I originally planned to make my book available for pre-order today. December 5. Due to wisdom and logic and Divine intervention, I decided to wait, but I wanted to share anyway why I chose December 5. You see… December 5 is a very important day to me and my family.
It’s because of this lovely young woman:
This is my little sister, Janna. She first became a part of our household on December 5, 2000. She was 1 year and 9 months old at that time. Because we didn’t know when her birthday was at first, we decided that we were going to celebrate December 5 as her birthday.
We eventually found out what her real birthday was (March 22), but every year, on December 5, I still greet her a Happy Fake Birthday.
My sister is going to turn eighteen soon, and at her young age, she’s been through far more than most people have. I can’t even begin to tell you what this girl has gone through. The story of her life will astound you, and the miracles that God has performed in her life will amaze you.
But more than anything, it is her. She is the miracle. Her joy, her light, her radiance. Even after everything she’s been through.
You see, my sister was diagnosed with mild cerebral palsy. She hasn’t been able to walk ever, and is confined in a wheelchair.
Being a part of a strong Christian family, heavily involved in ministry – both our parents are pastors, and a lot of our relatives are involved in ministry one way or another – countless prayers for healing have been poured upon her, but for some reason, she is still where she is.
In a wheelchair.
But she’s not one to be pitied, nor does she want to be. The last time I spoke to her about this, she told me that she understood that if more people come to know the Lord because she can’t walk, then she would rather not walk.
My sister, in many ways, is an inspiration to me. I am always challenged by her courage, by her will, by her ability to smile through life and pick herself up when she feels down. There are so many things about her that I find beautiful, so many things about her character that I wish I had in myself.
She has such a big heart for people. A value for relationships that allows her to be vulnerable, where most people would be guarded. She has experienced so much rejection, but that has never stopped her from reaching out to others and still taking chances.
She loves music and has taken the steps it requires for her to be better at it, even when challenges come her way. She doesn’t give up, this one. She’s always been a fighter – especially regarding things and people she’s passionate about.
She has literally lived a story of someone who has made beauty out of ashes. I can’t even begin to explain in this blog the many ways that she represents that imagery.
She has a natural joie de vivre that is contagious and uplifting, and I hope and pray that that joy of life will never ever go away, even when things seem dark and hopeless.
Janna, you were meant to shine. Don’t ever forget that.
I see that radiance fading away sometimes, and it saddens me because I know it’s not her. She’s meant to reflect the Son’s shine. It’s always what she’s been, but she’s human and she’s been down a lot lately. That makes me sad, because she is a natural encourager with such a great sense of humor.
Through some of my darkest moments in life, it was her who managed to make me laugh and smile and let me know that I wasn’t alone.
I hope that in some way, this article can encourage her too. If you’re reading this, do leave a comment to reach out to her and give her some love, encourage her and bless her. I’ll make sure she gets to read it.
I know she needs it in this season.
Next to my Mom, Janna is one of the bravest, most beautiful women I know. Her life and attitude towards her every circumstance challenge me every day, but just like any warrior, she also gets wounded.
I hope this can help her see that she is always and will always be loved.