One Year Later

Today is the day that marks one year of working in child protection. 

One year ago today I took a leap of faith into the work of child protection to learn if I would sink or swim. 

For a long time, I was sinking. Drowning. But now, maybe, I am swimming. 

There was this moment last week where I gave yet another parent bad news, and they reacted in the worst way possible, and I had a moment of realization about how far I had come in this career. 

A year ago me would not have been able to deliver bad news. A year ago me would have not known how to react when someone is screaming at me and swearing at me and wishing horrible things on me. A year ago me would have been red faced and struggled to stay calm. A year ago me would have taken the screaming and yelling home and been unable to let it go. 

But there I sat, calm in the face of yelling. Calm while some screamed obscenities at me. Calm as police attended to keep the peace. 

And I debriefed with coworkers. Returned home. And let it go. 

A year ago I didn’t even think that was possible. And yet here I am. 

In that meeting also sat a brand new coworker, who reminds me of me. Quiet. Unsure. Untested. And she sat calmly, it was my meeting after all,  but it effected her. And as I looked at her and talked with her about it, I was reminded of how far I have come in this position. 

A year ago I started this adventure. A year ago I mentally committed to being in this job for a year, uncertain if I could ever make it longer than that. 

And now, I don’t know. I’ve passed a year. I’ve grown. I’ve cried. I’ve loved it. I’ve hated it. I’ve wanted to quit. I’ve wanted to stay. 

I don’t know what the future holds. Probably more yelling and screaming. Probably more days where I hate my life. Probably more days where I can’t cope anymore. 

But for now, I have survived a year. And here’s to who knows how much longer. 

Advertisements

Can anyone see me?

I used to ask myself this when I was in the darkest of places. 

Can anyone see me?

It was prompted by a desire to be known. To mean something to someone. To be present. 

For it to matter if I was gone. 

And it was prompted by a fear that I was meaningless, invisible, worthless. 

I like to think those days are behind me. But every now and then the thoughts creep back in.

Can anyone see me?

The question goes around and around in my mind. 

I used to be known. I used to have friends who knew my heart, my dreams and my fears. There used to be people who could see me and know what questions to ask. I used to have people who would challenge and convict me, who would help me grow into a better person. 

But something changed.

Time. Distance. Life. 

Me. 

I don’t know what it is now. 

I have friends. 

But I feel fractured.

This group gets work me. 

This group gets fun me.

This group gets serious me. 

What group gets all of me?

Who really knows me? 

In high school I was an expert at putting on a face. Of being the person people expected me to be. Of being the person people needed me to be. But it was at the cost of my own identity.

Sometimes I worry that that is happening again. 

There are different versions of me and beneath it all I wonder who am I? 

And I know, I know who I am. But does anyone else? 

I walk into a room and I wonder does anyone notice? 

And more importantly, would anyone notice if I didn’t walk in that room anymore? 

And I wonder if I matter. Or am I just a presence? Here today and gone tomorrow.

Or was I ever really here? 

I feel broken and fractured. I feel like I want something and don’t know how to obtain it. I want to be vulnerable and real with someone. I want to be known. I want to be here. I want to matter. 

I want to be seen. 

And right now, all I can do is ask myself can anyone see me? Does it matter that I am here? If I disappeared tomorrow would anyone notice? 

Can anyone see me?

Running in Circles

I’ve often said that I am my own worst critic. I mean, aren’t we all? We point out flaws and wrongdoings in ourselves with ease. 

Sometimes, no matter how hard I try, I can’t let things go. I can’t let go of the words that I said that I shouldn’t have and the actions I took that I shouldn’t have.

I feel like a hamster on one of those wheels, running as fast as he can but not getting anywhere. 

Only my wheel is a single day. Maybe even just a single hour of a single day.

And that moment in time is stuck on repeat in my head. I’m going over it again and again and again. 

I know where I went wrong. I know what words I should have taken back. I know what actions I shouldn’t have taken.

I even know that I learned something from this and will handle it differently in the future. 

But still it goes around and around and around. 

And every time it does my mind, my ever so critical mind, comes out with the worst possible things to say.

You’re stupid. It says. Because why else would it have happened. 

You failed. It says. Because everything got worse.

You aren’t capable. 

You aren’t competent. 

You aren’t good at your job. 

Around and around and around it goes. 

In all the quiet moments. It’s on repeat like an anthem in my mind. And the more it repeats, the more I wonder if it’s true. 

I am beaten down. Beaten down by a job that runs you ragged on the beat of days. Beaten down by criticism I have received by people who shouldn’t even matter to me beaten down by the thoughts in my own head. 

And I’m so tired. I’m tired of the words in my head, the barely concealed emotion in my voice, the tears that want to come out for no real reason. 

Breathe, I tell myself. Just breathe. 

You are human after all. And humans make mistakes. Sometimes big ones. And in the grande scheme of life, this wasn’t a big one. The mark of a capable person is the ability to learn and move on. 

Breathe, I tell myself. Just breathe. 

A singe moment doesn’t have to define you. A single moment is just a blip in a long, long road. 

Breathe, I tell myself. Just breathe. 

You don’t have to carry the world. The world doesn’t rest on your shoulders. You can let go of this, of the stress, and pain, and heartache, and misery, and exhaustion. 

Breathe, I tell myself. Just breathe. 

Breathe out the stress, breathe in the peace. 

Just breathe. 

You don’t have to run in circles anymore. 

