Faith vs. Fear

Faith Defined – The assurance of things hoped for and the certainty of things unseen.

In a continued effort to remain completely candid and vulnerable with you I am going to share what my family is dealing with as it relates to our Health Insurance concerns. These things are being shared in such detail in order to inform you so you are better equipped to pray with us, so you know what one real live, living, breathing family is dealing with who happen to be caught up in the US healthcare maze, and you may possibly have ideas that would be valuable for us.

COBRA Extension Denied
You are already aware, due to a loophole, we have been dropped from our current AETNA policy. We are covered until Friday, June 30, 2017. We have an advocacy group and a few friends exploring the possibility of a reversal of this decision for us.

Window of Need
Medicare will be available for us on May 1, 2018. With this being the case we will need a bridge of coverage between July 2017 – May 2018 (10 months).

The Exchange
We were recently informed Vanderbilt does not accept a single policy offered through the exchange. This happens to be where all my doctors are.

Private Options
Vanderbilt offered us three options that could provide a solution, however, it doesn’t appear to be very promising.

Cigna LocalPlus Bronze
Yesterday, I called and was unable to speak to a human being. Application for this policy must be done online. We will do so today.

Farm Bureau
Spoke with a human and received policy description.

$750 Monthly Premium
$2,000 Deductible
20% CoPay after meeting Deductible

The fact is, every two weeks I receive chemotherapy and the fee for this treatment is $19,500. This would cost Tracey and me $3,900 per treatment and on disability income even I know these numbers don’t add up.

TN AETNA Bronze Deductible
AETNA will not allow us to review this policy until I experience a qualifying life altering event. A qualifying life altering event, according to them, is losing your Insurance policy. Interesting, AETNA is causing this life altering event by choosing to not extend COBRA. We will be able to apply and assess these policies on June 1, 30 days prior to said life altering event.

Self Insure
A Vanderbilt Financial Counselor shared I could pay for the treatments / services Vanderbilt offers out of pocket and they will take 60% off their billing rate. As a patient, I would pay 40% of the amount they bill insurance.

$19,500 Treatment (.40) = $7,800 every two weeks

Obviously, this is not an option.

This happens to be an issue the Murtha family is dealing with. Each of you have a burden, something you are carrying and for the most part you are probably carrying your burdens alone. Susan Ashton had a song a few years ago, I believe it was written by Wayne Kirkpatrick, called Suffering in Silence.

My family and I have chosen to live out loud. We have chosen to share the good, the bad, and the ugly. We have chosen to trust God and the body of Christ with our predicament.

The fact is, I have never been more alive. Never have I understood what it means to surrender, to say yes to Jesus, and the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I feel a boldness and joy I have never experienced and we are seeing fruit from our efforts, from this way of living.

Allow me to encourage you to pray for the ability to live in this way. You will never be more alive. There is no better way to live. Simply slow down enough to hear God’s still small voice and do what he asks you to do…join me on the adventure.

The Apostle Paul said, “To live is Christ and to die is gain.” I believe this with everything in me.

If God wants me here, and if he has continued work for me to do, on this earth, then he will provide a way. If it’s time for me to pass from this life to the next, then I am ready.

As my friend Clark Millspaugh said over 5 years ago, “Either way…I’m golden.” Clark is now in heaven with Jesus and I am certain, when it is my time, he will be one of the first to meet me on the other side.

Thank you.

Kelle Mills – Thank you for your great idea to reach out to Congressman French Hill.
Kristen Marie Grimm – Thank you for introducing me to the TN Justice Center.
Renee Rizzo – Thank you for your willingness to reach out to Congressman Marsha Blackburn for me.

Thanks to the rest of you for your prayers and continued encouragement.

To God be the glory!

Amen.

Heart Attack. II Book. II Friends. II Ultimate goal.

What a week!

It is Saturday morning in Brentwood, TN. There is not a cloud in the sky and it is a clear brisk 54 degrees. It has been a great week.

Heart Attack.
Who would have ever thought the week would begin with a heart attack and a quick trip to Vanderbilt? Certainly not me, but that is exactly what happened.
Monday evening, at around 7:30pm, I felt the tightening of my chest and pain shooting down both arms and realized I was having another heart attack. Immediately, I took 2 Nitroglycerin tablets and a Bayer aspirin and Tracey and I headed to the hospital.

Upon arrival the doctors at Vanderbilt wheeled me back to the Cath lab where they were able to solve the problem. The stent I had inserted in early April w
as 100% blocked so they replaced it with another one and I immediately felt 100% better.

