Social Work: What I learned, What I’ll Miss & What I’m looking forward to About Being A SAHM

family-reunification

May 14, 2005, I was 23 years old, fresh out of college and looking for work. I obtained my bachelors degree in Psychology from Oakland University and wasn’t exactly sure what type of job I was looking for when my BFF, Marcia, told me that Judson Center had an opening for a foster care worker. While I didn’t know much about foster care, I needed a job and knew that I wanted to help people, so I reluctantly submitted my resume. After two interviews I was offered the job, though I’m still not sure how because I was so wet behind the ears. I was very nervous but I accepted the position. Foster care was intense, a lot of work with very few happy endings, therefore after six months I decided to transfer to the Family Reunification Program (FRP). FRP is where I built my career. I loved working in FRP and I believe in the work that we do.

Sadly my agency lost their FRP contracts to other agencies and my program will be closing today, 9/30/13. I know that all of my coworkers will land of their feet and I am excited about the opportunity to become a stay at home mother, which has been my desire for a while now. It’s been a awesome journey and I’ve learned a lot but I believe now is the season for me to focus on my family.

Over the pasted nine years while working in FRP, I’ve been honored to work with some amazing families throughout Wayne County MI. I worked with families who’ve had their children removed due to some form of abuse or neglect and the courts returned back home after most of the safety issues had been resolved. I did in home case management for four years and then after obtaining my Masters in Counseling while working full time, I became a supervisor in FRP. Over the years I’ve seen parents maintain their sobriety so that their children’s wardship could be dismissed from the system. I’ve seen father’s step up and get full custody of their children while the mothers work to get themselves stable and back on track. I’ve seen families rebuild their trust and repair their relationships and communication skills so that their home environment can be peaceful again. It’s been a beautiful thing to be a stepping stone in several families lives on their road to successful and a better future.

Social work can be very challenging at times and it isn’t for everyone. I believe that my relationship with Jesus Christ is what helped me to be an affective social worker. I often prayed for guidance on how to best serve the families. I had to listen to Holy Spirit regarding when to respond and when to be quiet. The love of Christ kept me going back to some homes each week though I knew I would not be well received. I thank God for protecting me while in the community and for showing me favor with my clients, supervisors and other professionals.

What Social Work Has Taught Me

Over the years I’ve learned….

1. Early on that the families ultimate success or failure was not up to me, it was up to them. I learned to pray for my families and leave them in God’s hands, instead of staying up all night worrying about them.

2. That my role as a mandated reporter was to report any suspected child abuse or neglect and to leave the investigating up to Child Protective Services. I didn’t need to look under people’s beds and in their basement, that wasn’t my job. I was there to keep families together.

3. To dot all my i’s and cross all my t’s because in social work, if it wasn’t documented, it didn’t happen.

4. Not to take bags into clients homes because you might bring unwanted guest home with you.

5. How to remain professional and not freak out when I saw bugs or mice running around people’s living rooms.

6. My way around the City of Detroit after the first two years of continually being lost and calling my dad, my husband or my dad’s buddy Ron for directions (before GPS was popular).

7. How to testify in court and how to interact with Judges, Referees and lawyers.

8. How to pay rent and utility bills, file police reports and sign up for government assistance, all things that at 23 I had not been exposed.

9. How to work with people of all different backgrounds and to appreciate other’s differences. To be open minded and understand that all families don’t look like mine and that is ok.

10. How to safety plan with my clients and help them to be resourceful. This was helpful in the situations where I was able to locate free resources for families in their communities and help them safety plan so that their families needs were met and everyone was safe.

11. The most important thing I’ve learned was how to be strength based and solution focused, which is the foundation that FRP is built on. No matter what the situations looked like when we initially started working with a family, we were taught to ALWAYS locate the families strengths and to build on that. We were taught to focus on the solutions and not the problems. We were taught to be optimistic and to believe in our clients success even when our clients were doubtful. The strength based solution focus model has been imbedded in my brain and I plan to continue using it in my everyday life.

I’ll never forget some of the great success stories where families beat the odds or challenging cases that ended in the children being removed from the home. I’ll never forget the stress of file reviews, countless interviews in attempts to locate competent staff or the few after hours home visits I had to attend in times of crisis. I’ll never forget the supervisors I had that trained, supported, and challenged me and who made me the social worker/therapist that I am today.

