Nicole lived the first nine years of her life abandoned and alone. Never spoken to, she never learned to speak. Never properly touched, her muscles deteriorated. Never stimulated, her development halted. Despite never having anyone to provide for her needs, Nicole persevered. She learned how to take care of herself, to find her own food, to make her own fire and even venture to the river to rinse her own clothes.
Over the last five years, The Rising team has cared for Nicole and she has defied all odds. She does not let her diagnoses, daily hurdles and even a cultural stigma around special needs define who she is and what she can accomplish. Now, Nicole joyfully rides a bike, brushes her teeth, helps cook dinner, and has a community of people who love her. Nicole attends school, is learning to write, participated in her school dance and is working hard to learn sign language.
While Nicole's diagnoses are vast and her challenges are ever present, we know that is not her whole story. We celebrate all of Nicole's victories and give God the glory. Nicole remains our greatest light as her laughter echoes off the walls and her playful spirit brings life to us all.
She is worthy and loved.
Nicole is a reminder that no person’s story is ever without hope and that God can restore life, turning beauty from ashes.
I will remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.