"Hi, Mommy. I’m just relaxing."

These are the words of my 2½-year-old grandson, Soren, just a couple of days ago to his mom as he lay completely still on their living room floor. Wait a minute, you say. A 2½-year-old lying still and just relaxing?!! You’ve got to be kidding. How does that happen?

Two words: spica cast.

For those of you who, like me up until a week ago today, had never heard of a spica cast, a word of explanation. A spica cast is basically a body cast designed to immobilize the trunk and one or more legs. In Soren’s case, the cast extends from his chest to the toes of his right leg and to just above the knee of his left leg.

Why the spica cast? Because just a week ago today Soren tripped over a friend’s legs and simply fell the wrong way, probably twisting as he turned, breaking his femur, the large thigh bone so important to how our bodies work.

We had just retuned from a wonderful week’s vacation as a family (all except Lars, of course—who is in Afghanistan) on Cape Cod. Soren and his “big cousin,” 3½-year-old Bengt, had had a blast together, running all over house and yard and having a grand time. Many times I prayed for their safety as I watched those little legs run themselves crazy with fun.

And then a fluke accident in his own living room. Talk about a life-changing moment! At least life-changing for the next two months.

So now Soren—and his parents Bjorn and Abby—are adjusting to a very different August than they had planned. Instead of both being at camp this week with their Young Life kids, Bjorn is at camp and Abby is at home taking care of Soren, with the help of Abby’s wonderful mom.

What in the world do you do with an immobilized 2½ year old for two months? That was one of my first questions. Well, time will tell. It’s only been a week. But already Bjorn and Abby have learned a lot about a world they never knew.

And we all, I must say, are learning a lot from Soren. His life right now is hard—very hard. And so, as you can imagine, is his parents’. There are moments of deep sadness. Times when he wakes up, looks down at his cast, and just sobs inconsolably. Times when his response to his mom’s invitation to take him out in a special stroller to see the neighbor kids is, amidst tears: “But Mommy, I can’t play. I have a cast.”

But there are other times as well. Times like the surprising joy of his first stroller ride down his street. Times when he greets little friends with delight. Times when he can lose himself in a book or story, in the delight of the words he so loves. Even times when he can smile as he looks at Abby and says, “Hi, Mommy. I’m just relaxing.”

We’re learning a lot about the body of Christ as well. Friends near and far have surrounded this little family, helping and giving and praying and loving them through this hard time in every way imaginable.

Why am I sharing this? Well, first of all, because I want to ask you to pray for Soren and Bjorn and Abby. They will need daily strength and grace beyond anything they could have imagined a week ago. I keep thinking of the widow in the Old Testament whose jar of oil and bin of flour were replenished daily—just enough for one day at a time. And of Paul, who learned that God’s grace and strength are truly sufficient in our weakness. And of course I would ask for your prayers for complete and uncomplicated healing of that little boy’s big bone.

But I am also reminded—we all are—that Soren is facing this great obstacle temporarily, while for many parents and children the challenges they face on a daily basis are much longer-term. A time like this gets our attention. For me, it is a reminder of all of you Mom to Mom mothers out there who are facing big, ongoing special challenges with your children—some potentially life-long. I find myself praying for all of you when I pray for Bjorn and Abby and Soren.
And then, too, I find myself thinking of the times in our own lives when we struggle with feeling constricted. When we wake up to a new day realizing things haven’t changed—the “cast,” whatever it may be in our own lives, is still there. But so is our Father, our heavenly parent, who loves and cares for us all the more through these struggles. Just as Abby lies on the living room floor alongside Soren for many an hour, our Heavenly Parent is there for us in our toughest moments.

If only we could, now and then, trust Him enough to say along with Soren, “Hi God. I’m just relaxing….”

And BTW, if any of you have some great ideas of what to do with a 2½-year-old in a spica cast, we’d love to hear from you!