jesus, our Immanuel—and we are never alone. Even the darkness is not dark to Him; even intensive care units filled with medicines and machines can also be filled with joy and hope because of the baby who brought the kingdom of God to earth. Not a fleeting, blinders-on joy, but a bones-deep, lasting joy that stays after smiles and circumstances fade.

This is the miracle: to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, who once walked through suffering for us and now walks through suffering with us, whose righteousness and obedience gives us the right to be called sons and daughters of God too, forever adopted and fiercely loved by the One who made us for His glory and our good.

We give thanks for medicine and surgeons and nurses, and we rejoice in the gift of each small step toward the door of this beautiful, hard place. But these are not our peace. Jesus is our peace, our hope, our salvation, and our joy. Jesus is the why behind our red hats and Christmas socks and elf PJs cut to fit over an open chest and its brave, beating heart. And we’ll celebrate even here—especially here—because the gospel is true.

From our room of miracles to yours, Merry Christmas.🎄 “O come Thou Dayspring come and cheer / Our spirits by Thine advent here / Disperse the gloomy clouds of night / And death’s dark shadows put to flight. / Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.” #tobythebravestwizard

Friends, family, prayer warriors: Our boy came off ECMO last night, and we are filled with joy.

When I saw that wide open space to the left of his bed, I immediately started to cry. Thirty-eight days of ECMO. Thirty-eight days of the miracle machine taking up half his room, doing the work of his heart and lungs. Many of those days the dialysis machine was sandwiched in there, too, giving us about a 1-foot-wide sweet spot in which to stand and hold his hand. And now, freedom. Open space. Room to breathe. Selah.

The last 24 hours have been hope-filled yet delicate. Toby’s pressures are up and down, his lungs and kidneys are working hard, and his team is watching him closely and giving him every chance at success. We are standing by, eyes glued to his monitors, whispering prayers of “thank you, thank you, thank you” and “please, please, please let him stay off.” Toby has a long road ahead, and each step forward will require its own battle. We’ll be here in this hospital home quite a bit longer. But TODAY, today we celebrate this Christmas gift—a giant hurdle overcome, a mercy in the most tangible sense of the word.

Thank you, Lord, for this forward step. Thank you, Jesus, for your presence here. Thank you for your goodness—the same today, yesterday, and forever. Show Your glory. Heal our boy. Amen.


One of Toby’s prayer warriors—there are actual thousands of you and it humbles and holds us up daily—messaged me recently: “We are not running out of time. Time is not our God.” She’s right. I know with every stitch of my being that our loving, compassionate, and merciful God is sovereign over all of Toby’s days, hours, and minutes. And while that knowledge is an immense comfort, this waiting is becoming more painful by the second.

For me, for my family, for you, for the people you love, for all of us who have the clock and the odds stacked against us today, we’ll say it together: Time is not our God. The odds are not our God. Sickness, circumstances, confusion, and uncertainty do not get to receive our worship.

Our God is the one who formed the earth with His words, who knitted Toby’s body together with love and intention, who kept him safe when he was a baby abandoned in desperate hope, and who keeps that brave heart beating blood through vessels that once did not exist. God and Toby have put the odds to shame for years now, and we don’t have any reason to believe they will stop now.

We are hoping and praying and fighting with this bravehearted boy as long as the Lord in His mercy allows. And whatever comes next—today, tomorrow, forever—it does not change what we know to be true. God is here. God is good. Love and justice and mercy are His very nature. We will rest in Him even as we cry out in anguish to Him because He is the only one worthy of our worship.

Please keep praying with and for us, and please keep praying for our precious son and his weary body. We need forward progress and we need it now. Jesus, touch our boy. Jesus, heal his body. In your matchless name we ask boldly and with hope. Amen.


Today marks one month since surgery. So much of the road since has been one step forward, two steps back. The last two days have been step-back days, and I’m feeling tired, frustrated, and sad. But even today had bits of good news—tiny moments of relief—so we’re giving thanks for those tonight and resting up for the next leg of this marathon.

