I spend my vocational days as a caregiver, caring for those with special needs through a remarkable ministry called Jill’s House. In Numbers 11:14 Moses said to the Lord, “I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me.” Logically, I know that my caring for the individuals that come to Jill’s House is not synonymous to Moses’ struggle. For some reason though, on a deep, heart level I react to the phrase “the burden is too heavy for me.” As someone who majored in Social Work in my undergraduate studies, I know that approaching heavy and taxing jobs with the frame of mind that you need to take or eradicate someone’s burden is one of the quickest ways to burn out. The burden I feel is less of me wanting to fix these situations for these individuals and these families; instead it is more a heaviness and permeating sadness, a sadness about how helpless and hopeless these situations often seem, a sadness at how broken this world is, how much heartache and strife and pain exist and can be felt throughout a human life, a sadness at how hopes and dreams can be snatched away in an instant.
I know all of the Lord’s promises and really do believe them—blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. God brings such beauty out of the stories of these individuals (I hesitate to call them children, because some are up to 22 years old.) and their families. At this point in my time at Jill’s House, I am not able to coherently describe ways that I have experienced the bittersweet, vibrant adventure that working here is.
I am encouraged by verse 17, where the Lord says that he will put the Spirit on others, and tells Moses that they will “share the burden with you.” That is one of the biggest ways the Lord shows up at Jill’s House, the shared burden of approaching this task. The work environment is incredible; we are encouraged to pray for our kids/friends at Jill’s House all throughout the day, even as we are with them. We begin every shift with prayer, lifting up the night to the Lord. Each staff member that is on the floor with me has a deep hope in Jesus, and I can’t count the amount of times where we have spurred one another on in trying moments where we feel like we are almost at our limit. The Spirit of the Lord and his presence is so tangible; even throughout the frustrations, scratches/slaps, or emotional heaviness, there has never been one day of work that I have not felt the Lord’s presence and seen him move.
Who can carry the burden with you?
Laura Davis works as a Child Care Specialist at Jill’s House, a ministry caring for and giving dignity to disabled men and women in the Northern Virginia area. She is a member of the 2015-2016 class of The Capital Fellows Program.
Images:FreeImages.com/Susan Parrish, Mario Alberto Magallanes Trejo