Jacob’s story ( God sees your tears)

A while ago I was asked to write a post for a devotional blog that two of my friends run; called We are His daughters. If you haven’t already ready any of their posts; I encourage you to do so. You will be blessed by their ministry.
http://godfearingmama.wordpress.com/
I really felt that I should share our son Jake’s story. I asked if I could cross post it here on the Road to Hope blog. I think many of already read it; but just in case, here it is again.:

 

Psalm 126:3-6 Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us! What joy! Restore our fortunes, Lord, as streams renew the desert. Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They will weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.

He was four years old when he moved into our home one summer day more than eleven years ago; five months after his two younger siblings. His first evening in our home, he peed on the floor beside his bed. As harmless as that really was it was just the beginning of many incidents that would progressively get worse.

From the beginning I found it difficult to connect with him and I desperately wanted to. I longed to break through those walls and bond with him. He knew what buttons to push and he pushed them constantly.

It seemed every time we turned around the school was calling us over one thing or another; being very vulgar and disrespecting his teachers, especially if they were female.

Over the next few years, his acting out grew progressively worse. It greatly concerned us. Oh, how we cried out to God day after day, year after year to intervene. I related to that verse in Habakkuk 1:1  “How long oh Lord, must I call for help? But you do not listen!” I would ask the Lord  “How bad do things have to get?”

In eighth grade things really escalated. I remember different times searching his room for drugs and alcohol. He was involved in both. We found things on his computer; devastating, shocking things. He was suspended twice from school. He was an angry, defiant and hateful young man, and so incredibly lost. In all honesty I feared one day, unless he changed, he would end up killing us all, and I don’t think I was being unrealistic. If he continued on the path he was on, he would end up in jail. Of that I was certain.

Still we cried out to God , desperate for His help, desperate for  His intervention. Our hearts were breaking. This was not what we pictured when we adopted our children. I am not saying that had we known we wouldn’t have pursued adoption…but I guess we didn’t anticipate it being so hard.  Many people were praying and believing. We  even had people tell us that Jacob had a call of God on his life.

I will never forget the day when the school called and told us to come and pick up Jacob. He had stabbed a girl with a pair of scissors. I don’t know if you can imagine getting a call like that. My worst fears as a mom had come to pass. Heart shattering news. It was devastating. It felt like that this was the end and we had failed. Failed at being parents, failed at directing him in the ways of God. Failure. FAILURE! My heart screamed at me.

We had to make that dreaded trip to the police station with Jacob whom we had to force to go. The police officer questioned him and told him he was very concerned about how very nonchalant he was about the incident, how his lack of remorse about what he did was alarming. He told him he was headed down the wrong path and it concerned him where it would lead him. All the while he was telling him this, I saw into his eyes the coldness that hid the depths of pain he tried so hide to cover. My heart broke for him. Yes, I hated what he  had done. It was very, very wrong. I felt broken inside for the incidents that led up to it. This girl, the girl that he stabbed that day, had been making fun of him for being adopted, bringing to remembrance the hurts in his heart and the things he felt about himself…that his birth mom abandoned him, didn’t want him and if she didn’t want him how could anyone else. Finally he couldn’t take it anymore and snapped. He later told us that is exactly how he felt…abandoned, rejected and unlovable. He seriously that that if his own birth mom didn’t want him, why would anyone else? I guess that explains why he held everyone at arms length, and built walls around his heart.

At the police station Jacob was told he had to do some mandatory community service go for mandatory counselling. And he did go. The counsellor told us however that there was little she could do for him. Basically in her opinion he was a lost cause. She used words like sociopath and attachment disorder. Again; we felt hopeless. It would have been easy to wallow in desperation. Those were very dark times and things did seem hopeless. It seemed looking at things with human eyes that there would never be a light at the end of the dark tunnel.

But God says in Jeremiah 29:11-13 “For I know the plans I have for you” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray I will listen. If you look for me whole heartedly, you will find me.”

That summer Jacob had the opportunity to do some ministry with his guitar with a travelling Children’s ministry. ( Rubber Chicken Company) At first my husband and I didn’t think he should go. He wasn’t serving Jesus, how could he possibly expect to minister? We prayed long and hard about it.  We couldn’t get away from what I felt God was saying; he needed to be allowed to go. So, we did let him go.

I can say that was the best decision! Because it was there, at a children’s camp, that my oldest boy, the child of my heart met God. He had a real life changing encounter that changed him from the inside out. He came back changed. He was not the same hardened kid with cold eyes staring back at you. He totally changed from that moment on. God transformed him…when nothing and no one else could.

For years we prayed and shed oceans of tears over him. No amount of art therapy or counselling helped. Things did seem hopeless. Dark. Desperate. No one could get through to him. But God did! He heard the cries and longing of our heart. He stepped in and gave us the miracle we had prayed for, for so long. Jake’s heart was made whole, by the only One who can make all things new.

