The Million Dollar Running Foot

“The Million Dollar Foot” versus “The Million Dollar Arm.” In the movie, “The Million Dollar Arm,” 38,000 Indian hopefuls showed up for a shot at the American big leagues and a $100,000 prize. Rinku Singh won the contest and the runner-up was Dinesh Patel. Both were brought over to America to be developed and trained into MLB stars. This is in contrast to the million dollar foot. I feel as if I have actually given away a million dollars in time and money in order to heal my foot. In the last couple of years I have not developed into a better runner. I have not trained since 2014 and my last race was in April of 2014. The million dollar arm racked up money while the million dollar foot lost both time and money.

However, the good news is, that eleven months after surgery my achilles is ONE-HUNDRED percent healed. The scar from surgery is almost invisible. And although there is still a little swelling around the achilles, the recent MRI shows that there isn’t any build-up of scar tissue and all looks good. Boy, do I want to run!!

Unfortunately, I still can’t go out and pound the pavement. The reason I had to have another MRI is because I am still having pain along my foot. The MRI revealed that I have some other issues going on, the biggest one includes acute FHL tenosynovitis. The FHL tendon lies deep behind the achilles tendon and tendonitis in this tendon is usually seen quite frequently in ballet dancers. Thus, it has become known as dancer’s tendonitis.

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For anyone who knows me, they would agree that I am quite clumsy. While I am pretty good at running in a straight line I also tend to trip and fall A LOT, and it’s usually on smooth pavement!? So obviously, I am not a person who emulates elegance, grace, or rhythm. So unless I’ve been BALLET DANCING in my sleep, both the doctor and I are a bit confused why there is such a collection of inflammation and fluid around this tendon.

I just received a cortisone injection and will start physical therapy tomorrow in hopes that this new issue of pain will resolve. I am also scheduled to see another foot and ankle specialist the first week of March. I want to have a second opinion to make sure everything on the MRI was interpreted correctly and that this is the best course of action.

Lastly, I was told once again to REST. It’s hard for me to rest. I like being active. I like feeling fit and strong. I don’t want to rest. However, it’s been in the resting that I have found a new and closer love and passion for my Savior. I love how Jesus meets us right where we need Him too. I just opened up a small devotional book only to read these words;

Thank ME for the conditions that are requiring you to be STILL. Do not spoil these quiet hours by wishing them away, waiting impatiently to be active again. Some of the greatest works in MY Kingdom have been done from sick beds and prison cells. Instead of resenting the limitations of a weakened body, search for MY way in the midst of these very circumstances. Limitations can be liberating when your strongest desire is living close to ME. Although, you feel cut off from the activity of the world, your quiet trust makes a powerful statement in the spiritual realm. My Strength and Power show themselves most effective in weakness.” (Jesus Calling)

I know there are many people struggling with far worse ordeals than an injured foot, but God keeps reminding me that no matter what the struggle is, He is with us ALWAYS and if we are willing to submit to His ways, He will bring us through stronger and closer to Him.

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Words To Ponder

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This is one of my favorite poems and when I read it today it was the last line that really struck me. “The Treasure that Thou art in life, what will Thou be in death?” In my life I have been a recipient of God’s grace and mercy and forgiveness and love over and over again. Try as we might, there are not any words that can fully describe the love that encompasses our Savior. A Love that took our place. A Love so pure and holy. A Love unblemished and spotless. A Love willing to become dirty and stained with the sins of the world. A Love willing to carry God’s wrath upon His shoulders. A Love willing to give His life to save our lives. A Love that we know on earth but how much sweeter will we know it in death!?

