GROW God Reveals Our Way

Episode 006 - Christian Ryan: A Hero In The Darkness

February 05, 2024 Angelic Gibson Season 1 Episode 6
GROW God Reveals Our Way
Episode 006 - Christian Ryan: A Hero In The Darkness
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Dive into Christian Ryan's spiritual journey, evolving from a cultural Catholic background to a devoted follower of Jesus. His narrative spans disciplined days at West Point to the harsh reality of Army life, culminating in an unwavering faith guiding his every step. Explore the complexities of embracing faith and overcoming intellectual hurdles with an open heart. Through Chris's perspective, witness the impact of key individuals like his wife Philicia and the Gibson family on his faith journey. The episode underscores the transformative power of Scripture and meaningful conversations, highlighting that the heart often leads where the mind struggles.

In the conclusion, the focus shifts to the uplifting and sustaining power of faith amid the challenges of Chicago's streets, where law enforcement faces daily despair and division. Chris opens up about the struggle with infertility and the eventual conception of their son Noah, reinforcing the message that God's timing is divine, and His faithfulness is steadfast. For those grappling with waiting or life's difficulties, remember: God's work consistently weaves a tapestry of blessings, often concealed until the moment of revelation.

Speaker 1:

Thank you for tuning in to this episode of Grow where God reveals our way. I'm Anjali Gibson, your host, and I can't wait to explore the vast riches of God's Word with you. So don't forget to subscribe and stay tuned for upcoming episodes packed with biblical teachings, inspirational stories and a fresh perspective on the world around us. Now let's get started on this beautiful journey. May God bless you abundantly. Hello everyone, welcome back to the Grow podcast where God reveals our way. Thank you, listeners, for tuning in. Today we are going to hear from a hero who is hidden in the throes of darkness. That may seem pretty dramatic, but it's so true and by the time we get to the close of this podcast, I am 100% confident that you are also going to agree with me that he truly is a hero. Not only is he a hero, he is my beloved son-in-law. He is married to our eldest daughter, felicia. So, without further ado, it is my privilege and honor to bring onto the show Chris Ryan. Hello, chris.

Speaker 2:

Hello, miss Anjali, thanks for having me, thanks for having me.

Speaker 1:

It's so good to have you on, and you know, chris and I have a very good relationship. We like to joke around with each other. We also are the people in the family that can sit outside and talk about God for hours on end and the family just stingers at us and goes here we go again, right, Chris?

Speaker 2:

We like to dive deep. Yeah, definitely yeah. Everyone just walks away because they know.

Speaker 1:

We've called deep, but one of the things that Chris was sharing with me before we got on this call today was he's like I don't know if I'm going to be able to call you Angelique, and so we'll forgive him if he doesn't call me Angelique because I'm well known in the family as Anjali, especially by my son-in-laws. So you have a free pass to call me Anjali today, Chris, okay.

Speaker 2:

All right, that's great. I'll do my best, though. Keep it professional, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Keep it professional All righty. Well, I know we have so much to unpack here because you have just walked through so much in your life, but just to kind of tee up for the listeners, just who is Chris Ryan, beyond my amazing son-in-law, who I'm so blessed to have in our family, who are you?

Speaker 2:

Who am I? Yeah, well, hey, thanks for having me on. I definitely feel honored, especially for those listeners. If you've already heard the episodes from the previous Grow podcast episodes, I'm very honored to be on today and to be included amongst your episodes and your guests you've already had. But yeah, it's your question. Yeah, I'm Chris. Christian as some people call me, and I think also ironically, it's my name, but it's also my identity as well as a Christian, a follower of Christ as well. It's kind of my core of my identity amongst many hats that I wear, right as a now soon to be father, husband, a son-in-law right as you kind of introduced an army veteran and a law enforcement officer. So many many hats, but the core of it, right, is a follower of Christ.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I love that, and would you say that you've always followed Christ your entire life?

Speaker 2:

So there's a difference just to clarify for the listeners.

Speaker 1:

It's very intentional to say the word follow, and so we can believe in Christ all day long, but we may not follow him. So the question is specifically follow him, and what does that mean to you?

