Monday, June 20, 2011

how we got our blog title.

i think there is going to be some cancer talk coming your way the next few days. so if you would rather not read or think about cancer i would stop reading now. 

i received two emails this past weekend. on the same day. within minutes of each other. one from a women who was recently diagnosed with lymphoma and is in the early stages of everything. she does not know her treatment plan yet. but a friend of hers emailed her our blog. when she wrote the email she was half way through our hundreds of blog entries. i wept reading that. i never thought this would happen. i never imagined that the Lord would use this blog. but He is. i am weeping as i type. i felt so scared and so alone when i first got sick. i am so thankful that people who are just starting their cancer journey have found something in our story. i am humbled and thankful. (i can not turn the bold off. blogger wont let me. sorry) the other email was from a women who is in the same season as me. post cancer. we are cancer free but she is having a hard time allowing herself to celebrate this new part in her story. her fear comes from a place i too fear. she was declared cancer free and then it returned. she had more treatment and is now in remission. but how do you go on living when there is anger, frustration, and uncertainty. will is come back? am i really better? once i start celebrating will i just be told i am sick again? how do i live in this new place? really live? i do not have the answers. i can only speak to my own experience. so far my cancer is still in remission. i do not know what it feel likes to hear..."it is back." i told two friends on friday night as we working on bridal shower prep for our friend. i said...i am scared it will come back and if it does i will not be as strong. i know what is ahead now. i know what chemo feels like. i know how much getting a port put in hurts. i now know a new level of pain and fear. one i never knew before cancer. but it is real and i try everyday to not believe the lies. the lies that tell not celebrate could come back. what would you do then? well as i write this in tears. so congested i can't breathe. those kind of tears. all that has been going through my mind is not allow your fear (satan) to rob you from life (jesus). i am healed. today i am healed and that is enough. that is what we prayed for from the end of july to mid-february of this past year. for healing. well i was healed and that is more than enough. it has to be. 

i am including the article from john piper that changed my entire perspective on cancer. i remember sitting in my bed in our old house and sobbing as i read this. that maybe. just maybe you will read this and it will change how you view cancer and your life. whether cancer has anything to do with your story or not, but mostly likely it will at some point.

my friend katie told me on friday that our story of cancer. this blog. our life. or all of it combined changed her forever. she said if she got cancer or someone close to her got cancer there experience would be different because of our experience. not because we are cool or special. but i guess our prayer was answered. we prayed two things while i was sick. one that i would be healed. wait. nope we prayed this one first. that God would be glorified through my cancer and than He would heal me. i am healed and we keep praying He is being glorified by our life. cancer or no cancer and we prefer no cancer.

so i am thankful that one close friend was impacted and one new fellow cancer fighter has found hope in it too. not hope in me or our words or our experience. but where we find our hope. Jesus Christ. that is it. i know that more now than any other time in my life. I am not strong enough to do this alone. this whole post cancer thing. i am certainly not strong enough to do cancer. we figured that out. but post cancer is hard too. processing cancer is hard. i will try and write more about that. i have meant to. but it is hard. because it is so deep. and raw. and emotional. and i can only do so much in a 2-3 hour span while ava is asleep. it was easier during cancer to write about my heart and how i was doing because ava was less active. i had help cleaning and meals brought to my house and i did not have to see people unless i wanted to so the nasty post cry face was okay. but i need to. i want to and hopefully john piper will help you the same way he helped me view my cancer. 

my two email friends. friend number one i am sorry you have cancer. not in a cliche way. but a deep genuine i am brought to tears writing this. i hate that you have cancer. but there is another side to it. the ryder family is living it. be hopeful and trust the Lord. with all of it. it will make all the difference. friend number two it is okay to be angry and scared to celebrate. but believe what is true today. you are cancer free. live in that truth. i hope this helps...

Don't Waste Your Cancer John Piper. February 15, 2006.

