Less than 2 weeks after Kennedi’s injury, we prepared to travel to Greensboro, North Carolina for the USA Track and Field (USATF) Junior Olympics. Our youngest daughter Kassadi qualified in the high jump, along with her 4×100 relay team. I had really been anticipating the girls competing on the big stage all season, but especially Kennedi as I just knew she was going to do something really special this year.
After the injury, my level of excitement faded as I wasn’t sure if we could travel with Kennedi’s condition. Our doctor assured us that she could make the trip, as there was nothing we could do until the swelling subsided and told us to come back for re-evaluation in 3 weeks.
I always loved a good family road trip to sporting events, but this one would be quite different. All the careful planning I’d done to make the next 2 weeks the best trip yet, seemed to have been a waste of my time. I didn’t know what the upcoming days would bring and had to fight off feelings of intense disappointment.
As Kenny and I continued to honestly share our feelings about the unexpected path our family was on, we resigned to remain positive in our thoughts and words, especially around the girls. He continuously reassured me that this adversity was going change the direction of Kennedi’s life in a profound way.
I held onto this hope, especially when waves of grief would hit me. The only way I was going to get through this was to keep reminding myself that I trusted God, and He was in complete control of our lives. My family encouraged me to throw my plans out the window, and just go with the flow so we could enjoy spontaneous quality time together. For someone who thrives on planning out everything, this would take me out of my comfort zone.
This week’s Steady State scripture was so impactful in this moment. Could I trust God and hand over my plans to Him? I already knew the answer.
Our truck was jammed packed with luggage, the wheelchair, and ice therapy machines, and we had to carefully adjust Kennedi for the most comfortable position. Before hitting the road, we said a prayer together, asking God for safe traveling mercies, to bless the trip, and for this to be our best vacation ever!
After being on the road a few hours, a traffic detour led us through an unfamiliar part of western Maryland and the girls were soon asleep. We passed a sign for the Antietam Battlefield, and I persuaded Kenny to make yet another diversion, knowing that Kennedi was a history buff. The smile on her face when she woke up and we told her where she was – completely priceless! I hadn’t seen her face light up like that since her accident.
On this unforeseen pit stop, we were able to travel back in history, as lessons Kennedi had just learned in school a few months back, came to life before her very eyes. After a struggle unpacking the luggage to get the wheelchair out, the gracious Park Rangers allowed us to continue viewing the artifacts in the museum a few minutes past closing time. We then spent the next couple of hours transporting her around as much of that battlefield that we could and took pictures of sites of interest that she couldn’t venture to, due to her mobility restriction.
This unexpected travel deviation obviously was not part of my original vacation plans, but a wonderful family experience and lifelong memory was gained by allowing God to take the wheel (pun intended) on our vacation.
I threw away my desired itinerary and was confident that our steps would be ordered according to His plans and purpose each day. And sometimes His plans don’t seem great and magnificent. They can be small but still extraordinary, like that day at Antietam.
We would continue to experience lifelong memories from this trip, although there were a few disappointments as well. I would soon be reminded once again that my plans are not always the best…
To follow Kennedi’s the story, continue the next blog here.
We all have hopes and dreams, and we usually want them to happen exactly the way we planned. If a step in your plan is missed, or the direction you are going in has skewed from your desired path, how do you react? Instead of reacting based on feelings of disappointment and hopelessness, what are some ways you can respond based on the knowledge that God is in control of your life?
Feel free to share your response in the comments section…