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by Phil Ware

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    It was a sickening sound. Two quick snaps and my daughter’s senior year changed dramatically. So did her mother’s and mine. Sliding into second base during softball practice, Megan broke her ankle. It took surgery, 7 screws, and a metal plate to fix it the next afternoon. Her softball and track seasons ended abruptly. Ten weeks in an immobilizer boot and a couple of weeks of therapy. No driving; mom and dad would have to take that over. A month in a wheel chair and on crutches was her agenda, instead of first base and track meets. And what about that long saved for senior trip to Europe?

    Two weeks later, and I’ve dropped Megan, her mom, and grand mom, off at the airport to go with over 40 other folks on the trip of a lifetime to Europe. She will make the trip in a wheelchair. I’m anxious and worried. So I do the only thing I’ve really ever learned to do to chase away anxiety — pray and do the next thing on my endless to do list. As I’ve worked through email, snail mail, bills, a load of laundry, picking up a few dishes, checking on the flight progress, and other matters, I finally get into the daily ritual that is mine. Since I write daily devotionals and I have a band of dedicated proofreaders, part of my everyday experience is correcting the next day’s devotionals. Imagine my surprise to be confronted by my own words:

One of my hardest challenges as a parent is knowing that I can’t ultimately protect my children from some hurts and heartbreaks. Some of that pain is necessary to help them mature and grow. Some of it is just the agonizing result of living in a fallen world. But, we can be fully confident that if we share the Lord with them, if they give their lives to his will, nothing can steal them from his ultimate victory, care, and reunion with us and with him. ... (See the whole devotional.)

    I’m struck already with how much I miss Megan and my wife, Donna. They haven’t even been gone a day and I’m lonely to the core of my soul. Even more, with the impending military tumult on the horizon and knowing they are making a wonderful, but physically grueling trip with Megan in a wheelchair, I’m genuinely concerned.

One of my hardest challenges as a parent is knowing that I can’t ultimately protect my children from some hurts and heartbreaks.
    Our last two weeks together suddenly seem precious to me. We have had to spend much more time helping Megan with basics of everyday living as she has tried to re-adjust to a world on wheels with her ankle in a boot. (BTW, we’ve all had our eyes opened to how important handicap accommodations are!) The added challenges we’ve faced are now a special blessing. The experience has been hard, yet wonderful.

    So much of the first part of Megan’s senior year was a blur. She was often gone and we didn’t see her much. Having a son who is grown and married had prepared us for this time of “escape velocity” in her life. This is a time of transition, as everyone gets ready for the young adult to launch into a new world apart from mom and dad. That time has been temporarily reversed. So we’ve enjoyed precious conversations going to and from school as I drive her. We’ve had deep and lighthearted conversations in the evening as we’ve negotiated daily rituals we once took for granted. We’ve returned to sweet moments together as we’ve all shared more family time in simple things. It’s precious like it was when she was a little girl, only now she carries on deep and meaningful conversations with us.

    Words cannot describe how much Donna and I love her. If you are a parent, you know what I mean. Deepening that relationship with a “kid” you admire and thought was just about launched has been a special treat. But now, they are both in the air and away from me. I am left to my own words and pray for their trip. Inescapably I am reminded of a point I put in a devotional years ago that somehow I believe God had me write just for me, and those like me who love their children with a love that is beyond their description. As much as I love my children, I cannot keep them, I cannot protect them, and most of all, I cannot love them as much as God does. But, I can give them a faith in Jesus and a relationship with our Abba Father who can love them more fully and more perfectly than I can. In doing this, I can also know that while they will grow up and grow away from me, someday we will share in this special sweetness again... only this time it won’t end.

 
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      Title: ""
      Author: Phil Ware
      Publication Date: March 24, 2003


 
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