Monday, May 31, 2010

The Box

Life is hard living in a "box." It took me years to realize it and quite a few people along my life path to point out that I do indeed live life inside it... or at least use to. You see, it's difficult to see outside the box, it's difficult to understand what is outside and around the box in which one lives.

I remember the first time I had this discussion about how I viewed life. I was called into meet with one of my professors in college. It was my senior year at SMU and I was taking a theater class to fulfill one of my elective requirements... Creative Dramatics (don't act like you're surprised by this). Charlie was the professor and I remember sitting across from him in his office when he stated that what he noticed in me was this beautiful ability to become a completely different person when acting out a scene, but then somewhere along the way I'd pull back as if I'd seen something in me that I didn't like or that I didn't allow myself to be. Little did I know at that time that meeting would stick with me for years to come. I've carried that scene in the back of my mind and occasionally it pops up to the forefront and this time around I felt the need to put it into words. I thank Charlie for that. But that wouldn't be the last I heard of this viewpoint within me.

Three years after graduation and after that class with Charlie I came face to face with the "box" once again and this time in terms of the end of a "relationship." I was told I place people in a "box" and I expect them to act uniformly. I didn't get it this time around, I was bitter and mad for this suggestion and the person for the pain and hurt they had brought to my heart. Now 3 years after that encounter I finally get it.

I'm learning that living in a "box" is not fun and so one dimensional and restrictive. There's a lot of life to see, I may not understand it all, but it doesn't hurt to try. Grace, mercy, and patience are beautiful things and I think that is what I'm understanding the most out of all this mess. People are very much more than one aspect, more than one characteristic. That is the one thing I so painfully came to realize over 2 years ago and struggled to express to others at the time. I'm grateful for this journey and blessed that I can choose to step outside the "box" and see the world as it was truly meant to be seen.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I Dreamed A Dream

Once upon four and a half years ago I sat on the floor of my bedroom in a house I shared with two friends dutifully filling out an application to a graduate school that I was not even sure I was supposed to attend or what I would do if I got accepted. A few weeks later an acceptance letter came along with the proper ID needed to be considered a "student." That letter sat in a box for three years until the time came for the dream the Father dreamed for His daughter to pass. With an open heart and blind eyes I took a leap of faith and here we are today, just over two more years later and I'm a little less than 6 months away from graduating with a masters degree in counseling that I said I never wanted : ) Never say never... right?

It's been interesting to me to watch this journey come to pass. I remember throwing in the towel my junior year at SMU and thinking, "to heck with this... I'm not even good at this." Pertaining to the subject of psychology of course. Granted I was so close to finishing the degree I did anyway, but under no circumstances was I intending to do any graduate work and I certainly was not about to obtain my Masters Degree. Oh how glad I am that I was wrong! God knew, He knew exactly what was going to happen and how it would all come to pass... for that I am grateful because I couldn't have crafted a more beautiful story if I tried. It's been hard, no doubt about that... but shoot, if hard is what it takes to get where God wants me than I'll do hard any day of the week.

Which leads me to the next part of this journey... Practicum, also known as my student internship. I am required by Amberton University to complete 300 hours of Practicum under the supervision of a Licensed Professional Counselor or Psychologist before I am eligible to graduate. For my placement, I've selected Sundance Behavioral Health Center in Ft. Worth. Yes, I realize that is quite the hike for someone living in Dallas, but I can already tell every moment will be absolutely worth it! I had my intern orientation today and I got to hear more about the make-up of the kids that attend and the situations that I would see the most. These are super smart kids dealing with behavioral issues that they have no idea what to do with. Some have been kicked out of their schools or on the verge and they want to be at Sundance, they want to get help. I was there once and so it is more than an honor and a privilege to be able to give back and help them find themselves. I'm entering a very fulfilling career and as scared to death as I am at failing these kids, there's something in the back of my mind that gives me peace knowing I'm doing the right thing.

