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The Value of A Child

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Liberty Belle

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This was written by Misty Gunderson, who had three children seriously injured and a nephew killed in a plane crash in Pierre, SD last month. Her brother-in-law was piloting the plane, giving rides for a birthday party for another nephew.

The Value of A Child
By Misty L. Gunderson


I received an email that was titled, “The Cost of A Child”. I opened it because I was very interested in what it said. At the beginning was this statement; “The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 and came up with $160,140.00”. When I would read these types of messages before, I actually found them interesting because it put things into perspective, but now I was insulted by this email.

On January 14th, 2006 at 12:15pm my children’s lives changed forever as well as the lives of my entire family. That morning had begun like a normal Saturday morning. The girls were being kids and getting on my nerves, as they liked to do most days. We were running late because we all had slept in, except for my husband who was at work. We arrived at the Airport, for the birthday party, just a little after 12 noon. The first plane full of birthday guests along with my nephew - the birthday boy, had just landed. My brother-in-law, the pilot, motioned to the other children to board the plane. It was a little 6-seater so he was only able to have 5 passengers. It just happened to be the 5 he chose were all family. The children were all cousins and 3 of the 5 were my girls. We watched them take off and headed back inside the hangar. Within 10 minutes we heard the word CRASH and that is when my nightmare began. Three of my four children were critically injured and spent several weeks in the hospital along with another niece and my brother-in-law. Our 11-year-old nephew passed away that day. (This was not the nephew who was having the birthday party.)

Up until 12:15pm that day, I saw my children as beings that God had given to us. Responsibilities that we would have until they were adults but actually for the rest of our lives. I saw them as smaller versions of my husband and myself. I did value the time I had with them but not enough that I made sure I spent quality time with each one of them. From the time I gave birth to my first child, I loved them all unconditionally. I knew they were my life and very important to my husband and myself.

In that moment, which seemed like an eternity, when I didn’t know if they were alive or dead, the way I looked at my children completely changed. The vision that came to my mind, after I had fallen to my knees, was myself standing with three caskets in front of me. I kept seeing that in my head as I gazed into the sky wondering if my girls were already with their creator. I began to realize that they ARE my LIFE. Those beautiful children that I had taken for granted all these years were more than just “responsibilities” we had been given ~ but GIFTS from the All Mighty and they weren’t GIVEN to us. They are gifts that God has allowed us to have for a short time. Just long enough to watch over them, nurture them and raise them up to know Jesus and to teach them how to live their lives according to His Word. Of course, all of this I hadn’t “realized” at that moment but in that moment, I knew that if they died, I would die. I knew, in that moment, just how PRECIOUS they were to me and just how much I had taken for granted the years I had with them. I began to cry out to God, “I WILL NOT BURY MY CHILDREN” over and over again.

Later on that week as I sat next to one of my daughter’s bed in Pediatric ICU, a couple from my church came to visit us. They kneeled beside me and said that God had given them a word for me.

Psalms 34:1-4, “1) I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2) My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. 3) O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together. 4) I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (I bolded the last verse)

When he began to read verse 4, I began to cry. I thought back to the moment when I was crying out to God and pleading with him to save my babies ~ I realized He had given me a peace. I didn’t know it until listening to that verse, but I had remembered being calm and somehow knowing they were alive.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wonder why any of this happened. Why God allowed my beautiful nephew to be taken or why he allowed these children to be so broken up that their lives will never be the same. Losing my nephew has taken a part of all of us away. He was also the son we had always wanted. He was a big brother to our girls and our lives will never be the same without him. I do know that it is a MIRACLE anyone survived and that my brother-in-law is a HERO for his quick thinking and his ability to handle the plane like he did. What I DO know is that God has shown his mercy to our entire family over and over again. He has worked miracle after miracle in the nurses, doctors & the healing of everyone injured. I know that all these questions will never be answered as long as I am on this Earth. Why He allowed them to go through this in the first place is something we will always ask, but I will never question his LOVE for them or any of us. I don’t believe God planned for any of this to happen but he allowed it for a reason only he knows.

My reason for wanting to write this article is to PLEAD with you parents out there ~ all parents; single, parents-to-be; part-time, deadbeat parents and the ones that frankly don’t deserve to be parents… PLEASE look at your children again but really look at them for the first time. Look at them closer than you ever have before. Get a good look at them and then ask yourself how well you know them. How have you been a parent up to this point? Do you know every aspect of their lives? If you were to lose them this instant, would you have any regrets? I did. I’m not going to tell you that I, or my husband, are going to turn into “Perfect” parents but I can tell you that we will think a little harder and a little longer on any decisions and actions we take every single time. PLEASE KNOW THE VALUE OF YOUR CHILD! There is NO dollar amount that can be put on them. Money doesn’t even come into the equation when you realize how valuable they are. PLEASE learn from our experience that they can be gone in a “blink of an eye”. I pray that none of you have to ever bury a child ~ because that’s not the way it should be but as humans we can never know what the future will bring. You never know if after you drop them off at school, you’ll see them again. What you can know is that you have VALUED every second you’ve had with them and that you were the BEST parent you knew how to be. I’M PLEADING WITH YOU AS A PARENT… don’t take LIFE lightly, parenthood is not something YOU chose to do ~ God chose YOU to be the MOMMY or DADDY and has given you the BIGGEST GIFT and most IMPORTANT job you will ever have.
 

Mrs.Greg

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WOW,what a post.Children are our lifes breath,thank-you for the reminder!
 

MsSage

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Yes children are a gift we take for granted. It takes people sharing their lives with us to remind us to cherish them....Thank you for posting her story.....Thank you Mrs Greg for sharing about your greatnephew...Thank you ranchwife & PPRM.
I know when I start to forget to cherish my children there will be someone who will bring that back in focus.
 

ranchwife

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this post could not have come at a better time...as I sit here, with a pounding headache (sympathy pains, I am sure, for my daughter) as my 3 boys wrestle, yell and holler around the house....my patience wearing thin....my nerves already frayed (this has a tendency to happen when i have spent the morning working on the budget and figuring out how to pay peter without robbing paul).....

Makes ya stop, realize that headaches and bills eventually go away, but your children, with all their laughter, squeals and such, are truly gifts that God has only LOANED to us for the time he has destined!! My prayers out there to all who have ever suffered the loss of a child.....I have friends who have lost children and the pain I see in their faces is something I will not soon forget!!! Thanks for the gentle and effective reminder, LB!!
 

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