Finding Hope Even In Trying Times
By Yolanda M. Barney
Many of us have experienced loss during the pandemic, whether it is a physical loss of a loved one, loss of business, a dream or loss of the lifestyle that was once known to us. Finding our way through these moments is not always easy. Yet, we can still find a sense of hope.
For the last two years, I found myself celebrating from the mountaintops and then I would find myself back down in what I perceived to be the valleys of life. My family and I went through some pretty intense times during that period, yet sprinkled throughout that time were celebratory moments at the mountaintop. It was during my time in the valley that God showed me what was important, and He showed me how I could maintain my peace and find hope even during trying times. He showed me that I had to take care of my soul before I could take care of anything else in life. I started implementing what I like to call my soul-care regimen.
The practice of self-care has been echoed throughout social media platforms, even more so since the pandemic. It has been defined as practice or activities that allow us to improve our own health. While I agree and whole heartedly believe self-care is vital to our overall health, I also had to come to the understanding that soul-care had to come first before my full self-care practice could be implemented. I found that if my spirit and mind were not at a place of peace (even temporarily), it was difficult to move forward. I had no mental or physical energy to even complete basic tasks in my life. So what is this soul-care routine? It’s simply a few steps that should be applied daily to revive our spirits. A few simple steps that don’t cost money, only a few minutes of your time each day.
Make time to spend with God.
I personally have found that starting my day with God changes the whole outlook of my day. This doesn’t mean that every day will be sunny. Starting my morning with prayer allows me to find my inner peace even when I am dealt with the hard blows of life. I try to make sure that my time with God is private and personal. It allows me to focus on Him and not the needs of myself or others. Sometimes, it may require me to wake up while my family sleeps.
There is something so powerful about giving thanks even in the midst of our trials. It takes our mind off of our present situation. It shifts our current space in life. Our souls were created to give thanks to God, so it only makes sense that if we allow ourselves to speak words of gratitude that we can find our spirit in a more positive space. Praise God for what you have, maybe it’s not the job you want, but thank him for allowing you to have a job!
Many times during our trials, it can be difficult to find the words to pray or open our Bible for words of encouragement. When I could not find the words to speak to God, I turned to praise and worship music which helped bring me closer to God. Try it for yourself and see how your mood instantly changes!
This soul-care routine only works if we continue to apply it on a daily basis. We have to stay close to God. Attend a Bible study and church services. If you can’t attend in person, go online. There are so many local and national virtual Bible Studies, church services and videos available for us to build up our faith and stay close to God.
Remember, God is faithful to us even in the midst of our trials.
He sees you. He loves you and He wants to see you through this time.
Rev. Bruce G. Norris
September 10, 1958-September 3, 2020
In memory of our brother, Rev. Bruce G. Norris. Thank you for your dedication to the work of God and your tireless effort to spread the Gospel of Christ. Your encouraging words graced the pages of Revive Omaha since its inception.
Your legacy lives on.
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount
up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Ted Lampkin: Rising to Meet the Challenge
Charles Drew Health Center
Growing up down the street from Charles Drew Health Center, Inc., it was no question for Ted Lampkin to give back to the community that helped raise him.
“I’m passionate about public health because I am a product of public health services. Coming up, my family and I used the services at Charles Drew.”
As the Associate Director of Behavioral Health Services, Ted has been on the front-line teaching and training team members in new approaches to behavioral health. It’s no surprise that when COVID-19 struck, Ted was front and center.
“My role was to help transition the Behavioral Health department from doing face-to-face therapy to telehealth therapy.”
While COVID-19 began to escalate, increasing evidence highlighted racial and ethnic minority groups are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
“We made it easy for the patients, providing traditional face-to-face, telehealth, and when needed telephonic sessions. A lot of patients had anxiety about COVID-19 and being in the middle of a pandemic, in addition to their other stressers.”
“The benefit of telehealth is we can continue to provide quality service during a pandemic. You take out the barriers to care with telehealth.”
Brenda Avant: Providing Quality Healthcare in the Midst of COVID-19
Charles Drew Health Center
As a North Omaha native, Family Nurse Practitioner, Brenda Avant, understands educating her patients about their healthcare choices is a foundational principle to accessing safe and quality healthcare.
When the pandemic shut down Omaha metro schools, Brenda and the team members at Charles Drew Health Center, Inc. School-based Health Centers had to switch gears. While still providing in-person care, the SBHC Medical providers began utilizing telehealth to remain in contact with their patients.
“The telehealth program at Charles Drew really grew at that time. As Medical providers, we were able to continue serving our student patients through telehealth. The parents really enjoyed it because they felt even through a pandemic their child’s provider is still in tune with their needs.”
As the pandemic surged, the healthcare inequalities within the American health system began to come to the foreground. “It made me proud to see that Charles Drew was a front runner in COVID-19. The community was looking to us to help guide them through.”
“Charles Drew made it very easy for the population we serve to continue receiving care. We may be small, but we are mighty.”
Larry Duncan: Resiliency in the Face of a Crisis
Charles Drew Health Center
Hailing from the south side of Chicago, Larry Duncan, Director of Behavioral Health Services at Charles Drew Health Center, Inc. has always had a passion for helping others. “My passion, at first, started off with a drug and alcohol emphasis based on my own experiences and knowledge. As I grew and received more education, mental health became the next umbrella. It rests with my understanding that there are unique issues that affect black and brown people, and people who are marginalized.”
Within the first year serving at Charles Drew, Larry faced his biggest challenge yet, leading a team while in the mists of coronavirus. “The number one thing we did quickly was become active.” As COVID-19 began to highlight the care gaps within marginalized communities, the Behavioral Health team at Charles Drew looked to bridge those gaps within the community.
“For our population it was a dual threat. On one side of the coin, the crisis becomes an additional stress to a population of people who already live with stress. On the flip side of the coin, the lack of community and social interaction increased depression, anxiety, and a sense of hopelessness.”
The message was simple, but practical: Practice the Five Cs–Connection, Commitment, Communion, Contain, and Continue.
Looking back, one of the greatest strengths of Charles Drew, in Larry’s eyes, was the ability to remain active. While most were waiting, frozen in their activity, Charles Drew advanced forward.
“We got better and better at it. We were doing testing on the front line when testing was just starting. As masks began to be required, we were handing them out to the community members in need. Whatever needed to be done in the face of this virus, we did it.”