Does anyone else remember Herbert the Snail? It’s worth a quick trip down memory lane if you do. If you don’t, I highly recommend this old school kids’ musical to teach the fruit of the Spirit.
I’m hearing Herb’s voice (actually, it’s his father’s voice that really sticks in my mind) singing to me over and over again.
Don’t be in such a hurry.
Asher took a step backward, and everyone is reeling with disappointment. He became so convinced that all he needed for release was a completion of his JSAT (juvenile sexual assault treatment program) assignments that he failed to see the broader picture of value changes, which must be present for his return home. These value changes are far more challenging because they are not nearly as quantifiable as writing out your sex history. How do you measure respect for others’ boundaries?
While Asher was focused on finishing his JSAT materials, he remained positive, helpful, and consistently checked his poorer behaviors. His progress report just two months ago showed a possible release date of 90 days – that’s how well he appeared to be doing. But as the assignments were checked off the list, Asher’s impatience with factors outside of his control (meetings for counseling, scheduling necessary mediation with his victims, etc.) began wearing down his defenses. He started lashing out at peers with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde-like behaviors. He gave little to no warning for his outbursts, and staff were struggling to understand what was triggering his dramatic mood swings.
Emotional dysregulation is the fancy term.
I am educated just enough on ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and neuroplasticity to be a danger. For instance, I understand that much of Asher’s emotional dysregulation stems directly from his unaddressed sexual victimization at that hands of Drake. And research tells us, repeatedly, that many conventional roads of therapy are slow or even inadequate at addressing long-term healing for survivors of ACEs; whereas modalities like neurofeedback, EMDR, and TF-CBT tend towards efficiency and efficacy at staggering rates. However, JCF is a government-run juvenile corrections facility that, for better or worse, does not quickly accept change. That means Asher, a prime candidate for these therapies, will not have access to them until he has shown enough improvement to warrant a release.
Do you see the infuriating set of circumstances where we find ourselves? Asher cannot get the best help he needs until he can show that he no longer needs that help.
Joseph is far more objective and probably far more humble than I am. He sees the sovereign hand of God in all these circumstances including Asher’s current placement at JCF with their rehabilitative programming – lumps and all. He recognizes that Asher cannot spend a single night in our home with his siblings if we are not confident that he at least as the mental resolve to white-knuckle his way through appropriate responses to provoking stimuli.
I must hold steady under the hand of a God who sees and knows best if I am going to minister that truth to my heartbroken son. Asher is deeply frustrated with what appears to be a loss of all forward momentum. Of course, that simply isn’t true. His heart attitude and self-awareness are leaps beyond what they were 6 months ago. And the enemy would have us believe that the necessary time spent fine-tuning these last few areas is not really important. That’s a lie. Without the fine-tuning, Asher is a potential bomb coming back into my home.
Don’t be in such a hurry.
Right now, I’m looking at nearly two years without my boy. His most recent progress letter reported an expected release date of 3 – 5 months depending on his receptivity and application of treatment feedback. I could lose another birthday, another summer, another year to that “depending.” But at what cost am I willing to bring him home? If I short-circuit that “depending,” then I risk so much more.
When you get impatient, you only start to worry.
And this is the bottom line. I am called to have a peace that surpasses understanding because I know that my God is working all things for my good. Asher will be home the moment it is best. He is not home right now. Therefore, it is not best.
Remember! Remember, that God is patient, too.
Jesus is no happier than I am in the current situation. He didn’t design families to be torn apart by sin. He is not slow to fulfill His promises, as some might believe. He is actively working, using His own patience, to ensure an outcome that brings glory to Himself and reward to us.
And think of all the times when others have to wait for you.
Keeping perspective in the midst of great tragedy is essential. It is easy for me to get caught up in believing lies about my current season. I forget that my sin is just as deadly and required just as much sacrifice on the part of Christ as my son’s did. I must remind myself of the ways my husband and children bore with me while I struggled through the demons in my past. I perpetrated hurts that were certainly undeserved in the name of “I’m just like this.”
So, I am again reminded that I must humble myself and walk this journey by faith. Only then, will I bear fruit from this season of trial.
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
-2 Peter 3:9