Sunday, August 22, 2010

Daphne and Jake

During the boys' baseball season kickoff at the YMCA, I was standing in line at one of those huge, inflatable toys waiting for Jonah to have a turn when I started talking to the girl behind me. It came up that she was looking for a church so I invited her to join our developing group. She (a single mom) and her eight-year-old son were the first ones to arrive that next Sunday morning. They have been meeting with us ever since.

I was bold in inquiring about her son's behavior because he reminded us so much of Jonah just a few years ago. Her son was hyperactive and impulsive among other things. Daphne told us about an abusive husband who is no longer part of their lives. From there she and Jake moved into another abusive relationship with family members. Not surprisingly, she told us Jake didn't have any friends and got into trouble at school. After spending just a matter of hours with him, John and I were impressed at how remarkable the similarities between our sons were. We told her about our experience and she said she was open to any suggestions. It quickly became apparent that God had orchestrated our meeting and Sunday morning meetings turned into lunches and dinners. Now we don't know what we ever did without them.

Daphne had just moved into her own place when we met her and she and Jake had begun to heal. Because she works full time as a manager in a medical records facility, she had enrolled Jake in a summer camp program. We offered to take him for a week at our house for a "behavior boot camp". Each day we set a strict schedule with clear boundaries for chore time, play time, and meal time. We demanded good manners and respect for people and property. In short, we were very hard on him. He was pretty hard on us too, and Jonah and Andy were less than thrilled to have him back the second and third day. They fought all day every day until about day four. Finally, we made a breakthrough and, by the end of the week, Jake wanted to stay and our boys wanted him to stay too.

School has started and Jake is doing better than ever. We don't presume that it's because of us, but we know that God has answered Daphne's many prayers for her son. We are so honored that she has entrusted her precious son to our care even for a short time and are thrilled to see what God has worked through it. Daphne tells us tearfully that she had searched for years for a church home and for a Christian family, and now she has both. She is a prayerful person who has remained faithful throughout years of isolation from the Christian community. On different occasions she visited local congregations only to end up feeling like a burden when she requested financial help or practical help with things like moving furniture.

Daphne is an aspiring writer who would like to be able to stay at home with Jake. We believe God can do that for her and ask you to join us in prayer for this beautiful woman and her son, that God will honor her request to be able to live out her passion for writing and spend more time with Jake. We also ask for prayers that she and Jake would heal completely from years of physical and emotional abuse. We are so impressed by the love and determination of this family, and we believe God will do great things through them.