Some of you may know that I have been extremely busy completing my studies these past few months. In the beginning the search for an agency to complete my social work internship had been wrought with complications and became discouraging right at the outset.
The first agency notified me a few days prior to my start date that they would not be accommodating my request to intern with them. This created a major delay that I was not entirely happy about. The second agency I applied to resulted in an internship but was riddled with scheduling conflicts that interfered greatly with my current day job. I continued for approximately a month getting what hours possible while accruing additional hours at a third option. I knew that it was going to become very tiring, very quickly.
While all this was occurring I persevered in a search for a better option. I was hoping for something that would be more hands on and wouldn’t be entirely filled with paper pushing. I was looking for direct interaction with a client/resident population. I wanted to be talking and working with people on a regular basis. Finally, an opportunity presented itself with a foster care facility for teenage girls. I was completely surprised and extremely apprehensive about this particular placement. I transitioned to the new agency with the hopes of completing all required hours (300+) by the end of August.
I can honestly say that I have walked away from my internship as a changed person. It isn’t that I’ve become specifically seasoned in foster care, or have now reached some level of expertise in the field of social work, but have been enlightened and encouraged. In the beginning things became hopeless and overwhelming. I had so many hours left to do, papers left to complete, and a deadline that was moving closer and closer. The pressure was mounting and I became worried that it would effect my intern experience. In the end, the result was everything turning out the way it did for its own specific reasons.
I have seen in my time working with these young ladies that there is a world of hurt out there many of us glance over with a minimum of concern. It is so easy to overlook the parentless and often physically/sexually abused children in our foster care facilities. Is this just another problem that is overlooked because we contain it with walls and institutional remedies? I have seen a part of the world that is such a stark reality but has become such a quiet problem.
The purpose of this post isn’t to direct blame or point fingers. It isn’t even a cry for reformation or remedy to a flawed social welfare system. What it is though is a hope and prayer to raise awareness of how we rear and raise our children. Even if you aren’t a parent (like me), what role do you currently play in becoming an example to a generation full of children being parented by media and their peers instead of adults who care for them.
While working with these children I saw myself in every one of them. I saw the atrocities they face and empathized because I too experienced many of them. At the same time my heart hurt for their pain it also cried out to God to humble me and make me of more use to them. The burnout in social service is incredible. The abundance of people working with those in need who have no desire to do much more than earn a paycheck is much greater. While all this goes on behind institutional walls, most of us stand back and hope others will fix the problem, or throw a little money at it and assume that it is enough to abrogate your duty to your fellow man.
Looking back on the experience as a whole I have come to many realizations. One of them is that God has ordained the path on which I must walk, and while I still make the decisions to obey or not, I still seem to wind up where He uses me. For that I am grateful. I have also learned a potent lesson. If we as people, or as disciples of Christ exemplify that God has created each one of in His image (believer or not) by serving others with the understanding that it is His glory to be had and not ours, we may serve others with more compassion, love, and understanding that if we didn’t. And, in this case, caring for souls that have eternal destinies is not the means to an ends that serves as provision of our needs, but a privilege that the Lord of Hosts and savior Jesus Christ has allowed us to participate while meeting our needs at the same time.
I will remember to serve Him for His glory, and be grateful when He blesses me with provision for all that I require. I will not be angry when it feel that is not enough, and I will rejoice when I have received more than I need. I will always be thankful that He has saved me, a sinner, and allowed me to serve and bring the message of redemption through the Gospel, becoming a living sacrifice, and seeking to glorify Him in all that I do.
Peace be with you,