It's not about me, it never was. Many people have believed in me over the years when I couldn't figure out down from up and now... well, now I have the chance to impart that belief and wisdom into the younger generations of today. I write tonight asking you to pray for the kiddoes at Sundance Behavioral Health Center. They're there for a reason and they want to be and how amazing to know that somewhere out there, people are praying for a generation to be healed and to change the way in which they live.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
~ Psalm 23, NIV

The days leading up to my graduate exam this week the Lord had placed upon my heart Psalm 23. The only sense I could make of it is the constant thought of "God is always with us"... and I left it at that as I prayed the beginning of the chapter over and over in my heart. Now here I am 4 days after aforementioned exam, having passed it and still my heart is heavy with Psalm 23. So as I've meditated and continue to meditate on it this is what I have thus far...

I had a lot of doubt in my abilities this week. The first thought that came to mind as I processed through Psalm 23 was God asking, "Why did you ever doubt me? You haven't before during this journey. Have I not set a purpose before you and breathed it to life?" ... Ouch, sometimes I don't like how well God knows me. But with that question I read through it all again... and I continue to do so until it all makes sense. There's not a lot of meat to this blog, but just sharing what God is sharing with me. One more thing before I sign off... Psalm 23 via The Message Bible...

God, my shepherd! I don't need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet
pools to drink from.
True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send
me in the right direction.
Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I'm not afraid
when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd's crook
makes me feel secure.

You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing.
Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.
I'm back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.
~ Psalm 23, The Message

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Holy Roar

Over these last few days of preparing for my big departmental exam the song laid upon my heart has been Watermark's "Holy Roar" sung by Christy Nockels. It is a moving and passionate worship song all about the pursuit of God. It exemplifies exactly what this journey has been for me... a pursuit after God and the passion He has placed upon my heart for so many years. I found it a little poetic when I noticed for the first time the other night that this song is on an album entitled, "The Road to One Day." In past blogs when I've spoken of this dream I've dated it back to 2005 when I first applied to graduate school, however when mediating upon it all last night I really felt that God placed this calling on my life at the age of 14. That was 14 years ago!! This has been a dream that has taken ups, downs, twists, turns and unexpectancies. Just goes to show God doesn't give up on us, but is patient and kind for as long as it takes for us to realize what He already knows. At 14 I was diagnosed with depression and anorexia, I spent the better part of my high school and college years trying to figure out why I was the way I was and why I made the choices I made. I still don't have a definitive answer, but I have a peace that surpasses all and any understanding. For I am a child of God and nothing less. I am a miracle, a blessing, and a treasure. What I do believe is that maybe it was all a part of the plan to get me where I am now... pursuing a masters degree in counseling so I in turn can help kids who struggle with their identity and the false beliefs they have that lead to mechanisms to suppress all of it.

And me graduating and obtaining my masters is by no means the end of a dream. I've thought over the last few weeks, "what's next? What will I pursue when this dream is done?" The thing of it is, this is just opening a door to so much more. I'll be given the responsibility of counseling future generations and my hope is that it will help turn the tides in what we foresee our kids, grandkids being born into. This is a fallen world, that I know. I also know that I can't "fix" or "save" anyone, but if I can help change the way they think, the way they see things then let's get movin'!! I pray that my heart will not die in this area, and that should it ever become hardened or separated from this pursuit then I need to find a new occupation. I'm tired of living in my own little world pretending that everything is "normal." What is normal anyway? I'm ready to cause a Holy Roar and walk through the open door God has been preparing for me for the last 14 years. It's way past time to step into my calling and walk in obedience to the Lord.

What's God calling you to? What is your "Holy Roar?"

"Rivers of renewal, the spirit whisper a revival
And He sends us rushing, Lord, send us rushing
Open hearts with hopes of unity, we're servants to love in lost
Lord, send us reaching, yeah

Oh can you hear it? It's the song of the redeemed
The pursuit of passion for the one who set us free
Oh can you hear it? We're crying out for more
And listen to our song, it's turning into a holy roar, a holy roar, yeah

And we come rejoicing and singing and crying out to You, Lord
Can you hear the holy roar?"
~ Holy Roar, Christy Nockels, The Road to One Day