I write this on the eve of prostate surgery. I believe in God’s power to heal—by miracle and by medicine. I believe it is right and good to pray for both kinds of healing. Cancer is not wasted when it is healed by God. He gets the glory and that is why cancer exists. So not to pray for healing may waste your cancer. But healing is not God’s plan for everyone. And there are many other ways to waste your cancer. I am praying for myself and for you that we will not waste this pain.
1. You will waste your cancer if you do not believe it is designed for you by God.
It will not do to say that God only uses our cancer but does not design it. What God permits, he permits for a reason. And that reason is his design. If God foresees molecular developments becoming cancer, he can stop it or not. If he does not, he has a purpose. Since he is infinitely wise, it is right to call this purpose a design. Satan is real and causes many pleasures and pains. But he is not ultimate. So when he strikes Job with boils (Job 2:7), Job attributes it ultimately to God (2:10) and the inspired writer agrees: “They . . . comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him” (Job 42:11). If you don’t believe your cancer is designed for you by God, you will waste it.

2. You will waste your cancer if you believe it is a curse and not a gift.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). “There is no enchantment against Jacob, no divination against Israel” (Numbers 23:23). “The Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11).

3. You will waste your cancer if you seek comfort from your odds rather than from God.

The design of God in your cancer is not to train you in the rationalistic, human calculation of odds. The world gets comfort from their odds. Not Christians. Some count their chariots (percentages of survival) and some count their horses (side effects of treatment), but we trust in the name of the Lord our God (Psalm 20:7). God’s design is clear from 2 Corinthians 1:9, “We felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” The aim of God in your cancer (among a thousand other good things) is to knock props out from under our hearts so that we rely utterly on him.

4. You will waste your cancer if you refuse to think about death.

We will all die, if Jesus postpones his return. Not to think about what it will be like to leave this life and meet God is folly. Ecclesiastes 7:2 says, “It is better to go to the house of mourning [a funeral] than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.” How can you lay it to heart if you won’t think about it? Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Numbering your days means thinking about how few there are and that they will end. How will you get a heart of wisdom if you refuse to think about this? What a waste, if we do not think about death.

5. You will waste your cancer if you think that “beating” cancer means staying alive rather than cherishing Christ.

Satan’s and God’s designs in your cancer are not the same. Satan designs to destroy your love for Christ. God designs to deepen your love for Christ. Cancer does not win if you die. It wins if you fail to cherish Christ. God’s design is to wean you off the breast of the world and feast you on the sufficiency of Christ. It is meant to help you say and feel, “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” And to know that therefore, “To live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 3:8; 1:21).

6. You will waste your cancer if you spend too much time reading about cancer and not enough time reading about God.

It is not wrong to know about cancer. Ignorance is not a virtue. But the lure to know more and more and the lack of zeal to know God more and more is symptomatic of unbelief. Cancer is meant to waken us to the reality of God. It is meant to put feeling and force behind the command, “Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord” (Hosea 6:3). It is meant to waken us to the truth of Daniel 11:32, “The people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.” It is meant to make unshakable, indestructible oak trees out of us: “His delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers” (Psalm 1:2). What a waste of cancer if we read day and night about cancer and not about God.

7. You will waste your cancer if you let it drive you into solitude instead of deepen your relationships with manifest affection.

When Epaphroditus brought the gifts to Paul sent by the Philippian church he became ill and almost died. Paul tells the Philippians, “He has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill” (Philippians 2:26-27). What an amazing response! It does not say they were distressed that he was ill, but that he was distressed because they heard he was ill. That is the kind of heart God is aiming to create with cancer: a deeply affectionate, caring heart for people. Don’t waste your cancer by retreating into yourself.

8. You will waste your cancer if you grieve as those who have no hope.

Paul used this phrase in relation to those whose loved ones had died: “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). There is a grief at death. Even for the believer who dies, there is temporary loss—loss of body, and loss of loved ones here, and loss of earthly ministry. But the grief is different—it is permeated with hope. “We would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). Don’t waste your cancer grieving as those who don’t have this hope.

9. You will waste your cancer if you treat sin as casually as before.

Are your besetting sins as attractive as they were before you had cancer? If so you are wasting your cancer. Cancer is designed to destroy the appetite for sin. Pride, greed, lust, hatred, unforgiveness, impatience, laziness, procrastination—all these are the adversaries that cancer is meant to attack. Don’t just think of battling against cancer. Also think of battling with cancer. All these things are worse enemies than cancer. Don’t waste the power of cancer to crush these foes. Let the presence of eternity make the sins of time look as futile as they really are. “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” (Luke 9:25).