“I can only imagine when that day comes, and I find myself standing in the Son…Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel? Will I dance for you Jesus, Or in awe of you be still? Will I stand in Your presence or to my knees will I fall? Will I sing hallelujah? Will I be able to speak at all? I can only imagine…I can only imagine.”     (Mercy Me)

The Waiting Is Over

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A few months ago I wrote a blog about finding a beautiful caterpillar. My kids and I put the caterpillar into a jar and had the privilege of watching him spin itself into a Chrysalis. We set the jar on top of the refrigerator and started to wait, wondering when the caterpillar would emerge as a butterfly. We would check the jar every day only to find the same chrysalis staring back at us. We waited and waited and waited. We were beginning to get tired of waiting and started to question what was taken so long. Perhaps, the caterpillar had died and would never emerge as a new creature. But because we couldn’t see inside the chrysalis we weren’t willing to give up hope. We wanted to believe that something miraculous was taking place.

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And unbeknownst to us, with our limited knowledge and insight, there was a change taking place. Earlier this week when we looked into the jar we found an empty chrysalis and a beautiful, intrinsic, delicate, butterfly. The words of Psalm 37:7 rang loud and clear as we stared at the new creature, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him to act.”

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The waiting may be a long and hard process. It may be an uncomfortable and ugly mess but, “God makes all things beautiful in HIS time.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11) In God’s strength we can get through the waiting and our ugly mess can result in an unexplainable and beautiful joy. It is through the waiting and the trusting that we become transformed into the likeness of Christ.

“And we all…are progressively being transformed into His image from glory to glory, which comes from the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

 

Spend July The Right Way

Last week our church, Community Fellowship, showed the movie “The War Room.” Before the movie played, I had the privilege to talk about hosting a Spanish teen through Young Life USA. I know I’ve recently posted about this opportunity but we are STILL IN NEED of host families so I want to share the words I spoke on Tuesday.

“The War Room,” has a lot to do with prayer and the spiritual battle that we are facing.  So as I was reflecting over our experience, I realized our family was able to see first hand the power of prayer, and the spiritual warfare that may come, when we step out of our comfort zone and do something that we don’t necessarily want to do, but we know God wants us to do it.

Last year, with A LOT of hesitation, we decided to host a teen through Young Life. We have four children of our own and we have a revolving door of cousins, friends, and neighbors, coming through our house all the time. But, hosting a teen was something different. It’s one thing for cousins to come over, but an entirely different thing for a stranger to come from another country and live with us for a month.  I wasn’t sure I was up to this task.

However, in January of 2015, when CF showed the promotion video for Young Life, I felt a nudging from the Holy Spirit. At that moment, it didn’t matter how I felt or what I thought, or what doubts or hesitations I had, I knew that God wanted our family to be a part of this program. So, in February of last year, without knowing our schedule in July, we filled out the forms to host a teen. I was excited and nervous at the same time. As I hit the send button on the forms I was filled with an unexplainable peace knowing that God was in control. But then I thought, what now? God simply nudged me again and said, PRAY. Pray for your teen, and for your family, for his family, for his country, for his Salvation, and for My message to be spread through Spain and Andorra. So that’s what we did. Colossians 1:9 become our verse for our teen and his country, and it still is. In fact it has become our verse for Young Life, for all the teens that will come this summer and in the years to come. It says, “from the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”

It’s SO easy to under estimate God’s power through prayer and it’s SO easy to forget the spiritual battle that we are in. During the months from February to July there were many times I was tempted to listen to the phrases inside my mind that were telling me, “What were we thinking!?” “Why did we sign up to host a teen!?” “We have problems, big problems!?” (Who doesn’t?) “We argue!?” (Who doesn’t?) “Our kids fight!?” (Whose don’t?) “How can God use our family to reach this teen!?” These questions and doubts were from the enemy. He was trying to frustrate us and worry us – because of course he didn’t want us to sign up to host a teen. He didn’t and still doesn’t want families to make themselves available. He doesn’t want Spanish teens to come to our country and hear the message of salvation. He would rather have us stay in our comfort zones and believe the doubts he’s putting in our minds. Thinking, we can’t do it or we don’t want to do it. It will be an inconvenience. Someone else can pick up the slack. Don’t let the enemy win. If you are thinking about hosting a teen do it! As soon as you make the decision, realize it’s in God’s hands. You and your family just need to PRAY, pray for your teen, pray for his or her family, pray knowing and believing that God will place the perfect teen in your house. TRUST, that God has BIG plans. He always accomplishes more than we can ever ask or imagine. If we open up our homes and hearts, give God our doubts, and step into the unknown, I promise you that God will do an amazing work, not only in your family but in the life of your teen and possible in the life of their family and country.

