In our age of social media we are more aware of things than ever before. Everyday we see sad stories that touch our hearts. We pray for strangers. We join groups on Facebook to show our support. We cry tears for people we have never actually met. Some of these stories affect us more than others. Some of them stay on our hearts a little longer. Enter our prayer life a little more.
One of my biggest fears is something happening to Zach that would leave him disabled. Zach is such an alpha male and if he were disabled it would devastate him. To not be able to play with the kids. Work in the yard. Provide for our family. It would be difficult on me, of course, but my heart aches at the thought of seeing him struggle in that type of scenario. I think it’s because of my fear that Mark and Hannah’s story has been so heavy on my heart.
Mark Rhinehart graduated from my high school a year before I did. When I saw people asking for prayers for him on facebook I recognized his name but didn’t really remember him. Looking through past yearbooks I do remember him but vaguely. I’m sure we had passing conversation at some point. Possibly even shared a class or two. But I’m not going to say we were friends or that our paths even crossed very often because that’s not the case.
Mark’s wife Hannah is a couple years older than us, but still young no doubt. At only 32 years old she’s already fought cancer, and won. And then in June of this year she developed a rare infection. It has spread throughout her body and on July 26th the doctors at Northside Hospital came to the difficult conclusion to amputate her hands and feet. Now over a month later she’s still in the ICU in critical condition.
I have been following Mark and Hannah’s journey through this situation both on Facebook and on the website that has been created in her honor. Mark is such an inspiration to me. He made the vow to stand beside her in sickness and in health and he has done that. He is a school teacher and has had SO many people want to give him their sick days so he can be with Hannah. The Gwinnett County school board has turned down this request, which is unfathomable to me. Mark is obviously a man of God who is leaning on the Lord in such a difficult time. I was so touched by his open letter on Hannah’s website and wanted to help spread the word.
When we hear these types of stories we stop and we pray. We may only pray once. We may pray daily for a few days. Then time passes. The story gets pushed back and new stories take center stage. We don’t really think past the initial situation. We think “How horrible. Poor Hannah. Poor Mark.” And I’m not taking anything away from that. It’s wonderful that we come together in prayer. It’s a blessing to them to lift them up. But I’ve been thinking so much about what happens after. After the prayers die down. After the media attention goes away. After all of us move on to other sad stories that draw our attention.
After all of that Mark and Hannah will still be facing these battles. Together. Hannah’s life has been forever altered. But so has Mark’s. Forever. Once she recovers (which I fully believe she WILL!!!) she will not be able to go back to her normal life. Her job. Her hobbies. She will be facing a new life. She will have to adapt to the changes in her body. As will Mark. I have no doubt he will continue to love and support her through this time and through the future issues they will face. But I know he needs help. They need our prayers now, but also in the future. They also need financial help. Not just so he can miss work now to be by her side. Not just for the medical bills that I’m sure are overflowing. But also for the future.
I ask you to please take a moment to read more about Hannah and Mark’s situation which you can do so here: http://www.hannahrinehart.org/
You can also join the Hope4Hannah facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/Hope4HannahRinehart
And if it’s on your heart to donate to help Mark and Hannah that would be wonderful as well. Mark has always had a strong relationship with the Lord and has committed his life to serving others. He is not only a schoolteacher but is also a Soldier in the Georgia Army National Guard. As he says himself “My allegiance is to my God, my Country, and my Family.” I know how difficult it is for Mark to ask for financial help. I know it would be so hard for Zach if he were in the same situation. Men like them like to be the providers. The protectors. Right now Mark cannot protect Hannah from her pain. From the loss of her hands and feet. He also cannot provide for her financially in the way she will need. We know that GOD can protect and provide even when we ourselves cannot do it. He can do all things. He is always in control.
The National Guard has set up a tax deductible contribution site for people to be able to donate funds for Mark and Hannah, you can do so here: https://simplecheckout.authorize.net/payment/CatalogPayment.aspx
There will also be a fundraiser in their honor on September 29th at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, GA. If you are local to the area I’m sure it’ll be an awesome event to attend!
It may sound semi-stalkerish but I did look through my yearbooks to see if I could remember more about Mark. I stumbled upon his Senior Page and it’s obvious from the things his family wrote to him that even at 18 Mark was an inspiration. He wasn’t afraid to stand up for his beliefs and was active in every area of school activities. I hope that each of you takes a moment to lift him and Hannah up in prayer. I would appreciate everyone spreading the word to pray for them to everyone you can! Share it on Facebook, on your blogs, etc. Get the word out to help!
I’ll end this post with the bible verse that must be special to Mark as it was in large, bold print on his Senior Page: “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and he will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
Thank you for joining with me in prayer and service to this special couple.
Emily, just yesterday the pastor at my church was talking about the difference between compassion and pitty. He said pitty is that short term feeling of "wow, that sucks, sorry to hear that." Compassion is putting yourself in their shoes, and feeling their pain. Jesus was the ultimate in compassion, coming to earth to put on our pain. Your post is full of compassion Emily!! A great example to others to continue to pray after the hipe!
I still can't believe she is gone- so sad 🙁