Speaker 2:

And I'll even add, on top of that too, there's a difference of knowing who he is, knowing of him. Because I would say, if you asked me, I would say, yes, I've known of Jesus Christ my entire life. But have I followed him? Certainly not. And just kind of unpack that a little more right.

Speaker 2:

So grew up in central Illinois, springfield for those of you that maybe you're familiar with the Simpsons. Like the Springfield, or I, like I'm a big history guy, so it's Abraham Lincoln's hometown right before he was president of the United States. So grew up in Springfield. I was super fortunate to have grown up around my whole community that I grew up in my family, my extended family, my grandparents were all believers. They were Catholics. We grew up in that community, I grew up in that community, but I like to call it like culturally Catholic.

Speaker 2:

So I grew up going to Bible school and Sunday school. We went to church. On Sundays could be quick, you know, 58 minutes of Catholic Mass in and out, real quick. I do credit my parents for trying to bring us up in the faith as best they knew. I got to see an amazing example of my grandparents who were very faithful and faith-filled followers of Christ and they truly loved him and believed in Jesus. But that said, though in many ways culturally Catholic, where I was not practicing I didn't have a full understanding of the gospel message. I certainly, as I was moving from middle school to high school to college and we'll talk about this more and unpack this more I certainly was not following Christ and didn't fully understand my beliefs and kind of what all that meant who God was, what the gospel message was, et cetera. So in many ways, yes, kind of knew of him but was not following him.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and so what was the crossing point, or when did God start to kind of tug on your heart, and when did you realize he was pursuing you, to take you deeper with him?

Speaker 2:

I think, looking back, there's a lot of touch points I could point to my time in college and again for more context, grew up in Illinois, went to Catholic High School, went away to West Point United States Military Academy for college in New York. After college, the four years of military school, joined the Army. So in college, in the Army, as a young adult, young man, a lot of touch points were just what Jesus was extending his hand and I was firmly running the opposite direction. I didn't know it at the time but I was seeking my identity and other things. So I was putting my, my identity and my physical accomplishments, my academic accomplishments, my military accomplishments and, to be fully honest too fully transparent like.

Speaker 2:

I achieved a lot of success as a young man. Was on the triathlon team at West Point, was an all-American national champion Like competed like some of the highest levels collegially as a triathlete, was team captain Very like skilled physically, militarily, like top of my class in the sense of like military achievements. So when I went on and graduated was an infantry officer top of my like graduating classes for infantry basic school and like kind of stood above my peers in that sense. But as I was achieving more and more success. I was just like emptier and emptier on the inside. And just to continue to unpack that a little more, my first duty station across the country, away from my family, really for the first time, away from my friend group, not going to church, not in any way, like in any concept, like trying to surround myself with believers or pursuing Christ or any of that at all. I had again, still at this point, as like a 22, 23 year old, like very little understanding of like the gospel and hanging out with a lot of guys that were like we were going to the strip clubs, going out to the bars, pursuing women, putting our things, our identity, and like our rank and in our like successes.

Speaker 2:

So it's an interesting thing too, and again, stop me if I'm rambling here, but in the military you, especially in the army, you wear your, you literally wear your rank on your chest. It's like in the center of your chest US Army patch, your last name is the other patch, and then you have all of your units, your accomplishments, your badges, like are on your chest and on your arms. So you can look at somebody and it's usually a false or misconception, right, but you can look at somebody and like size them up and say this is what you've done, this is who you are. That I can. I can pick you apart in 10 seconds by reviewing kind of what's on your outward it's literally the definitely outward identity, if you want to call it that like that's where I put all of my, my stake in and that's where I put confidence in.

Speaker 2:

That was. This is my identity. Like, I have to get these, I have to do certain things, I have to check these boxes, I have to follow the certain path that ultimately it was leading to destruction. So I literally was putting my identity and outward appearances and outward material achievements that were just met, nothing at the end of the day and you know, just making bad decisions, poor to life decisions, poor choices. I was totally isolated by myself, you know. Yet I had a friend group, but we're making bad choices on the weekends and I was just emptier and emptier on the inside as the years went on, as a young adult.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that resonates so much with me in from a different lens. I mean, I've shared before that I grew up in a lot of pain and suffering in my childhood emotional pain and suffering.