I’ll miss Judson Center, it was truly a great agency to work for. I’ll miss exploring cases and problem solving with my peers. I’ll miss the excited yet nervous feeling I’d get every time I went on a initial home visit. I’ll miss the feeling of pride after having a great home visit where the family was open and engaging and had a major break through. I’ll miss the joy of seeing families get praised by the Judge and get their case dismissed at court. I’ll miss some of my staff that I know truly cared about the families and were dedicated to serving them to the best of their ability.

I’m looking forward to being at home with my family and having time to spend with them. My husband and I were working opposite shifts so sometimes it felt like days went by before we got a moment to slow down and enjoy each other. I’m looking forward to being active in our girl’s development and education. Elyssa is 2 1/2 years old and Elaina is 3 1/2 months. I want to be there to watch them grow and take a even bigger role in their daily learning. I’m looking forward to putting Elyssa in dance or swimming classes and taking her to the library for toddler time. I’m looking forward to supporting my husband with his business and being more of a help meet to him. I’m looking forward to seeking God about my future business ventures and educational goals. I’m looking forward to being a therapist at some point. This is truly an end to a great era but the beginning of something awesome as well. I know the Lord is with me and my family and I have complete peace about the journey that is ahead because He is guiding my every step.

STOP Trippin & START Trustin

strength

Hey you, YES YOU! STOP trippin and START trustin!! Remember God’s got you. I know it looks bad. I know you’ve been waiting and praying and waiting and praying but so what, keep trustin, keep believing!! I promise you, God hasn’t forgotten you. Even though it may look bad, remember that He’s BIGGER, He’s STRONGER, He’s ABLE and He’s FAITHFUL!! God cares about your needs, He cares about your pain. He has awesome plans for you. Don’t let life beat you down. Get up, talk to God, seek His face, and follow HIS plan. Seek encouragement and godly counsel from those around you. We all need help, we all need support. I just want to encourage you today to know that you’re not alone. This battle is not yours, it’s the Lords! Get up, put your boxing gloves on and get back in the fight. Below are your tools to fight the feelings of fear, failure anxiety today. Read those scriptures, mediate on them and hide them in your heart. Today will be an awesome day and victory is headed your way!! AMEN!!!!!!

Nehemiah 8:10 AMP Be not grieved and depressed, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Luke 12:6-7 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

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

Learning To Toss out the Romanic Myths and Seek The Truth

Toss out the Romanic Myths and Seek The Truth

Your soulmate is the person who mends your broken heart by simply giving you theirs ~ author unknown.

I saw this quote on a FB friend’s page and I thought it would be interesting to write a post about it. While the quote and pic are good intentioned and seemingly romantic, I think the message is actually dangerous. No one can heal us but God. It helps to have positive loving people around us, but they can’t heal us.

3 Reasons Why God is the Answer to Your Pain

1. 1 John 3:16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.

There isn’t a love greater than the love that Christ has for us. He died for our sins and rose on the third day, so that we can be healed and set free. We love Christ because He first loved us. Often times we get caught up in what looks like romance and happiness BUT if it doesn’t please Christ, it isn’t his will for us. God heals, he saves, he lives to make us whole again. No one can love us unconditionally like Christ.

2. Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

The only one who can heal our bodies, emotions and make our life better is God. We have to be careful not to try to make our significant others our savior. No man or woman can heal our hearts or take away our pain. Have you ever seen a woman date a good man (he’s faithful, a gentleman, honest, open and drama free) and she still treats him like he’s one of the dogs that she’s dated in the past. That’s because no matter how much that man loved on her, he couldn’t take away the pain of her past. God loves us so much, that no matter what wrong we’ve done or that’s been done to us, He is waiting, ready and willing to love on us, restore us and make us whole again. Restoration comes when we submit to Gods will and focus on pleasing him, NOT man.

3. Matthew 9:22 Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.

It’s important for us to have faith in God, knowing that He alone is the answer to all of our problems. When we put our faith in people, at some point we find ourselves frustrated and disappointed because man fails us but God never fails. When we submit to the Lord, putting all of our issues on the altar, He is always faithful to meet us right where we’re at and start the process of making us new again. Some healing is instant and others healing is a process. As long as we keep our eyes on the cross, we know that our break through is on the way.

2012 Through the Good and the Bad, God Continued to Be Faithful!

2013

2012 is coming to an end. This year had it’s ups and downs but God was aways in the midst. Loved ones got married, some got divorced. Some received healing, some continued to wrestle with sickness. Some lost jobs while others found jobs or were promoted. Some (including myself) survived the loss of child or a close loved one. Some gave birth to healthy babies and had their families extended.

