The Owl

Late in the morning yesterday, while I was upstairs working on my computer, I heard my husband yelling from the dining room below.

“Kelly, come down here! You have to see this!” he exclaimed.

I hurriedly ran down the stairs to the sliding glass door where my husband was standing gazing out into the backyard. To my surprise, there was a very large owl perched on the fence that borders the northern side of our property. Enthralled by the beauty of the large bird, I stood at the door for a while trying to remember if I had ever seen an owl in person before. After mulling it over, I came to the conclusion that I had never seen an owl in its natural environment. I then thought back to the night before when Aiden, my adopted grandson, and I were watching TV in my room.

Hearing a strange noise and becoming frightened, Aiden anxiously asked, “What is that?!”

“I don’t know. It kind of sounds like an owl,” I replied.

“I think it is!” he agreed.

The owl sitting on my fence the following morning was proof that Aiden and I had been correct about our assessment of the strange noise the night before.

For quite some time now, I’ve been writing a book about my son TJ. The events of the owl sighting immediately reminded me of a story I wrote about in Chapter 15:

Many years prior to TJ’s heart surgery, I read a story about a Christian woman who loved cardinals. At the end of the woman’s life, a cardinal perched outside her window as she lay dying. The story encouraged the reader to choose an animal that is not commonly seen. In the future, whenever that animal crossed the reader’s path, it was a reminder that God was nearby. So, I chose an owl, and throughout my adult years, whenever I saw an owl, I was reminded that God was very near.

When I walked into the brain injury rehab facility, the first thing I saw was a picture of an owl. I felt God’s loving arms around me and was reassured that we were in the right place. We met with the staff upon our arrival and were directed to TJ’s new room. It was very small but provided him with everything he needed. Immediately after walking into his room, I noticed a calendar with a picture of China, but it was open to the wrong month. China was the trip destination TJ chose for his wish from Make-A-Wish. I once again felt the hand of God guiding us.

“Psalm 34:18 says, ‘The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.’ I knew such things were not mere coincidences but rather felt they were strategically-placed love notes from God, reassuring me that I was not alone.

“Since TJ’s brain injury, I had a more intimate relationship with the Lord than I had ever known. I searched for signs of His presence daily. Several times after thinking of someone I hadn’t spoken to in a while, I would receive a text message from that person. I believed those incidents were God’s way of soothing a mother’s broken heart and reminding me of His abiding love for me.

This time of year will always be a hard time of year for us. In 2017, TJ went into the hospital a couple of days after Thanksgiving and never came home. He died on February 27, 2018. The owl perched on my fence yesterday was a sign from God reminding me that I am loved and He is nearby during this difficult time. Today I am praising God for the extraordinary ways He shows love, grace, and mercy to His children.

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