Ray and I only dated for a brief time before we knew we’d want to spend our lives together. Although Ray brought me home to meet his parents during our whirlwind romance, I’m sure they thought we were crazy. (However, my first introduction to my future father-in-law, Pete, was a YouTube video of him colorfully narrating his preparation of Rocky Mountain oysters… Hello Pot, meet Kettle.)
Pete is an American cowboy and my mother-in-law, Fawn, is the beautiful Native American bride that he managed to capture the heart of. They raised their family on ranches in the West, instilling deep-rooted values of honesty, integrity, and perseverance. Ray’s experiences in his youth shaped him into the man I fell in love with.
After we were engaged, I remember Pete telling me that he did like me for his son, and that I’d “better pack a lunch.”
To me, that meant that I’d better be ready to ride with Ray and his family for the long haul – through thick and thin, through the laughs, cries, and everything in between. That was 13 years ago, and let me tell you: I am so grateful for all of it.
The last year has been a furnace of affliction, but the furnace contains treasures I’ve never seen. The refiner’s fire – the white hot heat of hardship and trial – is the means by which God purifies the gold of our faith (1 Peter 1:7).
I’ve learned and grown so much on my own walk, but I know the circumstances surrounding Ronin’s hospital days have just as much of an impact on the hearts of grandmas and grandpas, uncles and aunts, sisters and cousins. Our whole family has been strengthened as the Lord continues to shepherd us through the storm. And in answer to our highest prayers, He’s been using this all for His glory.
My cowboy dad recently put efforts into rustling up various fundraising efforts for Ronin’s medical expenses. He’s set us up with a GoFundMe, and we’re overwhelmed with gratitude for the generosity of others. Within the cowboy community, there are also multiple auctions taking place on behalf of Ronin. Master craftsmen, silversmiths, engravers, and rope-braiders have pitched in thousands of dollars worth of beautiful cowboy gear.
Earlier this week, while managing these fundraising efforts, Dad said he tried to track all of the times Ronin’s circumstances had brought about praise for God – specifically for His Son, Jesus Christ. But the number was so high that he lost count. Jesus is receiving glory, honor, and praise time and time again. Our hearts are full and our eyes are leaking.
Here are some of the beautiful pieces currently up for auction. Thank you to all the cowboys, cowgirls, dudes, and city folk that have been God’s hands and feet. Our family is surrounded in love.