Here is Ryan's story:
As we neared the end of our senior year in college and were starting to look for “real” jobs, Leanne would always say that God has a plan for our lives and we just need to trust him. From then on, every time something didn’t go according to our plans for our lives, she would keep reminding me that God has a plan that is bigger and better than anything we could plan for ourselves. It’s easy to say that when you don’t get the job you wanted and you are in a long distance relationship, but at least you get to see each other every weekend. Or when you do get married, but each have to drive an hour to get to work each day in opposite directions. But when you hear the words “This is cancer” when you are so excited to be starting a family and all that goes along with that, saying and believing that God has a bigger and better plan for our lives is much, much, much harder to do.
It is easy to look back and see all of the ways that God was working in our lives and our relationship from the very beginning. From coordinating busy schedules in college, to a two year long distance relationship, to getting married but each having long commutes, to bringing us to Life Church in Fergus where the people there took us in like family when we didn’t know anyone, to taking Financial Peace University classes to set us up to be debt free even though Leanne had cancer, to placing people in our lives that would and will support us no matter what, to moving to the Twin Cities for better medical care, to keeping Leo safe and healthy even though he came into this world much differently than we had planned, to placing me in my current job that is awesome and that has allowed me to go to appointments with Leanne and do whatever I needed to do to take care of her. I could go on and on, but you get the idea.
Through all of that, Leanne still never wavered in her faith or in reminding me that God has a plan. Now, as we go on with our lives on earth without her physically here with us, I am continually reminded that God does have a plan. Even though it looks nothing like what I had planned for our lives about 4 years ago. The last year has gone by so fast and to be honest, the first few months are a blur. Many of you have shared stories about how Leanne impacted your lives in one way or another. Leanne was never shy about talking about God or telling people what he had done in her life. She was an inspiration to many, including myself, and I believe that God placed her in all of our lives to teach us what it means to be a faithful, trusting, loving, and caring person.
I’ve had several people ask me if I’m angry or mad at God for taking Leanne from me at such a young age. I haven’t really been sure how to answer that question and honestly I still don’t know how to answer it but I will give it a shot. I can’t be mad that the cyst she found was originally diagnosed as a cyst and nothing to be worried about, because if it was diagnosed as cancer at that time we wouldn’t have Leo. I can’t be mad that she got cancer, because it not only brought her an I closer together, it brought our families much closer together. I can’t be angry that she died because I know that she had Jesus in her heart and that she is in Heaven. I can’t be angry that she is no longer in pain and no longer suffering here on Earth. I can’t be mad about the friendships and support that we have gained over the last 3 ½ years. And I definitely cannot be mad about the way Leanne taught me to trust in God above all else and to know that he does have a plan that is bigger and better than anything we can plan for ourselves.
I’m not saying that every day is a great day or even that any day is a great day by any means. What I know is that we have God on our side, he will lead us through anything that he has planned for us and he will continue to provide for us in ways that I cannot explain. I also know that God has given me the responsibility to raise Leo without Leanne here and he will continue to put people in place to help me raise him up to know God.
Fran shared a blog with me recently that does a great job of summing up how I feel about the “firsts” without Leanne. This man lost his wife just a few weeks ago to cancer. I’m not going to go into great detail and pretend that I came up with this on my own, so you can check out the post at http://www.mundanefaithfulness.com/home/2015/5/6/firsts . My favorite part of it is when he says, “I needed to know that I could fumble through this, that I would do okay. That I could process through decisions without her input. I needed to know that whatever we as a family decided to do was okay.” For as much as Leanne didn’t like to make decisions about certain things for our family and would tell me that she trusted my decision, it was still easier making that decision with her input and opinion. After reading this blog post, I realized that whatever decision we make is ok.
I am so thankful that God placed Leanne in my life and how he has pieced everything together since. I know I wouldn’t be where I am in my faith or in parenting today without her influence. I am also very thankful for the White family and for all that they do to help out with Leo and to take care of us. I am thankful for my family and for all the help and support they have provided us as well. Finally, I am thankful for all of the conversations, messages, emails, texts, phone calls, and cards that we have received over the last year from all of Team Chin. Knowing that Leanne had an impact for God on so many people has made this a little bit easier.
I am also very thankful for all of your prayers. I do have a few prayer requests to share.
- Pray that Leo would understand what happened and for the right words to explain it to him
- Pray for continued peace for our families
- Pray for my mom as she has begun her own battle and treatments against breast cancer