A Second Chance

Photo by Stephen Elliot in association with

I lifted her up. She barely whimpered.

Akhanyile weighed dangerously less than a toddler should. A lack of nutrients had sucked life away from her little body, leaving her lethargic and weak. The other daycare centers would have sent her away. No one had time to care for a sick child while caring for dozens of other children.

But I’ve never turned a child away—and Akhanyile was not the first malnourished child to show up at my daycare.

For two months, I carefully lifted spoonfuls of porridge into Akhanyile’s mouth, praying each day that God would restore her health.

You’re too young, small one,
to struggle at life.

I know what it means to struggle. From a childhood riddled with pain, to an abusive marriage, to burying two of my children, my life has been a series of struggles.

I know, small one,
what it is to feel alone.

I lift another spoonful into her mouth. She looks at me. I can see that she is slowly learning to trust me. Akhanyile’s mother is just one of the many women in my community whom I’ve been teaching how to give their children the right nutrition.

Akhanyile begins to cry, big tears spilling down her tiny cheeks.

Trust is hard, Akhanyile,
I understand.

I, too, am learning to trust. For more than 60 years, I lived without knowing what it means to trust Jesus. But now I’m finally learning to trust him.

Caring for children is what he’s given me to do, and every day I see him give me what I need to do that.

Akhanyile will soon be a healthy toddler, full of energy and getting into mischief with the other children.

And I will smile knowing that another life has been given a second chance to live.

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