Tuesday, November 16, 2010
The Fall of 2005 is where it all began... after adamantly telling myself and everyone around me that I had no desire whatsoever to continue on in school after achieving my bachelors degree in 2004, I found myself longing for something more just a year later. As I sat on the floor of my room in a house I shared with 2 friends, I completed the application to Amberton University, a school in which not many had heard about and quite honestly I'm not even sure I recall how I learned about it. I mailed it off and a few weeks later I received an acceptance letter and a student ID. Perfect! Now I just had to enroll for classes... but wait, where was I going to find the money to pay tuition and what if my husband showed up to sweep me off my feet and I never finish? Yes, these were the questions I pondered for 3 more years before I ever took the plunge to enroll into grad school and finally pursue the dream that God had placed upon my heart, the vision He had for my life.
Fast forward to March 15, 2008... Spring quarter begins and I start my first course with Amberton, an online course. Something simple so that I can manage my full-time job as well as other commitments and start to pursue my degree. Only I had no idea what was to come, what this journey would bring and the doubt that would soon follow. In January 2008 when I had decided for sure I was going to enroll at Amberton, my prayer soon became that I would fulfill God's will in this and that if at any time He asked me to quit, I would and be okay with not finishing what I had begun. Two weeks after I started my world started to crumble around me... at least that's what I perceived to be happening. March 29, 2008 my nephew, Billy Darnell, Jr., died in his sleep from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and there was nothing I could do about it. My sister and her family were living in Colorado at the time and it would be close to 48 hours before I could get to them. I was convinced it was God telling me that grad school was not His plan for my life. I was ready to quit with only 2 weeks under my belt. After talking with my sister and mom and allowing myself time to catch up, I realized that it wasn't God telling me to quit, but rather my own insecurities surfacing. My insecurities of whether or not I could actually counsel people and make even a lick of a difference for them in their lives. I'm glad I was wrong about wanting to quit.
Here we are, the week of graduation and I miss the job I've had over the last 5 months. I had to complete a certain amount of hours as a student intern in a counseling role for school and I had the pleasure of working with some awesome kids in Ft. Worth at Sundance Behavioral Health Center. The adolescents were my favorite and they sent me off with the most encouraging good-bye I've ever received from anyone. One of my patients (a 16-year-old boy) even wrote a letter to me, the head therapist, and the mental health tech thanking us for what we do and asking us to never give up on kids like him. I copied that letter, it now hangs on my fridge as a reminder of how far I've come and what I am fully capable of. Those kids saw it, God sees it... why in the world should I ever doubt the gift that He has placed within me. This is not by my strength, but by the strength of the one who breathed life into me, the one who destined this journey for me.
I loved working with kids in the role of counselor and in a few months after I've completed my board exam and am licensed with the state of Texas, I look forward to working with a group all my own and knowing that everyday, every step of the way I'm not alone.
My cup indeed runneth over and I'm one blessed girl!
Monday, November 8, 2010
Happy Birthday buddy! You are 3 now and I can only imagine what you would be doing if you were here on earth with us. Although my heart misses you so very much, I am gently reminded that with each year and birthday that passes you have the joy of spending those special days with our Father in Heaven. Your sister asked me a few months ago who makes birthday cakes in Heaven, she misses you too. This year your Mama had another baby boy, Jared Wesley. He grasps my wrist when I hold him just as you used to do and your little brother, Nathan. What a sweet reminder that you will forever live in our hearts. I imagine you running and laughing and enjoying wrestling with the Lord. Thank you for making my 26th birthday so memorable, what a joy it was to hold you, nap with you, and watch as your sister loved helping take care of you.
