Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Vicarious Traumatization

At work for the last two weeks, we've talked about developing a relationship with our clients. This however, was coupled with a warning, "Be careful of Vicarious Traumatization"

What is that exactly?

All of the trauma work that we do, hour after hour, day after day, week after week, contributes to inner changes in the self of the therapist. It’s an inevitable part of the work…because we’re entering into a very dark world, and if we’re open emotionally, in the way we need to be to be effective helpers, we’re going to be impacted."– Laurie Anne Pearlman

It is when our world view becomes affected by the stories and the lives of our clients.

Today we had to sit and think of when we were affected, either positively, or negatively about our reactions to the children at the group home.

When I first started working. I was very calm on the job. I didn't react, or so I thought, to the children's acting out violently or sexually. I didn't flinch to their crude humor or deviant acts. I would just shake my head, change the subject and re-direct them to another place.

Then I went home.

I found my Sundays to be of great relief when I was in church. I would "give it to God" and get over it. It wasn't until I made Sunday dinner that suddenly the world became "too loud" the kid's arguing became "too much" I found myself reacting harshly...

Then night would fall, and my husband and I would retire for intimate time alone. I found that my skin would crawl at his touch, and I could barely lie still as he tried to get close.

Instead, I saw images of the kid's from work, perverted acts they had committed during the week. I re-lived their stories of horror at the hands of a "loved one"

I could no longer enjoy sex or being held.

It was a full two months before I realized that this was a problem. I at first, figured it was jsut stress from my job. Later I realized it was something more.

I gave it up to God.

I don't mean to say this in some kind of classic cliche way. No I poured my heart out and gave it over, because my husband and I started questioning, just how long we were going to last in this stale-mate.

This is where hope is given, that other's without Christ don't experience very often.

I found myself looking at the situation, and the kids. I saw WHY I was being affect so.

Past family trauma, religious belief all affected my view...

So I prayed to be as Jesus.

I was not prepared for what I felt.

There is a reason why it is said to weep with those who weep. There is a reason for why we go through so horrific things.

I looked at my boys in the group home. I had grown to love just about all...

Yet he was going to be a molestor when he grew up
He was going to be a thief and a liar without intervention
And my partner, my favorite staff, was cheater, that didn't apologize for his behavior.

Each person was a symbol of those I couldn't forgive from my past, and this setting as a child I loved.

I found myself weeping for their plight.
I found myself forgiving.

Forgivness was the result of my Vicarious Traumatization.

Each day that I work, the more I feel free as I forgive more and more.
I find myself overcoming obsticles, (though I am still far from perfect) that I used to numb pain.

I find myself looking at people in a whole different light.

Forgive me if I compare...But I am beginning to see them as Jesus does. As children.

Today, I am much more confident, prepared tp deal with the spitting, the calling of names, the sexually violent behavior. I see beyond the shell of the child and the pain within, and I pray to somehow reach where others fail to dwell...

We fight a spiritual battle.

Let us remember that we do not fight against flesh. Try and not hate our enemies lest Satan come and tempt us into sin.

We are to love as Christ loved.

Does this mean we condone sin? No...

But we are to truly love the sinner.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A taste of what's to come

Read this and you will see what an awesome God we serve:

One vote. That was the margin Wednesday by which the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America churchwide assembly approved a social statement that, among other things, acknowledges the validity of same-sex relationships that are "chaste, monogamous and lifelong."
The margin was so close that Bishop Mark Hanson, the ELCA leader who presided over the vote, hesitated before announcing the outcome. Rules required the social statement to pass by a two-thirds vote; the final result was 66.67 percent.

"I thought it was going to be close, but I doubted very much that it would come out at exactly two-thirds," said the Rev. Peter Strommen, chairman of the task force that drew up the social statement and pastor of Shepherd of the Lake Lutheran Church in Prior Lake.

Close as it was, the vote bodes well for a proposal to repeal a ban on gay and lesbian ministers from leading churches unless they promise to be celibate. That motion, which is to come up for a vote Friday afternoon, requires only a simple majority to pass.

