Some are Dying

While our politicians and our citizens are fussing, people are dying.  Some are dying fleeing for their lives. Some are dying fighting for their lives.  Some are dying fighting for their faith.  Some are dying out of fear.  Some are dying because of hate.  Some are dying.  Some are dying… while we are quarreling.

I find myself wondering if we’ve become a stiff necked people, unwilling to be pliable and listen to one another with respect, unwilling to recognize that we can be more effective if we listen to one another, unwilling to realize there are at least two sides to every argument and that very likely both can be useful in the solution.

All of this vitriol is not healing, it isn’t helping us find solutions, it isn’t even effective in expressing opinions.  People are dying.  And we are… quarreling?

God’s heart must be broken.  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers.

The Things I Cannot Change…

Advent CandlesGod, grant me the Serenity
to accept the things I cannot change.
The courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;
Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is;
Not as I would have it;

Trusting that You will make all things right
if I surrender to Your will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with You forever in the next.
AMEN

–Reinhold Niebuhr

I love written prayers.  They often provide me words when I can’t find them for myself.  But I will also admit, sometimes they make me cringe inwardly because they make me face my truths.  You know, the things you don’t like to own about yourself?  The things that mean you aren’t perfect.  Before you know it, that one line just pops out of your mouth and you think to yourself, “Did I just ask God to help me with that?”  And then you wonder if you can take it back?  Not you?  Maybe I’m just projecting.  🙂

The first time I read the Serenity Prayer, the line “to accept the things I cannot change” was out of my mouth before I knew it was happening.  And honestly, I was annoyed and a little undone.  Why would anyone write a prayer asking God to help us accept the things we cannot change?  Seriously?  I don’t even like thinking about the things I cannot change.  Do you?  And accept them?  ARGH!  The thought makes me shudder.

As a parent, we’ve spent most of our time loving, nurturing, teaching, molding and shaping our children.  Praying over them, trusting the Lord will guide them, protect them, fill them, use them.  Playing with them so they know how to interact with others.  Training them to live safely in our society.  Helping them find ways to grow, explore, mature and stretch themselves to find purpose and satisfaction in life.

And then… there are the things you, I mean, I cannot change.  Sometimes as children become adults they make decisions that don’t go well.  Sometimes they face heartaches we cannot change.  Sometimes they have burdens that we cannot lift.  Sometimes they have hurts and illnesses that our kisses will not heal.  Sometimes they stray far from the things we’ve taught them.  Sometimes there is a brokenness in their hearts that only God can change.  “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things ‘I’ cannot change.”

The prayer does not say that God cannot change it.  So herein lies another challenge for us, I mean, me.  We have to accept there are things we cannot change, but our God can.  That means we have to let God have it, place those “unchangeable” things on the altar of God and allow Him to work His wondrous love, healing and restoration.  His time, his way, Him… all Him.

Am I the only one who lays things on the altar of God only to pick them back up and try to fix them again and again… and again?  Why is this so hard??  Is it because we don’t trust God enough?  We trust ourselves too much, because we think we are able?  Do we believe we just have to be busy?  Do we struggle to quiet our hearts and spirits instead of allowing God’s peace to quiet us?

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:6-7

God, grant me the Serenity
to accept the things I cannot change…

Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is;
Not as I would have it;

Trusting that You will make all things right
if I surrender to Your will…

May we all be like the boy’s Father in the Bible who cried out, “I do believe! Help my unbelief.” Mark 9:24

Love, Cindy and John

Faith and Story, Story and Faith

yosemite 3

My parents tell me the first place they took each of us as babies was church.  Faith has played a central role in my story ever since.  Thanks to my parents, from the beginning of my life faith has been a part of my story.

I was recently asked to share my “story.”  But with the understanding that many who would read it were “of different backgrounds” and would not want to hear “faith”, only story.  They wanted to know how I coped with Maffucci Syndrome and chondrosarcoma without hearing that faith played a role.

I can’t separate the two.  I honestly don’t want to. I understand that not everyone is a person of faith, and that all still have a story.  However, without faith, my story would be totally different.  Without story, the peaks and the valleys , the gifts and the graces, my faith would look very different.  In the valleys of my life, I’ve leaned heavily on my faith.  It’s where I drew strength and hope.  During the peaks of life, I’ve celebrated the goodness of the Almighty God, who didn’t desert me at my darkest moments.  I cannot imagine my life without either.

