#storiesmatter A Faith Story from Linda Baird
During the summer months, we have been exploring the power of our stories to shape our faith and encouraging our members to share their stories. This is the first of many stories that we will share with the people of St. Stephen’s. We hope that your faith is strengthened as you read Linda’s story.
Our daughter suffered profound brain damage in a drowning accident years ago when she was 2 years of age. Devon was without any vital signs for 47 minutes. Little did we know God was placing His angels in our path from the moment it happened. From the EMTs who turned their radios off when instructed to discontinue resuscitation, to the doctor who was in charge of the PICU, to the transporter lady who offered to pray with Devon and me in the elevator on the way to Dev’s G-tube surgery, to the transporter’s friend who prayed with me on the phone during that entire surgery. These people, and countless others, would deny they are angels, but I know God had assignments for them whether they knew it or not. Because He wasn’t ‘done with Devon’. At 33, she has ‘witnessed’ for Him without ever uttering a word to many people who can see the light in her eyes and the smile on her face when we say the Lord’s Prayer or sing ‘Jesus Loves Me’. Six months after discharge from the hospital, my husband told me he didn’t know if he could make it if we didn’t see Devon smile again. She was seizing and crying all the time. Fourteen months after the accident, she smiled her first, tiny smile. Now when she smiles, it lights up the room and our hearts. God has taught me to smile at the little blessings that come every day and understand more clearly “in His time, not mine”.
God has taken my days of horror and misery and doubt, and there have been a few, and given me the peace and grace and comfort to get past them. The medical professionals highly recommended sending Devon to an institution because statistics say if we brought Dev home, our marriage would end in divorce and we would ruin our 4 year old son’s life. Our marriage is 36 years strong and our son is a remarkable teacher with a beautiful wife and a 3 year old daughter of his own. God’s gift is unconditional love and I can’t imagine my life without that love. My aging process has allowed me to see His daily gifts of mercy and miracles more clearly with each passing year.
I used to consider myself lucky – a great husband, beautiful kids, a nice home – but now I know better. What I am is truly blessed by His hand. He tells me to find joy in everything and I try my best. My job calls me to safely cross high, middle and elementary school students on their way to school in the early morning hours and often I’ll tell them to look up at the gorgeous sunrises. Getting them to notice one of God’s most beautiful gifts is one ‘politically correct’ way to share His love. They say ‘wow’ and I smile.
God is my safe and sure place. My constant and unfailing friend. The source of my strength and perseverance. Whatever befalls me, I know He watches me and gives me what I need to live each day the best I can. All I hope to do is take full advantage of His gifts. The gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, is indeed the very best gift of all. I thank God, for His beautiful begotten Son who saves us and delivers us and shows us the way to Him.
If you would like to share your story, please email your written copy to Carol Knachel, knachel7[at]aol.com, or give it to her directly. She is often at the front doors at 11 AM on Sunday mornings.