Posted Oct 24, 2015
Dear Pine Cove Family,
A year ago our family took a leap of faith and started on an adventure with Jesus to this incredible place called Pine Cove, and I wanted to share with you a small part of our story that has come full circle in that year.
Our nine–year–old son Noah is an absolute joy. But even from the time he was 18 months old, we noticed some serious frustration and anger in his little life. After several years of behavior issues at school and home, we finally decided to get some help. We began the process of doctor visits and psychological testing to determine what the issues were and how they could be treated. In the Spring of 2013, he was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. (He probably inherited the bad genes from my side of the family). In the Summer of 2013, we began counseling sessions, as well as a short–lived trial of medication, neither of which seemed to help much.
In August of 2013, Rob started his new job at Pine Cove and was commuting from Tyler to Dallas until we could sell our home and move. During that month, Noah's anxiety reached its highest level, meaning his behavior was at its ugliest. I knew both were linked to the transition of the upcoming move, but I had no idea how to help him with it. I mean, the boy already had a low self–esteem from constantly being in trouble at school and requiring non–stop correction at home. But now he was also facing the prospect of losing all his friends as well as everything that was familiar to him. Not to mention the unknown of moving to a new neighborhood and starting at a new school. So it really was no surprise that he was acting out more than usual. So one night after I put the kids to bed and called Rob to check in, I broke. After sobbing on the phone with him, I got on my knees and cried to God. I remember praying, “God, I got nothin' for this kid. Could you please just show me something, ANYTHING, to help him?”
At that moment I felt God impress Ephesians 6 on my heart, specifically the part about “our struggle is not against flesh and blood.” God reminded me that the struggle that we were having was more than just anxiety, poor behavior, and chemicals moving around in Noah's brain. It was more than just a physical, mental, and emotional battle. This struggle was not against flesh and blood. This was spiritual warfare, and I needed to armor up. So I went into Noah's room that night and prayed Ephesians 6:10–17, the full Armor of God, over him for a long time. And I have continued praying those verses over him for many months.
And in the last few months these scriptures have continued to present themselves in “random” ways.
In September, shortly before we moved, a friend of Noah's introduced him to the Go Fish Guys and some of their music. One of his favorite songs became “I'm a Soldier,” so we looked it up on Youtube one night and the first thing that rolled across the screen on the video was “Ephesians 6 — our struggle is not against flesh and blood.”
In December, Noah was able to attend Winterfest where they studied — you guessed it — the Armor of God in Ephesians 6.
In February, Noah and I began reading a Christian fiction novel called “Spirit Fighter” in which the Armor of God is referred to several times, as well as quotes from Ephesians 6 throughout the story.
In March, Noah and I stayed home from church one Sunday because he was not feeling well. We decided to listen to a sermon online at a friend's church, and the pastor just happened to be preaching on the Armor of God, Ephesians 6.
The very next Sunday our family visited a new church in Brownsboro, and that sermon too was on the Armor of God, Ephesians 6.
That very afternoon as I dropped Noah off at baseball practice he told his coach that he had his Bible in his bag. His coach then said, “Cool! You gonna preach something to us? How about something from Ephesians 6, the armor of God?” At this point, Noah looked at me, his eyes as big as saucers and said, “Are you kidding me right now?” Even Noah realized at this point that God had been pursuing him with this, and I loved watching the light bulb come on!
And then the icing on the cake…sometime late spring I had the privilege of having Cameron Atkinson, a Towers full–time staff member, over for lunch one day and was sharing this story with her. As I was telling her about it all, I noticed a curious smile begin to appear on her face. She was very patient to let me finish before she revealed the news that blew me away. “Oh and hey, guess what we're studying this summer at the Towers?” Yup. The Armor of God. Ephesians 6.
I mean, it's one thing to have God pursue you and get to know His love deeper every day in response to His pursuit. But it's a totally different and amazing thing to watch God pursue your child. So imagine my joy and awe when we took Noah to Week 3 at the Towers and saw pieces of paper with the attributes of the Armor of God posted on his bunk and all the way around his cabin.
So aside from having a blast and becoming the best Geaux Geaux ball player the country has ever seen, Noah is being transformed as he is being pursued by God. I noticed a huge change in his demeanor when we picked him up on Saturday from the Towers, affirming to me that God had done some work in his heart. And I have noticed a significant increase in his ability to deal with frustration. I have seen more joy and less anger. And these scriptures will be hidden in his heart for the rest of his life. And my prayer is that he will grow in his ability to use this armor as he lives it out every day at school and home. Noah has come a long way this last year. He has grown so much. And not just physically, mentally, and emotionally as he develops towards adolescence. Noah is being transformed spiritually by the love of Christ. And we are so thankful that Pine Cove has been such a huge part of that this year. So I share all of this with you to encourage you that Pine Cove is fulfilling its purpose — transforming the lives of people for His purposes and His Glory!
And this is just one story from just one of our three kids, from just one of, hopefully, many years here at Pine Cove. We are so excited to see what else God has in store!