amber alert

I’m convinced I will never be able to hear another Amber Alert without cringing. I can remember the moment so vividly. It was Sunday morning and I was still in pajamas, sipping coffee and just looking at pictures of my friends’ new baby on Instagram. The alert popped up on my phone screen and I read it, “Jordan Belliveau B/M 2yo”. My stomach tightened as my eyes re-read the details 5 more times and I gasped louder than I meant to. I’ll never forget the way my husband came rushing over and looked at me. I couldn’t even speak, I just handed him my phone with uncontrollable tears streaming. I kept shaking my head No, this can’t be my baby. I feel like in that moment I already knew he was gone.

Sam was running late to lead worship at church and was hugging me and asking me what I wanted to do. Did I need someone to come be with me? Should he stay home? I was in a total fog. I told him I would drop off our daughter at church with friends in the nursery so I could get myself together and just be alone. I wanted to go talk to the Police officers on the case, it was the only logical thing I could think of. My mind was racing and my hands were shaking as I was trying to text out emergency prayer requests to our people and call the investigator. I couldn’t stop pacing as the reality set in. Nobody seemed to care about speaking with me or give me any kind of information. After all I’m nobody, I just raised him his entire life. I have never felt so helpless and panicked. I scoured the news, which was not hard because this story was everywhere and fast. The mother was claiming he was kidnapped and there was a big, long story but the whole thing just seemed off. I knew most, if not all of it was a lie. But that didn’t really matter, if he was still alive somewhere.

The next two days were the longest of my life. We had people praying from all over the world, that he would be found safe and sound and truth would be revealed. I couldn’t eat or sleep, the pain was too much and the unknowns were absolutely terrifying. I felt like I should be out searching with the local groups, but I think I just knew deep down that we weren’t going to find out anything remotely good. My Mother in law offered to fly out from California the following day. We took her up on it, not knowing at the time how desperately we needed that. Or maybe we did know. All I could seem to pray was “oh Jesus help” as the tears came burning down. I tried to keep myself together for other people and I tried to take hold of the hope they seemed to have for me. I knew my family needed me to be ok, but everything felt so not ok. New developments seemed to be released every couple hours and the story continued to change and grow. Everyone started to agree that it seemed the Mother had something to do with it, that her story was made up. They had dogs searching and dive teams in all the nearby waterways, I had to put my phone down before I went insane. But I knew I wouldn’t get updates unless I looked on Facebook and local news, it was the only time I questioned not having cable. Every detail hurt deeply, but I felt like I had to know. And then on the third day as we sat down for dinner, I got a call from two different friends confirming our worst nightmare. He had been found, dead. His Mother had confessed and was arrested for first-degree murder.

I will admit in those first moments the primary emotion was anger and shock. I was mad that other people knew my boy was gone before I did. It wasn’t fair. My heart didn’t want to believe it, maybe they are wrong, maybe it’s not him. Sam was in the other room with our daughter feeding her, but he knew. I didn’t want to face him, but I took a deep breath and my heart shattered as I watched him fall apart. Somehow God gave me strength in that moment to take care of business, I quickly packed a bag for our girl so that Sam could take her to stay with a friend for the night, luckily only a few minutes away. We just couldn’t lose it in front of our almost-two year old. I made Sam promise me he could drive safely and begged God to protect them as they drove away. I felt like I was going to throw up or faint. Cars of our dear friends were pulling up to my house and it hit me so hard that this was actually real. I can barely remember that next hour, it was full of tears and lament, prayers and hugs. Sam came back and we were left to grieve together, it was the deepest sorrow I have ever experienced. We knew our lives would never be the same after that night.

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book
— Psalm 56:8 NLT