Mama Grace* washed her clothes by hand and began to hang them on the line in the yard. The Tanzanian sun felt warm upon her face, but the constant breeze kept her from sweating. Her tiny daughter, Eunice*, lay napping on a blanket in the grass.

Mama Grace lifted the heavy clothes and clipped them on the line, lifted and clipped, lifted and clipped, until the load was hung and her arms were tired. She headed to check on Eunice.

As she neared the sleeping baby, Grace stopped in horror. A large snake was lying beside the toddler, its thick head resting on Eunice’s forehead. Grace stood still. She didn’t know what type of snake this was- puff adder? cobra? mamba? Did it really matter? There are so many poisonous snakes in Tanzania. Snakes that spit and strike and snakes that kill.

Maybe Eunice has already been bitten, she thought. She’s lying so still.

Baby Eunice stirred, but her eyes remained closed. The snake rose up slowly and lowered back down onto Eunice’s head.

Please don’t move, Baby! Mama Grace willed. Should I run? Should I scream? Should I stay perfectly still?

Eunice stirred again. Her little fist raised to bat the air. The snake rose up slowly and lowered back down onto Eunice’s head.

Grace began to pray. Lord, please send this snake away. Make it go. Protect my child. Give me grace.

The minutes passed and Grace remained still as she prayed. Eunice slept quietly, the snake resting comfortably atop her head, most likely feeling the warmth from the sun and the warmth of the toddler’s body temperature.

And then the snake moved. It simply slithered away, out of the yard and into the brush beyond.

Mama Grace lunged toward Eunice and scooped her up. The toddler awoke, yawned and stretched. She was unharmed! She was unaware! She was safe!

Grace told her story to me through an interpreter a few weeks later.

“I thought my baby would die that day,” she said. “I didn’t know what to do. I could only pray. I prayed for help. I prayed for grace. I know that my mother named me Grace for a reason. I think it was to remind me that He always gives grace when we need it.”

Grace turned and we watched little Eunice toddle towards us, smiling with her big bottom teeth visible in her grin.

“I am so thankful for grace.”

What about you? Have you been reminded of God’s grace today? Have you looked for His grace? Sometimes we need to stand very still and pray for it, but inevitably, grace will come.

Eph 4:7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

*Names used with permission.

Kelly Edmondson, Medical Director of Medical Missions Outreach, graduated from Pensacola Christian College with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in 1995, then from Troy University with Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and Board Certified as Family Nurse Practitioner in 2005. Kelly has experience in both Pediatrics and Urgent Care that gives her insight into cases MMO sees on the foreign field. She began medical mission work in 2003 and has become knowledgeable of the challenges of health care and community wellness in developing nations. Kelly is committed to training future health care workers, as she precepts nursing and nurse practitioner students in the US and abroad. Kelly’s leadership at MMO brigades provides a spirit of professionalism and efficacy that raise the bar and set a standard for good provider practices and patient education even in very remote areas.