Thursday, September 22, 2011

Rebekas life

Rebekah – Just One Life

When I met Rebekah for the first time, she was going through one of the darkest times of her life. She had studied her Bible and prayed, she had even shared with others, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13) She knew in her head about God’s love and power and truth. She knew the value that God has placed on each and every person but as her 18th birthday approached,  self-doubt had crept it's way into her life. 'Every person, are you sure God?' She thought to herself, 'Are you sure it's not every person BUT ME?'
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Rebekah came into this world as a fragile 2lb 11oz baby girl.  Each day that she survived was a victory, but also brought more issues to be addressed. By the time Rebekah was 18 months old, she had the diagnosis of “spastic-quadriplegic cerebral palsy," and was now the child of a single mother. During the next 2 years, it became apparent that a motorized wheelchair would be a vital part of this happy toddler’s life.
Entering school brought with it new joys, new friends, new challenges, as well as the growing sense that she was “different” from the other kids. Most of her classmates were drawn to her cheerful demeanor, but some seemed to be frightened by it and made hurtful comments. Those comments stayed with Rebekah and began growing in a deep place within her soul, adding each new layer of hurt to the last, compounding her pain and feelings of inadequacy.  I can so identify with the pain of Rebekah's past.
While in High School, Rebekah was told that she would not be graduating with her senior class and she would not be allowed to address them as a group as she had been told, she would not be allowed to officially participate in the commencement.
"Why hadn’t God healed her or kept her safe from these painful events? Why had He not delivered her from the prison of her wheelchair?" were the questions that she was asking herself.
Rebekah’s prayers were reduced to a sense of duty. She had begun to listen to the language of self pity and hung on to every word. Depression crept in and the enemy of her soul had gained a foothold. She was perfecting in her mind just how she would end her life. She thought about how she was able to open the knife drawer in the kitchen and if she insisted, mom would leave her home alone while she went shopping.
Everyday seemed darker than the one before, the voices grew louder, “You are such a burden. Nobody really cares about you. They all just pity the poor little crippled girl." The depression deepened of the weeks and months then came the day that would begin to change Rebekahs life and my life.  It was Sunday morning, the desire for sleep and self loathing made the task of getting ready for church next to impossible for Rebekah, but her mother was determined that God’s hand was still on Rebekah and that being in God’s house among His people, worshiping together was where she needed to be. As they entered the sanctuary that morning, something fell out of the bulletin. There were tears in her mother’s eyes as she picked the insert up off the floor, laying it on Rebekah's wheelchair tray. She asked Rebekah, "Do you still think God has forgotten you?"
Rebekah saw my picture looking up at her from that brochure and saw the announcement that I would be the 2009 Baccalaureate speaker at her high school and the whole community was invited. Rebekah had seen the videos on youtube and had even prayed that God would allow our paths to cross. A peace and sense of expectancy flooded over Rebekah, maybe she could be rid of her self-pity and depression for good.
As Rebekah listened to me speak that day at the Baccalaureate, she experienced the power of God's love, setting her free through His message of true hope. I was later privileged to spend some very special time with Rebekah, praying with her and she was able to share with me,what had been on her heart. She had found the courage to face her challenges, taking her eyes off of her disability and trusting in God’s ability, instead of focusing on her circumstances. She was getting her focus placed back on Jesus.
In June of 2010, Rebekah was asked to pray the prayer of dedication for her senior class Baccalaureate, 2 years before the “projected” date of her graduation!
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Since that time in which I first met Rebekah, she has found a renewed sense of purpose and now, she enthusiastically shares her encouragement and new found hope in each venue that God provides,whether it be in youth groups, at women’s ministry events or at a Joni and Friends Family Retreat for families touched by disabilities. Following her heart, reaching a hurting world with the love of Jesus Christ, Rebekah has joined me in sharing the message of God’s transforming power!


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