Miracles happen all around us, but they often go unnoticed or unrecognized. Many miracles are common events, such as the birth of a new baby, the rising of the sun, or the new growth that comes each spring. Other miracles are specific and come as blessings in answer to prayers and pleadings with Heavenly Father. I know that miracles come as we exercise faith in Jesus Christ and place our trust in Him.
More than twenty years ago I witnessed numerous miracles in the life of my sixteen-year-old daughter, an outstanding soccer player. She ran fast and was hard to catch once she was out in front of the defense. She made many break-away goals because of her running speed.
In the beginning of her sophomore year of high school, Cindy was asked to join a group of elite players on a team for a soccer tournament to be held in Dallas, Texas, over the Thanksgiving holiday. She wanted to go, so I made it a matter of prayer. I wanted to be sure that the tournament would be good for her and make good use of our limited funds. I received an affirmative answer and had high hopes as she left for Texas.
A couple of days later I received a telephone call with bad news from the mother traveling with the team. In the first half of the first game Cindy was running for the goal, and the goalie came out to meet her. For some unknown reason, the goalie planted both of her feet on Cindy’s leg, breaking the tibia and the fibula. Cindy screamed in pain as she fell to the ground. She was taken to a hospital where I arranged for her to receive a priesthood blessing.
Meanwhile, I was wondering how a broken leg could be good for my daughter. I immediately attempted to make an appointment with Dr. McElvoy, a highly recommended orthopedic surgeon. I called his office, but I was told that he was not taking any new patients. I settled for the second-best doctor and made an appointment. This doctor treated Cindy for two weeks, and he could see from the x-rays that her tibia was not stabilizing. He explained that the bone had broken in two places, forming a triangular piece of bone that kept moving. He recommended surgery and referred us to Dr. McElvoy, a young doctor who was better with that type of operation. I breathed a sigh of relief at this miracle.
Cindy was scheduled for surgery, and Dr. McElvoy inserted a titanium rod into her tibia from her knee to her ankle to stabilize the bone. After the surgery, Cindy was in excruciating pain, and I pleaded with the nurses to give her something for relief. They did, but the pain quickly returned. As I stood beside her hospital bed, watching her suffer and being unable to do anything to help her, I heard the sweet voice of the Holy Ghost. I marveled as this thought entered my mind, “This is how I felt as I watched my Beloved Son suffer on the cross and could not help Him.” I knew in my heart that the message came from Heavenly Father, and I felt great comfort and peace. I gained much understanding from this message because I had never previously considered the feelings of the Father in the Son’s atoning sacrifice.
The pain from the surgery eventually stopped, and Cindy’s leg slowly healed. The rod was removed six months later, again causing severe pain for my daughter. We went back to see Dr. McElvoy. He had just returned from a conference where doctors reported bones breaking during the removal of the titanium rod, and he was concerned that Cindy’s tibia had broken again. I recognized another miracle as a new x-ray showed her leg to be whole. We all breathed easier, and Dr. McElvoy released Cindy to play soccer again with no restrictions.
Other miracles happened, but the supreme blessing from this experience was spiritual growth. As my daughter lay immobile on her bed for two full weeks between the accident and the surgery, she had plenty of time to contemplate her situation and her goals. One day she said to me, “Mom, I came to the conclusion that soccer will never get me to the celestial kingdom.” I pondered her statement and then stepped back to watch what would happen.
Cindy still loved soccer and enjoyed playing it. She was voted captain of her high school team and chosen as the Gatorade Player of the Year for Alaska. She eventually played for the University of Kansas and was the captain of that team. However, she had her priorities straight and her eye firmly fixed on eternal goals. She continues to play soccer today, but she focuses on her eternal marriage and family.
Most of the miracles I see are so small that they could be easily missed, but they follow the pattern explained by Elder Robert D. Hales. “Generally, those miracles will not be physical demonstrations of God’s power – parting of the Red Sea, raising of the dead, breaking down prison walls, or the appearance of heavenly messengers. By design, most miracles are spiritual demonstrations of God’s power – tender mercies gently bestowed through impressions, ideas, feelings of assurance, solutions to problems, strength to meet challenges, and comfort to bear disappointments and sorrow.” (Hales, Robert D. “Personal Revelation: The Teachings and Examples of the Prophets,” Ensign, November 2007)
I am grateful for the many small miracles that come into my life as I exercise faith in Jesus Christ. I know that these tender mercies come from a loving Heavenly Father and demonstrate His power as well as His love.