As I've prayed through this season God has gently laid on my heart the worship song "How He Loves Us." It has brought so much healing to my heart in those moments where I miss you the most. I see how the Lord loves us and has loved us through this season of grief. As I get ready to graduate with my masters degree in counseling you have not been far from my mind. I remember your sweet face and the short 5 months we had with you on days when I am tired and not sure I am doing well with my patients. Your face is what has pushed me through many times in the last 2 1/2 years. I long to help other families that have lost a baby either to SIDS or by some other unexpected way. You've left a huge legacy here for someone so small. I thank God everyday that you are resting in His arms, even if what I would love is to hold you myself and watch you grow up here on earth. We may not understand the why, but we have enough faith and trust that God has got it all under control and will never leave us.
I love you and until I see you again I send you big hugs and kisses from earth.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
I've been praying pretty intently now for the last 4 weeks about a short term internship I had applied for in Washington, D.C. with International Justice Mission. Such an amazing organization and you can find out more about what they are doing around the world at www.ijm.org. When I first heard about the internship I had no reservations, in fact I didn't think twice about telling everyone that was the path I was going to take after graduation and that I would be applying, etc., etc, etc. But then about a week before I sent in my application I started to feel lots of anxiety about this choice and questioning my decision to apply and seek out something that really did not pertain to my degree in counseling. After seeking wise counsel I was finally able to focus my prayer about it on just praying that God would either very clearly open the door or very clearly close it. Today He very much closed that door and in an instant I felt a weight lifted and a peace I had never known before. So much anxiety flew the way of the bird during winter time. The cool thing about it was I just returned from a trip to Colorado last night and for the first time in a long time... Dallas really felt like home, it was good to be back. Colorado had been removed from the potential job/relocation list about a month ago and so the choice was between D.C. and Dallas, and God made it perfectly clear today that D.C. was not where he was calling me.
I don't know why everything suddenly changed, why in a matter of less than 24 hours I stopped wrestling with God about staying in Dallas and instantly just knew there was no where else I should be.
Over the last two plus years I've spent a lot of time soul searching and as hard as the path has been at times, I got through it....WE (me & God) got through it. I look back over my life sometimes and I see how the puzzle pieces have come together and how one step, one decision has led to another and another and eventually here... and ultimately where He is leading me. I'm excited to see what the future holds, I'm excited to have a peace and be able to focus in on one particular area where God has me. For now I'll keep smiling and when times get dark or tough, I'll remember this place where God brought me so that I won't forget that He's always with me.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
But as I sat and let God sing over me, as the tears began to fall at the thought of all we've been through over the last 10 years and most specifically the last 2 1/2 years, I thought it would be fun to dig out some old journals. And when I say old... I mean OLD! These are a bit from high school, a lot from college, and a few years from my early recovery days. I wanted to share something a bit deeper, but decided that if I was going to share it with anyone, it really should be my family first... they're the ones that deserve it the most especially after the hell I put them through for 6 years. But I did run across something a little more light-hearted and fun...
Things to do in Life (in no particular order)
- Learn to snow ski
- Ride a jet ski
- Finally get up on water skis
- Dance in the falling snow
- Go to New York in the winter
- Spend a night looking at stars, telling stories, and laughing
- Learn to cook a gourmet meal
- Spend a summer in Europe (Paris, London, Italy, Rome, Venice)
- Ride a vespa somewhere, anywhere in Europe
- Write a book (both children's & testimonial)
- Go to a world series game (no matter where, who, or when... preferably the Rangers)
- Remodel & decorate my dream house
Saturday, September 11, 2010
""I am God, the God of your father,' the voice said. 'Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make your family into a great nation.'" ~ Genesis 46:3
"The Lord is my light and my salvation - so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?" ~ Psalm 27:1
Oh if only I could rest in these verses... and maybe I still can, the key is finding rest in anything these days. My mind races miles ahead of my body and I quickly find myself worn out and exhausted from trying to keep up with the never ending "to-do" list in my head. Sometimes I can't even catch everything fast enough to write it all down. This is how life has been recently (and by recently, I mean this last week). It's as if I hit warp speed and I can only see a short amount of time to get all the things done that I need to get done. For instance, I need to pack... but not just pack like I'm moving somewhere else, but pack for 2 different locations. Oh and remember not to pack anything for storage that I might need should I end up going to Washington D.C. come January. Speaking of D.C. that's the primary reason I'm writing. If only I could tell you how many times my head and heart have wrestled with this choice. It's a little ridiculous how quickly I change my mind on this, and the funny thing is that when I first heard about it, I had no questions or reservations, it seemed like the right thing to do and a wonderful opportunity. And it still does, but it hit me tonight (or maybe I just finally admitted it) that fear has been a strong driving force in NOT going. I haven't even been offered the position and I'm thinking of a million non-rational reasons why I shouldn't go. I'd give you my list, but I truly believe you have better things to do than read my PRO/CON list for D.C. And besides, it's all in my head (along with my forever long "to-do" list) anyway.
