A personal letter to my nephew

(In 2017 my nephew was diagnosed in the womb with Spina Bifida. I knew his life would be characterized by struggle, but his parents were brave and they trusted God. They decided to name him Elijah. I wrote this letter to Elijah before he was born. In honor of Spina Bifida Awareness Month, I share it with you.)

Your name is Elijah, a name aptly chosen. Never forget the meaning of your name young Elijah. It means “My God is Yahweh.” 

When your parents chose it for you, it was a bold proclamation, an affirmation of their trust in God even in difficult circumstances. And he has proven himself faithful to them. You have already beaten the odds.

While other children spend their first few months cooing and being spoiled, you will be fighting, recovering & overcoming the impossible. But your God is Yahweh, and He will give you the strength, even as a child, to overcome these obstacles because He has a purpose for your life. 

Remember your name, when people stare or ask hard questions. Maybe they have never seen a man of God. Maybe they have never heard of His goodness. Maybe they have never felt His hand in their life. Tell them that your God is Yahweh, introduce them to the King of Kings.

Remember your name when people doubt you and underestimate you.Make a plan, work hard and keep moving. Prove everyone wrong as you laugh at their doubts and prove to them that you can do anything. Your God is Yahweh, and he will make a way. But you have to do your part. Nothing will ever just fall into your lap. You will have to work for it. 

Remember your name when you doubt yourself. Don’t fall into the trap of Self-pity. Self-Doubt will be your worst enemy; he will scream at you, “You can’t do this!” “You are too weak.” “You are disabled, let someone else do that.” You will be tempted to listen to these lies, instead just shout back. Tell them your name! “MY GOD IS YAHWEH!”

Remember that your name is your birthright only if you accept it. It could mean everything, or it could mean nothing. You must decide. You must choose to follow, trust, and obey. You can not live off of the faith of your parents. You must decide to become a man of God yourself. You are the one who determines that YOUR God is Yahweh, by entering His presence daily and devoting yourself to Him and His teachings. Let Him do all of the miracles; you just follow where he leads you like an obedient disciple, and I promise He will use you in mighty ways. 

It won’t be easy, there will be pain, struggle, and loss. You will be discouraged and frustrated with your circumstances. It’s okay, he knows these pains too. He has felt them. But you must give them over to Him, don’t keep them for yourself. Entrust him with your deepest hurts and let him transform them into something useful. His name is Redeemer, and he will redeem any pain you bring him, but he can’t redeem it until you give it over to him. 

Young man, in living be disciplined, in faith be Bold, in your perspective be optimistic & never let the state of your body dictate the strength of your will. 

Your uncle
— j

a picture of Elijah taken by his mom

If you would like to help families who are navigating the difficulties of children born with disabilities consider donating to Ronald McDonald Houses. They do a lot to provide for the family during some of their most challenging days.

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