When we signed up last year we were so concerned about the unknowns and worried that it was going to be hard. It’s not hard. In fact, it was pretty EASY and so much FUN. God is in the process. He is working and we are just allowing Him to use us as His vessels to spread His message.

These teens are so excited to come to the US and to live with an American family. They don’t need to be entertained every second of every day. In fact, if you have kids, it’s amazing how easily the kids connect and bond and entertain one another. It’s also a lot of fun to plan activities with your family and your teen, such as taking them to Chicago, or to a baseball game, or out to eat. However, what they really LOVE is just being involved with a Christ-loving Christian family.

Last July was one of the BEST months our family has ever had together. I am so excited to see what God has planned for us and for Young Life USA this July. I am praying that there will be an ABUNDANCE of teens that sign up for this program, and I am also praying that their will be an OVER-FLOWING, OVER-ABUNDANCE of host families.

If you are thinking about it, do it! Don’t doubt, SIGN UP! If you have any questions please check out Community Fellowship at http://www.commfell.org and there you can watch the testimonies of the host families and the teens.  I promise you, if you do this it will definitely be worth it!

 

Busy Mom Problem #2

Apparently, I am neglecting to feed one of my children. She might have starved to death if I had not opened my computer and saw the note she left for me written in first person reminding me she needs to be fed.

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Disclaimer – All the Ryan children (and their cousins and friends) are well fed. Our grocery bill proves that!

Words To Ponder

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“Thus, if we think we require some good thing that God has withheld from us, in reality we don’t absolutely need it. It also means that if we feel our life has been ruined by some bad thing, in reality it is playing some very important role in our lives. It is teaching us, molding us, enriching us, humbling us, and so on.” (Timothy Keller Romans 8-16)

After Christmas the Best Gift Remains

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Did you find the Gift so tiny and small?
It’s easy to miss in the midst of it all.
The crowds and commotion were busy and loud,
while Mary and Joseph by Love’s manger bowed.

 

The Morning Star, a Newborn King, the Holy Child.
Heaven-sent, The Word in Flesh, His wounds to reconcile.
A Precious Babe, the Perfect Infant, wrapped in Grace,
Redemption, and Rescue to stand in my place.

 

Holy, Holy, Holy, now our sin upon His shoulders,
it was His death that bought us life.
Creator, Perfector, Alpha, Omega, Mediator, Advocate,
The Only Way, The Truth, The light,
The Sacrificial, Spotless Lamb of God,
The Lion of Judah, man’s Good Shepherd.
God’s Beloved Son, Our Savior, Messiah,
slandered, mocked and led to be slaughtered.

 

The cross He bore, our sins erased,
don’t miss this gift, it’s freely offered.
Immanuel, God with us, the grave it is finished,
death He has conquered,
And if we wish to live for Christ,
our lives we must
surrender,
when in eternity we see our King
we’ll praise His name forever.

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Living the Young Life

July 2015 changed our family forever. Starting in the month of February 2015, our family stepped out of our comfort zone and took a leap of faith. Little did we know what an incredible impact it would have on our family. We will never forget the experience, and if God allows, we will never pass up the opportunity to do it again. It not only brought our family closer together but it taught us that when we let go, and give God the opportunity to work, He will do far more than we can ever ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)

Our Church, Community Fellowship, partners with Young Life USA, enabling Spanish teens to travel to the US, live with host families, and attend a Young Life Camp. It literally brings missions into your own home.

This year, during the month of July 2016, we are hoping to have at least 15 host families sign up to be a part of this program. All it takes is a family that is willing to share Christ’s love and open up their home and hearts to a Spanish teen who dreams of visiting the United States Of America.

A few months ago I had the opportunity to share our family’s testimony at Community Fellowship. We want to spread the word about this program.  It will make a tremendous impact not only on the teen but on the host family as well. Below you will find the short video of our testimony. Please watch it and prayerfully consider if this is an opportunity you would like to experience.

