Recently, I was reading the book, In a pit with a lion on a snowy day by Mark Batterson. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. It’s a book about the importance of being willing to step out in faith and take calculated risks so that you can achieve great things for the Kingdom.
As I was reading along these 2 things really struck me:
Ok, let me be a little more honest. This didn’t just strike me. This was like getting hit with a ton of bricks. You see, as I was reading this book it was coming up on January, which was when I was going to be starting my degree for marriage, couple and family counseling. To be honest I was really struggling with some of the risks involved with pursuing this degree.
First, I found out that the 2.5 years that they told me it would take to complete the degree was for FULL TIME students. Being that I work full time and there is no way I could be a full time student my degree is actually going to take 4 years to earn. FOUR YEARS!!! That means that I’m starting my degree a little before I turn 38 and I won’t finish until I’m almost 42!! To me that was just complete craziness and a bit of a risk!
Second, although I have and still am applying for grants and scholarships I have not heard back from one single place. This meant that if I was going to start in January I was going to have to apply for student loans which I was hoping to avoid. Thankfully, our boss, Trent, assured us that Servants is not against this for furthering education. Also, because of our income level and the fact that we work for a 501c3 organization it is almost certain that I will not have to pay back any part of these loans. However, it’s a risk!!
Finally, part of the requirement for my degree is that I spend some time doing a practicuum and 2 internships under the supervision of a LICENSED marriage, couple and family therapist (LMFT). LMFTs can be difficult to find in the states. Nevermind, trying to find one here in Guatemala where almost everything is twice as complicated. So the end result of this could be that I MIGHT have to spend a year in the states to finish my training if I can’t find and LMFT here. A WHOLE YEAR!! IN THE U.S.!!! AWAY FROM THE MINISTRY GOD HAS CALLED US TO AND ALL THE PEOPLE WHO WE LOVE SO MUCH AND DO LIFE WITH!! That risk was almost too much!!
However, I keep going back and reviewing all the things that God has spoken to me, showed me, and guided me with over this 2 1/2 year process of seeking if this is really what He is calling me to do. Of course, He keeps confirming it for me every time and keeps leading me to trust Him with the risky details.
So on January 14, 2018 I started my first class for my degree. I won’t lie…IT IS HARD!! It has required my mind to stretch in ways it hasn’t been stretched in years. It is requiring that I make use of every minute I have (like reading my textbooks when I’m walking around the house doing other stuff and listening to counseling sessions when I’m walking the dog). It is also requiring adjustments in my marriage and in how I serve in the ministry. Thankfully, I have an amazing, patient husband and awesome teammates who are so supportive and willing to help!
So yes, it’s hard but I will also say it is VERY good! I am now starting my fourth week. I have found a rhythm that is very busy, but it’s working. And most importantly, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, what I am learning!! It is so clear to me, as I learn more, that God has put a gift and passion in me for this and I’m so excited to see how He is going to use it to bring healing in families and bring others closer to Him!
Thank you all so very much for all of your prayers, encouragement and support as I’ve shared this journey with you! Please keep praying with me for God to work out all these “risks” according to His good and perfect plan. Please also pray that I will keep my priorities in order (God, my relationship with my husband, and then ministry and school) because as important as this is and as excited as I am about this new adventure it will never be worth sacrificing my relationship with the 2 most important men in the world to me…Jesus and Dylan.