_____________________________________________

God, take it from me. Hold it for me. It’s drowning me. I can hardly breathe. I can’t do it alone. Please take it from me. Hold on to me. I am yours. I am yours. 

The Words I Wish I Could Say

The worst part of my job, and perhaps one of the most important parts, is removing children from the care of their parents. 

It is the part of the job that I hate. Seeing the anguish on the face of parents, who love their kids despite the danger the children are in. The confusion on the face of the children who don’t understand what is happening to them or why. The anger that always inevitably comes out. The blame that always finds a way in my direction. 

For the last month this has been my life. And through it all there are words I wish I could say, things I wish parents knew. 

Here it is:

Contrary to what you may believe, I don’t want to take your children from you. I wanted to avoid this just as much as you wanted me too. But sometimes that choice is out of my hands. 

It is the worst part of my job. And in moments like this, I wish beyond all things that my job wasn’t required. But it is. Because better or worse, there will always be children at risk. And I will always be needed. 

I can promise you I anguished over the decision. I went back and forth. I looked for safety factors where there were none. I looked for other options knowing there were none. I advocated for you even though everyone else was against me. Sometimes I went against my better judgement to give you a chance. But sometimes it’s not enough. 

I don’t take pleasure from this moment. I don’t relish in it.  It doesn’t make me feel bigger or stronger. It is not an excercise of my power. It is a necessary part of my job though. 

I know this moment is traumatic for you. It is for me too, in a different way. In this moment my trauma doesn’t matter. You will never forget this moment, and neither will I. This is a moment that has irrevocably change you. I know that. It will stay with me too. 

I know you love your children. I know you want to keep them safe and healthy and you want to keep loving them. I know that this feels like your heart is being ripped out of you. 

I don’t want to take your children from you. I don’t want to keep them from you. But here we are and there is no going back. 

I’m sorry. Not sorry that I’ve done it, because I believe it is the best for your children. But sorry that it got to this point. Sorry that we had no other choices. Sorry that your children had to leave you for now. Sorry for the hurt that you are feeling now. 

Outpouring of the Heart

What is in your heart? 

That’s the question I’ve been asking myself. 

Lately at church and at bible study there has been a common theme: what comes out was always inside your heart. 

And it’s the heart that has to change. 

Lately I’ve been stressed. Overwhelmed. Over worked. Yelled at by clients. Told how to do my job by people who would never do my job. Removed more children then I’d like to admit too. With more work to do then I know what to do with. 

I’ve been exhausted. In every way possible. I’ve been on the verge of tears multiple times. I’ve had more to drink then I’d like to admit to. 

And one other thing too. I’ve been angry. 

Not at a specific person. But at life. At the situations I find myself it. And, okay, sometimes at specific person. 

I’ve been bitter. 

I’ve been angry. 

And it’s come out. 

It’s come out in f-bombs and other swearing. It’s come out in how I’ve spoken about people. It’s come out in how I deal with people in my personal life.

Now part of me says this is a stress response. It’s the emotions of what I’ve seen and what I’ve done in the last few weeks coming out. And it has to come out. Because to let it build up will only lead to an explosion. 

But the other part of me, the small quiet voice in my head, asks a question: what is in your heart? 

And right now it is anger.

And maybe it is righteous anger in some ways. Anger at children being vulnerable. Anger at systems that fail people. Anger at the load that keeps being piled upon me. 

But is that really justified? Is anger ever okay? What is at the base of that anger? 

This is what I am wrestling with right now. 

I want my heart to be full of love. For the outpouring of my heart to be love.

I don’t like this version of myself that I am becoming. Even if there is a justified reason that it is happening. 

I don’t want to be angry anymore. 

Please God, take the anger out of my heart. Bring me your peace. 

Make My Heart BelieveĀ 

This song is resonating in my mind right now. It’s stuck, with the words repeating like an anthem. No, like a prayer. This is my prayer. 

In all my sorrows, Jesus is better 

Make my heart believe

In all my victories, Jesus is better 

Make my heart believe 

Thank any comfort, Jesus is better 

Make my heart believe 

More than all riches, Jesus is better 

Make my heart believe 

Our souls declaring, Jesus is better

Make my heart believe 

Our song eternal, Jesus is better 

Make my heart believe 


https://youtu.be/H0QotnipM-o 

Finding RestĀ 

I’ve been have one of those weeks. Or multiples of those kind of weeks. 

You know the kind I’m talking about right? 

The kind that never seems to end. That piles up higher and higher. That leaves you running a mile a minute. And ultimately leaves you running on fumes. 

That’s what it’s been. And today, which blessedly is the end of my week, there is nothing left in me. 

I have been running on fumes since Tuesday. I am used up. I am empty. 

I’m trying to find rest. 

Not just sleep. Although that’s important. And I haven’t been getting much of it of late. 

But rest. The kind of rest that can only be found in God. 

I will give my stress to God. 

I will ask for His help to let go of the things that are piling on me. 

I will rest in God’s presence. 

And that is where true rest is found. In His loving arms, His perfect comfort, His unending strength. 

God can carry this for me. He can carry my stress, my burdens, my exhaustion, my complaints. He is bigger than I will ever be, stronger than I will ever be, wiser than I will ever be. 

It’s a beautiful thing to have a perfect and loving saviour who has me in the palm of his hand. 

Because, after the last few weeks, that is the only place that I’ll find any rest.