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Child of the Devil

They had never seen her smile before. When she finally did, it was more than just the whimsical humor of being a grown woman standing in a children’s paddling pool. It was the joy of a redeemed life.
Amélie was surrounded by friends, church members, Multiply workers and her grown son as she prepared for baptism. Hearing her testimony, it was evident that she had not had many reasons to smile. Hers had been an emphatically joyless childhood. In the small village where she grew up it seemed that every hand was against her. Amélie was raised by a cruel and violent father and was beaten often. School offered no respite as teachers repeatedly shook their heads and told her that she was stupid. With her self-esteem shattered, it felt natural for her to assume that she was the one to blame.
At a time when she might have turned to God and the church for comfort, the local priest dismissed her, saying that all the bad things that were happening were her own fault. He called her, “child of the Devil.” In the end, she began to believe him.
Isolation offered some measure of safety, and for years she avoided relationships. Then one day Amélie met a man that she felt she could be with. Because he was divorced, the community shunned her. She had a child and did her best to raise him, but when that son turned to drugs she was crushed by a sense of guilt and despair. Perhaps it was true; perhaps it was all her fault.
One day she noticed changes in her son’s behavior, and he declared that he had come to faith in Jesus. She was skeptical, but over time Amélie saw that his freedom from addictions was genuine. She began to explore Christianity, meeting with Multiply workers for a year. It had all led to this moment, standing in a wading pool.
As Amélie read her testimony she faltered, unable to speak further as her emotions overwhelmed her. At this, her son stepped into the pool beside her. Taking the paper from her shaking hands, he finished reading her testimony out loud. Upon the confession of her faith, Amélie was then baptized - by her own son. Afterward, she turned to her son. “A great weight is being lifted off of me,” she said. Then she smiled.

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