“Maybe we should get a potty chair for Shayla’s bedroom,” I suggested to my wife one day as we were driving home in a severe thunder storm. “That way she won’t have to crawl to the bathroom at night and take a chance of falling off the toilet and hitting her head on the porcelain tub.”
Nadine and I usually avoid conversations about my [how old is she now?]-year-old daughter’s medical condition because of the pain that topic stirs inside our hearts. But with rain pelting our windshield, thunder bellowing, and lightning bolts flashing on the horizon, I felt as though all the angels in heaven were grieving with us.
“Dan,” my wife said firmly, “going to the bathroom is about the only exercise Shayla gets. If you take that away from her, she’ll be confined to her room with a toilet beside the bed. That seems too cruel.”
I agreed … and thanked God for my smart and level-headed wife.
For the rest of the drive, with the windshield wipers barely keeping up, we discussed what we could do to make sure Shayla was safe yet give her as much mobility and independence as possible. We tossed around a few ideas but came up with nothing.
At dinner that night, I noticed Shayla having trouble bringing her sippy cup to her mouth. In spite of the conversation I’d just had with Nadine, I couldn’t stop myself from doing it for her.
During the evening, as my wife and I encouraged Shayla and our other children to share about their day at school, I noticed my daughter seemed rather depressed, which was unusual for her. She’s always had a positive attitude, even in the midst of battling this horrible disease that has attacked her body since she was [how old?].
That night, as Nadine and I prepared for bed, we discussed Shayla’s attitude. “I think she’s getting to the age where she realizes she’s different from other children,” my wife suggested. “And she gets ignored at times because she’s so hard to take care of.”
I took a long, shuddering breath. “Sometimes I can’t help but wonder … wouldn’t Shayla be better off with Jesus?” I choked back a sob. “I don’t know how I’d handle giving her up. But it’s just not fair for her to continue to suffer like this.”
Nadine collapsed into tears. “Why is God doing this to her, Dan? Why?”
I wrapped my arms around her. “I don’t know what His plan is. But I know He has one. We just need to trust that this will all work out for good, like the Bible says.”
“But it seems so cruel for a sweet little girl like Shayla to have a debilitating, fatal disease. I just don’t get it.”
As Nadine and I wept together, I thanked God for giving me a wife who loved my daughter so much. “Maybe,” I said, “God is going to use the book I’m writing about Shayla to help someone come to Christ for their salvation. Or to strengthen someone’s faith in the Lord.”
I am thrilled that Armonia Publishing has offered me a contract to publish Divine Healing, God’s Way. If this book can bring a lost soul into God’s eternal kingdom, or bring a wandering sinner back into the loving arms of our heavenly Father, it will be easier to understand and accept the heartache my family and I live with every day of our lives.