Tuesday, November 29, 2011

--> my first ten months<--

10 months. 
Its been 10 full ((very full)) months since I started coordinating the health education sessions at my work, which I feel like signified my really stepping into the leadership role I have now there. These sessions are for young mothers in the city of Rochester. We discuss things like domestic violence, STDs, respect, childhood baggage.... all that fun stuff. We provide social, spiritual, and psychological support for these young women in many aspects. Tonight I do not want to tell you about how great my job is, what we do exactly, how we need more funding, the behavioral change we've seen, the retention rate, etc etc I say that all the time. I speak at agencies, I preach at churches, I do trainings, I meet with donors-- but I feel like I never get to share my heart. And, I yet to hide my heart from you blogworld... so here I go.

I don't know what I am doing. 
In the midst of all my right answers,
of my great advice,
my leaping attendance rates---
I don't know what I am doing.

I always thought if you'd give me a mic I would woo the crowd and they would love God in an instant after hearing me speak... and ya know what? It doesn't happen that way, I'm not at good at ministry as I thought I would be. Which is good because if I led by my arrogance I would not be leaning on God's grace. It was a good wake up call that I am not all that-- I also thought the first thing I would think to do in a meeting would be to pray and more times than not, I don't. I thought I would have prayed with these girls, loved on them, and led them to Christ-easy'&simple. But.. I don't know what... I am doing. 

It's not that the schooling didn't prepare me or I am lost at my job, more so I can't take myself out of what we are doing and see it--- for what it is. Like I honestly don't know what we are doing. How much an impact we are having, if lives are being changed, if the girls are starting to love God, if I am being too much of a control freak, if I am being too lienent. Things are SO BUSY, that I really need to sit down God and I and have a meeting. Get some love back in my heart, brainstorm some ideas and cut myself some slack of course.

That is what December is. After the big fundraiser, I am closing the office door and figuring things out. I knew this year would be different, challenging, eye-opening, busy and sacrificial- but again I really knew nothing, I had NO CLUE what I was getting into, how much I can handle, how I would supervise, what it would be like to have clients, a program, and babies around all the time?!? 
And, I don't mean to sound like I am upset or overwhelmed, I am just admitting I don't know how 10 months went by. I don't know if I was efficient in my ministry. 10 months-- wow. I always knew I would have a lot to learn and that will be a constant in Social Work. But this is my first real 10 months and I have to admit for not knowing much I did pretty alright- now its time to sit down and make things better. ((any ex's of mine who read this know my 'need to get better' syndrome lol))

For example, I am learning for the first time what attachment and termination is for real like with clients. I see why other agenies have such strong boundaries set.. *sigh. I mean I love these girls... and I just didn't know how much a family we would become. How much attitude they'll give you just to see if you'll really stick around....and their texts... man, they kill me. At the end of a day they'll text me just a simple thank you... and honestly it makes ---everything--worth it. I have so many stories, I could share-- but the girls say it better; this is a rough draft if you will- of what they girls video taped for our new video. The video will be showed in its completion this coming Monday so I'll share it then also. But check it out today too!

Throughout it all God has been so faithful-- each week (of group, but really everyday) I enter in not really sure what is going to happen and each week, He gives me exact plans, He listens and directs... and honestly that's what I need... I need to be bringing all of this to God, asking Him what He thought. How He wants this program to improve, how He wants to move forward. I think I'll go do that now... I don't need this blog to process my last 10 months-- I need God.He's the best Social Worker around anyway :) :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Are you plugged In?

I hurried to my office today an hour early to get things ready for what will always be the busy day, Tuesday. The day I have the pleasure of coordinating RLI (Real Life Issues), a group for young mothers in the city who are able to talk about their 'real life' and feel safe, accepted and loved. Attendance builds each week and so does the chaos. But a good chaos, as my boss states in our video "Change is challenging; Christ can change us". While busy typing away I noticed my computer was losing battery quickly, which was odd, since I know I plugged it into the wall first thing this morning. When it reached the 10% battery life warning I took a look. The plug was plugged into the computer, the plug was connected to the wall: but the two were not connected together. I immediately opened my Bible. A great reminder to not forget to connect to our One True power source. 

Isaiah 40:28-31  Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God,   the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint,   and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary,and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;   they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary;   they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 41:10  fear not, for I am with you;  be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you,  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

1 Chronicles 16:11  Seek the LORD and his strength;  seek his presence continually!

Exodus 15:2 The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

Philippians 4:13  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Psalm 18:32-34  the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless. He made my feet like the feet of a deer  and set me secure on the heights. He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

1 Corinthians 10:13  No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

As busy as always, yet as peaceful as I allow the word to let me be-

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cast all your cares...

