Many Kinds of Miracles


“Know thou … that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.” (D&C 122:7.) The words filled my heart with comfort as I left the hospital following morning tests. For weeks I had been unable to walk straight or write legibly. Now I knew what the problem was, and I was frightened. But these words, given to the Prophet Joseph Smith while he prayed in Liberty Jail, spoke comfort to me, as they had to him and undoubtedly to many others who have faced tribulation.

I went directly to the Veterans Administration Hospital where my husband, Mike, was working as a third-year medical student. I ran into his arms, and the tears came immediately. He was a part of everything I loved; we had welcomed our second child just two weeks earlier, and whatever affected one of us surely affected the other.

Sobbing, I told him the results of my CAT scan—there was a tumor the size of a lemon in my brain. He held me while I wept.

The tumor would have to be cut out by surgery, and a date for the operation was set. At home, I spent my days before the surgery trying to live normally. I saw my two beautiful children, Ashley, already one and a half, and Cory, our newborn, as I had never seen them before. I was reminded each moment how much they needed a mother who loved them deeply and could care for their physical and spiritual needs. I found great comfort in the scriptures as I read of the prophets who had met and conquered trials, and I learned that tribulations can serve to knit tighter our relationship with deity through prayer and supplication.

As surgery drew near, I realized that a miracle had begun to unfold. Church members had cared for my children willingly and lovingly as their own mother couldn’t. The prayers, fasting, and faith of friends and family had served to calm my spirit, and it seemed that I had been given the strength I needed. Blessings spoken through the mouth of a righteous husband assured me that I would remain on earth to raise my children and even to bear more. What joy I felt in these words!

The fifteen-hour surgery went smoothly and successfully. I regained my lost abilities and was quickly on the road to recovery. And, while the surgeons assured me that the operation was a success, I saw the miracle continue to unfold in the love and service rendered by our ward members and neighbors during this time of need. Relief Society sisters provided lovely meals, then filled our freezer full of homemade frozen dinners. There were even sisters in our ward who didn’t bother to “offer” their help; they just found their way to our dirty laundry and brought it back clean and folded. Others gathered up our children and took them home for the day. I was unable to do even the smallest tasks for a time; but with the help of my loving mother-in-law, a fine husband, and many devoted family members and friends, our time of need has come and gone. It came unexpectedly and passed, as all things do, leaving behind a sister who knows what love in the gospel is all about.

[illustration] Illustrated by Scott Snow

Cathleen Cochran Wagner, a registered nurse and mother of two, is food preparation chairman and women’s sports specialist in her San Diego, California, ward.