It was 3:00 in the morning on January 5th when my nightmare became a reality. The phone rang and the police officer on the other end said, “We have your son. We picked him up 2 miles from your home after receiving a call from a concerned home owner, stating he’s been going through cars.” I heard my husband say, “Did he have anything on his person that didn’t belong to him?” The officer said he did not. My husband then proceeded to say that because of Josh’s disabilities, he has no previous criminal record, and he had nothing on him that did not belong to him nor did he have any tools to indicate intent to break & enter perhaps it would be best that he go and pick up Josh and bring him home. The police officer said absolutely not, that he was taking Josh to jail, and that he would be charged with a felony of attempted burglary (a crime punishable of 1-3 years in jail)!
For those of you who do not know Josh, he’s a 6’2″ twenty-one year old who has severe mental disabilities. He has the mentality of a 10-12 year old (and sometimes younger depending on the situation). He tends to live in his own bubble and doesn’t often live in our reality. He has a lot of nervous energy inside and suffers from insomnia. He often wanders day and night and this is something his dad and I both have discouraged him from doing, particularly at night. We’ve told him that if someone were to see a strange guy wandering around in their neighborhood in the middle of the night it would frighten them and they may call the police. Though Josh hears us, living through the natural consequences tends to be what changes his behaviors. We’ve always prayed the consequences are meaningful enough to teach Josh, and yet soft enough to not cause him major damage, especially since he’s older and the consequences for him now are not going to be the same as when he was a young school boy.
Josh is certainly not a thief. He’s never stolen from us and will often ask us if he can have even trivial things that most kids would just often take (like a package of fruit snacks in the cupboard i’ve designated for my students). Now I’m not saying that he wouldn’t jump off a cliff if a peer asked him to, but on his own, he works very hard to do the right things and obey the rules. This is why we are very particular about who he chooses to be friends with because he is so easily used and taken advantage of.
We understand that we will be his caregivers for many years and we are thrilled to be that for him. We adore him!! When we look at Josh, we see an amazing, very beautiful spirit and we are so proud of him. You can see why we were absolutely devastated beyond words to get this phone call. Our hearts fell into the deepest of despair and all we could do was hold one another and cry until there were no tears left. We cried out to the Lord for answers & help and we reached out to all of you to pray for our son (thank-you so much from the bottom of our hearts).
When we realized we were helpless in this situation, we relied completely upon the Lord for His intervention on Josh’s behalf. We knew Josh must have been scared to death in such a hell-hole and we had to believe God was there with him, protecting & loving him through this terrifying experience. We couldn’t even talk to him for the first couple of days and couldn’t even see him until we went through the registration process and then signed up for a day during visiting hours, which was Tuesday (after he had been there for 3 days)! I will never forget his face during that visit or his words, “Momma, what’s happening to me? I’m so sorry! I don’t want to be here!” We couldn’t even see him in person… we had to see him on a television screen. I felt so helpless!
In the meantime, Ron (my husband) call the public defender on that Monday because Josh was to appear before the judge on Wednesday (the day after we visited him). The public defender, Mr. Geyman, and Ron carried on a very long conversation. They conversed a time or two after that as well. He happened to be a public defender that oversees several courtrooms and as it turned out, Josh was NOT going to be in one of his courtrooms on Wednesday. Mr. Geyman told Ron, “I have been a public defender in this area for 25 years and I don’t normally get attached to a case, but for some reason this one tugs at my heart. I’ll tell you what… I know the public defender that oversees the courtroom where Josh will be and I am going to write her a letter sharing with her Josh’s situation and what you’ve shared with me. I feel very good about this.” God was working overtime on Josh’s behalf and we could tangibly see the results of the prayers that had been lifted for Josh.
Tuesday night Josh called us and said that some guy had called him earlier that evening and stated that he was available for Josh should he need anything and that he was doing all he can do to help him. Ron asked Josh if he remembered this man’s name and Josh said, “Mr. Geyman, I think.” Not only did he write a letter on Josh’s behalf & comfort a distraught father, he also called Josh to ease his anxieties… folks this is one major God-wink!!
Wednesday morning came and it was Josh’s turn to appear before the judge. Josh stood and a lady stood at the same time and requested immediately to approach the bench. You could have heard a pin drop as she was secretly sharing with the judge the letter that Mr. Geyman had wrote. She backed away from the bench and before Josh could say a word, the judge released Josh on his own recognizance & into our care… Oh man!! We were ready to feast and party to welcome our son home! Praise you Jesus!
We also knew this meant some major changes needed to take place conducive to growth and healing for Josh. We knew we had to add intense structure to our son’s activities of daily living, so he can be productive during the day and sleep well at night.
The weekend after his release a friend and I went on a weekend spa retreat (words cannot express how badly that was needed). As we sat in the whirlpool, Carol asked me about how my week was… oh boy! Did she really want to know? The stress was written all over my face and the 2 of us began to share things with one another that we have never shared with anyone else. There was a comfort level and we knew we were there to find release and replenishment. Carol looked at me with eyes of excitement, “Marisa, I have an idea! We have a licensed hippotherapist (horse therapist) living on our property. We have 5 horses, several dogs, chickens, goats, paintball guns, 4-wheelers, and a vast desert behind us that stretches for miles in all directions. How about if Ron and Josh come to my place for 3-4 hours a day… we can keep them busy!” How many God-winks can we handle in a week!! This is Josh’s second week out at the farm. He even has an incubator by his bedside with 10-15 fertilized eggs that are in his care. Josh looks forward to his days on the farm with the animals & and of course… his dad
There are no words to describe the amazing workmanship of God in our lives over the last few weeks. We have several months before we are out of the water. Josh has to appear in court on March 5th for a final decision, but we truly believe God will carry us through and we will come out stronger on the other side.
Thank-you doesn’t seem to be quite enough to express our gratitude for your undying prayers for our family! We have received so many messages of care and concern and we’ve realized over the last few weeks how blessed we are to have such a strong band of angels around us… we love you all!
We would appreciate your continued prayers over the next couple of months. We are encouraged & we see the mountaintop just ahead… what satan intended for evil God is using to bless our family immeasurably!