Okay, so here is the awesome part...this is what happened as God responded to this abomination:
The National Weather Service received reports of a possible tornado near downtown Minneapolis, where winds tore off part of a 90-year-old metal church steeple. Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois were also hit, though the only confirmed tornado as of Wednesday night was in Hastings, about 30 miles southeast of Minneapolis, where a 100-yard-long swath of trees was flattened.
Jack Freitag said he was standing in the lobby of the Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis when he saw "a wall cloud from the south coming across the parking lot." Then a "very loud roar" came through as he saw signs being blown around in the wind.

The wind tore off part of the church's 90-year-old metal steeple around 2 p.m. while about 120 people were inside, said church spokesman Joe Bjordal.

"I was worried about the people then," said Freitag, who told everyone to seek shelter in the church's basement. No one was injured.

Outside the church, strong winds ripped apart large outdoor tents and scattered chairs and folding tables across the parking lot that were set up for the national Evangelical Lutheran Church in America convention. The church was scheduled to serve breakfast to guests attending the event at the Minneapolis Convention Center next door.

Judgment begins at the house of the Lord

Friday, August 21, 2009

Calm before the storm

So much has already happened ths year, and in record breaking pace; right now it feels as though we are in a lull, I suppose. I find myself searching the horizon in anticipation.

It's always calm right before a storm.

Friday, August 14, 2009

"Love Waxeth Cold"

I generally read the news every night. Each time I find it harder and harder to look away, harder and harder to feel happy...harder and harder not to imagine the grief that our Heavenly Father must feel.

There are two things that I can do. Either I turn away and swallow my pain, like a bitter pill until at last it deadens all feeling....or I feel each tear as it sears my cheeks.

I must be as Jesus...and therefore I feel.

Matthew 24

4And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
5For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

6And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

7For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

8All these are the beginning of sorrows.

9Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.

10And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

11And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

12And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

13But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

I suppose that's Jesus had to take time for himself. To shut His eyes and focus on something beautiful. This is why we have our secret prayer rooms. This is why He calls us to fellowship with Him. We need to look upon something beautiful.

13But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved

Thursday, August 13, 2009

How we should live during these times

It is easy for us as Christians, to get into the habit of calling out everyone's faults. We are so used to speaking out against what is wrong, we forget we are to love those who have wronged us.

In this day and age, there is much speculation flying about the rapture, end times and other doctrine. Instead of edifying it tears apart the church. A divided church cannot stand, and that is just what the enemy would have us be.

Titus 2
1But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:

2That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.

3The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

4That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

5To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

6Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.

7In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,

8Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.

9Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again;

10Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.

11For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

12Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

13Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

14Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

15These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee

Titus 3
1Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,

2To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.

3For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.

4But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,

5Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

6Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

7That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

8This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

9But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.

10A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;

11Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.

12When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent to come unto me to Nicopolis: for I have determined there to winter.

13Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting unto them.

14And let our's also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.

15All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Feeling nervous about who's watching you online?

The more time Obama spends in the office, the more his true nature, and the nature of American Government is being revealed. It's strange, while I'm glad to learn that I was not completely off-base with everything I studied and posted about, I don't like seeing it come true either.

Well here's the latest and I'm sure you've heard it by now as well, but just in case:

(Clunker Cars) Cash for Cars - This is frightening.
This is interesting and scary. What's our government coming to.

This is very interesting.. You need to watch this and pass it onto the rest of the family and friends!!

This will scare the heck out of you

PLEASE DO NOT GO TO THE WEBSITE Watch this video and see why.

This video comes from Glenn Beck's Friday, July 30, 2009 tv show.
Frightening facts concerning the 'clunker car' deal if you go into the government website to learn about this program. His message is ''don't go there" and why.

Basically he shows how that upon clicking the I accept button on the Privacy page on, you are giving the federal government the right to your computer. They will OWN your computer. This is not a scam...this is fact. It's there in the small print.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A Little Freaked Out

It's funny, now that I've been working here for awhile, I can definitely tell the difference between possession and mental illness.

