I have had a rough week, y’all.
This was the second of four weeks of group therapy camps for girls aged 7-14 at my internship. The first week we had about thirty girls, and we thought that was a lot to handle so for the second week, we reduced the numbers down to 24. And guess what?! This group was much more exhausting and difficult to control!
We certainly didn’t see that coming, and personally, I was not ready for it. I think I started the week a little unready for the busyness and stress that was about to come, but what I actually encountered would take another level of patience and grace. And as it just so happens that patience and grace are things I’m not usually in abundance of. In fact, I’ve often thought of naming any girls I have Patience or Grace just to remind them of their importance.
Even though we had a smaller number of girls in the group, these girls made it feel like we had triple the size of the first week! The entire week was packed full of drama, catty bullying, pushing boundaries, disrespect, attitude, lies, and belligerent defiance. This is my first experience being really submerged in counseling/social work related work, but the therapists who run the group have been at this much longer, and they were just as overwhelmed and exhausted as I was!
It got so bad that we had to disallow several of the girls to return to the group midway through the week. I tried telling my family about what I have been dealing with this week, but they have never really shared my interest in counseling or helping people so their reply was that they wouldn’t come back or that I should take today (Friday) off. But even though I am thanking the Lord so much that it is finally Friday, this week has not scared me off from pursuing counseling and social work. Nor has it made me want to stop going to Oesterlen.
Even though this week drained me pretty thoroughly, I still feel so passionately sure of my mission and purpose with these kids that it leads me right back. My problem is not with the kids or with my internship or the organization. My problem is a lack of grace as well as a lack of a filled spirit, prepared to give to others and still have grace and energy to give to my family and continue on to the next day. That is the lesson of this season, and it is not one I am learning lightly.
God’s grace is life changing. It is game changing. I read earlier in the week on shereadstruth.com (which you should DEFINITELY check out, if you haven’t yet) “The Gospel changes everything. May we never forget.” And the how to never forget is something I have been learning a lot about in my Resolution study. The Gospel changes everything. The Gospel is the good news of God’s saving grace for all of us. And this news should change everything. But how do we change everything?
Here is a confession that probably everyone who knows me already well knows: I am not (YET) a woman of grace. The lesson in the Resolution book had some inventory questions and… Well, I flunked them all. ALL?!
Are you easy to be around? Let’s see… If you asked the people who live in my house, I’m pretty sure none of them would say yes. If they did, it would be with reservation.
Is it natural for your loved ones to feel accepted by you? No, in fact, I think very few people feel accepted/not judged by me.
Are you keeping track of loved’ ones mistakes or failures? This one is something I really don’t want to be doing, but I just catch myself doing it all the time!
Is there a person in your life that is held captive by your critical nature? Yes, yes, yes. Done.
Do you play the martyr because of all you’re “required” to do? Ugh, yes, yes, yes.
So I see that all of this is disgusting to me and not even close to giving glory to God. But I look at all that I need to change and all of the habits I have formed and relationships I have created in this light, and I don’t know the first step to take to change any of it.
Of course, I have been taking this to the Lord in prayer. But so far I have been failing every opportunity I have to change my graceless ways. Nothing in my soul has grace, and I have come to accept that fully. I have a critical nature, and God is Grace Himself. So I CAN’T do this. But I have asked God to fill me with His Grace and break down my graceless self. And I have resolved to see God’s hope for me through. I do not have any grace of my own. And it is not my nature to dispense grace like I would love to do. But I will be a woman of grace; I will be a woman who people can see God’s grace through. I will be a woman who, though she has no grace, does grace everyday. And they will say, “She does grace.” And when they ask how it could be done that a woman who is so critical could give such grace, my Father will receive all of the Glory. Now and Forever.
For all I am without His grace is a Hellbound sinner and all I have without his Grace is an ugly, critical, stained soul.
But with His grace, I have His promise, and I can be washed with His grace so that my filth and rags are seen no more.
Only His grace shines through.
And May My Father’s Grace Be Yours Too,