I am a mess and in desperate need of Jesus Continue reading
Many have asked for an update, but we really do not have much forward motion.
We made our way to lake limestone safely a little over 2 weeks ago. We have enjoyed resting and getting to see family and friends. Cory had some tests run to see if he had parasites and they came back clear. We are thankful for that and discouraged because this puts us back at square one with figuring out what is causing his pain and fatigue. The oncologist does not believe the lymphoma is causing these symptoms. So he will not be having Chemo or radiation at this time.
We are so grateful for our church families. Immanuel Baptist in Odessa not only provided a moving truck, they also helped us fill it! We miss them fiercely. While we know moving was best for our family, we grieve the fact that it took us away from our Immanuel family. We’ve wept more than once over this. It was the first church we found together as a married couple, the first place we made “couple friends” and the first place that felt like home in Odessa. We know that God uses the church to declare his glory and Immanuel is a beautiful picture of this.
Our Centerpoint church family has continually poured out love, financial support and friendship. They are a true gift of grace and we are looking forward to reconnecting soon.
Many friends and family have checked on us and offered well wishes and we are blessed by them.
We are often told, “let me know if there’s anything I can do for y’all.” We appreciate everyone’s willingness to help and find this statement difficult at the same time. I’ll be honest I’m prideful and struggle to ask for help of any kind. Sometimes I can’t even think of things we need help with. I often think there are others in more dire circumstances that have very little help, it is very humbling to be in a position of need. So, in an effort to be transparent and grow here are a few answers to questions we’ve been asked:
1. What can we pray for specifically?
Besides healing, our greatest prayer need is for our hearts. Every closed door in regards to Cory’s health stirs up frustration and anxiety. We want to be found faithful and not resist what God is doing in all this. Pray that we would rest in HIM and be content to live each day moment by moment.
2. What do you need financially?
Right now, we have what we need. We are waiting for some hospital bills to come in over the next few weeks. And will have a better picture of that.
3. What else can we do for y’all?
One of the most encouraging things for us right now is having friends & family visit. We have no tv or internet access and cell coverage is spotty so our communication is limited to taking trips in to Waco and while there we’re trying to get as much business done as possible.
4. How are you guys?
We have good and bad days. Cory is tired of feeling unwell, especially getting exhausted after playing with Rylie for only 10min, but grateful to be able to be with his family more. I’ve had some rough days after being up in the night with Rylie and feeling overwhelmed with taking care of everything, thankfully those days are not often and have eased a bit as we’ve adjusted to living at the lake. Rylie loves getting to play outside in this beautiful place! She is becoming quite vocal and busy and her love for people continues to grow, she especially loves babies and college kids right now.
5. What’s the next step? We’re calling everyday to see if his primary care doctor has an opening because his first available appointment is a month from now. Ideally it would be great if we could move to Waco proper, but in order for that to happen we have to find an extremely cost efficient place to rent, so we will be working towards that. Also, the ministry I work for, iGo Global will be having their annual fundraising banquet in Dallas so we plan to attend if at all possible.
This is getting a bit long, so I’ll wrap it up. This week we’ve been reminding ourselves of Proverbs 16:1- “A man plans his way but The Lord determines his steps.” This has been so true for us and we trust that God will continue to be faithful as we walk this road.
The last time we published a blog was about 2 weeks before baby girl made her debut. Now she’s 4 1/2 months old and I’m finally ready to share the story of her arrival and how I became a mother.
As with most births, the process begins long before the baby is actually delivered, they call this labor. For me, labor was completely different than I expected. I went in for my 38 week appointment and I felt terrible: exhausted and woozy and I was already dilated pretty well. For the first time ever, my blood pressure was high so they sent me over to the hospital for observation, my blood pressure was up, down, up and all around so my OB decided it would be best to admit me and see if we could get things going as natural as possible. Even though I wasn’t really prepared to stay at the hospital, we were excited that the process had started.
I was hooked up to all kinds of monitors, and Cory had his couch bed all ready to go as we tried to rest for the work we knew would be coming soon. I didn’t sleep at all that night and by the next morning they checked me and said, you’re progressing fast! I naively thought to myself, we’re going to have this baby by lunch time. Our amazing, kind, generous, faithful, hardworking, irreplaceable Doula, Becky joined us at the hospital and we began the walking, rocking and encouraging labor to really kick in. So here’s the part that most women will want to punch me in the face for, my contractions weren’t bad at all, I don’t think the nurses believed me. Maybe it’s that I was singing along to All Sons & Daughters and Jourdan Johnson (this is seriously my favorite) the whole time and that kept me in the zone, who knows. So after 24 hrs of labor, I was still stuck at the same place I had been when they told me I was progressing fast :/. By this time they figured out that our sweet daughter that had been head down, face down every. single. ultrasound. was now face up and hadn’t moved down at all. So, we began pitocin and all kinds of positions to get her to turn and move down. It was a no go and I was exhausted, even through all the pitocin and blood pressure monitoring the contractions were manageable but I was sooooo tired. So, holding on to hope that I could still have our girl without surgery, we got an epidural and I rested for about 30 minutes.
