It was the Christmas of 1996, and Robin Kettering, mother of three and pastor’s wife, remembers her family packing up to head to the Florida Keys for a seaside holiday. She was excited to break in a new pair of sneakers on the trip, but began to notice an unusual numb sensation in her right foot. At first assuming the shoes were the cause, she overlooked the issue. However, more questions began to arise when the numbness in her foot continued to spread to her leg. She knew something was not right.
Within a year, Robin was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a disease that hones in on the brain and spinal cord. It creates a disconnect between the brain and the rest of the body, often causing fatigue, limited mobility, or loss of vision.
As a person of faith, how do you respond to the diagnosis of a chronic disease with no cure?
Aside from the fear and emotion that coincides with this kind of news, Robin reminisces, “I felt thankful in my heart because I knew God was going to take care of me. Life is hard, but God is good.” Her resolution to trust in God, even though depression and anger could have easily set in, is the theme that has reigned in her life, especially in the last twenty years.
Robin has always been determined, energetic, and passionate about ministry. As a young lady, she attended University of Valley Forge to follow God’s call to ministry. At Valley Forge, she met her husband, Jeff Kettering, and they moved into full-time pastoring after graduating from Bible school. Robin invested in the youth and children’s programs; however, her calling shifted as she became a mom to three energetic boys, Tim, Peter, and Michael. She also worked as a lifeguard, a school bus driver and taught swimming lessons.
In the last twenty years, her life has shifted externally but has remained steadfast at the foundation. She has learned to adapt to life in a wheelchair, and even embraces the conversations it initiates. When acquaintances pity her condition, she assures them, “God is taking care of me.”
She says that you should never underestimate the power of staying connected to people and to a support system. As a naturally independent person, she has learned dependency; depending on her husband and on her caregivers to help her with daily tasks has taught her the importance of humility and keeping a thankful, gentle spirit. She has learned to accept her limitations and does what she can with what she has been given.
As a recently ordained AG pastor, Robin uses her story to share with women’s groups and churches. She communicates with passion her prescription, her 4 M’s recipe for joy. The detours her life has taken, due to MS, have not always been easy, but she has still managed to keep a tight grip on joy.
To anyone who has a hard diagnosis, a loss, a devastating disappointment or a detour in life, Robin encourages you to remember that God still has a plan for you. And to remember that you did not do anything wrong to bring you to this place. She reiterates that if you trust in God, He will see you through. “Yes, life is hard, but yes, God is good.”
Robin’s 4 M’s to Joy
She is constantly asking for help from God, “Lord help me!”
Don’t be afraid to ask for help when
you are in need. (Romans 10:13)
She keeps a melody and song in her mind and heart always.
Robin’s Go-To Songs for Encouragement:
Just Be Held by Casting Crowns & Come Holy Spirit
She meditates on scripture daily to
keep her spirit revived and encouraged.
Robin’s Go-To Scriptures:
Philippians 4 & Romans 8:28
She makes up her mind to say yes to God.
When you don’t know what to pray, pray the Lord’s Prayer to keep your mind centered on God’s will.