Hi, my name is Ryan. I've been married to my incredible wife Jenny since 2002. We have 3 amazing kids who are growing up way too fast. Jenny and I have been leading in the church world for nearly 2 decades together. Our family started out on the wild adventure of planting Awakening Church in the heart of Silicon Valley in 2012. By God's grace, Awakening is a thriving church reaching tons of young people in the heart of one of the least churched places in America. Our journey has been filled with highs and lows, and we want to be able to share the things we've learned along the way. Jenny and I have a passion for reaching this generation and coming alongside leaders.
A few weeks ago, I ruptured my Achilles tendon. Apparently when you turn 40 and play basketball these things happen. I can’t do much right now. My leg is in a cast. Crutches are my mode of transportation. Much of what I love to do I cannot do.
I am limited in this season.
I hate limitations. Receiving help is hard for me. Being dependent on others is difficult. It is easier, safer, and less vulnerable to be the helper than receiving help. Now I have no other choice but to receive.
From the beginning, I have been processing what God has for me in this season. In the Father’s tender care, he whispered his love towards me that there is grace here. There is a grace in limitation. I tend to think of limitation as something to be conquered, to overcome. Yet, limitations are often a grace of God to bring renewal to our soul.
In having to receive, and not do — I am learning to see life through the lens of presence over performance. I can’t do the things with my family that I want to do but I can be present. I can’t do the physicality of ministry but I can be present. I have found that as my activity ceased, my availability increased.
The trick is as my friend Judy says, is “not to drop the gold after it has been discovered when life returns to normal.” Isn’t this so true! This is not the first time I have discovered the gold of presence or the grace of limitations. But when life returned to “normal” activity…well…I seem to drop it in all the activity.
What is the gold we need to hold onto as students return to school, work returns to offices, activity returns to our daily lives?
This morning I was drawn to Psalm 23. My friend Judy is having brain surgery today. Please pray for her. I think of Psalm 23 often when I think of Judy. Not just because it’s so comforting and powerful to this moment. But she grew up in South Africa on a farm with sheep. She has told me how amusing it is when we pastors try to preach on Psalm 23 without having the “foggiest clue” about sheep or shepherding. Yet this morning I was drawn to Psalm 23. And once again the power of this Psalm profoundly ministered to my soul.
The Lord is my shepherd…
The shepherd leads the sheep. Sheep are not left to their own devices or guesses. But the shepherd leads the sheep to places that will provide for the sheep. As the leader, the shepherd moves at a pace that is good for the sheep– not too fast to run them to exhaustion or too hard to wear them down. And in the shepherd’s kindness, he lovingly corrects the sheep on the journey…those that are running ahead, falling behind, or wandering off.
The destination of the shepherd is always for the best of the sheep— to provide food, water, rest, and protection. The journey, however, may be filled with some treacherous parts along the way as the shepherd leads the sheep to fertile land. Yet the shepherd hand of protection and watchful eye of care is always on them.
The Lord is my shepherd…
Today, I am reminded that I am in the loving care of Jesus, my good shepherd is leading me. My friend Judy, is in the loving care of Jesus, her good shepherd. He is leading. He is guiding. His ever-attentive watchful eye of care and hand of protection is on her.