Thursday, March 22, 2012

"Honey, I ruined the kids."

So many times in outreach we meet people who are where they are as a result, in part, of a broken relationship with a parent. Now, at once all of us parents bristle, "don't be blaming me for my kids choices" or the others of us that with deep regret and some sense of ownership feel perpetually guilty and overwhelmed at the poor parenting job we did, especially when our kids are not doing so well. What to do? Here's some thoughts for ya:

1. We are all bad parents - I know that's hard for some to choke down but you HAVE messed up your kids. To cut us a little slack, we may have done the best we could with what we knew at the time, but even then there is no such thing as a perfect parent and that means your imperfect parenting has negatively affected your kids.

2. Your kids all have wounds from you that need healing - if you look at your kid's negative actions and attitudes many of them stem from reactions to wounds that you caused your children as you parented them imperfectly. Your kid has a bad self-esteem, your kid has an anger problem, or the way your kid "acts out" many times stems from your relationship to them. And your kids need to be healed from your mistakes in parenting.

3. God fixes parents - Just last month my 26 year old brought up an old wound that I had given him. When he was in the hospital I said it was the best time we'd had in a long time because he had been slowed down enough to share some quality time. He jokingly said that as he grew up I wasn't there when he needed me either and was always "helping someone else". Wow! A lump went up in my throat and right there in the presence of his close friends I confessed my sin of neglect and told him how that that was one was one of my deepest regrets in parenting him, and I asked him to forgive me. I love my son with all my heart but I sinned against my son and wounded him in his childhood. I am not a perfect parent. Jesus is. And Jesus used that holy moment to bring healing to me, Jeffrey's imperfect father.

4. God heals kids - No matter what we've done to our kids in our imperfection God can and will heal as they trust in Him. I suffered much at the hands of my earthly father and God has over time healed me from much of that suffering. Did he do the best he could with what he had? Yes! But he wasn't perfect and I suffered. The good news is that on that glorious weekend long ago Jesus bore in His body my bad parenting and my parents bad parenting and now lives to set me free from the ill effects of it.

Friend, don't hide from the fact that you've blown it and your kids have suffered. Own it, grieve it, confess it, reconcile it. But never ever think that what sin has done God in Christ can't forgive and heal and restore back to new.

I hope that what transacted between my son and I will help him too, time will tell, but know this, God was so loving and merciful to grant to me on that special day some healing from my regrets and sins.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Rebuilding Lives: Some Practical Stuff

Crosswind serves families that have come on hard times and have been displaced from their homes and are unemployed. Our effort is to serve them until they are stabilized, meaning able to provide for themselves. We thought we'd give you a glimpse of what a typical client needs so you could get a feel for what it takes to get back on your feet.

1. REAR VIEW MIRROR - they need help to get the negatives out of their lives so they won't be a continued hindrance:
a. Driver's License (many lose their license because of c. below)
b. GED
c. Clean record (old fines and charges pending)

2. JOB - many times an entry level job so we can begin to clean the rear view, then a more stable higher paying job once the obstacles are removed.
a. WIN Job Center - our clients wear out the job center folks :-)
b. Networks - friends in the community who have entry level positions
c. Newspaper and such- all available avenues to find job opportunities
d. Interviews - we transport clients to and from interviews
e. Resume - we make each client an up-to-date resume

3. TRANSPORTATION - very few of our clients have transportation
a. Meetings - every clients goes to at least 4 (four) meetings per week.
b. Appointments - doctor, dentist, job interview, job search, etc.
c. Groceries and stuff - the regular necessities of living

4. STABILIZATION - Once employed, a process begins to help them be self sustaining
a. Old bills - many leave bills unpaid (power, water, etc.) when trouble comes
b. Deposits - it costs about $750 to get in a low rent apartment
c. Furniture for new apartment - most have nothing when they move

These are just a few of the practical things that our friends need in order to get back on their feet. Each takes numerous hours of volunteerism and work from our great staff and many others. But that is not all...

It would be foolish to help someone with the above items and neglect the reason they got in that place in the first hand. So to that end most of our time spent is filled with counsel and encouragement and teaching that points our friends to the glorious work that happened on Calvary weekend and its implications in their lives.

Crosswind can't change lives, only Jesus can, but with practical love and purposeful proclamation we can point them to our Lord who is mighty to save and eager to make all things new.

Thank you so much for your support and encouragement. Our staff and many volunteers are grateful. Also, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask them in the comment section below, I'll be sure to answer each one.


Friday, March 2, 2012

When you're at wit's end, What would Jesus do?

In outreach, you will encounter so many circumstances where you don't know what to do. How do you witness to someone who will not hear? How do you help someone who seems to reject all help? Do we hold back here or move in? Do we correct or let them figure it out? What do we do when it seems like we've done all we know to do and don't know what to do next? The answer is easy isn't it?

What would Jesus do?

Last night that very text came in from my co-worker about a seemingly helpless situation. I flipped back a answer but the question plagued me. To be honest, I didn't know what Jesus would do. If I did perhaps we would have done it. I thought over the last month about all the helpless moments where I wondered what to do about this or that. This last month was filled with a nagging sense of incompetency and inability. So many times we needed that answer, that 'right way to turn', right direction to take, right move to make and yet it seemed to allude us time and again. Then it hit me:

Jesus is already doing "what Jesus would do".

I had this kinda daydream like I was in a car asking the Lord which way to turn, "Would you turn left? right? gas pedal? brake? neutral? reverse?" And I sensed the Lord say to me: "Take your hands of the wheel and your feet off the pedals, I am already doing what I would do." That's it! He really is! Jesus is doing His will all the time, He is healing people's hearts, He is setting captives free, He is preaching the gospel to the poor. HE is! HIM! Wow, what a liberating thought.

Friends, you cannot be Jesus to someone else, He is being Jesus to them. You don't have to do "what Jesus would do", He is already doing it!

And oh by the way (because I know you are dying to ask the question) the "where do I come in?" part is answered above. When Jesus wants you engaged, He'll engage you, when He wants you to have the answer, He'll give it to you.

That's enough, isn't it?