So, we did it.
We took the giant leap of faith.
Are we crazy? I have the feeling some may think so. I understand that it sounds crazy and irresponsible to the world in general to send your son away to a boarding school when the funds aren't in your bank account.
Perhaps it would have been a better financial decision for our family to let the courts have him. It would have required less trust and blind faith, that's for sure, but it also would have required leaving all the decisions about our son's future in the hands of people (albeit competent and over-worked people) that don't know our son, don't love our son, and don't really, truly care about our son's heart and his long-term healing.
We felt it was best to leave the decision-making to God, whose love for Mr. J is as incomprehensible as a galaxy full of stars.
And so, in the last few days, we began this new journey of trusting God; of stepping out in faith, and believing beyond a doubt that somehow, God will provide. Funding, yes. But mostly, we're trusting God to provide a measure of healing in Mr. J throughout this next year.
We're placing our son, whom we love, securely in the hands of God.
Yesterday morning at about three o'clock, my husband, my dad, and two of the best friends my husband could ask for set out to pick our son up at Juvenile Detention and to transport him to the facility. It's about a twelve hour drive, and no one expected Mr. J to be compliant. In fact, because of his recent violent behavior while incarcerated, everyone feared the worst. I have to say, though, that God showed up in an incredible way.
And so I share the story of the first miracle of our journey, although I'm going to let my husband tell it, as written to our group of prayer partners last night:
Hello friends, family and prayer warriors,
Forgive me if this rambles a bit or doesn't always make sense - I got about 2 hours of sleep last night.
I don't know how else to say it - we experienced a miracle today. From the moment J was released from Juvenile Detention to the moment I said goodbye, we had NOT ONE issue the entire 12 hour trip. I'll say it again - NOT ONE!!! After all of the violent and assaultive episodes of the past 4 months, there wasn't even a single attitude problem, let alone a violent act. Considering the God we serve, though, we shouldn't really be surprised. According to several facebook messages and emails, God was waking people up at various times all over West Michigan, just as the trip was beginning, to cover us with prayer. On top of all of this, it just so happened that the detention center employee assigned to help J as he was being released was R. You may remember that R was the believer who prayed for J and talked him through an angry outburst during a visit a few weeks back. It was no accident that he just happened to be with J this morning.
All of us on the trip were impressed with the facility and staff. It is absolutely founded on rock solid Biblical principles. They believe that they are not the ones to help these boys but it is the Holy Spirit working through the Word of God that will accomplish it. Rather than spending a year away from God in a faithless institution, J is going to be absolutely surrounded by the Word of God and strong men of faith. It will not be an easy place for him as they require complete obedience in everything, even down to the exact way each student's bed is to be made. Pretty soon, possibly tomorrow, he begins physical exercise and work detail.
Please continue to pray for J. I am sure he is completely terrified right now. After he said goodbye, he began his time at the facility with Julio, a staff member. J attempted to manipulate Julio with lies about us, deflecting all blame to others, intimidation (which, considering Julio is built like a Sherman Tank, proved fruitless), tears, and bragging about being tough by assaulting police officers. This manipulation did not work on Julio, who has seen it all before. Julio deeply challenged him after J reported that he was already saved. These challenges actually brought out some real emotion and sadness, which I haven't seen or heard in a long time.
Please pray for safe travels home tomorrow for four very tired and joyful guys. We can't get over the fact that God showed up in such a huge way. I am full of hope because J is where the Lord wants him right now. After the events of today, I firmly believe it and have more peace than I have had during this whole ordeal.
Thank you for praying. Please don't stop! Though we finally can rest a little knowing where J will be, this is only the very beginning of the long road to healing.
So that's where it stands right now. And have I mentioned that I adore my God-fearing husband? I love him like crazy!
And speaking of crazy...to those who think we are crazy to trust some "supernatural being" with providing for our family and healing our son, I would challenge that you simply do not know the God we serve. His goodness, His mercy, His depth of love and faithfulness...they are unfathomable. It's impossible to "foolishly" trust in Him, as long as you are walking in His will. I would absolutely love to introduce you to the Almighty God of the Bible, and specifically to His son Jesus. Just drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I would be happy to explain our brand of crazy to you!