Separating the two for me would be like trying to remove the oxygen from water.  Please don’t ask me to try.  My story, my faith, they are inseparable.  They make me who I am.

I am a child of God.  God has forgiven and redeemed.  When I have been empty, God has filled and refilled.  God’s been with me when I’ve struggled and when I’ve failed and when I’ve succeeded and achieved.  God has never left me in sickness or in health.  On the darkest days, God carries me and gives courage for tomorrow.  On the most beautiful days, God celebrates with us.  On the days we blow it and let sin and weakness have our hearts, God does not abandon us.  When we try to remove him from our story, He stays anyway.  He knows our griefs and burdens, our heartaches and sadness.  He’s ready to hold us again.  He’s ready and willing to be a part of our story again.  He waits for us.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Deuteronomy 31:6

Be of good courage my friends.  You are loved by a faithful God.

Love, Cindy

 

You Know What They Say About the Apple…

DerrickAlexdrinking“It don’t fall far from the tree.”

When Derrick decided to join the Navy Reserves, my husband excitedly told me, “He’s going to do great!  This is a good choice for Derrick.”  I was not thrilled.  What in the world did he mean??  “He’s going to do great because he’s just like his Mother.”  I sarcastically thought  sweetly responded, “What do you mean!?”  “He’s a rule follower, just like his Mother.  This is a great fit for him.”

A few years ago I was visiting Derrick when he scratched his head.  Just a simple head scratch.  But I felt like I was in the room with my Grandpa Herb, who died when Derrick was about 1 1/2.  How could that be?  It was exactly how Grandpa held his hand, his fingers, everything.  When our grandson began walking and playing, he would squat down to play with something.  I felt like I was looking at Derrick, who played exactly the same way at his age.  “There’s a dinosaur in there Mimi!”  That one phrase took me back nearly 30 years and I was listening to Derrick talk about things that were only real in his imagination.  My grandson reflects his Daddy in many ways.

Bethany does not like surprises.  Every year she begs and pleads for us to tell her exactly what she is getting for Christmas and her birthday.  She frets over her gifts for weeks months, years.  (She’s made a list for me up through 2016 to make sure there are no surprises.)  My husband complains claims that I’m difficult to buy a gift for because I don’t like surprises and am hyper-vigilant when I think he might be getting me something.  I tend to check the bank account more often.  When I see a debit to Canon, is it my fault that I know I’m getting a camera?  My Dad obviously figured this out years ago and about a week before Christmas would take me for “a ride” and then “weedle” out of me what his Christmas gifts were because he just couldn’t wait for the surprise.  It drove my Mom crazy!  Do you see a trend here?

Some characteristics that we share are fun and some are more serious.  Some are genetic, some are learned behaviors, but all are based on relationship.  There is a connection.

The older I get the more often I hear my Mom or my Dad when I begin talking.  I see characteristics and physical traits in each of my siblings that remind me of my parents and grandparents.  We reflect our family to the world.  We are very different individuals and we certainly have our own identity, but in many ways, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

When thinking of this, I found myself considering our relationship with God… how do we reflect his love?  His character?  His traits?  When we face a challenge do we respond in a way God would have us respond?  If we face a moral dilemma, do we consider what the Bible says?  When we are wrongly accused or our character is attacked are we able to love as God loves us?  In the best of times do we reflect God’s grace and mercy to those who may be going through the worst of times?  In the worst of times do we reflect strength and behave honorably?  When the world around us is crumbling are we faithful in the small and large things?  Do we remember that even as he faced death on the cross, Jesus took the time to teach, to heal, to forgive, to restore, to love?  Jesus was always focused on valuing and loving others rather than himself.  Do we even try to go there?

On several occasions I’ve heard folks speak about my parents being good, strong, hard working, generous, and loving, but they had never met them.  These folks knew something about my parents by knowing their children and grandchildren.

When folks meet you do they know something about our heavenly Father?  Do they know that we’ve been redeemed, that we are in relationship with God?  When other’s see or hear you, do they see or hear our Father?  I was struck by this text today, “For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” 2 Cor 2:15 NAS

Is our relationship with God so obvious that everyone around us recognize it?

“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Col 3:17

You are in my prayers.  I love you,

Cindy

A Mile in Another’s Shoes?

