What is on everyone’s lips? RONA

I’m sitting here with an itchy throat, mucus everywhere, steroid pill in my tummy. I have a sinus infection. But in the back of my head…. I wonder….

My family wonders…

This environment is something I haven’t experienced before. I remember a lot that rocked our country. From trials of celebrities to the World Trade Center. But I’m not sure I recall anything that changed the world as this has.

I am a Caseworker. I work in child protective services. We are what they are now calling “essential workers”. I have been on call now for 5 days. I’m exhausted. The worry that the virus will spread to my family scares me. I’m a fairly decently healthy person, so I will overcome it. I have 80 something year old grandparents that live beside me and a 2 month old baby neice that lives on the other side of me. They are precious to me and I want to keep them safe. But I must do my job. I must go about my day as if nothing is different when the entire planet has changed.

Here I am sitting with a child that has nowhere to go. It’s approximately 130am and I’m so tired but I do my best to keep my eyes open. I pray this child finds a place that is appropriate for her situation. I pray her parents get their lives toethr to get her back.

I pray my children at home, who are far away from me, know that I love them so much and I think about them every second of every moment I’m away from them.

Here I am leaving the hospital after getting a call about a special needs juvenile. I’m starting to feel sick as I leave the hospital. I was screened when I walked in so I know my temp is OK. I have 3 more days of on call. I have to hold on.

My 3 kids are out of school. They have eaten anything they can get their hands on. They don’t get the meaning of working from home. I have had deadlines and paperwork on top on more deadlines and paperwork. I have had to have conversations with clients while my dogs barked loudly at a vehicle driving by. My kids asking me where the this and that is. They do not care.

Just the other day I was attempting to play Uno with them while typing case notes. It was a disaster. They are bound up and don’t fully understand why. They are enjoying being away from school but want to be able to roam free. I have to continue explaining to them what isolation is and why it’s the safe thing to do as I disappear fo hours in the night to calls.

They hate my job.

I wake up the following day and I’m sick. Doctor deems it as sinus infection. Ok. The task must be completed. I just keep telling myself, it’s almost over.But I know there are so many other “essential workers” that are grinding and will continue to grind. Keep y’alls heads up. This is what we were made for. We were made to thrive.

Surrogacy Journey: 36w4d

That was a Braxton Hicks. No, that was a real contraction, says the doctor when I was 35 weeks pregnant.

I’m on bedrest. I’m huge. Baby’s dropped. Mom is freaking out. Her nursery isn’t finished. All is well.

I’m still not due until January 15 but she sure does feel like she’s trying to come. I’m dilated 2cm and having real contractions.

I stay overwhelmed, I suppose. I’m so ready to see this happy, healthy, baby come out and go to her parents.

I had to leave work earlier than I expected and it has caused so much anxiety. My caseload doesn’t just disappear. There are lives that are ongoing and extremely brittle and fragile. I have spent months trying to ensure these families have the services and support they need for a safe home. Leaving them has felt like leaving family. I will be getting back to work as soon as I possibly can. I will follow my doctor’s recommendations, of course.

I will not be venturing down this road again but my heart will be completely open for any support asked of someone who may way to follow their own journey of being a surrogate. It’s beautiful. I am blessed to be able to do it. And I will be blessed to be support for the next person.

Socially tired

Social work. When your clients are family members. All whom are dysfunctional. It’s your job to rehabilitate all of these family members. You have little resources and even smaller amounts of time. And everyone else in your family judges how you do it. You leave your “family” (job) for the day but you really don’t. Your dysfunctional family members are still making choices to hurt themselves and others off your work clock. This is why social workers burn out without careful planning. Having a family of that size and they are all your responsibility. That wears on a social worker.

Crossroads are dangerous when you are tired. Trying to beware and be mindful.

Assistance to assisting

Who I am now didn’t happen overnight( and still working on it daily). It wasn’t an easy road. This happened over many situations.

Here I was needing help from the government. Using WIC (women’s infant and children) to supplement a small amount of groceries monthly, discovering that no matter what, I was going to be treated like dirt at the heart of my seeking assistance.

I remember sitting in the office of the local health department after an embarrassing low of asking for assistance to support me and my child. I sat there being looked down on by the worker. She was irritated to be at work. She was irritated that I couldn’t give exact information on his father’s income. She didn’t know I was in my second semester of college and I had made a determination that I was going to be someone someday. This woman acted as if I chose to be there. My choices DEFINITELY landed me here. But I didn’t want this life. For me or my baby. I was trying my best to dig myself out. Everything she did and everything she said to me, she wanted me to know I was wasting her time and so was everyone else she had to deal with in her day. It hurt me. I even called to make a complaint although I know it didn’t go far.

Every few months I had to come in for a redetermination. Every few months I dreaded it. I couldn’t continue to take this.

This day I decided to find my place in this line of work. I decided I would try my best to show people respect no matter the circumstances. I wanted to be a fresh face someone saw when they were at their lowest point.