Speaker 1:

And so I would say, when I entered adulthood even you know, late teens, early twenties I did not have confidence in my own capability because I didn't. I didn't know who I was in Christ, similar to what you're describing. You didn't know who you were Christ, but you in Christ, but you put your confidence in your achievements. I didn't really have a lot of achievements to hang my hat on, and so my battle was more how do I start to find confidence in Christ when I don't have confidence in myself? So I just wanted to highlight that for the listeners, because oftentimes, when we're coming to know Christ, or even we already have a deep relationship with Him, but God calls us to grow with Him every day, and so where we think our confidence is today in Him, there's gonna be something that hits us in life for sure that's gonna test that confidence. And so, whether you're a new believer listening today, or maybe you're just trying to figure out who God is or you know God very well, it's, the question really starts to become where's your confidence? Is your confidence in yourself and your achievements, or are you just lacking confidence period because you don't really know truly who you are? So, chris, I love that you're being honest and authentic about what you've kind of struggled through in your life and I know you're gonna share more and just public service announcement to the listeners. I don't really know what Chris is gonna share today. So here I am, his mother-in-law, and I'm gonna be learning right alongside of you.

Speaker 1:

But that is what's called doing life together, when you can truly share and lift the arms of each other and just keeps burning each other on. So you were putting your confidence in college and even probably coming out of college, putting your confidence in success, in your achievements, and I can testify I have a tremendous amount of respect for you. You do not waste minutes in a day. You are a go-getter, you're gonna get it done and anything you touch you do with excellence and I've had the experience of now seeing you couple that with your walking with the Lord. So it's excellence with the spirit of humility as well, which is really cool, but really just kind of click into. What did it take Like? What was the journey? What did God have to break you of so you could start to walk fully in Him?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's good. I think you're a phrase that are like breaking. That resonates with me because that's really how I think that happened for me. I think I had so much ego, false identity, and the scripture that really resonates with me is Ezekiel 3626. And I'm gonna get kind of paraphrase that talking about it's this like heart of stone, right, and God is gonna remove that heart of stone and give a heart of flesh to people of Israel. So that was me. I had that heart of stone, that heart stone needed to be broken and removed and in place, a heart of flesh needed to be put in there. And for me I just was.

Speaker 2:

As I'm on this journey of like ego and putting my confidence right and other material things, material successes, my identity is tied up in my achievements in the military I think I needed. Now I can look back in hindsight and where I saw like I failed and I failed again and I suddenly did not get promoted ahead of my peers and I didn't get the job that I thought I deserved and I didn't pass the school and my friends were abandoning me or leading me to places I didn't really wanna go and I just I had no firm foundation to fall back on. So when my feet got swept out from underneath me, I just fell apart and that led to anxiety and it led to fear and it was coupled with, just like overwhelming emotions and that led to depression and I'm isolated by myself and it led to a darker, deeper pit and I just and I didn't know where to look. And there were so many nights, you know, and it's 22, I was like, oh yeah, like an army, you know, army infantry officer.

Speaker 2:

I can look back at nights where, like I'm just was in my apartment, crying by myself, nowhere to reach out to, and I can think of a couple of times, and one in specific instance, of suicidal ideations and a pretty close attempt. And, thank God, looking back now too, I can think of, I know, I know like Jesus was with me that night, there would have been no way I would have survived without them and just the right people reaching out to me in that moment my just utter collapse and just falling apart. So it's kind of bringing back full circle here, right, it's like I had that heart of stone and I had no under nothing to fall back on. I just, from the slightest wave, we're tossing me to and fro. I just fell apart and thank God in a way now for it. Right, like I thank God for that, like, thank God, he was working at me and there were so many touch points where Jesus was reaching out his arms for me throughout years and years and years and finally, like started to hear his voice and hear the whisper and see his arm reaching for me and saying, hey, I am that firm foundation, come find rest in me.

