DC4K: A Place of Healing
By NMC - April 20, 2017
Posted in Children's Ministry, Stories from NMC
The room was completely silent. Kids who normally chatted during the lesson or wriggled impatiently in their seats sat still and quiet, staring intently at the two buckets sitting at the front of the room. One was filled to the top with feathers. Its lightness made it incredibly easy to pick up. Deandra Borkholder stood behind the other bucket, holding a block of wood.
“When someone hurts us, it can be so difficult to forgive them, but holding onto this unforgiveness is like putting a block of wood in a bucket. The more we don’t forgive others, the more blocks get added to our buckets,” Deandra explained, stacking block after block in the bucket until it was full.
When she ran out of blocks, she invited a child to try to lift the bucket. He strained against the weight of the blocks and struggled to lift the bucket even a couple of inches off the ground.
“This is what it’s like when we don’t forgive others. We end up carrying heavy, heavy burdens. The person we don’t forgive isn’t hurt by our unforgiveness. Instead, we are the ones with even deeper pain,” Deandra explained.
The kids stayed attentive as they thought of the people in their lives who they hadn’t forgiven. All those in the room were children who had walked through or were walking through divorce, and the hurt from their situations seemed like a mountain. Yet these mountains of hurt were exactly why they were sitting where they were. At Divorce Care 4 Kids (DC4K), these children had begun to work through the pain, hurt, disappointment and the host of other emotions that come with divorce. Since January 14, DC4K has met week after week. Some kids have come with their siblings; some have come alone. All of them are searching for healing.
A night in DC4K includes many different components. Among other things, kids visit different stations, watch a video of kids who are dealing with situations and emotions that come with divorce and learn about a Bible story. A leadership team of adult “safe keepers” are tasked with walking alongside the kids. They work incredibly hard to provide wisdom, guidance, love and acceptance for those in their class.
Each week the group talks about a different emotion. Sometimes it’s anger. Sometimes it’s loneliness. Sometimes it’s forgiveness. With each emotion, they study a Bible story. Taking Bible stories that can be difficult to relate to, the DC4K curriculum tells these stories in terms of the emotions people were probably feeling at the time. In this way, even five year olds can relate to complex characters and stories. For example, when they studied loneliness, the group read the story of Hagar. They learned about how she was forced to leave her home and family and nearly died in the desert. They talked about how she must have felt so alone, and all of the kids could relate to this feeling.
Each class time also includes time to process and discuss the evening’s topic. Over the weeks, Deandra and her team have seen kids open up to one another in bigger and deeper ways. Many of the kids have realized that they are similar to one another, or are at least experiencing many similar emotions and difficulties. Because of these commonalities, friendships have begun to form as kids process and learn and grow together.
The healing that comes with divorce isn’t an overnight process, nor does it truly take place in a thirteen-week class. Yet, little steps are being made. One parent told the DC4K team how much her kids love the class. They talk about it constantly, looking forward to it every week. They don’t complain about the workbook or about having to open up. In fact, they can’t wait to come back and experience more of the class. Another parent expressed how her children are getting along better since attending DC4K. As the siblings have begun to walk through healing together, the Lord has worked on their hearts and helped their relationships with one another.
Deandra and her team have come to realize that their job is not to provide immediate healing to deep wounds. Instead, they are there to plant seeds. They are there to teach the truth of God’s Word and help the kids see that God loves them and cares so deeply for them. They are there to give the students tools to deal with the emotions they are feeling. They are there to walk alongside them through the mess and the hurt.
It’s incredibly evident that God has begun to do great things in the lives of the kids involved in the DC4K program, and His work has only started. Deandra and her team are excited for the ways God will continue to grow and provide healing in the weeks, months and even years to come.