Chosen for Your Glory – Jer & Kat

JER:

It all began back in 1968 when I thought it would be a good idea to get hit by a car, break my hip and femur so I could end up in the hospital and meet this cute nurse’s aide named Kathy Kirwan. I fell in love during those twenty-one days in the hospital. We got married and started a family. Our first-born was Steve and eight years later came Joshua. I wish that I could tell you that our marriage was perfect, but I can’t. We had our struggles and even a six-month break-up. Things were not going well and we knew we needed more. One day Kat and I decided to attend a little church in San Clemente, California. It was there that we both accepted Christ as our Savior.

Things got better as we attended church regularly and I cut way back on my drinking and cocaine use. For me it was a process that would take many years until I really got it and completely surrendered my life to God. I made a decision to stop living life selfishly and allow God to heal our family. From this point on we have never taken our relationship for granted. We realized how blessed we were to have and love each one another. This love gave us strength and helped us to endure through many seasons of life together. However…nothing could have prepared us for the diagnosis of stage four throat cancer.

KAT:

When Jer told me that the biopsy was positive for cancer, I felt like time stood still! This was my love, my husband, and the man I have always affectionately called “my boyfriend.” He had never been sick a day in his life. We both held each other and wept. That’s when we cried out to the One who is in control and asked for supernatural wisdom. At that time I wrote on our family message board several things that God had put on my heart:

Love and serve each other!

Keep our eyes fixed on Jesus – do not waver!

Jer is indestructible until God is done with him – no fear!

Committed to trust God no matter what!

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit!

We visually focused on these truths until it was all over.

Then began our cancer fast track. We walked through four surgeries, including a tonsillectomy, a porta-cath to deliver the chemo, a feeding tube in Jer’s abdomen and removal of the suspect lymph node in his neck. The doctor told him that cancer never starts in the lymph nodes. It always begins somewhere else. Right after Christmas we began a heavy schedule of intense radiation. The radiation required us to go in five times a week over a period of seven weeks and that was not included chemotherapy. The battle between fear and faith would overwhelm me at times. That’s when my dearest friends and the body of Christ would hold my arms up and those moments of fear would be replaced with the faith to carry on. I watched my husband, boyfriend, best friend quietly suffer so very bravely. I told Jer that Jesus and he were my heroes!

JER:

I received prayer from all over the world, thanks to the internet and good friends who put out the word. I learned to seek God’s presence continually as my faith turned to total trust in Him and His Word and He became my constant companion. One night a group of men came over to our house to pray for my upcoming PET scan, which would show if there were any cancer cells in my body. This is how that went.

My friend Jeff Cate called me and asked if some men could meet at our house and pray for me regarding the scan I would have the following Monday. Jeff and I had been talking at church about his victory over cancer. He recently was declared cancer free! As a result of Jeff’s miracle he had formed a men’s prayer group that go out and pray for people. I was honored to be on that list.

One by one, the men filled our living room. There were seven men and Gavin, Jeff’s young son. We had a sweet time of fellowship before I shared exactly what was going on with me and about the upcoming scan. It was a very comfortable time since I considered each man there a friend.

I sat in our comfy little Hawaiian rocker and they gathered around me, laid hands on me, anointed me with oil and began to pray.There were many requests made unto the Lord. The Holy Spirit was asked to show up, and He did not disappoint. Someone in the group prayed that the Lord would give me dreams and visions about the scan. I really don’t feel like I am a person that has spiritual-type dreams or visionsbut once, in fact, years ago I had a vision that turned out to be very practical. It was regarding a stoppage in our sewer pipe. The Lord showed me in a dream the exact location and what the stoppage was. The next day I was able to cut open the pipe and pulled out a four-foot tree root, patched it up and never had a sewer problem again!

Well, on the night the men came over to pray about my PET scanI had a dream. It was definitely different. I do dream quite frequently; however, they usually are either nonsensical or just kind of crazy, like, where did that come from? In this dream, I was sitting in a seat outside a type of arena. It had a wooden floor and was about the size of a hockey rink. Sprinkled on the floor was a substance like mixture of sand and sawdust, and people were seated around the arena. My seat was at one end and there was a man sitting next to me explaining what was going on. I never saw his face. Suddenly at the opposite end of the arena there appeared a machine, very similar to a Zamboni, except there was a small plow mounted on the front. There were flames about one foot high shooting up in front of the machine, and the driver would plow the sandy material and extinguish the flames as he worked his way to the end of the arena. The man seated next to me explained that this represented a cancer scan and if all the flames are extinguished when the machine reaches the end of the arena that person would be cancer free. This run was for someone else, but I didn’t know who. The machine got to the end of the arena, where a goal might be, and all the flames were gone and there was an announcement over the PA system, CANCER FREE! And everyone applauded with joy. Now it was time for my scan and the machine started out again at the other end of the arena and was working its way toward the goal. Flames were being extinguished along the way and it was looking good. When it got to my end of the arena the machine was having trouble keeping the flames under control. Just before the machine got to the goal, the driver jumped off and grabbed what looked like a half sheet of plywood. He began to scrape the sandy material onto the flames. He was working really fast and finally the last flame was extinguished. Suddenly there was complete silence and the lights went out. I didn’t know what to think, and then a very authoritative voice, not from the PA system, said very distinctly, “There is no cancer in this man.” I woke up and I knew God had answered that prayer. I couldn’t wait to tell Kat, but it was 4:00 in the morning.

Later that week, my doctor called with the results of the scan. He said, “No cancer seen.” It was just as God had spoken to me in my dream! CANCER FREE! Praise and honor and glory to the King!!

Kat and I were encouraged beyond any expectations that we may have had and truly felt so thankful for all the friends and church family that rallied beside us by bringing us meals, driving me to treatments, providing gas cards to help offset our expenses and most of all the many prayers that sustained us. We were blessed to become friends with a couple from our church, Donna and Dan. Donna went through the exact same treatment and supported us through our journey. I want to thank my wife, who is my girlfriend and best friend, for her unconditional love and support through this. I couldn’t imagine going through this without her.

God spoke to me continually during this time. One Sunday morning at church I asked Him, “Why did my friend Jeff Cate and I have to go through cancer? His answer was very clear. “Because I chose you for My Glory.” (John 9:1-3) 

I’m thankful I have been able to return to work. My girlfriend, Kat, and I enjoy riding our tandem bike, and I’m back surfing again. I recently received a second scan that came back clear. God has been incredibly faithful through it all, and as C.H. Spurgeon said, “I can thank my God for every storm that has wrecked me upon the Rock, Christ Jesus!”

After 41 years of marriage, Jer and Kat, are still Boyfriend and Girlfriend. Chosen for Your Glory is the first chapter in Testify the Book!

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