Stories of Abundant Life

People at Abundant Life whose lives have been transformed by God.

Abundant Life is a community of people whose lives have been transformed by God and who seek to encourage and inspire others through their experiences of God's faithfulness. You can read some of our stories below. What's your story? We'd love to hear it. You can scroll to the bottom of the page to send your story to us.

Madison Ryan

September 2019

Cancer. At age 22. I was a senior at the University of North Texas, just a few months from beginning my student teaching. I had my whole career and life ahead of me. Then, one morning, I noticed a lump on my neck. I brushed it off as insignificant until my parents convinced me to see a doctor. After a week filled with doctor appointments and scans, I felt very sick. I had pain all over my body. First came the report regarding the mass on my neck. I had cancer. Within days, my lung collapsed and filled with cancerous fluid. Then came the diagnosis: stage 3 acute T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma. I tried to stay positive and not let anyone see me upset. I held my tears until no one was looking. I encountered moments when the uncertainty cancer brings overwhelmed me. At times, the battle felt like more than I could endure. But my family fought alongside me. My church family – I grew up at Abundant Life – never stopped encouraging and praying for me. Their love was equally overwhelming. Through the journey, I learned what it truly means to have faith because of the God moments along the way when I felt assured that no matter how tired I was, no matter how weak I became, God had me in His hands. I’ll graduate from UNT in December. I take oral chemo every day, and I just scheduled my last treatment for December 19! I’m student teaching, and loving every minute of it. I’ve been able to start The Hangout, our church’s ministry for special-needs kids. It’s been a long, hard battle – two years as of this month. But I’m here. I’m still here. And I want to spend the rest of my life inspiring others through my story and experiences. I want to assure them that God has them in His hands, too.

Kim Sawyer

August 2019

Five years ago, I was in a hit-and-run accident on my motorcycle. I should have died. My husband, Stefan, and I hadn’t attended church since high school. Stefan was as far from being a Christian as I could imagine. As I lay in my hospital bed, I saw my husband praying. He said there was a reason I didn’t die. After I left the hospital, I wrote about my accident on social media, hoping someone could identify the person who’d hit me. A woman I’d never met read my post, called me and talked with me for an hour. She prayed for me and invited me to her church, Abundant Life. Surprisingly, Stefan agreed to go. I remember sitting in my wheelchair during worship with Stefan standing next to me. He squeezed my hand. I looked up to see tears rolling from his eyes. We’ve attended Abundant Life ever since. My recovery wasn’t easy. I underwent multiple surgeries, spent eight months in a wheelchair and had to learn to walk again. The severe depression, anxiety and pain took much longer to overcome. Physically, my life completely changed. I lost my job because of my injuries. We lost our house and sold many of our possessions. We survived financially because Stefan worked two jobs and because the church helped us. At our rock bottom, Stefan and I determined that instead of focusing on the negative, we would thank God for what we did have and what we believed He would provide. During my recovery, I accomplished a major goal: I earned my real estate license and became a realtor. We love serving our Lord and our church alongside people we’ve grown especially close to. Overcoming the accident was difficult, but God worked through that horrible event to bring us to the wonderful place in our lives we now enjoy. If I could go back to the day of the accident, I wouldn’t change a thing. I am humbled and thankful for every extra day I’m able to breathe.

Listen to this interview with Kim and Stefan as they go deeper into their story and describe how a phone call, a prayer and an invitation from someone they'd never met helped change their lives forever.