As an adolescent growing up in the 90’s, it’s no surprise that this song rings through my head as I reflect on writing a one-year anniversary piece to celebrate the first stages of Joyful Journeys Counseling. (Don’t reflect too much on those lyrics . . . it’s simply the first few words of that first line which gets me moving along in thought for this article!)
Neuroscience affirms the wisdom in reflecting on victories, on progress, and in achievements. Though it is tempting to push forward to new victories and another accomplishment, it is imperative for me to pause and give some thanks.
First, Michael, thank you for being firmly supportive of this calling to counsel as a profession. I would not have finished graduate school without your support. Thank you for being an unwavering advocate for the call of God in my life.
Secondly, to the group of women I shared the first stages of growth; Allison, Lenora, Amanda, and Elizabeth. Thank you for cheering and hurrahing despite it being akin to a youngster showing you the pretty flower they picked. I am especially thankful to you, Lenora, who read through my documents and helped me process my process of building from a dream. You have listened to me for countless hours, offered encouragement, and been a model to pray without ceasing. For your friendship, I am forever thankful!
Thirdly, dear Jesus, where would I be without you?! God assured me in my journey many years before graduate school as I cried out to Him about my purpose. One night, I lay on the floor during a night of prayer in the sanctuary. No one was in the sanctuary except Holy Spirit and I. I travailed in prayer, wanting to know what God had for my life. How would He bring meaning to what I did, what I knew, what I had, and who I was? That was the first night Isaiah 61 was spoken over my heart and mind. At that moment, my spirit quieted. I left my prayer “closet” refreshed and at rest. Later in the same season, Holy Spirit again whispered to me to declare this word and promise over my life. It was during the first out-of-town dance ministry performance with my college group. We each spoke a Scripture as our introduction.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me because He has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them who are bound; to declare the acceptable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort those who mourn, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord.
That scripture again offered me comfort and a sense of destiny after I finally agreed to attend graduate school. (Holy Spirit had to chase me down with that assignment. It took me years to say yes.) I was reading the FIRST chapter of the FIRST school book in my FIRST semester of the Marriage and Family Therapy program. The line said, this is the heart of a counselor – and it was that scripture! I closed the book after reading it and took in some deep breaths. God was with me! He was FOR me! Have you ever had clarity and confirmation in that way, that you were doing what God had for you to do?
On that note, I need to thank Brian. Brian was my totally unaffiliated and volunteer supervisor during my internship. He may never be fully aware of what a gift he offered with his time and insight. Mostly, it was his simple agreement to provide supervision. Without his generosity and gift . . .Thank you, Brian! I am fully convinced that your gift will be richly rewarded here on Earth and in heaven.
Cheers to another year! Hooray for the clients I have been fortunate to work with this year. The Lord has gently built my clients throughout this year so that I have been able to manage my other responsibilities. As I have questioned whether or not to continue, which way to turn, it seemed that the Lord would give me another client to add to my caseload. I believe He has said, keep going. And, so, I shall.