Michel: Joy to watch children grow along God’s path

Published 11:45 pm Friday, February 13, 2015

One of the benefits of aging (and I believe there are many) is the opportunity to observe the children who played at your feet as they walk into their adult roles.

I enjoy memories made a decade or two ago, but it is just as exciting for me to observe those former children in the paths God has placed them. I recently had the pleasure of sharing breakfast with my friend Nicole Christopherson and was eager to hear the details of her daughter Siedah’s present occupation.

“When she was 7 years old, Siedah told us that she wanted to work in an orphanage and never strayed from that goal. My husband and I couldn’t imagine ever sending her to a foreign country and thought she might fulfill that dream later on, once she was married.”

Siedah, via Facebook, continued the story for me, “When I was about 13, I began to read and hear the stories of kids who lived in orphanages in war-torn countries. It was not my first time knowing of the existence of such places, but it was the first time I understood the conditions that many of them operated in. However, it didn’t take long for me to realize that the need was great in America as well.

“I was shocked when I learned of the number of American foster children on waiting lists for families. I think it hit home a bit as well. I was adopted when I was 5 and had learned firsthand how much love can heal a person who has been hurt. The desire to make a difference grew stronger as I realized the need all around me.”

Several years later, Siedah and her family visited a church and heard a young woman ask for prayer because she was committing her summer to “Adullam House,” a ministry that provides a home for children of women who are incarcerated.

Siedah knew that this was the place God had prepared her for, and in July she will celebrate four years of loving, caring and educating a precious part of the next generation.

Since I was in the mood to track down my children’s friends through Facebook, I contacted April, a childhood friend of my daughter Monique. When her family moved to Kentucky, I kept in touch with April’s mother Jaymi, and will never forget talking to her after April gave birth to her first child.

There are few things that a woman anticipates more than the birth of her child. In addition to the nine months of pregnancy, April endured 23 hours of hard labor before giving birth to her daughter, Kaitlyn Danielle. Before being presented with her newborn, the midwife approached April and said, “You have a beautiful baby girl, but there’s a problem. She’s missing a hand and a foot.”

April immediately responded, “So what’s the problem?” She later explained, “I understood what the midwife was saying, but I couldn’t have cared less in that moment. I just thought she was beautiful and she was mine.”

I wish I could have seen the look on the midwife’s face as she watched April’s reaction to what some would consider bad news.

April knew that Kaitlyn Danielle was the perfect child for her and her husband. At the moment, she didn’t question why God allowed this to happen because for her, there were no questions, only the task of motherhood that stretched before her, a task for which she was well-equipped.

With her characteristic humility and honest, April said that in the years that followed she had lots of questions for God. “Then I read the story in John 9 about the blind man. People asked Jesus why the man was born blind and Jesus said, ‘so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.’ That is what I knew was the truth and I believe He has and will continue to be glorified in Kaitlyn’s life.”

I asked April for an update of her family. “Kaitlyn will be 12 in July, William is 10, Madelyn 7, Makenna 5, Amelia 3 and Samuel 9 months. It looks like a lot when you type it out.” It looks like a lot because it is a lot!

Siedah and April are just two of the many young people I watched grow up, and whose lives continue to touch mine.

Ronny Michel may be reached at rmichel@rtconline.com.