Thursday, May 24, 2007

on our knees

I’m in much need of some prayer. So prayer warriors arise it is your turn to step into a place of action on behalf of Casa. There have been moments today when I felt that I was about to reach the end of my abilities to do my part of this ministry. Thankfully I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me and that I can rest in the assurance that you all have my back. To be more specific on my prayer request let me just walk you through my day! I woke around 7 to help Dilcia with the kids…I mean we have 16 now which is no small task to take care of. Not to mention that we found out earlier this week that Cindy, Monica, and Fernando all got to start school today. So there was a lot going on this morning as we had 6 to get ready for school and 10 others to take care of as well. After helping out with morning stuff I retreated to the porch to take some time for morning devo…we of course still had no electricity! Well shortly after Karen found me to tell me that our two new girls had come with little friends all throughout their hair. Oh yes we now had a lice problem times 2. I was recruited to help shampoo their dark little locks. I then sat on the back porch with rubbing alcohol, a towel, and a fine toothed comb sorting through the layers of their hair looking for the unwanted company. Done with that task I decided it was time to pull out the generator before all of our food went bad. Enlisting the help of Dorian we managed to not only get it started but also to move it out back where we could run an extension cord to all the major appliances that were in need of a little power. I was just heading back inside when Karen mentioned that Luvin had locked himself in his bedroom and wasn’t opening up. She was headed for the key and I headed to see what I could do to help. From there it was a snowball effect. A locked door led to a punishment which led to a defiant child which led to more punishment. Karen and I ended up having to carry him back to his room after he refused to listen to anyone and became a threat. Again it was all downhill from there. Taking over so that Karen could go back with the other kids I began to do my best at calming him down and talking him into listening. Let’s just say didn’t work. The battle continued on throughout the next 2 ½ hours and got worse before it got better. To make a LONG story short I ended up having to remove him from the bedroom because he was trying to get at the other kids and was being loud while they all were trying to nap. Once I got him in the dining area I lost all control. The real fight began then. He was angry and I became the punching bag. I’m not sure if I have mentioned but he is with us because he ran away after being beaten on for 12 years. He then lived on the streets for awhile. So this is one very hard kid with a lot of anger built up within him. I also should mention again that he is 12 and comes up to my shoulder! Not exactly the easiest child to battle with. I spent the 2 hours blocking exits, restraining, and doing my best to keep either of us from getting hurt. We ended up clearing the room of anything. All tables, chairs, or other objects were moved to the parameter of the room or were used to help block an exit. I make light of the situation but it was anything but that. It was draining, heart wrenching, and downright difficult. I know that at any moment I could have tapped out and let someone else handle the situation. However, I knew that I might be the only one in the house that was able to deal with Luvin not out of anger, frustration, or irritation but instead out of love, sadness, and pain. So I stayed. I wrapped tightly my arms around his flailing body and whispered I love yous and other words of affirmation in his ears. I let him know how much I wanted him to live there and what a good boy I knew he was. I spoke words of prayer over him and lifted his name to the heavens numerous times. I begged the Lord on his behalf and shouted at the Devil for his hand in the situation. No matter how many tears he shed, what bad words came from that little ones mouth, (there were many) how many bite marks or bruises he gave me, or how many things he threatened to throw at me there was no part of me that felt anger toward this child. Instead I felt sympathy. Anger is all he has ever known. Running and fighting are the only two qualities that have ever been instilled in him or modeled for him. The thing that struck me the most was the fact that he didn’t want to hurt me. In my attempt to not inflict pain on him or show him more anger/violence than he has already been shown I left myself open numerous times. He had ample opportunity to hit me, throw things at me, kick me, etc. and he didn’t. He would raise something above his head (a chair for instance) as if to throw it at me but would allow me to walk slowly up to him and grab it from his hands. Furthermore, he would act like he was about to step on my very bare toes but would stomp just inches from them. The only times he truly hit me was when he was trying to escape my hold. It was as if in his blinding rage something in his brain kept reminding him that he truly didn’t want to be doing what he was doing but had little control. Finally, after 2 hours he was wearing down and ready to talk with Jen when she arrived. It was then that I found my time to escape. I allowed Jen and Karen to step into the role that I had been playing for so long and sought refuge in the confines of 4 walls, a soft pillow, and my quiet prayers to the Lord. Once there I allowed myself to sob through the scenes that had just occurred. However, I wasn’t crying because of the pain that had been inflicted upon me or the insults that had been hurled at me. Instead I cried for the pain that I had seen welling up within those big brown eyes. I cried for the hardened heart that had stood before me fists raised. I cried for the past that had created such a tough little boy. I WILL NOT give up on this little one. Call him my project. Call him mission. Call him whatever you want but I will not quit. See no matter how many times he hit me or how many attempts he made at hurting me I could never see anything but a little boy cowering in a corner as someone beat the tar out of him. That image was what kept any chance of anger at bay and allowed me to deal with him not out of frustration but out of arms of love. There have been moments before and after the “incident” that I’ve glimpsed the boy within this anger captive body. Just tonight as I sat here blogging about him he sought me out. He came to porch and without a word wrapped those ever so strong arms around my neck and with every ounce of his proven strength squeezed the stuffing out of me. Then with his arms snug around me he whispered… “I’m sorry. I really do want to live here.” There is a little boy in there fighting just as big of a battle to get out as the battle we fought today. So I ask that you would please be praying for this little one. Pray that he would be softened and that the boy within will be able to find a way to break through the bondage. Again today I was reminded of the quote that I would consider the mission statement for my life….. “In a contagious world, we learn to keep our distance. If we get too close to those who are suffering we might get infected by their pain. It may not be convenient or comfortable. But only when you get close enough to catch their hurt will they be close enough to catch your love." - John Ortberg I don’t want to keep my distant for fear of getting hit or getting lice. I don’t want to tuck tail and run for fear that I’ll get to close. I want to stay. I want to wrap my arms around them knowing that I could be inflicted by their pain but also that somewhere in the midst of that closeness they might be touched by my love.


papa rick said...

Ashley, I'm so sorry you got to be the "target" of his anger today... but you're right, it's probably been the only thing modeled to him in the past... it's all he knows. May God continue to give you the strength you need as you allow this young man to work through his anger and learn boundaries.

Karen Burnfield said...

I know it was hard but look at the end result. It brought tears to my eyes reading Jen's blog. How precious is that =) Miss you all a bunch but love you more!

Jen said...

How honored I am to know you and that would be far more than I deserve...the fact that I get to work with you in this ministry humbles me to my knees. I saw Jesus in you this week in ways that touched the deepest places of my heart. You challenge me and grow me. We'll watch this little guy be transformed right before our eyes sometimes because of us, sometimes in spite of us, but God will prove faithful! I know it. Thanks for believing with me.