As I praised God at church yesterday, I was reminded that through the good and the bad, God was always with me. I experienced some tough stuff but I never went hungry, I was never without a place to live or loved ones support, encouragement or prayers for me. On my best and worst days, I was always in my right mind, always had God there comforting me and cheering me on. I thank God for salvation, relationship with God and peace that passes all understanding. I thank God for every victory that my family and I had this year. Every triumph, every testimony, whether big or small.

In 2013 I will grow in God more. I will spend more time in His word and in His presence. In June I will give birth to a healthy baby and be a blessed mommy of two. I will be more patient, loving and forgiving. I will be more organized. I will rely on God’s grace when I feel weary. I will continue to trust God with every fiber of my being.

When thinking all that has happened this year and how faithful God has been, Romans 8 came to mind. I love the entire chapter but I posted a few of the verses below. Please read them and be encouraged. Have a safe and blessed New Year.

Romans 8:28, 35-39 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

My Testimony of Tragedy & Why My Faith is Stronger Than Ever Before

Psalm 18:1-3 AMP  I love You fervently and devotedly, O Lord, my Strength.The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God, my keen and firm Strength in Whom I will trust and take refuge, my Shield, and the Horn of my salvation, my High Tower.I will call upon the Lord, Who is to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.

Four weeks ago I experienced an early pregnancy miscarriage. Words could never express how I felt upon leaving the doctor’s office after being told there was no more life inside of me. For the first few hours of that day I was a wreck BUT GOD. I made a decision to cling to my God, to trust Him and to seek His complete comfort and peace. My husband had been praying with and for me, laying hands on me and encouraging me. Even my one year old precious daughter saw tears in my eyes and she rubbed my arm to make me smile. I knew that I couldn’t let my loss consume me. I needed to activate the faith that I’d always spoke of. Was God no longer good? Was this situation too big for Him? I knew that the answer to those questions without a shadow of a doubt was NO! Like my husband told me, we will be fine, God is with us, we will have more children; but if God never did anything else for us, He’s already done so many amazing things and he was right.  In the good and bad times, God is STILL good and He didn’t kill my baby. My Savior is my everything and when I feel down or anxious, He and only He can bring me peace, strength and joy.

I was super blessed to be surrounded by family and close friends during the two weeks that I took off work. I was able to rest, pray, listen to praise and worship and dance and cry before the Lord. Everyday I felt stronger and more determine to make the devil pay for messing with my family. I know that the loss of our baby was the devils attempt to distract us and knock us off course BUT it has done the complete opposite. My marriage is tight and I feel stronger spiritually than I’ve felt in a long time because I’m clinging even more to the Lord. The devil will not win, God will get the glory from this. My mess is now my message!!

Genesis 50:20 NIV

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

I’m also super excited about the Christian support group that I felt lead of the Holy Ghost to start on Facebook called Hope and Healing For Mommies of Angel Babies. The group has been up and running for one week now and already has many members. It’s a closed group so women have to request to be added and I or the other admins will approve the request. I made the group closed so that the women who share can feel safe knowing that the post are confidential and can only be viewed by the group. In the group we post scriptures, praise reports, prayer request and questions to explore our feelings about the things that we’ve been through. It’s an uplifting group so if you know a woman who has experienced loss and needs encouragement or support please share the link with her or tell her to search for Hope and Healing For Mommies of Angel Babies on the FB search engine. All are welcome!

 https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/312074525543437/

Here are two scriptures that have been a blessing to me during this season. I know the Lord has awesome plans for me and my family as well as my future family. I trust the Lord with all my heart and I know that He will never fail me. My joy and my strength are renewed, thank you Lord for restoration.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans(A) I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper(B) you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.(C)

Proverbs 3:5-6 (AMP) Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.

A Prayer For Women Who’ve Lost A Child

Lord thank you for comfort and peace for those who have lost a child. Thank you for being their strength when they question if they can still go on. Thank you Lord for giving them peace that passes all understanding as well as joy and comfort during the rough days. Lord I ask that you send believers their way to speak of your love and to help them in any way that they need. Lord you know their pain, you hear their thoughts, I ask you right now to settle their minds and calm their spirits. Help them Lord Jesus to stop asking questions and just rest in you. Lord God restore them and make them whole again. Have your way in every area of their lives. Salvation for those who don’t know you and renewed strength for those that do. Thank you Lord for the miracles that you are about to perform in their lives. Healing in their minds, bodies, emotions, finances and relationships in Jesus name amen.

