Tuesday, August 23, 2011

our next adventure.

blogs are funny because they really only display a small snippet of your life. as i look back on the past couple months i can not believe how many things went unwritten about. it was a lot. sadly the lack of blogging does not mean it was not super fun or real important there are just not enough hours in the day. but i do believe you make time for what is important. so with that said...i may or may not post about things that happened a month or so ago. but we will see. but for today i will share something pretty big.
we just back from rockbridge yesterday afternoon. we unloaded the car and unpacked a little bit. there are still piles of laundry and suitcases that are still all zipped up. i hate unpacking. i would rather wear clothes i do not like very much than unpack and do the amount of laundry i need to do. so instead ava and i napped. i was exhausted. when she woke up we did our usual. popsicles on the back porch. a few boats went by. we swing on the swing. ava gets bored and we walk outside. it was an incredible day. not too hot. a nice little breeze off the water. it does not take much convincing that this place really is very special place to live.

this house. the emotion. we have only been here 13 months but in many ways a lifetime. i healed here. i was sick and then i wasn't in this house. ava walked here. she learned to talk here. i spent endless hours in this house when i was sick. so many significant conversations with friends and family took place here. on the porch. in my bed. upstairs overlooking the river. i have never felt so deeply for a place in all my life. i mean it is only a house. but wow it is so much more. my baby became a little girl here. her first christmas was here. i healed here while looking at the water. justin and i spent more time in this house than we did in all the other places we lived combined. i love it. i can not deny it. i am bursting inside as all the memories of this past year flood into my head. so many visitors. so much help. so many special memories happened here. i used to think it would maybe be hard to live here after my cancer was gone. but it has been the opposite. the emotional attachment i have to this place is more than anywhere else i have ever spent time. because this year changed me. justin. even little ava in such a way that the river house will always. i mean forever. be so significant to our lives. or mostly just mine. i am not sure. but even as i type this i can feel the emotions run through my body. the fear. laughter. sickness. fatigue. the fun. the conversations. the books we read here. the games we played. where ava learned to use chalk and go down a slide. this neighborhood. how i was too tired to do much but ava and i would try and take a walk when i knew she must be going crazy inside this house all day.  the peace and joy i experienced when justin called me and said..."we are moved in. come see the house." i knew i was home. really home. i knew i could be sick here and still be okay. i knew i could heal here and then be even better here. maybe this seems like a bit to much to you as you read this post...i am okay with that. because i am not sure i will ever be able to articulate what is going on inside when i think about what this place means to me.

with all that said...i tell you this...we are moving. we are moving to harrisonburg, va on september 19th. justin will become the young life area director. James Madison University is there along with many many young life ministries. my tendency is to write about how great and exciting all this is but instead i will give you some back ground. it helps in showing how we got here.

1. early spring justin's boss asks us to consider moving to harrisonburg.
2. my husband comes upstairs to share the news with me and i cry. i say no thank you. we can't leave. this community just walked through cancer with us. the idea was so overwhelming.
3. but i know. i can see it in my husband's eyes. this could be where the Lord is leading us.
4. i do not really think about it or pray about it. not being feisty it just felt like too much for me.
5. one morning i was upstairs praying and i believe the Lord told me (not audible) but i felt it. i do not say this much. only when i know it was the Lord. because it certainly was not me. i wanted to live here forever.  but i heard..."you were only supposed to heal here." crap. but i know i need to tell justin and thus the process begins.
6. skip ahead. we say no. i do not want to go and justin does not feel totally at peace so we say no.
7. i prayed the Lord would take it away and the position would get filled. i knew it was still on my husband's heart. but i really wanted nothing to do with it. but i knew. we knew. the Lord was working in our hearts.
8. the position does not get filled. because the position was for us. we just needed some time to get there. i still need time. but i know it is right. so we say yes. we say yes and my dear husband looks like a weight had been lifted. you see i trust my husband. i trust that he is seeking the Lord daily and that he would never. i mean never ever take me and ava from a place and people we love if he did not believe that this was where the Lord wanted us. on at least five occasions in the last month told me if i felt like this was all too much we would stay. he would say no to the job. he say no to young life and yes to us. our family. what was best for us after the year we have had. i wanted to scream..."it is too much. can we stay?" but i could not do it. you see it is like i said one year ago in bed after i found out i had cancer...this is what it means to follow jesus. it is not about our plan but His plan and be prepared that He will interrupt the plan at anytime. but i trust the Lord. we will obey the Lord. forever. even when it feels scary. or exhausting. because i do not feel like packing up and moving to a new house. i do not feel like starting over with new friends, relationships, doctors, etc. but i do not think we make decisions based on our feelings. feelings are fleeting and i am in no position to make any large decisions right now. i am still very much processing cancer. but we will go. we are going. it is good. it will be easy in many ways and very challenging in other ways. this is life. things change. they do not go the way we want it to all the time and thank goodness. i would hate to be in control even though i secretly love it. the Lord is good. He is teaching me so much. what it means to trust Him yet again with something big and scary and new. to find the balance between believing this is right and simply not feeling super super excited. can you have both? i think so. it is natural. it is closing a chapter in one place and beginning a new chapter somewhere else. that is both so exciting and so unnerving. but i knew two things when i decided to follow Jesus and marry justin. our life would be an adventure.

