Sunday, February 10, 2013

Are You Ready?

Paula Saxin greeted us this morning and Darlene ushered us into worship on this, Women’s Ministry Sunday. Brad, who just returned from a Covenant conference in San Diego, stood and shared a few announcements.

1. Wednesday is Ash Wednesday and will begin with a meal at 6:15 p.m. and service at 7:00 p.m.
2. Today is the last day of the assessment. Please complete it if you have not yet filled it out.
3. Women interested in being part of the Secret Sister sharing should contact Joanne.
4. There would be a pot luck meal after the service today, all invited.

Several women of the church led us in worship followed by the offering. The children were invited to the front for a puppet show, a Ruth Anne and Pearl production starring Fluffy and Scruffy. Message: people give things to show their love, and God showed His love for us by giving His Son.

Ruth Anne remained at the front and read Matthew 25:14-30 and Genesis 45:4-9.

Gwen led our prayer time as we brought a variety of needs to the Lord. Carol then joined Gwen to sing a duet. His Name Is Wonderful that spilled into a melodious medley that included Something About That Name and Blessed Be the Name.

Brooke then introduced our guest speaker, Lora Kesselhon.

Are You Ready?

Kesselhon's cheerful disposition and manner gave no indication whatsoever of the experiences she underwent and was about to relate to us, a totally gripping re-telling of her incredible journey.

Lora began by sharing how she bought her husband a wedding gift when they were married in the late 90's. It was a picture of a boat titled Through The Storm. Subtitled, “…you do not walk alone…” Then she began to share with us the biggest storm of her life up to this point.

In 2008 she was driving to the store with her daughter and things got weird. It felt like everything was moving really slowly. She pulled over and walked around the store till she felt o.k. A little later her hand started moving on its own, and then her head. After the initial incident she was led to believe it was blood sugar related. But then she later learned it was seizures and after a trip to the Mayo Clinic MRI she discovered she had three abnormalities on her brain.

Because it was a weekend, she had to wait till Monday for the next step but on Sunday evening her whole body had a seizure and she was taken to the emergency room. Eventually she suffered partial paralysis on her left side and more tests were done.

It turned out she had CNS, a rare form of cancer that attacked the central nervous system. Because she was pregnant with her third daughter, there was nothing they had to offer as a solution. The various departments of the clinic were at odds as regard what to do.

What it boiled down to was this: she and her husband had to decide whether to save the child or the mother. It was a horrible place to be, but it was made clear to her that the child would die if they did chemo and she would die if they did not. She already had two daughters who she could not imagine leaving without a mom, but her unborn child also had a right to the life ahead of her. The chemo required was the kind that is used for first term abortions.

Lora and her husband, as they discussed the decision, both recognized that God’s hand had been at work for a year in advance, helping prepare all the physical needs and take care of the responsibilities they were forced to let go of for a season. In the end they never blamed God. Doctors were crying as they did their best to help, and the Kesselhon's were comforting them. Miraculously, despite the onslaught she was at peace.

She thought of Joseph and how he recognized God’s hand in his circumstances for a higher purpose. Lora said she and Ryan, her husband, cried out to God and God heard. The very next doctor came with an unusual experimental alternative course of treatment.

After her daughter Ruth was born at 2 pounds, 12 ounces they did seven rounds of chemo followed by a stem cell transplant of her own stem cells, “which I didn’t even know was possible.” In the end she was cancer free.

Kesselhon circled back to her original theme. "Are you ready? The more you know Jesus, the more you’ll have faith to trust Him. It doesn’t take a storm to start the process. When storms come you can come out of the storm blessed instead of bitter."


What has God entrusted you with? For those of you in the storm now, you are weak but know He is strong.

Wherever you are in relation to the storms of life… Be faithful in small things and He will entrust you with greater things, and then you will always be ready.

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