It was, without a doubt, the scariest moment of my life. One recent Saturday afternoon, Chloe and Cole asked for an apple after lunch. I went into the kitchen and cut an apple into eight pieces, then gave four of them to Chloe and four of them to Cole.
I went into the living room. I was reading the newspaper and listening to them chatter away in the kitchen while they ate. Suddenly, I heard Chloe start to cough. Then she started to gag like she was about to throw up. As I was getting up to see what was wrong, she appeared in the doorway of the room. Her face was bright red, and it was obvious that she couldn't breathe. She was choking! I ran over and grabbed her and slapped her back a couple times in an effort to dislodge the piece of apple.
It didn't work.
Remembering the posters I'd seen on her pediatrician's office wall, I spun her around so that her back was to me. I put my arms around her, wrapped one hand over the other and extended the thumb of my inner hand. For the first time in my life, I performed the Heimlich maneuver - on my own daughter! After two quick thrusts beneath her rib cage, she spit out a piece of apple skin.
I hugged her to me and thanked God for keeping me level-headed. Once Amy took her from my arms, that was when I fell apart.
Chloe never really knew the danger she was in. Within minutes she was back to her old self, the only complaint she had was of a sore throat.
Several weeks after that event, I'm shaking as I write this. The fear that overwhelmed me that day is still fresh as I relive the experience. It could have ended so differently. I could have lost my little girl!
God gave Chloe to me four years ago, and on that Saturday afternoon, he gave her to me again.
When we accept Christ as our savior, we give ourselves to God. But each day we must decide to follow him, to keep that relationship with him strong and growing.
Don't misunderstand me - I'm not saying we have to accept Christ over and over - that's a one-time decision (John 10:28-30). But we do have to decide daily whether we'll follow him. We have to decide daily whether we'll commit ourselves to living as he would have us live. We have to decide daily whether we will give ourselves to him in order for him to live through us.
What's your decision? Will you give yourself to your heavenly father today, and every day after?
Parrish Myers is pastor of Pine Crest Baptist Church in Gainesville. His column runs every other week in Sunday Life.