A Christmas Update from Ryan’s Family

To bring you some joy, here is the latest letter from Ryan’s family with progress notes.  Folks, your prayers for Ryan and his family are being answered.  It’s a privilege to be let into the workings of a family dealing with one member who struggles so hard with same-sex attractions, let alone one that trusts in Jesus so beautifully.  I hope it encourages you like it does me, and that you’ll spend some time this holiday lifting up prayer for Ryan and his family.
Thanks, folks.
Saturday Night, December 20, 2008

To our dearest friends and family,

First of all, please forgive me for not letting you know, before now, of how God answered your prayers for us over Thanksgiving weekend. He was so faithful to us, and we are so grateful to each of you for praying…the days since have gone by in a blur, and it is hard to believe we are just a few days away from celebrating the incarnation…the incredible mystery of God Himself entering this broken, messy world in which we live as the person of Jesus Christ. What a hope it is, indeed, that “…we have a High Priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses, since He has been tempted in every way, as we are, yet is without sin.”

God’s timing was perfect in Rob and I being with Ryan on the Saturday after Thanksgiving! We didn’t know how we could make our visit to Vancouver work, with Riley away at Winter Advance, and Larissa not wanting to stay home alone…but God was so faithful! He provided a check in the mail from a completely unexpected source…a blessed young couple who, before they were married, were counselors at Mt. Hermon to Ryan and Lindsey. It was just enough to pay for us to stay overnight in Vancouver, so that we were able to drop off Larissa to the two families who welcomed Larissa into their cabin for the holiday weekend (another huge answer to prayer), then do the 3 ½ hour drive to Washougal, get some sleep that Friday night at the hotel where we stayed while Ryan was in the hospital (they even gave us the same great hospital rate, because they remembered us!), and then we woke up Saturday morning rested, had a good breakfast at the hotel (included, thank you, Lord!), and went to spend the day with Ryan.

What a blessing it was that we were there that particular day…because that very day Ryan found out that the couple he was living with were breaking up, and he was soon to have no place to live. He started to panic, as he realized he was once again homeless, but we were there to reassure him that together we could make a plan, and that he did not have to worry. So we spent the afternoon brainstorming, and by the time we left, he had decided that he was going to admit himself into a rehab program up in our area to do some additional recovery work, and so that we could help him get medical care – we just had to decide which one. Another huge God thing…though we had to leave by 9 p.m. Saturday to make the long drive home, his wonderful, wonderful counselor from Youth Eastside Services, who just “happened” to be in Portland that weekend, called that night and arranged to drive to Washougal to pick Ryan up for breakfast on her way back to Seattle the next morning. She and Ryan had a 3 hour long unofficial counseling appointment the very next day, during which she really encouraged Ryan in his plans to move back up near us to admit himself into a recovery program.

So, on December 5th, Rob drove down to pick Ryan up and bring him back up to Kirkland, just 20 minutes or so from our house, where Ryan admitted himself to Lakeside-Milam Recovery Center. We together selected Lakeside so that we could begin getting Ryan the medical care he so badly needed, since he had had no follow-up care after his discharge from the hospital on November 18th. So, in the past twenty days, we have been incredibly busy getting Ryan to doctor appointments, participating in the family program (3 times a week) at Lakeside, and preparing to reunite our family for Christmas Day, when the six of us will be together again for the first time since Christmas 2006. Both Larissa and Riley have already visited Ryan for the first time, and God’s grace covered their visits in great abundance. Each of them went with us at different times…and each felt really good about how their first time seeing Ryan again after so long went. What a huge answer to prayer! And God gave both Riley and Riss the ability to shower Ryan with mercy and love…and he responded so well. Ryan wasn’t expecting any of us to spend Christmas Day with him, so the fact that we are all coming is an enormous gift to him…especially when he is struggling with such loneliness and isolation, due to his hearing loss and, consequently, increased depression.

Our current prayer requests are many…but we’ll try to narrow them down to the ones that seem most pressing on our minds and hearts right now.

