To the weary or broken hearted,
Throughout my life I have learned to trust the Lord and rely on His strength. Reading God’s word daily and listening to Christian music, helps me draw closer to the Lord. One of the most important things is that others Christians are praying and encouraging me. I know that with God’s strength I can get through any trials that come into my life. Keep your eyes on the Lord!
I had the privilege to meet and converse with Rebekah Fleming at Panera Cafe in Salisbury, MD. John and Patricia Fleming, her mom and dad, were feeding Rebekah her dinner and if she needed a drink, they raised up the glass for her to take a sip. Rebekah has spina bifida, a congenital defect of the spine.
In babies with spina bifida, a portion of the neural tube and one or more vertebrae fails to develop or close properly, leaving the spinal cord exposed. Spina bifida occurs early in the womb and progresses toward one of three levels of severity, the most severe resulting in paralysis of lower extremities, hydrocephalus, and learning disabilities. Every day, about eight babies born in the United States have spina bifida or a similar birth defect of the brain and spine.
Rebekah was a beam of sunshine, I could tell she liked to smile. There was an unwavering confidence in her demeanor and during our conversation I received a glimpse of the reason for the hope and boldness behind her smile. Her testimony exudes an unwavering faith in Jesus Christ. Rebekah’s father grew up in a Christian home, and with her parent’s guidance she accepted Jesus into her heart at the tender age of 5.
When meeting a Christian individual with a handicap, many people wonder, “How can you possibly be this joyful and confident in the promises of the Lord with your current circumstance?” Rebekah’s answer: “It is for God’s glory. God is in control and He knows what He is doing.” And this genuinely reflects her favorite verse, Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
Rebekah has a relationship with the Father that cannot be shaken. Often in our own lives, when we face hardships and trials, we throw up our hands to God and automatically ask “Why?” But Rebekah’s faith is solid, she is clothed in humility. And her’s is a humility not ordinarily seen in a culture of independence and self-obsession where narcissism is lauded rather than a bold confidence in the Lord God. I aspire to be as unmoved in my faith as she is.
The effects of spina bifida requires Rebekah to get surgery any time she grows in height. Needless to say, at the age of 22, she has been through multiple surgeries. But each time just before these invasive surgeries begin is when she feels the undeniable peace of the Comforter. A peace, she says, that washes over her and assures her of an acceptance of either of two outcomes- Jesus welcoming her at the doors of heaven, or returning home with her family. She truly knows and lives out the fact that neither death nor life shall separate us from the love of Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38).
Rebekah laughed often throughout our conversation. Her smile is bright and she is easily amused, especially at the humor of her brothers and uncles! Always desiring to lift up those who are in sorrow, she is routinely grinning at strangers. I can imagine Jesus doing the same as He drew people to Himself. And this is what God is revealing to Rebekah: He is the reason for her smile and He is using her joy to show others His glory!
You will not find disappointment or bitterness in her voice, only joyful praise to her Savior. Her gratitude is contagious when she glorifies God for the blessing of her family and all of the people helping to raise money for “Blessings for Bekah,” a facebook group dedicated to fundraising events.
So what does the future hold for Rebekah? In waiting for God’s direction, it is certain that her faith and influence will grow. She will sing praise to her God as long as she lives, and there will be many that meet her for the first time and see someone in need of healing but will themselves then be healed as they encounter Rebekah’s beautiful and prayerful heart.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
By: Joyce Birch