"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." ~ Proverbs 3:5,6 (NIV)
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." ~ Joshua 1:9 (NIV)
2012 felt very much like a rebuilding year. Having just barely entered my 30s at the end of 2011, this year found me rediscovering so many things about my hopes, my dreams, myself, and most importantly... my God. By the end of it all, I was laughing as I found myself begging God for things not to change. Sometimes I wonder if God even knows what to do with me... one moment I ask for one thing and the next when that thing comes to pass, I find myself at His feet begging for things to go back the way they were. I'm so grateful His love never changes, that His love never fails.
Believe it or not, the beginning of 2012 found me extremely discouraged by the career path I had chosen, wondering what in the world I was even thinking in the first place. A few months into 2012 I began the process of looking for a job out of state, wanting so much to escape what I thought I couldn't in Dallas unless I left. Low and behold, God had a different plan. Six months into 2012 and I had given up hope in regards to trying to get out of Dallas. I threw up my hands and told God, "whatever." Meaning, whatever you want to do, doesn't matter to me because clearly my opinion does not matter... what-freakin'-ever! Oh I was beyond mad, but I was done trying so hard. I had decided that I was destined to remain in a support role (career wise) and continue to do counseling work on the side until March 2016 (when my intern license is set to expire). If I did not obtain my hours by that date in March 2016, then I was done. I had decided that it wasn't worth the headache, heartache, and frustration to start over. Probably the best decision I have ever made... to give up (so to speak). Little did I know (as always) that God was up to something pretty amazing.
I remember having conversations with my counseling supervisor over the job search and how things were going. I had told her that I had essentially stopped. I felt like so much focus was going into trying to find a full-time counseling job that it was ultimately distracting me from focusing on the work I needed to be doing with my clients in private practice. I also told her that part of me felt like if I just give up and stop worrying about it so much that maybe, just maybe something would fall into my lap. I look back on that conversation now and I envision God looking at me, shaking His head and saying, "If only she would just trust me, trust my plan. I got this under control, I don't need her help." Although I envision that he probably does that quite a bit with me.
As I pursued other endeavors, and continued to over commit myself (something I'm a pro at) I stumbled into an "Ah ha" moment. I had begun the process of pursuing a volunteer commitment with my best friend and in the midst of it I realized I was absolutely crazy... or would be if I pursued it. After much prayer and wise counsel, I decided to step down and not continue to pursue the venture with her. Fearful that I would let her down, I explained that it would not be wise for me to take on such a big commitment and potentially wear myself out to the point that I couldn't serve to the best of my ability. I've been extremely blessed to have a best friend who is incredibly gracious, understanding, and loving... I'm not sure what life would be like without her. All that to say, within 24 hours of me stepping down from that potential commitment, a door was opened and I was offered a full-time counseling job. Not just any position, but a position in a hospital that I was quite familiar with. The same place that I completed my student internship at 2 years ago and have been doing PRN work for the last year and a half. If only someone else could have been there when I received that job offer, I was taken off guard and excited to the point of tears. I love those God moments that are so special they often times only make sense to you (and God of course).
So here I am, one full day under my belt of leading the Intermediate group at Sundance Behavioral Health Center in Ft. Worth, and living in a new place that's all my own once again. As I look back on this past year I see that God knew I longed for new beginnings, for change that didn't include memories of my past... something that was all mine. I look back and realize that 12 months ago, I wasn't ready, my heart wasn't ready. It took another wrestling match with God, time for me to be my stubborn self before I realized that God is God and I am not. He's got this life of mine under control, all I have to do is sit back and breathe. I don't expect that I've fully grasped this yet, but I hope beyond all hope that as I continue to wait for other dreams to come to pass I will not be as stubborn as I have been with this most recent one. I also don't expect that this is the end of this dream, but merely the beginning. I look forward to see what God is going to do with me.
Lately I've realized there is an inordinate amount of compliments/observations regarding my smile. I've realized that is often times the first thing that people notice about me, and I've wondered why that is. But then I realize it is the Lord that gives me reason to smile. For the work He has done and continues to do in my life... why wouldn't I smile and why wouldn't it be beautiful? After all, it is all for the glory of my King!