Usually when God blesses us, with a smile on my face I remind Ryan it’s because God loves me so much! And although that is absolutely true 😉 , this provision, beginning of promises fulfilled, and radical favor is not only God SHOUTING “I LOVE YOU” but is also a deep and humbling response of grace to Ryan’s life of faith.
Over the years, I’ve watched Ryan sacrifice much for God and much for myself. Back when we were engaged, I had a lot of fears and anxiety about the man I was marrying. Not something you hear many people confess or admit, but it’s the truth. I knew that I loved Ryan, that God had brought us together (a whole other story), and that we complimented each other in so many ways. But I feared that Ryan wouldn’t know how to “slow down”. He had been running all his life and it just wasn’t a pace I could keep up with, but I loved the heart I saw in him. I hear a lot of couples say “we’re running together” which I am all for and believe there are seasons for that. I think there are also seasons of sowing. We needed to create and build the foundation on which our entire lives would be built on. A foundation strong enough for us to stand on, our children to stand on, and for God to build upon. In my opinion, that didn’t look like running together right out the gate.
As our wedding day approached and doors kept closing for housing in Orange County (where we originally were supposed to live once we got married), one door opened. It was to an island on the Puget Sound in Washington state. I couldn’t stop thanking God for bringing us to an environment where we could go through what we needed to go through. Ryan, on the other hand, knew he was laying his entire life down to move to Washington, all for me. He was progressing in his music as he had released two albums a year prior and knew that the smart career move was not to move away from the place where music was happening.
Regardless, he chose Washington- a sacrifice for me. We agreed in our first year that the ministry Ryan would be doing would include me. This catered to my fear and anxiety of being left alone as Ryan traveled. I had heard and seen way too many stories of men marrying their ministry while the wives take the backseat and their marriage never thrives. I was terrified that would be our story. Ryan would always assure me that we created the story we wanted, but his lifestyle before our marriage never showed any sign of “let’s focus on us”.
When Ryan chose Washington I knew it was a huge sacrifice. In return to this humbling gesture, I started praying that God would open even bigger doors for him when He knew we were ready. While in Washington, Ryan got asked to go to several events like conferences and record label retreats. He said no to some of the invitations out of honor for me because I wouldn’t have peace. That year he proved to me that he could choose his family over his ministry. And ultimately I knew that God came first of course but I believe before anyone’s ministry is their relationships. Their relationship with God, their spouse, their children, etc. If those are failing, the ministry will not survive.
[So much more happened in that first year of marriage, I’m only sharing what I went through in regards to music]
It is 2 years later and I can confidently say that I whole heartedly am for Ryan and his music career and his ministry. We’ve gone through so much together already and it has only strengthened us. We have chosen to trust God time and time again even when darkness seemed to surround us. I’ve watched Ryan slow down and choose a more intimate, hidden, relationship with God. I’ve witnessed him sacrifice his own desires for his family’s sake. In return, I kept secretly asking God for bigger opportunities for him than the ones he was turning down.
Out of rest and trust (although it wasn’t easy), the biggest opportunity of all came, and here we are.
Now, for the part about Chris Tomlin finding Ryan’s song (the fun part)!
In early March of 2017 Ryan was at a worship night where a man he had never met before came up to him and said, “You had been taking the proper steps of faith, but the next step on the staircase of faith will be so big that only God could pick you up and put you on the next one”. Ryan came home, shared the word with me, we told God thank you for the word and that we trusted him and that was that. At this point, we were still settling into life with a newborn and Ryan was working full-time at a job (given by God, another fun story!) that had nothing to do with music. He was feeling restless as the weight of his calling grew and he felt like he wasn’t making any strides into that direction.
TWO. WEEKS. LATER. Ryan gets a phone call. It’s from a friend who leads worship at the YWAM base in Kona, Hawai’i. He says that he just lead a set that ended with Resurrection Power and a man approached him afterwards. That man was Ed Cash, one of the biggest producers in the Christian music industry. Ed asked our friend about only one song in his set, Resurrection Power. He said it moved him deeply and asked who wrote it.
Re-cap: Ryan gets a word from the Lord about God orchestrating the next big step in his calling , two weeks later Ed HAPPENS to be at the YWAM base where his daughter is and HAPPENS to sit in on a worship set that Resurrection Power is played. Two weeks after that Ryan is at Ed’s house in Nashville recording it.
Fast-forward a few months and this song that Ryan wrote in Isla Vista about 4 years ago is being sung by Chris Tomlin, being released as his first single on a new record. Needless to say, we are in awe. God is our provider and He’s always been good at it. No matter when we had very, VERY little or to this day, He’s always taken care of us. We feel like this song represents the under-dogs, as cheesy as that sounds. This is proof that anything can happen with God. Dream big and God will dream bigger.
& of course, I am so proud of my husband. He had plenty of sleepless, teary nights questioning what and IF anything would ever happen with music but throughout it all, he relentlessly pursued this dream of his even if he was doing it alone. Even if it just looked like MANY quiet nights of intimate worship by himself. You’ve been through the valley, now let’s dance on this mountain top!!!