Mariah & Ryan

With teary eyes & a forever grateful heart, I'm so honored to share Ryan & Mariah's story.

Ryan and I began our journey in 4th grade when we were in the same class. In 7th grade he was my first boyfriend. In the typical middle school fashion, we never talked. We tragically broke up when I found out that I would be moving from Wisconsin to Alabama. We then began a long correspondence of AOL instant messenger, hand written letters, and later, texting. In that time, we developed the closest of friendships. He has been my best friend for ten years now.

I have been saying since seventh grade, “I want to marry Ryan Weber.” I have never had a doubt in my mind that he was the one that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, but throughout the last ten years, it was not in God’s timing for us to be together. Instead, the Lord had been building us in the sweetest and most genuine of friendships. He is truly my best friend and has been through the thick and thin of it all.

Ryan is notorious for forgetting my birthday. In fact, he has missed ten consecutive birthdays. But this past year, to kindly make up for the missed birthday celebrations, he decided to fly me out to New York City for New Years where he had recently moved to in order to attend graduate school. We decided to forgo the insanity of Times Square and parties. Instead we headed up to the roof of his apartment and watched the fireworks from afar.

As we shivered close together on the top of the roof, for the first time in ten years I felt the Lord speaking into me that this was in His timing. The long fought battle of patience was satisfied in a singular kiss at midnight, there beneath the fireworks and the New York City skyline.

A little under seven months later Ryan proposed to me in June in Central Park at our favorite spot by the lake. We had a long year ahead of us. I had accepted a teaching position at an international school in China as a missionary and Ryan had another year in graduate school in New York. We decided that we would get married during the summer of 2017, and he would join me in China for my final year of teaching there.

We had no idea what we had in store for us and the ways the the Lord would work in our lives. Ryan was experiencing headaches the month before we were engaged. Despite his obstinance, I convinced him to go see a doctor. After getting engaged, I left New York City and was spending three weeks in Buffalo for my job training for China. I can remember the call. It was a Friday, I was sitting on a bench away from my coworkers who were enjoying a picnic. I heard Ryan say the words “brain tumor” and tears poured from my eyes. Brain surgery was scheduled for July 5th, when we would both be in Wisconsin for family vacation. The doctors told us it didn’t appear cancerous. They were extremely optimistic.
Surgery went well. The entire tumor was removed. The call on the biopsy came back a few weeks later: Medulla Blastoma, brain cancer. After a spinal tap, we found out it was high risk and it had spread to his spine. I was supposed to leave for China in two days. I drove back to Alabama, packed my things and made the decision that I would be moving to Wisconsin to support Ryan during his treatment.

At the end of July, Ryan and I were driving to Madison for one of his doctors appointments. He looked over and said, “Hey, do you want to marry me next Saturday?” After much prayer, we decided that this year would be easier to support each other as a married couple. We planned a wedding in under ten days. We saw the Lord work so much in bringing our wedding together. We had friends and family fly from all over the country to share in our special day. It was everything we wanted and more. I couldn’t have planned a better day if I had had the whole year. We could not have done it without the support and love of our families. After Ryan’s first week of Chemo and radiation, on Saturday August 6th, I walked down the aisle to marry my best friend.
We are so supremely blessed for the opportunity the Lord had given us. No, this is not exactly the ideal first year of marriage. Part of our honeymoon was spent at Chemo and Radiation. It has been a season of ups and downs, smiles and tears. But at the end of the day, we have the utmost joy for the immense blessing that the Lord has given us. This has been an opportunity to grow closer to the Lord and to deepen our faith. We fix our eyes on Christ and know that he is Healer and Lord. We are choosing joy and the immense blessing of sharing our faith with those we encounter.

Ryan has finished his first session of chemo and radiation and is now enjoying his six weeks off. Each day we are learning more about God’s grace and how to show it to each other.
— Mariah Weber