ShoesThere are days that are just hard.  No two ways about it.  Some make choices that you can’t change or understand.  Children break their parents hearts.  Friends and family will fail you, maybe even betray you.  Sometimes your heart is broken.  Illnesses raise their ugly heads and we find ourselves wondering, how did that happen?  How can it be?  You will make decisions that others don’t understand or approve of, maybe even you wonder, what was I thinking?

I have shoes that I love, I’ve worn them well.  They are molded in such a way it seems they were tailor made to fit my feet.  They are a comfortable, safe bet.  Some shoes I’ve walked in seem to belong on the feet of another.  They blister, rub off calluses, pinch, squeeze and flat out hurt.

I’ve been known to kick my shoes off and walk around barefoot or in stocking feet to avoid the pain that the shoes I have on are causing me.  How is that like our lives?  Sometimes our journey seems so foreign, it would seem we’re really walking in another persons shoes… How could it be ours?  Nothing fits.  We’re squeezed, pinched, blistered, raw, bleeding.  We long for comfort and peace.  We long to kick off this ill fitting life and get our old life back.

Several people we love are facing very difficult journeys.  They continue to look at their journey and feel certain this cannot even be their life.  How can it be?  Just yesterday, life looked completely different.  They are broken.  The pain is excruciating.  They are fearful that as they continue to walk this path that this journey could toughen them, instead of tenderizing them.  It could leave them with a hardened, calloused heart instead of one that is sensitive to others around them.

Most of us have had times in our lives that made us wonder if we were walking through another’s life.  After all, how could it be our journey?  It doesn’t look anything like what we expected.  We’ve loved and been rejected.  We’ve worked hard and not been rewarded.  We’ve done our best, but are still put in the position of needing to do more… even harder things.  Making tougher decisions, being broken over and over again.

Why are some softened and made tender through difficult journeys and others become hardened?

Recently I put a couple things in small mouthed jars using a funnel.  First it was peppercorns into our pepper mill.  Peppercorns are round, but rough and have hard edges.  They seemed to get hung up on one another and get jammed in the narrowest part of the funnel, requiring me to push and jostle them in order to get them through the narrow space.  I also put a very thick liquid in a jar.  It moved through the funnel, but slowly, requiring me to only pour a small amount at a time.  Later I put a thin liquid in a another container, it flowed easily and swirled smoothly through the funnel.  It ended up overflowing the container and I had a mess to clean up.  It occurs to me that we may be very much like this.  Sometimes our journeys are rough and require us to work, smoothing out our rough edges in order to come out on the other side.  But, we come out changed, smoother, less rigid.  The thick liquid moved slowly, but ultimately was unchanged.  The thinner liquid made a mess, was unchanged and required me to do more work to clean up the mess I’d made.  While those peppercorns didn’t want to go through that narrow funnel and it certainly seemed foreign for them, they were shaped by it.  I think I want to be like the peppercorn.  If I’m going to go through a difficult journey, I want God to be there, nudging me along through the narrowest places, knocking off some of my rough edges, so that in the end I come out smoother and changed.

Embracing the journey where our rough edges get smoothed and we are reshaped, physically, emotionally or spiritually is something we tend to resist.  That journey may be foreign to us, as if it can’t possibly be our life we are living.  It’s as if we really are walking a mile in another’s shoes.  But what do we learn from this?  Compassion?  Grace?  How to forgive and be forgiven?  Humbleness?  Strength?  The power of prayer?  Faithfulness?  How to lean on other’s or how to be strong when we are needed?  About the constancy of God?  Are we shaped and refined through our experience?  Do we have a clearer understanding of the strength it takes for other’s to survive?  Do we come out better on the other side of this journey?