but i have learned a few things recently. try like a thousand things recently as i feel like the Lord is moving in my life a lot and it is much harder than easier. but hard is okay sometimes. this is hard for me because i love so many people in chesapeake and i love this house on the river. but we will embark on a new journey. one in the mountains. with space and land and new beauty. a quaint little house right near campus and walkable to downtown. a dream of ours. with coffee shops, a children's museum, and restaurants we can walk to. i love that so much. living near college students who lead young life and some who do not. i love college girls. i love that time of life. i love discipleship. i love people in our home. i love talking. i love sharing my heart and hearing about someone else's heart.  what is good and what is hard and what is uncomfortable. where they are struggling. what they are learning. i love it all. i love that ava will continue to grow up with so many people around her that love her so much. i love that justin will be able to cast a vision for a city and for people. all for jesus. to work on a team. to meet new people. to give ourselves away to a new high school. new leaders. new friends. new is hard. but new can also be good. maybe even better.

side note. dear friends in chesapeake who are just finding out about our move via this blog. i am sorry. we are sorry. we wanted to meet with everyone to share this news but life does not always allow that. 

so i ask that you pray. pray as we transition. as we say goodbye and pack up this house. as we head into a new place. a new season of life. one that i feel very unprepared for. as i am a bit of a crier this month. or every month. but that is okay. i decided last week after our dear friend marvin shared a story about an earring and three pay checks that i will obey the Lord for rest of my life no matter what. even if it seems crazy, scary, lonely, not fun, strange, sad, hard, etc. because i know and believe one thing for certain.  God will never leave me. His plan is better than my own. even when that is hard to swallow and live out. but it is true. the same God that used cancer. deadly, scary, stupid cancer to show me how much He loves us. sure i will move away. i will start over. i will get to know a new place. build new relationships. sure. am i scared? yes. do i feel a little overwhelmed? yup. but no one said life would always be simple or easy or fun. but it is good. it is good because He is good. thank goodness for that.

i also invite you to enter into this new journey with us. like many of you did throughout cancer. we ask yet again. justin has started a new website. he wanted to be like me. it is www.justinryder.com. check it out HERE. it will give information and further details about our life, the move, ministry, etc. if you would like to partner with us through prayer and/or financial support please check it out for details. young life is a non profit ministry. therefore all the funds to run young life, get paid, have health insurance, etc. is only possible because of the support of thousands of people all over the world that believe this ministry matters. if you would like to join the ryders look HERE. we are committed to raising $30,000 throughout this upcoming year. if you have further questions or want more information or just want to say "have fun in harrisonburg." please email me under the contact me header.

wow. here we go. good news is that we still have a porch at the new house. just no river.


  1. WOW you guys are so brave. I love that you can trust the Lord with everything, that is a goal I have been working on for some time. Reading your blog helps me to see that it is good and it is possible. I will be praying for you guys and following you on your next adventure. Harrisonburg is very lucky you three are coming.

