karen's story

A woman once said to me, “The minute you have a child, it is like you grow a foot taller.” We become stronger, bolder and will do just about anything for our children.

(L-R)Karen, Carol and Ashley at Women of Faith.
While Christmas time is the most joyous time of the year for many, it is the hardest time for others. Reflection calls to those who are not with you anymore and dwelling rings in on all the hardships, tragedies and challenges you may face.

As mothers, even in the hardest of times, we still need to stand tall. We need to give forth an example to our children that even when we are weak and feel that we can’t move forward, we know that faith, hope and love will carry us through.

While she is not my mother, Karen Alexander of Crescent City, California, impacted me and the mother I want to be with her story.

She exemplifies a true mother’s strength and woman of faith through tragedy and then a miracle. She and her husband, Steve, have been married 39-years and have three children and five grandchildren.
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In January of 2010, my husband and I left on a three-week trip visiting family throughout the east and southern states. During a conference in New York, Jim Cymbala from the Brooklyn Tabernacle spoke about the power of prayer and then asked God to do something special in our lives and ministries. 
As Steve and I prayed at the altar, I experienced the headache that could kill you.

We continued on with our planned trip until February 6 when it became more evident that something serious was wrong with me. My husband and relatives decided to take me to the hospital. 

After a CAT scan, the doctors told my family that I had suffered two brain hemorrhages and my pupil had already blown out. They continued to tell them that people with such a condition usually don’t live to talk about it and then proceeded to say that most likely, “She’s not going to make it.” 

My doctor then asked for prayer as he had a very narrow window to save my life.

Our children arrived the next day from around the country and surrounded my bed along with my husband.  The ICU waiting room filled up like a prayer meeting.

After the initial surgery, I had to have a second surgery the next night for swelling.  My family was then told that doctors found a blood clot and tumor. The only memory of my time in ICU is the vision of our three children surrounding me with love.

With that love and by the power of prayer, I would survive to fight the bigger fight of cancer. 

Within two-weeks, I was in rehab relearning what I use to do without thought.  Doctors expected brain damage and vision loss. I was confused, restless and had a hard time understanding what had happened to me.

As I continued in therapy and people continued keeping me in their prayers, my pathology report came back negative for cancer.  The word spread through the hospital staff and all of the people praying for me of the amazing miracle of my progress.
 I went from having to learn how to walk again to preparing a lunch for my therapists on my graduation day within two-weeks. 

On a Sunday morning church service for the patients in therapy, I Peter 4:12-13 was shared: “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you, but rejoice to the extent that you partake in Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” 

That remains the desire of my heart. God’s plan is always good and I know that.  
Karen’s incredible hope and joy that has shined through even in the hardest of times should be a reminder to everyone – especially us mothers. Because she instilled those values of faith, hope and love into her children, when she was weak – they were her strength.

While Karen still faces daily physical and mental challenges, she continues to improve and maintains fairly normal lifestyle.

Give a real gift this Christmas by praying for someone, showing love to someone or giving someone hope. Those little gifts could lead to a miracle.

Merry Christmas. 

This was published at www.nrtoday.com

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