One important thing to know about me is that I am a social worker.
In fact, I recently returned to school to get my masters in social work and will be done in 2011.
Therefore, as a social worker, often times the clients who I see are struggling with a myriad of issues.
Many are victims of abuse or neglect, have grown up in foster care, or have had very rough lives filled with alcohol and drug abuse.
Many others have been victims of systemic oppression, poverty, and extreme forms of racism.
However, none of that is what I want to focus on.
What I want to focus on is human resilience.
Meet Wanda*. Although no longer a client, this young lady is someone who is very close to my heart.
She grew up in foster care as her father was never around and her mother was dependent upon drugs. Her relationship to this day is very rocky with her mother, and she is far from being a support system for Wanda. When they do communicate, she is a drain upon Wanda’s already depleted energy.
Wanda became pregnant in high school. She had never been sexually active, but on one fateful evening, she gave up her virginity to her boyfriend. Not long afterwards, she realized she was pregnant.
Although not everyone was supportive, she kept the baby.
I thank the Lord for this decision…but it hasn’t been easy.
Now, she works a 40 hour work day during the day, and wakes up each morning at 5 am in order to do it.
She also attends school full time at the local community college at night.
In addition, she is raising her baby and making extremely mature decisions along the way.
This is all on a very strict budget and with exhaustion racking her body much of the time.
She makes a concerted effort each day to work hard to provide a better life for her baby.
That is resilience in my book.
And leads me to see my own life in a different way.
Often times I see myself complaining or not even feeling like life is fair when things go wrong.
But if she, having been through so much, can still put a smile on her face and keep working hard each day, then
Why. Can’t. I.?
God has blessed me with SO much:
-a husband who is so kind toward me, and allows himself to be transformed to look more like Christ daily
-an immediate family and in-law family who are blessings and amazing
-friends who care for me and pray for me
-a job which I love
-a chance to minister to hurting people daily
-an opportunity to further my education
-a daily income to pay my bills
-limbs to walk on
-a mind to think with
-a tongue to speak with
ETC…you get the idea…
I encourage you too to focus on all the ways in which we have been blessed! Use Wanda’s story to see the best in every day.
But, we also need to take it the next step further. What can we do to transform negative experiences in our lives into a testimony…into resilience?
I challenge you (and me) to think about it…
And I leave you with this verse:
James 1: 2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
May we all allow our trials to make us more mature…
*Name changed for confidentiality reasons.