The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.” Jeremiah 18:1-4

Lord, your word tells us that you will shape us and teach us to be more like you.  As we journey through our lives may we say…

You are the Potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me, this is what I pray.  Change my heart oh God, make it ever true.  Change my heart of God, may I be like you.  (Eddie Espinoza)

I love you,

Cindy

Falling Doesn’t Mean Failing

Bethany RaceOlympics… LOVE THEM!  We DVR them so we can watch every possible minute.  Knowing the athletes story makes us anticipate the event even more.  Curling, skiing, skating, skeleton, bobsled and oh my goodness… hockey.  My eyes ache from lack of sleep and when I’m in bed, I dream of being an athlete, specifically a runner.  I even see the running clothes I wear, think about how I should be breathing and imagine how I will plant my feet.  True.  🙂

We always cheer for the folks representing the USA, but we want to see all of the athletes be successful.  Sometimes we are so captured by the story of a certain athlete, we get teary eyed as they prepare to compete.  If they cry, you may as well forget it, you will find two blubbering people on our couch.  If they fall, heaven help us.  If they get back up…

The athletes fall.  A. Lot.  They fall as they practice, as they warm up and sometimes when they compete.  It takes courage to fall in front of the world.  It takes more courage to get up and try again.  I’m often amazed at the tenacity of the athletes who get back up after a fall and finish their race or program, pushing through their frustration, sadness and pain.  And those who suffer injury seem to always want to come back at least one more time to complete what they began.  The finishing seems more important than the falling.  I don’t mean to imply they aren’t disappointed or frustrated that they fell or missed a gate, but they still want to finish. The finishing and not the falling seems to define them.

Have you ever fallen?  Physically? Spiritually?  Personally?  Emotionally?  Financially?  Professionally?  Maybe you feel like you have bottomed out, that you simply cannot fall further?  Maybe you’ve felt so humiliated that just holding your head up seems impossible.  Maybe the world sees you as if… Dare I say it?  As if you’ve failed.

The world is wrong.  The only way to fail, is to not get back up, to not try to find a way to move forward.  For an athlete it may be getting back up and finishing the race.  For you or me it might be finding a new direction for our lives, or simply capitalizing on our strengths.  Either way, it’s making the decision to do something, to find a new path or complete the one you are on.  Often it won’t look like you expected.  You might be surprised… maybe delighted, maybe even disappointed.  But the failure is not in the falling or even in disappointment, it’s in the not trying.

Trying to maintain perspective in my life is a constant challenge.  Regularly I’m confronted with things that quickly feel like the challenge is just too big or worse yet, that failure looms.  But the reality is, it’s not failure at all.  Why?  Because I still try to fight for what is right, I try to find the best solutions to difficult problems.  There are sleepless nights wrestling with difficult things, praying and searching for the right answers.  We’ve been knocked down, confused and fallen more in the last two weeks than I could have imagined.  And yet, no matter how others see it, we are pulling ourselves back on our feet and focused on the finish line.   We’re searching for new answers, new solutions and strength to make difficult decisions.  We may not always make the right decision, we may have to go back and as my Mom says, “Lick that calf all over again.”  Falling doesn’t mean failure, it may be an opportunity to search for a new way to get to the finish line.  We don’t always know what that will look like.  But that’s where our faith comes in, trusting that God has a plan and God will see it through.

“It may be that the LORD will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today.”  2 Samuel 16:12

So many of you are wrestling with difficult things.  There are sick children, broken relationships, complicated adoptions, financial troubles, health challenges, pain, devastating news, the death of someone precious, grief, depression… Obstacles, obstacles, obstacles.  There are many others who have gone before us who have fought the fight and won the battle, even if the finish line for them was the gates of heaven.  Let us continue fighting the good fight, working our way to the finish line.

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”  Hebrews 12:1

You are amazing and we’re cheering you on!  We love you!!

Cindy and John

“This is what the past is for! Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.”
Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mom, I’m Scared…

Cindy Bethany SLC 3Written Nov 12, 2013 8:03am by Cindy McMurry

“I’m scared that your cancer will come back.  I’m scared that you will die.  Mom, even if you do live 30 more years, I won’t be 50 yet.  Who will take care of me?  Who will make sure that I’m going to be safe?  Who will fight for me?  …Mom, I lay in bed and worry about this at night.”

Cancer has threatened our girl’s already vulnerable security.  We have walked through this fiery furnace for years and years.  For her, the biggest, ugliest kind of scary, even worse than death …is being alone or abandoned.  My healing and recovery are going very well, but her fear is part of our journey with cancer too.  She needs assurance she’s not going to be left alone.  I expect we all crave that assurance, if truth be told.

I endeavor to respond to her with honesty, but I also feel the need to temper my words with as much grace as possible.  There are many people who love and cherish her, but none more than God.  I reminded her that my latest scans were clear and I would continue taking good care of myself and follow up with my physicians.  We have no promises that the cancer will not recur, but as believers, we have the assurance that we won’t go through any fiery trial alone.

