Help for the Helpers

I read a book* recently about how community helpers are susceptible to vicarious (meaning, indirect) trauma due to being in close proximity to others trauma and mental health needs for an extended period of time. Completely rocked my way of thinking about my job as a therapist and the importance of a helper receiving adequate support.

My ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience) score is 2 (Find out more about this scale at https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy/index.html). Other than grief/loss through divorce and familial death and growing up in a culture of racial microaggressions and systemic racism, I consider myself one of the lucky ones when it comes to Trauma.

So, what does it mean when I find myself wanting to avoid my clients, when I battle anxiety and irritability on a daily basis, or experience a steady decline in passion and purpose connected with my role as a therapist/healer…especially since there are no other personal traumas to correlate to my symptoms? It could mean that I’m experiencing compassion fatigue, better known as vicarious trauma or secondary traumatization.

I completed an informal poll on social media recently, asking those who consider themselves “helpers”, what they needed most. The answers varied, but I did notice a pattern: the themes of “rest”, “support”, and “increased resources to do my job effectively” tended to show up more often. Research I’ve found correlated these deficits with the likelihood of helpers experiencing vicarious trauma.

Working in community mental health is especially draining/challenging. The expectations often focus on maximizing quantity of services provided, rather than providing adequate training and daily support to provide quality services. “How can we get the most out of our helpers?” rather than “How can we inspire the best within our helpers?” is often the agenda. We are encouraged to be more fiscally minded in order to strategize service to a maximum amount of people. But, what I’ve found is that this often does a disservice to clients in need, essentially, due to high employee turnover (overworked employees do not stay at the same agency and clients may have an average of 2-3 different people performing the same role), and high levels of absenteeism (because helpers are sick more often or use more mental health days due to burnout). The culture within these types of agencies cause a deep divide between helpers; a face-off occurs between those who value competitiveness and the bottom line and those who value balance and feeling purposeful over feeling useful. It’s possible that the former will thrive and the latter will silently suffer.

But, this isn’t just about my job. It’s a common occurrence across our entire country; stemming from a struggling system of mental health/human services that is called upon to constantly prove itself. Insurance companies and legal entities look for value in what we offer to people from the gate; often refusing to reimburse providers if persons having never met either therapist or client are not convinced that this treatment is worth the cost. Therapists at private practices are left to become like salesmen before insurance boards; “selling” themselves in order to be credentialed. This trickles down into how supervisors see value in their supervisees within agencies. Those who bill more are automatically seen as more valuable over the employee who bill below average. Again, quantity is preferred over quality.

Meanwhile, the people around us continue to struggle. We see after tragedies, such as school shootings and drug crises that helpers are essential to the thriving of our communities. We are the white blood cells of the community’s body, as it were. But imagine the priorities shifting every few years (or even within each fiscal year), where helpers are never sure if they are truly valued – both within their perspective agencies and from the viewpoints of local, state, and federal governments. We are now in a country where it is more feasible to spend money to arm teachers with weapons, rather than ensuring they have adequate financial support to purchase classroom materials. The priorities are indeed different, and the rate of this shift is unsettling.

So, that leaves me with an inner conundrum; how hard should I work to change the narrative? Where can I find a better sense of balance? And what, if anything, can I do to better assist the helpers that will arrive after me? The ones that desire, albeit naively, to change the world for the better? I believe my burden lies, not just in changing my own situation, but to alter the culture so that future helpers may not struggle so frequently. EAP support (that’s mental health support found with most benefited positions), though typically suggested for helpers with internal struggles, doesn’t seem to help employees shoulder the daily load of helping. There is a problem with work culture.

Then there are our immediate supervisors, who are more overloaded than we are, often provide little or inconsistent encouragement and are left to be our administrative monitors. Even the most well-meaning ones will have an “open door policy” that accepts questions and will give guidance to supervisees that ask, and yet fail to provide a balanced environment of noticing strengths and actively building weaknesses of their employees. We are supported by way of checking off boxes, compliance with paperwork requirements and are monitored so not to steal company time and resources. The term “gatekeeper” has taken on a different meaning, because what it means to supervise a mental health worker has differing priorities. For example, resident counselors are forced to have two different supervisors during residency – one is more administrative and required for your employment at your place of residency and another for guidance with clinical skills. You are lucky if they are one in the same.

