There really was an angel there that day. It may have been the hand of God, actually, but either way, I am so grateful. When they were young, I took my biological daughters to the beach for the first time in their lives. They were around the ages of 7 and 11. I was a single mom at the time, so it was just the girls and me. The weather was absolutely perfect. It was late May, the sun was shining, and the wind was blowing gently. Big waves were hitting the white sand with their mysterious roar. The ocean was a bit choppy, but not unusually so. The girls were wide-eyed and giddy at the sight. They ran as fast as they could into the waves for their first experience with the sea.
I was a cautious mom, watching closely, and not allowing them to go out too far. In fact, my rule was, “Don’t go past your chest.” I went out with them, but I also let them wade around with their floaties by themselves. I decided to rest for a while and watched while they had fun in the shallows. I shut my eyes for literally a minute or two and when I opened them, the girls had floated down shore, further than what was acceptable. I marched down and told them to come back closer to where I was. They quickly obeyed. Oblivious to the current, I shut my eyes again for a moment to enjoy the sun on my face. When I opened my eyes, the girls were back in the same spot and further away then I felt comfortable with. I headed back down the shoreline and passed another mother watching her son. I commented to her, “I told them not to get too far away.” She said, “I know it.” Little did we both realize, the ocean was carrying all of them, not their rebellion.
By the time I got to where they were, they were not just further down and close to the shore, they were out as well. I walked through the waves calling for them to return. They gladly started back, in their little floaties, smiling, and swimming back toward shore. I continued my walk toward them and before I knew it, I was up to my neck in water. As the waves crashed forward, I had to jump up to see my care-free children. My mind started to process quickly, and I realized that the situation had become serious. I told my eldest to swim toward her sister (who was further out) and grab her floatie. I noticed the little black boy (around 6 or 7 years old) whose mother had been watching by the shore. She apparently didn’t swim, and he was taking on water. He was very close to where I was, so I quickly grabbed him, swam to my children, and told him to hang on to their floats. I couldn’t leave my children to bring him back to shore; that was the only option. I still didn’t quite understand what was going on because we were all together at that point swimming as hard as we could toward shore and going nowhere. Finally, a lightbulb went off in my mind. We were in a rip current. My mind flashed back to learning how to swim out of one. I instructed the kids to swim parallel to the shore. We kicked with all our might until we were finally able to return to the soft sand on our feet. I was completely exhausted and shaking all over. Needless-to-say, we all took a break from the beach for a while.
Later that day, my eldest was washing the sand off her feet near the hotel. The little boy’s mother saw her and said, “Was that your mom who went out to get all of you?” She answered, “Yes.” The mother told my daughter, “She was an angel.” That was precious of her to say and I probably would have felt the same way if I had been in her shoes, but I was not the angel. I believe with all my heart, though, there was an angel there that day who pulled us all from the relentless sea. God wasn’t ready to welcome us into heaven just yet.
My regret that day was closing my eyes, even for the brief moments that I did. But my reason for telling the story is…summer is quickly approaching, and millions of people will be out in water at various locations. My hope is to spread awareness. My hope is that you will be respectful of water while enjoying yourself too. My hope is an ocean angel won’t have to rescue you and yours.
“Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” Hebrews 1:14