Suzanne Ryan Missions Story

 

Pictures from our month with Jan. He will always be a part of our family.

If you want more information about this program please check out a short video about Young Life USA Camp, found at http://www.commfell.org/ylusacamp or you can email Gordon Spahr at gspahr@commfell.org. Also, feel free to contact me personally at Suzryan123@hotmail.com.

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Our Family – July 2015

What Road is Next?

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When I was a little girl, my dad, without even realizing it, was inspiring a dream within my heart. My dad was my hero, there was no better man on earth. He was the kindest, hardest-working,  strongest, bravest, fastest, and most adventurous father a daughter could have.

Whether we were at home or at our cabin in Wisconsin, I remember  watching him get up early to go for a run. He would come back from running excited to tell us his estimated time and distance. In those days, he didn’t have the luxury of a GPS, so later in the week when we were in the car, he would drive the route and clock his distance. He knew how many miles it was from our house to main street or from our house to the high school. He knew it was only a mile from our cabin to the dock or five miles from our cabin to the closest farmhouse.

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Watching him run created in me a strong passion to run. I would ask my dad to time me with his stop watch to see how fast I could run down the street in front of our house. I was so excited when I was old enough to join him on his early morning runs, and I couldn’t wait to be old enough to compete in track meets.  And my dad was there every step of the way. He was at every track meet, cheering me on, telling me to keep pushing, to keep going, to not give up, to run hard all the way through the finish.

Unfortunately, my younger running days consisted of running track only during 7th-9th grade. It was around my sophomore year that I let loose of the dream of running and breaking school records. I left the race. I wandered off the course and for a while I lost sight of the finish line.

My dad was still there, waiting for me, encouraging me, and cheering for me. And years later, I found the race again. However, this time it wasn’t around a track but on the roads. The wide-open roads that held every distance from the mile to the marathon, and I loved them all. But now the roles had switched, my dad was my biggest fan, and he was watching me run and telling me to go after my dream.

Running wasn’t just running to me, it was a gift that God had given to me and an ability that I could use for His glory. I felt that God’s platform for me was being a Christian athlete. I never wanted to use my running to focus on me, but I wanted it to point to God. I wanted Him to use my talent and abilities to make His name known.

That’s why, sitting here this morning, still injured and logging almost nine months of not running makes me tempted to give in to feelings of discouragement, sadness, anger, frustration, and disappointment. I don’t understand why God, in this season, is asking me to die to the race. I don’t understand why He would take something away from me that I longed to use for Him. I know that He could easily heal my foot and I could wake up tomorrow able to run. I don’t understand why He won’t change my circumstances.

Once again, God reminded me to stop and open my eyes and see that He has let me run the race. Time and time again, along the course, He has blessed me with friends, faith, and lessons-learned through wins and losses. But now He is asking me to step off this course. I don’t have to understand His ways, but I need to stop questioning, and I need to surrender and trust that He has a different road for me to follow now. For the time being, I have crossed the finish line and there is a new race ahead. But, I won’t find it if I keep holding onto a dying dream.

This type of surrender is a struggle and if I had my choice I wouldn’t let go of the unfinished business I have on the roads. My dream was to make it to the Olympic Trials. I don’t want to give that up. But, God is asking me to do exactly that, so I must.

In the book “Whatever the Cost,” David Benham says, “stop worrying about where you thought I was going to get you. You’ve made that an idol in your life. Just be faithful to Me. I had made an idol out of the promise, purpose, plan, and platform God had given me for my life. So when things worked out differently than I had envisioned, I found myself reeling, trying to find my identity. All along my identity should’ve rested solely in the Person of God – not in His plan for my life.”

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Although it’s a struggle, I’m walking off the course and waiting to see how God will lead me to the next road.

“God is not going to give you what’s in His hand until you let go of what’s in yours. The issue isn’t, what’s in God’s hand. The issue is, do you trust God to let go of what’s in yours?” (Whatever the Cost)