How well I remember that cool September night in the back roads of Wisconsin. Jesus' words "Fear not" and his promise "I am with you always" ring clearly in my head.
It was dark as I drove to my uncle's farm in rural Dodgeville, Wis. By the time I saw the sharp turn in my headlights, it was too late. Skidding on loose gravel, I lost control as the car veered and tumbled off the end of a bridge. Metal crashed. Glass shattered. I heard a cacophony of sounds. The last thing I heard was the crash of the windshield as the car landed upside down in the rain-swollen waters of Otter Creek.
With no earthly explanation, I saw light coming from outside the passenger window. Christ was showing me a way out. Unbuckling my seat belt, I pushed to swim toward freedom, to air, to life. Then — bam! Halfway out the window and I was stuck. I didn't understand that I'd gotten tangled in the other seat belt. I pushed forward to no avail.
The light was still ahead of me. There I saw my mother's face and her cousin Palmer's face. Both had died in May. He had drowned.
Needing breath, I asked God, "Am I to drown here?" When I heard "There's still a lot left to do," I took that to be a "no."
Placing my hands behind me on the car, I pushed with all my might. I didn't get free but arched backward, which turned out to be up. Amazingly, wonderfully, miraculously my head popped above the water. Air!
I was still in a fix since I was in the middle of farmland at night. God and I talked about that and many other things while I tried ways to free myself. Finally I screamed repeatedly, "Help, help, help me!" So someone would know where to look I added, "Water! Bridge!"
In time God knew my weariness and sent two young men, two earthly angels who heard my cries. I was trapped in the water for about an hour-and-a-half. My body shook from hypothermia and ached from the strain of holding my head awkwardly above water for so long.
Amazingly I lived. Miraculously I walked out of the emergency room. Christ was with me that night. Christ is with each of us — always — to show us the way.
This week's front page features:
'We try to learn from each other': In this family, dad is a bishop and daughter is soon to be a rabbi.
Pray all ways: Where do you sense God's presence?
More than Mardi Gras: Many more — and different — steps are needed for life to be restored in New Orleans.
Move over, Super Bowl ... it's the Luther Bowl: Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago took home the Book of Concord trophy.
Also: Jesus' justice agenda.
Also: From 'hello' to 'bye.'
Discuss Judaism and Christianity:
In October she read at the installation of her dad, B. Penrose Hoover, as bishop of the Lower Susquehanna Synod. Penrose, Heidi says, "likes having another theologian in the family."
Join Hoover today through Jan. 29 to discuss her spiritual journey and the relationship between Judaism and Christianity.
Keep up with our guest blogger:
Justin Baxter (right), a student at Pacific Lutheran Seminary, Berkeley, Calif., is serving an internship at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Oakland, Calif. He's also blogging about his internship experience for The Lutheran.
This week, he writes about seeing the big picture.
On our staff blog:
Andrea Pohlmann (right) asks readers about table grace practices.
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