Saturday, September 12, 2009

knock and the door will be opened

I started my internship this week for my last semester of school. I graduate December 5th, and until then I am interning 40 hours a week and taking a 4 hour class that goes along with it. Phoenix Academy is a residential treatment center for adolescents recovering from chemical dependency. I first visited Phoenix Academy on a field trip last semester, and it reminded me of Shelterwood. I originally was working with my school to allow LeadTime to be my internship for this fall, but they informed me in late April that they didn't feel comfortable placing me there. So I am at Phoenix Academy, and I love it. When I wasn't allowed to go to LeadTime as I originally thought I would, I felt peace about it and realized that God had a plan for me greater than I could realize.

I went in May to Phoenix Academy to set up my internship. After looking over my resume, my supervisor was concerned by how much I had worked in faith-based organizations - working at a Christian sports camp and interning at a church, and questioned if I still wanted to intern there. I reassured her that I did, and she told me that if one of the teens asked me what I believed, I would have to respond saying "Why do you need to know if I believe in God or not for me to help you?" I didn't really know how to take this, but have been thinking about it all summer. I don't really agree with what she said, but she also said we could talk about it so I was really excited.

My first day was this past Tuesday, and I was a bit nervous, but also felt at peace. I spent the first few days just observing everything, learning the names of staff and the teens there. It was a lot to take it, but I am getting a good feel for how everything runs. On Thursday, I was really tired, and just felt overwhelmed and unsure of how to be myself there and was very timid. Friday morning, I went to a coffee shop before I went in and spent some time journaling and praying to the Lord about how I felt. I was honest about my doubts, fears, insecurities. I didn't trust Him, I felt alone and overwhelmed. I wanted to be bold and know how to speak the truth about Christ and shine for Him as He created me to. But I had no idea how to do that and didn't know where this boldness would come from, but I asked for Him to provide.

I went in a little early and hung out in study hall with the students where I can help them with their homework. Two of the staff members were talking about Bibles, and one of them was looking for a good one for her teenage daughter. It was refreshing to hear, and I walked over and joined in the conversation. Then I discovered that another person on staff goes to Austin Stone, the same church as me. I was so encouraged just to know that, and I knew it was going to be a much better day, but I still had no clue what else the Lord had planned.

Later in the day, I met with my supervisor for and hour to talk about my internship. She asked me how everything had been going, and then asked me to tell her about myself. I never know how much to share when people ask me questions like that, but I just started talking about my family. And then I began to talk about my faith and how it is my everything. Knowing Christ is the whole reason I was driving to social work in the first place. She asked me how I felt about value conflicts I would come across working at Phoenix Academy, and I began to talk about grace. I kept thinking about how Jesus said He came for the sick, not the healthy - to save sinners not the righteous. And I also talked about the woman who anoints Jesus' feet as she weeps and pours perfume on them, then wipes them with her hair. The Pharisees are confused and shocked at why Jesus would allow such a thing, but He explains to them how she has been forgiven much and loves much. He then tells her that her faith has healed her. The teens at Phoenix Academy inspire me. They do the hard work of staring their mistakes and failures in the face and working with them. They are honest about where they are, when I feel like so many of us who seem to be okay are not. We try to look like we have it all together and are doing fine. We don't want to look weak. But we are. I am so messed up. When I begin to think that I am doing alright, may the Lord humble me to know that I am only a sinner in need of His sweet grace. Even my righteous acts are like fifthly rags before the Lord. But He loves me and accepts me just as I am, and He will be faithful to complete the work He began in me. It was exciting to share about my faith so freely with my supervisor. I am not exactly sure what she believes, but she told me that I can go to her anytime and talk about anything. It is encouraging to have someone who supports me and wants me to have the best internship possible.

My supervisor is great, but I will be spending more time with the case manager. He has been great so far and doesn't want me doing much paperwork at all, but supports me and wants the best experience for me as well. The people at Phoenix Academy have been so great to me, and I am so blessed. After I got back from meeting with my supervisor, the case manager was there and I needed to get my stuff out of his office. As I did, I was talking about my meeting with my supervisor. She had told me that we (the case manager and I) have similar beliefs. So we started talking about them a little, and he is in a weird place right now he said. Sounds like he is asking a lot of questions and looking into different things and different religions. I talked about grace again, and how it has changed my life the past few years. I grew up going to church but for so long I thought it was about looking good on the outside. Recently I have begun to understand the depths of my depravity and sin, and in turn understood the sweetness of Christ and the grace and mercy displayed on the cross. I cannot earn salvation and can't please God with my good deeds. I simply come as I am, broken and sinful, fallen short of God's glory to ask for mercy. And He comes to me, washes me clean and shows me grace to walk again with Him. I fail time and time again, but He never leaves me or stops loving me. Its crazy, but its the gospel. And its beautiful and lovely and brings peace to my soul. I will never be the same. And I just want people to know Christ, to know His grace, love, mercy. To be healed. To be known and loved.

All that to say, I wasn't sure how I was going to be myself or shine Christ in my internship, and yesterday - only the 4th day of my internship, I was able to have at least 3 spiritual conversations with people, two in which I was able to talk about Christ and the gospel of grace. I also sat next to one of the teens reading the Bible and was encouraged by Christ to know that He is definitely there. He provided opportunities to speak about Him and testify of who He is, and I have no idea how it all happened, but it definitely didn't have much to do with me. I hardly had to try. But I was so blessed to speak of Christ, and as I did I was reminded of the gospel myself, and how amazing His grace is, and how faithful He is to listen and answer our prayers - all for the glory of His Name.

I drove home in the rain singing worship songs in my car. One of my favorites from Chris Tomlin. "Greater things have yet to come and greater things are still to be done in this city. There is no one like our God." Amen. May Christ be made known in all the nations, His grace, love and gospel of truth. His grace is sufficient and He is mighty to save. And all I can say is...thank You.

1 comment:

  1. love you. love this blog. love hearing about how awesome God is moving in your life. keep sharing.

    in Him,