So here's the thing... if fear is the only reason why I wouldn't go, then I probably should... right? And again I haven't received an answer yet, but maybe that's what I'm afraid of the most... getting my heart set on this adventure and then finding out that I'm not chosen. It's not like I've walked out shattered hopes and dreams before, but then again is that any reason to stop believing?
I'm a little quieter these days, but now you know why.... so if you wonder or desire to ask why, maybe just say a little prayer. Pray that I'll find my way far from fear and forever in the arms of hope!
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
Sunday, August 8, 2010
“We will overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony, everyone overcome.” ~ Desperation Band, Jon Egan, 2007
Over the past two years, I have seen and heard time and time again of people who have “overcome.” They have overcome difficult circumstances, they have overcome tragedy, and they have overcome attempts by the devil trying to gain a hold on their lives. My most vivid picture and testimony of the will to overcome come from the tragic and unexpected loss of my nephew, William Thomas Darnell Jr., to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), in March, 2008. As the two years have passed since that day, I have witnessed as my sister and her husband have pressed deeper toward the Lord and placed all that they have in His hands; and, as a result they have overcome and continue to walk in healing. I have witnessed how He has blessed their faithfulness to Him. Has it been an easy road? No, not in the least, but it has been a journey from loss to meaningful life once again.
As the days following that tragic day unfolded, I watched from a distance as my sister both questioned and listened to her Heavenly Father, and trusted as He began to speak and comfort her and her husband. I watched as my sister so adamantly wrote and delivered the eulogy at her son’s memorial service. I watched how her grief and honesty testified to others in being open and honest with their grief. I watched as she and her husband built (and continue to build) a ministry that assists other families who face the same loss that they experienced. It is a ministry that might not have been planted had they not walked this road themselves. I have witnessed and heard the countless stories of the families they have assisted in the year-and-a-half that the ministry has existed, and I have seen how God is using the love and compassion in their hearts for a greater good.
I believe that overcoming is a choice that we are all given the opportunity to make. My sister and her husband overcame by trusting in God’s plan, while not knowing what it might be. A lot of the strength they found came from the support system around them. They were able to choose to overcome, to trust in the Lord because of so many people around them trusting, praying, and believing for them.
I foresee for my future a calling to trust in, support, and pray for others. Years ago, I felt called to pursue a masters degree for a career in professional counseling. It was not until two-and-a-half years later that I finally began the journey that would get me to that degree. Through that journey, it has never been about the degree or the initials after my name, but about continuing to work through my “overcome” moments and hopefully helping others do the same.
There is so much hope in the phrase “to overcome” and I thank God for the work He has done and continues to do to help me overcome challenges so that I, in turn, can minister and help guide others toward Him. International Justice Mission is a ministry that gives others the opportunity to choose to “overcome.” When I look at the work that IJM has done and continues to do, I see how they step forward as God has called each worker and volunteer. Those workers and volunteers teach others across different nations to overcome, to see that there is something beyond what they have always believed to be the only way to survive.
Jesus Christ came to this world to overcome so that we may have the choice to overcome through his power and love. It is when we make that decision that we fully walk into all that God has planned for us. Overcoming is a universal word, a universal concept… I do not believe that there should be any cultural barriers when it comes to learning how to overcome.