Now probably 99.9% of the readers of my blog know exactly what this is because I have been talking about it for some time. BUT, for my own documentation purposes, allow me to expand about this thick envelope that went into the mail today.
Back in the spring of 2008 I was at a fork in the road. I had been teaching for almost two years and knew I wanted to get my masters in something. Helping others has always been on my radar and I was interested in finding a degree program that would help me do this either in or out of the school setting just in case I ever wanted to get out of education. After much prayer, I decided to apply for grad school at a local seminary to pursue a masters in counseling. This particular spring was full of life altering events. I was a single lady who was ready to take on the world, bought my little blue house all by myself, and was accepted to AGTS.
I started classes the fall of 2008 and was quickly overwhelmed. Grad school is so much different than undergrad. Papers on papers on papers and I am not a great writer (round of applause for my mom for editing all of my papers for me and helping me in this department). I had to quickly accept that I probably wouldn't be getting a 4.0 (I still graduated with a cool cord, but I had to accept the fact that I had to sacrifice grades to a degree for sanity). Low and behold towards the end of my first semester I met a dashing fellow named Chris. God has fun plans. Here I was ankle deep in a 60 hour degree program and I met a guy waist deep in optometry school up in St. Louis.
I was determined to complete my degree and Chris wouldn't have had it any other way. So, we had "study dates" three hours apart and life as a grad student continued. Through lots of tears, late nights, praises, and prayers, I wrapped up my degree in December of 2010. Five semesters of papers, tests, flash cards and comps. I was in my fifth year of teaching, engaged and playing that what now game. Chris had applied for a residency and was placed in Mount Vernon and so we knew we would be in Springfield for another year at least.
Now here's a kicker. Remember how I graduated? That was fun and all and a huge accomplishment, but I wasn't technically done. See, I had my counseling degree, which means a lot, but not a lot at the same time. There's another step in the process, becoming licensed. Which takes another stupid test and 3,000 supervised hours. THREE THOUSAND!!! So, the question was do I teach for another year, sit on my degree and see where Chris' career took us? Or do I start applying for jobs and step out in faith that God will provide a way for the hours to be completed in the five year time period.
I started to look for a job.
Nothing was overly promising at first until I stumbled across a post about a local private Christian practice. The boss man decided to have an interview with me and I reluctantly went. I figured it would be bogus and my teaching contract would be signed for another year by the end of the week. Remember how I said God has fun plans? I walked out of the interview with a strange peace that this was what I needed to do and immediately called Chris and my mom in tears.
So, here I was a wedding coming up, I turned in my notice to my principal (that was another tear fest, I miss my teacher friends), and Chris and I were going to start our marriage BOTH with new jobs and in essence new careers.
I started my supervised hours that summer and started seeing clients in August. EYE OPENING!!! I work with low income families primarily and do in home therapy. I learned a lot about myself and society as a whole real quick.
Things were going smoothly until I peed on a stick in December and two lines appeared. Seriously God?! Here I was again, just ankle deep in a long process and a baby on the way. I forged through sessions over the next nine months trying to get as many of my 1,200 direct client hours done.
Baby boy made his appearance in August (I don't think I need to go into how delightful this surprise in life was and has been, he is perfect). I dreaded going back to work, DREADED! But, I had about 900 hours to wrap up. Chris pulled his "head of household" card and said push on sweetie, push on. I wanted to stay home so bad, but we made adjustments to life and I returned to work in October. The days and weeks have plugged by and that leads us to the present.
As of June 1 I will have completed 1,200 direct client hours and 1,800 "other" counseling related hours (research, notes, phone calls, supervision, etc.). My application went in the mail today for a board of about eight people to review and give me their stamp of approval or denial in June. Everything should be fine, but there is always that "what if" fear. I pray I am not doing a follow up post in June with sad music in the background that something wasn't completed correctly or I messed up my addition on my hours between supervisors and I am short x amount of hours. But, I can't think that way, ha.
These past two years have been HARD and rewarding. I sat in front of the mailbox and said a tearful prayer over this thick envelope before putting it in the blue box. The next chapter is unknown but I am so excited to see what God has in store.
There have been countless times I have prayed to God a prayer of frustration that I don't see BIG things in my life anymore. I look at how He vividly answers prayers for other and I was a big baby and wanted the same for me. Oh how He has opened my eyes over the past several months. I cannot go through these past five years and deny His hand in EVERY STEP! He has answered and continues to answer my prayers. I am so, so very thankful.