For those who have never met Mariel Grimm, I can understand doubt. I can understand outrage. All children should be protected, and anyone who injures a child should by all means be punished to the greatest extent. I do not waver on that stance. But this is not the case here. I sat in the courtroom for every day of this trial, and watched an innocent mother of four precious children be convicted of assault. She was convicted without any compelling evidence, and not a single witness to the alleged crime.
I have known Mariel for 7 years, and I trust her with my own children. I first met Mariel at church. We were in the same Bible study group and we were both new moms. I had recently postponed my career as a software engineer to be a stay-at-home mom, so I valued Mariel's insight on motherhood, as her educational background was in childhood development. She always loved creating lesson plans, looking at curriculum, and preparing for her children's education, even in the preschool years. I can remember Mariel inviting new people to our Bible study, trying to help newcomers to our church feel included. That's just her nature.
Not long after we met, I was expecting another child and had a difficult pregnancy healthwise. Mariel would call me various times during the week to see if I needed help. Then she would pack up her daughter, drive to my house, pick up my son (carseat and all his baby gear), and take both kids back to her house. I remember her doing this so many times, and I never even had to ask! I never questioned her love and care for my son. She is one of the best moms I know! And here she was a new mom herself, and she was willing to do this for me. Why? Because she thinks about others. She helps when there is a need. Her kindness is evident to all who know her. And because she also loves kids! You can see it in her actions and see it in her smile. Her face lights up when her children enter the room. When my kids talk nonstop, she gets on her knees to their level and listens to them with a smile on her face. She loves children, and I trust her with my own.
I can also remember the conversations we would have about our kids, and although this might seem trivial, it just shows her care in the smallest of details. I remember there was this puzzle that had locks and latches on it, and she was so excited to buy it because it would help with her children's hand-eye coordination. She would read reviews online of educational toys, and would get so excited about certain books for her children. She is a born teacher with her children's best interest at heart. And her children reflect the love and care she has provided. Her oldest son is one of the kindest friends that my boys have. Also, I have never met a stay-at-home mom with a house as neat as Mariel's. Maybe it's the organized teacher in her. It has always amazed me. I also remember visiting her in the hospital when her last child was born, and I'll never forget how gentle and reassuring she was with her newborn. When he would cry, she was so caring with him. She would always say "Oh, he's just exquisite!" Mariel's patience and calm nature are beautiful to see.
Since Mariel's conviction, I keep having the same conversations with moms I know. Would you ever watch a baby after this? For those of us who know Mariel would NEVER hurt a child, this is a terrifying wake-up call. If a baby has a seizure on your watch, God help you. God help us all. I spoke with one friend who takes in children that need emergency care. She is questioning whether she will even continue. If you can be convicted with no compelling evidence, and not a single witness to the alleged crime, this should be concern for ANYONE who has watched a child.
After Mariel was charged, a group of us gathered together to pray for Mariel's vindication and that truth would prevail. When Mariel began to pray...I sat there crying at the words she spoke. First she prayed for the baby involved, and for his complete healing. She loved him so much. Then she prayed that she would love Jesus more than her own freedom. As we listened to laughter from children playing in the yard, she then began praying for every child of every parent in the room. She prayed for each child by name. She never did pray for her own freedom that day. She prayed for God's will. As Mariel has said before, "He can deliver me from a guilty verdict, but even if He doesn't, He is good and worthy to be praised!" Her faith and trust in God's goodness, despite all that is happening, is inspiring to see.
Please pray for Mariel and her family. Pray that Jesus will sustain the faith and joy of Mariel's children during this uncertain future. Pray for the precious baby boy that was in Mariel's care, for his complete healing. Pray for his parents and those who love him. May God's truth be revealed and hearts mended. Both sides are suffering, and the lives of four precious children are about to be forever changed. It is a great call on one's life to protect innocent children. There is an equal call to protect the children of innocent parents.