June 8, 2015

Mary Kuehn – Be Strong and of Good Courage

My earliest memories of Greendale, Wisconsin include walking two blocks to church with my brother every Sunday morning. We started attending Our Shepherd Lutheran Church when we were very young and continued through our teenage years. From the time I was 7, I played the organ for our Sunday School and eventually accompanied the adult choir on a huge pipe organ in the main service. It was during these years that I learned the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah and the ark, Moses, and the birth and resurrection of Jesus. I’ve always known that Jesus died for my sins and that if I believed in Him, I would go to Heaven.

The church experience also included attending catechism and I remember receiving Joshua 1:9 as my life verse.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage;
do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with
you wherever you go.”

I recited this verse to myself every time I had to go down into our basement. The room was half finished and very dark. To access the washer and dryer, I had to walk into the black space and flail my arm around until I could find the string that would turn on the light. This experience and others seared this verse into my heart. I learned to trust God, to be strong, and to acknowledge His presence.

When I was nineteen, my mom packed us up and moved us to the Tuckaway Country Club in Milwaukee. Life there was faster and church was left behind. I found a great job and began experiencing life as a young adult. In February of 1978 my company sent me to Los Angeles on a business trip, to appraise a subsidiary of Fluor Corporation and its 31 subsidiaries. The warm weather was a luxurious escape from the brutal winter we were experiencing. I commented to a colleague that I wanted to move to Los Angeles and he suggested I check out San Diego first. So I rebooked my return trip to include a 10-hour layover in San Diego.

My first adventure off the plane was the Harbor Boat Excursion followed by a drive to Mission Valley to find an apartment at the suggestion of the Harbor Boat Excursion guide. Then I returned in July to interview for jobs and decided I’d make the move whether I found one or not. I eventually landed a career position with San Diego Gas & Electric and spent the remainder of my working days in their finance department. I was managing their cash, long-term capital and counterparty credit exposure for commodities derivative trading. It was there that I also met my husband, Bill, whom I have been married to since 1985.

I was able to retire in 1999, at the age of forty-five. My husband was certain that I would get bored, but instead, life got even busier. So he retired as well and we moved to Murrieta in 2000.
It was about 7 years later that a friend invited me to attend Cornerstone. I was already a Christian, but it seemed like a good idea to get back to church. I enjoyed Pastor Ron’s teaching and began to grow spiritually once again. After a time, I decided to give back because I had been so blessed, and so I began ushering once a month. Once a month turned into every week when I was in town; and every week turned into 4 out of the 5 weekend services! I found that I thoroughly enjoyed meeting people, welcoming them in, and helping them find a seat.

In May of 2012, I was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gerhrig’s disease) which has caused my nerves and muscles to steadily decline. Through much research, many doctors and clinics, I have gained an additional diagnosis of Lyme’s Disease. But through God’s divine blessings I am now working with one of the top 20 doctors in the country whose office is only 70 minutes away, in San Clemente. Together we are trying new treatments and I am hopeful that we are on the cutting edge of discovery— stopping the progression of the Lyme’s Disease and repairing some of the damage done by ALS. I’ve had seven stem cell treatments to date. I believe God is using me right now to move medical research forward and I am trusting in Jeremiah 29:11.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to
prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a

If it doesn’t work, I will continue to find comfort in Romans 8:28.

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who
love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

What gets me up in the morning? I love day-trading stocks and I need to be alert and ready to go at my computer when the market opens at 6:30 am. In the last 31 months, God has used my former career experience to help me recoup 65% of my out-of-pocket medical expenses. I am so grateful for the gifts He has given me. Praise the Lord!

How do I face the disease and its pain? I keep reciting Joshua 1:9, the verse God planted in my young heart so many years ago:

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage;
do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with
you wherever you go.”

What will I do in the meantime? I will continue to wage war on both diseases and you will find me serving as an usher at the door whenever I am able.

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  • CJ

    “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
    ― Ralph Waldo Emerson . Thank you so much for your testimony, it has truly touched my heart. It shows that you have and are continuing to make a difference. I have seen you at the door, looking elegant, with a spark in your eyes. Your smile was a comfort during a difficult time. I thank you for welcoming in to the service, and into a place of peace. I am sure that you have touched so many more lives than mine, and I thank you for that. For being Jesus to those in a time of need.