As Kassadi has been recovering from her knee surgery, Kennedi has been participating in a virtual sports camp with Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), an organization that she joined last year. I was excited for her to have the experience, as her summer plans of running track and attending a college summer camp had been thwarted by COVID-19.
FCA modeled the concept of Team Huddles, where she could fellowship with other like-minded athletes to talk about her faith and also provide as well as receive encouragement about issues that teenagers face. Professional and college athletes share their faith through testimonies, and each week she connected with a new accountability partner.
The first week she was up bright and early each day, completing her scheduled volleyball workout before the heat became overbearing. She was doing a great job on her drills and posting pictures and videos from her workout on social media. I smiled at her excitement when those posts would get re-shared on the camp’s Instagram page.
She was thriving and I was thankful to see her so happy after the tough season we had been experiencing – with the pandemic cancelling her return to track, the social isolation of sheltering at home and virtual learning, and then my brother’s passing. This camp allowed her to focus her attention on what she loved – volleyball.
The second anniversary of her PCL injury coincided with her second camp week, and Facebook posted the memory of a heartfelt prayer I posted the day after her accident. At that point I didn’t know the full extent of her injuries, but in the midst of my fear and uncertainty, I knew that God had everything under control. She captured an amazing photo of herself leaping into the air, and it reminded me of God’s grace and His answer to that prayer, so I posted:
A few hours later she came into my office doubled over, crying due to pain on the right side of her stomach. After initial questioning, I had her lie down and place a heating pad on her abdomen and prayed for the pain to go away. The discomfort stayed with her into the afternoon and evening, to the point where she struggled to walk.
Her pediatrician’s office was closed, so Kenny and I discussed whether we should take her to urgent care or the emergency room, due to coronavirus concerns. We considered it could be her appendix, and that Urgent Care would just send us to the emergency room for the testing she needed.
As I prepared to leave the house, I heard Kennedi joking with her sister and I asked if she was still in pain. She responded not as much as before. We decided to let her sleep and see how she was feeling in the morning. I prayed that she would wake up and be back to normal, so we would not have to venture out to a hospital the next day. PLEASE GOD!
But she was still in agony the next morning, so we decided I would take her to a pediatric hospital in Delaware. After praying as a family, Kennedi and I headed out. During the drive, I was feeling anxiety about the experience and exposure we might have at the hospital. I had a pep talk with myself.
I reasoned if we faced this issue last year, I wouldn’t have second-guessed taking her there. I concluded that this was out of my control, so I needed to follow all the safety protocols and trust God with everything else.
I was determined not to give fear my attention. I knew the key to success would be in my focus. I resolved to keep my focus on taking care of Kennedi, and not shift it to anything else. Her health and well-being were magnified in my mind, and nothing else mattered. Not work, not home, and not the pandemic.
As we pulled into the parking lot, I noticed that the fear I experienced a few weeks back before Kassadi’s procedure was absent this time around. Another quick prayer in the parking lot, and we headed inside.
After the initial COVID checks and registration, we were assigned a room, and they began running tests. I warmly greeted each medical personnel that entered the room. Instead of focusing on the possible exposure, I kept my attention on my daughter, so we could determine the source of her pain.
The major concern was for appendicitis, and we were eventually separated when they took Kennedi away for an MRI on her abdomen. While I waited, I remained peaceful, trusting that God would be with us throughout whatever was ahead for us.
As the afternoon grew late, our nurse came in and mentioned how peaceful our room was, and that she wished she could just stay there, as Kennedi was her best patient of the day. If only every encounter I had with others could be like that…
We were finally released after all her tests came back normal. The pain continued through the week and we had additional appointments and tests, but the source of the pain could not be determined.
As I shared an update with my friend, I commented that I guessed this was my next test. She rebutted me and said – this is your next TESTimony. I smiled at the correction.
By the weekend, Kennedi no longer felt any pain. She slowly eased back into her workouts the following week, and participated in her Huddles, freely sharing her testimony and praying for others. By her final week she was asked to run the volleyball Instagram page for a day and post encouragement for other participants. What an honor to be given the opportunity to let her light shine.
All because of a change in focus.
What has captured your attention? Are you focused on positive topics, positive outcomes, and positive people? Or has something negative captured your attention?
How can you change your focus from the worries of everything going on around you, to the Spirit of God? (Hint: Fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.)
Feel free to respond in the comments section… and share this story with someone in your life that could use the encouragement.
Follow Destined 4 the Dub for the Inspiration each week as we journey through the highs and lows of life!