“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7, NIV
These verses have not held more truth to me than these past couple of months. I have found myself in between being buried under a pile of books and essays to write for classes or in courtrooms and offices at the Daley center accompanying my clients. Being a full time student and a part time compañera intern is draining. I start to realize that there are not enough hours in the day. I start to feel I am incompetent and doubt my education in the social work field. And the list continues.
But then, at eight every morning, I have my bible opened up in front of me and I can breathe again. I acknowledge that I am not God and that I am merely a vessel being used by God to serve in this world.
I surrender to Him.
I surrender because even when I feel I am putting 110% of effort into my clients, we encounter barriers where my client does not qualify, gets denied, or do not have the financial means of getting services. I pray to God because He can provide when I cannot.
Last week, I went to court with a client. We arrived at the Daley center at 8:30 AM to seek legal advice in accordance to his case. And when we got done, we went to Starbucks to await his court hearing at 11:30 that same morning. We talked about his wife and son, his work, and life in general. We spent over an hour getting to know each other before his court hearing. But once we were in front of the judge, she would announce that my client had the possibility of going to jail. Hearing these words, I was at a loss. I had just spent an hour getting to know my client and all the things he was doing to avoid being separated from his family, to avoid missing work so he can continue to provide for his family. But he was stripped to be seen only as his previous mistake. The court system did not see the man that I saw.
Unfortunately, I had no power to change the judge’s mind. My job was to accompany my client, no matter the circumstance, as they go through difficult things. While not explicitly described under my job description, working as a compañera has also taught me to rely on God through prayer. I will pray for my client and his circumstances. I will pray for his family to be provided for, no matter the judge’s decision. I will pray because when my physical work is not enough, my spiritual work is.
God, I thank you for providing and protecting. I pray that I may not become engulfed in difficult situations but that I turn to you, God. Let my anxieties and my worries not get the best of me. Let me be reenergized as I work in service of God’s people.
Bless your generous, humble, and wise heart! Thank you so much for sharing this poignant description of the interior movements of your soul accompanying Christ’s dying and rising in your client’s life. I pray that you continue to journey in in God’s empowering grace as you bear witness to injustice through your very presence. Gratefully, Deirdre