“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” – Ps. 139:13
As I look at each of my children, I can definitely tell that they are related! But I can also see a lot of differences, and I marvel at the beauty that God has created. Hannah has been struggling lately with her outward appearance. She doesn’t always like the fact that she is a girl, and she doesn’t always like the color of her hair or her eyes. But I have been trying to remind her that she is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps. 139:14).
I did an interview today with one of my friends whose two-year-old suffers from a genetic disorder that has resulted in a congenital heart defect. The Ellises have four healthy boys, but Rebekah has been sick since birth. This amazing little girl is going for her third open-heart surgery on December 14th; but if this surgery fails, the doctors are saying that they are out of options. Her anatomy is unlike any they have ever seen, and a heart transplant in out of the question at this time due to the complications of having only one working lung. A lung transplant is unlikely because of her heart condition and the fact that most lung transplants in young children only survive for five years. In addition to the medical issues, her father, Drew, has been unemployed since last October, and Nancy is a stay-at-home mom.
Sounds discouraging, doesn’t it? But what I find amazing is that I have never heard this family complain! In fact, all I ever hear from them is hope. They have a hope in the Lord that He knew what He was doing when He gave them their children, and He knew what He was doing when their income stream ceased to flow. Somehow through the midst of all of this, the family has readjusted their priorities to focus on their faith and their family, and all of their needs have been met! As they go through their trials, their eyes have always stayed on the Lord, who gave them Rebekah.
Lately, the verse that we chose for Ephraim has been coming to the forefront of my mind, and it seems to fit this family so well:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jer. 29:11
When we first heard about Rebekah’s condition, it was hard to imagine what kind of a life this little girl would have. But I have to confess that she is probably one of the greatest blessings our church has! Seeing her at church is enough to soften the toughest of hearts as she ambles through the halls with her oxygen tank sometimes strolling behind her. She is a joy to hold in the nursery, and her brothers have always been a joy as well.
When you hear Rebekah’s story, do you think that God forgot about her when He was creating her, or do you think that He had such a grand plan for her that she would touch hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of lives? It is so hard to understand God’s plan at times, but Rebekah is evidence that He has a unique plan for each of us and that He is involved in our lives even when we were still in the womb!
I am touched by this family’s story, and I am inspired by the way they have blessed others. Rebekah has opened up many peoples’ hearts as they see her struggle with health needs that most people don’t experience until late in life after indulging in an unhealthy lifestyle. Rebekah was created just as God planned, and He knows what is best!
On Monday, one of the members in our church, Jonathan Pait, will be riding his bike 240 miles from the hospital where Rebekah was born all the way to MUSC in order to raise money for Rebekah Grace. Jonathan began his annual “Bike for Mike” rides when he lost a dear friend from brain cancer back in 2007. He knew that the Ellis family would benefit from his ride, so he approached them about allowing him to help in this way.
There are many ways to help this family. I wanted to spread the word and link you to Rebekah’s blog here. This little girl has a “hope and a future” that only God can plan. As a mom, I don’t know what I would do if my children had to face the health issues that Rebekah does. So I had to share her story and encourage others to help these parents in their time of need – whether through prayer or financial support. Let’s come together in our common bond as parents and encourage each other in our walk of faith.