Speaker 2:

But it was a process too, and we can talk about that some more. But it wasn't just like this one lightning bolt moment where I was broken and then suddenly I had it all figured out too. It's been such a journey and we've been apart. You've been a huge part of that too, and we can kind of talk about that some more. But that's great too. God's been working in me and through me and it's been amazing, you know, and. But it's been a journey as well.

Speaker 1:

You know, that's exactly what was going through my mind when you were sharing. What you were sharing is did you have an aha moment? Did the lightning kind of strike you, as you described? And the answer was no. It was this, this slow process, and sometimes we want, we live in a quick fix. You know quick fulfillment culture, so it's important for us to figure this out fast, but God is slow and intentional to really get into our hearts sometimes. So talk to me about that. What was the process? What did you walk through? How did you see it? Who were the people? How did you come? And I also think it's important to kind of put the context around this You're an intellectual, you're highly intelligent. You have to understand the why behind everything. One plus one always has to equal to there's, and you know it's not always that way with God.

Speaker 1:

God has a lot of gray in there. So, intellectually speaking, you know you can talk about God. From an intellectual perspective. It may not lead to a place of faith, but how did it all start to come together for you? Because I know, not just emotionally did you go through this journey, finding the Lord, but even intellectually you were challenging a lot of things. So just talk about, talk about that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's good. I think now in hindsight I can look back and say, yes, I always knew of Jesus right, and I do in a lot of ways. I can fall back and I always fell back to like I know Bible stories, like I was raised Catholic and I know Joan of the whale and I know of you know generally Jesus's ministry, I know of the Gospels, et cetera, et cetera. But also just from a place of ignorance, like I had so many misconceptions about the Bible, about Christianity, about religion and faith. A lot of it was from ignorance and you know a common. I think I knew enough to be dangerous.

Speaker 2:

That was the problem. I knew enough to kind of keep people at arm's length and I could say, yeah, like you know, oh, I know, I know this, I know I shouldn't be doing that and kind of push people away. But that doesn't apply to me. Like I have my own personal relationship. Maybe viewers or listeners or Angelique, you've heard of that too. It's like, oh, I have my own personal relationship. Like I don't need to read the Bible, like that's written by men, I can even trust it anyway. Like that was my kind of hesitancy that I had. So I kind of went through this process of knowing as God was breaking me and I kind of needed to be broken. I was wrestling with right, this intellectual Barriers that I had in place and misconceptions that I had in this ignorance that I had to For years. So I can kind of point back to like 2015, 2016, when I kind of fell to my deepest pit and in many ways, I thank God that I met Felicia when I did, who's now my wife, and thank God, I met the Gibson family and you and I we've we've wrestled and we've talked about you know various topics and like books have been shared and as I read the Bible cover-to-cover for the first time, it's just like reading it through a whole world view, as like God was suffering my heart and working in me and and like that's the thing, you can be the smartest person in the world.

Speaker 2:

Right, and I heard this expression, you know this given by a pastor one time. It's like you. We could sit there all day and I can talk to you and all the apologetics in the world and present to you a case for Christ and at the end of the day, you still might not believe that it's a heart posture and there just has to be a level of Openness to be, you know, willing to hear the gospel message. And you're never gonna, it's never. Two plus two is never gonna get. Get you to four to get you to Christ. And I'm rambling a little bit here, but it's only an intellectual focus. You'll never get there. The heart, posture and God's you know, if you're not calling out to Jesus and he's not calling out to you, you're never gonna. You're never gonna get there on your own.

Speaker 1:

Amen. It's so good, though, because so many of us want to intellectually explain it, whether we have to be right in our faith to get somebody else to believe, or With a person who's just refusing to believe. It's really just when we talk about the relationship of Christ. It's a relationship, and it starts with a heart.

