When life tumbles in

March 6, 2012


I was expecting February to be a typical month in the life of the Moderator of the General Assembly: visits to Riverside and Northern Waters Presbyteries, meetings in Louisville of the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly and the General Assembly Mission Council, and the NEXT Church conference in Dallas.

But then life intervened.

Turns out, the fatigue I’d been battling for weeks was caused by internal bleeding. Surgery uncovered the culprit: a mass in my abdomen. It was removed, tested, and found to be malignant.

I’m home from the hospital now, recuperating from the surgery. A chemotherapy plan will be put into place within the next couple of weeks. I have no idea, really, what the next months will bring, but it’s my hope to be able to resume most of my moderatorial duties by sometime in April, and to be in Pittsburgh to bring down the opening gavel for the 220th General Assembly in June.

I cannot put into words how much your prayers and expressions of support have meant over these past couple of weeks. I have literally felt the embrace of the entire Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and I am humbled and grateful to be within that embrace. It reminds me that, despite our disagreements and differences, “when life tumbles in” we come together to help one another. That surely will prove true as we come together to help all those whose lives were shattered by the recent terrible tornados in Indiana and Kentucky, as well as other life-changing events.

So much of what you have shared with me has given me strength for the journey that lies ahead.  And, for me, that journey is not about battling cancer. It’s about living the life that God intends for me to live. It means serving faithfully as Moderator through the end of my term. It means doing what I can to help us as a church discern how we can do mission and ministry effectively into the 21st century.

What you have shown me these past few weeks is that I am truly blessed. Thank you.

  1. As Parish Nurse, I've often seen that people never expect ill health but it comes to all of us sooner or later and changes our lives in ways we could never have anticipated. Hopefully, one of the ways is to feel the love of God expressed through the prayers and caring of those around us. We, at Bradley Hills, are mindful of your leadership qualities and are keeping you in our prayers as you continue your treatment

    by Joanie Friend

    April 2, 2012

  2. Although your travels have taken you far from your usual Sunday pew at First Presbyterian Arlington, you have been and continually are in our prayers. God be with you in this detour in your life.

    by Georgine Neureiter

    March 27, 2012

  3. Cindy, We are grateful to God for your faithful service to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). At a time such as this, your focus on living the life that God intends for you to live is an inspiration for us all. We continue to hold you in our hearts and prayers.

    by Danny Murphy

    March 23, 2012

  4. Cindy, We just recently learned of this interruption in your life and want you to know you are in our prayers. The good news is that you know personally the Great Physician and can rest in His care. You are greatly loved both here and in the heavens.

    by Marg & Pete Peterson

    March 21, 2012

  5. In God's embrace.

    by Laurie Wirth Palmer

    March 10, 2012

  6. Blessings, prayers and peace from the hills of West Virginia. May God hold you in the palm of God's hand now and in the weeks to come.

    by Reuel L Howe Jr.

    March 9, 2012

  7. Our prayers have been with you and will continue to be with you!

    by Forrest Palmer

    March 9, 2012

  8. Just as we are all living witnesses to the resurrrection, so too are we all living witnesses to the power of prayer, and Cindy you have a great cloud of witnesses surrounding you and lifting you up all over this country and, I suspect, around the world!

    by Gordon Zerkel

    March 9, 2012

  9. Many prayers from this time zone, Cindy.

    by Jennifer Burns Lewis

    March 9, 2012

  10. Madame Moderator, you are a witness to all of us. May God carry you to Pittsburgh - and beyond. We love you.

    by Susan Andrews

    March 8, 2012

  11. Cynthia - We are praying for you in Memphis. We were so grateful that you were able to be with us at Idlewild. I enjoyed talking with you about watching you become Moderator at GA. You are surrounded by our prayers and our appreciation for the way you have tended to us since GA. Know you do not walk this road alone. You have thousands of good people speaking to God on your behalf. We certainly know we are simply doing for you what you have been doing for us these past 18 months. Be well, take courage and know we are with you in Spirit!

    by Rev. Carla M eisterman

    March 7, 2012

  12. Wonderful reflection Cindy that sometimes life takes us along an unexpected road. We are praying for a full recovery for you. From your friends at White Lick Presbyterian Church in Avon, IN.

    by Ginny Sheets

    March 7, 2012

  13. We certainly did miss your visit to the Presbytery of Northern Waters but continue to hold you up in prayer as you go through treatment. I am a four year survivor of breast cancer so know of some of the things you are going through. I found the best way was to just keep going.

    by Betty Starkey

    March 7, 2012

  14. Cindy, we will continue to surround you with prayer in the days ahead. Thank you for your ongoing faithful witness to God's grace and power.

    by Jill Duffield

    March 7, 2012

  15. Once you turned over moderating a presbytery meeting to go and sit with a Mom in a waiting room as her daughter had cancer related surgery. Your choice made all the difference to that family. May you find that while we may not all be able to sit with you in your waiting room, please know in our hearts we are there, praying for your swift recovery and growing health.