Fast forward 5 years. I got my degree (by the grace of God) . Then I got another degree (still shouting God’s grace) . Then I faithfully applied to DHR. I got an interview. I got an acceptance letter (Amen) . I accepted the job.

My first day on the job was nerve wrecking. I had worked so hard to get to this place. Here I was. My anxiety was high. The place was new. It was different. I tried my very best to be uplifting and positive. I tried to listen to anything I was told. I got settled into my office. I had an office y’all!!!

And then…..

I met the woman that was so negative toward me the day I chose my future. She was a kind lady. She was very helpful to me, being that I was “the new girl”. I mentioned that I had needed assistance years ago and remembered her. She didn’t remember me. I felt it was best not to go further with the story.

To this day she is a good Co-worker. We get along well.

She has no idea how she was fuel to my already burning fire to make a change in this life.

Be Jesus.

I was chastised this week. On several different occasions by several different people. It was hard to handle. The things they were angry about were their own doing and yet, it fell back on me.

Hi, I’m a social worker.

I found myself very frustrated with situations that were out of my control. I wanted so bad to yell at these clients, “This. Is. Your. Choice. Not. Mine” . And worse off, the kids are the ones who are getting punished.

Then I remember the blood of Christ. His Father sent him directly to us in flesh. He didn’t do anything wrong. He went through pain and agony we will never understand. And He did it willingly. He could have, as the devil said, made it all go away. He did not. All for the Love of us. All for our broken, sinful, selves.

We are to be Christ-like. I will prayerfully never have to go through the physical pain Jesus did. But, I will be blasted for doing what it right. And as a believer in my Jesus, I will continue to fight for what’s right. I will continue to fight for these children. I will give forgiveness to all of the parents. Why? Because, WWJD.

In this line of work, we are to be set aside from the rest. We are to offer our clients redemption. As most should know, parents don’t start out this way. They usually learn from their surroundings as children and continue the patterns as adults (thus the vicious cycle that is job security for me).

We don’t work with parents. We work with children trapped in adult bodies who have no idea how to rise above their situations. We are to come in, not as a drill sergeant, but as the body of Christ. Loving. Caring. Open.

Just imagine…

If our clients understood what Jesus did for them. They wouldn’t need the drugs, the alcohol, the empty relationships, the abusive relationships, the anger, the victim mentality. They would fall into His arms and forever be changed.

1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most Highdwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.

Psalm 46:1-5

I will continue doing my job. I will continue fighting for the children. I will continue fighting for the parents. If even one life is changed, it’s God’s work and I’m blessed that he has used me as a vessel for Him.

Amen.

Day in the life…… Social work style

So. Just another day in the office, right?

Wrong.

I start the day off searching for a mama who got out of jail and began twisting through the family like a tornado.

Then I make it to transport a kiddo for a 4 hour visitation because I know how important family is and the state can’t seem to see fit that we pay for providers to do it.

Then I make a pit stop at court. Tear it up as usual. Got some kids back with parents. Praying they continue on the path they are on.

Then I remove a child from a family that can’t handle him due to life and health issues and place him in foster care.

Then I go get groceries and come home to a house that appears to be barely standing, with laundry piled up and dinner to be made and children to be gotten ready for their first day of school tomorrow.

Bottle up ALLLLLLLLLLLLLL the emotions of this one day and you could probably use it for jet fuel to finally get to Mars. And back. 3 times.

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”

1 Peter 4:10

I. Am. Blessed.

Self Care

A supervisor once told me “don’t wait until you’re 20 years in to realize what you should have done 20 years ago.”

Social work can take a lot out of you. Matter of fact, it can take everything you have. Approximately 30-45% of child welfare staff leaves within two years (scribd.com). It will do the same to you too, if you aren’t aware and prepared.

Social work isn’t the only job like this, of course. Some others are law enforcement, nursing, and pastoral staff just to name a few.

Helping people is exhausting. It isn’t numbers. It’s people’s lives. It isn’t the same day in, day out. It’s different every time you get to work. It doesn’t end when you leave work. The big man wants more of you than you can ever give. Nothing is ever good enough. Someone, somewhere, needs your assistance.

Take a step back. It’s OK. You need not feel guilty. You actually help your cause when you take a break every once in a while. Let go of the guilt and let go of the day. Don’t plan much. Just be. Be you. Do you remember who you are? If not, find you.

I take a day off here and there. No big plans; just to have a day. A lot of times I spend it with my kiddos. Some days I send them off to school and I may not get out of bed. Or I may reorganize my closet. Or I may go grocery shopping and actually get to think about meal planning while I do it.

The key is to not feel bad about needing a day. Self-care. Care for yourself. Who else is responsible for getting that one job done? No one else but you. Take responsibility and DO IT!!!!!!! I’ve got my day scheduled for July. Do you?