Bittersweet Birthday

Today I celebrate my 56th birthday. It will be a quiet celebration, and I am OK with that. Many of my birthdays were on beautiful, sunny & warm days where I celebrated with family & friends. But April, being an unpredictable weather month, also brought me cold, rainy and snowy birthdays.

As unpredictable as the weather can be, so is life, as we all know. And, eight years ago was my most bittersweet birthday. I was out to lunch when my son Bennett called. I thought he was calling to sing to me, but instead told me he’d been in a car accident and that he and the driver were OK. A thousand thoughts went through my head on the way to the hospital, however, hearing his voice reassured me he would be fine.

When we got to his room, it was a relief to see Bennett, hear his voice and know that although he was visibly shaken, he truly was OK. The deputy sheriff who saw the accident was also there and told us what he witnessed. After all these years, I can still hear his every word…

Bennett’s friend had just gotten her driver’s license and taken him to lunch. On the way back to school, she realized she had forgotten her homework and drove back home – speeding so they would not be late for school. She saw a police car in the median of the divided highway, and being a new driver, she panicked, hit the brakes, lost control of the car and they started to roll. The car rolled right past the police car, missed the concrete overpass by a foot and landed upside down on the other side of the highway.

The officer said he was certain there would be no survivors. He thought the odds of them being alive were a million to one! When he reached the car, he not only saw that they were both alive, but other than cuts and bleeding from the shattered windshield, they were going to be fine.

I listened in disbelief! It’s hard to explain the range of emotions you experience as a parent in a situation like this, but what I learned that day is…the officer witnessed a miracle. Bennett and I have talked about this accident many times over the years. What impacted me the most was what went through his head when the car lost control – he reached for the steering wheel when the car started to flip, but it was too late, and in those split seconds, he had an overwhelming sense of calm.

We humans all view faith differently, that’s what makes this world amazing, but for me, I have no doubt God sent angels to be with those two that day. They were kept safe in the loving arms of angels.

I know not every situation has a happy ending like it did on my birthday that year. For some, there is great sadness and hard times. Whatever challenges we face, if we look, we can see miracles all around us and know that even in the darkest times, we are loved by God.

One of my favorite messages is in the song “I Saw God Today” by George Strait.

“I’ve been to church, I’ve read the book, I know He’s there, But I don’t look, near as often as I should. His fingerprints are everywhere, I just look down and stop and stare, open my eyes and then I swear, I Saw God Today.


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