Welcome Note

Thank you for visiting Kaitlin's blog. Please use this site for the latest updates, information on ways to help, and thoughts from John and Katilin as well as the Rice and Wanberg Families. We will be actively making updates to keep everyone up to speed and communicate as effectively as possible. You can also subscribe so you will never miss a new post.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Room for Sadness

It’s that time of year again.

The weather is getting nice.

People are getting out and enjoying the sun.

As I drive home from work, I see runners… I see bike riders…I see couples strolling and holding hands.

As I leave the grocery store, I see a Mom getting on her bike with one baby on the back and one on the front.

My response to these images for the past year and half has been, “it’s ok, you might not be able to do that…but you can do other things!”

But the truth is, I desperately want to be able to do these things. 

When I see a Mom pushing a stroller, or someone taking a jog…my heart aches.

I feel sad.

My Mom has said to me that she worries that I haven’t processed the accident enough…haven’t taken the time to mourn like so many others have…

I’ve consistently played it off.

“Mom, I’m fine!  I can drive. I’m back to work. I can run errands, cook, and do laundry.  I’m a wife, and even a mom to my puppy!  I’m ok.”

But I think she’s right…I think there’s something more for me to recognize.

I’m not ok because I can “do” all of these things…I’m ok because Jesus has made it so that the sadness will someday be undone.

We have been studying Revelation at church…putting ourselves in the very midst of the throne-room where God’s plan to cleanse the world is in action.

He WILL bring all hearts to Him, and He is where the beauty is.  He is where the suffering ends.  He is where sadness ceases.

But that’s just it…the sadness has not yet been undone…and that means that it is very real.

As we wait for the Lord to take it away, He uses it as a tool in our lives.

Sadness encourages me to run to God for comfort because He is the only one who can give it. 

Sadness gives Him the chance to meet me in my despair when I have nothing else to cling to, and lead me into the hope of eternity with Him

For me, sadness has served to help me to identify some of my idols and selfish desires…the things that I cling to above Christ

I see the idol of control in my heart when I look at my life and it just isn’t what I THOUGHT it should look like.

I realize the root sin of comparison in my life when I look at other women and envy their bodies/capabilities.

I see the reality of my stubbornness to rely on myself instead of Christ when I am bitter about having to re-learn things in a different way.

This is not to say that everything we are sad about reveals an idol in our life…

I am SAD about not being able to walk…but that does not mean I idolized walking…

What I’m realizing is that sadness is real, and it is only as I embrace it that I see its many purposes.

I recognize the brokenness of myself and the world.
Left with nothing else to hope in, I run to CHRIST for comfort
In the arms of my loving Father, I cling to the fact that someday, this sadness WILL be undone.

My new struggle is with the balance of allowing the sadness to be real and to penetrate my heart, while still clinging to the hope we have in Christ and the joy that stems from that.

I don’t know exactly how to do that…but I do know that sadness is OK. 

Sadness does not mean that I am a failure...that I am not “strong enough”

I am not OK because I FEEL OK

I am OK because God is in control.


"Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes.There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.'" Rev 21:1-4

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Brave enough...

This will be my first entry since the one-year anniversary of my injury.  September 1 was just a day for John and I.  We didn’t take it too seriously or get too emotional about it; but it has given me the chance to look back over the past year of events and just reflect. 

From the very moment of the accident, The Lord gave me a sense of peace. 

As I opened my eyes in that dry riverbed, I soon came to realize that I could not feel or move my legs.  Instead of freaking out about that…I started immediately talking about how grateful I was that I COULD feel and move my arms and hands.

One of the first things I started talking about upon entering the ICU was how excited I was to go to Disneyland and get fast-passes for every ride.

Through all of my therapies, I was strong and determined.  I took the time I had at Craig as an opportunity to meet other people and be an encourager.  Many times I was even an encourager to my friends and family.

When people would come to visit, I wanted to make them feel comfortable and like they didn’t have to worry about me.  I wanted to be OK as to make sure that they were ok. 

Overall…I was brave. 

In some ways, I think the Lord gave me this bravery and peace as a way to survive.  I had to push on and do the next thing so that I could get better…so that I could get back to normal life. 

