A Mother’s Story, by Charlotte Benson

As I stared out of the window on my flight from Baton Rouge to Austin, I prayed for my family and our future, and for Christiane’s healing.  I watched rays of sunlight angle down from above dashing horizontal shelves of clouds and refracting the light into a cascading effect.  Waterfalls, I thought.  God has created waterfalls of light in the clouds and I wondered why.

When I finished praying, I pulled the blind down and turned to Craig sitting next to me in the middle seat.  He had just finished reading the last pages of a book called The Shack.  I asked him if he liked it, and what was his favorite part.  He thumbed through the pages, said that it was all good, and that he wouldn’t know where to start.  Then he turned to a chapter in the book and handed it to me to read.

I read a legend of an Indian tribe that was plagued with sickness.  The old wise medicine man had announced that the only hope for this dying community was for the chief to sacrifice his only daughter.  The chief couldn’t bring himself to carry out such a horrific assignment and the tribe continued to perish.  At last, the man to whom the chief’s daughter was betrothed fell sick and was dying too.  In an attempt to save the man she loved, the girl hiked a day and well into the night to a towering cliff and jumped to her death.  The next morning, the entire tribe had been healed and the chief, along with the girl’s fiancé, fearing the worst, struck out to find his daughter.  They found her lying at the base of the cliff and the grief-stricken father raised his arms to the heavens begging the Great Spirit to memorialize this spot.  All at once, a waterfall burst out from the top of the cliff, cascading down to the scene below.

I could hardly believe what I had read because just minutes before, I was marveling at the beautiful images of waterfalls that God was showing me in the clouds.

This experience reminded me that although we don’t know if Christiane’s life will be sacrificed, we do know that it has purpose and meaning, and that God is using her in a mighty way.  Christiane is the inspiration for the development of Beyond Batten Disease Foundation.  Because of her, our subsequent development of a carrier-screening test for Batten and hundreds of rare diseases will save countless others from experiencing the same devastation.

Waterfalls will forever have new meaning for me.  They are a constant reminder of God’s purpose, endless love, and refreshment for the soul.

If God can use a seven-year old with a terminal illness in such a profound way, I wonder how he can use me?