A Bad Break for a Good Boy

After months of change, I had hoped that we could settle into a more usual routine in March, including blogging. Last Monday on March 2, we began our first day of homeschooling for the year. (We usually start our new school year in mid-January, like the rest of South Africa.) I planned for one week of homeschooling just the three Rs, and then adding in the content subjects (Bible, science, history, etc.) the following week. This would allow us to ease into our routine and give me one vital week in which to prepare our content materials for the year (and continue organizing our new house after the move).

A special breakfast for our first day of homeschooling.

A special breakfast for our first day of homeschooling.

One day! That’s all we got before disaster struck again. Not even enough time to hope for the settled feeling blessed routine can give. That Monday night, Caleb fell from a tree he was climbing and broke both bones in his lower left arm terribly. What a horrific sight! We could see at a glance that he would need major repair work; a cast wouldn’t suffice. We rushed to an emergency room, and then Seth drove him an hour and a half away to a bigger city with an orthopedic surgeon while I stayed home with the three littler kids and cried through the night instead of sleeping.

Caleb right after surgery

Caleb right after surgery

They operated almost 24 hours later (a distressing time delay to this mother). The operation took three hours, and the surgeon said the break in the wrist was the worst he’d seen in 35 years as a surgeon, that he “struggled” to set it. He used four wires to connect the bone at the wrist, two wires at the elbow, and a metal plate in the middle of the other bone. They were concerned about swelling and other issues, but the surgery was successful: Caleb came home the next day around dinner time. Oh, I was so glad to see him! He was disoriented and hurt, but he was home.

Caleb has broken nearly all of his appendages by now in his short lifetime. Enough already, Caleb! Third time’s the charm.

Our little robot! X-rays after surgery.

Our little robot! X-rays after surgery.

This Tuesday I went with Caleb to see the doctor again. Neither of us was prepared for what this visit would involve. Because of swelling, Caleb does not have a plaster cast yet. He needed his bandages changed to remove the dried bloody ones put on after surgery. The removal opened some of his wounds again, and I saw his arm, still swollen with ugly stitching up both sides. It was difficult and painful. It will scar, but not too noticeably, according to the doctor.

Next week we go back to the surgeon. He will remove the current “backslab” and bandages and put on a plaster cast if the swelling goes down more. Caleb will endure more surgeries in the future to remove the wires, and after about six months if the healing is going well, to remove the plate. Adults often just leave them in, but since he is growing, they need to come out apparently.

One big concern is the “growth plate” in the wrist, which was in the area of the very bad break. If it does not heal correctly, his arm could grow deformed. The surgeon will have to watch that area over time. Please pray that his arm will heal well and grow correctly in the next few years.

But may I share with you a bigger concern? Bigger to me than a deformity… Caleb’s life was threatened during the attack on December 2. When the gunmen temporarily left him, Seth encouraged him, “Pray to Jesus!” Caleb immediately began praying aloud, “Jesus, save them! Open their eyes! They are blind and cannot see!” What a wonderful response. He seemed to handle the trauma remarkably well.

Now our child who has always shown spiritual sensitivity is struggling with questions that I struggle with as an adult! Why is God allowing so many bad things to happen to us? To Caleb? How can this situation be “good,” by any definition?

Our teammate tried to encourage Caleb by purchasing him a pet, a singing canary, for Caleb to watch during his convalescence. He named the bird Matthew to remind Caleb of Matthew 10:29, the verse describing how God knows of each sparrow that falls to the ground. It was such a thoughtful gift, and the children loved the bird. Unfortunately Matthew was found dead in his cage this morning. 😦

Caleb’s discouragement is real, and not to be judged as less simply because he is a child. Please pray for Caleb’s faith as Jesus prayed for Peter’s: that his faith would not fail. Pray that God would strengthen us all to continue our course with energy during a time when we are so tired that we’d like to never think of “fighting” or “running in a race” again. Again, I thank you for your prayers on our behalf!

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About Amy

I'm Amy, a missionary wife and mother of four children, blogging about our lives and perspectives on culture in South Africa.
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20 Responses to A Bad Break for a Good Boy

  1. Oh, I feel so sad for Caleb. He will be a strong Christian who will be able to encourage others later to persevere. For some reason, the Lord knows that He is strong enough to handle this as He gives us not more than we can bear. But we are praying . . . and will continue to pray. Tell him we love him and we love you too!

  2. Linda says:

    maybe GOD wants Caleb to have his own questions, his own doubts, seek his own answers .Pretty heavy stuff for a little kid but not impossible because he has his own faith in JESUS. Caleb is a very loving sensitive boy. boy when i think how GOD could work with that WOW! Pink ladies pray remember that. Love you all Linda

  3. Oh, Caleb, I am so, so sorry… we love you! Praying for you right now and have been and will continue to. Amy, praying for you guys! Praying for God to wrap His arms around Caleb and encourage his heart and each of your hearts!

  4. TIMOTHY PHILLIPS says:

    Oh, Amy, I am literally crying for Caleb and for all of you. I have continued praying for each of you and will keep at it. I do not have answers, but I am glad that I don’t have to UNDERSTAND these unimaginable happenings. May God grant peace and healing and assurance of His working. Thank you for sharing your burdens with us.

    Sheila Phillips (Harrison Street Bible Church)

  5. Jessica Wenger says:

    Oh, Amy! How sad and hard to watch your child struggle so with questions and issues that are difficult for an adult to grasp. We will be praying for this specific request for Caleb…that his faith in God would be strengthened even when he doesn’t understand why. We pray for your family often. Love and prayers!

  6. Oh momma! I will be praying most definitely!!!

  7. Rebekah hasty says:

    Praying for all of you and especially for your boy

  8. sk says:

    Praying for you Amy! 2 Corinthians 4:8

  9. Sofia says:

    i am so sorry for all your family has gone thru and now Caleb health n faith struggle. It’s so hard to explain to kids why so many things happen. I pray the shalom peace of God over him.

  10. Lynn boger says:

    Seth and Amy! You are all continually in our prayers and hearts. We don’t have answers as to “why” but we do know we serve an awesome God Who loves us with an everlasting love and He will see you all through these difficult times. We love you and are praying for each of you one by one. Caleb is not the only one there with need of prayer and healing.

  11. Nicole says:

    Praying for grace, strength, perseverance, wisdom, and peace. Love from East Africa! Nicole

  12. Jenn Ott says:

    Praying for you all! Tears and hugs, too…

  13. Anita Devore says:

    Praying for your son, Caleb. Praying for you as you comfort him, and for wisdom to know how to answer his questions.

  14. Anita Devore says:

    Still praying for you. As I go to bed each night, I am remembering him in prayer. I know you are now 10 hours ahead of us, so his day is just beginning.

  15. aleassa says:

    From this mother’s heart to yours, I am praying for Peace for you and your little Caleb!

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  17. Tabitha says:

    Praying so much for you all. I found your blog while looking at MFW stuff and just started reading. I will continue to pray for you all.

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  19. Nelia Arlow says:

    Amy! I stumbled upon this on tannie Antoinette’s Facebook page. Thinking about all of you and will be praying. I know that you’re going through such a hard time… Love

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