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Crystal Cathedral

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Guest Interviews

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Abby Rike

2157 06/05/11

JP: My guest today is Abby Rike. She was one of the stars of The Biggest Loser where she lost one hundred pounds! Three years prior to being on the show, Abby's life was literally turned upside down when she lost her husband Rick, her five-year-old daughter Macy, and her infant son Caleb in a devastating car accident. Yet Abby's incredible journey of faith led her from a life filled with hopelessness to a life filled with hope. She's written the book, Working it Out: A journey of Love, Loss, and Hope. Abby, tell us what happened in October 2006.

AR: Well four and half years ago, on October 13th, 2006, I wasn't feeling well and went to the emergency room while my husband took Macy and Caleb to do an open gym.
Five miles from our home, they were hit head on by a man traveling over a hundred miles an hour, and no one survived the crash.

JP: So while you were in the emergency room, you sensed something was wrong. You hadn't been seen by a doctor yet. You had your wristband on and you sensed something was wrong. What happened?

AR: I'd called Rick just to make sure everything was okay and that they had made it to the open gym. When I didn't get an answer, I called again and still didn't get an answer, so I finally decided that I would just leave and go see if I could find them.

So literally from the emergency room where I was, to approaching five miles past our home, I urgently prayed, 'put angels all around my family; put angels all around my family,' never dreaming it would end the way that it did.
Later as I reflected on it, I realized God did put angels all around my family, just not the way I wanted. Sometimes God's plan is different from what we inherently want for ourselves.

JP: Now this is a small town so a lot of people knew who everybody was. So when you came upon the scene of the accident, they wouldn't even let you near the accident itself.

AR: Luckily, the accident was around the bend, so when I approached, the question I asked was "Was there a white van in the wreck?" The answer was yes so literally I stood on the side of the road waiting for word. It was as ugly a circumstance as you could possibly imagine. When I hear the song, "It is well with my soul," I can say it certainly is not well with my circumstance, but today I can say it is well with my soul.

JP: You had a beautiful line in your book: "what the caterpillar thinks is the end of the world, the butterfly knows is only the beginning." I'm amazed that you were able to come to that after the type of circumstance you lived through.
You talk about your special relationship with Rick. You wrote love letters to each other, even after you were married, and you put several of them in this book. What a beautiful treasure.

AR: I think that is one thing that has helped with the grieving process is that I had no regrets. Did my family know that I loved them? And not only in word but in deed and was it reciprocated? That answer was yes. So I wanted to put the letters in the book so that people could see that my marriage was real. I wanted people to see the words Rick had written, because Rick was an example of the kind of godly husband that everyone should strive to be because it makes for a great marriage.

JP: After a tragedy, it seems most people choose one of two paths. They either shut down or they throw themselves into something else and you threw yourself into something else. You went back to school and earned a masters degree, and you kept yourself busy because you didn't want to be alone at night.

AR: I think I fell into both camps. I think in the beginning I ran as hard as I could and I tried to stay as busy as possible. And then it was about at that two and a half year mark that I just couldn't run anymore and I was so tired. And not just physically tired, I was emotionally drained and I was spiritually drained because I was trying to do everything in my own strength. I wanted to be strong and didn't want to be viewed as weak.
So I thought well I'll try this and then I'll try this and it wasn't until February the 13th 2009, when I hit rock bottom. That's the day that the Lord and I had a really long talk, and not the churchy kind of talk. I finally said, Lord, I give. I can't do it on my own strength.
It was from that point forward that things got better. And I don't mean in the Pollyanna, pretend and put a smile on your face, because you can't fake joy and light in you. And at that point, I was spent and I was tired, but when I finally said I give, God could do everything He wanted to do with me, things I never dreamt possible like standing in the Crystal Cathedral with you today.

JP: Now at some point, the Lord put two people in your path, folks who had been on The Biggest Loser. Tell us what happened.

AR: First of all, who in their right mind goes on national television in a sports bra and spandex pants? Me! I ran into a couple that had been on The Biggest Loser and they were so wonderful. I got information from them about the show, and God laid it on my heart that maybe if I would physically feel better, then emotionally and spiritually I could heal, too. I believe God used that journey so people could ultimately see Him in someone as flawed and as broken as me.

JP: Abby, there are people today who are going through tragedies in their lives. They're like, 'yes, Abby made it through, but you don't know my circumstance.' What do you say to give somebody hope, to just to hang on and take one more step?

AR: Suffering takes on a lot of different forms, but the feeling is the same. When you're in the midst of suffering, your thoughts lead you to believe that you are always going to feel exactly like you do at that moment. It's frightening and it feels hopeless and it feels helpless.
But I can promise you that in the nitty and the gritty and the dirty and the ugly, God is that big. When you are broken and at your rock bottom and you finally cry out, He is there and He is that big. It is then that you will finally know your faith because if you can do it in your own strength, it doesn't require faith. It's not until it feels hopeless that God can take this horrible circumstance that I would have sworn I would have never gotten up from, and use it for His glory.
And I believe that there is someone either here or listening who is suffering, and I want to say to them, God has big plans for you and it will get better. I have an overwhelming sense that there is someone that needs to know He is the ultimate comforter and when it feels hopeless and helpless, I promise you, He will carry you and do great things with your life.

JP: Abby, your eyes sparkle with the incredible power of Jesus Christ. The Lord has done amazing things with you and through you in touching other people. Thank you for being here today.

AR: Thank you, it was such an honor.

JP: God loves you and so do I.

AR: Thank you, thank you.

JP: God bless you. Wow. Abby's book is called, Working it Out, and is available at bookstores everywhere. If you've gone through a tragedy, pick up this book. Walk with somebody who's walked a tragic path, and see how the Lord can take you through the path that you're going through.


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