What you are about to read is true. Names are changed. Broken has no bounds. Broken affects us in a small farming community. Broken affects us all. But so does God’s grace—even more. God wants to love us in our broken. Will we let Him? Will we be part of the healing process? Or will we turn our faces?
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18.
I called the county sheriff. We don’t have a police department in our community. Too small. Jason, our son’s friend, had posted a picture of his “bloody” hand on Facebook with threats to kill our son and one of their mutual friends. All because of a girl.
Jason was angry. Very, very angry.
He reminded our son and their friend of what he was capable of doing—of what he had done.
They knew. And they were scared.
The sheriff gave me good advice. Next day, a couple officers stood watch over the lunchroom. Our son and Jason had been physically separated and instructed to have no contact.
I prayed my way through the day because we refuse to be ruled by fear in this house.
We know Jason’s family. Solid Christians. Good folks, his adoptive parents.
Yet, Jason has some serious problems. His biological parents have some serious problems.
Jason has a history of aggression, both verbal and physical. To be blunt, this kid could kill someone, including himself, in my professional opinion. He could kill our son.
I’m not one for trying to instill fear, but I’m a realist. I’m a psychologist. I understand some of the inner workings of the mind and heart and how certain combinations of challenges can create volatile, even lethal reactions. And I believe wise prevention is the best medicine—body, mind, and soul. I believe in God. I believe in miracles. I’m rational, educated, and thoroughly convinced that God reigns—above our rational and educated.
I like Jason.
But we don’t trust him.
Not at all.
He hasn’t earned our trust—MY trust.
I love my son. And I would never, ever allow him to be in a risky situation—at least as much as I am able.
Jason doesn’t need to earn our care. He has done some bad things. And he has asked forgiveness each time.
So we forgive him. And we start over, each time, watchfully.
We know his whole story—at least as far as anyone CAN know.
Who can know the brain and its workings? We can’t. Even neurologists and neuropsychologists admit that, as much as we now know about the brain, there’s still more we don’t know. We are fearfully and wonderfully made by God. And when alcohol and drugs damage before a baby is born, permanent care is needed to support permanent needs—needs that are often invisible to most, with subtle physical markers only the trained can see.
So three couples and three teens met in our living room for an “intervention” after I had talked with the sheriff—to get the truth and to make an action plan. The meeting ended in tears of relief—of hugs—and prayer. We three sets of parents left with eyes wide open, hoping for hearts the same.
What parent wouldn’t be frightened about the possibilities? But as believers, we give our fears to God and go on, acting as wisely as we know how.
Fast forward seven months.
Another Facebook post.
This time, homicidal AND suicidal.
Not against anyone at school.
Not against another teen.
But he knows we have guns. And he asked our son for a gun.
In our small town?
Yes, broken has not bounds.
But God’s grace is bigger than any broken.
We are part of a small farming community. How does this sort of broken happen?
A teen shot himself in the head here last fall. Right after school. Right in front of his mother. With a shotgun. He was serious.
Our son had seen him in the hall—at school—that very day.
The boy survived. And now he’s blind. Walks with a stick.
But he’s alive.
Oh, Lord! Give us eyes to see into eyes—blind eyes—the troubled souls standing in front of us—staring into us—looking for just a bit of hope to keep holding on!
Oh, Jesus! Give us hearts to pray and to do something MORE than pray—to reach out and give something—anything—that shows Your love. To spread Truth to stomp out lies about self and others, no matter what happens to self—or others.
Oh, Lord! We are ALL in so—much—need! Deliver us from evil!
Death looks attractive to the lost.
Some think both are the answer—the relief.
Jesus wants the lost to be found. Jesus wants all to be loved.
Will we seek them out so they can find Life—true life? Will we see ourselves in them?
Or, in our own discomfort—because we have no time or inclination—because our own interests dominate—when we will not see ourselves in them–will we look away?
Sadly, yes. History repeats.
Yet, there may be just ONE.
There may be YOU.
There may be ME.
I don’t know the boy who shot himself in the head last fall.
But I know Jason. He has come to our farm and sat at our table. And we’ve prayed grace over our food, over ourselves.
Jason wrecked our ATV last fall by turning a corner on our farm at a too-fast speed, bending an axle. He’s working off the $350 in repairs.
On his knees.
In our gardens.
Jason is weeding. And I’m on my knees with him, showing him, weeding beside him, teaching in parable the gospel.
“I like being here,” he tells me, while we’re both on our knees.
Could it be because we talk real—no superficial?
Could it be because I tell him truth and I show him love?
Could it be that we’re loving him in action, on our farm, feeding his stomach with food after all his hard work—and his soul with God’s word—every time he’s here—on his knees?
Could it be that God has appointed such a time as this—and such a place as our farm?
Join me Friday, for the continuation of this true story, the story that left me in tears of gratitude—and maybe you, too?