What's weird is how when looking back at the details, I am more freaked out about it, than while I experienced it.

One day after walking one of my clients back from another house, I noticed a family sitting on the lawn. There were "praying" and yelling their hymns while rocking back and forth. One of the boys that were watching asked

"What in the hell are they doing??" (group home boy talk, remember)

"They are worshiping." A fellow staff answered. I said nothing, but thought to myself...

"Nope, that's voodoo." Like most of us busy christians, I put that away and filed it until tonight.

Last Wed, I was called to work at the girl's house. I had no problems. In fact I went on a walk with one, and played soccer with another. That just so happened to be the girl who was "worshiping with her family".

All was fine, until we retired into the house where staff was watching a television program called "Ghost Hunters" I don't watch that sort of trash, but because the house was, I did too.

I noticed the girl watching me and my reactions to things. She was talking slow, and the staff began questioning why she was acting like that. I figured she was slurring and acting goofy because of her meds, they said that she was showing out for me.

"Okay, nothing new."

Meanwhile, I had been dealing with some personal issues all day, so I was in constant prayer anyways. SO while watching the program, I was having my own private conversation with God.

For strength
For guidance
And general thanks

Once again I noticed the girl staring at me with a little grin on her face. I figured she was just trying to make me jumpy...I smiled in return and turned my attention to the television. I then announced why exactly I would never do that sort of work (ghost hunting), and that I DID believe in such things only not as ghost, but demons.

She really grinned then and looked me straight in the eyes.

"Possessed" was what my inner spirit replied.

I looked at her steadily for a moment...message received, and I went back to my own prayers and watched as she finally went to bed after many staff prompts.

I did thank her for her being so good when we played soccer...

Anyway, so tonight one other female staff had to work that house and she came back after telling me how the house was just crazy. She had gotten into two containments. One was with the girl.

"You are right, that girl is possessed." I had forgotten that I had mentioned it to her. She started telling me all about how the "look" she would give before attacking someone. Just out of the blue...and to kill. (she's been hospitalized several times this last past month for such things. In fact, she has tried to poison her mother several times.

I described the look, the same as she gave me..

"Oh okay, so you know."

Yeah...but what's even more, I know that she did not try and attack me. What I wish I did know, was if it was because she saw (or it) saw Jesus...were there angels in the room?

It is just one more reminder that we truly do not fight against flesh. Looking back I can see a pattern. The weeks where I have spent extra days in prayer, the days that I run to God even as I block a child from doing destruction, are the same days that I am battling spiritual forces that I cannot see.

Those are the same days that I come home so drained that I cannot move. I never really payed much attention. Only know that I look back I see how I went straight to bed, exhausted. How I was compelled to read my Bible before I closed my eyes in sleep. How I prayed throughout the day, and night, even in my sleep.

I was in a constant battle.

Remember when I asked for prayer?

I wrote this:
Last, but certainly not least...

When we are doing the Lord's will, you that the enemy strikes. I ask for prayer that God keeps me close, and "ready" in and out of season.

I pray that I do not grow weary.
I pray that I do not get too comfortable and start to conform to many of the habits that others in my work place have...namely gossip.

I want to be a light, and I know that means I am a target.

I pray for strength.

Someone commented that they were surprised that kids didn't cuss me out like they do most staff. They said I had a calming effect. I was happy to hear that, but gave God the glory. It also made me a bit afraid, I don't want to get big-headed. I know that kids listen to me somewhat, but not because they are scared. I have broken up many fights.

You know that verse where it talks about the spirit knows what to pray even when we don't?

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will" (Rom. 8:26, 27).

I was very weak, that whole week, and the spirit had me praying for exactly what I needed.

Only now that I recognize it, I am skittish. Heck, I am feeling a bit jumpy even. I mean, today we had problems...constantly, but I feel fine. No tiredness at all.

It's is awesome and scary at the same time. It's good to know that not only does my partner have my back...But GOD ultimately has my LIFE!

Praise be to Jesus.