Angry about life, Diane Becker once lost her faith in God. Her future was uncertain, her past painful. She stopped going to church, but she always believed in miracles.
Quentin McAllister was born in December 2008 with epilepsy. It was manageable until he contracted RSV at three months old. The respiratory illness caused his seizures to worsen and become nearly unmanageable, which made it difficult to treat his respiratory infection.
Due to the amount of seizures, Quentin was placed in a medically-induced coma. Unable to fight off respiratory illnesses, he received a tracheotomy to help him breathe. Diane Becker thought she would finally be able to permanently keep her son at home, but after a week of two emergency trips by ambulance she knew that was impossible.
“Quentin contracted another virus after just one week of being home. We took him back to the hospital where the social worker asked me if I had ever heard of The Children’s Center. I was stubborn, but I knew I had no other choice. I visited the Center and when I walked in, I knew it was going to be Quentin’s home.”
Quentin was six months old when he was admitted to The Children’s Center. Although Quentin had a new home, Diane began to lose faith. Her son’s future was still uncertain. She could not bear to watch him endure pain. And her two other children were struggling at home without their mother.
“I remember one day when I was walking Quentin around The Children’s Center, I felt compelled, like a voice was saying ‘It's okay, you can come inside.’ So, I went in the chapel.”
Visitors often comment that the chapel is unlike any they have seen. Instead, the walls are pure white. A bible verse written in beautiful cursive font on the walls reminds everyone who visits, “Help me to know thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth and teach me, for thou art my God." Psalm 25: 4-5
Large windows radiate the sun in the summer and the snow in the winter. The New American Standard Bible and The Celebration Hymnals sit on the soft purple pews. White ceramic doves and angels sit on a table where a small prayer box waits to be filled with requests.
“I opened the door and it was like my breath was taken away. I started to tear up instantly. I think that's how I knew it was going to be my special place with Quentin.”
It is a place that has put life in perspective for Diane.
“It’s true about how God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. I think I have had some of my best revelations in there. Sometimes as a parent who has a child with special needs, the only thing filling your tank is your faith in God.”
Quentin feels the effect, too. Diane notices her son’s heart rate goes down, and his breathing becomes more even and steady.
“It’s just Quentin, me and God. We pray and listen to music. I sing hymns to Quentin. I read him scriptures. But mostly, I talk to him. The chapel is so integral to what I feel The Children’s Center represents: faith, hope and love.”
Faith, hope and love are three words that have become the guiding principles for employees of The Children’s Center. Since the chapel was not a part of the original building plans when The Children’s Center was re-constructed in 1997, employees chose to fund the chapel through payroll deduction. Services are held three days a week for employees.
“I think that knowing the employees wanted this special place to honor God, to bring a sense of unity to the Center, is incredible,” Diane said. “I always tell people that the Center is a piece of heaven on earth. God has put some of His most special spirits there, just waiting to return home to Him.”
Diane is no longer angry. Her faith in God restored. She continues to wait patiently…because she believes in miracles.
“Miracle is a relative word, of course. I may never see my son walk, talk, or anything like that, but I have seen miraculous things happen that I don't think could have happened anywhere else. I can’t think of another place where my prayers count more.”