Shirley M. Carter
Dr. Sandy Murphy
Lost in a world of drug addiction
It's strange but when I think of drug addiction, I think of people in much worse predicaments than I ever experienced. I would have never referred to myself as a drug addict growing up, after all, my definition of an addict was someone with a needle in their arm, incoherent, messy and beat up, living under a bridge. So the fact that all I ever did was get high on a daily basis, in my mind didn't qualify me as an addict. Until I put that needle in my arm for the first time... then I started to think I may have a problem . All I wanted to do was party and get stoned and that's all I did. I even bought lottery tickets in hopes of buying mountains of "coke" with my winnings... how messed up was that? Thank God my numbers never came in. I knew what I was doing was wrong but it felt so good and I really had no control. I would pray every night, apologizing to God and asking for help to get out of this.
My turning point came when I was pregnant with my Son Kenny. I was young but I knew I had to clean up my act. I know that God was protecting me during those times. I look back to specific situations and realize it truly is a miracle that I'm still alive. I realize that God had a bigger plan for me. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jer 29:11. After Kenny was born, we were blessed with 2 more beautiful children. I turned my life around, raising my family, getting closer to God and helping others turn their lives around.
I really thought my addiction was a thing of the past until recently when I found myself in a place of deep disappointment. People close to me had really let me down, a couple of business deals had fallen through, my kids were all grown up and for the most part living on their own, my husband was traveling and all I could think of was going back to what I once knew, drugs. Here, I'd been clean for 27 years. I was so disillusioned by the disappointment and I felt that I had been good long enough and it hadn't really paid off. Thank God that over the years, I had attended Bible study and got into the Word of God. During this time of weakness, I was able to look to God for strength, to draw on stories from the Bible. I was reminded of Esau who had given up his birthright for a bowl of lentil stew. Was I about to give up everything I believed in for a night of getting high and then realizing it wouldn't change any of the above situations, except make them worse? I have to be honest, it took a lot of wrestling. It took a lot of reading, a lot of supernatural strength to get through it and I did. To God be the Glory!
We know that trials are good for us, they help us learn to endure. Rom 5:3
When your Faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. James 1:3
I believe I had to go through this to realize, that even as a motivational speaker and success coach, it doesn't make me exempt from life's challenges. Just like a doctor isn't immune from sickness. I realized that I don't have to do this on my own, I have a God who is able!
"NOW TO HIM WHO IS ABLE TO DO EXCEEDINGLY ABUNDANTLY ABOVE ALL THAT WE ASK OR THINK, ACCORDING TO THE POWER THAT WORKS IN US, TO HIM BE GLORY...FOREVER AND EVER." EPHESIANS 3.20-21
My name is Jennie Carter, I was married for 13 years to a man, who throughout the years became very controlling, possessive, manipulative, and very disrespectful. I didn’t want that life for my children, we tried counseling to save the marriage, but to no avail. I went through a stressful divorce that ended in December 13 2006, little did I know that on December 21, 2006 will be a day that would stay with me for the rest of my life. My children were murdered by my ex-husband. My handsome son Nelson was only 10 years old and my sweet daughter Crystal was 8 years old. My life has changed dramatically, tragedies changes you forever, either for good or bad. My ex-husband murdered my children and killed himself by setting the house on fire, just to get back at me, he thought that by taking the kids away from me, I would die slowly with grief and sorrow; he accomplished to hurt me deeply but I’m still here, he did not kill my spirit, It has been very difficult to deal with it day by day but with God’s Grace and Love, I have endured the unbelievable, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" he has helped me to put one foot in front of the other, he is my therapist, I give all the Praise and Glory to God for keeping me strong, he carries me in my time of weakness, comforts me when I feel alone. All I have is Beautiful memories of my babies, I am blessed with a very supportive family and circle of friends. PRAYERS are the key to SUCCESS and FUEL to the SOUL. I did not allow my tragedy to ruin me, I allowed the tragedy to change me in very constructive ways. I have been an advocate for domestic violence for almost 4 years, I have spoken in different events, FAU, Court house, Churches, I taught domestic violence class for a year to women who are afraid to leave, I taught them and let them know that they have options. I AM MY CHILDREN’S VOICE, I needed to make noise, I could not allow my children to be just another case of domestic violence gone bad. Things had to change, I want to make a difference in other children’s lives, so that they won’t have to endure what my children went through, losing a child is the most difficult thing that a parent could ever go through; with the help of Senator Ted Deutch, in October 2009 a bill was passed that would help children that are in A violent environment to have supervised visitations, something my children were never granted. I keep my children’s memory alive by speaking, teaching, educating and listening; after all…."I AM THEIR MOTHER" with the help of my Beautiful Guardian Angels, I will continue to do what I can to change and touch the lives of others. I challenge you to get involved and extend your arms to those in need. Don’t ever say IT CAN’T HAPPEN TO ME….……....I DID!