I have had the supreme privilege of having amazing licensed/unlicensed therapists, professors, colleagues and peers that have guided me through this road to becoming a better therapist, and I can say without a doubt that it was their impartations that aided me developing my own theoretical orientation, uniqueness, and competencies. From my experience, it is clear where building quality helpers is a high priority and where it is secondary…or even nonexistent.

So, if you have accepted the call to be a helper (I wrote from the perspective of a mental health therapist, but you may be a caregiver for the elderly, a pediatric nurse, or run a community-based non-profit), I encourage you to examine the culture around you. Find resources, programs, and relationships that actively BUILD YOU UP. Ask yourself what/who replenishes you and find a way to make that a priority. Out of many others in our communities, YOU are needed most. And there is a mandate for helpers to be the first to seek health and wholeness. We are all works in progress, of course, but we can show our communities what it means to live out true resiliency.

 

* Trauma Stewardship by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky and Connie Burk

Advertisements

Writing for My Life

I’ve spoken with you, dear reader, before about my work with those who are actively suicidal and struggle with self-harm of various forms. I’ve spoken about my one battle with self-mutilation. This post is concerning my bout with self-hatred. Low self-esteem can rear its ugly head in a majority of teens across our world, but for many, it’s so pervasive that a person is abusive towards themselves on a soul level.

I can remember filling multiple college-ruled pages with a single written phrase: “I hate you”. What prompted this? Various things: mistakes, getting yelled at, being rejected by a friend, loneliness. Ruminating this type of inner dialogue caused a death-like atmosphere in my heart. Like I had scorched an entire landscape of fresh, fertile soil with a persistent fire. I felt no good thing deserved to take root in me. I told myself that no good thing could take root in me.

I was a believer in Jesus Christ here. I was a leader among younger teens. I prayed for others to feel the love of God. But inside, I was dead. Aware and in agreement that God’s Love brought life, yet I was still lifeless.

When I arrived at college, I’d been writing for about 6 years. I carried around notebooks full of my words; clutched to my chest. Unbeknownst to me, I was carrying around pages full of seeds. Potential. I had even taken on a pseudonym for my writing role: “I.Am.Spoken.Word.” It was the name I used to identify my desires as a writer. While hiding behind a computer screen, I’d slowly become accustomed to others reading my poetry from the comfort of their dorm rooms. Inside, however, there was disconnect still evident in my heart.

It wasn’t until I started performing/reading that I felt life stir inside. After getting a few on campus open mics under my belt (shout out to my husband for the much needed push), I built a reputation. One particular friend of mine would see me on campus and would declare (without fail) LOUDLY “Speak Life!!!!!”. This went on throughout my entire undergraduate career.

Now, I can look back on this process, and see that where I once used words to speak death and ill will over myself, I now take words to call out life. My words carry the potential to spring up newness where there is stagnation and barrenness. I’m drawn to writing for those who feel cast out, counted out, and broken. Not as the one who provides a silver lining, but the one who can encourage, uplift, and call out our most ingrained sense of resiliency and vulnerability.

I write for my life because I have been given life.

Anxiety Manifested

I still remember getting my first pimple. It was on the right side of my forehead; large, painful, and it left a scar behind. The whole experience was traumatizing.

I had barely begun unpacking the concept of a self-image when this tiny protuberance manifested itself on to my face. And despite how normal I saw it was to be in middle school and have acne, it made me want to hide in a shell that I’d only emerged from 2 seconds earlier.  I was already naturally self-conscious, being a teen, but somehow I felt that my apprehension was more severe. I always wanted to hide myself and being around my peers made my chest literally hurt.

I was labeled as “shy”, but no one knew the chaos that was going on inside my head. It was odd, I wasn’t severely bullied; rather often ignored. But I knew that since I wasn’t particularly known for being pretty, or funny, or really smart, or talented in sports or cosmetics, that I’d better not speak up to draw ANY sort of attention. Because the roast that would ensue would be unparalleled. I felt trapped by the looming possibility that I would indefinitely embarrass myself, so I trapped myself in the social purgatory that I dwelled in until about 11th grade.

That sort of anxiety never let up, and the energy I collected needed to be funneled somewhere. So, I took to self-mutilation. No, I didn’t cut or burn myself. Rather, I picked at my acne profusely. It gave me relief when I scarred myself in this way. I used to wear my bangs/hair in my face to cover the scabs on my forehead, and I remember my mom scolding me whenever she caught me in the act.