  • As Ryan is working on the 12 steps, he is really battling with surrendering to God. He told me yesterday that he is struggling with his anger at God and his doubts, and is frustrated that the recovery process demands that you must surrender to your Higher Power, which, he knows, is God. Please pray that God will continue to seek Ryan out, and to break down Ryan’s defenses and walls, until Ryan comes to a place of repentance and surrender.
  • Please pray that our insurance will cover Ryan’s enormous hospital bills, as well as – and this would be a miracle – the “listening devices” (what used to be known as hearing aids) that he desperately needs. Please also pray that Rob and I will trust the Lord, and not be overwhelmed as we think ahead of all the costs for the treatment of Hepatitis C, Ryan’s neurology follow-up appointments and brain scan, etc. Right now between the grief of coming to grips with Ryan’s hearing loss, the Hep C diagnosis, the brain concerns, on top of all Ryan’s problems before he had the seizures in November….and all the financial concerns, we are a bit stressed, and are needing to go back to FAITH 101 for a refresher course! But then we remember all the times, over the past 8 years of struggle, that God has been faithful in the darkest of times…when He has made a way when there was no way…and we are encouraged to remember the TRUTH of God’s character rather than focusing on the facts of our situation.
  • Please pray that God will meet Lindsey, Riley and Larissa and will give them exactly what they need as they each take great risks in reaching out to Ryan again in forgiveness, grace and love. They each love him dearly, but each have been hurt deeply by Ryan’s actions while he was using, and they each have wounds that need to heal, and trust that needs to be rebuilt. We realize that for some of you, without knowing all the details, this is difficult to understand, but as we have learned more about addiction, we have learned that siblings can be some of the biggest victims of addiction in a family, so we all need recovery, redemption, and healing. Praise God that our Lord is The Redeemer and Healer, and we put our hope in Him!
  • Ryan will, in the next week, be making the decision about whether to move into an Oxford House (which is a clean and sober house with strict rules, but where he’ll have to work or go to school, and make a new network of friends in the AA community), or enter into the 12 month program at Union Gospel Mission on Capitol Hill (the other Union Gospel Mission recovery program – the one that is certified with the state – has a minimum age of 21, and Ryan will only be 20 on January 14). Please pray that God will lead him to the place where God can best draw Ryan to Himself, and bring Ryan to a place of surrender to Him.
  • Please pray that even though we have had no time to buy gifts, or to prepare for Christmas in the traditional ways, that God will bless this Christmas in a unique and special way as we gather together as a family at Lakeside-Milam, in our own celebration of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ…because He came to live among us, “we can approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

This weekend, as the snow continues to fall during this incredibly cold and snowy week in Seattle, and Riley and I sit nestled up together by the fire (Rob and Larissa are in Colorado for a Robertson family reunion, and Lindsey doesn’t return home until Monday night), I am overwhelmed with gratitude for each of you who continue to lift us up in prayer. You have no idea what it means to us…that we are not alone in this. There have been several days in the past few weeks where Rob and I have broken down and just sobbed…and then someone will drop us a note, or God will quietly remind us that He is working, and the Body of Christ is standing with us, lifting us up before the Father…and it helps us to remember that in ALL things God is working for our good, to make us more like Him…and that He is faithful and good. It reminds us of all the prayers He has answered over the years…of all the memorials we have to His power and His work in our lives. Your prayers have made a huge difference over the years…there have been so many miracles, it would take an entire book to recount them. Our family calls them “manna”…and God has provided so much manna, the Israelites have nothing on us!! J So thank you for persevering with us through this long, dark valley…and not giving up on praying. As the verse below reminds us, perseverance produces character, and character, hope…and the kind of Hope that God gives does not disappoint!! AMEN!

With much love for each of you this Christmas,

Linda, for the rest of the Robertson family


~ by WriterRand on December 25, 2008.

One Response to “A Christmas Update from Ryan’s Family”

  1. Linda, I would like to help in some small way with your finances. Contact me (Craig) directly at wardrobe@hotmail.com. I am praying for all of you.

    God bless, Craig

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