Signing up to teach again, going into a classroom before all the young students I am blessed to know always calls me into a place of contemplation. I find my thoughts are seeking again as always before to find ways to communicate all the things encumbant upon me to teach. I sometimes shake my head and ask, why ever did I choose this of all things to study? And the answer is as evident as a great landscape of rich detail spread before me reaching as far as the east is from the west…I chose this because it matters. It matters deeply and so very personally to me.

I care why people do what they do, how it impacts them and those around them. I care about hearts and minds and lives from the tiniest of babes to the elderly who are barely aware they are still a part of this difficult world. Minds are so important and what we believe, the values we develop, and the behaviors we practice makes waves upon which not only we ride but others for generations to follow will still feel the push and pull.

A heaviness weighs on me sometimes as I speak words that may sound so simple, often quoting the textbook as one example from last week comes to mind. Speaking of the consistency and character of a therapist being of paramount importance in a therapeutic relationship and stating that we cannot be one thing at work and another at home without that contradiction bringing about difficulties not only for the counselor but also for the ones he or she serves. So, so, so very true and isn’t it true of any professions where others place trust in us?

Also stepping into discussions of mental illness, substance abuse and addiction, violent relationships, and suicide brings me to that place of deep concern for each person whose ears my words touch. So many of them know all too well, just as I do, the pain and suffering of such tragedies. And yet I am intensely aware of the great need to lovingly, appropriately, and sensitively address every area with an offer of hope for surely there is hope for all who believe.

How encumbered we are with so many pressures and concerns from those that truly matter to those that are just a pesky nuisance yet unavoidable because of the very nature of the mind. Even knowing that what truly matters is honoring God and living as ambassadors of His great love, we all fall victim of supposing what others think of us, what their judgements are of us. Such insecure creatures we each find ourselves to be in tender, vulnerable moments of weakness…

Teaching as an advocate for the mentally ill requires honesty, vulnerability, and strength. How can barriers be broken down and stigma removed unless we acknowledge our own frailties and struggles. So many educated people shy away from owning struggles. How then are those we teach to ever recognize that what they endure is common to all and that they are not less than, alone, flawed more deeply?

We walk a narrow path when we walk in truth and humility. I must daily be willing to first be real or else I am presenting an element of deceit. To truly love others with their limitations, I must look in truth at the perfect love that has been showered on me from a Savior who suffered in my place. He did for me what I could never have done for myself. The great equalizer is truth. We are all in continual and desperate need of the Savior. Some paths are more treacherous than others. Some journeys clearly more laborious and painful, yet even the smoothest in this life has grief and woes to break the strongest of hearts. The only anchor that holds through all is the redemptive love of Christ.

Thankful for the lighter times, of warm breezes sweeping over the rippling lake waters, of laughter and giggles over watermelon dripping from tiny chins, and for races through the tall grass in pursuit of lightening bugs…Every season has purpose and lessons to carry us throughout our lives. Feeling abundantly blessed even in the midst of struggles as I can see and feel the Hand of God tracing the course of my daily life.

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