Have you ever had the experience of coming so close to losing something you love deeply, that when God gives it back to you, it seems infinitely more precious than ever? Well, hold that thought!
We celebrated my daughter’s twenty-first birthday last month, so naturally I started meandering down the trails of memory lane!
One of my earliest family memories of her began one January afternoon, when a couple of my girlfriends came over to drop off a baby gift (a gorgeous pink satiny dress and matching bonnet, which I still have, tucked away, somewhere in my closet) and, to hopefully view the "newborn".
But much to my friends’ disappointment, the new little one was sleeping peacefully, upstairs in her bassinet.
"NOW THIS CANNOT BE HAPPENING", thought big brother, Phillip, in his little
six - year-old mind!
So, unbeknown to me, he proceeded to climb the stairs ... and ten minutes later arrived back down in the living room with his little baby sister cradled in his arms.
A spine chilling moment!
But the amazing thing was that my little cherub was still sound asleep (snuggled in her fluffy sleep suit; her little hands still curled up), completely oblivious to the fact that she had just survived the perilous journey down seventeen steps of a marble
stair case, in the arms of a first grader! "But how precious this little girl must be to God," my heart breathed, as I rescued her into my trembling arms.
Fast forward two years ... another January afternoon -
Excitedly, I flipped through the carousel of tiny dresses - flowers, frills and lace ... I was in a pink and white paradise!
But time was of the essence - the department store was busy; I had a rapidly expiring coupon to use up, and I had just let my toddler out of the stroller to stretch her little legs. So I was on "heightened alert"! My ten-year-old son was also kindly keeping an eagle’s eye on her.
But in the blink of an eye, I looked down, and there was an awful empty space where my little girl had been!
I frantically searched between the racks of clothes, in the dressing rooms, the whole baby department ...
Then, with a lump in my throat, the size of Camelback Mountain, I approached the sales assistant. She immediately announced the message on the PA system - "a little girl in pink tights and a pink and white dress..."
Almost blinded by tears, I flew downstairs on the escalator, thinking that perhaps she had put one foot on the top step and been carried down ... Horrendous thoughts evolved in my mind - surely God would not have taken away my walking talking laughing growing baby doll so soon... and right before her second birthday...I already had the presents, the candles, the party plates...
But once I got back upstairs, there was my baby girl perched on the counter, carrying on a conversation with the jovial sales lady. She had found her wandering in and out of the fitting rooms, calling "Mama!" Tears of relief flowed like a waterfall.
Our children are priceless jewels to us, as parents. "No one could love them more than I do," we insist. But if we could only stop talking long enough, we just might hear the voice of God - in His perfect love - echoing in our hearts, with the words,