My goal is to plant a seed of love in everyone’s heart so that love can spread like wild flowers.
Shirley M. Carter
All my life I’ve been a fighter; from birth being the first girl born into a family dominated by boys to fighting male classmates and the most devastating foe was to fight a disease that claimed both of my breasts. This disease had already claimed other relatives in my family; so I knew from the on set that it would be the fight of my life.
At the time I did not know what cost would be associated with this fight; many times in the past, my fights left little or no scars; but this fight cost more than I could ever imagine. It took a toll on my immediate family, especially my three sons. The two younger sons, who were 7 and 8 when I was diagnosed in 1995; was devastated, striping them of their innocence and basically forcing them to grow up overnight. My oldest son is still feeling the effects of not being present at the time of my diagnosis. One never knows the effect that it has on another person; when you’re going through the battle. When you choose to fight, you become indulged in the battle of surviving.
Now 13+ years later I can say, "that fight gave me a new prospective on life and left me with an understanding that God had prepared me to be a fighter for life and survivorship is just a part of the battle".
Now, as I prepare to complete my first book "Life through the Eye of a Rose", a new chapter in my life begins. I’ve been fighting all my life; now I am ready for the loving to begin.
You’re More Powerful Than Your Mountain
I’ve been blessed to have a great life – despite humble beginnings. I was raised in poverty, worked for 40 cents an hour – for 13 hours a day in the blazing sun and really had nothing. At one time in my life, I could not speak English and when I did learn, I had such a horrible accent that people laughed. Eating beans and government welfare cheese was normal. I was told, "shut up and keep working…. Your kind don’t get an education and IF you are ever to be successful, you’ll be the sack boy at the local grocery store." Ouch, that hurt. Despite not having much, we did have great faith in God Almighty.
For the vast majority of my life, I enjoyed great health – but I took it for granted.
Immediately following High School, in 1975, I enlisted in the United States Air Force, traveled the planet, got my education, and served for the next 22 years as a civil engineer, finally retiring in 1997. I immediately began my civilian career with a prominent firm and again, traveled everywhere, bidding, winning and executing giant contracts ranging from $58 million to over $270 million. Eventually I entered the big league and played in the multi-billion dollar world. Imagine, from 40 cents an hour to well over 4 billion dollars. YIKES!!!! Every time I’d win another big one, I’d go into our corporate courtyard, stand at the top of a spiral staircase, lean over like Leonardo diCaprio in the Titanic and yell, "I’M THE KING OF THE WORLD!" Ouch…. I was full of arrogance. I’d not only forgotten that I was gifted, but I had forgotten where the gift came from.
In 2004, at the height of my success, I was traveling from Honolulu to Dallas and upon landing, after an 8-hour non-stop flight, I felt a slight ache in my lower, right back. I shrugged it off as having slept crooked in the airplane seat. As I reached back to rub the very dull ache, I noticed what I describe as "love handles." Gee, was I putting on weight? I had a tremendous workout in the Hawaiian ocean, the weeks prior, and I was in great shape, but now, I was growing love handles? Hmmmm.
Later that day, I discovered red blood in my urine. Oh-Oh. Something was wrong. I immediately visited my doctor. He began by asking me how much pain I was in…. "no real pain" was my reply. "Are you sure?" he asked. "Absolutely!" was my response.
Within minutes, my urine specimen, which now did not contain any visible blood, had been processed by the lab and the result was, "No infection!" "Good," I said. "Not good," said my doctor. It only gets worse from here. After several more tests, MRI’s, CT Scans, etc, I was diagnosed with an incurable, large grapefruit sized tumor in my right kidney. I had a rare Renal Cell Cancer and there was no cure. The tumor had obliterated my kidney, the associated adrenal gland, and to complicate matters, I had a major thrombus, (blood clot) in the vena cava, going to my heart.