I just want to encourage any of you that may have wayward children or grandchildren. Don’t stop praying. God sees your tears and he knows your deepest hurt and hearts cry. He sees your desperation.

Remember when I mentioned the people that said Jake had a call of God on his life…back when he was struggling so much?  Well, his plans for after he graduates highschool are to go to Hillsongs and become a youth pastor!

There are a couple verses that God gave me when we going through those difficult times with our son…that I clung to and believed God for him. Ezekiel 34:16 I will search for my lost ones who have strayed away and bring them safely home again. Jeremiah 24:7 I will give them hearts that recognize me as the Lord.  They will be my people and I will be their God, for they will return to me whole heartedly.

imageAbout Carolyn: Carolyn Ruttan is a mom to three adopted children and has been married to the love of her life for over 18 years. She and her family are serving the Lord in full time missions in Honduras; a country in Central America. In her spare time she can be found writing, baking, practicing her Spanish or experimenting with new recipes.

 

 

 

Refresh

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“Then times of refreshing will come from the presence of the Lord” Acts 3:20a

It was a week ago yesterday that we left for the Refresh conference. I remember the excitement of seeing a new country for the first time. I looked forward to a time of refreshing in His presence. I looked forward to meeting with other missionaries based in Latin America/Brazil and catching up with other missionaries we had not seen since Segue.

 I remember the wild cab drive to the retreat location.  We had to take two cabs there as there were six of us. Girls in one cab…Kathy Mizen, Elisa and myself; and Dale and my boys in another. Elisa was freaking out in the back seat at the wild ride. This cab driver drove crazy fast…but he also got lost which upset Elisa even more.  We ended up on a remote empty path while he called for directions. That freaked us out a little. Especially when you hear stories of people taking cabs in Honduras. This was Panama though….different story. I guess he merely lost his way in the dark.

The sky line in Panama is amazing!  SO beautiful…especially when it’s all lit up at night like it was when we first saw it. The cab driver told us they call it Mini Miami.

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The location for the Refresh retreat was absolutely beautiful.  In the middle of the rain forest, surrounded by His creation. One could not help but feel at rest. Peace. Despite what challenges many of the missionaries face on a day to day basis, this retreat was a time for them to be renewed physically, emotionally and spiritually. There were incredible times of worship, and then teachings on Blessings by Terry and Melissa Bone and Doug Schneider.

The highlights for me personally were the times of worship with other missionaries and also my personal times with the Lord. Whether it be on the hammock outside our room or my long walks along the causeway…just God and I talking. I felt at rest. Renewed inwardly.

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Another highlight for me was once again meeting up with another missionary couple that has been friends of my parents for years and years…my entire life I guess. Before heading to the mission field, they were on staff at our church. I remember as a child seeing their photo on our fridge and I remember praying for them.  This is Laura and I…..thirty nine years after they left for Brazil. 

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  I have just started reading a book by Mark Batterson called  “In the pit with a lion on a snowy day” There is a quote in there that I like and it was exactly what I needed to hear after coming home from the retreat. “God is around us all the time. He is right before , right after, right ahead and right behind” So true!  It is easy when you are on a retreat in such a beautiful atmosphere to feel close to God….but how about when we get home, back to reality, back into our regular life; our daily routine and responsibilities?  Sometimes stuff can happen that steals our joy and causes seeds of doubt to be planted.  I remember that when I was a youth. Anytime I came home from youth convention,after a powerful time in God’s presence, I was on fire for Him. Then something would inevitably go wrong that would send my world into a tailspin and my zeal would diminish. However, Isn’t it wonderful to know He is always there with us?  No matter what difficulties we may be facing or challenges we are in the midst of, we can depend on Him to go before us and behind us. Not only that….we can know that He is IN us! There is another quote in this book “Faith is trusting God, no mater how impossible the odds are”  We need to know that He is for us…not against us!  He’s a faithful God.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0gu0nOaFsI

Details

As we are packing to leave for Panama tomorrow morning, I am hoping that I didn’t forget anything. So many times have we gone on vacation only to realize that something important was left behind, like a toothbrush.
Isn’t it awesome that God cares about all the details of our lives? He never forgets things like we sometimes do.

I am reminded this morning of a time years ago when our children were small. I think Jacob would have been five or six years old. It was a Sunday morning in Essex Ontario, where my husband was the children’s pastor. We had just pulled our van into the church parking lot and found a parking spot. We were getting ready to head into the church, when Jacob pipes up and says “Oh no! I forgot to put my pants on” Sure enough. Dale and I turn around and there sat Jake in the back seat in nothing but a dress shirt and tidy whities. I am not sure how in the world Jake managed to get out of the house and into the car without either of us noticing his attire. I am also not sure why neither Dale or myself were willing to drive him back to the house so he could finishing getting dressed and put his pants on. Normally on a Sunday we arrived early but perhaps on that particular day we were running late. That is my guess. It could have already been a stressful morning before even arriving to church late and there may have been no time go back and get his pants. Or perhaps we thought he would learn a lesson from this.