Well, I’m here now…back to normal life….but my new normal is not what I thought it would be.

Unless the Lord chooses to heal me, I will spend the rest of my life sitting down.  I will never again feel the sand in my toes or the lapping of ocean waves on my legs.  I won’t summit another fourteen thousand foot mountain.  It will take me at least three times longer to get in and out of my car.  I will plan my days around how many transfers will be required of me. I will need someone to push my cart at the grocery store.  I will continue to ask people to pump my gas at the gas station.  I will fear stairs and cracks in the sidewalks.  I will live with sore shoulders and consistent pain in my hands. I will always rely on others to reach items on high shelves, or to reach under my desk to grab that apple that rolled away.  I will be nervous to be alone for fear of falling from my chair.  For the most part, everything will be just a little bit more difficult.

That is scary.  And the question is…am I still brave? 

You know what…I think bravery at this stage of my healing process looks different than it did in the beginning. 

 I am not brave…I am scared.  But in a way, that is the bravest thing I can say.  It can be terrifying to not be ok.  It is so hard for me to acknowledge the fact that I cannot make everyone happy for forever.  People will be sad when they hear my story and look at my life, even if I am bright and sparkling and perfectly happy.  The Lord is big enough for me to struggle.  He is knitting all of this into a story of beauty, whether I’m cheery or not.

So in this season, I’m brave enough to not be brave.  It’s new for me, and very scary, but so authentic.  

Psalm 62:5 “For God alone, o’ my soul wait in silence, for my hope is from Him.”

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

"What is your life? For you are a mist..."

On June 1, one year after our wedding day, John and I renewed our vows. 

To some this may sound strange.  Normally vow renewals happen 10, 20, 50 years after a marriage…but looking back on the craziness of our first year, we felt that repeating the promises we made to each other on the day of our wedding was fitting. 

And so, gathered in our backyard with a few close family and friends, we re-stated our commitment to one another:

I John take you Kaitlin to be my lawfully wedded wife
You are my best friend, and it is my delight to marry you today.
I promise to love you steadily when things get hard, and that my commitment today will not be swayed by future circumstances or feelings.
I promise to laugh with you, to cry with you, and to be faithful to you until we are parted by death; to put your needs ahead of my own, and to treat you with tenderness and respect.
I promise to do my best to love you and lead you as Jesus has done for the Church, to show you grace as he has shown me grace, and to seek your good even though it may cause me harm.
I promise to allow God to use you in my life as He grows me into a man, strong and courageous, who walks humbly with the Lord.
And so throughout life, no matter what may lie ahead of us, I pledge to you my life as a loving and faithful husband.

I Kaitlin take you John to be my lawfully wedded husband
You are my best friend, and it is my delight to marry you today.
I promise to love you steadily when things get hard, and that my commitment today will not be swayed.
I promise to laugh with you, to cry with you, and to be faithful to you until we are parted by death; to put your needs ahead of my own, and to treat you with honor and respect.
I promise to do my best to love you and submit to you as the Church submits to the headship of Christ, to show you grace as he has shown me grace, and to seek your good in all things regardless of my circumstances or feelings.
I promise to allow God to use you in my life as He grows me into a woman of noble character, adorned with good works.
And so, no matter what may lie ahead of us, I pledge to you my life as an obedient and faithful wife.

When we said these vows originally, we had no idea what our “future circumstances” would look like.  In the bliss of our wedding day, we were not thinking of the hardships that we would face just three months down the road…not considering the fact that many of the hopes and dreams for our future together would be dramatically shifted while we were still just newlyweds. 

We wanted to travel freely and easily. We wanted to live a fast-paced life.  We wanted to be the perfect, beautiful, happy family that had it all together. 

But that’s not what tomorrow brought. 

Although our life is not even close to what we though laid ahead of us when said our vows, we have been continually reminded this year hat the Lord has a plan…that He wills certain things to happen or not happen, and He uses these circumstances to mold and shape us into disciples who bring glory to Him. 

We are reminded that our lives are a “mist”…our marriage is a “mist”.  If we are not rooted in Christ, all of this is worthless.

