Here is a very small glimpse into my job. My job, I feel like I can’t even call it that because I don’t feel like I’m working. I’m just doing life with women and the bonus is that I get paid for it. I’m blessed beyond belief with this work. I have such great support from my co-workers as they walk through my learning process and I embark on this new journey. For those of you who don’t know, the Sheepfold is a ministry that houses victims of domestic violence and homelessness and their children. It is a place for women who have found themselves in a rough situation can escape and find hope, rest and a future without the ways of their past.
So many times people ask subtle questions about work, knowing I can’t divulge private and personal information about my clients. The following is a description of my reaction and my emotions.
Each day at the sheepfold is new. Although the ministry is a well-oiled machine and runs exquisitely well, there is only so much preparation you can do for the millions of issues that can arise at a shelter.
Some days are simple and sweet. Women and their children happily going about their days. Accomplishing tasks. Pausing for the meals I prepare, for Bible study and for conversation. The women seem to want to talk without end. A community is built out of conversation. We are able to sit and talk and laugh. God blesses those conversations. I do not have the wisdom it takes to love and care for these women as they need to be, that has to come from above. The sweet little children, who have often gone through so much in their short little lives, seem to always find a place to sit in my lap. I can’t count the times my lap was loaded with six or more children snuggling into my arms and asking questions all at once. In fact I can’t think of a time when I sat down in a common room and children DIDN’T climb into my lap. They have the cutest stories to tell me and always want to play and be read to. Their innocent hearts warm mine. I know they are precious to Jesus, these little lambs I go about my day cleaning, writing, preparing meals that I pray don’t burn or taste like 4 year old prepared them. I often stop, waiting to hear the voice of the Lord on these days. These are days things get done seamlessly. That when I lay my head on my pillow at night I praise the God who created that day for blessing it so abundantly. These times, the simple times, the meal times, and chatting times, and venting times, these are times I hold close to my heart. Most of these precious moments to me have never been shared with another.
Then there are hard days. Moments that challenge everything I know. Moments of vulnerability when women tell me their stories and I can’t believe they’ve gone through so much hardship. It wrecks me. These are days where big and small issues come up. Where I feel unheard, alone and sometimes disrespected. Moments, that even if the days are good, I feel so weak. Where I feel like a joke. Those are the days I pour my heart out to God and plead with Him for strength! Where I question why He has ME leading at all. These are days I feel like I have so much to do, and so little time. These are days that when I lay in bed at night my head is spinning and I cycle through all my frustration and inefficiencies. These are the days that remind me I’m broken, and on these days, I break again.
I love my job. I have never felt so fulfilled in my life. I have never felt like everything was exactly how it needed to be, until I took this job. I sometimes think I can’t bear the burden, and I’m reminded that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Even as I write about it I am both filled with so much joy and sadness. Joy that I get to be a part of something bigger, sad that this tragedy exists at all. God is every part of this ministry. He is working through the leadership, staff and in the lives of our residents. And what I love more than the actual tasks of my job are the women and their children. Serving and loving them fills me in a way nothing in life ever has. I’ve been questioned before if God has truly called me to this. I know by the amount of love and compassion I have for these women, even when I’m away from them.
I’m far from perfect. I can’t even say I’m doing a good job. All I know is that God has me where He wants me and through me He will use me and because of Him others will be blessed. I will be blessed.
To those of you who support and pray for the Sheepfold, I am honored to be on the receiving end of your gifts. I can tell you they bless these women and their kids in very tangible ways. They bless me too. Keep doing what your doing.