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Cindi Gale

Psalm 65

1 Praise awaits you, O God, in Zion; to you our vows will be fulfilled.2 O you who hear prayer, to you all men will come.3 When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions.Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts! We are filled with the good things of your house, of your holy temple. 5 You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas,

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who formed the mountains by your power, having armed yourself with strength,7 who stilled the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the turmoil of the nations.8 Those living far away fear your wonders; where morning dawns and evening fades you call forth songs of joy. You care…

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A Time To Mourn And A Time To Dance

DSCN0175.jpg To everthing there is a season

It started July 21st with one of those phone calls everyone fears.

“Get here now.” I’d never heard her sound like that before.

I knew who it was about without being told, and said only, “What? Where?”

“Get here now. The hospital,” and then a click.

I was on the road within seconds, a drive that took under an hour. Entering the ER, without introduction I was spotted by receptionists and waved through double doors. There was only one room where activity spilled into the hall: at the end, on the left.

When I reached it, I saw the room was crowded with doctors and nurses at work. I still noticed details then — later, I wouldn’t, as shock set in — they were a perfect team, wasting no words, each adept in their role. When someone stepped aside, my first sight of him prepared me for his death like no explanation could; he was nearly unrecognizable.

When I went to his side, he spoke. It surprised me; he hadn’t appeared conscious. “I’m scared.”

I leaned close and whispered into his ear, “God, be with him. Be with him”, then gave space to staff preparing to transfer him to an arriving EMS helicopter. Every minute mattered.

A few hours later, in a large, teaching hospital, there was an undertaking to band the source of the esophageal bleeding, the attempt aborted due to resumed hemorrhaging. His resident physician said she’d never seen a worse GI bleed – her descriptor was “catastrophic”. We were told he was unlikely to live. Family four hours away were called and advised to make the trip immediately.

Central and peripheral lines in his veins and bones, ventilator tubing, and monitoring equipment overwhelmed his still body. His team recommended a Hail Mary surgery, “He will die if he doesn’t have it, but you need to know, his chances of surviving the surgery are slim. It’s lucky he’s here, this procedure isn’t available many places. We’ve done all we can do, we think it’s his only chance.”

I spent the time waiting for his surgery at his side, one hand on his head, one on his forearm. I realized it could be the last time to see his heart beat; the last time to feel the warmth of his skin. I didn’t want to regret missing those treasures. Grief could wait.

The road-trippers arrived at 4 a.m., just in time to choke out “I love you’s” before he was transported to surgery. We slipped into grief for a few minutes, mixed with gratitude that they had arrived in the nick of time to say their goodbyes, then braced ourselves in silence.

Three hours later, in the waiting area where we sprawled, fighting sleep, we didn’t know how to respond when a surgical nurse stepped in and announced, “The surgery went well. The doctor wanted me to tell you that.”

We stared at him. Was it safe to believe he had survived it? Would our hopes be dashed moments later? We’d been riding that roller-coaster for fifteen hours already. There were six of us, all in strange states of suspended reaction.

We ended up in the same corridor, as they wheeled him back to the ICU. There he was, in sight, feet away, and oh-so-wonderfully alive.

I’d never seen anything like the expressions on each of the faces of that emergent surgical team. Maybe the emotions of those who’ve just won the Super Bowl are similar, but even those pale in comparison. Theirs were of deep satisfaction, of victory, of silent jubilation. They’d worked for life, knowing death was likely. They were fully invested. Their patient had not died, he had lived.

They were on the same team, those medical professionals and our sedated loved one. We were on that team, too, though trailing the surgical victors. It took longer for us — he had not died, he had lived. 

Soon after, we were on the roller-coaster again. He was the sickest patient in the 20-bed MICU — we learned that when we wondered what time rounds started. “8:00. They start with the sickest patient, so they’ll start here.” Within a couple days, multiple teams of doctors confirmed he had end-stage vital organ failure; nine of ten with his degree of damage don’t survive thirty days. He would need an organ transplant to live, but had to live to get it — he was caught in a deathtrap.

Over the following weeks he rebounded, regressed, was difficult at times, sweet at times, disoriented and confused often, comedic on occasion, and miserably-ill always. We were asked about advanced directives — he wanted all measures to be taken to save his life should it come to that. Three weeks in, during his third hospitalization, they allowed palliative medications normally reserved for hospice patients. They didn’t say why — I read between the lines that hope was dwindling, maybe already depleted.

