Rachel's Night (week ten)
Folks, there was a llama and an alpaca. Roho and Lincoln and they were perfect. In fact, the whole night was the perfect mix of classy, wonderful, encouraging, and emotional. Over 300 of our closest friends came out to support Rachel and our family at the new High School in Woodland, WA on Saturday. We had incredible food catered by Smokin’ Frank’s, music by D.J. Malinowski, and amazing decor headed up by Roshell Cooper. The silent auction and raffle were a huge success thanks to Malyna Donald and Clairissa Chrisp. The whole night couldn’t have happened without the hard work and leadership from Molly Malinowski and Holly Dewey and all the volunteers that came out that day to bring it together.
Check out some photos of the night, thank you to Erica Ripp Photography for faithfully documenting the event!
Here are a few other photos taken throughout the night by various attendees!
I was voted least likely to choke up if I spoke at the event, so I spent a few minutes sharing both Rachel’s and my heart for the work that God has been doing in our lives and the peace we feel because of our assurance of the righteousness we have been given. If you’re interested in reading the manuscript, check out the bottom of this post, otherwise take a look at the video!
Rachel and I wanted like to share a song that we wrote together a few years ago. It’s about a man who finds simple meaning for his life after some bumps along the way. The song has added meaning for us during this trial as we see how we wear our stories in the creases on our faces and the new grey hairs on our head. The song is called, “Under These Eyes.”
Finally, I wanted to surprise Rachel with a song for two reasons:
There are very few times that truly warrant sappiness. I believe this was one of those and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity.
I love surprising Rachel…even though she hates it.
It was great to have so many people that love Rachel come alongside and show their support, make sure to watch to the end if you weren’t there!
For anyone interested in the full manuscript of the speech at Rachel’s Night, here it is!
Friends, preparing for something like this is so difficult. There’s no 10-step program, weekend conference, or best seller titled, “How to Handle Your Darkest Moment.” But I would like to share with you about our darkest moment, and why we were able to be comforted in the middle of that storm…
We were sitting in the hospital room. Stunned by the news we had just received. Stage IV metastatic colon cancer.
After we asked the doctor to give us a minute, we sat in silence, processing what we had just heard. I still remember the look on Rachel’s face. We were shocked. I looked down and found my bible on the bed next to me. I picked it up and opened to a psalm that seemed unfamiliar. I had read it a hundred times before, but now I looked with fresh eyes. The book of psalms is in the middle of the bible and contains a collection of prayers and songs. I just happened to turn to Psalm 112 and read out loud to Rachel…these are the words I read:
112 Praise the Lord!
Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
who greatly delights in his commandments!
2 His offspring will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches are in his house,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4 Light dawns in the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.
5 It is well with the man who deals generously and lends;
who conducts his affairs with justice.
6 For the righteous will never be moved;
he will be remembered forever.
7 He is not afraid of bad news;
his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.
8 His heart is steady; he will not be afraid,
until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.
In that moment when our world was shaking, these words were a healing balm to our spirits. This was the anchor we needed to weather the storm we were feeling in that moment.
After that, our pastors and their wives – who are also our close friends - Scott, Katie, Doug, Jessica, and Rachel’s parents, Jim and Vicki, arrived at the hospital to be with us. This was a special time we will never forget. We sat, we laughed, we cried…a lot. And we prayed. Hard. We read through Psalm 112 twice more that day.
This is my favorite part of that Psalm: “For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. He Is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD”
The righteous will never be moved. The righteous.
Righteous is often synonymous with “good”. Many people think it’s a measure of the good you do weighed against the bad. For those whose good far outweighs the bad, they could receive the label of “righteous”.
Here’s the problem: I’m not righteous. Neither is Rachel. I can be prideful, stubborn, and angry. Rachel is…well…you should probably just ask her. My point is, if we did weigh our good against our bad, the scale wouldn’t look good for us.
This is why, Romans 3:10 says that, “There is NONE righteous, not even ONE.”
I know we just took a turn down the depressing…but stay with me.
Here’s why we can be encouraged. I am righteous…or rather, I have righteousness…
The apostle Paul says in Philippians 3: For Christ’s sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, (now here’s the important part) not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.
Rachel and I have a confidence that we are “righteous” because of our faith in Christ. This is why we were comforted in that hospital room three months ago.
Finally, you’ve all seen the shirts, we know and believe that He CAN heal cancer. CAN is an important word, not just because it works well for a shirt. It doesn’t say He WILL. And it doesn’t say He MUST.
Our faith believes that God CAN heal…but even that is not our ultimate goal. Don’t get me wrong, that is so HARD to say.
Our greatest goal is to live a life that reveals Christ to those around us…We pray for healing, but more importantly we pray for a life of meaning and eternal impact.