Speaker 1:

A heart's always engaged, and if the heart's not engaged, then game over conversations over, and that's one thing. It took me a long time to learn this lesson, but God, jesus is the author and finisher of faith, not Angelique Gibson. So I could want the truth that I have for so many people, but at the end of the day, my job is to live by it and be in relationship with Christ and Give testimony where he sees fit and let him do the rest, so super powerful. It's a hard thing, though, because there's a lot of people in our life that we love and cherish that may not be walking with Christ, and it's a hard thing to stand by. When you have tasted and seen the goodness of the Lord, you want everyone to taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Speaker 1:

You know, I want to pivot for a little bit, because one of the things that I admire about you is Obviously the journey that you've walked through, and you've only shared the tip of the iceberg today, but you've been through a lot. You we've all made poor choices in life. You've made your fair share. It got you to a place of loneliness, and you felt pretty separated from God. The God in all his love says there's nothing that can separate us from his love and he Waves you and pulls you back to him and I just love that image of him doing that with you. And I think what's equally as beautiful is I've had the privilege of having a front row seat to your spiritual development, to your spiritual growth with him.

Speaker 1:

And One of the thing that amazes me and I actually had a fear when you and Felicia flew the nest and went to Chicago, because you all were living here in Charlotte Charlotte area and you, you know, broke the news that you were taking our Baby girl away I was not happy with you, still not happy with you, but that's another conversation. But anyway, you've been in Chicago for a few years now and you were going for a job that Was going to expose you To the pits of hell on earth. It doesn't get uglier than your job, and one of the things that I was fearful of, just as a motherly figure in your life, was you were, you know, nasa and your your walk with Christ. It was early stage for you and I was fearful that the darkness was gonna take away your hope, that it was gonna zap your confidence that God is a good God, and I will never forget I don't know if you remember this, but I remember. One of my departing words to you is don't let the darkness get you like.

Speaker 1:

Keep your heart soft for the Lord. So, despite the evil that you see, god is still a good God. Do you remember that conversation? Yeah, yeah okay, and you've done that. So what I would love for you to share is what is this job that exposes you to the pits of hell? Pure evil. And how do you and I'm gonna, you know, I'm asking you a lot of questions, so it's okay.

Speaker 2:

How do you?

Speaker 1:

keep your heart soft in the face of evil every day.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's good. Yeah, just for context for the listeners from a I've left. I left the army a couple years ago and now, yeah, the move from Charlotte to Chicago is for a new job. I'm in a federal law enforcement officer. So yeah, as a caveat, quick caveat to the stories I'm gonna go share and the opinions that I have they're my personal opinions. I'm not speaking on behalf of any Agency or department or anyone in particular. It's just my personal thoughts and views on it. So, yeah, I've been in law enforcement now for almost five years and, as people can imagine, chicago is extremely challenging.

Speaker 2:

There's many, many battles from many different directions that are happening here, internal on external, and it just in Get to give like concrete examples, like things I couldn't even imagine. We moved here before COVID right. Like that affected everybody in many ways. But with COVID Right came the isolation that my wife and I had. We did never really got firmly planted with a church right before COVID hit. We were only here for a few months in the city, but then with that from my job, the George Floyd riots and the protests that were happening in Chicago, we witnessed just unbelievable amounts of destruction in the city a year after that and then that led to let's see the January 6. So that was a whole other piece that we got to play with the fallout from January 6. The following year after that we had for those that are, as a quick reminder of his Highland Park it's a northern suburb of Chicago there was the mass shooting that occurred on 4th of July, so that they're getting fall out with that at that tragic day as well had a hand to play in that. And on and on and on. So day in, day out, there's just a battle Fighting and you just be kind of the worst in the best of people as well. I've been invited into people's homes to do interviews and various things and you see the brokenness, you see the poverty, you see the loss, you see just the despair that people have and it is challenging. It's challenging to Do not.

Speaker 2:

I want to fall back to like I want to show the gospel message is now like my, my default and I have to maintain a level of professionalism In that moment, because it's not maybe the case that I'm. You know why I'm there for that moment. It's maybe not appropriate, but offering a kindness and a respect and giving them dignity as we are engaging in conversation, but I think, to kind of answer your full question here, I think, particularly in Chicago this is kind of my thoughts on it there is a covering of darkness over the city. There are pockets of light, there are really faithful Christians, there's amazing churches here, but there's a darkness over the city and there's a brokenness. There is evil in the city and people are running towards that evil and saying things that are in the name of truth, but in reality it's full darkness and I fall back to.

