If you’re just now joining in on my #31Days series, you can click here to read all the posts. I suggest reading them in order because they build on one another :)
Back in the beginning of the year, I attended an intensive lecture for a 9 month discipleship group I was a part of. At this lecture, Dr. Chuck Degroat, a counselor and Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling at Western Theological Seminary, said something that changed my life. You see, up until this point, I had avoided something that I truly felt like was my call. I graduated with a bachelors degree in Behavioral Studies in 2007 and since then have longed to get my masters degree, but I had always avoided this call.
I am a person who struggles with fear. And believe it or not, it may not surprise you actually, I struggle with the opinions of others. Especially in a professional setting. I hate to get paid to do something only to appear to not know what I am doing. I also have an intense fear that I will be helping someone and they will say to me that I have led a good life, and who am I to try and help them? I’ve never experienced anything. And then I won’t have anything to say.
And this has paralyzed me from pursuing something I have felt called to. So when I sat in on the lecture by Chuck, hearing his stories, I wanted to say hello after the intensive. I don’t know about you, but when I meet [or see] someone that is working in the area that I am called to or am passionate about, it feels like we already have a commonality, a bond, that makes us understand one another…even if it is on a small level. So I said hello and out came my confession…the admission that I was fearful of not being enough, not having enough experience, not being able to fix whatever the client came to me for. And you know what he said?
Erin, our job as therapists is to strip away all that isn’t Jesus. In the end, if you know Him, you have all the experience you need.
Profound words that instantly stripped away my inhibitions and fears. And in that moment, I felt that tug, the pull on my heart towards pursuing my call. And so I began to pray. Began to ask the Lord to open doors.
And doors He did open…just a few weeks later, I attended an informational meeting at a seminary here in town about their Marital and Family Therapy program. An old professor of mine in my undergrad was the head of the MFT department at this seminary. And after some unexpected gifts from my church to apply and take the tests necessary to get in, I was accepted. And then I began to wait. A six-months-long wait, praying for provision to attend. You see, tuition for the three years there is a total of $44,000. Money I did not want to borrow. Money I do not have.
So I prayed. I had to pray. What would I do come fall when I had to make a decision about student loans and such? Well, unfortunately to my impatient heart, I would find out! Come July, nothing had happened in the way of miraculous provision, so my husband and I made the difficult decision to postpone school until fall 2014. Maybe by then, I would get scholarship money, get a job, or win the lottery. Who knows…but I had made the decision in my heart to wait. And so I told my old professor, the one who is the department head, that I would probably have to postpone. She told me to wait and see.
This fall, I started the 9 month discipleship group once again, this time as a leader. And when I attended the first intensive lecture, the Lord blessed my socks off. The random occurrences were just that, very random and surprising…I was driving to the lecture [which was a half hour from my home] and just pulled out of Starbucks when a small traffic jam caused me to let another driver in front of me. When I looked at this driver’s face, it was the director of the seminary I was hoping to attend! This man and I had talked several times, he was friends with my pastor [who had gifted me the money to apply], and he was right there. Then, to my surprise, he was going to the lecture I was attending! So there is me, sitting in the lecture, wondering if I should talk to this man, praaaying for an opportunity if the Lord wanted me to. The end of the lecture comes, I am standing there alone, dilly dallying hoping to talk to him, and finally had to resolve…Lord, let him notice me if I am supposed to talk to him. I am too nervous.
And immediately upon praying that, he looks at me. We chat, I tell him about my financial need, and he sets me up with a scholarship interview! I was astounded.
So I go to the interview a week or so later and it blows me away. The women who are interviewing me make me feel so welcome, the conversation is truly amazing, and it just feels that the Lord is there. When I go to leave, they ask to pray for me. And when they do, one of the women cries! It was just such an amazing experience. And a week later, I received a scholarship to attend. My heart beats fast at the thought of it all. And now I am attending. It has been the best experience so far…and I am overwhelmed with gratitude to the Lord for it all. From beginning to end, I can see His hand in shaping my path to my call. xo