I’ve got a tattoo on my arm that says IVAN. i get asked all the time: what does IVAN mean? To me, IVAN is a word bigger than “friend”…it’s a movement of hope, a reminder of promises kept and it all started three years ago…
In 2017 our friend Amy was diagnosed with breast cancer. God connected a ragtag group of friends–who originally thought they were connected to pray over me and my Bible study writing–to become a three-strand cord not to be broken. This tight lil team of friends rallied around Amy for every deep and dark stage of diagnosis/treatment.
We texted…like constantly.
One day after we’d just found out about the diagnosis, in one of our many text convos, a typo on the text line (dang it, Siri) gave this group a name. Trying to type “I can” turned into “IVAN” and a subsequent onslaught of hilarious questions asking, “Who is this Ivan guy?” IVAN was born.
We decided to set alarms on our phones to go off daily at noon (just like all the alarms Amy had set on her phone for her students when they changed classes). No matter where or what was happening, IVAN alarm was our signal to stop and pray for Amy, her family, her medical team, all who learned of her story, and ultimately that God would be glorified thru her journey. And everyday at noon we’d pray and text each other with one simple word: IVAN.
Over the many months that followed, we each got to tell people about IVAN, invite them to pray with us, and share about our hope…not just for Amy’s healing, but for Amy’s greatest joy of telling people about Jesus.
We all vowed to get tattoos once she was cancer-free to be a reminder of how God had purpose in every moment of this IVAN adventure. Amy chose a tat that explains her journey with the Lord. Christina chose a simple word that God had given her, and Shauna and i chose the word “IVAN” to go where our watches went to signify that noon prayer time. Mary opted for being the photographer.
Well…Amy’s cancer has returned. It’s scary. It feels wrong. We don’t know what’s coming. But even in the unknown…even in the fear, we HOPE and so the IVAN alarms are back on.
No matter what this next chapter brings, we KNOW it brings healing for our Amy–whether here on earth or ultimately, glory to our God through it all, and an invitation to expand our IVAN prayer team.
Join us? Set your “IVAN” alarm to go off everyday at noon…stop and pray for Amy. And when someone asks, tell them about our friend who will #fightlikeHeaven to beat this enemy again.