John and I have been studying the book of Daniel.  God has amazing timing!   Chapter 3 of Daniel details the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego.  He and I had been chewing on the scripture for days.

In case you don’t know the story, I’ll give you a quick synopsis. King Nebuchnezzar erected a golden statue of himself and demanded that all the people bow anytime music was played.  If they didn’t, he would put them to death.  The three men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego refused.  The king got bent out of shape, but gave them another chance.  Again, they refused saying ” If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king.  But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”  The king was outraged by the audacity and ordered that the furnace be heated 7x it’s normal heat.  He had them bound and thrown into the furnace.  The guards who threw them in were killed by the intense heat.  The king was astonished when he looked into the furnace to see that they did not burn, they were walking around and there was a fourth man in the fire with them.  The king called them out.  All the witnesses saw that their hair was not singed, the ropes they had been bound with were burned off, but their clothes didn’t even smell of smoke. Nebuchadnezzar declares, “…there is no other God who can deliver like this.”

If you are going through a fiery furnace yourself let me tell you, you are not alone.  Just as Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego experienced, you will not go through the fire by yourself.  Beth Moore teaches that Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego had confidence that God was “able” to deliver them “from the fire, through the fire or by the fire.”  We hope to escape “from” the fire altogether.  But if we have to be in the fire we certainly want to be delivered “through” the fire.  If not that, then Lord let us be delivered “by” the fire.  Whichever way, let us keep our confidence that the “God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us” from the fiery furnace we face.

Bethany has struggled for years to feel safe in attachments to the people who love her the most.  It has been her lifelong fear that she will be alone.  The health crisis our family has faced has stoked the fire of fear of being left alone in a world that she is unable to negotiate without considerable help.  While we can’t fix this for her, we can encourage her that she is loved and cherished by others, that we have set a plan in motion for her if something should happens and that God will not abandon her.

So many folks are experiencing fiery trials today.  I can’t help but think of the folks in the Philippines.  There are those who are serving our country on foreign soil and are away from their families.  There are those who don’t know where their next meal will come from or where they will sleep  tonight.  There are those suffering from depression, addiction, isolation, fear and anxiety.  Some are watching their families collapse or face unexpected challenges.  There are those who are facing down life threatening illnesses.  Some are grieving the loss of security, health, family, income, dreams, jobs, relationships or home.

Let me remind you “…there is no other God who can deliver like this.”

Please pray for one another, be gentle with one another.  Remember, you never know what fiery trial someone else is facing.

We love you,
Cindy and John

Holy Ground

Written Oct 23, 2013 1:42pm by Cindy McMurry

It’s been a while since I’ve written, but not because I haven’t been thinking or busy.  Therapy is going well.  I’m starting to go from assisted to unassisted movement and lots of core work.  It’s important that I have enough core strength to manage balance and falls because I can’t really “catch” myself with my arms if I fall.  I’m also driving… just a little for now.  It’s a lot of work re-learning how to manage the steering wheel, but we are moving forward.  I’m so grateful!

John and I have been listening to a course on “Books that Changed History.”  One of the books the lecturer chose was “Exodus.”  I’ve been chewing on it every since.  I think sometimes we like to look for the easy answers to our challenges and wish the journey wasn’t so difficult.  Many in our family and several friends are facing painful and challenging journeys.  I’d like to share with you what has been an encouragement to me the last few weeks.

Moses was going about his business, doing his job when he saw the burning bush.  The Lord told him to remove his shoes, he was standing on Holy Ground.  And then the Lord proceeded to explain to Moses that he’d heard the cries of the Israelites and he was going to deliver them out of bondage.  And the journey began…

When thinking about this, it struck me that God could have just done it.  There did not need to be a process to the deliverance from bondage.  So, Why was there?

The journey was long.  It was complicated.  It was difficult.  It was frustrating.  It was painful.  It was draining.  It was work.  Even though the Israelites were desperate for deliverance, they also were uncomfortable going through the process.  Sound familiar?

I’m coming to realize that when we face difficulties or in this case, bondage; the journey, the deliverance shapes us.  It has purpose.  We move from one’s who are stuck in one place and hopefully arrive at a place where we become better, fuller, more gracious, with a clearer understanding, a more compassionate people.  If we allow it, this journey may be a holy journey, that leads to the promised land.

