Men Needed

Not such a good blogger these days, eh?  All in seasons of life I suppose.

But life is well and moving right along!  Today my heart is heavy with thoughts of "my boys."  We've had an interesting year so far, as I suppose they all are, in their own ways.  So here's what our 2 1/2 months have been like!  A few words here and at the end, and a whole lotta pictures thrown in!

First night back- alligator spotting!

We started the year with three returning boys.  And gained two new little ones- one just turned 10 and one who celebrated his 9th birthday with us.  By far our youngest {and youngest in maturity} cottage ever.  Those of you who have or had 10 year old boys, this is similar except subtract 2-3 years of maturity from them.  In the course of August-October, one of those boys was moved out of the cottage, so we were down to four.

(One of our little guys wants to learn to whip because he saw Jeremiah doing it.  I won't tell you how hard I laughed when he kept whipping himself because he wouldn't follow directions!)

THEN Our boys (and our) beloved teacher had to take a two-month leave to take care of her elderly father.  We have a delightful substitute but it's not the same.  This is also a lot of transition for little guys who come from very unstable homes.  The boys are doing well, all things considered.

 Celebrating Heidi's birthday!

Some work detail!

Celebrating this little guy's 9th birthday!!

He quickly became Heidi's best friend- maybe because he is so close to her size? 

More work detail- learning how to install a floor (Forest's room) like a man!

Finally getting some consistency in his room inspection!  Stickers!  Yah!

More random spapshots of my day!!!

Then this week.  New little guy arrived . . . He is very young in actions and size.  Very much in need of the love and stability we offer, more so than most.  He climbed on my lap on Tuesday night, to see the choir singing during chapel.  I had Forest on one half of my lap and him on the other.  And today we lost one of our other boys, due to his mother unexpectedly pulling him out.  Nothing hurts as much as a little 9 year old breaking down sobbing when Jeremiah wrapped his arms around him, because he doesn't want to leave.

Sweet Jesus, our world is full of broken and hurting boys, in need of MEN to love and care for them.

I sure am thankful for all these years (14) working alongside Jeremiah.  He is the dad that 90% of my boys have never had, and usually the first positive relationship they've ever had with a man.  That's a high calling and a huge responsibility.  And he bears it and wears it well.  He feels each loss painfully.  He shoulders the pain of "why can't they make good decisions?" personally.  As frustrating as some of them are (and you have NO IDEA unless you've been here), it hurts him physically to lose any of them from our house.  Even when it means his life is easier.  It's pretty amazing to see someone love so deeply, little boys who aren't his own flesh and blood.

But we need more men!  More men willing to stand up and teach these BOYS to be MEN while they are still BOYS!  Boys will be foolish and sinful boys.  But that's not what we want them to stay!  In order to be MEN they need someone to teach them to be MEN!  Show them what integrity looks like.  What honesty looks like.  What it means to look a woman in the eye and give her respect and a hug, a kiss and honor her!  A man to show them how to cradle a baby and kiss a toddler's booboo's and set limits for that same little one.  

Sometimes the need is so overwhelming- we help so few boys.  And some days, it's just overwhelming how honored I am to be a part of reaching little boys with love.


Erika! What a beautiful post! I agree so strongly with you. Especially after working at Gil's Hills for so many years and then witnessing dads like Chris do so much damage to his boys (my nephews). I am so blessed to have a real man to raise our boys with me. Yet my heart aches for the many boys who don't have a man like that to be an example of Christ in their lives. Jeremiah is such an amazing guy to take all those little men under his wings and truly love them.
Love to you.
Anonymous said…
I always feel privileged to spend time with you guys. Your life is so crazy but you do so much good for the boys in your cottage. And someday you'll see the good it did your own kids to be a part of the Ranch. Thanks for letting me spend 10 days with you!! love, Mom

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