I have known the Scheevel Family since 2002. As a freshman in college, I sat in the same pew at Hope Covenant Church each Sunday. I had the privilege of visiting Hope Covenant last month when Nick and Rachel Scheevel spoke about the birth of their son, Caleb. You can listen too, look for October 18th, “Love One Another—Baby Caleb’s Story.” I came home from church that Sunday, sat at my kitchen table, and thought, I’d love to have Rachel write their story out for my blog. It’s a such a sweet testimony to the beauty of life. Enjoy!
By Rachel Scheevel
Out on our deck hangs a well-visited birdfeeder. It has been a treat at this time of year to watch the different varieties of birds pass by on their way to warmer climates. And while we get the occasional woodpecker or blue jay, the most frequent visitor is the sparrow. These little creatures present a daily reminder for me of God's protection and provision, even in the midst of fear and uncertainty. I have needed this reminder over the past year, as our family has been stretched and challenged in ways we never anticipated.
In May of 2014, we found out that the son we were expecting had a neural tube defect. Because of this, his skull had a large hole in it, and the doctors and ultrasound technicians informed us that at least 50% of his brain had hemorrhaged outside of his skull. Multiple opinions confirmed that he had zero hope of survival beyond a few weeks.
My pregnancy continued and we prepared ourselves to say hello and goodbye to our son, Caleb. We learned what it felt like to grieve, and we began to learn how to wait on God. In this wilderness of Waiting, we saw Him stand with us, quietly and steadily.
Caleb was born on September 29th, 2015, in a surprisingly uncomplicated and swift delivery. Our little sparrow. He nestled his way into our hearts slowly over the next few weeks and continued to defy the doctors' predictions. We began a series of surgeries that gave us increasing hope and challenged our endurance. Instead of preparing for another pregnancy, a redemption, God redeemed Caleb and began to heal our family from fear and grief.
Our journey with Caleb is not a smooth one, and complications continue to arise, but we know that God will never leave us, and He sees us in our struggle. We know that, just as He has a plan for the sparrows that visit our birdfeeder, He has a plan for our family and for Caleb's life. It may not be the plan that I would have made, but already, I can see the beauty in it.
The task of praying for Caleb has challenged many hearts all over the country, and his sweet smile and story have touched the countless medical professionals he's interacted with. Nick and I are learning tenacity and advocacy. We are also getting better at holding the grief of others, because we have had a taste of it ourselves. Even though our challenges with Caleb have stretched us in ways that we never wanted or planned, we value the experience.
We don't know what the future will hold, and that can be so frustrating. Having all the answers and knowing everything seems so attractive. But, we have to remember, everyone thought Caleb would die, and here he is - a year into his crazy, beautiful life - moving and growing and surprising us all. So we remind ourselves, when the end of a discouraging day arrives and we grieve the complexity of our story, that just like God holds the sparrows, He holds our future as well.