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Memoirs of a Miracle Baby

By: David Lyda (From: Volume 2 - Issue 3)
(All photos courtesy of Shiela Miller.)

It has been said a million times before, and it still rings true. “Children are a gift from God.” Each child is special and has some unique ability/characteristic that distinguishes them from all the rest. They all are truly miracles, and I think any mother can attest to that. It’s a miracle that the child is conceived, a miracle that the pregnancy goes full term, and a miracle that the child arrives safely. I think most mothers would claim their own survival a miracle as well!

Memoirs of a Miracle Baby: A Testimony of God’s Love is a wonderful exploration of one such miracle baby’s story. It looks at family, faith, and friendship through the eyes of many people. The whole story centers on the miracle baby, Shiela Honbeck Miller. When her 40 year old mother gave birth to Shiela at a homeopathic (alternative medicine) doctor’s office, there were problems from the onset of delivery. It was a breach birth, and Dr. Ahlbin did not have the tools that were needed for the situation. After an extremely difficult delivery, Shiela arrived blue and limp on November 19th, 1971. She did not breathe for several minutes, but by the grace of God the miracle baby survived. Not only did she survive, but Shiela miraculously did not have brain damage from the ordeal.

As Shiela grew, she was doted on by her loving family. She was the special miracle baby who by all accounts, shouldn’t have survived. This abundance of attention, as Shiela would testify, encouraged her development into a very self-centered person. Once God revealed this defect, He transformed Shiela’s will into the heart of a servant. Shiela saw her talents slowly turn into very concrete ways to honor God. Ballet was a childhood love, and today Shiela teaches and performs a style of worship dance. Before the birth of her first child, she became a masseuse that shares God’s love through her healing touch and words of affirmation. Shiela has also been able to use her bilingual talents to serve as a Spanish speaking missionary. This unusual combination of skills is just the tip of the iceberg of her story.

The book follows many ups and downs of her parents’ marriage, struggles that Shiela faced being born and growing up, and challenges of being a wife and mother. It finds Shiela moving all over the country to eventually land in Greenville, SC in 2002 with husband Robert Miller. Both the Honbeck and Miller family’s early church life had a profound impact on their behavior and worldview, and this book offers an important lesson about who we are to follow. Shiela was raised in The Worldwide Church of God, and it was considered by many outsiders to be a cult. The church had many false teachings that held to Old Covenant traditions, and Jesus was rarely mentioned outside of special celebrations.

Salvation was erroneously taught to be obtained by observing Sabbath and holy events, following dietary restrictions, and keeping the Ten Commandments with other laws. They didn’t celebrate birthdays or most of the major holidays like Christmas, Easter, or Halloween. The church also taught that they were the only true church of God, and their leader Herbert W. Armstrong gave several end time predictions. The Worldwide Church of God further separated themselves from other churches by having their own hymns written by the founder’s brother. For years, Shiela felt sick whenever she would hear Christian music that was not from their denomination.

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