Embracing the challenges of life

By Becky Spell Vann - Contributing columnist

Do the song lyrics, “Up from the grave He arose” resonate chords of restoration and victory in your life? The Holy holiday of Easter reminds us of Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice and sweet redemption. He died on the cross, was buried, arose, descended into Hades to take care of business with Satan, walked the road to Emaeus with two men who did not recognize Him as they journeyed together, shared time with His disciples and showed Thomas His nail scared Hands, promised to send a Helper, ascended to Heaven, and sits by the right hand of His Father.

This powerful Easter story puts Jesus’ amazing grace in proper perspective. He died as a sacrifice for our sins so that we can RISE UP in faith to face life here, stay closely connected while honoring covenants, enjoy a personal relationship with Him, and be prepared for life eternal in Heaven when He calls us Home.

Rising Up in faith to live out loud in love with the Lord sweetly satisfies the hunger for happiness and thirst for peace that only He can quench. May this Easter season bring us closer to Christ with a deeper appreciation and greater commitment to know and serve Him with loyalty and love. In retrospect, let us recount times in our own lives when we have ‘risen up’ in faith to face situations that could have kept us in the grave. Personal testimonies (from God’s children) tell of times He carried us and ways He rescued us from places where death could have consumed. When we share stories of Jesus’ grace and guidance in His plans and purpose for our lives, others are encouraged to Rise Up and be restored. Oh how sweet to trust in Jesus, even when heartaches and handicaps could bury us in sorrow. When we make the choice to Rise Up with courage and faith to face our fears and hardships, Jesus sees our hearts, hears our prayers, and helps restore our lives with purpose, passion, and a place where HIs plans pan out perfectly!

This story shares a short version of how God’s plans, for my niece’s life, are panning out with a storyline that only He could script. Katy Borum’s parents, Mary Gaye and Kurt, and four year old brother, Andy, welcomed her to their family in 1996. My son, Cameron, and I were there the day Katy was born. She was beautiful. Yet, concerns came when we realized she had extra digits (toes) on each foot. This realization would lead to more health concerns for Katy and her loved ones to handle with continuous prayers and tender loving care.

Katy was born with physical limitations and abnormalities that brought 28 operations the first 19 years of her life. The first was removing the extra toes when she turned one. Doctors encouraged her parents to have both of Katy’s legs amputated below her hips at this early age also. This devastating news took time to digest and prayers to decide ‘no’ to amputation. My sister took a leave of absence from work to spend more time with Andy and care for Katy. They traveled to hospitals all over America seeking help to save Katy’s legs. Finally, they were guided to Shriner’s with help from James Robert Vann and local Shriners.

Thus, Katy’s long road with doctor’s appointments, braces on her legs, rods in her back, body braces, more surgeries, complications, medicines, pain, and problems due to her handicap kept pushing her back to the line of scrimmage every time she recovered and pressed forward to a first down. Yet, Katy, her mother, father, and brother never gave up on Katy being restored or gave in when seasons of doubt and depression tried to bury their blessings. They rose up to each challenge with courage and confidence that God would take care of Katy and bring victory from defeat. And He is!

Time and space prevent sharing the many surgeries and set-backs Katy and her family have faced. My sister and her husband were surely chosen, for their caregiving and confidence that God would work things out for Katy rose up through every season of sickness, surgery, sadness, and situations that threatened to take their sunshine away.

Katy’s dynamic personality and perseverance to play sports were in His plan for future blessings we could only imagine while watching her grow up. Her love for football brought a blessing to this darling six year old tomboy when the rec. coach agreed to add her to the team’s roster. How would this be possible one might wonder Katy put it all in perspective as she practiced and played through the pain and problems she dealt with every step of the way.

Tim and I drove to High Point one afternoon to watch her play. Family, friends, even strangers who watched Katy’s wit and willingness to play while wearing braces, cheered wildly from the sidelines when she caught the ball, ran down the field (with players from both teams pulling for her instead of plowing her down), and made a touchdown! That moment of victory and the image of a little girl filled with power and passion to overcome the handicaps that could crush her dreams rise up in my mind as I stop writing this story and remember that moment in time! I remember respectfully and reverently for the One who brings good from the bad things we endure according to His plans for our lives in His perfect time. And He does…if we chose to rise up and refuse to be buried in pity.

Take time this week to reflect on the sacred meaning of this Easter season and the sacrifice Jesus made when He died on the cross to save us from our sins and pave the way for a personal relationship with Him. Pray for Katy and other people who deal with handicaps daily. Ponder the handicaps you face that can hinder your precious relationship with the Lord and prevent His plans from panning out in your life.

I will share the rest of Katy’s story in a future column.

Becky Spell Vann is a long-time columnist for the Sampson Independent’s Faith & Family section and owner of the outreach ministry Tim’s Gift.

By Becky Spell Vann

Contributing columnist


Becky Spell Vann is a long-time columnist for the Sampson Independent’s Faith & Family section and owner of the outreach ministry Tim’s Gift.

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