May 7 is my daughter’s birthday. She began life being the only girl in a nursery of about 10 very loud baby boys. No quite birthing rooms, just loud boys.
Stephanie was always strong, strong in heart, strong in character and strong in her physical body. She could spell our Chaparral in backhand springs. She was a lifeguard at the city pool when she was 17. Below is a story originally published in Chicken Soup for the Soul-Touched by an angel. Happy Birthday to one of my best friends. I love you.
Love Lifted Me
Gut wrenching! The feeling hit me like a fist to the middle section. I grabbed the top rails of the fifteen-foot ladder where I had been painting the exterior of the house. I shut my eyes and gained my balance before I closed the paint can and descended. Step by step, I inched my way down and staggered into the house. Then I began my litany of what might be wrong.
The noonday sun is too hot! I must be hungry. Am I sick? After I washed my face, I fell across the bed to rest. As soon as my head hit the pillow, I knew. Pray! Pray for Stephanie. Our daughter’s on a rafting trip with her church youth group—what could be wrong? She’s a lifeguard. She’s strong. Besides, the Guadalupe River ran languid and narrow through the city of New Braunfels.
The knot in my stomach twisted again and I quickly slipped to my knees.
God, help my daughter. I have no idea what’s wrong, but I know You are looking over her. Please send angels to guard her. Lift her up to receive your blessing. Help her please, Father God! Help my daughter!
Feeling better, I stood and did some house cleaning. It was Friday and my husband would be home early. I decided to stay off the ladder for the rest of the weekend. By Sunday, the incident had slipped from my worry box, all but forgotten.
Sunday, Stephanie came bounding in the door after church. Sunburned, tired and hungry, she dropped her bags, rummaged through the refrigerator and came to sit beside me as I folded clothes. She sat close, her skin radiating heat.
“Wow!” I said. “You better get something on that burn.”
“You know me,” she answered leaning toward me. “It will turn to a tan in a few days.” I leaned in toward her and enjoyed the rare moment of my teenager actually wanting to stay close to me.
“Mom,” she continued. “I almost died.”
“What?” I asked, thinking I didn’t hear her correctly. “How?”
“I fell off my raft at one of the little falls. It was stupid because the water wasn’t very deep and it wasn’t white water or anything.”
“Did you have a cramp or something?”
“No, the raft was on top of me—so I dove under. Then I couldn’t get up. No matter how hard I kicked, I didn’t go anywhere. It was like something kept pulling me back. Then everything turned dark and I knew, I was going to die.”
“How did you get up?” I asked.
“I don’t know.” Stephanie’s eyes, blue as heaven sparkled with emotion. “Something just lifted me.”
My stomach wrenched. “When did that happen?”
“Friday. It was right before lunch.” Her voice faded. “It scared me.”
“I knew!” I said. “I really knew.” Then I told her about the gut-wrenching feeling and told her about my prayers.
The words to the old song, “Love Lifted Me” swirled through my head as we talked.
“That explains why I felt like something lifted me up,” Stephanie said as she hugged me. “I guess an angel lifted me.”
The editor added this quote:
Faith is not without worry or care, but faith is fear that has said a prayer.- author unknown