Acclaimed husband/wife singer/songwriters and worship leaders Brad + Rebekah return with the single and video release of "Rejoice," a personal worship anthem borne from a season of pain and uncertainty. Written by Brad + Rebekah, along with Kristene DiMarco and Joshua Silverberg, the song came to life during Rebekah's battle with cancer in 2018.
We are honored to be able to chat with Rebekah about her cancer ordeal and their new music to come.
Q: How are you doing health wise now?
My health is very good now. I have been cancer free since my surgery in 2018. I just had a CT scan and I'm still all clear!
Q: Tell us a little about your cancer ordeal in 2018.
In January of 2018 I was diagnosed with very large tumor in my abdomen that was wrapped around my kidney. I was told that it was very rare inoperable cancer, liposarcoma, and it seemed aggressive. Because of the rareness of the cancer there are only two facilities in the United States that offer proper treatment for it. Once we found out that removal of the tumor was possible, we decided to pursue MD Anderson Sarcoma Center in Houston, Texas. We received three denials from my insurance company before they finally agreed to cover my treatment there. Once a biopsy showed that the tumor was not aggressive, the surgeon at MD Anderson decided to proceed with the surgery.
From the point of diagnosis, I immediately began praying for healing and that God would use this for His glory, to draw people to see Him, His truth and His love, and to come to salvation. I prayed that God would cause the tumor to shrivel up and "fall out of my body." I prayed these words every day. Surgery day came and the tumor hadn't shriveled up or even gotten smaller. In fact, it was a little bit bigger. Through my fear and uncertainty, I held on to trust in God's Sovereignty, that He is good and He loves us. When the surgeon came to speak to my family after the surgery, she said the tumor practically "fell out of my body." She didn't know that those were the words I had been praying, but God did. He was letting me know that He had been with me and had heard me. My plan seemed like the best to me, but God didn't answer it the way I had expected. Yet knowing He was with me and heard my prayer and showed His love for me in that simple way made me trust His goodness and sovereignty even more.
Q: During those times of sickness, who and what were your sources of strength?
Prayer and reading and meditating on scriptures of healing and God's plan and love for us, as well as worship music, were great sources of strength to me. Focusing on God and who He is put into perspective who I am and what my need is compared to Him and His greatness. And often other people helped remind me to go to prayer and scripture-my family was constantly bringing me back in my moments of fear and uncertainty. Brad and I have two young children and I wrestled most with leaving them without a mother. I would struggle with questions of why this was happening and why God wasn't healing me and what would happen after I was gone, and that would definitely leave me feeling overwhelmed in fear and anxiety. So the words of encouragement from others, as well as their many prayers, helped pull me out of those moments and moved my focus back to God. That brought such peace.
Q: What were some Scripture passages and songs that were really dear to you during those trying times?
I wrote down many scriptures in a journal I kept near me at all times, and I would read them every night and every time my heart needed to be comforted or calmed down. In moments when I wasn't able to muster the strength to read them, I would ask my husband or my mom to speak them over me. Here are some of my favorites: Psalm 91:16, Psalm 103:1-5, Mark 11:24, Isaiah 40:31, Jeremiah 29:11-14a, Romans 8:32, Psalm 30:2-3, Nahum 1:7, Joshua 21:45, Deuteronomy 30:19, Deuteronomy 31:6,8, I Kings 8:56, Psalm 62:1-2, Joshua 1:9
Here are some of my favorite songs I listened to during that time: "Surrounded" by Upper Room, "Not Today" by Hillsong United, "King of My Heart" by John Mark and Sarah McMillan, and the Ellie Holcomb "Psalms" playlist on Pandora. These were my constant jam and still help me so much when I'm needing to shift my perspective.
Q: Has this experience changed or enriched the way you approach leading worship?
I was scheduled to lead worship at our home church the weekend we found out about my diagnosis. So, the day after I was discharged from the hospital I was supposed to be singing. Our leadership automatically took me off the schedule and replaced me, but I couldn't imagine anywhere else to be or anything else I'd want to be doing so I asked them to let me sing and they did. It was the best thing because again it shifted my focus back to God and back to what I have felt was my calling since I was young- to draw people to Him with my voice.
After that weekend, I have felt my worship come from a deeper place and the sacrifice of worship is greater as well. We bring more to the altar when we're going through trials. And what a beautiful thing that is, to bring our burdens to lay at His feet, as His word tells us to do, and let our hearts be lifted in His presence as we worship Him. Now whenever I'm worshiping with a congregation and I see the burdens they are bringing and the sacrifice of their worship, it is such an encouragement to me to continue on in my worship, bringing my bigger burdens to the altar. In that moment I'm not leading anything-we're just a body of believers together encouraging each other to worship our God. We're leading one another in worship.
Q: Talk to us about your new single "Rejoice." Did the song come out of this season?
We began writing "Rejoice" a few months before we even found out about my sickness. We started it with another writer in a planned writing session and before we began, we talked about the anxieties of life and our tendencies to worry rather than rely on God and rejoice in His goodness. So out of Philippians 4:4-7 the song came. We didn't finish it right away. We continued working on it after the diagnosis and surgery and once it was finished, during my recovery from surgery, we shared it with our church worship leaders and writers. It wasn't until then, when they pointed it out, we realized how relevant it was to our situation. God had been giving us this beautiful reminder to "Rejoice" and trust in Him before we knew how desperately we were going to need it. So did it come out of this season? Absolutely! Did we realize it at the time? Not at all!
Q: Are you and Brad working on more new music now? If so, can you give us some insight into what you are working on?
Yes. We're always writing. Currently we're working on a song with our friends from Watoto. Watoto is an organization in Uganda that adopts orphans and raises them in Christian homes with a loving mother and siblings in a village with a school, church, clinic and community they would otherwise completely lack. Watoto's mission is to rescue these orphans, raise them in godly character, and through them rebuild the nation of Uganda. We've been blessed and honored to work with Watoto for the past nine years and have done five worship camps for the students, helping them grow in their God-given talents to glorify Him. We have recorded two songs with their children's choir in the past and are excited to be recording one this year that they had a huge hand in writing.
Q: Some of our readers may be going through a tough season now, can you give them some words of encouragement?
Yes. Each person is different, and each situation is so unique, but our God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He will never change. His love for us will never fail. His sovereignty will never be overcome. He isn't shaken or surprised one bit by our trials and heartaches. He understands our suffering because Jesus suffered on the cross and defeated death, hell and the grave. The Bible says He mourns with those who mourn and brings comfort to them. And He fights on our behalf. He sees the storms we will face before we face them, and He is ready to help guide us through them. Even though we can't see our way through, He can. And if we hold on to His hand and trust Him, we are safe-not "will be safe once it's over"-but are safe even in the middle of it.