Speaker 2:

The only answer that makes sense is pointing to Jesus. If I had my faith in now I say this, and I have great bosses and I have great co-workers. But if I'd put my faith in my bosses or in the institution or in the court system or in any other form of government or politician, 10 out of 10 times I'm going to be let down, and I've had so many let downs in this city and I've seen so many failures. The only thing that makes sense for me, because it's so dark, is pointing to God and saying that at the end of the day he's going to be victorious and I have to run to him and I have to seek shelter within him, otherwise it's just going to break me and it's too much for me risk to handle by myself. I just can't handle it all myself.

Speaker 1:

That's so good. Well, I can only imagine the evil. And when you said you know, in the name of truth, we're running towards the darkness, it reminds me that God told us very specifically in the hour that we're in, they will call evil good and good evil.

Speaker 1:

And so we're not to be surprised that the dark is getting darker, but then in parallel, god's light is starting to come forward more and more and more, because the light breaks up the darkness. So I can imagine, as you're going through, some of the things you've just described, twofold. I have a two part question. One is there's many people who have a perspective right now that law enforcement can be bad and it's evil. But law enforcement in itself is evil and so not everyone shares that perspective. But certainly there's been a narrative that's been running through our country for quite some time that some share that viewpoint.

Speaker 1:

How do you get up and do what you do every day with a good portion of the population fighting against you? Protecting them?

Speaker 2:

Couple cups of coffee. It's a challenge. It's a struggle every day, it really is, and again it's just like it's falling back to God. I don't know if I have a clear cut answer for that, because it's such a challenge every day, but I've seen. I've seen, though, breakthroughs that have come outside of my day to day responsibility or my authorities. And then give a couple examples. I've had an opportunity now where we have an informal men's group that we meet on Wednesdays at work and that has led to where we go and pray over other officers and other departments at their roll call, which is kind of like the meeting they have before they go out onto the streets. So we've gotten out to opportunities like me being in law enforcement as open doors to other law enforcement officers to pray with them, to pray over them. That's awesome.

Speaker 2:

I've had conversations at work with individuals and I used to be really hesitant, scared as well, to say, oh, hey, chris, what did you do this weekend? Oh, I went to church yesterday. Or hey, I'm going to a Bible study Wednesday night. You know, do you want to join me? I used to be kind of shy away from those type of conversations, but as I found my confidence in Christ. I'm not really shy about sharing that.

Speaker 2:

And then I've seen where doors have been opened. To now, I've had conversations with coworkers and they've had questions and we've had to. We've gotten to pray together, we've gotten to have tough life conversations and we've gotten to talk about Jesus together, which is amazing. I can't singularly fix all the problems in Chicago or in the world or in the country, but in those small moments like just walking with Christ, like being faithful to him, pursuing him daily, there have been doors that have been opened that have given me small opportunities to just engage with people and it's been incredible. So I'm really, really thankful for those, those opportunities and like keeping on my mindset on that, just like walking in truth, walking in his footsteps that were crisis guiding me, it's open some pretty awesome doors.

Speaker 1:

That is so good. So I heard you say a few things that you lean into community. You've just naturally, organically I even almost heard you say created a community within the area that you serve our country. So your, your Wednesday groups, your prayer sessions, etc. When and this is not a matter of have you had an opportunity to have your faith tested or tried? Of course you do every day, probably. So would it be fair to say you know leaning into your community and what else? What other strategies do you employ to kind of show up your faith or guard your faith? So when you're tested, yeah, go ahead.

Speaker 2:

I'm such a pragmatist and for me it's like what can I do? Like physically, every day, and like for me it means I get up an extra 15 minutes early and like I have to open the Bible and I have to, and I've written out like I get really scattered with my prayers. So I got actually written out like different buckets, if you want to calm, of people that I pray for and if I don't. I noticed where, if I don't, a couple of days in a row, don't open the Bible or I'm not praying, my heart changes a bit. I get a little grumpier, right, but every day, like I open the Bible and I'm just reading it, cover to cover, and then end it in prayer, be open and end it in prayer as well, and that and that's just again like I'm not getting, I'm not getting royalties or anything for this, but like plugging, plugging.

