Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Holloween

Typical Jacob humor. He joked about going trick-or-treating without needing a costume. I think he thought it was the one day that no one would stare and see him as different. We are laying low though tonight. Working with getting his back stronger. Jensen though is heading to a party in his Duct Tape suit.

I have struggled the last few days what to write here - feeling as though I were forcing something rather than really sharing something meaningful. Even now I had to get up to or three times before I even started writing. It is incredibly encouraging to get the messages through the comments here, Facebook, and email - we truly value them. But there is also this expectation that I put on myself thinking that others are actually reading what I write. I am so thankful for when Robbie writes. He not only knows my heart - but provides a perspective that draws me in. Pretty incredible when your 20 year-old son sharpens you - but honestly I get that from my 17 year-old son and my 12 year-old son. We are challenged and grow from our children don't we?

It is so much better to approach life of always learning, always growing than trying to position ourselves as founts of wisdom that have it all figured out. The mentor is always being mentored. The teacher is always being taught.

People rarely project their true self. Voices compete and shape and form who we project. Things come up that trigger us and causing us to flinch and react and project a self that is often less than authentic. Trials that come our way trigger a fight or flight reaction that defends and protects ourselves. They are reactions of self-preservation; some serve us well and some don't. When an addict "hits bottom" there is opportunity for the cycle to break - opportunity to be authentic and vulnerable and to change the pattern of destruction. Brokenness can lead to growth if we choose well. Vulnerability being open to attack is not comfortable, easy or instinctive it only comes with maturity. The trials we face produce steadfast growth (endurance) and leads to maturity and wisdom. (See James 1)

The vulnerable innocence of a child is so refreshing. But has we grow and learn we develop this identity that we portray as we are influenced by those we value. I have had this little test I do with each of my sons as they grow. I will reach out as we are walking and hold their hand. There comes a point around the pre-teen years that they stop allowing me to hold their hand. Alone they may allow it for a little while, but when someone comes around the corner forget it. As a parent you want to hold on to the innocence but our goal is to come along side them as they mature.

Jake at 17 has had to step back. This trial - this hardship - this woundedness has caused a certain sense of brokenness that has challenged each of us. He has had to revert in vulnerability to the care of his parents. His pattern of behavior was moving away from dependency on us and toward affinity to his friends - a natural pattern. The relationships we choose are so important to the degree that they influence and shape our behavior. That is the mourning that Jake is going through the most - that we all are going through. Where he should be in our expectations right now verses where he is.

We remain so thankful with the joy that we are not done yet. That Jake's recovery process is moving forward, even though it feel so strangely slow. We are finding what we need to do to help his back, his wounds, his maturity. Those things that he was able to do before may be modified but he will be able to do them. He will have a thumb though it will have very little movement. He will have a skull though a portion of it will not be bone. He will be able to surf though his paddling will need to be modified.

God is moving in Jacob's heart. I see it. I see it in the questions he asks. Hard questions that most 17-year olds never have to face. I see his struggle to understand as he wonders what in the world God was thinking when this all went down. The same questions that we have had and continue to ask. Although we have stepped back and in a sense hit bottom we are not done. As we pursue authentic openness to growing from this allowing this to shape us and not embitter us, there is growth and maturity. If I put up a barrier and remain resistant to this time of refining, the lessons elude us. A friend and mentor once told me that God has a tendency to bring this lessons back around if we do not learn them the first time.

For your prayers as we look at the coming week:
**Monday - Jake has a CT Scan to design the composite piece for his skullcap
**continued healing and relief from back pain
**rehab and growth
**skin graft on Jake's thumb (waiting to hear when)
**continued success in school - Jake is doing well - kinks are working themselves out
**family sanity and cohesiveness

In our school time Jake has asked that we also spend a little time reading Romans 8. I suggested that we start with Romans 1. This is the verse that really stood out to me this morning speaking to this community that surrounds us.
Romans 1:11 "For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you—that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine."

This mutual encouragement that comes as we authentically pursue relationship with both God and each others strengthens us and grounds us deeply in faith directing us to hope. We are not done yet.

Grace and peace,

Tom (JK Daddy)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello, I have been following your blog for some time, and even though I have never met you, I find it amazing how God connects us all. Today I was sitting in the hospital room with my grandmother who broke her back yesterday, and I was the only one able to be with her. So, I spent 20 hours of the past 24 at her side. I was so tired and just asking God for strength when this thought popped into my head...
"Well, the Kirkendall's know all about being this tired."

It made me smile. Not because I would wish anyone to know the stress and exhaustion of being at the bedside of someone completely helpless and suffering, but because when we do walk these paths, we are truly never alone. God is there AND He brings you the support of others through which He has already walked alongside and brought through.

So, I just wanted to say thank you again for all this. I think on you all so often and so joyfully (Philippians 1:3-6); each in your own way, but you all are amazing.
When I think of Jake, I think of Daniel 12:3, and all the people who have been brought back to righteousness because of his story, and how bright you will all shine. :D

Your spirit sister :),
Ashley