2 Yr Blog Anniv & A Good Friday Msg, Thank U For The Blood

March 30 was the two-year anniversary of my blog. It’s been an honor and a privilege to share the message of Christ to people all around the world. I LOVE each post that the Holy Spirit has given me to write. I’ve truly enjoyed sharing my thoughts with my readers. Thank you to everyone who supports my blog ministry and shares each post with their loved ones. Blog stats as of 4/6/12: 68,329 hits, 204 posts, 82 categories, 640 tags, 167 subscribers and 784 comments.

Today is Good Friday and I wanted to take time to thank the Lord for sending Jesus to die on the cross for my sins and for raising from the dead on the 3rd day! Thank you Lord for the blood of Jesus which heals, saves and sets free. Thank you for forgiving my sins and loving me despite all my faults. Thank you Lord for the blood which protects me and my family. Thank you for going to hell in my place, defeating satan and rising from the dead. The blood will NEVER lose it’s power!! HE GOT UP GOD RAISED HIM UP!! Let us never forget the real reason for this weekend. It’s not about easter bunnies, easter eggs or candy, it’s about the death and resurrection of our risen Savior Jesus Christ. I love you Jesus with ALL of me!

Testimony Time! If He did it for me, He CAN Do It For You!

Revelations 12:11 (KJV) And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony. 

This past Monday, my sister in law invited my husband and I to speak to her college bible study about dating and marriage. This opportunity to share our testimony and encourage believers on a college campus was major for me. Ten years ago, I was a lost 20-year-old college student. I thought I had a relationship with Christ but I hooked up with the wrong crowd and set many of my morals/values on a shelf to become a follower. On Monday while at that bible study, I was in awe of my awesome, faithful and able God because I knew where He’d brought me from. I knew that only because of Christ could I be ministering at a college bible study ten years later; saved, filled with the Holy Spirit, a hunger to grow in God, peace of mind, a drama free lifestyle, a wonderful husband, healthy daughter, two college degrees, a 9 year stable career and so much more. God gets all the glory because He knows just how jacked up I was ten years ago. At 20 I never would have believed that I could be where I am today BUT GOD!! Genesis 50:20 (NIV)  You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. God turned my mess into my message.

I told those awesome young people my testimony of being a lost, confused, bitter, unproductive partying college student. I told them how I was raised in a Christian home but didn’t have my own firm foundation and therefore I walked right into temptation when given the chance. I told them how my grades, relationship with God, my parents, my self-esteem and peace of mind all suffered greatly. One day after another failed relationship, I woke up and said enough is enough, this lifestyle sucks, I know God has better for me, Lord help me to live for you and free me of all this junk that’s holding me down. I told them that I had to let go of anything that kept me from going hard after the Lord; I asked the Lord to help free me of any distraction including certain friends, secular music, parties etc. I took it one day at a time until living holy before God no longer took so much effort, it was natural, a lifestyle. I surrounded myself with other Christians, stayed in my word, focused on my relationship with God and graduating. I sought counsel and received restoration from past hurts and I allowed God to have complete control of my life. Because of my repenting, open and willing heart to follow Christ, He was able to do a mighty work in me and help me to help others. I met my husband at Word of Faith. At our church we learned to glorify God in our friendship, courtship, engagement and now marriage. In being faithful to God, He remains faithful to us! God is so good!!

Today I want to encourage those that are going through or who aren’t where they want to be in Christ or even in life. Maybe you hoped to be married or have children by now. Maybe your secretly struggling with an addiction that no one but God knows about. Maybe you’re struggling to finish college or raise children on your own. Whatever your current situation is, I want you to know that God has an AWESOME future for you.  Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Please keep praying and keep seeking God. When you mess up, repent and get back up. People in this world, esp your family and friends, need you to walk with Christ so you can be a witness to them one day. Know that God’s there with you, wanting to help you and He will continue to give you the strength you need to keep pressing and growing in Him. He will never leave you or forsake you. Your testimony is on the way so don’t give up! Then you can sit in front of other people who are currently in the shoes you used to be in and boldly say LOOK WHAT THE LORD HAS DONE! HE DID IT FOR ME AND HE CAN DO IT FOR YOU!!! GLORY TO GOD HALLELUJAH!!