This type of cancer is, "….rare, non-responsive to chemo or radiation, and with the amount of cancer you have, it is already stage 4, there is nothing we can do…" These were the words I heard through the hazy fog that had enveloped my entire being.
"Doc, what do I do?" I asked. "Sorry Mr. Garcia, there’s nothing we can do – go home and get your affairs in order," replied my doctor.
There must be --- there has to be, I’ve never been sick in my life. I asked for a referral and got the same answer from a different doctor in a different city. I was now in the fight for my life. I was determined to find the right doctor, one who was wiser and who had the cure. I got a third referral and I got the same answer. I was dying! I was out of options. The doctors could not help me. Was this the end?
Being a retired military warrior and a corporate exec, I would not take no for an answer, but I was now at the end of my rope. All the places I went for answers, gave me the same response… there’s nothing WE can do. Yet the answer was right in front of me all along.
After several frantic weeks, on a cold, blustery, grey and rainy January morning, while feeding my horses in a muddy pasture, I began weeping; something this macho man had not done since being a little boy. I fell to my knees and asked God to help me. Imagine that, I’d been looking to humans, and yet the answer was right in front of me all along.
All of a sudden, the clouds swirled around into a mini funnel, more like a long tube, shape, but instead of a tornado, the wind died down. The tube clouds opened up, and I could see sunlight through it, to the top side of the clouds. Then the wind stopped blowing and the rain quit falling. It became still, like a pretty spring day, but only where I was on my kneeling. Then I felt a hand on my shoulder, but no one was anywhere near me. I then heard a voice, too bold, clear and strong to describe, which said, "…do not worry, I have you from here my son…"
Then the tube cloud collapsed into itself, the wind began blustering again, and I felt the wetness of the rain pelting my face. Funny, the tube cloud really more resembled a sleeve of a long robe. I had been visited by God Almighty!
I stood up and looked towards the paddock where my wife was feeding the horse and she was staring at me – in a frozen stance. I made it back to my van, mud on my pants, shaking, shivering, tears streaming down my face, nose running … I was a mess and she was horrified. She thought I was dying. But she had the presence of mind to ask me if I had seen the clouds and sunlight. She too had seen the same thing from a distance away. I told her of my experience and we both began praying between sobs and sobs and sobs.
We went home to warm up and clean up and my phone rang, it was yet a fourth hospital and a fourth doctor. They said they’d received my case and wanted to speak to me. What? I did not ask for this referral. Who was interceding on my behalf?
This time the answer was different. "They are right, there is nothing they can do, but we are a research hospital and we believe we have a different approach," said my new doctor and my new best friend. My first response was, "Will I lose my hair?" He responded and said, "probably not, but if we don’t get started, you may lose your life!" He had my attention.
I went into immediate surgery, was literally cut in half and gutted out. The doctor first removed my blood clot, but they could not put the vena cava, the main vein taking blood back to my heart, back together. Fortunately I was in a major medical center and they summoned a team of vascular surgeons. My doc then removed my right kidney, the adrenal gland, and the tumor mass. After 11 hours, he then shoved my organs back into my body, sewed me back up and I began the journey of my, and for my, life!
Doctor D, then went in the research lab, separated the cancer from the proteins, and then created a vaccine that was later injected back into my body, in six different locations, over the course of the next several months. The cancer was gone. The magic serum was working. I was now a case study. Every week, then once a month, then quarterly, then bi- annual and eventually annually, I was poked, prodded, evaluated and the answer was always the same. NO CANCER!
God had performed a miracle and I was telling everyone. I resigned from work and started a speaking business. I met the top speaker on the planet, Les Brown, and began a mentorship, and more importantly, a friendship that grows stronger every day. I shared his stages all across the nation and soon internationally. Les introduced me to other top speakers and I’ve had the fortune to share stages with Mark Victor Hanson, Zig Ziglar, Jack Canfield, Lance Armstrong, Art Linkletter and countless others. I’ve spoken at corporate events, civic events, prisons, schools, and yes, even churches. I tell my story everywhere!
They say once you reach the 5-year mark, you are considered cured of cancer. I reached that point in February 2009. "Mr Garcia, go home, still no cancer" said my doc. These were sweet words to my ears.
