Author, Freefall to Fly, (2013)
Married to Gabe since 1997
3 children: Cade, 12; Pierce, 10; Kennedy 8
College: Public Relations, Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA
Cofounder with Gabe, Q Ideas, a non-profit organization dedication to educating Christian leaders in creative ways to engage their industries and cities
Journeying toward a Life of Meaning
The 700 Club
Rebekah and Gabe were married in 1997 and moved to Georgia. Three years later their son Cade was born, he was diagnosed with Down syndrome. On his first birthday, Rebekah iced a huge lion face on a cake and wanted everything to be perfect – “the same way I want Cade to be perfect,” says Rebekah. Tears rolled down her face as she realized that she was making an attempt to find perfection. She told a friend one day she was praying for Cade to be “whole.” Her friend said, “Maybe your version of wholeness and God’s version of wholeness look different.” That comment sent Rebekah reeling. “My hang up with wholeness was my issue,” says Rebekah. “Not God’s.” Yet she continued to keep lists – volumes of lists – which made Rebekah feel as if she had purpose. Her success was measured by her accomplishments each day. “Tasking was my way of healing,” she says.
Then in 2010, Gabe asked Rebekah to relocate their family, now complete with 3 children, to New York City. They both loved the Big Apple and Rebekah had been feeling restless in what she called her “comfortable life” in the suburbs. When they moved to their new apartment, Rebekah tried to keep a sense of normalcy though her heart was growing increasingly heavy. She felt like all the effort she was putting in her family to be normal was not bringing true happiness. The failure overwhelmed her, and she started to self-destruct. “I jumped into my move to New York and the fall was fierce,” says Rebekah. One day, Rebekah and the kids were crossing busy Park Avenue. Cade, forced into an unfamiliar situation, froze. He laid down on the asphalt. Rebekah panicked. Cade wasn’t moving. After desperate pleas and a growing audience of spectators, Rebekah finally dragged Cade across the lanes into the median. He wanted his comfort back. “Cade wanted to return home to Georgia, and so did I,” she says. “Cade was giving me a glimpse of my own weakness.”
Rebekah’s anxiety continued. One day she boarded a plane home to NYC. As the plane began its descent, the cabin began to rock and shake. Something took over Rebekah. Her mind was racing; her heartbeat quickened; and she could not stop the gripping fear that overcame her. She was having a full-blown panic attack. When the wheels hit the asphalt, Rebekah leapt from her seat and collapsed at the flight attendant’s feet. The weeks that followed became a downward spiral of panic attacks which lasted a year and a half. Fear was gripping and crippling her. “This type-A control freak turned into not even being able to take a breath on my own,” says Rebekah. “I became more desperate for God than ever,” she says. Then in the middle of the night in September 2011, Rebekah cried out to God, “Rescue me,” she cried. Her panic stopped.
LIVE THIS ONE LIFE WELL
Rebekah says more than 57.7 million American adults suffer from some form of mental illness including 18.1 million who have been diagnosed with depression. She says the reason why is because we don’t know who we are. “We all feel this self-doubt…the nagging sense that we don’t quite have what it takes,” says Rebekah. She reminds us if we have forgotten our calling or abandoned it along the way, God wants us to reclaim it. “The journey toward meaning begins when we unearth our gifts,” says Rebekah. She says many of us like to live controlled lives. She reminds us that God wants us to be a part of where His hand is moving. “We are summoned,” she says. “We are here for a reason.”
Today Rebekah is armed with surrendered prayer. “He does exceedingly abundantly more than I can ask or think,” she says. “That’s a good reminder for walking in humble surrender.”
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