God Gives and Takes Away

7:06 PM

"I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. 
Bend down and listen as I pray. 
Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. "
Psalm 17:6-7

It was a rainy night back in August 2005 when Sergio and I decided to pray for another child.

It had taken us a few years to have Josiah, and at this time, he was only 11 months old.

We knew we were ready to grow our family.

With tears in our eyes, we knelt down by our bedside and prayed.

"Lord, give us a child."

Sweetly embracing one another, we fell asleep in each other's arms.

5am came early that next morning.

We were awaken by the doorbell.

I had begun to nurse Josiah when Sergio walked out the door.

"Quien es?" He shouted.

You see, we were living in Mexico and had recently taken on the role of houseparents for 13 children.  The orphanage was inside a gated area.  The wall stood at least 13ft tall.

Sergio heard nothing.

So again he shouted, "Quien es?" or in English "Who is it?"

Nothing.

He began to turn around when he heard a whimper.

"Surely not", he thought.  For this was a sound far too familiar to him.

He climbed up the side of the wall and saw nothing.

As he climbed back down, he decided to open the door.

And there a life was laid on the rocky driveway.

A baby.

Sergio looked around and saw no one.

He gently swooped up the baby and brought him inside out of the rain.

"Jackie, you are not going to believe this.  It's a baby."

And in that moment, my heart was stolen.

He was beautiful.


I quickly noticed the afterbirth still on his head.

I opened up his thin blanket and saw his sweet (very long) umbilical cord.

The mother must of known nothing else, but to give her baby away in hopes for a better life.

I saw the bottle of apple juice with stuff floating inside.  "Did she give him apple juice to clean out his mouth?  Or to feed him?"  My chest ached as a new mother desiring to give nourishment to her baby.

Sergio made several calls that morning to see what we should do.

Since our doctor on staff was on the other side of the mountain and out of reach, we decided to take him to the clinic where Josiah was born.

It is a decision that still haunts me.

While we were there, I was able to cut his umbilical cord down and hold him as if he were mine.

But, he wasn't.

It wasn't soon after this that the authorities took him from us and placed him in an orphanage a few hours away.

All we had was his bottle & his ID number given to him by the state.


We knew of a missionary couple in the same town and asked them to visit him for us.

After their visitation, we were informed of his name, Cristian (Christian in English).

Sergio and I fought hard.  We sought out legal counsel.

Our knees bled in prayer.

After a period of time, we were asked to back off.  We were Americans.  We were stirring up things that we did not quite understand.

So, we had to say goodbye not knowing what would become of him.

We grieved.

We still grieve.

A lot.

It's been almost 8 years since that early August morning.

But, we still remember him for he took a piece of us that will never return.

We don't know what would've become of him.  He might have been given to another family on staff or taken in under the orphanage's care.  There are so many things that we do not know.

And I will be honest with you, I sometimes scream at God.

(Don't worry, in my weakness, He is made strong.)

He can handle my tantrums.

But, there are still times that I want to know why.....

Why would we pray for a child one night and the next morning a baby is placed at our doorstep?

Why, God?!

Thousands of times I've cried out to Him.

I've boldly demanded Him to answer me as if He hasn't already.

But, He has.  It just took me 8 years to hear Him.

He consistently speaks one word to me.

"Presence."

One word.  One powerful word that shouts of His glory.

For He is here.

He is present.

He is Emmanuel.

God with us to be Him towards others.

He calls us to open the door and pick up the helpless.

And in that wounded moment, He requires love.  Love others with His extreme love that begins by being present.

"Go be Me," He commands.

For I AM HERE.

And You are here.

Be present in the lives of those who can not help themselves.

Be present in the lives of those who can not do it alone.

Be present right where you are.

You can do this.

For I am with you Always.


And I hold Cristian's bottle as tears fall from a wounded heart.

"Presence."


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