At any rate there was a lady in the church who came to the rescue. Sharon. Now Sharon has a heart of gold and would do anything for a person. She has a true servant’s heart. Possibly more so than anyone I have ever met. She just happened to find a pair of pants in the resource room and she gave them to Jake to wear. I remember Jake not liking the style of pants; he grumbled about it but at east he didn’t have to walk around church in his underpants!

“The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives” (Psalm 37:23, NLT).

There is a passage in 2 Kings that we discussed during our ladies bible study. It is a short story that tells of a group of prophets that were traveling with Elisha to the Jordan river. There they were chopping trees to have enough wood to build a place where they could meet. One of the men is very upset because while he was chopping wood his ax head fell into the water. It was a borrowed ax and the man cries out to Elisha for help. He knew Elisha was a man of God; someone who heard from Him. Elisha asks the distraught man where it fell. Then Elisha threw a stick into the water at the indicated place. The ax head then floated to the top of the water and the man was able to retrieve it. God showed Elisha where it was. It was important to that man and it mattered to God as well.

The Bible says in Matthew 10: 29b-31
But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing about it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to god than a whole flock of sparrows.

I love how we can go to God about everything. We are not a bother to him. He longs to hear from us. He wants to hear our hopes, our dreams and our hearts. He wants to be a part of every detail of our lives; even the ones that may seem small or unimportant. If they matter to us, they matter to God.

Burning the old man

 

 

Forgetting what is past an looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Jesus Christ, is calling us. Phillipians  3:13b-14

That verse is what was on my mind New Year’s day…forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.

This year has been an eventful one. Probably the most eventful one of our lives mostly due to the move to Honduras. It has been excellent, but it has not been easy by any stretch of the imagination, especially during this time of year. It has been a year of goodbyes and a year of hellos.  A year where everything is new, and everything is different.  It’s been an emotional ride to say the least. A huge adjustment. So many changes! We are blessed to be here in Honduras living the dream that He placed in our hearts.  We look forward to all that lies ahead in this new year; the things that God is going to do in our lives and through us. Dale’s favorite verse is Ephesians 3:20  “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish  infinitely more than we might ask or think.”  Oh, that he will use us to bring many souls into his kingdom!

This New Year’s eve I was ill. I spent the entire day curled up on the couch with a blanket; weak and nauseated. I was disappointed because I was not able to join my family in the evening festivities we had been invited to. I was just too sick.  I did get off my comfortable resting place to watch an amazing display of fireworks from our balcony; even bigger than Christmas eve. It was incredible. I sat there in my pajamas and a hoodie with my little dog who was pretty much unfazed by the whole thing. I guess he is somewhat used to the noise of firecrackers or guns going off so often.

 Here in Honduras on New Year’s eve, there is a traditional custom called burning the old man, or burning the old dummy. A scare crow type doll is made from old clothes.  It is then stuffed with firecrackers and blown up. It symbolizes out with the old and in with the new. Starting over again. A new beginning. Putting to death the old “man”.  Being that I was ill, I did not get to witness any of these “old men” blowing up.  My Spanish teacher though told us that on her street, every 5 houses or so blew up an old year “dummy.” Below is a photo of my friend Jaclyn’s “old man.”

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The new year is the prefect chance for all of us to start afresh. It’s time where we can re evaluate our priorities and focus on what is really important. It’s a time where we can turn the page and begin a new chapter in our lives. Make changes that we need to make. When we come to Christ, that is what we do…..we put to death our old way of living and begin to live for him. Romans 6:6 “We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. “

 Although we anticipate this new year with excitement, we don’t know all that it will hold for us.  Some things may be scary, but God is in control. We know a few things however about this year; 2014. We are looking forward to a regional retreat coming up this month in Panama. There we will gather with other missionaries friends that are in Latin America and the Caribbean.  Some of whom we have not seen in over a year and others who we will meet for the first time in person. We will be taking over the feeding program in the schools, and officially will be launched full time in ministry all the while still taking Spanish classes and raising our three children.  Life will be busier. Pray that we don’t become too stressed. I say that more for me than Dale of course as he does not get stressed so easily.

So, how about you? Are there changes in your life you want to make? Are there things in your life that need to be “put to death”?  Can I encourage you take that step of faith? If there are things you are struggling with letting go of, it is not too late to start over and begin again, begin that new chapter in your life. Right now. Today. Don’t be afraid to turn the page. Don’t be afraid to hand things over to God, the only One who can make all things new.