Sarah Rodriguez was a young woman from Oklahoma who decides to move to New York City to work. Her family is (justifiably) concerned and tell her she needs to have a job to go to. She manages to get one and makes the move. And she eventually meets Joel, an almost quintessential New Yorker, they fall in love, and the new couple move back to Oklahoma to start their life together.
They want children, but have trouble conceiving. Sarah has surgery to remove cysts, but still no pregnancy. So they talk about in vitro fertilization (IVF) but go on about their lives, including training for a half-marathon together. They run the race. Not long afterward, Joel is diagnosed with cancer.
From Depths We Rise: A Journey of Beauty from Ashes is the story of Sarah and Joel and their battle to beat Joel’s cancer. It’s also the story of Sarah’s faith and resilience, her courage and strength. And her strength. It’s a story when, on most days, she didn’t feel faithful or resilient or brave or strong. Most days, she felt overwhelmed.
Joel’s cancer goes into remission after a year of treatments. They decide to use IVF to conceive, Sarah becomes pregnant, and they have a healthy baby boy.
And then Joel’s cancer returns. He will experience strokes. And Sarah finds herself singing one medical authorization after another. And it will seem that every time there’s hope, the hope is quickly snatched away. His medical situation goes from bad to worse to worst. Sarah will bury the husband she loves so much.
|Sarah Rodrigues and her children|
The story doesn’t end there. There are still two frozen embryos from the IVF process, and Sarah will decide to get pregnant again. And that becomes another journey is faith, when joy quickly turns to nightmare.
We never know what we can stand when life begins to throw rocks and boulders. Sarah Rodriguez found out. She had family, friends, and church to support her, but all the help in the world wouldn’t stop the awfulness.
From Depths We Rise is a remarkable story. Sarah Rodriguez is a strong woman, although she would likely be the first to say her own strength had nothing to do with it.
Top photograph by Alessio Lin via Unsplash. Used with permission.