It’s Day 8/9 of being back to blogging and in yesterday morning’s work prayer meeting a wise organizational leader reminded us to keep calm and practice self-care. In social service/ministry, we often deal with trauma. And trauma is vicarious. It can transfer from those we serve onto us. If we’re not careful, it can infect us and make us physically, emotionally, relationally and spiritually sick too. Keeping calm and practicing self-care is the key to preventing this in our work/ministry lives.
What I’ve found, however, is that those of us who are nurturers often find it a challenge to provide ourselves with the same level of care we generously lavish on others. This was evident in the meeting when those of us who were dealing with the death (a huge D or challenge!) of a young woman and mother kept voicing concern over how it impacted everyone else. But when the group circled up around the two of us who worked closely with her and knew her best –– both of us women –– the depth of our pent-up pain manifested itself in tears that once released refused to be staunched despite the box of tissue we wept through. So why were we selfish with ourselves about our need to grieve and weep? It’s only natural that the loss of someone we tried so hard to save is devastating. In fact, when Lazarus died before Jesus could arrive to save him, the Bible tells us, “Jesus wept.” – John 11:35 (NIV).
Becoming completely vested in someone else involves experiencing their triumphs and their tragedies. In that sense, exposure to trauma is an occupational hazard. But its vicarious effects can be mitigated by acknowledging the myriad emotions we experience through being a part of another human’s life when the outcome is not what we hoped it would be. Sometimes the work still results in a world of hurt. And when we’re hurting, it’s not only ok to give ourselves some TLC, it’s necessary because we can’t help others heal if we won’t do it for ourselves.
So if you’re anything like me and are at work on purpose to serve others –– on the home front or in the workplace –– and sometimes feel your world is spinning out of control, I hope you’ll be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic, keep calm and practice self-care.
It’s Day 7 of being back to blogging, and I wish every sister in need would let me be her shelter. Yes, I’m the director of a women’s center –– a homeless shelter for women and children –– and am blessed to be able to provide a safe physical place to stay. But I’m talking about something that goes beyond a building. I’m talking about being a safe emotional, relational and spiritual place of safety for women whose needs run so much deeper than needing a roof over their heads. I’ve poured out my heart to these hurting women all of my life –– in personal and professional settings –– prayerfully believing they would see Christ in me and be drawn to Him. And I’m so thankful to say the times this has happened I’ve felt blessed and humbled beyond measure to that the Creator of the Universe would use little insignificant me. Today, though, I learned of the loss of a sister…Ugh! I don’t even have words to express my sorrow. Because I literally pleaded with her, begged –– in vain –– for this sister to let me be her shelter.
As a believer, I’m going to hold on to the hope that this sweet, beautiful young woman may have recalled the truths I spoke over her life –– that Jesus loves her –– and that my prayers for her to accept the gift of new life He offers were answered. I have to choose to believe she is safe in His arms tonight. I also don’t want to lose another sister to the Ds (challenges women face i.e. drinking, drugs, depression, dysfunction, domestic violence, etc.) and have to let you know that if you are ever in need of a safe haven –– emotionally, relationally or spiritually –– I’m here. So be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic and reach out sister. Let me be your shelter.
It’s Day 267 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project, and I’m delighted to learn about a Pink Collar Mom who’s made of more than many made her out to be. On Halloween I blogged about the tragic death of our handyman, Mark, who hadn’t reached thirty. He was killed working at a landscaping company when the industrial mower he’d been using to cut grass near a pond flipped over and pinned him underwater. Raised in poverty, Mark had a rough life. Still, he was one of the hardest workers I’ve ever known. And from what my husband tells me, never more so than when he learned he was to be a father. Excitedly expecting his little girl in January, Mark made it clear his child would have it better than he had. But with his death, it seemed mother and baby would have a rough go ahead. My husband, who’d become a mentor to Mark, was devastated by the loss and naturally expressed concern for the baby’s mother. We all wondered how she would manage. This afternoon my hubby paid them a visit and it appears this Pink Collar mom is made of more than many made her out to be.
Since I was working on the map for the sequel to Seasons of Her Soul – Hold On Her Heart – and was in my zone, I declined my hubby’s invite to accompany him. Even so, I was anxious to hear how the visit went and feared I’d get a gloomy report when he called on the way home. Seldom is my husband effusive but he told me, “People say all babies are beautiful. I don’t think they are. But this baby is beautiful.” We went on to discuss how mom is doing and I was elated to hear in addition to receiving a death benefit, she’s working as a veterinary assistant. She loves animals so kudos to her for operating in her strengths zone! Greg even got some advice on how to handle one of our Ds – two delinquent kitties! In addition to doing well in the workplace, she’s also a good homemaker and has created a clean, comfortable environment. Mother, baby, and their three kitties appeared to be happy and in good health. Not a gloomy report at all!
Though no tears were shed hearing the above, I did tear up when Greg told me: “She said she came home one day to find Mark painting in the baby’s room. There were names all over the wall. Mark said ‘Rory’ was the one he liked best, so that’s the one she picked.” That and the fact that I would have named a daughter with Greg the same thing (I did name a cat that) was enough to choke me up, but when I consider how Mark had come to view my husband as more than a mentor – he saw him as a father – it isn’t lost on me that he chose a derivative of “Gregory” as his daughter’s name. There’s no way to know for sure this side of heaven if that was his intention; I do know for sure Mark would have loved that it turned out that way… but not near as much as he would have loved her.
As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose mom, I’m so proud of Rory’s. She’s dealt with one of the biggest Ds – death, buried her baby’s father, birthed his child, is working hard in the workplace and on the home-front, and has honored the man she loved. It doesn’t get much more Pink Collar Savvy & Chic than that, proving she’s made of a Whole. Lot. More. than many made her out to be.
How can you be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose and let a young mom know she’s more than many make her out to be?