Saturday, August 6, 2011

my aunt deb and my friend jen.

my aunt is spending the weekend in northern michigan. trying to get away for a bit before the chaos of cancer begins. we are waiting for a final diagnosis after she has surgery later next week. if you are interested in following her story read HERE she started a blog too. our family covets your prayers as yet another family member begins this journey. something that is all to close to home for us.

we are leaving for rockbridge tomorrow for two weeks. it is a young life camp in goshen virginia. it's where justin and i met in june of 2005. he will write the story of how we met...someday. we are excited for ava to experience camp and share in what has become a very special place to justin and i. we are packed and ready to go.

back in march i emailed some friends and family about sharing their heart about cancer for the blog. (many of you did not respond...maybe the email went to spam/trash)

anyways i am leaving you with a guest post from our dear friend jen. along with a picture too.

libby forwarded me an email written by justin the day after they were certain it was lymphoma.  like many, i had no idea what that was but i knew it wasn't good.  so many thoughts rush through your head: we're so young!  this couldn't happen to our friends.  they're newly-weds, have a brand new precious baby & they are so faithful - God uses them in so many ways - why would he have libby be sick?  at this time i had no idea how much this hardship would mold them to look like Christ and shine for the Kingdom.  i mean i knew it in theory, look at Jesus of course, and paul & the rest of the apostles - but I hadn't seen it personally, with my eyes...yet.
i felt scared for them, for their little family.  i was scared of the news that they would continue to get (what stage, what treatment, how it would all turn out), all the things that were so uncertain.  anytime that I thought about lib as a mom or a wife i would basically just cry and pray.  in justin's email he wrote: "Don't doubt a miracle, when I see Libby's sweet face, I always think, "she would be perfect for a miracle".   thinking of that would make me cry & pray more.  i fully agreed, libby would be perfect for a miracle.
they started the blog which was such a relief.  we desperately wanted to be updated on how they were doing but didn't want to be pests - after all they were already juggling so much.  i think a lot of people probably feel like that - you're interested & care but don't know what to do about it, you don't want to be a burden.  living 10 hours away, it was just a blessing to feel so connected.  knowing the details, the appointment dates, the emotions, the needs, the ways that God was moving {especially to fill those needs}, the ways that their hearts were growing & aching all at the same time - it was a gift to experience that with them - you likely feel the same way.  after realizing what a powerful witness their lives were going to be through cancer i wanted everyone to read their story.  i wanted to encourage my brothers & sisters in Christ with this awesome example of God's grace & the ryder's genuine & faithful response. i wanted people to know how real these people are - vulnerable & full of life {even when they're scared & sick}.  that this could be our reality too - life to the fullest, unshakable hope no matter the circumstance.  i wanted people who don't know Christ to know this story too - i knew God would use it.  He is/was showing up, moving in huge ways.  ryde & lib are/were reflecting his glory, even in suffering - it's beautiful.
they asked for prayer & you better believe they got it.  i know they were covered in prayer - lifted up by faithful people all over the country, maybe the world.  libby would say they could feel people's prayers over them.  i wanted to shout it from the rooftops, rally God's people and ask for that miracle.  i loved hearing that they felt comforted.  i wrote to just about anyone i thought might possibly pray and asked for their partnership - it was the only thing i knew to do.  i'm sure each of our friends did likewise.  our young life leadership (most of which didn't know the ryders since they had moved years earlier) were praying, my family, ben's family, even extended-family started praying for the ryder's {and we're a big ol' family}. we contacted friends that we knew would have a giant praying community around them as well, they had to know to be lifting them up too!  i posted on my blog, on facebook, talked to our friends from high school & college, basically anyone who would pray, prayed.  it was really amazing to see the body of Christ mobilize like that, have compassion, join the fight.  not only in prayer but to provide for physical needs as well.  how awesome to see your friends be so well loved - babysitters, people to help clean, giftcards, meals, money to live, money for medical bills, marathons, golf outings, t-shirts, bracelets, jewelry & the list goes on & on.  God's provision is so complete, and to see the love & generosity that just poured out of people to support the ryder's, even from total strangers - just incredible.  a gift only God could produce. 
witnessing how cancer launched the ryder's into complete and utter dependence on God for each and every need gripped me, it still does.  to see friends that you have always looked up to, stand so firm in the face of something so terrifying was more than an encouragement, it was kind of life changing.  seeing people really live their faith out - doesn't that slap you in the face & and scream "WAKE UP!  WHERE DOES YOUR HOPE LIE!?"  that's what it did for me anyway. 
seeing how cancer affected their marriage, gosh what a blessing.  my husband ben & i watched as this trial bonded them as one.  how deeply do you love & serve once you're jolted by the reality that we aren't promised tomorrow?  {about 12 bad country songs just popped in my head} but seriously!  this was a gift to us, a reminder to be humble, passionate & real servants to each other - glorifying God all the more as we see the day approaching.
i don't know how people could do this without Jesus.  the most comforting thing during this past year of watching the ryder's endure was having full confidence that God is good & that Libby knew & loved him fervently {and that likewise, the Lord felt the same way about her}.  there is no fear in that - regardless of the outcome of cancer.  ben & i couldn't help but put ourselves in justin & lib's position mentally.  what if that would have happened to us - would we be so bold, would be so steadfast & firm, would our hope be concretely planted on Truth - founded in Christ, would we waste our cancer, would we love each other so deeply, would we persevere?  we are praying that when our trials do come & in our everyday that we will be able to live out our hope just as ryde & libby have.
thank you friends for being such an encouragement & example to us. 

1 comment:

  1. Lib, I love this. Sweet sweet Jen just left my new apartment and gosh, she's the best. She helped us make crafts & just encouraged us with her sweet self. I love that we share her as a sister & friend. We actually talked about you & my precious time in Chesapeake, it was great. Hope you're doing well! See you next month at Shan's wedding.. also, I'm in the reply-all with everyone & man, I'm getting some good laughs. Take care my friend :)


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