Friday, January 23, 2009

"Decisions, Decisions" Update

I want to first begin by thanking those of you who have been mindful of my predicament and either called on the phone or simply stopped me in passing to ask me how things have been going. Thinking through the school decision has not been an easy one; your words of encouragement have been received and your prayers felt. The Lord never ceases to amaze me in how He so particularly ordains certain people to cross our paths at the most opportune moments.
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After what seems like hours spent talking with my husband, as well as time spent praying, reading and writing, I have decided to withdraw from school for the semester. The best course of action for us at this point both practically and for my own rest and reflection is to wait and complete my counseling internship during the fall semester and graduate with my husband in December. This will not only allow me personal time to really think things through, but will also allow us to tackle other items of debt faster than we had originally anticipated.
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Although I am withdrawing from school for the semester, I am still going to audit a class that meets on Monday nights. The course is available in the counseling department, but is not required for my specific degree program. I have never taken a class from this particular professor before, and I think that auditing the course will aid all the more as I think through those things pertaining to my future as a counselor. The course focuses on different counseling models, providing an overview of the more common approaches to counseling from a Christian perspective, with the end goal of each student developing his or her own philosophy of counseling. I find that such a course will be particularly helpful since my holdup with whether or not to pursue state licensure has to do with my own approach to counseling.
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I have always wanted to primarily counsel in the church. I echo many of those whom I respect as biblical counselors that counseling should occur in the church. Churches should raise up and hire men who are ready to truly pastor their flocks, addressing the heart issues behind particular sins and our desperate need for repentance. I have always wanted to be an active participant in sharing the message of true hope with others, speaking the Gospel truth and its application to the daily struggles we face. I have within me a deep yearning to minister to my fellow sisters, walking alongside them as they face root issues and examine their own hearts in whatever struggle with which they are faced. At the root of who we are as believers resides two life-transforming truths: we were created by a sovereign God, and He has redeemed us from death and enslavement to our own sin!
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While I do not discount psychology and the ways in which advancements in this field have aided in learning more about the mind and body, I am not completely convinced that I want to go on and receive further education for a professional state license. I know that in my previous post I made note of the fact that I think further education would be worthwhile, but that is dependent upon whether or not I think a license in and of itself is going to be worth the time and effort. If I am called to minister to others out in the community, open to the possibility of this taking place in a secular setting, then yes, state licensure is necessary. I will also have to consider that with state licensure comes a secular, highly-psychologized education. However, if when we are finished with school and my heart's cry is still to counsel women and families in the context of the church, then a state license is not needed. There are also numerous practical issues to consider if one is licensed by the state and counseling formally in the church; liability issues, ethical matters, and other potential problems create a minefield of red tape.
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All that to say that I am still not fully convinced that I am going to pursue state licensure. If I do make that choice, I desire that such a choice be made with as much knowledge and as much certainty before diving in to all that is required. I will be perfectly content if I complete my seminary degree and the certificate in biblical counseling is what I am intended to receive rather than state licensure.
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"The ground of our hope is the grace of God. Our renewal is a sign of his gracious sanctifying work or it is nothing. For the Christian, self-assessment is an assessment of the victory of grace in his life." (J. Piper)
To read more about the two organizations through which I would pursue a certificate in biblical counseling, visit CCEF and NANC (or just select from the links on my sidebar).

6 comments:

Eryn Mikel said...

Thanks for sharing friend, I know it's so hard to step back sometimes and just pursue the Lord. You show so much wisdom in the depth that you are pursuing His purpose for your degree and not just what is popular or considered "practical" by some. You are a great example!

RAGOMEZ said...

Hi,

I have run into your blog from time to time when doing a search on Biblical Counseling (BC). In regards to your decision, well, it sounds like you are being ego-centric (i.e. I, me, my, ...), the focus is on you and not so much on what God nor what He wants for and through you in regards to your education in BC.

I have fought with God for several years in regards to the degrees He has set me out to earn. I hold a BA in Psychology and recently (Dec 2007) earned a MA in Counseling Psychology. This past year (2008) I studied for 4 months and passed the National Counselor Exam; all while teaching part-time courses in psychology. Even though I have done all of these things, you know it really was not my intention. However, as result of earning and working within this area I have served so many that I would never have been able to serve otherwise.

My heart still craves for psychology, but the Biblical Counseling; rooted in God's Word. However, I have to wait for that because that is not yet God's will for my life. I have search programs and have found some that I love. However, He has work for me in the secular world; I need to wait.

The point I am trying to make is simple. Look at your desires, for they are instilled by God in your heart. However, don't rush the fulfillment of those desires, let them come to be through God's will for your life. After all you want to be of service to Him by being of service to people He presents in the journey of your life.

Rich Blessings

Roberto

Miss Scarlett said...

Sorry girly. I am just now catching up. I am so proud of your very mature wisdom. Love you much. We can talk later...

You Little O Wife said...

I am so proud of you, dear friend. Thank you for sharing about your final decision.

Ashley said...

Thanks for the update! I know this hasn't been an easy decision.

Stephanie Robertson said...

Ugh. I am just now catching up on all my blogs. I can imagine how hard this decision has to be for you, and I am not in agreement with Roberto, it seems like you have done your seeking and searching what the Lord would have you do. I'm proud of you.