So many people have said this to us: It’s a marathon, not a sprint. And I get it. But the catch is we have no clue what mile we’re on. Are we halfway? A quarter in? No one seems to know. I’m game for running (metaphorically, definitely not literally), but I’d sure love to know there’s a finish line somewhere over this hill.

The truth is Toby’s case is full of unknowns. The surgery was complex—a 16-hour miracle—but his recovery is proving to be even more so. It’s like trying to work a puzzle when the pieces keep changing shape. Nothing stays together long enough for us to get a glimpse at the full picture. It’s infuriating. Because while we’re working furiously to make sense of the pieces, our brave boy is sick and hurting, his lungs struggling and his fingers and toes withering. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so helpless.

God is near. That’s a thing I know. And yes, I wonder every day why He isn’t touching Toby’s toes and thumb to make them pink again, or filling his lungs to make them breathe again, because I know He is here and I know He can. And maybe He is, but we can’t see it. So for now, in this puzzle we can’t solve, this has to be enough: God is here.

Jesus is with us. He sees Toby’s silent tears and my loud ones, and He grieves with us. Because He loves us. And while He can see the finish line—while He’s already waiting there for us—He is also present in this suffering here, today.

I desperately want Him to take it away. But until He does, we’ll pray and cry and wait and run and do our best to trust. Not because we’re promised our desired outcome, but because we know our God and He is good. Whatever lies on the other side of this hill and however long it takes to get there, He is good. Thank you, Jesus, for this brave warrior wizard of ours. Thank you, thank you, thank you. ♥️ #tobythebravestwizard

I’m sleeping at home tonight. It feels so unnatural to drive away from this place with our boy still inside. I know it’s necessary and I know he’s well cared for, but I can’t imagine it will ever feel right to live a normal life, even in bits and pieces, while he’s in there fighting for his.

The surgery was three weeks ago yesterday. I’ve been living in a “sleep room” on the PCICU floor. Day by day, I’ve learned to venture a little further from his side. At first I’d sit in the chair in the back of his room, then down in the cafe on the second floor, then at the restaurant across the street. Some days I walk to shops nearby, and last night a friend took me out for a hamburger. I’ve been to the @shereadstruth office twice, to my mom’s for two meals, and I’ve even gone home a couple nights when @meredithtoering was here to keep watch.

But staying at home—now at our new-to-us home—without him just feels wrong. It feels like us five months ago. And that’s not us anymore. We are no longer five; we are six. And one-sixth of us is missing. It’s too quiet here, even though it’s not quiet at all. I want us whole. I want him whole.

We’re going to make it through this—all six of us. But gosh, this road is a strange one to walk. It’s longer than we thought and we can’t yet see the end, but we have cheerleaders at every turn, holding signs and handing us water and telling us what we know is true: we aren’t alone. We are loved and remembered and prayed for. Toby is loved and remembered and prayed for. God is nearer than we can fathom. He not only sees the end of this road—He’s already there.

Wherever you lay down to sleep tonight, God is near. You are loved and remembered by the One who’s already been where you’re going and He will love you when you get there, too. “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.”
Psalm 139:7-10‬

It’s #GivingTuesday and there’s no organization closer to my heart this year than @morningstarfoundation. @meredithtoering and the beautiful ayis at Morning Star in Beijing loved our son Toby and fought for him long before we could. They do amazing work, every ounce of it with hope and love. If you’re looking for a place to give generously today, please consider visiting the link in @morningstarfoundation’s profile. #tobythebravestwizard and I thank you. (Also, this is Everett. He is hilarious & I love him.)

#Repost @morningstarfoundation
It's #GivingTuesday and we have a goal of $50,000 that we would love to reach so we can help even more families! 2018 has been a busy year with 20 babies traveling from #uganda to #india for #heartsurgery and 9 babies in China having received heart surgery!
Please click the link in our bio for more information and thank you to everyone who has partnered with us! None of this is possible without you!

“It’s a picture of God at work.” That’s what @raechelmyers said when she texted me this photo after visiting us on Friday in the PCICU, and she‘s right. This boy—our brave Toby Rex Zhu—is evidence of God’s faithfulness, not just to our family, but to His promise to overcome darkness with light.