Eventually, by the time I started sophomore year of college, the scars on my cheeks and forehead were slowly starting to fade.1923330_520938837788_8251_n

Fast forward 10-11 years. My fight with anxiety has led to many victories and set-backs. But the battles became tougher & scarier. It wasn’t my social life/self-esteem that I was fighting over, but now I fought to trust God with the lives of my children, my finances, and my marriage. The stakes are much higher now. Sometimes I am victorious! But I have not won them all.

IMG_7390

I took this photo today.

I got a little “smarter” regarding how I allowed my fight with anxiety to manifest itself. Instead of picking at my forehead and face, it’s shifted to underneath my chin. These scars are older, I am happy to report, but I recently disclosed to a client of mine that the fight doesn’t just go away because you undergo treatment for a mental illness/condition.

You become more armed to engage in the fight. And you aren’t as afraid to share your scars. I see these marks every time I look into the mirror, but rather than feeling ashamed, I feel empowered.

Empowered to continue to fight and to be victorious.

10 Reasons Why I Love Play Therapy

1. Kids are typically more honest than adults.
And not necessarily in the way that leads to insight. If a kid does not want to engage with you, they will let you know. I don’t have to do the guess work of whether they are genuinely getting something out of being in therapy. You will be able to tell. Most of the time, a child hasn’t learned yet how to lie.

2. Kids keep me on my toes.
Historically, I need to mentally prep more when I’m getting ready to have a therapy session with a child. They require constant observation and engagement. If I can be honest, it’s easier for your mind to wander when sitting across from an adult who’s been talking for 15 straight minutes about their problems. There’s no room for that in play therapy. I am all in, every moment I am with the child.

3. Kids are hilarious.
I wish I could compile a book of random, funny things my kid clients have said in session. It would legit become a best seller. Many of the kids I see struggle with appropriate social cues and development. But this makes for some hysterical conversations.

4. Play Therapy is powerful.
Who knew that a simple board game or a tray of sand can be used to express a child’s deepest fears and highest hopes? Simple materials can be transformed into tools to teach kids skills, help them learn emotion management, and exorcise traumatic memories. To an outsider, my office looks like a distraction or a way to introduce the actual treatment, but it IS the treatment for the child. It’s the focus and their language. I love that about Play.

5. My inner child has a regular place to go.
I think implementing Play Therapy helps me personally, too. I can remember part of my childhood being marred by seriousness and trauma. I had to grow up faster than I wanted. Play Therapy allows me to let my hair down and engage in a pure place. I love fostering this place for a child, as well. Not to mention I get to spend hours each week playing on the floor with Play-doh and Barbie dolls.

6. I love teaching parents how to play with their children.
There’s a powerful attachment that takes place when a child plays with a caregiver/adult. It’s actually more effective than moments where a parent implements discipline or instruction. Integral concepts like kindness, fairness, and reciprocity are fostered within the relationship during play. Without the child’s, and often the parent’s, awareness. You want to profoundly impact your child? Get on their level and play with them. I’ve been in moments where you can literally feel the bond between a child and the adult grow stronger, right in front of me in my office. It’s honestly one of my favorite parts of my job.

7. I teach children what to do with power.
This one sounds odd, I’ll admit. One of the reasons children misbehave is to gain power. This is an appropriate desire, because it’s connected to the path towards independence. It’s the adults’ (including teachers, family, counselors, etc. ) jobs to teach a child appropriate use of power and independence through self-control and respect for others. Giving a child age appropriate power is really the only way to teach them this. If you’re always telling a child what to do and never giving them spaces to decide for themselves, you are forcing compliance but not teaching self-control/independence. I like to use nondirective play therapy with my most oppositional kids. While they are used to fighting with adults over control of a time/environment, I give them a healthy amount of control through nondirective play. Meaning they decided what we do with the time in session. Hopefully, nondirective play can help satisfy a need for power little by little. I’ve had parents question this part of my treatment, but it truly is important.

8. Play is fun.
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. 🙂

9. It has helped me be a better mommy.
I’ll admit, I use myself and my kids as guinea pigs when conceiving a new play technique. But it’s helpful for me to put myself, as a mom, in my client’s parents’ shoes. This helps me foster more empathy and patience with some of my most frustrated, stubborn parents. Empathy is essential. It’s easy for a play therapist to “blame” the parents for a child’s issues, but empathy helps see things from a family systems perspective. My kids/families teach me lessons on a constant basis and I eat a huge helping of humble pie daily.

10. I am a place a refuge for my kids.
It’s a thought that took a while to get over, but it is now a constant reminder of the important work I do every day. Many of the kids that come to see me for therapy have no other healthy, consistent attachment with another adult. When they sit and play and learn in my office, they are given an opportunity to express whatever they choose, without being forced, criticized, or judged.

There is a script Play Therapists say at the beginning of each session that I typically use:

“This is a safe place for you, and I am your safety person. You can do or say most anything you want while you are here. If you can’t, then I will let you know.”

Safe Spaces (Thoughts on Being a Therapist)

I still experience brief panic whenever I’m notified that my next client has arrived. You would think that after working for 6 years in the mental health field, I’d more often face a new session with solid optimism and focus. There are times, admittedly not as often as in those earlier days, that I simply want to run away.

Is this the type of therapist that you’d want to see? Be honest. If you knew what went on in your counselor’s mind before, during, and after your sessions, would you feel offended? Would it lessen your desire to come back the following week? If you knew the script of anxiety, self-doubt, and soul sickness that he or she ruminated in their minds on a daily basis, how would it affect how you viewed their skills? I’d assume most of you would feel too squeamish to continue bringing your personal problems to someone like this.

Truthfully, I feel it is this, more than any of my therapeutic skills, that qualifies me to be a therapist. Let me explain….

I spend about 9 hours a day, Monday through Friday, helping others unpack and process the most horrific memories. The most dysfunctional thought and behavioral patterns. I walk people through their traumatic histories and admit their deepest secrets out loud for the first time. I’ve seen people cry in moments of grave despair and from being overwhelmed by relief. I’ve been a stand-in/substitute for people to unload their most narcissistic and down-right cruelest philosophies. I’ve seen my clients possess personal breakthroughs and insights, but also be gripped by irrational and rational fears.

Not a full week of sessions will go by without me identifying with something one (or more) of my clients say or do. I can’t help but see flashes of my face while listening; hearing my own voice serve as a faint echo when they speak. Even in some moments when they say something completely irrational, knowing the context, I secretly agree and will understand their thinking patterns.

It is a very thin line to walk. Crossing it would mean that I lose whatever insight I’ve gained through my own treatment. The torture lies in having to relive my history over and over. Circling back through whatever grief I’ve processed; being reminded of a painful past of which I’ve been able to stop dreaming. I sit in silence after a client leaves my office, and complete a self-check. There are moments when I am blind-sided and can only repeat out loud, “You’re okay. You are okay.”

This isn’t denial. Simply reminding myself of my path. The steps that I’ve taken and the storms that I’ve endured to equip me to be a “healer”. I read in a book once that, historically, therapists were seen as healers. Synchronized with that of a shaman, in some cultures. Meaning, we help others fight against unseen sicknesses. Whatever your point of view regarding therapy, we can all agree that there is no poster child for issues such as depression and anxiety. The sufferer changes faces, races, and ages all the time. Healers are meant to be strategic, compassionate, but also experienced when faced with the plight of these sicknesses.

This is why I feel, in some strange way, thankful that I require a deep breath, a prayer, and a period of quiet before a session. I am thankful for the brief battle that occurs before I go out to the waiting room to greet my clients. There is a shift that needs to happen. There are things that I need to remember. I’m never totally sure what needs my clients will bring with them into session. Many times, they aren’t sure themselves. Which is why that moment of quiet is so necessary. If they need a safe space, then I will clear the room to help them create one.

Have the Conversation: My Thoughts on ’13 Reasons Why’

DISCLAIMER: The following blog discusses the topic of suicide in detail & may be inappropriate for some readers. I encourage the reader to divulge into this topic in the presence of a trusted support person, if needed. The information presented are from limited years of mental health work, culmination of academic study and passion for youth, and my own budding clinical judgment. It is not meant to be a substitute for clinical research.

******************************************

My husband and I stumbled upon this show shortly after the buzz began generating on social media. We watched the first episode and expressed mixed feelings: shock over the content, and curiosity of hownthe writers would unfold the remainder of the story. We’re both mental health counselors who work with teenagers/children & felt a mixture of intrigue and dread. When I finished the final episode, I was deeply affected and incredibly sad. Faces of real-life would-be Hannahs, including myself, flashed across my memory. I made a mental check-list of folks I knew were watching to check up on & made a reminder to myself to talk the show over with my supervisor and colleagues. I gathered that whatever conclusions I would make about this show, I was responsible for what I did next.

’13 Reasons Why’ is probably one of the most successful shows Netflix has created in a long time, as far as viewership. But many parents and mental health professionals feel that the program is dangerous and irresponsible. As a mom I share in their caution. It is deeply upsetting to watch a beautiful, smart young girl  carry out a detailed plan to end her life. Secondly, it is normal for adult viewers to become disgusted and disturbed. However, after further processing, I felt the need to look at the popular program from a different angle.

Let’s walk through the criticisms I’ve heard about ’13 Reasons Why’:

  1. The show glorifies and/or oversimplifies suicide.

I must start off by stating that this program is rated TV-MA. Which means that it contains very disturbing material. The drama given to the storyline provided a necessary entertainment element, but I feel Hannah’s suicide, itself, was handled very openly.

Secondly, this isn’t the first time the topic of suicide was portrayed on television/movies.

Image-1Side note: If given the time, I can critique the above movies for their handling of the topic of suicide, but the fact still remains that many will still keep their acclaim. We ultimately  settle on the fact that the writers/directors have an artistic license to portray a topic and leave it in the hands of the consumer to view & digest responsibly.

To some critics, the writers portray suicide as a viable option – one both tragic and simple. Some say that the writers made suicide look easy to accomplish. I would have agreed with this criticism, if this wasn’t close to the train of thought held by many (not “all”) people who are suicidal. They may have moments of seeing death as easier, more peaceful, and better overall. They may feel it will ultimately ease suffering. It isn’t the NOT DYING part that’s difficult for a suicidal person, it’s LIVING that’s often too hard. If anything, the writers attempted to show how intently a person will pursue a suicidal plan if gotten to that point.

There is always hope, I sincerely believe, but because Hannah suffered very much alone, she had no one to help her grasp on to that hope. The tragedy behind Hannah’s fight with suicide is that it did not resolve her problems, ultimately.

The only critique I do have concerning this is that actually many who are suicidal have a methodical period but end up acting impulsively towards the end in order to complete suicide. Meaning, a suicide note is not commonplace (which Hannah’s tapes are considered akin to a suicide note.) The writers do portray Hannah to have been much more methodical than is realistic. However, this isn’t to say that some sufferers do not focus intently on escaping their pain and carry out a plan.

Other critics say that Hannah’s high school setting was overdramatized. It would be a mistake to believe that sexual assault, bullying, and harassment aren’t prevalent issues for our youth. Also, some feel that teens may over identify with Hannah. I say there may be more Hannahs than we are aware.

  1. It is an extended revenge fantasy; blaming those who mistreated Hannah for her death.

I’m often blown away at how much humans lack common courtesy and kindness towards one another. It shouldn’t take a television show to magnify this fact. However, the common culture among youth is fueled by bullying, scandal, and violence. For my adult readers, we all remember how tumultuous our teen years were…any mental health issues aside.

I’m constantly reminded how important it is to extend kindness to the next person, because what I do can deeply affect him/her. To deny the fact that her peers, family members, and school were partially responsible dances dangerously on the line of victim shaming. It places their pain center stage without taking into account the millions of interactions that led them to having suicidal thoughts.

Suicide has always been an “us” issue. Let me be clear, her classmates were not the CAUSE of her suicide, but did play a ROLE in her mental illness. We are all connected and responsible for one another. Hannah felt abandoned & mistreated by those around her. It’s not sound logic, we understand, but it doesn’t make it a fantasy. Rather than focusing on how intently Hannah unjustly sought revenge, let’s take a preventive stance by teaching our children how to treat one another.

  1. It encourages struggling students to not go to their guidance counselors/reach out for help.

This critique hit me hardest, considering I’m a counselor myself. Hannah’s guidance counselor, Mr. Porter, is completely unhelpful and distracted towards her. In Hannah’s tapes, she openly states that no one cared about her. Critics said that the show unjustly encourages Survivor Guilt. Here’s my take-away: Survivor Guilt will occur, regardless of the quality of relationships of those who remain after someone dies.

Also, the sinking feeling I was left with after witnessing Mr. Porter’s behavior was sobering. And I used it properly. It reminded me of my responsibility as an advocate. Simply put, if I am truly present on my job, then I can be a proper channel for change. Many of our counselors (especially school-based ones) are often burned out and overworked, distracted by test scores and administrative responsibilities.

But this actually segues into an even bigger conversation…which we won’t get into today.

To me, the most dangerous thing about the depiction of violence is not that our kids are watching violent content (and might be encouraged to reenact said violent content), but that even after hearing of teenagers struggling and dying, we still put the responsibility on entities that are not actually attached to our homes, classrooms, churches, and communities.

It has never been the responsibility of entertainment venues to educate or heal our children. Allowing them to consume without seeking them out to process afterwards is more irresponsible than the show being created in the first place. Much more. Entertainment is a good access point leading to the discussion, but they were never meant to BECOME the discussion.

  1. It will trigger those already struggling with suicidal thoughts or depression.

I had a friend who took to her FB status to ask others whether she should watch the show. I, more or less, replied, “Not alone.”. I would hope that those who are already getting treated for their depression will have the insight to stay away from watching, or at least be cautioned by a loved one or counselor to do so.

The population I feel the most concerned for are those who are without support and are struggling silently with depression and suicidal thoughts. However, I would still look towards those who are already called out to be the supporters/advocates; our teachers, counselors, pastors and family members. The girl scout leader and the mentor. Bus driver and the babysitter.

We are the “Village” that the quote “It takes a Village” speaks of. It is us that should be raising and safeguarding our children. The show presents a very real & important topic. One that our teens are faced with everyday; the hallways of their schools and text threads already contain the topics we shudder about. It’s our conversations with them after the last episode ends that will better determine their interpretation.

Important to note is that there is a 30 minute interview-style documentary on the hit series on Netflix, called ‘13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons‘, which contains more context and discussion about the content in the show from it’s actors, crew, and mental health professionals.

I also encourage anyone who knows a young person to arm yourself with knowledge on the topic of suicide, because this will be needed, even after the fame of this show ends. Here’s an amazing document I found on the SAVE/JED Foundation’s webpage (www.save.org) , outlining 13 Talking Points when watching the show with a teenager.

13RW-Talking-Points-JED-SAVE-Netflix-801x1024

Use it to start a conversation; one that someone you know may be afraid to have. If we can remove the taboo nature from suicide, then we might just become the right safe spaces for someone to take their first step towards desiring life.

#takingbackpostpartum (part one)

About 5 weeks ago, I gave birth to my son, Noah Michael George. I spent the first few days in awe that God allowed us to have a quiet, uneventful pregnancy & a quick 2 hour labor. My husband and I sat in the hospital room just hours after he was born, anxious to get home with our family.

When my son turned a week old, a dark cloud settled over our home as we struggled through the onset of what turned out to be silent reflux & severe colic that plagues many newborns. Noah screamed all day & night. My mom had gone home by this point and my husband was back at work. We stayed up nights and he rarely napped during the day. I was angry, resentful, and lonely. I actively fought off depression, having been acquainted with the symptoms, but was unable to keep the tears to a minimum. It was a struggle to feed him even though I had an oversupply & was conquering engorgement. The way we’d described him in those days would be “cranky”, “high maintenance”, & “needy”. He hated everything it felt like…and I was not bonding with my son.

I missed spending time with my 2 year old daughter (who was a much easier, more pleasant baby) & I felt myself mourning it just being the three of us. Luckily, my marriage survived this period. I cried in my husband’s arms more time than I can count, but I could see how hard he was working to keep our family afloat.

The turning point for me happened when Noah turned 3 weeks old. My mother-in-law was here to spend a week with us & she, my daughter & husband had left that morning for church. After feeding Noah in the living room, I turned on the tv to catch a local church’s worship service. One of the songs they sang was “It is Well with My Soul”.

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll

Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say

It is well, it is well, with my soul

It is well

With my soul

It is well, it is well with my soul

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,

Let this blest assurance control,

That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,

And hath shed His own blood for my soul

It is well (it is well)

With my soul (with my soul)

It is well, it is well with my soul

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought

My sin, not in part but the whole,

Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, o my soul

It is well (it is well)

With my soul (with my soul)

It is well, it is well with my soul

It is well (it is well)

With my soul (with my soul)

It is well, it is well with my soul

With my son sleeping in my lap, I lifted my hands in worship and wept cleansing tears to my Heavenly Father. The lyrics reverberated deeply in my soul & I felt His presence wash over me.

Things are still hard. However, His grace and strength is more than enough. I’m becoming more acquainted, in this season, with God being my Daily Bread. He gives us exactly what we need, daily.