I can not go any further without stopping to say, my husband is amazing. Most people that know him well know that he is tender hearted and we were both unsure how he would do seeing me in pain. Cory was so awesome not only just holding my hand, but breathing with me, applying counter pressure, affirming me and looking at me with love filled eyes. He was perfect.
They came back to check me and at this point we had been laboring for 36 hours, and they were very concerned about my blood pressure that was rising. The last option to get our daughter here safely was to have a c-section. A c-section was the last thing I wanted but there was nothing else left to do. I was at peace until right before they took me back to surgery and I had to just trust the Lord’s sovereignty & rest that whatever happened would be in his hands, like it always is.
The moment our daughter entered the outside world I calmed down. Our darling girl had been stuck sideways and face up! The first thing I heard was the doctor exclaim with a surprised tone, “Oh she’s beautiful!” followed by her cry, but she only cried until they got her warmed and wrapped up. Cory brought her over to me and I said, “Hi Rylie” and she looked at me with her big soulful eyes, put her head on my cheek and sighed.
I thought my heart would burst. This was THE moment I became a mother and I hope I never, ever forget her content sigh. She knew me, knew the sound of my voice and the beat of my heart, never have I experienced someone knowing me so intimately immediately upon meeting. From that moment on, I have been profoundly changed.
So much of our experience becoming parents has driven Cory & I closer to each other and the feet of Jesus. Being a mother is wonderful, scary, exciting, exhausting, joy-filled and refining. God gave us the best gift in our daughter, she is better than I ever could have dreamed up and because of her Father is shinning a bright light on the corners of my selfish, prideful heart. The only things more transformative for me than becoming a mother has been becoming a wife and follower of Jesus. We had some intense, scary moments in the hours, days and weeks following Rylie’s birth with my health and in every moment I am certain that we were being held by the Holy Spirit and prayers from dear friends & family.
What I want our daughter to know about her birth is that she is worth every minute of labor, delivery and postpartum, and we love her more than our own breaths, but we will never love her as much as Jesus does. “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”- 1 John 4:9-10
For most of my life, I’ve been pretty good at almost everything I have done. In my high school anatomy class, I got a 100. For the class. To prove it was not just a fluke, when I took the class again in college I got a 98 for the class. In UIL Music Memory, I got a perfect score 2 years in a row. I am by no means perfect, but I’ve always been really good at most things I do.
One thing I am definitely not good at is waiting. I have a tendency to show up to events ridiculously early. One reason for this is I hate being late and so I always arrive at least 5 minutes early. The other reason is once I am ready to go, I hate waiting so much I decide to go ahead and leave rather than wait to leave when I need to leave. I just am not good at waiting. Thanks to this negative trait of mine, the last several months have been some of the hardest of my life. In February I made the decision to step down from my job for the good of my family. I have never once regretted the decision because I know that my family and I are better off because of it. However, each week I look at my dwindling bank account and begin adding and subtracting bills and income, it sure makes me want to question what I was thinking back in February.
It is funny. We are always told to seek the Lord’s will. To follow the Lord, and everything else falls into place. No one ever speaks about how following the Lord’s will isn’t always so easy. How sometimes when we are operating directly in the center of His will, we feel abandoned. We feel forsaken. We feel like no one could possibly understand how alone we feel. We feel like God has completely left us alone to flail about in our own insignificance.
As Christians, we know we trust the Lord. I feel it in my heart and soul. I know I am supposed to trust Him, because he sustains me when nothing else can do so. We know all of those things, yet in the midst of our despair, He feels so distant. So hidden. Even though scripture tells us God is not far from us, for “in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:27).
Yet we echo the Psalmist’s words from chapter 13.
How long, O Lord ? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. (Psalm 13: 1-4)
Yes, I know I should trust the Lord and I know He is sufficient for me and my family’s needs. Yet when I get yet another rejection email or letter, and we day by day get closer to our baby girl’s arrival, I cannot help but get more and more anxious about where these provisions are going to come from. It is super hard not to be discouraged as things continue to pile up (I’m pretty sure the job rejections now total over 100).
Funny thing is, for all the pain and heartbreak this 6 months has caused, Crystal and I constantly tell each other we would not trade any of this time for anything. During the last 6 months, I have gotten to spend almost every single moment with my wife. I have gotten to be at every OB appointment, every sonogram, every baby shower. I have not had to miss a single moment of my wife’s pregnancy, and she and I are closer than couples who have been married for many more years than we have. We are experiencing what the scripture writers said about finding the joy in the trials. How the trials we face produce endurance, which leads to a hope which doesn’t disappoint.
