HOPE

 Jon Ahlenius

Jon Ahlenius

He is now ten years old, but Jon came into our lives three years ago when our youngest son and his wife adopted him from the Texas foster care system. Jon’s story is one of unimaginable abuse–emotional, physical, and other things too horrible to mention; horrors that Jeanette and I cannot understand or fathom. Jon’s biological mother abused drugs and sold her body to feed her drug addiction. 

He would be taken by the state and returned several times to his mother and his family with five other children. But he was not wanted and was treated harshly by the very people you would think would protect a child, their family. Unfortunately, the foster care system was not any better, and Jon was placed in foster home after foster home. The situation became so bad that Jon was, one time, duct-taped to a chair by a foster family because of his outbursts.  He also spent nights in Texas CPS offices because no family would take him. 

Jon has night terrors, PTSD, attachment issues, and outbursts of anger and rage.  He also has severe learning disabilities and very few coping mechanisms. He is a broken child. Our family has been, at times, overwhelmed with all the emotional challenges and situations that come with a child so broken. 

Our son and his wife struggle with finding the right mix of therapy and medication that can help reduce just some of the issues. We have seen their hearts broken, along with ours, trying to come to grasp with how such trauma could be directed at such a small child. It saddens us to see what harm and damage adults can do to a child. 

In those moments of sadness and questions, many times, we turn inward to ourselves and try to find solutions, answers, and peace, but there is nothing. Because inward and on our own understanding and abilities, there is no hope. So much of what Jon has gone through and is going through is beyond our knowledge. The answers are not going to be found inward and with ourselves, but outward and toward something bigger and greater.

What I seek to find and search toward is getting a glimpse of God’s hope and purpose. A power that is beyond me. A voice and strength beyond my limited hope that speaks quietly to my heart and says, “It’s going to be okay.” A voice and power that never waivers or casts a shifting shadow.

There are things beyond my understanding. How could people hurt a small child, and how do you find the power to pick up the pieces of a life so damaged? My hope lies in a God that never waivers. At this time of year, I hope you catch a glimpse of God and the hope that is promised, and that you experience the quieting and calming voice that tells us, “All will be well.” 

Even in those moments, when we see no hope in our own power and vision, we know just beyond the horizon that hope is coming, and it never waivers, it never fails, and it never quits.

Jon, hope is coming.