Psalm 127:3 says Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. I keep reminding myself of that, trying to reconcile that fact with my reality. This last gift, our adopted grandson, makes good grades in school but is a self-professed bully, and socially challenged at best. “If I get them first, they will know better than to mess with me,” has been the barbed fence of protection around his heart. I say fence because at times, although rarely, Caleb can be loving, helpful, kind and very charming. Needless to say, life with him is a constant challenge trying to make sure he remains calm and in control. Covert behavior redirection has been an ally but the stress of constantly being on guard and a step ahead has taken its toll. Many days I feel like a wilted flower, virtually lifeless. Proverbs 22:6 encourages us to keep trying, hoping for a breakthrough; Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. All I can say some days is, “God please help us”.
With hopeful excitement Caleb and I drove to Our Father’s Farm looking forward to a fun filled week and an endless supply of laughilicious joy. I was praying for a miracle, and hoping for a moment to breathe and just enjoy the presence of God. I felt I was almost like a stranger to the lover of my soul. The last few years have been extremely difficult and quiet time before the LORD was virtually impossible. Praise music, prayer, and conversations with and about God were all battles. Needless to say, I had been looking forward to the trip for months, opting to drive in hopes of being able to talk with Caleb while on the road. He didn’t know the camp we were going to was a Bible camp. He was angry when he found out and wanted to turn around and go home. He didn’t understand why I wanted to “shove God down his throat” and was surprised when I denied wrongdoing as he threatened to walk home at the next stop. The trip was an unnecessarily long one. More than sixteen stops too many made for a long and weary day. Without the pleasure of having had any spiritually significant dialog, we finally arrived and crashed for the night. What a rest!!
I had been instructed to rest and let the young people assigned to Caleb take care of him. Needless to say I was anxious. As well intentioned as they were, these people really didn’t know how outrageous Caleb’s behavior could be and I wanted to circumvent any potential disasters before the peace we sensed in our spirits could be destroyed. If anyone could thermostatically heat a room, it was Caleb. He had many deep wounds and dealt with the hurts in his young heart with two emotions, anger and rage. Nothing was sacred and all was fair game if he chose to lash out. He had proven that on many occasions. Secular and Christian counselors were ineffective in helping Caleb deal with the wounds his silent tears had betrayed. I knew God was able to effect change in him. Would He use these new friends? Anxious as I was, I felt more hopeful than I had in a long time.
That hope paid off. Praise God for godly young men and women who are worthy to be emulated. The things Caleb did that are normally obnoxious to others were patiently overlooked as boyish immaturity. He was loved on, talked with, listened to, and encouraged. The love of Christ was lavishly poured out on him even when he behaved inappropriately and was under correction. Relationships were building which led to a more tender heart and an open ear to hear.
Hearing about upcoming baptisms, Caleb told me he was going to be baptized. I asked what it meant and he was unable or didn’t want to give me an answer. He still was not talking to me. We had previously had conversations about this and other spiritual matters, but as far as I knew, each had fallen on deaf ears. I was pleased he wanted to take this step, but was reasonably concerned regarding commitment and understanding. Others had partnered with me in praying that God would pierce Caleb’s heart with love and draw him to Himself. So, after the baptism service on Friday I was hopefully optimistic that Caleb had understood his actions and was indeed new. So many wounds and so much hurt inflicted on and by this youngster made my heart yearn for his healing. Could it possibly be a new beginning? Looking for fruit, I knew time would tell.
Ready to see Ahdaddy (my husband and his grandfather) and share his new life in Christ, Caleb was ready to leave for home right away. As we made the long drive, Christian music which had previously brought on attacks of rage replaced vestiges of a former life. We were edified by Casting Crowns and Third Day nonstop; as I listened to Caleb explain why Eminem and Staind’s “For You” weren’t good for him even though they were last gifts from his former family. “For You” had been his ballad for almost two years. Amazingly that CD broke before we pulled out of our driveway, I’m sure this was in preparation of the work God was going to do. Caleb said more on that trip back to Alabama than he has in the past two years. He prayed for me over and over on the way home. Once while sleeping he started talking to Jesus and lifted his arms to heaven. Wow!
Over the next few days changes were apparent. Please, thank-you, putting others before self, apologies for wrongs committed, and patiently waiting, were all evident and signs of a new creature. He did insist on getting a more grown-up Bible to read. In a rage, he had ripped out the pages of his last one. He dreamed of a day when he would go to his parents and share the gospel with them. When I got sick, he insisted I go to bed. He served me an egg, bagel and orange juice, making sure I was comfortable throughout the day. When I would cough from the deep congestion in my lungs he gently reminded me he had prayed and that I had been healed by God. I could stop coughing! When triggered to rage, he exercised extreme restraint while trying to maintain his testimony. It took three hours to bring him back down, but he came down and meaningful conversation took place. Hallelujah!
There are so many more examples, but one that sums it best for me was from the mouth of a third grader who had previously experienced Caleb’s barbs. After having been in summer camp for one day this student ran up to me when I entered the room to get Caleb. I was greeted with, “Hey Mrs. Korneghy, what happened to Caleb? He changed.” Momentarily taken aback, I joyfully explained, “Caleb accepted Jesus as his savior and was baptized.” I asked, “How is he different?” “He’s nice! He’s just been nice all day. He said he was a Christian now.” The youngster stood for a moment taking in my words. I could hear him pondering Caleb’s change. His head tilted slightly to the left then back right. Bottom chin out with a thoughtful nod he said, “I was baptized when I was seven,” and off he went to play.
Praise God!! Our Father’s Farm is an amazing place of life-giving hope. Caleb is still a boy who does childish things, but he is a new man in Christ who has hope for a future. I am a mom/grandma filled with expectation that God will complete that which He has begun and we can happily remember His words, Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Thank you my precious farm friends! Jesus looks so good on you!!! I love you, Rhonda…(LaughyJacks)! Thank you for loving Jesus and letting Him use you to help others. Thank you for loving Caleb and for loving me!
July 21, 2010