This blog post is in celebration of Father’s Day, June 18.
Wil LaVeist, PhD, is Mennonite Mission Network’s senior executive of advancement, responsible for the division that includes the Donor Relations and Marketing and Communication departments. He is a former newspaper columnist, award-winning multimedia journalist, talk radio host and executive for major media organizations. Wil is a published author of four books, including “Dear Daughter: A girl dad’s marriage advice on love, pain, healing and the law.” He has contributed writings to several other published works.
I didn’t expect that a day of shopping with my daughter to help furnish her first apartment would be a Jesus moment.
Like many men, shopping for items, such as rugs and bedding sets, is not my idea of a fun day. But I admit to enjoying store-hoping with my wife, Jae, and daughter, Coryn. I even appreciated the occasional ask of my opinion on colors and patterns.
At the checkout counter, where I was most useful, the true significance of this praise moment dawned on me. My baby girl is that all-grown-up God-dependent woman I had reared her to be. She is a skilled career-woman with an income that afforded her an apartment of her own, without payment help from Dad — and an apartment that is much better than my first apartment after graduating college! She is a God-dependent woman on her own terms, supported by prayers during several dark moments over the past few years.
I remember one of those moments as though it were yesterday.
While at a Mennonite Mission Network staff retreat in another state, I received an emergency phone call that Coryn was in the hospital — again. Her frightened voice was on the other end.
“Daddy, I need you here — now!” she cried.
Stunned, I tried to reassure her she would be fine. We prayed, and I encouraged her to keep trusting in the name of Jesus.
I explained to the staff why I had to fly home abruptly. They prayed, too, and would continue praying and showing concern for Coryn and my family.
Coryn was gripped by a mysterious medical condition that caused unexpected severe headaches and sudden loss of consciousness. She underwent several years of emergency room visits, multiple tests and examinations by various specialists. Doctors predicted she would eventually “grow out of it.” No timetable was given, though. Meanwhile, the condition caused Coryn to withdraw from college, though she was an excellent student. It caused her to lose jobs, though empathetic supervisors would say she was a joy to work with.
All Coryn wanted was to live a normal adult life — to do things people often take for granted, like hiking a mountainside on a cool sunny day or riding public transit across town alone. Ironically, Coryn continued to drive her car without problems, because she was fine when sitting. Standing was when the condition would often knock her out.
We both had moments of doubt whether normal would be her future. However, Coryn was determined to be normal. For example, she would hike mountains anyway! One morning, she convinced me to hike a mountain with her in Phoenix, Arizona. It scared the hell out of me. We laugh about it now.
Coryn’s determination and faith helped me, too — helped me remember God’s omnipresence.
God had shown me that Coryn was special the day I helped deliver her and I snipped her umbilical cord. A glow was around her head. I wiped my eyes and did a doubletake. The memory still gives me chills. God’s presence was also in that tingle in my gut, as I caressed her against my chest — that blessed gooey feeling us true girl dads, like me and my son, Josh, share as though it’s a fraternal bond. Josh has three beautiful little princesses younger than 5-years-old — my grandbabies.
I remembered God was present before that mysterious medical condition, present during it and already waiting on us after it would end. It was all part of Coryn’s preparation and mine, too. I began praying for God’s vision for Coryn’s life, for her tomorrow, as though it were the present day. I focused on trusting and believing God’s promises:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” — Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
To understand God’s omnipresence — not limited by space and time but existing everywhere in the past, present and future simultaneously — is to realize God is already living out tomorrow at this very moment. Things may seem insurmountable today, but God has already worked out your situation. Be confident in what you hope for, especially if God has given you a glimpse of your future, such as through a dream.
Keep living in the moment.
Your tomorrow is near.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog belong to the author and are not intended to represent the views of the MC USA Executive Board or staff.
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