Guest post by Julie Deuink
Born at 24 weeks weighing 697 grams, she began her life beating the odds. Her mom, Donna, believed that God had a purpose for this tiny baby and gave her the fitting name of Miracle. The doctors hedged their prognosis with cautious warnings…this child named Miracle would likely be blind, deaf, and learning disadvantaged. But still, her mother believed that God had a purpose and a plan for her little girl. And again, Miracle overcame the dire predictions. She grew up with sight, hearing, and an affinity for learning! This theme of overcoming the odds and proving her resilience has continued for all of Miracle’s 17 years of life.
I met Miracle in the fall of 2010 when Church at Charlotte began our outreach partnership at the Gladedale Apartment community. Miracle’s mom, Donna, was instrumental in forging the partnership with our church and her efforts to promote her community with Church at Charlotte’s support have resulted in positive outcomes. Through our after-school tutoring outreach and other programs at Gladedale, I began to spend considerable time in the Gladedale community…. and Miracle became an increasingly important part of my life. Her involvement with Church at Charlotte grew from attending Sunday services to participation in youth ministry and mission trips. Now 4 1/2 years later, she is an appreciated member of the Church at Charlotte family and we are preparing for her graduation from Myers Park High School!
A different path
As I consider Miracle’s tenacity and determination, it overwhelms and encourages me. By consistently making difficult—often unpopular—choices, she’s desired to live a different kind of life than many teenagers choose. By working at the same job for over a year, she’s demonstrated her commitment and work ethic. By applying for college and being accepted at her top choice, she’s proven herself academically. By actively pursuing college scholarships and funding, she’s determined to make college a reality in her life. By believing that God, indeed, does have a plan for her life and choosing to follow Him, she sets a great example for those around her. As I consider Miracle’s success and future, I ponder what factors have shaped and directed her life? Definitely, a mother who set high standards and provided the support needed. Certainly, Miracle’s own determination to choose a better way. Positively, those teachers, youth pastors, and friends who believed in and encouraged her. And, hopefully, the love and attention of our church community. But most importantly, the love and grace of our Sovereign God has changed her life….I am so grateful that I’ve been blessed to know this MIRACLE!
Miracle’s favorite verse is Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
*Photo courtesy of Emily Marks Photography