My testimony. Here is it all in 3 parts: July 17, 2009.
I have to give you all a big THANK YOU for all the thoughts and prayers that have been given to our family over the past year. It is hard to believe that it has been a full year now since I watched Alan head to the truck with Tim to go have the most rotten, terrible headache he had ever experienced checked out. Little did I know how sinister it was and how it could have been the last time I would see him walk this great land that God has given us. The cell phone call from Heather at 5:20pm telling me that it was bad, he had bleeding on the brain and was heading to Pittsburgh via Stat Medivac was a call that’ll forever remain etched in my mind. Since then God has shown me that He is still in control of our lives if we learn to ask Him into our lives and give Him the reins.
You see, what I didn’t tell you back then was how God spoke to me in the early days of Alan going down. Guess I didn’t want to be labeled a “Jesus Freak” (you know, the guy who thinks he hears God speaking to him). I did just what it says not to do in Matthew 10:33 and now it is time to stop denying Him. It is time for me to stop having Him my pocket and start wearing Him more on my sleeve.
The day we found out that he had developed diabetic ketoacidosis, pneumonia, congestive heart failure, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and ballooned 60+ pounds in water weight was also the first day that I prayed the way I had read in “90 Minutes In Heaven” to pray for someone in a similar situation.
I had just hung up from calling Pastor Mark Meyers to have Alan put on his church prayer chain and being outside on my parents porch, in the calmness of the woods surrounding me, I bowed my head to do a head to toe prayer. I started praying for Alan’s hair, how us Seigworth’s have problems growing it on top anyway but that it was all right if it didn’t come back after it was shaved off. Next was for the brain and that through it all that it would come back to where it was before the bleed and he’d remember everything. His eyes and knowing that diabetics have eye trouble that comes with being a diabetic and with the lack of oxygen because of the ARDS the eyes are the first place oxygen leaves, please bring his eyesight back to the level it was. His nose and mouth, let his breath through them be like the first breath that Jesus and Lazarus both took after being risen from dead. His heart, let there be little to no damage from the heart attack and keep the blood circulating as diabetics have trouble with losing extremities due to lack of good circulation. His lungs, let those sweet breaths fill them, squeezing the fluid out. His liver, pancreas, spleen, stomach, intestines, bladder. Heck I even prayed for his appendix! I asked for no organ damage. I asked for the kidney’s to continue to function to get the fluids off of him. I continued to his legs, let them get good blood flow so that he doesn’t need to have amputation and they have the strength to carry him on. His arms, may they remain calm so he stops pulling the tubes out and have the strength to help him through the rehab he’ll have to go through. Please bring him fully back to us.
As I finished this prayer the Lord spoke to me saying “Do you want to see him sitting up in bed eating orange sherbet?” My head snapped up and I looked around wondering where I just heard that come from! I bowed my head again and said “What?” The Lord again said “Do you want to see him sitting up in bed eating orange sherbet?” Both times I was given a vision of me sitting on Alan’s left side, the head of his bed against the wall on my right; light on my back, cascading across the room and onto his him as he was sitting up in his hospital bed eating a small cup of orange sherbet. Of course my answer was “Ahh, yeah!”. “In my time” was His reply.
The only people I shared this with at that time was my Mom, Aunt Carol and a couple of close friends as I thought they were the only ones who would understand. This prayer would be my twice everyday prayer for the next couple of months. At meal times I would pray that the nourishment I would receive would not come to me but to Alan to keep his strength up to fight all that was being thrown at him.
That same night, after visiting a neighbor, I got back in my truck and I asked God to give me a sign that He was with Alan as I knew how the pneumonia had affected him back in January of 08. He delivered! Selah’s song “Rescue Me” came across Family Life Network’s 107.3 WDBA station. If you’ve ever heard it you’d understand how I saw it as a sovereign God putting to my ears His answer to my request.
As you now know there were many hills and valleys for the next 7+ weeks. We thought we were out of the woods on Aug 17th, his 45th birthday, only for him to be diagnosed with ARDS for the second time on the 18th.
Another thing I kept from you all was that the hospital asked Heather for the second time (the first time was the 18th of July) what course of action they were going to take and that that answer would have to come on the 26th. After ARDS the second time Alan became unresponsive to even painful stimuli, showed no brain wave activity and, as they told us, no one had ever survived 2 bouts of ARDS. Long term they told her was he would be brain dead, multiple organ failure, feeding tube, kidney dialysis for how ever long he would survive in a nursing home or short term in the hospital.
About 9am on the morning of the August 26th Mom called me at the shop and asked me if I knew what it was that Heather, Tim and Pastor Dan were going to the hospital to do. Even though I didn’t know the details, I knew by her voice tone that it was going to be the short term. Mom let me know that they had written his obituary the night before. I had written to you all to be in deep prayer that day; that Heather, Tim and Pastor Dan were on their way down and no matter what happened that God’s will would be done.
