Sunday, April 29, 2012

Living with reality..............

Three weeks since Ryan died.  Yesterday I was sitting at the counter eating lunch with Luke, and Ryan's Bible was sitting there.  Luke has taken it as his.  I love that.  I opened it up and there was a piece of paper in it.  I am not sure if it is Ryan's handwriting or someone elses but it had a number of paragraphs on it with the names of the various people Ryan was in Thailand with and under the name was a brief paragraph.  My eyes went right to the paragraph with Ryan's name above it and this is what it said:

God is preparing you to be a warrior but a warrior needs armor.  Don't take your armor off.  Constantly be putting your armor on. Ephesians 6:10-20, Josh 1:9.

Does this sound familiar?  This is exactly what I wrote about on my blog yesterday morning.  I read this in the afternoon.  Yes, I got the chills and my eyes teared up as I felt God affirming me that Ryan and I are linked.  His passions are my passions and I am speaking what Ryan would be speaking if he were still alive.

I usually go to bed and think, "I probably won't write my blog tomorrow as I don't have a thing to say."  But then I wake up or go through part of the day and thoughts just come and I cannot help but put them down.  This morning I woke at about 3:30 a.m. with tears in the corners of my eyes.  I don't remember dreaming, they were just there.  My mind went right to the the thought that our family is probably at that stage of grief where facing reality is a daily occurrence.  Yesterday was filled with realities.  Thank goodness I felt the strength of God's spirit in me as I faced and battled these realities:

  • Ryan is really gone. We are without our brother and son to walk side by side with. This reality will hit us over and over again.
  • Reality that our house is in a place of grieving and each one of our journeys of grief is going to look different and need different moments of compassion and patience, understanding and maybe even forgiveness.
  • Reality that while our home has generally been an outward focused home we need to allow ourselves an inward focus for a while.  Our focus has to be on how to create a safe place to work through our grief, eliminating unnecessary stresses.
  • Reality that on days when no one in our home feels up for the battle, we must rely on family and friends.  We are so grateful we have them to count on.
  • Reality that we will now walk with a heightened sense of the importance of not squandering relationships and opportunities and wasting the precious time we have right now.  Ryan lived fully and with a spirit of joy.......and yet he is gone.  Others live lazily and with no purpose and in friction and anger and un-forgiveness with those around them....and yet they are still here. What a waste of life.  Oh that we would understand the gift of "life"!
These are some of the realities that hit just yesterday.  Seems like a lot.  Yet, I felt God's hand in mine as I came upon each one.  My sandals of peace and shield of faith and sword of God's Word came in very handy.

Yesterday someone asked me if I felt I would live with a "muted joy" from here on out.  I told them I'm not planning on it.  Another paragraph on Ryan's sheet was this:

Dancing, laughing, joy will be your strength.  This will be how you get through the hard times.  Psalm 4:7, Isaiah 55:12

Psalm 4:7

Fill my heart with joy when their grain and new wine abound.

Isaiah 55:12

 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field 
will clap their hands. 

I am not bursting with joy and song and clapping my hands right now....but this is His I know it will come.  His promises to me have never returned void.


  1. Gods Joy is never muted. "To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven." this is a season of mourning, seasons come and stay for awhile, and then there is a new one. "The Joy of THE LORD is our strength. Our Joy isn't from our human hearts, it is from the Holy Spirit. Yes we can hinder his joy by our nasty attitudes. But not because we are grieving. I love the verse that says, "weeping may last for a night, but Joy comes in the MOURNING.". Grief and mourning causes us to weep, to draw inward. For a season. Through the tears, the aches, the deep pain, there is the "Great Physician" transforming our tears into healing our emotions and making all things new. "By His stripes we are healed." that means healing in every way-including emotional and physical in the original Greek. The Bible says, "Count it all Joy when you face various trials.." it doesn't say feel, it says count. It is a mental process that despite the trials we can know God is doing something divine in our souls. So I know God is working in all of you to transform your grief into joy. "The Joy of the Lord is my strength!" "He brings beauty from ashes, strength from fear, Gladness from mourning, peace in despair." I know you Gail, and I know God will accomplish a deep and Glorious joy in you in due time. His Joy will prevail. One season at a time. I love how God is working in your life as He connects you two through special words and thoughts, and beauty of His nature. God bless you! Much love, Judi.

  2. Dear Gail,
    PLEASE don't ever say you have nothing to write about/say. You SURE DO! And you say it so well, giving Scripture to back it up, teaching, encouraging and giving God the glory for it all. We enjoyed seeing your smiling face (and Amanda's) on the front of the Woodmen Edition (small local paper), but agree your family needs time to grieve and heal rather than give and reach out. IF you need to not write in the blog in order to accomplish this we would understand, but I'd bet the writing is helping the healing...? I pray it is. I continue to pray for you all.

  3. Dear Gail,
    Thank you for sharing your course with us and demonstrating that it is possible to be crushed by loss and continue to honor God and look to Him in complete dependence, all at the same time. I cannot think of a more powerful way to live victoriously than in this -- in the very clench, having received one of the worst things life can assault you with.
    You are being guarded by God's power "for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith -- more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire -- may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." 1 Peter 1:5-7
    You cause my soul to soar with your words, "I am not bursting with joy and song and clapping my hands right now ...but this is His I know it will come." What victory, what liberty! In this God is glorified.
    Your Blood sister,

  4. Hello Mrs. Wahl,

    The thing in Ryan's Bible is from when the Oxford base got together and prayed for each team in Intercession. We do it before we go on outreach. Gabe's team made it a point to put on the armor everyday by reading Ephesians. Seth, my co-leader and I had to come care for that team while Gabe was sick. I really enjoyed that they did that and made it a point for my most recent climbing outreach team this year to di everyday too. Just thought you would appreciate knowing that.

    Many blessings,
    Jordan Haggard

  5. I love this picture of Ryan, something about the look on his face and the road makes you want to follow him. I Don't know how heaven works completely but I think of that verse, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Ryan is part of that great cloud now and I know He is so proud of the race his family is running!
    We are praying for your protection and strength this week,
    Love and prayers
    the Deiros

  6. Mrs. Wahl. I did not personally know your son. But I attend the climbing gym where his wake was held. Some of my friends new him. I just want you to know that he continues to affect new lives every day even though he has passed. And I can't help but follow through with your blog. I just want you to know that so many hearts are here for your family, through thoughts and prayers and remembrance. I hope you can feel Ryan's life continuing to live on through others. As a fellow climber, I will always have him on my mind.
    God bless you and your family.

  7. God does give us his promise of "everlasting joy, and peace abound" if we continue to trust and Love God (and his plan for us/family)..... time doesn't "heal", we just learn a new level of "acceptance" for "what is"..... and memories of our beloved son do bring laughter as so many continue to share their stories about Keith, and how he touched their life....... "and life goes on". Teri Marie