Our vows are even more beautiful to me today than they were on the day of our wedding.  They have context.  They have experienced fire.  They are deeper…more real…more raw. 

The Lord has been good and faithful in producing beauty from our “tomorrow”; and I have no doubt that He will continue to lead our marriage according to His perfect will for as many days as He gives us together.

“…yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.  What is your life?  For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will do this or that.’”  James 4:14-15

A huge thanks to Leah McEachern Photography. http://leahmceachernphotography.com/

Friday, July 18, 2014


I spent much of today pruning my garden and meditating on what it says about “pruning” in the Bible.   Although it sounds silly…I tried to put myself in the perspective of the plant being pruned. 

If I saw some crazy lady in a wheelchair with her gardening gloves and shears coming for me, I would be scared and confused.  Why is she cutting parts of me off?  Why do they need to be removed?  I feel fine! Look, I have other buds and flowers blooming!!  Although I’m sure it isn’t, I wondered if having branches and old buds cut off is “painful” for a plant. Ouch, don’t cut there!  I liked that limb!  

For the record…I have never denied being a crazy lady in a wheelchair…and I suppose “thinking like a plant” ups the craziness even more J  But this whole experience really made me think.  Where is the LORD pruning my life?  What is the purpose and the product of this pruning? The thoughts that came were beautiful…

I went back to Camp Barnabas this summer as a leader with the Greenwood Community Church youth group trip.  Although I went to camp as a volunteer in high school, I had never been in a wheelchair.  For those who don’t know…Camp Barnabas is a camp devoted to campers that have disabilities.  Each camper is paired up with a volunteer counselor (like the ones we took from GCC) who becomes their caretaker and their friend for the week.

At camp, I was given the opportunity to speak at a wrap-up.  Wrap-up is what we do every night before bed at camp.  The entire camp is present and hears a quick 5-7 minute talk on whatever topic the speaker chooses. The LORD put on my heart to talk about heaven. 

After I spoke…one of the cabin staff came over and asked me if I would go and talk with a camper.  I think Watson is about 8 years old and he has cerebral palsy.  Apparently during my talk he started crying and refused to move his wheelchair.  He does not communicate verbally but knows what is going on around him. 

When I wheeled up, Watson was crying and looking all around and his counselor (a 16 year old boy volunteer) was just weeping and hugging him.  He kept saying, “I wish I could make this go away…I wish I could make this better for you”. 

I had no idea what I was supposed to say to make things better for Watson.  I touched his little hand and told him that he was special, beautiful, cherished, and purposefully created.

He continued to cry and look around the room. 

I told him that whether or not he knew it, he was changing lives…even in that moment.  Watson’s counselor will be forever changed from having known him. 

Still, Watson continued to cry and look around frantically. 

I touched his hand again and told him one last thing, “ I cannot wait to talk with you and dance with you in heaven…”

In that moment Watson made direct eye contact with me, stopped crying, and started beaming.  His tears turned to smiles in an instant, and at that he drove his wheelchair away. 

What fruit is that!!

The LORD prunes our lives that they may bear MORE fruit.  I think of my experiences this summer and cannot deny that the pruning the LORD has done in my life this past year has truly led to the production of a vast array of fruit.

Recognizing what parts of our life are already bearing fruit, the LORD prunes them so that they mare produce more.  I knew that I already had a gift when it came to working with kids.  When I was injured, I wondered if my ability to work with kids would be negatively impacted. But maybe the accident was just pruning. Maybe that branch of working with kids was pruned so that it could bear more fruit…a different kind of fruit. 

Wheeling up to Watson was different than walking up to Watson.  Wheeling up to anyone with a disability is different than walking up to them.  What fruit has the LORD already produced from that!? And what fruit will He continue to produce from it!?!

Whatever changes happen in my life, I have complete faith in my vinedresser.  Changes may indicate the pruning process, but I have to believe that the LORD is removing those vines that do not bear fruit, and pruning those that do so that MORE FRUIT may be harvested.  Praise Him for His infinite wisdom and scope of understanding; and for His vision to produce a vibrantly beautiful garden from all of our lives.  

1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.  John 15:1-2