So I’ve started this post a thousand times. What on earth do I write? I really don’t know. How are y’all doing? I’ve heard it a thousand times in the last two months…nah it’s probably been 3 months
I ask myself, do I really want to answer that? Do you REALLY want to know? It hurts too much. Honestly, I was speaking with a great friend and mentor of mine and he was sharing the difference between sharing from scars vs. wounds.
- Scars we have healed from. They’ve left their mark, for sure but we are healed. And those marks, those scars, provide us with reminders of what happened. I can look at scars on myself from bike accidents of yesteryear or at Amy’s scar on her knee from surgery and we can recount what happened. Emotional scars are no different. We look back at the situation when we feel the scar from the event upon our life. And when we look back we can remember, recount, and realize the lesson learned. We have endured. We have learned and we’re on the other side. Just like when a wound turns into a scar, it doesn’t need any active care….our emotional aren’t forgotten but they don’t need any active wound care from us. From our scars we can actually be a position to teach, to correct, to provide lessons learned and direction.
- Wounds are different. Just yesterday Jojo fell down. He had a scrape on his elbow. It was relatively deep but it necessitated some wound care. Alcohol wipe, hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic cream and Band-Aid. This morning, we had to redress the wound. It involved removing the covering, which re-opened the wound. That was painful for him. We had to provide more wound care, more stinging and more hurt for him. Same wound, just treating it. That treatment and covering is what is going to make it better. With our emotional wounds, it’s not different. We address them immediately or when we can. We talk it out. We address the emotional hurt. We apply bandages. But there are times that they have to be re-opened. At each re-opening of the wound, we hurt again. We haven’t learned the lesson yet from our emotional wounds. We don’t have the perspective of experience and time and it becomes more difficult to learn from them and teach from these wounds.
My friend was sharing that we can teach from our emotional scars. Those may provide lessons and / or best practices. But our emotional wounds, we should not. As a wound heals, the lesson, the perspective is shifting and not fully-formed.
I share that today because we are in a place of many wounds. How are we doing? To be honest and completely transparent, it’s hard. We’ve had a lot going on over the past few months so let me provide some updates rapid fire.
- Preaching – I had the amazing opportunity to share a word on temptation with our church at the beginning of December…not sure why I got tasked with that subject, something about having a lot of experience with successes and failures with it. Anyway, it was awesome and a GREAT time. If you wanted to check out the podcast from the service….click here.
- Get AWAY – Amy and I were tremendously blessed to be able to get away this past December for our 12 year anniversary. It was a great time to REST, REFLECT and plan for a new year. It was filled with naps, cooking great food, playing board games, and watching Fixer Upper…I guess we are old.
- Sports are a thing in our house – Jojo and Madeline have started playing basketball, and despite my better judgement I agreed to help coach Madeline’s team. Honestly, it’s a blast! I love those 7 year old girls and the laughs they can provide, and some of the patience they are teaching me! Madeline loves playing…although her dad wishes she would pay more attention. Jojo LOVES basketball. He’s a lock down defender and really enjoys bringing the ball up the court. The only challenge is Jojo and Madeline have games at the same time on many Saturdays so it’s been hard to catch both of them, especially when coaching.
- Kindergarten here comes Elijah – hey remember when Elijah was born in Belize? Yeah, that was about 4 ½ years ago….which means that he is heading to Kindergarten this coming school year! We are excited nervous and there are days…ok maybe a lot of days that we (ok I, Josh) cry snot bubble tears thinking about him growing up.
- Christmas – We had an amazing time at Christmas with the girls making traditions and celebrating Jesus! Our family was AMAZING rallying around and celebrating Jesus with us and the girls!
- Snow Days – We had A LOT of snow…TWICE! It was an adventure taking the girls out for the first time ever in the snow for them! They built a snowman, sledded, ate SNOW…A LOT of snow, ate snow cream and drank hot chocolate…all for the first time! And then it snowed again and we got to do all of it over! It was an adventure!