Through it all, we carried on, embracing both pragmatic healthcare and belief that he could regain full health despite unyielding evidence to the contrary. I wish I could say choosing faith in God is easy; it is not. The higher the costs, the more it must be protected above all. It wilts in the face of ongoing discouragement. Maintaining it seems delusional, and downright foolish.

Still, I chose it. I did what I had to do to keep hope for the impossible alive. I reined in fear and pushed out renegade thoughts on a daily basis. It was an instinctive implementation of 2 Corinthians 10:5,  “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

I didn’t have to do it alone. So many people, many of them unexpected, joined me in the endeavor, some not even aware of the enormity of their help.

Which brings us to October 5, 2016, eleven weeks into this crisis. He had a another recheck with specialists who have been on his case since his early hours in the ICU.

The first doctor to enter the room was giddy with excitement. He got right to it, “Your labs are normal!” He had us look over his shoulder at his computer screen, where columns and rows of numbers meant everything to him. “See this? Wow, look at that! …”

Simply put, the organ that was supposed to require a transplant is functioning. It is not merely limping along, which would have been a great improvement from where it was — no, it is performing almost as if nothing at all happened to it.

“What is your secret?” the doctor, a third-year fellow, asked, his voice and face bright with happiness.

Next to me, my loved one shrugged, smiling, still absorbing the news.

An attending staff physician joined us mid-visit, and the two doctors marveled in unison. They commended him. They reconsidered the diagnosis to make sense of the normal labs. They looked to the future for him. “What now? What do you want to do next? What life do you want to build for yourself?”

Because they knew, as we eventually did when the news sank in …

He has his life back. As of October 5th, he has learned that he is not an invalid at best, or terminal at worst. He is well. It is as if he never stumbled into that persistent pit of death on July 21st.

“The colors outside look brighter,” he said later, on the drive home.

Everything looks different on the other side, I see it too.

The joyful doctors were the mirror in which I saw his current status. They and so many others played major roles in saving his life. I imagine cases like his are why doctors get into medicine; successes like his fuel their arduous days.

“Thank you for saving his life,” I said, sheepishly, aware of the ridiculous understatement of saying such a thing, yet how could I not say it?

They chuckled. They understood. One turned to him, “It was you who did it. You wanted to live. You did all that we recommended. You get the credit.”

He received it. He is in a state of newness and hope for the future I have never seen in him before.

But nobody is taking the sole credit. I love this huge crew for their right attitudes: it is an assembly of diverse people who are all about “team”, all about supporting and boosting and excelling in their unique skills to contribute their best to a cause.

The victory belongs to the army of people who played a role in this story. There is no way to count them all, but they must be in the hundreds: the courageous and strong-willed patient himself, his inner circle, the front line medical practitioners and immense support staff during nineteen combined days of hospitalizations, the family and friends who were my backbone and helped with the practical side of life, and the passionate, reckless, genuine people who believed with me that miracles can happen.

I won’t cheapen the story by stating canned religious jargon. It speaks for itself. Defying all logic has a way of making you know it …

Miracles happen. Restoration happens. He who is Life and Power and Love and Truth and Healing  … happens.


Under Renovation

I enjoy the “before” and “after” photos of home renovations, like these pictures of the Kuppersmith Project from “Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford”.

kuppersmith-overgrown.jpg before picKuppersmith window-rot-smallkuppersmith, before pic of fireplacekuppersmith kitchen-1.jpg before

While Lipford renovates homes, God renovates lives. It’s exciting stuff, having the project manager of all project managers in charge of our renovations. He has great vision. There’s nothing too deteriorated, neglected, vandalized, rotted, overgrown, or overwhelming for him to take on. He’ll transform, overhaul, overthrow, release, clean, guide, counsel … you name a problem and he has a solution. In time, our “after” photos show a remarkable transformation.

But keep in mind that any pictures snapped in the middle of renovation may not appear representative of the vision. Restoration can involve some serious demolition and removal. Outdated wiring, lead paint, and asbestos must be removed. Rotted windows and damaged drywall have to go. It sometimes looks worse before it looks better.

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Cut yourself some slack if you’re in the middle of renovation. Relax your expectations of others too. Don’t judge a person’s status by his temporary mess, or his newly stripped-down, skeletal life. He may be the most yielded, willing, “I’m all in” person God has partnered with in a long while. His renovation may be the most exciting project God has directed for ages. Only God and he know his heart, just as only God and you know your own.