    by Barbara Chalfant

    March 7, 2012

  16. Nothing can separate us from the love of God and because He first loved us we can reach out and love one another. The only way we can love you across the miles is to be on our knees. We are all pulling for you in prayer..I hope you feel the power of it coming from Kiski Pby, Plumville Presbyterian

    by Michele Faith Gaskill

    March 7, 2012

  17. Cindy, I am so glad to hear that you can feel the embrace of the Church, and of the God whom we serve together. What a beautiful reflection! We will continue to keep you in our prayers.

    by Merritt Schatz

    March 7, 2012

  18. Cindy, once again, your life, your faith, your trust of the Way inspire me. I stand with you and for you and pray God's love surrounds you always. Looking forward to seeing you again soon.

    by Beth Freese Dammers

    March 7, 2012

  19. Cindy: As before, so also now, Bev and I, and our church family here in Charlotte, hold you in our hearts and prayers. Your friend in Christ, Merwyn

    by Merwyn S. Johnson

    March 7, 2012

  20. We've appreciated your leadership so much, Cynthia. You are in our prayers out here in South Dakota.

    by Lois Aroian

    March 7, 2012

  21. Cindy: You are a great leader and an even better friend. We are praying for you at Western Church. Neither cancer or fatigue or anything else can separate you from the love of your brothers and sisters in Christ. We look forward to celebrating your return to health! john

    by John Wimberly

    March 7, 2012

  22. Cindy...you are a remarkable Moderator and woman of Faith...I have deeply appreciated your wise and direct leadership over the years throughout our church---and know you will continue to be God's gift to us in new and unfolding ways...may our love likewsie be a gift to you.

    by Sim Gardner

    March 7, 2012

  23. All of us in Pittsburgh are praying for and with you, Cindy. We eagerly look forward to seeing you in our fair city come GA.

    by Sheldon Sorge

    March 7, 2012

  24. Through all the tumbling-in you teach us important truths, Cindy. May abundant healing energy be stirred up in you. Oaklands Church and I continue to hold you in the light.

    by Margee Iddings

    March 7, 2012

  25. Know that our Prayer Group will include you each Friday morning especially for strength, effective treatment, and God's peace throughout. May God's abundant blessings be upon you.

    by Rev. Norma Prina Murphy, Commissioner to 219th GA

    March 7, 2012

  26. Thank you for your faithful leadership and witness. Your reflection on life tumbling in is an inspiring example of faith sharing. You are in my prayers and are being prayed for by the congregation at Bradley Hills. Peace be with you.

    by Cindy Stauffer

    March 7, 2012

  27. We are looking forward to seeing you smack that gavel in Pittsburgh! Much love and ardent prayers are surrounding you.

    by Maggie Hayward and Larry Hayward

    March 6, 2012

  28. My prayers and the prayers of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Herndon are with you, Cindy. God bless you!

    by Stephen Smith-Cobbs

    March 6, 2012

  29. Thanks so much for your reflection on the turn in your life.

    by Wanda B. Olive

    March 6, 2012

  30. You will be in my prayers. I am a Session member of St. John on the Desert in Tucson Arizona.

    by Gary McKay

    March 6, 2012

  31. You prayed for my husband last year when he had 4 pulmonary emboli and a heart attack and quadruple bypass. I never forgot that you did that and I have prayed fervently for you, as well. God is good, all the time.

    by Maryann Smith

    March 6, 2012

  32. God bless you Cindy as you continue this journey. We are praying for and with you!

    by Steve Aeschbacher

    March 6, 2012

  33. I remember with gratitude how when life tumbled in on me, you were a judicious, kind, and faithful presence. You continue in my heart and prayers.

    by Mary Swierenga

    March 6, 2012

  34. Our prayers, including the congregation I pastor, are with you. But maybe more importantly, count on the faithfulness of our Lord. Jesus is so good! God bless you.

    by Chris Enoch

    March 6, 2012

  35. Cindy, I continue to pray for God's presence, peace, and grace. You are being upheld in constant prayer!

    by Robert Austell

    March 6, 2012

  36. Madam Moderator, you are in our thoughts and prayers for healing, recovery & Lenten renewal of flagging spirits. Highland Presbyterian Church Beaver-Butler Presbytery Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania

    by TE Albert Rhodes Stuart

    March 6, 2012

  37. Our prayers are with you.

    by upper ohio valley presbytery

    March 6, 2012

  38. Thank you for the strength of your words!! May God raise you up on eagle's wings, sustain you when under the broom tree, be your keeper night and day, and fill with good things. And as you say, 'Live the life God intends for you.' we will not stop praying.

    by Rev. Monica Gould

    March 6, 2012

  39. Thank you, Cynthia, for your very wise witness to life and to your faith.

    by Barbara Kellam-Scott

    March 6, 2012

  40. Cynthia, You continue to be in the prayers of Greenwood Presbyterian Church

    by Cheryl Montgomery

    March 6, 2012

  41. God bless you and keep you, Cynthia.

    by Blanche Nichols

    March 6, 2012

  42. Thank you, Cynthia, for your faithful reflections and invitation to be mindful. A few years back, when life "tumbled in" for me, the church was a very present partner for that journey. I reflected with friends and colleagues, if we the church would relate to the aliens, those different, those opposed, in the same way they related to Lynn and me along the way, our pews might be a little more crowded...blessings, phil

    by Phil Brown

    March 6, 2012

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