By Courtney Schreiner
I love when I’m able to connect one-on-one with the children at Eternal Joy Children’s Home in India, where my husband and I serve with Back2Back. This past week, Elijah and I kept finding each other despite the busy nature of the children’s home. I have come to love 12-year-old Elijah’s strong will and fierce attitude, as I often observed her instructing and leading the other children. I wanted to understand her better, and I was thankful I had found the opportunity.
As we talked, she tried to understand me, my family and why I was serving in India. I was impressed at how focused she was in her questioning, but I was also beginning to think she might never run out of questions! Eventually, she seemed satisfied with my responses, which is when I proceeded to ask, “Can I ask you a few questions?”
She smiled and nodded hesitantly. “Would you like to know about my family?,” she offered. I assumed she would share about her Eternal Joy family, but when she started with “Well before I moved here…” I knew this was about her biological family. Elijah proceeded to share about her mother who died, a brother who died, a father who remarried and quickly disowned his first family, and a grandmother who traveled cross-country to rescue her in her abandonment. It was then in the whirlwind of details I fully understood Elijah’s toughness. She has seen and experienced far more in her twelve years of life than I could even begin to comprehend.
As she finished sharing I asked her, “Do you miss your father?”
Elijah nodded, but quickly assured me by pointing to the sky and declaring she has a Father in God, and He is always with her.
It was in this moment I was blown away by our Father who knows the details of each of us so intricately. He knew the details of a little girl who would lose her family, and He knew to create Elijah with a fierceness – tough enough to survive it all. He knew and loved her enough to write her story in a way so that despite it all, she would still point to the heavens with confidence, declaring she has a Daddy who loves her so.
I’m thankful we get to journey in the details of these lives each and every day. Long before Back2Back and the caregivers at Eternal Joy were a part of the details of Elijah’s life, God had it covered.
Courtney Schreiner is serving with Back2Back in Hyderabad, India, alongside her husband, Michael. She is passionate about helping orphaned children to understand the deep love of their heavenly Father.