Streaming: Part 4, A Beautiful Life

The most impactful part of Streaming was being around Ryan and Jessica Woods for a few days and, on Tuesday afternoon, getting to listen to them reflect on church planting, life, marriage, community, the gospel, loss, illness, faith, prayer, death and resurrection.

Ryan has cancer, a malignant tumor has enwrapped his spine making it inoperable. Three months ago he was given three months to live. Ryan's current treatment is aimed at keeping the tumor from growing, but that can be only effective for so long.

Ryan and Jessica are church planters. You can follow their work at Ryan's blog Musings from the Ground Up. There you can also follow Ryan's thoughts about cancer and facing death.

Jana and I feel extraordinarily blessed that we got to meet and spend a little time with Ryan and Jessica. They are amazing people. There are many things I'd like to share about their part of the conference but the thing that struck me most is how they kept circling back to the notion of beauty in describing their lives, their faith, and the challenges they face. Because on the surface not a whole lot looks beautiful about what's happening to them. But as Jessica noted, God keeps pulling beautiful things out of their lives, faith and neighborhood. As Ryan recently wrote on his blog:
We’re drawn to beauty aren’t we? We’re created to be attracted to beautiful things. We’re created to want to be beautiful. And even though the story that is being played out in my life, in my marriage, my family, and my neighborhood is painfully messy–there is something intrinsically beautiful about it.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s getting harder and harder to live out. The weight of death–even if it does not become an immediate reality–is getting heavier and heavier within our home and within each one of us in the family. We can feel it. More than ever before. And it’s heavy.

...We’re all drawn to a beautiful story–and my hope is that this story will continue to play out in a way that captures the beauty of the God who I believe is responsible for taking such a shitty situation and giving it any semblance of attractiveness...

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2 thoughts on “Streaming: Part 4, A Beautiful Life”

  1. Remember this rule?  Learn something, create something, show love to someone -- each day.

    There is a simple beauty in living and loving, with such grace and courage.  The ability to transcend fear and grief, even in the valley of the shadow of death, is particularly beautiful and hopeful.

    Goodness, truth, beauty:  yes, I'm drawn toward these qualities -- in a word, a poem, a song, a person, a place -- again and again.  Like brushing against the hem of His robe, the encounter is live-giving and healing.  When my vision clears, momentarily, and I glimpse a little bit of heaven, those are the "kairos" experiences that renew my spirit.  It sounds like you and Jana had such an experience with Ryan and Jessica at Streaming.  Thank you for sharing this with us here at the blog.

    Sara Groves is one of my favorite musicians.  Her CD "Add to the Beauty" is one that I never tire of listening to.  The lyrics are so profoundly meaningful to me.

    "This is grace:  An invitation to be beautiful."

    Close your eyes if grammar and spelling mistakes  ("its" and "dissension") drive you bonkers, and simply listen and enjoy the beauty of the song.  :-)


  2. Christians pause at the contemplation of imminent loss...of everything in the here and it comes roaring point blank into our living. Beauty and truth and relationships and creativity suddenly loom large...if there's time. But when the seconds tick down...and they are ticking down...may that transition be swift and sure. Death, I hate you! But an empty tomb reminds me of the hope that drove the greatest church planter who ever lived.....and died.

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