This kid is irresistible. He’s like a little gospel lamppost, drawing people in to take a closer look at this uniquely fashioned, shockingly strong, fiercely joyful boy and the God who made Him. Somehow, even when sedated and half asleep, he is showing people who God is and teaching them how to hope. He’s showing me how to pray, pushing me to cry out to God with the boldest requests ever made. In, around, and through the life of Toby Williams, God is proving to be who He’s always been: good.

Tobias, your name means “Yahweh is good,” and your life echoes the declaration with every hard won breath, with every miraculous beat of your mended heart. You are an unspeakable gift. We’re not going anywhere, sweet boy. You are ours and we are yours, and we will stand in this place as long as it takes.

This waiting is the hardest we’ve ever done. We don’t do it perfectly. We’re tired and sad and scared, and I want a fast forward button so badly I could scream. But there is love, joy, and hope so thick in this painful waiting place because God is here. And He is Himself love, joy, and hope—yesterday, today, forever.

This is the God who made our boy. This is the God who makes his heart beat, who fills his lungs with breath. This is the God who does the same for all of us. In ICUs and orphanages and living rooms, He is Yahweh and He is good. All praise be to Him. “We wait for the Lord; he is our help and shield. For our hearts rejoice in him because we trust in his holy name. May your faithful love rest on us, Lord, for we put our hope in you.”
‭‭- Psalm 33:20-22‬


Surgery has begun. Our brave boy was sweet as ever, asking for his doctor by name and confirming the whereabouts of his big brothers who are home with Granmae this morning.

So many of you are praying and we are overwhelmed with God’s presence through you. Thank you for loving us and our Toby. I’ll update in stories as we can. (Friends & family, feel free to text.💛) #tobythebravestwizard

I’ve gone round and round in my heart and head about sharing this, and here’s what I know: 1) So many of you love our boy fiercely from afar and would do anything for that dimpled face. 2) God loves us and He hears us when we pray. So here goes... Our Toby is having open-heart surgery on Monday. Would you pray with us?

When we brought our son home nearly four months ago, we did so knowing full well that his heart may never be repaired. Toby’s condition is complicated, and there has been no clear path forward for healing. We went in for a heart cath only weeks after flying home, knowing what the doctors likely would, or wouldn’t, find. Only, that’s not what happened.

They found vessels— healthy ones we didn’t know were there. Vessels we prayed the Lord would create. They weren’t there, and then they were. Phrases like “doubtful anything else can be done” were replaced with “we’re very encouraged” and “favorable outcome.” In short, there’s a good chance they can repair our boy’s heart—not just partially, but fully. And on Monday, they’re going to try.

He’s everyone’s favorite patient. He borrows the nurse’s stethoscope to listen to her heart. He makes the surgeon laugh. He takes excellent care of the teddy bear the social worker gave him—the one she used to demonstrate how the oxygen mask works. He even sat up tall and still for the x-ray, even though he’d rather have his blood drawn than have a chest x-ray any day. He giggles—literally laughs—when the phlebotomist sticks his arm. He is living proof of the name @meredithtoering gave him: Tobias, “Yahweh is good.” Tobias Rex Zhu Williams, there is no kid like you. God made your heart—beautiful, intricate, complex, strong beyond all odds—and God will make it whole. All glory and thanks be to Him.

Friends, thank you for praying for Toby now like many of you have for years. You may never know how much your prayers have carried us, but I hope that one day I will get to look you in the eyes and tell you myself.

Nine years ago Thursday our house went from the controlled chaos of two adults and one toddler to the complete pandemonium of two sleep deprived adults, one toddler, and two wild baby boys. There hasn’t been a single quiet day in our home since. And while this introverted enneagram 9 mama loves her some quiet, I wouldn’t dare change a thing. Because nine years ago we were given two of the best surprises the world has ever known— these kind-hearted, fun-loving, scared-of-nothing humans who brighten every room they enter. I’m so proud they’re mine. 💛👶🏼👶🏼💛

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