- New Floors – For 9 months Amy has researched the flooring she wanted in our front “formal living room” (now it’s our office) and dining room (actually kid’s homework and art room). Over the past week, Amy, in addition to running our house, ripped out the carpet, and laid the flooring! Update – It looks AMAZING!! Yes you know this, I know this but it should be stated again: My wife is simply a superstar!!
- Discipleship – Jesus called us to be disciples that make disciples. Through our lives, we have done this through small groups, mission teams, other relationships. The Lord opened up opportunities to do that and I am enjoying meeting with two dudes every week reading the Bible together, and challenging each other to be better disciples, men, husbands, fathers and leaders!
- Growth – The Lord continues to bless our church and bring in more families with kids! We even had the opportunity to provide 120 families of our church with everything necessary to have a Happy Birthday Jesus Celebration over Christmas!
- One More – When we started working on the South Fork building almost 18 month ago, a little boy and his family were coming around all the time. They would “help” and we found out they were attending the church when they could. Our volunteers started to love on Lil T and his family. One volunteer family even bought winter coats for Lil T, his brothers and sisters! Lil T came out 3 hours early for our first service in Feb 2017 and he has been there every Sunday since. A couple of Sunday’s back our church was in week 2 of 21 days of prayer. We prayed specifically that morning for our rWorld (children’s ministry) volunteer’s to lead a child to Christ. That afternoon Lil T came up to one of our volunteers and was led to a decision in Christ! One more in the Kingdom. One more revolution of life-change sparked in the community God brought our church! We’re fired up about that!
- Community – While my community has come from the discipleship relationships the Lord has brought into my life, Amy has found rich community in her Wednesday evening rGroup (small group). It’s been awesome (and sometimes annoying) to hear Amy’s phone ding from all the texts and calls she gets daily. What an answer to prayer!!
Foster Care Update
- Permanency Planning – We have our next court date around the middle of March. At that time, we will learn what the next step is for our girls Z and L.
- Z’s School – We are evaluating the options we have before us regarding Z’s schooling for next year. At this point she is excelling in math, specifically problem solving, art, and science. She still does not recognize all of her letters. Amy and I would appreciate prayers as we work with the team to determine the best way to meet her educational needs and start to have the discussion of retention in Kindergarten or not. Pray for patience that we help Z with her letters and that she picks them up quickly.
- L lights up the world – L is great. She lights up the world when she walks into a room and is a joy to be around. She recently had her 3rd birthday and melts the hearts of all those she’s around. She also works the room like a politician saying hello or goodbye to everyone at church or a stranger at the grocery store!
- Z, the ups and downs
- Ups – Z is still full of surprise and joy. We had a great birthday celebration with her in December.
- Downs – Then most of the months of December and January were extremely challenging. She has expressed extreme inflexibility and explosiveness in moments of correction at parenting. She has expressed routine physical aggression to Madeline and L in the house and even done self-harm. In fact until this weekend we were experiencing daily tantrums of yelling, screaming, sounding off “like a pterodactyl”, punching herself or the walls, kicking the walls, spitting on herself or the floor, and throwing herself down on the ground. These tantrums are lasting anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours each day. We are tired. We are wounded.
- Ups – Help – We worked with a counselor and a psychiatrist to get medication prescribed for Z to help with mood balance and impulsivity control.
- Downs – Z’s mother wouldn’t approve the medication and we went more than a month (the entire month of January) without getting the approval necessary.
- Ups – We finally have approval for the medication and we started it today!
- Ups – We also will begin Intensive in home therapy 4x a week, 2 hours each session next week!
- Conclusion – We are maintaining some semblance of sanity J. We are tired. We are on pins and needles when the kids are playing together listening to hear if any huff and puff will lead to a punch. But we are trusting that God is with us. Pray for continued perseverance for us as we continue on this path. Pray specifically that Z’s behavior will change and these tantrums will reduce to nothing. We are wounded, all of us, kids included but we are praying for these wounds to turn into scars!
The reality is we don’t know. We enter Feb excited about finishing basketball strong with the kiddos. We are excited about ministry opportunities and community. We are excited to partner in this thing called life with each other! We are expectantly looking forward to court and to Easter! We look to God to sustain and encourage! Thank you for praying for us as we heal from these wounds!