This picture made me laugh and completely expresses how I have felt at work lately.
After my shift today I have one more night of work left before my vacation begins! That hope of vacation has sustained me through some trying days at work lately. I almost wish I could video tape a morning in the life of a staff at Maryhurst. On Friday I was cussed out, called a racist and given more attitude than I would care to deal with. This all came about because I asked the girls to sit in the dinning room during breakfast, as is the general expectation for every meal. You would have thought that I asked them to rip off their arm and give it to me. Oh geez. When I got home that morning I broke down and cried feeling so incredibly frustrated with the attitude of the girls we deal with. Even now, after I've had the weekend to recover I'm still stumped when I try to think of how best to love these children without letting them completely trample all over me. It's difficult to show grace when the kids inevitably throw it away without a second thought. For example: After the terrible morning routine on Friday I was tempted (and completely within my rights) to give out consequences for their behaviors however due to the situation and the number of girls who chose to be disrespectful and ignore the directions of staff I decided in a more grace-filled approach to instead remind them of the expectations. I printed out a sheet of paper containing all of the general expectations for the morning to make sure we were all on the same page. Well that night when I came to work a couple of the girls had torn up their pieces of paper, stuffed them into a plastic baggie and left it in the hallway for 3rd shift to pick up...yeah...so...hmmm. Ahhh!! I was steamed.
Anyways, hopefully you can see my point here. It's so difficult living out the Gospel in this context without words. So I guess the only way I can think to do this is to be gracious when they respond in anger, hold them accountable for their actions despite how they treat us and forgive even when they don't ask for it. I have been reminded again this weekend that, "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Ephesians 6:12) Just when I thought I had been stretched to my breaking point I felt a flood of God's grace remind me yet again that Christ died for ones such as these. The least I can do is learn how to love and serve them better.
What the next two mornings may hold I can only imagine but I'm praying tonight that the Lord will prepare my heart to be his hands and feet in the lives of these kids. It's daunting and frustrating to lay aside what I consider to be my rights in order that the kids may hopefully see Christ in me. No matter how much I want this time here at Maryhurst to be over, I don't want to waste it. God is still teaching me.