Speaker 2:

I'm putting a plug in for the Bible shamelessly, and it's just, you know, putting a plug in for the word, leaning in on that, leaning on prayer, constantly trying to seek. I don't have social media for various reasons, but like it's kind of like what are you putting into? But you know, garbage in, garbage out, kind of thing I don't do consume social media, I don't engage and that's again it's my personal kind of decision that I've made but instead seeking Christian podcasts that I'm trying to bring in, christian books that I'm trying to read as well, to like bring in the good and be filled, and be filled like spirit filled, versus just sitting there and watching you know eight hours of CNN or what have you as well, because I'm going to get it Like there's going to be plenty of darkness that I'm going to encounter throughout my day to day and I've definitely left the day pretty discouraged. But you have to fall back to what I think is very practical. For me, it's just like reading the word every day and being in prayer.

Speaker 1:

That is a firm foundation. Okay, so you mentioned it at the start of the podcast. I'm going to kind of close out. So you mentioned you're going to be a father soon.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

So it is public information out on social media so we can talk about it here You're going to have a little boy yeah.

Speaker 2:

Little Noah.

Speaker 1:

Little Noah I was going to say are we going to say his name?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Little Noah, and he's coming in March a couple months, not even a month and a half or so. Yeah, home stretch, very excited.

Speaker 1:

Home stretch. So how are you feeling?

Speaker 2:

Feeling really good and I get to talk about. Maybe this is a tangent a little bit too, but my wife and I we had struggles getting pregnant and I should together and that was something as a couple that worked through together right To like take our fears and anxieties and our just like stress that we had and like take that to the Lord, take it to our church community as well, was huge, because we walked through a season of almost like a year and a half where, like there was like no progress was being made, going to doctor's appointments, et cetera. So huge, huge prayers answered. God continues to show, like he's on his timeline not my personal timeline or my personal agenda but everything has worked out amazing and it's exactly where we wanna be and where he's put us and we're really blessed and thankful and so happy for baby Noah to be coming here in about two months or so.

Speaker 1:

People always say can you really hear from the Lord? Because I'm always like, oh, I heard from the Lord today and this is what he said. And there are some people who have a pretty deep relationship with God but they may not lean towards the perspective that they can actually actively hear from him in a continual basis. And so you heard from the Lord. Regarding Noah, it was sealed with the promise. So when we look at all of our circumstances in life, the circumstances were telling you not to believe for this child. But what happened in the summer? I guess it was probably July of last year, 20, excuse me 2022. Yeah, maybe.

Speaker 2:

What happened? What?

Speaker 1:

year from the Lord.

Speaker 2:

I mean, yeah, I mean that he. So I think, let's see, that would have been. We talked about this in a journal entry that I had right. It was August of 2021. Oh, august of 2021.

Speaker 2:

Okay, but it would have been fulfilled by August of 2022. And obviously we received the news that Noah in July of 2022. So, again, to back up in the prayer and in the word daily, I just had, I felt like the Lord move upon me that our prayers are going to be answered and by August of 2022, we will have a son or, excuse me, have a child. And so that was in August of 2021. I journaled it, wrote it down and kind of put it away and then, yeah, continue to pray, continue to and in a wrestle too, right, russell with it and struggle daily. It wasn't like it was all sunshine and rainbows for the next year, but, yeah, praise God, july of 2022, before the year Mark was up, he had answered that prayer and he's faithful and fulfills his promises. Right, and there's, I mean, countless examples of that in the Bible we can walk through as well. Anyway, I won't go down that tangent but God is faithful.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and just to clarify, cause I know is intelligent as Chris does, he does have his dates mixed up just a little bit.

Speaker 2:

Okay, I'm probably, so yes, it was August of 22.

Speaker 1:

And then Felicia found out she was pregnant in 23. Yes, okay, it's all good we're in it together.

Speaker 2:

I'm working off of no notes here.

