Friday, September 30, 2016

Words of Faith: Ralene's story on hope, healing, and believing in God

You Were Meant to Be
A Words of Faith story by Ralene Burke

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb."
~Psalm 139:13 (NKJV)

People often ask me when I started believing in God or when I accepted Jesus as my Savior. It’s hard for me to answer because, in many ways, I have always believed. I don’t really remember a time where I didn’t. Sure, there were times I rebelled or backslid, depending on what term you want to use, but I never stopped believing.

I couldn’t. It wasn’t in me. Why?

Because my very birth and survival were a miracle doctors couldn’t explain.

When I was born, I had a tumor in my neck. In a matter of hours, the tumor swelled to the size of a grown man’s fist in a newborn baby’s neck. I couldn’t swallow. I couldn’t breathe.

The hospital life-flighted me to a bigger hospital. The doctors told my parents that, without surgery, I was going to die. And, even with surgery, there would only be a 50 percent chance I would live. So, at only two days old, I underwent surgery to remove the tumor.

Afterward, I was flown in a helicopter across the country. Recovery followed with three months in the hospital. The doctors were sure that I would be mentally and physically handicapped. They were so sure (95 percent sure, if you want the number), they tried to convince my parents to put me in a state facility where people would be better equipped to take care of me. Of course, my parents refused.

From the day I was born through those first several months, there were so many people praying for me…So many people just pouring out their hearts, asking God for a miracle.

In the months after I left the hospital, my delayed development picked up quickly. By the end of my first year, I was pretty much on track with most other one-year-olds.

"From birth I have relied on you;
you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
I will ever praise you." ~Psalm 71:6 (NKJV)

Today, you wouldn’t notice too many of the side effects of that surgery. Yes, there was some nerve damage. It paralyzed my left shoulder muscle, my left vocal cord, as well as a few others minor nerves. The one thing most people notice is my raspy voice from only using one vocal cord. If people are around me longer, they might realize I’m limited on how much I can lift and on shoulder movement on the left side.

No mental challenges, though. Unless you count my penchant for taking on too much. Or listening to the voices in my head—I mean, writing fantasy stories.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”~
Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

It is by God’s grace alone that I am here today. It’s by His bidding that I have come so far and done so much more than the doctor’s ever anticipated. I remember, upon my high school graduation, my mom and I sent cards to the three hospitals involved with taking care of me at some point throughout my birth and recovery.

God is the Father of Miracles. He calls us to His side, invites us to join in the journey WITH Him. How do I have faith in a fallen world? How can I not? I look around and see all that He has done in the lives of so many people—and it is good.

Author bio: 

Whether she’s wielding a fantasy writer’s pen, a freelance editor’s sword, or a social media wand, Ralene Burke always has her head in some dreamer’s world. And her goal is to make it SHINE! She has worked for a variety of groups, including Realm Makers, The Christian PEN, Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, and as an editor for a number of freelance clients. Her first novel, Bellanok, was published as a 4-part serial! 

When her head’s not in the publishing world, she is wife to a veteran and homeschooling mama to their three kids. Her Pinterest board would have you believe she is a master chef, excellent seamstress, and all around crafty diva. If she only had the time . . . 

You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, or at her website.


  1. Thanks for having me today, Alexis!

  2. Your story and attitude are encouraging, Ralene. Thanks for sharing - now I'll have to check out your other writing.


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