I was born on a humid Hawaiian bathroom floor in a beanbag chair on the island of Oahu, delivered by a mechanical engineer, and named by the Holy Spirit at the moment I took my first breath. As soon as my dad caught me, surprised, he announced in a deep loud voice, “Rebekah!” My birth story gave me anxiety my entire life. No hospital, no nurse, no doctor, no name planned out for me. Just my parents, a beanbag chair, and God!
I remember at the age of 16, I asked my dad what training he completed to deliver me and my seven other siblings? He said, “I just read a fireman’s manual.”
When I reflect on my birth story now, I am able to look past the crazy and see the beauty of my birth. One important fact turned my previous anxiety to permanent peace. I was given a name by my earthly father, from the Holy Spirit, and God’s love called me by name at birth.
I was called! I am called!
The word of God in Galatians 1:15 reframed my entire birth story for me.
“But then God called me by his grace; and in love, he chose me from my birth to be his.” (Galatians 1:15)
My crashing story was a classic case of “leader burnout” from a life of too much. Too responsible, too fast, too busy, too tough to feel, too prideful to ask for help, too much leading, too much stress, too much family tension, too much trauma. And not enough sitting with my creator, resting and caring for my own soul.
One day I woke up and couldn’t move!
I was like the energizer bunny and my batteries suddenly went dead. I was in stage four adrenal failure; my thyroid was in serious trouble, and my hormones went wacky! I went from running 10 miles in a day, parenting three children, leading bible study, president of way too much to not being able to even walk up stairs for months.
The two questions I asked were, “When can I run again?” and “When can I do for Jesus again?”
In my jacked up theology, I believed that God needed me to do for him to be loved by him.
In the crashing, the Lord was calling me into a deeper level of intimacy.
Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have crashed over me. (Psalm 42:7)
In my overdoing, I reached a level of physical, emotional, and spiritual pain that I couldn’t work my way out of. It was time to ask for professional help.
It took courage to face my situation. I had to rehab from physical immobility, feel and deal with undealt with emotions, and face areas of my soul I had hidden from God for too long. In the facing of stuffed emotions, I started to recognize and feel fear and extreme sadness for the first time. Once I ripped off the emotional band aid, I had an awakening to fear and realized it was the root of my anxiety.
The extroverted energizer bunny was put in a social “time out” so I decided to take my healing serious. I had to uncover the root of my newly felt fear.
Breaking up with fear was a process for me, but identifying my lies were the beginning of the breakup. I meditated on this scripture to conquer fear any time it has tried to creep back in.
I did not create you with a spirit of fear and timidity but power, love, and a sound mind. (1 Timothy 1:7)
According to Danny Silk, fear and love can’t co-exist! In John 4:18 it says, there is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear. His love and truth conquered all fear and moved me from a place of FEAR to FAITH.
His love conquered my fear!
God’s comforting love miraculously spoke to me at a waterfall in the town of Rainbow, Oregon on July 17th, 2017. From the time of crashing, it had been one year and nine months of intense counseling, physical therapy, doctors, and specialists before I got the supernatural “GO” sign from God that I could run again.
I was hiking to a waterfall when I saw the most spectacular display of butterflies hatching on rocks near the water. I saw thousands of butterflies glistening in the sun ready to take flight in their new form, new wings, new mode of transportation! Their time of stillness, darkness, development, and transformation from a caterpillar with legs to a butterfly with wings was on display speaking to me.
As I delighted in God’s creation, the words “Time to Fly” flashed through my mind.
I asked the Lord, “Now? Are you saying I can run now?”
I looked down at my running shoes and with the biggest smile on my face I ran for a consecutive mile! All previous attempts ended after 100 yards due to pain in my right leg. I physically felt the comfort of God’s love throughout my entire body, as I ran with no pain and a new freedom. I got new wings in the process of healing and transformation.
We stopped at a gas station after the waterfall hike and I asked the gas attendant if these butterflies hatched here every year. He looks at me and says, “I have lived in Rainbow for 44 years (I was 44 that year) and I have never seen this happen. This is a first!”
I walked away smiling at God’s sense of humor and ability to create a miraculous sign just to show me his comforting love that day!
For love completes the law of God. All of the law can be summarized in one grand statement; Demonstrate love to your neighbor, even as you care for and love yourself. (Galatians 5:14)
His love completed the process he started in me. He didn’t leave me broken and lifeless, but his love that called me by name at birth came crashing into my heart, conquered my fears, comforted my heart, and completed what he started by His love!
I am incapable of going back to the person I was before the crashing because God’s love transformed me. Just like a caterpillar transforms into a beautiful butterfly, only after a time of silence and solitude in the chrysalis which is dark, lonely, crippling, and long, so have I been transformed into a new being with new wings forever changed!
Becky Cancelosi is our Joy Of It Director of Soul Care. She has been married for 22 years to her husband Robert and has 3 children ages 19, 14, 10. She is passionate about loving women well, mentoring couples, and spiritually directing women. Becky’s mission is to know and rely intimately on God’s love so she can reflect love, joy, peace, and hope to all she encounters. Read her full healing story here.