10. You will waste your cancer if you fail to use it as a means of witness to the truth and glory of Christ.

Christians are never anywhere by divine accident. There are reasons for why we wind up where we do. Consider what Jesus said about painful, unplanned circumstances: “They will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. This will be your opportunity to bear witness” (Luke 21:12 -13). So it is with cancer. This will be an opportunity to bear witness. Christ is infinitely worthy. Here is a golden opportunity to show that he is worth more than life. Don’t waste it.Remember you are not left alone. You will have the help you need. “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

Pastor John
Material is from Don't Waste Your Cancer by John Piper, copyright 2010.


  1. I haven't read this article before your post. It is fantastic, and I do see these points evident throughout your journey.

  2. While my story is nothing like yours, I can relate to your fear that everything will go bad again. My daughter received a liver transplant almost 2.5 years ago. She was healthy one day and had a new liver 10 days later. The specific cause of her liver failure is unknown. I live each day wondering whether her new liver will fail and we will go through everything all over again. It's not a strong beating fear anymore, but it's always in the back of my mind.

    When I get anxious or fearful, more than I should I sit and pray and repeat Philippians 4:6 over and over until I am calmer.
    Philippians 4:6
    English Standard Version (ESV)

    6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

    Thank you for sharing your story and being a true example of walking in christ. Prayers and Best Wishes!

  3. Thank you Libby and may God Bless you! Your blog always help me to understand and find God in all the challenges of my own life. Though my challenges are not cancer related, I find your blog an inspiration to me to find meaning in all of the good and bad things of the world. My heart is calm knowing that whatever the outcome the Lord is with me along the way.

  4. Twenty years ago, I was in my first post-cancer year. May I whisper a word of encouragement to your email friend? It's a hard year; there's no denying it. In some ways, it's harder than the cancer year. During the cancer year, you have the illusion of some control. You and the doctors--you are blasting that cancer; you're going for cure and you feel like you have some power. During the chemo year, people come. They pour love and support and encouragement. But the second year, you are left alone all too often with doubts and fears and memories. The year after, it's all waiting. It's where faith is refined by fire. He calls to you in the dark nights of fear and He begs you to lean on Him. Only on Him--no doctors, no IVs, no prognosis numbers. Just you and God. He reaches out His hand and asks you quite frankly, "Do you trust me? With your recovery, with your cancer, and with your life?" The year after cancer is all about stepping out in faith to answer that question honestly. I pray you both can tell Him "yes" with all your hearts. God go with you on this year's journey.

  5. I'm approaching this from a different perspective--my child had cancer. My husband and I wrestled for a long time with finding the joy in the trial of our child's cancer, but we finally found it, and John Piper expresses very well the thoughts we finally arrived at. (Amazing how it's so clear to us in hindsight.)

    I agree wholeheartedly with Elizabeth above. When we were in the intense, will-my-child-make-it segment of treatment, it seemed almost easy to walk with God every step of the way. But the subsequent day-to-day minor grievances of bruises and bandages and tired, cranky days that went on for months were almost to much to bear.

    That was five years ago, and in hindsight, I am grateful for those days. I would not have chosen them, but I am grateful.

  6. I want this to be a short reply but who knows. Forgive me in advance if I become long winded in commenting.

    I have two experiences with cancer. In each of these experiences the disease wasn't mine though.

    The first happened when my close friend was dx with cancer at the ripe age of 18. We met my Junior year (she was 2 years older). Our little click of friends became inseparable. Did all the fun and sometimes not the "right" kind of things young people do. Then she got sick, got better, went off to college..only to get "really" sick and had to come back to fight.

    And boy did she fight. She lost her hair, freedom, her liver to the cancer. Survived two liver transplants and a whole lot of experimental treatments. At the time my young life, along with another dear friend's, became about being with HER. We camped out by her bedside, stayed on guard during some tough moments, gave her family some needed breaks. We all became changed women because of her 2 year battle. But she got well! She lived an extra 22 years and by the grace of God was given that time. She married (our close friend), had two great children and shared a beautiful life with many people. Sadly the cancer returned last year. This time God's will was different. She passed away 4 months after the redx in June of 2010. We miss her! But as we said at her funeral Mass; God gifted her life to her and she gifted it back in 1000 and more ways.

    The second experience is presently my FIL's terminal cancer dx. His battle is different. I'm not certain he sees the gift of his cancer fully yet. His children are grown and his life has been full and wonderful. But he struggles I think. We would appreciate your prayers for him. I've seen great things happen w/in the family since he was dxed. I pray that he sees them too.

    God bless you! Your words are a gift:-)


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