At the end of the day, we truly do echo the words of the Psalmist, but not merely the words of abandonment and frustration, but more importantly those of hope and assuredness, which are echoed in Shane & Shane’s song “Psalm 13”
“For I will trust in Your unfailing love
My heart rejoices in Your salvation
I will sing to the Lord
For He has been good to me”
I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:10-13 ESV)
I can say with almost full certainty that almost everyone knows Philippians 4:13. Even if you have never cracked open a Bible, you have probably heard this verse quoted ad nauseum over the last several years. For a time, Tim Tebow even had it plastered on his eye black during every football game he played.
We are all divided on our opinion about this. There are those who love to claim this verse as a battle cry before every activity they undertake. Then there are those who are anxious and eager to reprimand people for claiming this verse before their activities. “Paul is talking about facing persecution and jail” they exclaim. “How dare you apply this verse to something as unimportant as sports!”
I understand. In the grand scheme of life, athletics is really not that important. However, as I was once again reading through the book of Philippians, when I arrived at chapter 4, I saw something that I had never really noticed before as I was blinded by the massive attention seeking light of verse 13. I noticed Paul’s exact words in verse 12. “I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.”
What I noticed is that Paul says that he has learned the secret to facing plenty and abundance. Notice that he doesn’t say that he has learned the secret to facing successes or hardships, he says he has learned the secret to facing all of it. Paul is stating that Christ strengthens him not only when he is facing the trial of persecution and jail and beatings, but also when things are going Paul’s way.
You see, we are just as prone to sin when we are “succeeding” as much as when we are “failing.” Paul was stating his need for Christ to strengthen him to not sin when things are going well, as much as he needs Christ to strengthen him when things are going badly. But do we cry out to Jesus to help us when we are getting the things that we want, or only when we are found in want of something? We are very quick to cry out to Jesus when we are in need, and we are even quick to praise God when things are given to us, but how often do we ask his protection from pridefulness when He gives us good things?
Paul knew better than anyone that pride could very easily sneak in. In fact, he told the Philippians in chapter 3 that if anyone had a reason to boast, he had more because of his lineage and legacy as a Jew. However, Paul knew that all of his credentials were nothing compared to the greatness of what could be obtained in Jesus Christ. So when Paul says that he has learned the secret of facing abundance, he is saying that he has realized that regardless of the circumstances of his life, he needs Christ.
I pray that we reach this same realization today. God has given us far beyond anything we could ever imagine. It is in these times that we must remember that we still need Jesus. Sin is not only crouching at the door when our world is falling apart, but also when we feel like we are on top of the world.
We truly can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. We can overcome adversity, but we can also overcome success. The Lord can lift us up out of the mire of our broken lives, but he can also keep us humble in the wake of our greatest successes.
Cory here, and I thought I would take some time to share with you about our baby’s new name. For those of you not in the know, we have decided our baby’s name will be
Rylie Jean Schibler
Now I’m sure that if you know us at all, you know that I am very happy about my ability to write and think creatively, but I have no shame in sharing with you this was nowhere near a creative endeavor on our part. As we were driving home one day, I glanced to my left and saw an O’Reilly auto parts sign, and I spoke up to Crystal and said “what about Rylie?”
Sidebar: the last few months have been pretty difficult for us. I stepped away from my job in February, at the prompting of the Spirit and wise counsel from those we most trust spiritually. We didn’t have any other job lined up, but we knew it was time to move on. This was an easy decision to make from a spiritual aspect, but from an economic standpoint it was terrifying. That has only been amplified by the last few months as I’ve received email after email explaining to me how they had gone with someone “more qualified.”
However, God has been so good to us. I have never felt more provided for and loved than I have during this time. I might not always show it, but it’s true. The longer I am without a job, the longer Crystal and I get to see how God provides for us. Some weeks it’s been through mowing a lawn. One week it was through helping shape reclaimed fence wood into picture frames. And in small little increments from week to week it’s from teaching some dear friends’ son how to play the drums.
I hate not having a job. It’s ridiculously frustrating and I am more than qualified to do 90% of the jobs I’ve been rejected from, but for us in this moment life is so good. I have a wife that I love dearly, and I have a beautiful baby girl who is going to be here before we know it. And the reason that life is so good is because we constantly remind ourselves that God is sufficient for us. Because of him, we need not fear the unknown, or the unexpected.
The name Rylie means courageous. The name Jean, which we have chosen as a tribute to Crystal’s mom, means God is gracious. I had no idea when I mentioned the name Rylie that we were choosing a name which speaks directly to our circumstances. Our new daughter’s name literally means “be courageous for God is gracious.”
It is my prayer that we will display that to our daughter. That the meaning of her name will be lived out in her home. I pray if you are reading this and facing a situation which is very painful and fear-inducing to you, that you would be comforted by these words. And for those of you in that place, I’ll leave you with the words that God gave to Joshua in a time of great fear for Israel.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 ESV)
May The Lord bless and keep you, and remind you of His goodness, and His sufficiency for you.