6 Questons for Lizzy Rider- Overcoming Loss, Graduating, Job Searching, and Trusting God
I met this England rose last summer when we were going to the same church. Just last month she texted me, asking for emergency prayers for her mom, who was being rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery. And about a week later she wrote that her mom had passed. I remember pausing in sadness for her and her family. But, I truly admire Lizzy’s strengthen and her ability to keep going, despite loss, pain and sorrow.
SM: How old are you?
LR: I’m 22. According to popular musical myth it’s supposed to be happy, free, confusing, lonely, miserable and magical all at the same time. Sounds a whirl.
SM: This has been a life-changing summer for you. You just graduated uni. How has your faith in God been affected in the ups and downs of job searching?
LR: Initially I had plans to work for an art gallery in Berlin but now I will stay in the UK to spend time with my family over the coming months. I hope to find something similar in London and so will be pushing lots of doors open! A wise friend once said, ‘Don’t worry if God closes the wrong doors for you, pray he opens the right ones,’ and that’s a philosophy I’ll be applying to the job/internship hunt, whatever may come of it. Watch this space.
SM: To add onto it being a life-changing summer, you just lost your mother unexpectedly a month ago. By losing your mother does it affect your trust in God? Describe God's grace in your loss.
LR: Suddenly losing my Mum was definitely not something I saw coming. I was expecting to have many years with her left and so it is painful. Yet the experience has also been strangely enlightening. I think I always wondered to myself, particularly when you see others going through something tragic, if my faith would be seriously jeopardized by something really sad happening in my own life. And yet I can honestly say that this is a time in my life where I’ve felt God’s presence more so than any other, something I really put down to the wonderful prayers from all of our friends. I was often told I was going to feel really numb at first, but I feel it was (and is still) just a strange but beautiful peace, even against the shock of it all. And that peace is still ongoing. Faith and doubt are very much two sides of the same coin and like most Christians I have sometimes questioned God’s existence, but I once read or heard somewhere that in the Bible we aren’t given many reasons or explanations, but many promises. Promises that despite the brokenness of this world and the huge messes we humans get ourselves into, our God is one who redeems and renews and makes everything beautiful again in its time. A God who meets us more than halfway when we invite him into the situation. It’s not logical but for me it’s become reality. I can truly say that against all odds I’ve felt God’s promises to have been true over the last month and I don’t even feel I’ve actively sought them out. It’s more of a gift. I’m sure there will be times where I’ll be asking a lot of the difficult questions as to why my Mum died so young and the way she did, but I’m very thankful that God-given beauty and hope remain even amidst the chaos.
SM: Who do you admire most?
LR: I would have to say my parents. No one is perfect so this isn’t to put them on a pedestal, but they’re both top human beings and very life-giving. My Mum was immensely kind to anyone that she met, and she had a quiet but brilliant sense of humour. She never let anyone walk all over her, but was always very gentle with people. And she had a knack for moving mountains quietly without drawing any attention to herself. I often noticed her beautiful eye for anything interesting or inspiring, and how she could bring out these qualities in the most ordinary of everyday things. She was one of my closest friends and I’ll miss her immensely. My Dad is very similar, always a steady presence. He has a gift for encouraging people and meeting them where they are. I admire his faith because it strikes me as very real. He’s not afraid to address his vulnerabilities. Someone described it as having ‘one foot on earth and one in heaven.’ I’d like to be like both of them when I ‘grow up.’
SM: The Virgin Mary was around 12-14 years old when she was told she would give birth to the Son of God. What does that kind of responsibility mean to you, a woman in your early twenties, but for a girl [the Virgin Mary] who was a young teenage girl?
LR: Haha, what a question! Well I should say that’s not really a responsibility that’s ever been placed on my shoulders, but what would I take from looking at Mary’s story? Probably the fact that she was so willing to step into unchartered territory and that – to quote the well-known song – her trust in God had no borders. I think that’s a courageous attitude worth carrying into all of life’s adventures, the small ones as well as the big.
SM: When you hear the name Jesus what comes to mind?
LR: Really the reason why I call myself a Christian. Not the pursuit of perfection or religiosity – after all those were the things Jesus really railed against – but because I look at the person of Jesus, everything that he said and how he looks at us all with such kindness. We live in an age where society cringes over the idea of unashamedly following and valuing someone like Jesus, but his teaching simply compels me to do so. There is so much liberty in this. He is much more than a simple human figure of high moral standing. I really think that God’s unconditional love, which we come across in the Bible, is a gift difficult to completely understand and one, which we frequently question, how it fits into our ordinary lives and whether it’s real. For me, Jesus bridges the gap and brings this divine concept and gift right into the centre of our reality. It’s a beautiful exchange.