It’s a Beautiful Day to Cry


They all demand my full attention. This very second.

They pull and yank and yell and scream and talk and laugh.

And… it’s beautiful. It honestly is.


Children behind me grab fistfuls of my “golden” hair. Twisting it around, braiding it messily and laughing.

Children beside me take my hands and wrap their little fingers around them. Smiling and content, staring up into my face.

Children in front of me hold up the books we brought for them. Touching the pages, showing me the pictures, sounding out the words.


Everyone’s happy.

Everyone’s together.

We’re a community.

My spirit rejoices.


I sit near the ground on a wooden bench between them, ignoring for once all our differences. Today we’re the same.

We sweat, and stink, and we’re dirty.

We smile, and laugh, and we’re happy.


Mira, mira, look at this!” says the girl with the picture books.

Juega, juega, play with us!” say the boys with the soccer ball.

Blanquita eres, you’re so white!” says the little one, giggling, holding my hand.


Today is amazing.

Today is beautiful.

Today should never have to end.


But I get up finally, and head towards the kitchen to see what the women are cooking. I can’t stop smiling as I round the corner of the little school. And then I realize I can stop smiling.

I stop smiling and I start shaking.

Shaking hard, with anger and fury, at the scene unfolding before me.


Covered by the screams of delight, a scream of pain and fear.

Hidden by the distant chatter, a voice bitter and full of rage.

A mother beating her two-year-old child behind the wall, thrashing him with a poisonous, stinging plant. You’ll listen to me next time, she tells her son, continuing to hit him. Oh, you’ll listen…

I can’t stop this. I can’t fix this. All I can do is stand and watch, eyes wide with horror and disbelief. Fear, even.


She looks up as she raises the branch again, and seeing me standing there, watching her. She drops the stem of poison-veined leaves and growls get up! to her son, who lays curled up against the building whimpering. Get up and put your shoes on!

I look in the woman’s face and see hard lines and angry eyes. She glances toward me again, she knows what I saw. What I know. What she’s done. Come! She shouts again. Get up!


Why did she hit so hard?

What did he do so wrong?


I can’t unsee it, I can’t forget it, and I probably never will.


The day has lost its magic and beauty. Every single bit.

Because… it could have been me. I could have been that little boy.

It could have been me. I could have been that mother.


It could have,

But it isn’t.

I could have,

But I’m not.


I can’t tell you why.

I don’t know why God has protected me like He has.

And at the same time, I can’t believe He would allow me to see this.

I’m right here, but sometimes all I can do is watch.

And cry. Go home, lay in my bed, and cry. Cry because I couldn’t do anything. Cry because I didn’t.


This is more than a beautiful country.

It’s pain-filled.





It’s a battle field, do you hear me?

A battle field. There’s a war going on.

Here. Now. And I’m in it.


I’m not fighting against the woman with the switch. I’m not fighting people who taught her to hurt. I’m fighting, to bring them to Jesus. Struggling, to show them the Light. It’s frightening, it’s difficult, it’s draining. But I’m not giving up. Not without a fight.


Cause I believe it’s worth it.

Every minute of it.

Every second.


So I want you to pray for me. I want you to pray right now. Because I’m fighting.

We all are.


~Madeline Studebaker



  1. Kendra Gibson says:

    Oh, my, Madeline! I am so sorry for that heartache, and I am so praying! For each and every one of you, where you are, & as a family, I pray! I can’t even begin to imagine the amazing future ahead of you, Madeline – God is opening you to so many things, growing you in ways we may never even guess, or be consciously aware of! And you know it – that is beautiful! You, are being shaped by this – and your sharing is shaping so many others! You have such a gift for bringing us there with you. I thank you, I send love, and I pray… for healing, for strength, for safety, for courage, for wisdom, for support & for perseverance – for YOU, your family, and those you touch! <3

  2. Debbie Johnston says:

    Madeline, What a powerful story. So, sorry that you had to witness this event but with your amazing faith I know you will come thru this. My heart is filled with sadness but we will pray for you, your family and the people in your community!!

  3. Alene Strickland says:

    Madeline , I went to comment to let you know I’m praying for you , your family and all the lost. As I pondered what to write,cause your post are so amazing. You are Blessed and have a very unique talent of making someone that is reading your post feel like there right there. As I read your post I was smiling right along with you and then the tears quickly started to roll as I got further in the post.I am so sorry you had to see this,but I also quickly went back and read it again cause the first thing come to my mind and I wanted to make sure.You did do something. When she saw you,SHE STOPPED . Because you are a light and God uses us all and puts us in places and circumstances for a reason. It is hard ,so hard but please remember you are never alone,.God is not only with you but in you so what you can’t handle ,he will.Thank You for sharing and I’m praying some more right now. This story really hit me cause our Bible Study tonight was about reaching the lost. Please keep writing and inspiring others and myself to get out there and let are lights shine. Sending lots of Love and hugs and please tell the family I said Hi 🙂

  4. Mary Harrison says:

    I agree with Alene, she described my feelings and reactions. I also agree with her that our God is using you. Our Lord has given you a wonderful talent to convey your ministry. I will continue to pray to you and your wonderful family. I will pray for your protection from evil forces and physical dangers.

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