Well, when they arrived they were told that Alan was alert, awake and had been sitting in a chair for the last 2 hours!
Well as we all know now God’s will was done just as I had prayed for it. His hair did come back (along with his funky mustache thingy). His mind is as it was before, recalling things with clarity. His eyesight is as it was with no effects from the lack of O2. His throat/vocal cords, they didn’t understand how he didn’t drown after the ventilator was taken out due to the “hole” from scar tissue left in the cords or how he even was talking since the cords were considered paralyzed (I know how!). His heart shows no damage. His lungs, that should have been damaged terribly from the 2 bouts of ARDS, are clear. No organ damage. The kidney’s, they were considered damaged and he would be looking at dialysis 3 times a week, are functioning fine.
The biggest thing the God showed me was on the first night that I got to see Alan after he made it to the DuBois hospital for rehab. Remember how He asked me if I wanted to see Alan sitting up in bed eating orange sherbet? After suiting up outside his room (due to MRSA & Staff infections) I walked in and sat back against the sunlit window ledge on Alan’s left side, the head of his bed against the wall on my right. Heather was at his bedside opposite me and was chatting with him as he was lying flat on the bed. She asked him about eating something and then “it” happened. Alan hit the button on the bed to set himself up and then I watched as he popped the top on an orange jello pack! It wasn’t orange sherbet, it was as close as it could be. I knew then just how awesome of a God I serve and how faithful He is to us.
James 1:2-7 states “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord” and as you’ll find out I did receive.
I gave my life to Christ Nov 3, 2006 at a Casting Crowns concert in Wilkes-Barre, PA. The band took time during the concert to minister to the crowd and asked those who wanted to accept Christ into their life to recite the sinner’s prayer with them. I’m thankful I did as it gave me almost two years to grow in my Christian walk before I would face two trials, tests of my faith.
It was on September 14, 2009 that another trial, another test of faith would come into our life. It was on that day that my beautiful wife Cindy would go to her Dr appointment without me because she expected to hear that she has another kidney stone that needed to be surgically removed only to be diagnosed with cancer of the left kidney. I did the only thing I knew to do when I got her text on my phone. That was to pray, then take it to the body of Christ, you all; my prayer warriors, my Sheltering Trees because if I can’t bring my worries, my concerns to the church, the body of Christ, whom then could I bring it to. It had been only 2 weeks before that we had dropped off our oldest, Alyssa (who’d turned 19 on the 12th), at college (in Wyoming!). My little girls’ Mom and best friend was now in what could be the fight for her life and she was so far away. Cindy told our other 3 kids, Jeff (15), Collin(11) & Angelle(8) when she got home. The boys handled it the way boys do and of course Angelle cried. Her appointment with Dr Paddon, her urologist, was to be Monday the 21st but Dr Paddon had told Cindy that if she saw any changes in her urine that she needed to get to the emergency room. Last Tuesday, the 15th, Cindy awoke me at 2:30am because she was spotting blood and was fearful that the tumor in her kidney was going array. We headed to the hospital, got her checked in and we each fell back asleep around 5:30am or at least she closed her eyes making me believe she was sleeping. As I started to come back awake around 6:30 or so I went into my prayer mode for her, the same as I had done for Alan; to let this be nothing to be fearful of, to be with us as we go through this. At the end of my head-to-toe prayer for her I got a dream style vision of weeds being sprayed with weed killer and these weeds were all dying instantly but for this one beautiful flower, a flower like I had never seen before. And I wanted that flower. OH how I wanted that flower! It was so vibrant, so full of life. It was a single bright, glowing flower that had (my Mopar buds will know & love this) slender Plum-crazy purple colored petals with a Hemi-orange ovule (that’s the center seed part). I wondered briefly what it meant but then God gave it to me – “Lon, the color purple is the color for February birthstone Amethyst (Cindy’s birthday is Feb 4) and the orange color is the color for November birthstone Topaz ( my birthday is Nov 12). That is Me showing you; Purple and Orange, together as one, shining bright, standing strong”. Okay, I can handle that! I called and told the only person who wouldn’t think I’m off my rocker again, Mom. I would have called more of you but if I called you at that time of the morning you would have wondered what kind of weed I was on! (There I go again, not sharing something He has given me). Mom said if that is what we grab a hold of during this so be it. Of course Cindy has come through great and has for now been given a clean bill of health. It was caught so early that it was hard for them to classify it a cancer (stage 1) and that vision of the purple flower has been with me. I wondered if I would ever see the flower and since I’m not the best artist I didn’t attempt to draw it as I didn’t think I would do its’ beauty justice.
