Monday, April 16, 2012

Joy amongst the pain........

Another great night's sleep.  My heart is blessed and my body is feeling rested and I know this is only because of two things; the fervent prayers of my friends, family and strangers and the strength from my Savior who has always promised me that "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13.

I want to share with you an experience Tom and I had yesterday.  Actually, we had three of them. 

First, we took Amanda and Luke to the Woodmen Valley Church service to allow them to hear an incredible service about whether there is Life After Death. Our understanding of the afterlife affects how we live in the here and now. Their brother lived without fear and with exuberance and confidence because he new he was Heaven bound, and he was excited to get there some day.  John 3:36 The one who believes in the Son has eternal life. The one who rejects the Son will not see life, but God’s wrath remains on him. Ryan believed with his whole heart. Pastor Jimmy Dodd used Ryan's life and death as an example of how and why we need to live in the security of the Cross.  Ryan didn't get to run a marathon, but a 10k.  He ran his 10k well.  There were tears in the service, but joy in our hearts celebrating Ryan's confidence in his Life After Death.

Second, we took our first step back into "normalcy" and went and watched Luke play basketball. Oh how it thrilled my heart to see him laughing and exerting and smiling.  What thrilled me more was to hear the crowd cheering for him, supporting him and loving on him.  Such wonderful people God has surrounded us with.  Yes, there were a few tears that welled up knowing Ryan would never be joining us to annoy the refs any more.  But there was still joy amongst the pain.

Third, one of Ryan's friends asked us to come to youth group last night as he was going to be sharing some things about Ryan.  I was personally so exhausted (that seems to happen from out of no where these days) but decided to go as Luke was taking two of his buddies from school and I just felt my rest could wait a little longer.  WHAT AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE!  The worship was amazing.  Ben Essels, one of Ryan's friends, did an awesome job.  Music has always been a big part of my worship, but now the words of so many songs have such a deeper meaning.  I wonder if I will ever be able to worship without tears again.  I'm thinking this is o.k.  Stu Davis, the youth pastor who walked us through Ryan's death and burial and friend to Ryan, spoke at FUSION, the youth service.  They were scheduled to start a new three part series on RADICAL Faith.  Ryan's name was mentioned numerous times and part of his blog from when he was in New Zealand with YWAM was read.

"We MUST know God and make Him known. we can no longer be OK with mediocrity and accept that because we are miles away from others we can not share His word. in fact, it is quite the opposite! there are people right in your town to which you can minister. DO NOT LET THE OPPORTUNITY PASS!!!! live each day like it could be your, or your neighbor’s, last! we do not know the hour God will call us home. so we CAN’T put anything off till tomorrow. i can no longer be scared to share my faith! i must be alive with a passion for God and his people. i/we must change the way the world views Christians. i/we can no longer be self -absorbed, judgmental people. we must be a pipe through which God’s forgiveness flows. a mirror image of God’s love. our lives must reflect his mercy towards others. everything must reflect Him. our art should reflect his creation. our music should be praises to him. no word should pass our lips that is not glorifying to Him"

To access the whole blog:

Stu was calling each of the FUSION students, and himself, to live a radical life for Christ.  No more mediocrity.  No more calling yourself a Christian yet living in the world's weakness.  It was a revival and he gave a calling to rise up and accept the kind of Christianity Christ called us too.  The kind in Luke 14:25-27  One day when large groups of people were walking along with him, Jesus turned and told them, "Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one's own self!—can't be my disciple. Anyone who won't shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can't be my disciple.  I'm going to say, it was just amazing. I was in tears. It confirmed exactly what I said in my blog yesterday....God is calling us to leave everything at the door for Him....everything.   Just like He left everything for us and gave us His son to die on the cross for our sins.  I can tell you right now that having had to give Him something no parent wants to give....we can do what He is calling us to do.  But ONLY in His strength.  Only in His strength can I receive joy in watching what Ryan's death has brought. 

I saw Luke walk out of that building last night with joy in his step.  He shared that he can see why God took Ryan and left him behind.   He feels he has a purpose of helping to encourage and build up those impacted by Ryan's death.  What a gift from the Lord.  My son is walking in the newness of hope!  There is joy amongst the pain.


  1. What a wonderful day! I'm so happy you are getting some rest, you are truly experiencing "A PEACE THAT PASSES UNDERSTANDING". Every time I read your blog I find myself humming HOW DEEP THE FATHERS LOVE FOR US" I just thought today, "why do I keep humming that?" I think it's because....His love for us is SO deep and it comes out in your writing, and then I think It's just comforting to know He has taken this journey that you are on right now HOW GREAT THE PAIN OF SEARING LOSS. He knows the pain and how best to comfort you and your family. Our love and prayers go with you today

  2. "Still joy amongst the pain"! It is crazy how wonderful the Lord's love truly is. I am praying for you all, each and everyday.
    Love you,

  3. Dearest Gail: I look forward to your blog everyday. God is so Good!!! Your strength, faith and love for our Lord is truly amazing!!! I cannot imagine what you are going through.. Casting Crowns song comes to my mind.."I will Praise you in this storm,,,you are who you are no matter where I'm at..Every tear I cry You hold in your hand.. You never left my side,,, though my heart is torn, I will Praise you in this storm. Joy (your sweet momma's name!!!!) Praise, for the Lord's love is the most amazing love we have. Praying for you, your husband and your children.
    Love Debby Penzkover

  4. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

    1 Peter 4:11

    Thoughts of you. Praise God for your strength and courage! I heard "I can only Imagine" today by Mercy Me, in fact, it was the only song that Jayda would allow me to play! It has such different meaning to me now, picturing Ryan up there with our Papa. Hugs.

  5. I attend Fusion and knew Ryan (unfortunately) only briefly... Sunday's service was heart moving... I just want to say, "Thank you", for being his mom <3

  6. <3 This is so encouraging and I am overjoyed to hear how much positivity has come from Ryan's influence on those around him!!

  7. Gail, every day I come home and this is one of the first things I do; read your blog, feel the joy you feel and the blessings you offer all of us, especially those who never knew your Ryan...
    Thinking of you and wish you peace and understanding as each new day unfolds with new gifts to offer!
    Julie Andrews