A shepherd should pay close attention to the faces of his flock
And hold close to his heart the condition of those he cares for.
A parent, too, needs to be an observer of hearts and a reader of subtle signs.
I’m not home much these days, so when I walk in today and bring correction to unsupervised habits, I’m met with a touch of defiance.
At first I react to the behaviour, but then I wisen up and dig deeper for the cause. It doesn’t take long before my changed tactics result in my sixteen-year-old daughter falling into my arms. “I just miss you and Kiara so much!”
Instead of rushing back to relieve my husband at the hospital, I take the time to catch up with her and soon we’re laughing at Kiara’s bossiness, and how she thinks she’s always right. Before the accident, she most annoyingly was almost always right! Now she still thinks she is, even when she’s clearly not, which is kind-of funny and cute.
“Is she scared for the next operation, Mom? If it was me, I would scream and throw a tantrum!”
I remind her that in a hospital situation the more you surrender, the more freedom you get. Patients who fight are strapped to their beds, the worst of them are even sedated. “In life, the same is true. The more you surrender to godly authority - to wisdom, and parents, and leaders, and teachers - the more freedom you get.”
If anything, this entire experience has been a lesson in surrender. At first, Richard and I surrendered our daughter to death, trusting her to life in heaven. If we had held on too tight, our hearts would have been ripped to shreds. As it was, it felt like we had fallen off a ten-story building and then were expected to get up the next day and keep breathing.
And then when Kiara first woke up, the ICU nurses were flabbergasted at how calm she was. They seemed almost worried, and I asked if it was a bad thing, but they reassured me it was just very unusual for a head injury patient not to be agitated and angry. Her calmness and accepting of the pipes and probes soon earned her the right to have her hands unfettered - they had originally been softly tied to the sides of her bed.
As she surrenders and even embraces the advice of the doctors and the training of her therapists, her freedom continues to grow. Because she’s willing to hold my hand, she’s free to walk outside. Because she’s willing to wear the helmet, she’s free to walk on her own.
I’m not talking about surrendering when you should be fighting. I’m talking about surrendering to wisdom and authority and God’s omnibenevolence. It’s about having the strength to change the things we can, the serenity to accept the things we can’t change and asking for wisdom to know the difference.
Proverbs 3 talks about “letting your life be shaped...” and it’s about that surrender and embrace. In chapter 4 we read, “My child, if you will take the time to stop and listen to me and embrace what I say,
you will live a long and happy life
full of understanding in every way.
Your progress will have no limits (freedom!) when you come along with me.
So receive my correction no matter how hard it is to swallow,
for wisdom will put you back on track-
her words will invigorate you with life!”
Some people who have visited have felt that we’ve underplayed Kiara’s tremendous progress. She’s happy and full of life.
Others have been surprised that she still has so far to go. She is still very needy, some of her emotions have the maturity of a toddler. She struggles through her therapies, ranging academically between ages 5 and 15, depending on the task and how long she’s had to concentrate for. She can’t list five words or numbers back to you in a row. She gets stuck on certain phrases and says them out of context. She has to nap an hour for every hour she’s awake.
But she is listening to her parents as we lead her. She’s trusting her doctors and not fighting against them, though it makes her eyes fill with tears when she thinks of what they still want to do with her. She is embracing the wisdom of her leaders, though it is very hard to swallow.
But her progress will have no limits (freedom!) as she comes along with us.
for wisdom will put her back on track-
it will invigorate her with life!”
Please join us in praying:
For her brain swelling to go down sufficiently for the next operation in three weeks time
For her therapists to have wisdom in which areas to concentrate on as they review today’s assessments tonight.
For her bone to remain protected and free of infection
For the deep graze on the back of her head to heal
For her mind to continue to make new connections and find old ones. For acceleration in learning.