Then last Sunday, the 20th, I took the kids down to Pastor Dick & Maryne Eddinger’s for the start of the Mt Joy UMC TGIF youth group. They had a treasure hunt for the kids to do before the kick-off cookout. I was going to just leave the kids and go to W. PA Men of Faith choir practice but He had better plans for me. For the treasure hunt it was the boys vs the girls and at the start the boys took off running. In under 10 minutes the boys were back but didn’t have all the correct items. Jeff said ”pppfffttt” he was good with what they had but Collin went off to correct one of the wrong items. He came back only to find out that what he had was wrong again. In relentless pursuit he went off again to where Maryne told him the area to look for it. He came back with it and I couldn’t believe my eyes – a purple & orange flower, the one from my vision! God, in all His sovereignty, placed into Maryne’s mind the flower I so wanted to see, to touch and had her place it on the treasure hunt list. How AWESOME is that! For it to be delivered by one of my children was icing on the cake. I asked Maryne if she knew what kind of flower it was (half expecting some fancy name I was going to have a problem spelling) and she said it was just a weed. UGH, a weed! (Purple Aster really.) Why would you show me a ordinary weed? It wasn’t until this past Thursday that, during my morning devotion time, it came together – we all are just ordinary weeds, seeds blown by the wind, planted where ever He puts us, to grow and to do the best with what He’s given us. “Lon, you are that weed, blown by Me to bloom where are, to take what I’ve given you and tell others of My grace, love, mercy and faithfulness”. People have asked why this all has happened to my family. This is why, me standing right here at this pulpit, bringing you the good news of Jesus Christ is why.
Just as Collin went in relentless pursuit of the flower for the treasure hunt we need to know that God treasures us, loves us so much that He wants us to be in relentless pursuit of Him. As we run relentlessly to Him, confessing our sins, they will die off instantly just like the weeds in my vision and what we will see will be shining bright & and standing tall just like that Plum-crazy purple & Hemi-orange flower.
Last week Pastor Dan’s sermon message was “Examine me o Lord and try me”. I knew then that I was to share this. I changed it though to “Examine me o Lord and USE me!”
As it says in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10, I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
You may be wondering why I choose this verse. I guess it may have been for a little shock & awe but I truly believe it may be so that someone else here may feel comfortable asking for help. Because if there one place in this world that you ought to be able to tell someone that you need help it’s the body of Christ, right?
I don’t know if you remember me leaving something on this very alter on Nov. 9, 2006. Anyone remember seeing me leave it behind? Probably not for Christ came and took it. What I left was, like Paul, a thorn in my flesh. A message from Satan telling me “if you step out I’ll show them who you really are”. Every time I’ve decided to do something for the Lord, Satan would twist that thorn to remind me it was still there. It’s time for me to stop allowing Satan to do this, from using this thorn to torment me. As it says in Acts 26 starting part way through 17 and continuing through 18 –
“I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”
You see my thorn was an addiction, a nearly 30yr addiction that started when I saw something at a friends house when I was about 8, something that could of cost me my marriage and my family. Like most addicts I didn’t want to admit to what it was that griped me. It is something that effects 1 out of every 2 men and 1 in 6 women.
My addiction, my thorn in the flesh, was pornography.
Satan had a good hold on me until my darkest day as a fire-fighter. This day had me first-on-scene, chief-in-charge of a fire that took the lives of two dear young neighbor boys. While walking around the scene during clean-up I came across some “adult” magazines laying on the ground, having been blown out of the house by the pressure of our water hoses. It was while standing there looking down at them, in a moment of total emptiness, that the Lord started to show me that He was the strength I needed to break this addiction. He spoke into my heart that day saying “Is this what is going to happen to you, great tragedy while seeking your own selfish desires?”
It was then that I knew I needed to change my ways, needed to learn more of this Lord who spoke into my heart. I started to go to church more regularly with my family. I started to look for a different form of music to listen to and stumbling across WDBA (now 107.3 WCOH) Christian music started to fill my life.
Getting rid of this thorn allowed me to grow in Christ and gave me nearly 2 years to develop my own personal-everyday-walking around relationship with Jesus. I needed this as I would have 2 tests of my faith, tests that I have already shared with you.
If I still had this thorn in my flesh never would I have read the book “90 Minutes in Heaven” that showed me how to be specific in my prayers for Alan & Cindy during those tests of my faith, never would I have read “Glory Revealed” to know how to see God in everyday things, never would I have heard God speak to me, never would I have come to know the great church family that I have in Mt Joy UMC, I would of never joined the all-men’s choir W. PA Men of Faith that has me singing praises to our Lord, never would I have seen the miracle He performed in Alan & Cindy, never would I be stepping out of my comfort zone to tell you this. I want you to know that if you are struggling with your own addiction, your own burden, that you can leave them on this very same alter as I did and He will carry them for you. He has for me.