"Encourage one another daily" (Hebrews 3:13).
A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Daily Encouragement Net website
Ester Weber's Testimony
On Her 23rd Birthday
Nine month Ester shown here with her young parents and our other foster child, Mirza, who was treated for Spina Bifida in Erie, PA.
Friday March 9, 2012
I thought it would be good to share my story because today is special for me… it’s my 23rd birthday. I told myself I will share my story when I turn 23 years old. It’s like I’ve been on a roller coaster most of my life. Lots of ups and downs, but God has been with me through it all. He is the real reason why I am here today celebrating my birthday.
I hope my story will inspire people around the world to not give up but keep fighting. My life is not perfect but my story is one that might lead you to ask, "How can she survive this?"
I was named Ester Contreras on the day of my birth, March 9, 1989 in a remote village on the Rio Dulce in Guatemala (see here for map). I was born with a very serious heart condition which was later diagnosed as Pulmonary Atresia. My birth mother had already chosen to give me up for adoption upon my birth, but due to my defective heart, the family I was promised to in America changed their minds. I remained very critical but survived three months in primitive conditions in the orphanage, Casa Guatemala, in Guatemala City. The only way to have a chance for survival would be to come to America for a heart operation, if I could survive the trip.
I was three months old before arrangements could be made for me to come to the USA on June 14, 1989 and live with the Webers. Brooksyne (who was soon to become my mom) tells me, “The moment they placed you in my arms you immediately won my heart.” I was very sick, weighed only 5 pounds, and was also covered with scabies from living in the orphanage.
It’s much too long a story to tell but I spent many months in the hospital over the next three years where I had five heart operations, barely surviving two of them. Many people prayed for me through that time and it was a miracle from God that I ever recovered.
It took several years before the Webers could proceed with my adoption, but finally when I was eight years old my adoption was finalized and I became Ester Kathleen Weber. It took another ten years before I could get my citizenship papers (that's another story too.)
I've been through an awful lot in my 23 years of life. I’ve had more heart catheterizations than I can count, six open heart surgeries, far too many ER visits where the doctors applied defibrillator paddles to shock my heart back into proper rhythm. I’ve had two pacemaker implants; this last one has been very helpful in keeping my heart in proper rhythm. I can honestly tell you I am so glad I am alive. There are two people who gave their time, love, devotion and everything else just for me to live in America. I wouldn't be here if it wasn’t for Stephen and Brooksyne Weber and the many people who have prayed for me including you, our Daily Encouragement reader friends.
When I graduated Mom and Dad gave me my senior class ring with my name & the word "hupernikomen" inscribed on the inside of the ring. I knows what that means since this is a spiritual concept my dad taught me. He still asks me now and then, “What are you?” and my answer is always, "I am an overcomer."
You see, "hupernikomen" is the Greek word translated "more than conquerors". Literally this is "over conqueror".
So I encourage each of you, let's all live like overcomers in our lives today.
If you are going through trials or tribulation in your life right now, where all you want to do is give up, don't give up! I am 23 years old now and I can tell you it's worth fighting for. I fought back when I could have died. God has shown me to be thankful for the good things in life, more than I could ever imagine. I continue to face challenges, but I remind myself constantly that I am an overcomer!! I reflect upon the blessings that I received in the midst of incredible difficulties and know that God is watching over me.
Sometimes the frustration that comes from my learning issues and ongoing medical needs seems unending, but God is faithful to meet those needs and reassures me that He will never fail me. He has been patient with me in recent years when I’ve had lots of questions about my past and present which led to rebellious behavior and spiritual struggles in my heart. He has used a favorite verse from Scripture, Jeremiah 29:11, that speaks peace to me about my life – the ups and downs:
"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."
This verse means that whatever the problem is in my life, God is going to be there holding my hand all the way till the very end. And it’s the same for you. No matter what you are going through, God will be there holding your hand all the way. When things go wrong or a different direction than you expected God has a perfect plan for you. Not just for you, but for all of us. He loves us so much that he sent his only Son to die on the cross. What greater thing could we want in this life!
Ester Kathleen Weber
Brooksyne's Note: Ester was the fourth child we hosted from Guatemala who came to us through a humanitarian relief program "Healing the Children". Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, PA brought her through the five heart operations and then we were able to proceed with her adoption which took nearly four years. "Healing the Children" is not an adoption agency but is a volunteer organization available to children from families overseas who are unable to get the medical treatment needed in their own country.
Thanks, Ester, for your story and letting me edit you like your dad lets me edit him for Daily Encouragement.
Daily Encouragement Net
"Living today anchored in God's solid foundation"
Daily Encouragement Net