"But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded."
2 Chron 15:7
Do you ever wonder sometimes why bother? Maybe you've just cleaned the house, it looks all pretty and shiny, and the dogs come running through with muddy feet, or the kids track in grass and dirt?
Or, maybe you're trying to make a difference in someone's life, lend a helping hand, a listening ear, and it doesn't seem to make that difference?
This verse was in our church bulletin yesterday, and it jumped out at me, grabbing my attention. Maybe it was because I've spent so much time lately trying to figure out the what and the why in the things that I do.
I work for a domestic violence center. Sometimes working with victims and survivors of domestic violence, but mostly working out in the public schools, with children and young people of all ages, speaking in the classrooms about family violence and teen dating violence. I haven't always done this work. Last school year was my first year. I come from a background of business and management and politics. I'd never worked with masses of kids before. Often I felt challenged, disillusioned, and exasperated, especially when working in middle school classrooms. What is it with middle schoolers anyway?? Can they care about anything other than cutting up with friends or texting? I was so thankful when summer arrived and school was out.
As I've faced the arrival of a new school year, with dread I must admit, I've found myself often thinking, "God help me. Why am I doing this? Those kids don't care." In the midst of that dread and questioning, I think God has reminded me of those kids, those few out of thousands, whose faces and body language betrayed their silence, whose story was written in their eyes, as they absorbed and realized I was talking about them, about their families. Or the kids who were desperate enough to write me a secret note, requesting to speak privately with me, and then told me the stories of what they live with, the violence and abuse...those that said "Help me." Or, "Mom won't listen to me. What can I do?" Maybe God is teaching me, that sometimes the work is hard, unpleasant, and often seems useless. Maybe I'll never see the fruits of my labor. Maybe I'll never know the one child that took what he heard that day and tried to make a difference. Or, knowing that I may never know what becomes of the young boy that cried as he poured out his fears to me, the secret he has kept for so long.
Sometimes your work may not be where you envisioned yourself, or be the ideal position that you thought it would be. Maybe sometimes God puts us in places that we'd rather not be, to do something thats not always comfortable, but that has a purpose. Even if we don't always understand what that purpose is or why we have to be the one to do it. But maybe, if the work makes a difference to only one life, only one impact for good, isn't it all worth it?