Pastor Stephen's Blog
Monday, May 23 2022
Hello my friends. I hope this message finds you well.
Update as of Wednesday, May 25, 2022:
I made a pastoral care visit with Mrs. Jina in the latter part of the morning at her home. We had a really good visit. I was able to go over some good grief materials we hand out and use in our Grief Support Group, and we closed our pleasant meeting with prayer. As I left and headed towards church, I received a call from Jerry stating that something is wrong with mom, and could I go check with her. I turned around, made it to her home, and came in to find her in severe respiratory distress. She was breathing nearly 40 times a minute and her lungs were filled with fluid, and it all happened suddenly within 30 minutes me leaving from our last visit. Acadian came and rushed her the hospital. She was admitted to ICU where she is stable but not out of the woods by any means. This is devastating to the family, so please be praying hard for Mrs. Jina McKernan and the entire McKernan family too.
Together, these two brothers Jerry and Scott make up
MCKERNAN MINISTRIES - Feats of Strength to Further His Kingdom
Check out their YouTube page at https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=mckernan+ministries
Sunday, May 22 2022
When we lose a loved one or friend, it always leaves us feeling one of two ways. We either feel like they have been taken from us or stripped away, or we may feel like we have been left behind – like they have gone away and left us. Either way, we feel hurt, we feel alone and we feel like we have a hole in our heart in the area that they once filled.
By March 1st, 2021, the death toll from the COVID-19 virus had risen to over five hundred thousand in the United States. Since February of 2020, I have conversed with many patients who had the virus that we were treating as well as a countless number of others who were family or friends of those same patients. Many times, I was the advocate for the patient, and I would serve as the go-between or spokesperson keeping the family updated with their need to know. In return, I would pass the patient the information and any belongings the family wanted the patient to have. For the last two years, I have worked with a wide range of medical professionals dealing with the virus, and we discussed the related symptoms, the various treatments and even the cases of those who died while under care. All of this information has proven to be so valuable and something you cannot put a price tag on. Now, I can use what I have learned to help so many others out there who have questions, who are unsettled and those who are struggling to obtain closure if they have experienced loss.
Understanding this virus from a variety of perspectives has been a true blessing and gift from God. It is not something I asked for, or even wanted to be honest, but it was something I was given. First, being a frontline nurse and caregiver has truly been an honor. This has been a call on my life since I was a child, and no matter what the sickness, being a caregiver and working to make any situation better has been my life’s mission—one patient and one family at a time. With that said, I now have the unique perspective of being a COVID-19 survivor too, having been a patient who had a severe case of the virus, with two emergent ambulance transports from home to the hospital, having two intensive care unit admissions and having had experienced the various breathing devices used to help those in respiratory failure— the vapotherm, the BiPAP, and even being intubated and put on the ventilator for more than a week. Lastly, I have been leading a grief support group and constantly ministering and providing pastoral care to the many families in our church and surrounding communities that have lost a loved one or friend. Serving in the roles of a nurse, pastor and patient in dealing with COVID-19, has given me a full multidimensional perspective, and I give glory to God for it all.
It has been a year and a half since my fierce battle with this demonic virus. My life is a testimony of what God can do with the worst of trials. Since wrestling with COVID, I am spiritually stronger now than I have ever been before. I trust God more, and I can usually see Him clearly in most all situations. If you have suffered loss, whether it was related to COVID-19 or any other disease or accident, I know you may feel it is dark, lonely and cold, but in due time, I assure you God will shine His light on your situation and call you out of this fog. Your grief is perfectly normal. It is a process, and it will be a journey. God will teach you some valuable lessons on your journey if you stay close to Him, and you allow Him to lead the way. If you are a family member or friend who is grieving right now due to the death of someone you loved, and you have been left behind on this side of heaven separated from them, my heart truly goes out to you. My prayers are with you, and I hope and pray my book has helped you.
Psalm 139:13-17 says, God ordains our days, and He has written them in His book before one of them came to be. I am so blessed now that I fully understand and constantly remember this verse. We are still here because the Lord is not finished with us yet. He will let us know when He is ready for either one of us. In the meantime, I challenge you get up each morning thanking the Lord for another day. Get dressed, be productive, and make things happen in Jesus’s name. Any guilt, shame or remorse you may have lingering, release it all to your heavenly Father and ask that He remove these burdens from you. Use your anxieties, your feelings of helplessness, and your deep pain caused by your loved one’s absence; bind it all together in prayer and ask the Lord to use it as fuel for the Holy Spirit’s fire inside of your life, so you will have the strength you need to tell your story and help others. I know it is hard, and I know it hurts. The Lord is right there with you with His arms opened wide. He wants you to come to Him. He is one prayer away. Talk to Him—He knows everything about you. Read His Word—it is full of faith, hope and love. Be comforted by the Scriptures—they were written for you. Find a good Bible-based Church to attend. Find a faith-based grief group in your area to connect with. All of these things will help ensure your successful journey, and God’s amazing work in your life.
Be Blessed My Friends.