Guckenberger’s spirit is one the world should adopt
By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau
No matter how many times you find a couple of quarters in your pocket to give to the guy with the cardboard sign on the street corner …
No matter how much money you put in that monthly check to your favorite charity …
And no matter how often you volunteer at a homeless shelter or a rescue mission or any other worthy cause …
… There’s so much more you can do. You can try to do one-thousandth of what Beth Guckenberger does.
Her powerful message was on full display Monday morning for the third straight year in Chapel at Grand Canyon University Arena, and she was at her storytelling best. Guckenberger and her husband, Todd, have dedicated their lives to helping orphans through Back2Back Ministries, and the tales she tells go straight from her heart to those of her listeners.
“When you have the Holy Spirit living inside you, He gifts you this thing called peace. He’s asking you to step into something that might seem bigger, harder, more challenging than you are capable of executing on your own.”
Monday, she shared the story of her son Evan, whom she adopted out of Mexico even though she recently had given birth to a daughter, Emma, even though she had no advance notice that he had cerebral palsy that a neurologist later would rate as “severe” (3 on a scale of 1 to 4, 4 being the worst), even though the neurologist said Evan would never walk or talk — and then was determined to keep him even though the neurologist and social workers kept telling her that adopting his condition would be more than she could handle.
Just the very idea of adopting when they had another child to raise would seem crazy to some, but Guckenberger said that when she and Todd prayed on it … well, here’s how she told it:
“We sat for a minute in the presence of the Lord, and He gives you something that we’ve turned kind of into a cliché, I think, in the Christian culture. He gives you something I call ‘the peace that passes understanding.’ It doesn’t make any sense.
“You shouldn’t be like, ‘I feel really calm and collected about the fact that tomorrow I’m going to be the parent of a child that I’ve never seen before, we’re in two different countries right now and I have two days’ worth of clean clothes and we have an infant girl. All these circumstances around us should have made us really afraid.
“But when you have the Holy Spirit living inside you, He gifts you this thing called peace. He’s asking you to step into something that might seem bigger, harder, more challenging than you are capable of executing on your own.”
There were many times when Guckenberger could have said it was too much to handle, but she persevered. And wouldn’t you know it? Having two little ones, one of them a special-needs child, was tough on the parents, but watching Emma walk made Evan determined to do it himself. One day, when Beth was at a low point, that’s exactly what he did. She couldn’t wait to show the neurologist what a miracle looks like.
But he didn’t stop there — no, not at all. He now plays football at Taylor University in Upland, Ind. To see what the miracle looks like today, click here.
“Absolutely nothing is impossible with God,” she said.
Guckenberger told the story of Moses, the Pharaoh and the frogs in Chapter 8 of Exodus (click here to read it). Even when the Pharaoh had the option of getting rid of those frogs, he chose to sleep with them one more night.
She closed with another poignant story: A dog that was pregnant with a litter of puppies was hit by a car, and there were two choices: Put it to sleep or amputate its back legs and save the puppies. Its caretaker chose the latter option, and the only way the dog could move was by what Guckenberger calls “dragging her bumpies.”
But when the puppies were born, they modeled themselves after their mother — they walked exactly the same way, dragging their hind quarters along. Guckenberger said God used that lesson to tell her this:
“Every time you tell me no, you look as ridiculous as those puppies who have four functioning legs but instead choose to use only two. When you rely on only that which you have seen before or that which you consider to be safe or that which you are familiar with, you look ridiculous, like a dog dragging her bumpies. You have been created for more than you allow in your life.”
Her closing message to her audience of more than 6,500: “Stop dragging your bumpies. Don’t sleep with your frog.”
In other words, do something that really matters.
● For a replay of Guckenberger’s talk, click here.
● Next Monday’s Chapel speaker: Brian Kruckenberg, New City Church.
Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or [email protected].