The doctors kept me in the hospital until Wednesday afternoon, just for observation, but I feel great. When I mentioned to the cardiologist I was excited to return home so I could get on my bike for a ride he encouraged me to wait a few weeks for that level of activity.

The great news in all of this is there was absolutely no new damage to my heart. So as Bob Buford used to say, “Yeah God!”

Book.
Finally, I feel as though we are making progress with the book. We have actually been making progress all along just now it FEELS like it.  It takes numerous steps to make something like this a reality.

  • Building a team (God has done just that.)
  • Organizing thoughts and categorizing over 300 blog posts (Done.)
  • Drafting additional copy (We are well on our way.)
  • Developing funding (This is going extremely well…thank you.)
  • Etc.

We have a placeholder site at www.LeadingwithaLimp.org and we are working towards a functioning site that will be valuable for people wrestling with embracing who they are, or who God made them to be, and those dealing with chronic / life altering issues. We’re working towards clarity in this space and will get there in God’s timing.

Friends.
God is bringing people into my life who I am excited to know better. People who share a passion for following Jesus and for using their one and only life to change the world. A few who come to mind from this week are Josh Patrick, Joey Lankford and Derek Bell.

Josh PatrickGreg Murtha's photo.
Josh is a fellow cancer patient who is a father, husband, friend and pastor. Josh and I met over a year ago on Facebook (he was here in middle Tennessee and I was in Dallas) when we realized we share a diagnosis and an Oncologist, Dr. Jordon Berlin.

Josh too has Colon cancer and has been through 32 rounds of chemotherapy, I have endured 62. We are able to share common thoughts, concerns, struggles, victories, dreams, etc. It is a Godsend to have a friend who has been there, who understands what 5FU chemotherapy feels like or what it feels like to take a pump home that will administer chemo for 48 continuous hours.

Josh is a good man and he is focusing his energies and efforts on making the most of what he has been given, as am I. He isn’t wasting his cancer and I look forward to hopefully years of challenging one another to be who God created us to be, cancer and all.

Joey Lankford.Greg Murtha's photo.
Joey and I met in the early voting line at the Brentwood Library in Brenthaven, Derek Bell made the introduction. Years ago I had read about Joey and his family selling everything and moving to South Africa to serve the poor, by developing sustainable farming practices. After 6 years in Africa Joey returned to middle Tennessee to establish the same practices here.

Joey has launched www.cul2vate.org and is developing models for churches, government and others to use farming to provide education and an opportunity for prisoners and those in rehab to learn a transferrable skill while providing organic vegetables for restaurants, grocery stores and directly to the most underserved communities.

Yes…while I am trying to follow Jesus, and personally make the most of what I have been given, God graciously sends people my way to walk with me, to challenge me and to help me understand this world is not my home. Derek Bell has been sent my way and God is using his skills and abilities to make what He has called me to do, and be, a reality. Thanks, Derek.Greg Murtha's photo.

As I have shared before, Bob Buford said on a number of occasions, “Gentlemen…I have done the math and eternity is longer than time.” He was right.

Ultimate goal.
The fact is, I believe most of us aren’t giving it all in following Jesus because we are attempting to make our heaven here on this planet. We build monster homes, buy fast cars, invest in vacation properties, take no risks and attempt to make our existence here as pain free as possible.

This will never be our home. It is Hotel Earth, at best and until we realize and embrace this we won’t live the adventure God himself planned in advance for us to experience and enjoy. We are missing out…not him.

Finally, when the cardiologist came by to inform me I would be released from the hospital, on Wednesday afternoon, the first thing he said was, “You have more physical ailments than anyone your age should be wrestling with.” Yes…he was right…what I am dealing with could be overwhelming, but to me it is not. It just happens to be God’s plan for me and I am ok with that.

When I reflect on the people God used to change the world I am brought back to the reality that some of the greatest men in the world weren’t the ones who lived the longest. No. They were the ones who lived with the most intentionality in obedience to who God created them to be and in what he had created them to do.

The fact is they didn’t HAVE to stay here any longer than they did because what they were created to do was done and they were going on to a MUCH better place.

Who were these men?

  • Jesus Christ – Died at 33.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. – Died at 39.
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Died at 39.

There are many more.

I am convinced our goal here shouldn’t be longevity, but obedience as this leads to impact and adventure. This leads to LIFE!

Yes, it has been a pretty incredible week. I’ve shared this before, but I’ve never been more alive and for that fact I am thankful.

Amen.