The Haverherd has had a mildly life changing spring. We finished up our 6-week ride along with the World Race America team at the end of February. Oh how we miss you Dosson & Alex, Alleigh, Amber P & Amber M, Carolyn, Lauren, Jess, Mel, Shelby, Corbyn and Ben. That journey was the beginning of some incredible mind, body and spiritual activation which we didn’t even know could be possible.
As we flew into Barcelona, Bex found herself asking an identical question that she had posed to me a mere 40 days before. “What are we doing ?” Our continuous family joke has been, “Let’s just turn right”. It originated back in mid-January as we were tailing the WR America van out of Adventures in Mission’s parking lot, helping them start their 11 month journey to serve, encourage and uplift people in need all across the US. As their van turned left towards the first destination, a homeless shelter in Asheville, Bex half-heartedly joked “what if we just turn right and text ‘em that we had a change of plans?”. Needless to say, we made the left turn and have been graced by some amazing friendships that will certainly extend for many years to come.
Now flash forward to March 1st, in our tiny rental car driving towards the Mediterranean sea. In answer to Bex’s previous question, I reminded her that we were simply going to hang with some good folks for two weeks. How bad could it be? As we pulled into the small white-washed-wall town of Mijas, she gestured that a right turn at that moment would take us over to Portugal for the entire month of March;). “How bad could that be?”, she countered.
The founder of G42 academy, Andrew Shearman
, would be teaching the first week of class and to say that I was ridiculously excited would be a bit of an understatement. Andrew has a long history of awakening young men and women to grab onto their full identity with both hands. A few trademark one liners from this 71-year-old spiritual warrior include:
“You were born to be loved.”
“Are we, the church, missing the plot line?”
“When we soak up God’s love, we can choose to pour that love back out on the people around us. Not because we have to, out of fear, or guilt or condemnation, but because we get to. And if we can do that, the kingdom of God will occur right before our very own eyes.”
The G42 staff encouraged me and Bex to bring the boys into class with us and sit alongside the 30 students (interns, as they’re referred to who are all in the 20s or early 30s). We however enlightened them that they were not yet aware of the full magnitude of the Haverherd boy craziness. Instead, I proceeded to get the boys (ready for their day of homeschooling) and Bex (with headphones in to listen from outside to the teaching) set up in the lobby. On that first Monday morning, as I was about to walk into the classroom, I felt a nudge. But I didn’t want to ask her. I had delivered our family 10,000 miles across an ocean and I wanted to listen to Mr. Shearman ‘bring it’. After I long pause, the words reluctantly trickled out of my mouth.
“Hey Bex, do you wanna go into class for the morning session?”
She thought for a moment and then responded with a breezy “Sure, that sounds good.”
Over the next couple hours I listened in (via headphones) as Andrew laid out the framework of who God is, who He has made us to be and what role we get to play in the Kingdom. And then I heard it.
“Where you at Bex?”
Oh no. What is going on in there?
As many of you know, Bex has been on a roller coaster of a journey both emotionally and spiritually over these past six and a half years since her brother committed suicide. I won’t go into all the details but she’s found herself on a long road in which she has put forth tremendous effort to work through a deep rooted season of grieving.
It was Gary’s voice (he’s the twenty year younger version of Andrew at G42) booming not just through my headphones, but through the crack of the two doors that separated the classroom and the lobby where I stood outside with the boys. My body tensed up as I instinctively contemplated ripping open the door and bursting in to my wife’s rescue.
Then I heard Bex’s voice, through my earbuds, “I want joy.”
Now I’m not exactly sure how the next 10 seconds played out, as I could only listen in. But Gary, from one side of the room, motioned to Bex, who was seated on the ‘guest couch’ in the back corner of the other side of the room, for God to ‘give her joy’. My headphones phased out for a second. And then it was done. Andrew continued to teach and class went on without skipping a beat.
An hour later, one of the other guests, a tiny 18 year old girl also seated on the couch, shared her story. It was a story filled with abuse, sadness, hatred and neglect. With quivering words this girl shared with the class, “I’ve never heard of God’s love the way you are talking about it Andrew. But I want that so badly.”
And again, Gary’s voice boomed from across the room at my wife, “Bex, give her some of that joy.”
Bex told me later that she had no idea what that even meant. All she could think to do was put a hand on the girl’s back and her other hand over the girl’s heart. And then she reminded the girl who God had created her to be.
“You are a daughter of the Creator of the Universe. You are cherished. You are worthy. You are beautiful. You are the beloved.” She quietly breathed life in.
As the afternoon finished up, and yours truly (homeschool teacher Daddy) did his best to maintain the chaos of the boys out in the lobby, I watched as the interns poured out of the classroom. But where was Bex? I gave up waiting. As I made my way through the door in her search I bounced my way into embraces of gratitude with both Andrew and Gary. But where was she?
As I looked over on the couch, I locked eyes with her. She was in the same mothering position that she had been for the past hour, almost rocking the girl in her arms and telling her over and over who she was created to be.
So that was our first day of class. And it was good.
I’ve got one other story to share with you all that has absolutely blown my mind. But it’ll have to wait until next time as I’ve probably put most of you to sleep at this point (assuming anyone’s actually kept reading this far;).
We heart you all so much. Thanks for all the encouragement, kind words and kingdom love you have shared with us over these past 2 years on the road. We miss you and look forward to seeing you soon.
-Daniel, Bex, Matthew, Josiah and Tobias