  2. so excited to watch this new adventure unfold. love that you are following the lord 100% even when it wasnt exactly what you planned. thanks for be willing to follow him, especially for young life.

  3. I love your open and authentic sharing of your heart Libby, Harrisonburg welcomes you, Justin and Ava with open arms.

  4. WOW...I certainly wasn't expecting you to be leaving. Our loss in Chesapeake is certainly the gain of Harrisonburg. We are all going to miss the three of you and the love that you've shown our kids. Thank you for sharing Libby. I will miss you, even though I haven't been able to spend much time with you. God Bless you.

  5. Libby-I found your blog about 6 months ago, and have been following since. I actually even emailed my old YL leader (who now lives in Williamsburg) to see if she knew you!
    Anyway, I was shocked to read that you are moving to H'burg, because we live in a town right by and I was thinking about walking through Target or something and seeing you and Ava roaming the aisles. Blogs do that to you though. You follow someones life and then you imagine "what if I actually ran into this person?" It is a strange feeling. But good. So congratulations on your move. The Valley is a great place to be!

  6. great post - trusting god. i had to do that last night at the dining room table when my husband and i realised that there is more month than money. i freaked out. jesus? he stayed the same. and my reading for last night? numbers 11:23 God answered Moses, 'So, do you think I can't take of you? You'll see soon enough whether what I say happens for you or not.'

    and your right trusting god, is hands down, better than the alternative, there is no alternative...

  7. Libby, Great writing as usual. I have excerpted part of the post for a republish at Being Cancer Network. Included will be two links to your site.
    Take care, Dennis

  8. dear Libby, i have read from the beginning although never commented, i guess i felt like i didn't have much to contribute, no words of encouragement because i know that when tradgedy strikes, it strikes hard, with big billowing blows, the kind that knock you off your feet and take the wind from your lungs...but i realized today, after reading this post, i came to your blog not so i could try and help encourage you, but so you could encourage me. i needed this post today, i needed to read all of the things i have been so diligently telling myself lately. its hard to believe so blindly, but you wrote it out so articulately. thank you. thank you for sharing your faith. you are wonderful and i'll be praying for your new start.

  9. Libby, Adam and I went to school in the mountains at Radford a couple hours down the rd. from Hburg. They are beautiful in the fall, spring, and summer. Expect snow in the winter! We go to Harrisonburg every year my in-laws have a time share at Massanutten. Take Ava to the indoor water park she will love it! There is every store and restaurant you need there in Hburg. Good luck on your new adventure! I know it is very hard to leave the beach. We miss it. --Laura Van Zandbergen

  10. so excited to meet you! The JMU community is very warm and welcoming!! We could not be more thrilled to have Justin. And you and Ava! Especially my friends and I who do not know you but have been reading your blog almost religiously ;)
    We thought...are we creepy to be getting this chance to get to know her when all along we read her blog and she has no idea who we are? haha
    anyway, I'm prayin for yall!
    Kelly Bishop

  11. My intern from summer staff is from Harrisonburg- Becky Blecksmith. She's amazing, be her best friend. You'll both be blessed through that friendship, I guarantee it! I can only imagine what y'all are feeling right now.. Chesapeake is one special place. The Lord is so faithful though and reveals Jeremiah 29:11 to us over and over and over again in ways we'd never believe. I'm looking forward to hearing about this new chapter of y'all's lives. I have a good feeling you'll have abundant stories of God's beautiful faithfulness in your lives and man, I can't wait to hear about them! Praying for you guys :)

  12. Hey Libby! I know that we don't know each other, but I've been reading your blog rather religiously since you were diagnosed. I'm living in Los Angeles right now, but I'm from Stuarts Draft, VA(which is only about 30 minutes from Harrisonburg). Check out the Little Grille downtown, you will love it! Still praying for your family,
    Emily Stern

  13. I have been behind reading and caught up tonight, you have had so much happiness, change, excitement. I hope life is settling well. This post was perfect for me right now, as many of your posts are... Thank you.


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