Hang in there with the project manager of all project managers. If you are willing, he has a great vision, a detailed blueprint, and a skilled crew at work restoring your life. You can be certain that you will be deeply satisfied with your “after” pictures.

Kuppersmith home-finsihed2kuppersmith kitchen-afterkuppersmith family-roomkuppersmtih living-room-1.jpg afterkuppersmith foyer-2

“Be made new in the attitude of your minds.” Ephesians 4:23 (NIV)

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (New Living Translation)


Humans are a needy lot. Beyond imperatives like food, shelter, and sleep, we need affirmation, hope, motivation, truth, non-fragmented thoughts, noble attitudes, competence, friendships, acceptance, wisdom, and on and on and on.

dovetail-joints--for blogUDU2Ny0yNDcuMjQ5ODM= (1)Do we rely on God to meet our needs? Our areas of lack dovetail with God’s provision. Our needs are a mortise filled with God’s perfectly-fitted tenon. It is a partnership, a melding of a finite human and the infinite God.

John 15:4-  “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 

Often our needy lives merit considerable restoration. If a piece of furniture could do the impossible and re-grow its own broken or missing parts, it would be called rejuvenation. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could rejuvenate all that we ever lost?

But when it involves the unwillingness of other people, rejuvenation isn’t always possible. That’s when God provides a replacement. God DOES fill the need. He has a detailed, complete plan for your restoration. He dovetails pieces together while crafting the fulfillment of that plan. He is at work creating a masterpiece only he fully envisions.

carpenter, inlaid wood

No single piece of wood comprehends its placement during the design process. As a part being manipulated in the carpenter’s hand, we can’t see his plan. Yielding control to him often elicits anxiety — we fear what he’s going to do and when. We need to remember:

Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

Psalm 62:5 “Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him.” (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

Be still, soul. Rest in God alone. You need not fear him. He is concerned for your well-being.

Jeremiah 29:11 “I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope.” (Common English Bible)

Trust that God is tirelessly at work meeting your needs, restoring your soul, and establishing your good future.

He will choose the inerrant time to move you from his secluded workshop and publicly unveil his great work. Your purposeful and meaningful life will be recognized as one unable to have been crafted by man alone.

There is sure to be awe-inspiring beauty in his finished work.

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John 15:8 “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

When Identity Is Muddled

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Cindi Gale

What determines a person’s unique identity? What is constant about him? What changes about him? Is he morphing under the climate, attitudes, perceptions and expectations of certain groups of people?

Most of us have experienced this morphing sometime in our life. We kick ourselves after taking on the group attitude when a discussion erupted. We voice or nod agreement, when it’s not what we agree with at all. We vow to not let ourselves become what others have pegged us, then go to a gathering and act exactly how they expected. It’s a strange power.

Is it possible to be consistent in our identity? Is this what integrity is? Who can hold their own amid the pressures of society, influential people, loved ones, or in some cases the conflicted theology of a church, and not flex so much that we sell our souls?

When we compromise our integrity, is it…

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May Your Paths Be Straight

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Cindi Gale

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Trust in him. Submit to him. Does God ask for our submission to put us in our place? To remind us that he is boss and we are beneath him? He could, because certainly he is above us in every way.

But no. He implores us to submit, acknowledge, or turn to him because he can optimally help us if we do. It’s about the free will that he gave us … We can go our own way if we choose to, but if we willingly take every circumstance, every decision, every aspect of our daily lives to him, he will guide us on the path that is straight. The path that is righteous. The…

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Birth of a Promise

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“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16. “Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.” Matthew 7:6.  Be wise about who you tell, and when.

Cindi Gale

When God births a promise, he does it in a stable.


The stable is simple, humble, and void of the embellishments which would detract from the miracle.

In the stable, the newborn promise is kept from the public eye. During the infant miracle’s most vulnerable stage, it is shielded from scrutiny, jealously, criticism, theft, and attack. Birthed in seclusion, it is given the best chance to survive and grow to maturity.

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Once the miracle has strengthened, and has acquired agility in its movements, it will be released to spend time in the outdoors. That experience too, will be controlled for safety’s sake. Fences keep out predators and prevent the young promise from roaming naively into the path of danger.

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Development takes time, and with it, the manifested promise will be permitted more and more freedom. Until then, be thankful for the fences. And be grateful for the chosen birthplace of the simple…

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