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.

–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,


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,


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









It’s Complicated. (But)

Do you dislike that statement as much as I do?  Somehow to me “It’s Bethany ChristmasComplicated” says “It’s too hard or It’s too challenging or maybe It’s just too much.”  And then there is the statement “It is what it is.”  UGH!  I’ve had a lot of discussions about that statement too… Not everyone agrees with me, but what I hear is, “You just have to accept it.  It can’t be changed.”  Something rises up within me when I hear this and it fires me up.  I start thinking… “For I assure you: If you have faith the size of a mustard seed…”

My heart is pricked when I allow myself to think I have to accept things as they are.  As my Mom would say, “It rubs me the wrong way.”  I don’t mean that we should deny truth.  I just don’t believe we have to be defeated by it.  I’m beginning to think that is one of the fine lines between faith and unbelief.  Accepting that circumstances are difficult is “truth.”  Believing God can enter those circumstances and turn them for good is faith.  “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  Heb 11:1

We thought we had arrived at a place where we were going to be able to secure our girl a placement and start her on a life of independence.  The treatment team had worked months planning.  Then last week we got some news that rocked our world. She’s not eligible.  By the time Friday arrived and we had our last meeting for the week, it felt like we were spinning out of control, eyes crossed and glossed over and struggling to focus.  It’s how I imagine figure skaters feel when they do those dizzying spins at the end of their program.

The truth is:  Our girl is difficult to help.  She’s “complex.”  Her IQ is not quite low enough to make her appropriate for some services and not nearly high enough for others.  Her ability to safely function prevents her from living on her own and also from being appropriate for community services.   Her age makes her too old for some programs and too young for others.  Some programs only work with males and some with females.  Some accept insurance, some don’t.  Some will take a person in parental custody, some won’t.  She’ll be 18 in a few months and we have a lot to figure out.

One recommendation is to place her in state custody right before she turns 18, which would insure she would have an appropriate placement.  Well, maybe.  The state gets to choose what programs they are going to fund for which child.  This is called “The Devil’s Deal.”  Relinquishing custody of your child in order to get necessary medical services (you hope… it’s not a guarantee).  You would not believe how many people have to do this.  It’s wrong and we need to take a stand against it!  Her treatment team believes this will cause her to regress and it will be detrimental.

There is something called EPSDT funding, which is available through the federal government.  Children who have been through the foster/adopt system may have a better chance to access this funding, but if Medicaid bulks, it can require a federal lawsuit.  But it doesn’t require relinquishment of custody.  This we believe, is our best option.  Confused yet?

Then there is guardianship.  The waters even get muddier here.  Hopefully an attorney can help us sort this out.  We’ve been assured that we want to keep her in the “Child System” until she’s 21.  The “Adult  System” is “too dangerous and she’s too fragile.”  We believe we’ve gotten her extended in the child system until she’s 21 by virtue of the seriousness of her challenges.  But we’re far from being done.

So you see, “It IS Complicated.”  But.  I believe.  Only God can make a difference.  Only God can show us the way.  God has her best interests in mind.  He loves our girl and he loves us.  We believe God has “purpose” for each of us and that includes our very “complex and complicated” child.

Let me tell you about her strengths.  She’s hysterically funny.  She’s bold and courageous.  She is kind to the elderly.  She wants to make good choices and tries harder than anyone I know to “be good”.  She has amazingly good manners and is almost always the first in the room to say “Thank you.  Please.  Excuse me.”  She can be kind.  She is witty.  She is insightful.  She challenges you to be better.  She is our precious child and a precious child of God.  She loves and is loved.  Purpose… you see what I mean?

It is indeed complicated.  But we will not be defeated.  She is worth the fight.  Her life matters.  With God all things are possible and that includes doing what is right for her.

We are not the only one’s who face challenging things.  We know many other parents who are fighting for their special needs children, many facing “The Devil’s Deal.”  So many of our friends are struggling in their marriages, with personal finances, with illnesses, with addiction, with depression, with heartbreak.  Please be gentle with others.  And remember, it may be complicated, but you don’t have to be defeated.

Much love,

Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You.”  Jeremiah 32:17 NASB



Hand Mimi, Hand

Cindy AlexWritten Jan 3, 2014 12:02pm by Cindy McMurry

“Hand Mimi, Hand.”

Last year I had no idea how precious those words would be. I had no idea how much love and joy I would experience by one little hand grabbing onto mine and in his words asking to go marching along, singing a song… any ole song will do if you’re holding hands.  Did you know you could march to “Away in a Manger”?  Trust me, you can.  “Six Little Ducks,” “The BIBLE,” “Deep and Wide,” “Running Over,” “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem”… they will all work just fine as long as you are holding the hand of a two year old.

Grasping hands in prayer
Building puzzles
Holding a prized toy
Wrapping gifts
Cooking meals
Tearing into gifts
Changing diapers
Playing cards
Playing on the piano
Holding a Book
Patting children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews
Washing dishes
Combing Hair
Petting our pets
Yes, even paying bills
Today I was able to unload the dishwasher.  If you could have seen John’s expression… it was priceless.  I was quick to point out that he shouldn’t get used to it.  😉

Each day is a gift.  Each new thing I’m able to accomplish is a beautiful thing.  We recognize how blessed and fortunate we are.  My physicians and physical therapists are pleased at how my mobility continues to increase.  Fatigue sets in very quickly and most jobs take much more time than what it would have in the past.  But, I’m doing them.  Strength is slow in rebuilding.  But, you did read that right, it IS rebuilding.

Physical therapy has been marvelous.  Yes, it hurts.  It’s time consuming (2-3 hours a day).  It’s exhausting.  It’s demanding.  We see increases and then declines, but I rebound quickly.  Pushing through the discomfort and pain is worth it.  Already my mobility far exceeds what was expected.  We are so grateful!!

Just imagine, only five months ago we were not sure I would have an arm.  Today, I unloaded the dishwasher.  A few weeks ago, I wrapped all of our Christmas gifts.  Two weeks ago I held and played with both of our grandchildren.  It’s been a precious season in our lives.  Many of the things that we didn’t know if I would ever do again… just the normal things… I’m doing.  And that my friends is a gift from the Lord.

James 1:17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

Our idea of “good gift” has changed.  It’s not so much about the big things or dollars falling from heaven.  It’s minutes, precious minutes.  It’s holding the hands of sweet children.  It’s playing.  It’s laughter.  It’s hearing the Word.  It’s grasping hands with loved one’s in prayer.  It whispering I love you’s.  It’s quiet moments… time with your friends… reading a good book…  Thank you Lord for loving us so by blessing us with so many gifts.

In the last few days we’ve heard from two more friends who are in the push and pull of cancer.  One is having surgery tomorrow and needs your prayers.  Several friends are pushing through chemo and radiation.  Some are waiting on reports and test results.  Others are battling through addiction and depression.  Many are very, very frightened.  Some are angry.  I pray that each of you would be find a quiet place and find joy in the precious minutes in your life.

Remember, you may not know what challenges another person may be facing.  Be gentle with one another.

We love you,
Cindy and John

ps. I forgot to tell you, I’m sorry for being so slow about writing.  I am setting up a blog.  It’s been a bit time consuming.  Eventually I plan to move the posts from here to it.  When established it will be called “It’s Another Day of Grace.” Stay tuned.  xoxo

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