When I heard the news that I had a recurrence of cancer there was a part of me that just wanted to stand still and do nothing.  I mean N.O.T.H.I.N.G.  I was frightened.  Information seemed to coming at the speed of a bullet and yet I was moving in slow motion.  I did not want to change if change meant losing mobility… or even worse.  I had cancer and I was terrified.  If I did have it removed, I might lose my arm and mobility.  If I didn’t have it removed, I would eventually lose my life.  Fear became bondage for me… even if only briefly.  Then we had a burning bush moment, our friend Jerry spoke at church and we believed we could push onward.

In the past few weeks we’ve had many family and friends have unexpected journeys put before them.  Some of them are still in shock and are struggling to place one foot in front of the other.  Others are laboring and pushing against that which could consume them, fighting  against the pressure to give in.  Some are pressing forward through depression, some through grief, some through sickness, some through loss of relationships, some through loss of income, some through addiction, some through loss of identity, some through fear, some through demons that have tormented them for years.  But, for all of us, it can be a holy journey that shapes us and refines our character and our spirit.

It seems to me that part of the journey is also the decision about our attitude.  Will we allow bitterness, anger, regret and misery to rule us or will we choose to plow through those things and be further refined?  We also have a tendency to get frustrated with those who are wrestling with things that are destructive.  But as we would want for ourselves, they need us to extend to them grace and understanding.

In the past week, we had an event that took our breath away.  It completely caught us off guard and frankly broke the hearts of many.  But through that we learned a few things.  First: There but by the grace of God go I.  Second:  The journey ahead will be difficult, but taking the first step forward propels you toward deliverance and a holy journey it will be.  Third:  Pain, Grief, Loss, Bondage of any kind, is not exclusive to the person at the center of it.  Your family and friends will have the opportunity to be shaped by the journey as well.

When we reflect on our journey from the past few months, we’re in awe of how the Lord has used this time to shape us.  We pray for each of you as you walk your journey on holy ground.

We love you,
Cindy and John

The Best Surprise!

Derrick and AlexWritten Oct 3, 2013 9:18am by Cindy McMurry

Thank God for his mercy…

My son, Derrick arrived back on US soil about 15 days ago.  I had a lot of folks ask if he’d called or if I had seen him.  I kept responding that he needed to reunite with his wife and son and I didn’t expect him to call or come see me anytime soon.  I was enjoying the pictures they posted and just thankful they were with one another. They needed time together.

However, after about 5 days, I began thinking that he really ought to call.  I texted his wife and asked her to have him call when they had time.  Silence.  My flesh got in the way and I started to let my feelings get hurt.

John took me to NC to meet my sister, and brother in laws.  He acted a bit grumpy on the trip.  My exhaustion was getting the better of me and I thought he was annoyed that he had to help me so much.  In my head I was coming up with all kinds of ideas that made no sense… yada yada yada.  Does this ever happen to you?  My flesh was getting in the way, but I was trying hard to keep my frustration under control.  Thankfully, I did not stick my foot in my mouth.

When we got to NC, we met up with Betsy and Rich at a little Italian Restaurant.  John disappeared.  I was beginning to think he was sick or something.  We placed our order and just about that time, Rich and Betsy looked up in shock, I turned around, and there was my son, Tanya and Alex.  I still get teary eyed just thinking about it.

Tanya and John had worked out all of the details and made arrangements to surprise me.  It was so sweet and touched my heart.

I’m overwhelmed by the love of God and the love and support from our family.  This has not been an easy time in our lives and seeing the kids was just what I needed.  We had a lovely time together.  Betsy did a lot of the cooking (Thank you Bets) and Derrick spent time showing us pictures and telling us about his time in Afghanistan (he climbed a mountain that was like 10,000 ft folks, the pictures are amazing!).  We all enjoyed watching Alex play and bonding with him, he’s a lot of fun.  The sunsets were stunning and we were richly blessed just being together.

Betsy, John and I have all gotten a virus since the weekend that’s taken the wind out of our sails, but I’m still relishing the trip and the time we all had together.  Thanks to John, Tanya, Bill, Betsy and Rich for making this such a great time.  Especially thanks to Derrick not just for surprising me and supporting me through this time, but also for serving our country with honor and dignity.  Welcome home Bud, we are so grateful to have you back.

