By Beth Guckenberger
Sometimes I have the great privilege of sharing with the NASCAR community in their pre-race chapels. I first met them through their chaplain, and then started going to a couple of races a year and sharing with them about orphancare and how I have seen God go to bat for kids around the world. Last month, I was at the Kentucky Speedway and I brought two of my sons with me, one being my adopted fifteen-year-old son, Evan. We spent the hours before chapel talking to the community; drivers, mechanics, media personnel, and hearing about the hard stuff they were experiencing, even in the glamorous lifestyle they enjoyed. We are not immune, no matter who we are and what we do. With all of that swirling around my heart and head, I leaned over and whispered to Evan, “Can I share our story in chapel with the drivers? Can we tell them that nothing is impossible?” He smiled and nodded, nervous a bit.
I took the stage, just an hour before the checkered flag and begun to share with the drivers and crew chiefs, family members and teams about the day when God asked us to adopt a special needs baby. I shared how overwhelmed I was, how inexperienced, how there were nights I questioned God, our future, and his goodness. I told them we eventually received a diagnosis of severe cerebral palsy, and the news of Evan’s never being able to walk was devastating.
Then I shared of one afternoon, of a normal moment that turned miraculous, not because I woke up and did or prayed anything different, not because we earned or deserved what happened, but because God is sovereign and at the end of the day, we either submit to it or fight against it.
Evan didn’t even army crawl, he was at that time, a year and a half and couldn’t even move. We had daily therapies and were seeing no real progress and yet… this afternoon, frustrated with his sister and desiring the toy she had taken from him, he pushed himself across the floor (the start of the miracle!), pulled himself up on a couch (the tears started here!), cruised across the full length couch (this started the phone call to husband!) and walked across the room (hallelujah!).
As I shared the sequence of events in those moments, I motioned for my strapping, high school football player, Evan, to walk forward and join me on stage and as he stood there, everyone gasped. Ever the proud mama, I told of touchdowns and athletic accomplishments, trying to ‘prove’ when God decides to heal, it’s complete.
As those drivers had their jaws hanging open, I told them, ‘no matter what brokenness you are facing, the story isn’t over yet…’ God can and will use all things to display his glory and all we are to do is testify to it. I whispered to Evan how much I love being his mama, how he is a signpost to me of God’s pursuit of us. At fifteen, he didn’t quite know what to say, seeing these professional athletes moved to tears by his story and still wrapping his adolescent brain around what a holy God did for him. ‘It’s ok’, I told him, ‘you don’t have to have words, God is working in you still, and the story isn’t over yet…”
Beth Guckenberger is the mother of a bunch of biological, a bunch of adopted and a slew of foster children. She and her husband, Todd, direct Back2Back Ministries. Beth is the author of several books on the journey of their life abroad.