To begin, I would like to thank my parents for giving me the chance to hijack their blogs for the day. I wanted the opportunity to express my gratitude to all of you for the way that you have prayed and encouraged me and my family throughout the last several months as we’ve dealt with my cancer diagnosis and everything that followed. It’s been an interesting time to say the least and it was always heartening to know that so many people were praying for us.
I also wanted to take this chance to let you all know how much your prayers have helped. God is truly amazing, and he has responded in some amazing ways. My parents have often written about the peace that they’ve seen in me throughout much of this process and, while I am very grateful for their kind words, it wasn’t always that way. While I’d love to be able to say that when I first found out that I had a tumor I immediately began to seek God’s guidance and peace, that wouldn’t be true. The first thing I did when I finally got alone with God was to start complaining. I couldn’t seem to get past the fact that I was only 25 years old and this kind of thing wasn’t supposed to happen. Eventually I got tired of griping though, and hushed up long enough for God to speak. At that point I didn’t hear some booming voice or anything like that (though I’ve always thought that if I did it would sound like James Earl Jones). That said, what happened next was unmistakably God and even though there wasn’t an audible voice, I knew he was there. It’s difficult to describe, but I just felt a sense of peace and comfort wash over me. In that moment, God gave me what I needed to get through what was to come. In the months that followed I would find out that my tumor was in fact cancer, I would have surgery to remove it, and then spend the next six weeks getting radiation. It was through the peace God gave me that night that I was able to get through all of that.
There have been moments over the last few months when that peace has begun to wane. But it’s not because God’s peace stopped being enough—it’s because I stopped relying on it. You see, one of the things I feel that God has taught me through all of this is that I can’t pick and choose when I want to rely on him. I need to stay close to him because I’ll never know when the next hardship will come. But even more than that, I learned that I need to stay close to him because life is just better that way. Before I had to deal with cancer, I spent much of my life viewing my relationship with God as something I needed more than something I wanted. The result was that the only times I really sought God were when I needed him most. He was always faithful to be there for me, but when things got better my relationship with him would go back to being a lower priority. God taught me quite a few things over the last few months, but I think the thing I’m most grateful for is the new found appreciation I have for how great life can be when God is more than just a necessity.
It sounds cheesy to say that the last few months have been life changing but I truly believe that they have been. I don’t think my relationship with God has been this strong in quite some time and I feel like it has also brought my family closer together as well. So many people have been amazing to us over the last few months, from the doctors at Baylor Hospital and MD Anderson to each of you that have prayed for us, and I don’t know that I can ever truly express how thankful I am for all of you. Lastly, I would like to especially thank my wife Candice. She has been one of God’s biggest gifts to me throughout this time and I can’t even begin to count the ways she’s blessed me over the course of these last few months. God is good and the prayers of his people are a powerful thing.
Thank you very much for the role you have played in helping my family and me not only get through all of this, but grow as a result of it.
Sincerely, Ryan Denison