“When all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed their faces to the ground on the pavement, and worshiped and praised the Lord saying; ‘For He is good, for His mercy endures forever.’” 2 Chronicles 7:3

Please remember friends and family who face illness, heartbreak and difficult times, those serving in government, those serving in the military, our wounded veterans and those who are unemployed.  Many are facing difficult times and need to know that God is near.  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We love you,
Cindy and John

“Wrestling with Alligators”

Written Sep 24, 2013 2:11pm by Cindy McMurry

“Lord, I believe.  Help my unbelief.” Mark 9:24b

My husband uses the term “Wrestling with Alligators”.  I always had some sense of what it meant, but these days it’s taken on a whole new meaning.  Have you noticed that with one significant challenge, there are many others that will  hitch a ride?  Some are easier to work through than others… but challenging they are.

This recurrence of chondrosarcoma has given us many opportunities to shout out to God, “Lord We believe!”  But help us when we our faith grows weak.  There are spiritual, emotional and physical battles.  I remember a book from years ago “Man on Three Dimensions” which addressed the body, spirit and soul.   This book helped me to see that wrestling in one area, affects all areas.  Overcoming a physical challenge requires the body, the spirit and the soul.  A spiritual or emotional battle also effects all three.  I don’t believe we can separate or divide that which God has made to work together.  But try we will… Lord help our unbelief.

Some days it feels like we’ve got it all together… Easy Peasy, no problem.  But then there are days when the alligators seem to be getting the best of us… and we cry out… “Lord, Help my unbelief.”

Our girl Bethany has had many struggles lately.  She’d been doing better, but me having another chondrosarcoma seems to have set her back a bit.  Trying to help her sort out her pain and be grounded is difficult in itself.  Add to that fear, loneliness and frustration and she becomes unhinged.  Wrestling this alligator never ends, for her or for us.  Sometimes it’s more difficult than others… Lord, help our unbelief.

Dressing, reaching, cooking, laundry… all are some big ole alligators.  I will wrestle them… yes I will.  I’ve learned that if I stand on my tip toes and brace my right arm with my left hand I can reach a bit.  I can dress myself, but wrestling into clothes has aggravated a hemangioma on my left elbow so I’m trying to only dress myself in a crunch and relying on John otherwise.  (He’s been wonderful, by the way.)   Thank the Lord for frozen meals… you may not call it cooking, but right now, it’s what I can do.  This is a huge departure from our normal… but we will survive it.  I can do laundry, yes I can.  Well, sort of.  I can wash and dry… it’s the folding and hanging that requires creativity, twisting, turning and using my tip toes.  Thank God for clothing that does not require ironing and for strong legs and feet.

We’ve hired a housekeeper.  Believe it or not, hiring someone to clean my home was very difficult.  Don’t misunderstand, she’s doing fine work.  It’s just hard to ask for help.  I’ve always adapted and managed in the past.  My parents are “Can Do” people and are not afraid to tackle jobs that seem bigger than them.  They taught us to be self sufficient, and to be “Can Do” people too.  Now, there are times I find myself saying “I can’t” and I don’t like it.  I feel less than whole… Less than able… Just less.   “Lord, Help my unbelief.”

In my adult life I’ve never had to be as physically dependent on others as I am now.  Trust me, it’s not easy.  When I had cancer before, I still had my right arm to cover everything I needed to do.  There was very little I didn’t work out someway.  Changing a ceiling light was one of the few things I could not do… now it’s a different story.  But how can that be?  It was just a couple inches of bone and cartilage, not much in the big scheme of things.  But that little bone being removed has added a lot of alligators to my daily routine.  Will it change, I sure hope so.  In the mean time, I’m committed to learning whatever it is that God will teach me through this.  And today it would seem that I need to learn to trust that God’s not too small, that God is able… that in my weakness God can strengthen my faith.  While “I believe”… it’s a great comfort to know that when I grow weak, God is willing to hear me when I say “Lord, help my unbelief.”

Many of you are wrestling alligators today too.  Some of you are facing health crisis, some are facing personal, financial, relationship and/or spiritual challenges.  God hears your cry, he knows.  He’s willing to hear your word… “Help my unbelief.”

We are lifting you up to God.  May the peace of God reign in your life.

We love you,
Cindy and John