On March 3rd 2010, I returned for my annual follow up. This time, my doctor of 6 years could not bring himself to make eye contact. The cancer had returned. The diagnosis was Kidney cancer metastasized in both my lungs with multiple tumors in my left lung and a major tumor in my right lung. I was stage 4 again. But this time, the same doctors who’d given me hope six years prior, were telling me I had months to live….. MONTHS!
Chemo was now an option, but the success rate was less than 5 percent and with my case, probably much less than that. I immediately told my doctor that my favorite book, in Mathew 21:21, it says, "Have Faith AND do not doubt!" He responded that he was a doctor, he had the results and he was sorry, but I was going to die. Months was all I had, and not too many of them.
I began a chemo, for 60 days in a row…. Every day….. for sixty long days. It was tough, but every time I had it rough, I simply though of Jesus, the whips, the chains, the crown of thorns, the stripes, the spear. I had it easy….. he’d paid for my sins. I was going to be ok.
My friend, Valorie Parker, and thousands of friends all over the planet, joined with me on multiple streams of media, including Facebook, and they prayed. And they prayed. And they prayed.
I posted my updates on my Facebook page, each time, proclaiming that I was already healed. Cancer had no place in the body that God almighty said is a holy temple to himself and he resides inside of. He said I was created in his likeness and image.
After 60 days, my docs said the tumors appeared to be slowing down but the cancer was still very active and that they might be able to prolong my life but not cure me. I told them to keep "practicing medicine" and that my God did not have to practice…. I was already healed. I could feel them rolling their eyes despite wanting to help. So, they prescribed another 90 days of chemo. YIKES! After 40 days, I thought I was dying but I had to keep going. 90 more days? No matter, God had me and I was already cured. I took the chemo.
I returned to the medical center in August and my friend and mentor, was in the waiting room. Les Brown, the world famous millionaire, was spending the day, sitting in a hospital waiting room, waiting on me. My God is Great! The results that day, "…Mr. Garcia, the tumors continue to shrink and we think we can continue to prolong your life, but we won’t be able to cure you," they said. I responded, "Have faith and do not doubt!" They smiled and commended me on my strength.
I then told them that it was not my strength, but rather, my strength through God Almighty who is the source of all strength. I told them that the passage I used "Have faith and do not doubt" continues on and says, "…Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done." They smiled and went on their business. No matter, I was already healed.
On October 23rd, I returned to the medical center for my next follow-up. After poking, prodding, and a series of tests the latest results were in.
The doc rushed into my room…. "John, John, John" was all he could say. Finally he said, "… the cancer is gone! I don’t know how – but the cancer is gone!"
I looked at him and said, "Have faith AND do not doubt."
God continues to bless me with miracles and extended life. We will all die, but only God Almighty will decide the hour.
It is now 2011 and I continue to travel every week, sharing my story with anyone and everyone. As James Brown used to sing, "Whoa! I feel good, I knew that I would, now I feel good, I knew that I would So good, so good ….."
I continue to post updates and inspiration messages on my Facebook page. I’m finishing up my next book entitled, "You’re More Powerful Than Your Mountain!" which will be published soon.
God bless you and remember, "Through HIM, all things are possible!"
Dr. Sandy Murphy
About God by Dr. Sandy Murphy
On September 6, 1974, her then husband shot this then 18-year-old mother of two between the eyes at close range with a twelve-gauge shotgun. Even though the entire right side of her face was almost blown completely away, she miraculously survived.
Today over 30 years later, Sandy Murphy is a living testimony of God's Miracles, Mercy & Grace to the lost and hurting, especially battered and abused, women, men, and children.
Sandy has a Doctorate in Counseling Education/Marriage & Family Therapy for broken families, individuals, ex-offenders; serves in the chosen and anointed call as an Evangelist and moves by the Holy Spirit in the gift of "inner-healing" for spiritually wounded and lost souls. Sandy has been speaking professionally over 25 years.
By profession and through the spiritual mantle of an Apostle, Sandy is a Consultant and Mentor to develop various Churches and Businesses in Professional Development for Church/Ministry Excellence and Growth.
Sandy is the mother of 2 adult children: a son Tyrone, daughter, Shondra, and the grandmother of 5 beautiful granddaughters.
Sandy is also the author of : Too Bad It Wasn't A Dream