Speaker 1:

Yes, yeah, yeah, Okay yes, 22 to 23. And I think the important thing, though, for all of you out there listening, if you find you're in a season of waiting on the Lord, just keep your eyes fixed on him. He you know when you're walking with him and you have a promise from him. He will fulfill that promise. Just keep your eyes fixed on him. Don't let the enemy steal your faith or your joy. That would be the word of encouragement.

Speaker 1:

So, Chris, you know we've covered a lot of ground here, but really what I wanted the listeners to hear is just a little bit of who you are, because I just think you're an amazing human and people are gonna hear more from you on this podcast over time. That's my prayer. But just really, you know, you didn't have that lightning bolt moment. I wanted people to hear your journey on how you came to faith and then also how you keep your faith as a man serving our country, our communities, our people, with everything that's going on. It's just again. I'm always just so inspired by how you keep the faith, with what you witness every day and you serve your wife very faithfully, and I know you're gonna be an amazing father and listen, grow listeners. What I want you to know, because you're gonna hear it here first, I declare that Christian Ryan will be the president of the United States of America one day and I am gonna be the priest at the nation who's praying him in.

Speaker 2:

That's right, you heard it here first.

Speaker 1:

It's gonna happen.

Speaker 2:

I'll say it. Yeah, angelique has been saying that for years.

Speaker 1:

So yes, yeah, that is the promise he's gonna be a righteous man leading this beautiful country of America for God's glory so okay, chris, you shared your life first, which was Ezekiel 3626. And I tell you that God is definitely answering that prayer, putting a heart of flesh in you, and my closing request is that you would close us out with prayer. Can you do that for me?

Speaker 2:

Absolutely, and I do just as, like a parting thought, if I may Absolutely.

Speaker 2:

And just to echo what you said about you know, it's a journey. It wasn't a lightning bolt for me and, if I could be an encouragement to especially men, I think it's challenging for us at times to wanna talk about struggles that we've had, whether it be depression or anxieties that we have, or lost or sexual temptation right, but to be again fully transparent, like in 2016, was kind of my bottom out, if I wanna call it that and I was on this journey for like five, six years after you know, and it was wrestling and struggling and going to counseling, but also pursuing Christ and him pursuing me. And don't lose hope. If I can offer any sort of encouragement and it might not be this lightning bolt moment that we see in a movie or read about in a book, right, but I just would encourage people to seek the Lord in the word in prayer in community, find that community of believers, find those people around you that are running towards Christ and reach out and talk to them as well. And also, it starts here, too.

Speaker 2:

Well done, listener, for listening to this grow podcast. This is amazing. This is an amazing source of inspiration and truth and finding God's word here as well, too. So I'll just offer that encouragement and, yeah, I'll close in prayer if we can. So, heavenly Father, we're thank you for this opportunity just to talk about you, just to talk about the work that you've done in my life and I'm so thankful for that and to talk about the work that you're doing in Angelique's life and the work you're doing on this podcast.

Speaker 2:

Lord, if I can offer just a hope today for the listeners, or that you are a God who fulfills all his promises, that you're faithful, lord, that you are walking with us daily, even though we may not see that, we may feel like we're down in the pit of despair, lord, we know that you're with us and you're wanting to pull us up towards the mountaintop with you, lord, and we just thank you, lord, for the work that you've done in our lives, the work that you're doing, the work that you will do. I'm just pray that we can continually focus on you daily, god, pursue you and just look to you. Lord. So have my Father. Thank you, we love you. In your name, we pray, amen.

Speaker 1:

Amen. Thank you so much. Thank you for joining us on this episode of Grow, where God reveals our way. We hope you found inspiration, wisdom and encouragement as we continue on this faith-filled journey together. We invite you to subscribe to Grow so you never miss an episode. Stay tuned for more biblical teachings, heartfelt testimonies and insights that will nourish your spirit and deepen your relationship with God. We appreciate your support and participation in this podcast. Until next time, may you grow in faith, love and knowledge of His divine plan. May God bless you abundantly.

Uncovering the Journey of Chris Ryan
Journey of Faith and Intellectual Challenges
Maintaining Faith and Relationship With Christ
Law Enforcement Challenges in Chicago
Overcoming Struggles and Finding Faith