 He doesn’t love me. That is all my heart can think tonight.
I don’t know why I am so surprised.
It’s like, Kerri- hello… where have you been?
I am back at that idea of the desired to be desired.
The paradox of love and hurt.
I am starting to see why some people settle.
They cover up the pain of the last one with the next one.
Never truly feeling the loss of a relationship.
Tonight I choose to feel the loss.
Funny, most people will give you advice on how to spend your time when you feel this way. Ignore it, watch TV, go out on a blind date etc- but I have said it before and will say it again sometimes, and only sometimes, we need to allow ourselves to connect with our TRUE emotions. That is why people can become so transformed in counseling. It’s not the counselor that makes things happen, it is actually taking the time to focus on your emotions, your triggers, and what they are trying to tell you. Other times of course we do need to rise above, hand our hurt over to the God who knows all about losing relationship with the ones He loves…

I guess that is the hardest part... how to explain to someone how to “hand it over” to a God they barely know. Let’s be honest to a God I barely know…

Tonight at group I lost the girls, I could feel it- the energy was gone, they were distracted and bored with whatever I had to say… I brought back our worry basket. The idea is to write down your worries, crumble them up, and throw them into the basket. The basket is surrounded by the scripture: “Cast all your cares on Jesus, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7) For weeks we used this and gave a little different explanation every time. After hearing my spiel a few times one of my interns hit the nail on the head when she asked the ladies, pretty hard to hand something over to a God you don’t know right?... So again I ask how can I explain to someone how to hand over their “anything” to God, especially when it comes to things like loneliness, the very emotion I speak of tonight.

First, of course, we would have to have a relationship forming with God to be able to speak to Him, so the initial “sinners prayer”… Lord, forgive me for my sins, I cannot and do not want to do this life without you anymore. Let your ways be my ways, and let your plans be my plans. Give me the strength to get through the hardships I have now and peace for the ones I will endure in the future. And in all ways God make me more like your Son, whom I am eternally grateful for as I can accept your forgiveness today because He died an innocence death. Blessings and honor in your name, Amen.

Then, the Holy Spirit has to be present. Like has-to-be-. Trying to connect to God without the Holy Spirit is like… trying to listen to an ipod that has no charge. So invite Him in the room and into your heart also, although it sounds weird- He is the Holy Spirit and trust me, He gets things done. Also for that ipod to work, you’ll need headphones- something to get the music to your actual ears and inside your mind, similarly a church or good group of Christian friends can do this same thing. You must have these three parts (God of course being the ipod itself) to work.

From there… well what happens from there... you have God, the Holy Spirit, and your hurt. So.. you just start talking. Remember God is a REAL God—so act like He is RIGHT THERE, because He is. Do what you would do if it was you and your friend. I know if it was my friend, we would grab coffee and let the tears and laughs flow as we explained the dysfunctional growing pains of becoming an adult. Perhaps you journal, draw, blog, twitter your pain. Whatever, just share that with God-

Then and most importantly, as another intern reminded me of today- you have to have FAITH that God will heal your hurt, your circumstances and overall your heart. FAITH is what the Holy Spirit thrives on… so to get the charge on that ipod you must BELIEVE that the outlet you are plugging it into will actually charge the ipod. God responds to faith that’s for sure:

Matthew 17:20 “He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. "
Matthew 15:28 ‘Then Jesus, answering, said to her, O woman, great is your faith: let your desire be done. And her daughter was made well from that hour.”
Hebrews 11:1 “The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see.”
1 John 5:4 “for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.”

Lastly, I guess, yet the longest and hardest part- you must choose to continue to have that faith and not let the pain overtake you. The contradiction is sometimes yes, it’s healthy to connect to your feelings and feel what I acknowledge now as loneliness, but perhaps it is failure for you, or depression, embarrassment, etc – but you cannot stay there. You have to make the CHOICE to continually give it to God. And make right CHOICES in the direction of not filling the “void” or hurt with other things BUT God presence and to not keep running back to things that give you those worries. Examples: ex-boyfriends, drugs, spending money on things you don’t need etc etc

I think that is the best way to explain it. I wish I would not have epically failed that when I went to explain it to the girls today. But I am glad I took the time to connect to what was truly bothering me. Sure, my heart is hurting because I am remembering a loss, but I know the process of handing this over to God, I know how to worship a faithful God when my life seems faithless. But what truly hurts is not being able to communicate the hope and the drastic change that can come from handing these over to God to my girls…

Lord, teach me, help me connect them to you… send me- I say. I surrender my own wants for them to know just how good you truly are. God please… I know you are faithful and unlike him.. I know you love me.