The Empty Cradle

Donna Williams was fourteen years old when a good friend invited her to attend church with her family. The service was in the evening and was part of revival meetings at the church.  Revival meetings? What in the world was that? She acquiesced and went along to the service.

The message seemed pointed directly at her. There was a great need in her life and the Holy Spirit was at work as the service ended with something called an invitation. It was a call to come forward and give your life to Jesus. “My heart was beating out of my chest as fireworks were going off in my head,” said Donna.

She couldn’t get to the front fast enough, it seemed, to ask Jesus into her life. She talked with the pastor for a moment and was led by another person to the counseling room. She listened and soon asked Jesus to forgive her and come to live in her heart. Her life was forever changed that night.
God had blessed Donna with exceptional academic abilities which she was able to turn into a degree from the University of Georgia. Her university work led her to a great job at the Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Georgia. Then along came the love of her life Wade Williams. They married and their life together was great. Except…

There was a great desire between them to start a family, but it just wasn’t happening. They cried out to God and visited doctors and specialists over the years, but to no avail. Donna deeply loved children, but she simply could not make one of her own.

As time passed and her biological clock moved forward they knew that God had answered their plea for children. He had said no. This is when they found peace in the sovereignty of God. When they surrendered to His grace a peaceful freedom was received. God’s grace was sufficient in all things, especially in difficult situations. Bitterness was not welcome in their home.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Donna’s love for children remained strong in her heart and when the opportunity came she resigned from her great job on the air base and opened the Meadowdale Learning Center in Perry, Ga. God was leading her to work with children who were not physically her own, assisting working families in need of child care.

We have all heard the phrase – When God closes a door, He opens another one. Well, here is the rest of the story.
God’s plan for her life did not include natural born children of her own, but it did include an opportunity to love the children of others. Her child care program grew and then was expanded from one center to three locations. In the past thirty years it is estimated that she has worked with 25,000—30,000 children. It was an amazing display of a personal difficulty that was accepted from God and then by His grace, answered in a wonderful way.
Donna’s prayer is that those reading this story will recognize that in the midst of disappointment and sorrow we can find peace and grace in our Savior’s love and presence. She had to endure an empty cradle on her way to a deeply fulfilling ministry and calling.
Donna and Wade have endured the storms of life and found grace in God’s will. Their prayer for others is that they too can come to realize that surrendering to God’s sovereign plan is always a safe haven.

Isn’t God’s grace a wonderful thing?

Roger Allen Cook

I love to write stories about God’s grace.  If you have a story I should consider, please contact me at: