My name is Stephanie Smith and I am a social worker – a Refugee Foster Care Case Manager, to be exact. To be honest - I’ve had a lot of awkward and uncomfortable conversations focused around what I do for a job. I have come to realize I cannot always expect people to understand what I do and why I do it. And that’s okay. However, I always love the opportunity to share: where I’ve been, what I’ve seen, and how I got to where I am now.
A little over a year ago, I was working as a supervisor in a Juvenile Detention Center (another hard job to explain) and living in a city where I didn’t feel like I belonged. I’d felt the need to make a change in my life for a while, often a sign, or a nudge in the right direction here and there. I resisted it. I didn’t think I had the strength to do it. I’ve come to learn though, in times of doubt, God usually places the exact things or people we need to overcome these obstacles.
God put a much-needed support system in my life, one that gave me the courage and strength needed to make some major changes. I got a new job, moved to a new city, and I started going to Faith Church. God took me from a place I struggled to be in each and every day and provided me with a community to help me heal and grow, an opportunity to start pouring into the lives of others.
I started volunteering with Faith Kidz and One27. I became involved in Underground, a Missional Community and a Life Change Group. All of these were and continue to be an outlet to support living the day-to-day life of a social worker. It’s hard, but God never promised us that fulfilling our purpose would be easy. In the past year, God has pushed me, over and over, to show me how strong I am. To show me that even in times of hardship – He is with me. To show me that by putting my faith and trust in Him, I can move mountains. But only with Him is this possible. With Him by my side I can make a difference every single day. It’s trusting that I can do this – even through the toughest work days [and there are many].
·It’s getting to be the first person my new kid sees when getting off the plane.
·It’s getting to experience “firsts” with them.
·It’s getting to be the support person – for someone who has no one.
·It’s getting to be there for them, every step of the way, through the trauma and the grief of leaving the life they knew … and starting over.
·It’s getting to be the one who helps them gain the skills they need to succeed in this new life.
·It’s fighting for them.
·It’s believing in them.
·It’s being the voice for them.
So even if people do not always understand what I do, and why I do it – it’s okay. I’m right where God needs me to be: through the good days and the bad. And He is right there with me.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” James 1:2-3