Stephen and Julie Knickerbocker have been in Burkina Faso just a few weeks. They are both distinguished graduates of The Crown College. They have followed the Lord as missionaries to this special place in Africa. Julie gave birth to their first child just days ago. Precious little Nathan was with them only for a short time. He is now with the Lord Jesus Christ. His life and message will continue through the Christian ministry of his mom and dad. Please read Julie’s story and pray for Stephen and Julie as they continue to serve the Lord. – Clarence Sexton
From a Mother’s Heart by Julie Knickerbocker
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul Genesis 2:7
God breathed into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life.
It wasn’t until Monday evening that I realized what a simple, yet powerful act this was. The breath of life- something only God himself can give. There are certain things you will never be prepared to handle until they happen.
Writing this letter is one of those things.
You will never be prepared for complications to happen suddenly when there were never “meant” to be any.
You will never be prepared for the long wait in a delivery room as no one tells you what is happening, and you seem to be watching every one walk by in a hurry, knowing they are bringing all these medical tools to take care of the son you’ve just delivered.
You will never be prepared to watch as your child struggles to live.
You will never be prepared to lose him through death.
You will never be prepared for the heartbreak that follows seeing your spouse sobbing uncontrollably into your arms.
You will never be prepared to see that minuscule casket containing the body of the little one you’ve already given so much of your heart and love to, be placed into the ground and buried.
You will never be prepared for the ride back home- empty handed and hurting, physically and emotionally.
You will never be prepared to look at and unpack that unused hospital bag, the dresser full of beautiful baby clothing, the crib, the nursery decorations, the baby books, shampoos, creams and diapers- and put them away, knowing the child who was meant to use them is already gone.
You will never be prepared for the next up and coming mornings, as you continually face the reality of what has happened.
Yet, through all this, God gives grace.
He gives complete peace.
He gives understanding.
He gives comfort.
He gives hope for the future.
He gives joy.
He makes himself known, and keeps His guiding hand visible in your life.
Our precious son, Nathan, was born on August 25th, at 7:55 pm in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. He died around 10:00 pm that same evening. The birth could not have gone better- absolutely no complications. There were no problems with him or his organs. He was continually moving and active. He was completely healthy. His birth weight was just right. His heartbeat throughout the pregnancy was perfect, even up until the moment he came out. He had all his fingers and toes, blonde hair and blue eyes.
So what happened? What could possibly have gone wrong?
We do not have an answer to those questions. We never will. The medical doctors were greatly bothered by the lack of their own understanding at the situation. They do not have an answer, and they never will.
The moment our son was born, he became unconscious. His heart was beating, but he was not breathing. They tried all they could to bring breath into his lungs, but it would never take, and his heart would continually fail because of the lack of oxygen. They were doing all they could in their human efforts to bring the breath of life into this child. No man has the ultimate power to give that breath. Only God can give that first breath which yields sustained life. Only He can perform that miracle in a child. He has full control of the life he created and owns.
You see, Nathan was never ours to keep. God knew the outcome of this situation before we did. It was not a surprise to Him. He knew we would have to face this difficult trial as soon as we arrived to the mission field. He created the beautiful child I was privileged to carry and hold ever so shortly. It was and still is His creation for Him to do with as He wishes. We love our son, but we know we could never love him as much as His creator loves him. It is such a comfort to us to know that he is with his Heavenly Father, and that although he may never join us here on earth again, we will join him one day.
We are not trying to figure out why this happened and we will not try to do so.We do not need to know every reason our creator has for these kind of events to take place in our life. We just need to trust Him. We need to allow Him to work through us in this situation- that it would strengthen our faith, our love for Him, our marriage, and our work in the ministry here in Burkina Faso. We need to keep relying on Him for daily strength. We are not bitter or mad at God- we are simply thankful he chose to give us such a beautiful child to love, even if it was for a very short time. We are thankful for his continually visible guiding hand in our life, even through this situation. We are grateful for other believers who have been a tremendous encouragement to us at this time. We are thankful for the support of our pastor and home church, and for the many prayers being said on our behalf.We are thankful for the missionaries here in Africa who have greatly helped us and encouraged us as we felt completely helpless and lost the last few days. We are thankful and honored to have buried our loving son in the country where we are currently serving the Lord.
We are thankful to have The Lord on our side. We are thankful to have each other as husband and wife to comfort one another. We are thankful for this verse:
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” 1 Peter 4:12-13
Please keep us in your prayers.
Looking unto Jesus,