Opinion > Star Staff
A time for miracles: Prayer, faith get family through tragedy
By Patti Pfeiffer, Life's a Trip
A young woman dying of cancer weeks before Christmas, leaving behind a devoted husband and three children, forcing their father to take a leave from work to stay home with and care for the kids; mounted medical bills, funeral costs, no income coming in, plenty of expenses piling up ...
What started off as a heart-tugging tale quickly turned into a Christmas story, detailing another miracle of unusual sorts.
In the prime of her life, Karla Osborne discovered at age 41 she had breast cancer. She sought treatment, fought hard, yet the insidious disease spread to Karla's liver before invading her bones. Within four years cancer took her life.
Hearing news of her death, the Denton County community rallied. Christmas niceties were donated: gifts, food, decorations, even the necessity of a car repair. And oh yes, a Christmas tree.
"The gentleman said he didn't even know why he'd bought the tree because he didn't plan on putting up one. But then he learned about Karla's passing and said the reason became clear to him," shared Karla's husband Bob. "What he didn't know is that 16 years ago we married in front of a Christmas tree on Christmas Eve."
Though often anticipated, death is rarely easy for a devoted husband and adoring kids. Comfort came, however, and it surfaced at the funeral in a most amazing form.
"I was sitting there waiting for the service to begin when I first noticed it," explains the widower.
So stunned at the sight, scared he might be imagining things, Bob was reluctant at first to mention it to another.
"Do you see what I see?" he finally inquired of Karla's mom seated next to him.
His mind wasn't playing tricks on him, his eyes weren't deceiving him. She saw the image too.
Displayed on an easel in the front of the chapel was an enlarged, framed photograph of Karla; on her forehead was a soft but very detectable depiction of a cross. Though the photograph was years old, the image had never been apparent -- until that moment.
"When I asked her about it, Karla's mom said she was the one who had the picture blown-up and framed and it was not there then," shared Bob.
Apparent to family and friends, the crosses were seen not only as a sign, but taken as a message -- providing peace and giving confirmation.
"God's giving us assurance that Karla is with Him, that she's no longer in pain, and using Karla's passing to spread word of His existence."
And the appearance of that most sacred symbol was not reserved merely for a single 8x10 photograph but was seen on several others included in a video depicting Karla's life.
The arranger of the video was also amazed at the timely presence of the crosses.
"In the course of creating that video, I looked at those photographs over and over and over again; and while I noticed there was a light reflection on several photographs, there was nothing as prominent as the day of the service when the crosses jumped out at me," says Steve Chelette, who has television and media training. "I went back and looked and went, 'Wow! That's pretty incredible.'
"My dad's a pastor and I'm sensitive to those kinds of things, and God's the only source of that kind of event. It's a real demonstration of God's love to let the Osborne family know that Karla is OK and they will be too."
Yet seeing does not always bring about believing. Just ask Bob, who carries the photos, sharing them and the story to strangers in hopes of bringing them hope.
"Some get misty-eyed, others take a step back and are uncertain what to say, and others you get the feeling they think they have been altered," he says. "But it's like the Good News of the Lord. You either believe or you don't."
The miracle celebrated at Christmas is indication there will always be skeptics and will always be nonbelievers. Yet to those who believe in miracles, no one can dismiss the existence of miracles, diminish their meaning, reduce their magnitude or deny the One who is their Author and is the Deliverer.
Patti Pfeiffer is a Star Local News columnist, freelance writer and author. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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