Tuesday, April 03, 2007

In Other Words

From inside my office I heard the eruption, “No-o-o-o-o-!” I jumped up and rolled up my sleeves. “Here we go again, “ I said to myself.

As I walked out of my office and turned down the hall I was hit by the flailing of arms and legs. “Whoa, whoa, “ I said loudly. The tear stained face of a little boy turned toward my voice.

His face immediately crumpled up as he yelled at me, “You are not callin’ my mama!”

I looked at one of my summer camp counselors for a rundown on the story. Apparently, this little five-year-old boy had been cursing and punching another child over the use of a beanbag. Again.

I sighed a deep sigh. Danny was sitting on the floor know picking at his scabbed knee. I sat down next to him remembering what had happened the last time we had to confer with his mother.

I was in my office typing up the next week’s schedule when I heard one of my staff give Danny’s mom the run down on his behavior and language. Before Christy could suggest a behavioral plan that Danny’s mom could help us enforce, we found the root of anger that had been planted in Danny.

Danny’s mom began yelling and screaming at the crouched down, wimpering little guy. Danny then began to scream, “No, no, no!” His mom walked wildly around the room asking everyone she saw if they had a belt she could use after she had decided that the one she was wearing was “not big enough.” All the while Danny screamed and threw himself in the floor in a fit of rage.

I walked out of the office, trying to move the chaos into a confined area since parents were coming in to pick up children from our summer camp program. Instead she simply announced to me that she would make sure there would no longer be a problem. She drug Danny out by the hand while he continued to kick, scream and cry.

The next day he arrived and did behave a bit better which his mother attributed to the “punishment” he received the night before.

As I was brought back to the present I dreaded the thought of speaking to this out of control woman again. I didn’t know what “punishment” Danny had faced at home before, but I had an idea. Something inside me just could not send him home to that again. So, I told Danny we were going to pray, and then we would talk.

I prayed an intense prayer laced with grace and love. My heart ached for this little guy, even though I knew he was guilty. Our talk was firm and we laid out definitive guidelines for Danny. After that, we prayed again and he asked Jesus to forgive him and come into his heart.

When he walked back into the recreation room for snack time he was smiling as he asked the counselors to forgive him. They did of course.

This Easter season has dredged up my memories of Danny. As Christ saw us in our most vulnerable state, regardless of the fact that we were guilty, His love for us was so great, He had to provide a way out for us. His heart was “stung” with grace and love for us.

I just couldn’t allow Danny to face a fate that could have affected him eternally in a horrible way. Instead, I was moved by the compassion of Christ and what He did for me.

I pray that one day Danny will remember the grace afforded him by me, but more so what Christ did for him and share his story with someone who needs it. I pray that the love, grace and mercy of God will “sting his heart” just as it did mine.

"At the heart of the story stands the cross of Christ where evil did its worst and met its match." ~ John Wenham ~

Visit Iris at Sting My Heart to read more views on this week's quote, or to post your own. She is hosting this week! Thanks, Iris!


Dana said...

Wow, what a story and what a great example of grace. We truly don't deserve it....but he loves us anyway - just like you and your counselors did that little boy.

The Preacher's Wife said...

I so pray I am not warping my little ones...Honestly, can't you look at most parents and know why the kids act the way they do?? What a horrific thought!! :))

This is a wonderful grace story...loved your post...

Denise said...

Really enjoyed your post.

eph2810 said...

Oh, Tara, what a horrible yet beautiful story. I think that you did the best thing you could have done for this little guy. I pray with you that little Danny will one day remember that Christ forgave him his sin once and for all.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this week's IOW quote.

Blessings to your Holy week.