Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Back to School

Well, after four years away from school counseling, I have decided to return.

Yes, I'm keeping my private practice in counseling. I will be reducing the number of clients that I see on a weekly basis in order to work 20 hours a week as a school counselor at Rockford Christian Elementary School.

This comes in the midst of conversations that I have been having with God about desire. In fact, pursuing this position kind of started those conversations.

My good friend Mackenzie, who works in the business office at RCS, told me about the position innocently enough. She wanted me to have the information about the position in case I had any counselor friends who might be interested in applying. What neither she nor I could have known, was how desire would stir in my heart as soon as she started to describe it to me.

There are things that I have come to absolutely love in private practice counseling. I love being my own boss, setting my own hours and having complete freedom over how I practice counseling.

There are also challenges. My income is constantly fluctuating and the recent changes in medical insurance have affected how much I am reimbursed for my work and whether or not my clients have coverage for mental health services. If you catch me on a vulnerable day, I am likely to rant about how much I pay in taxes and insurance.

I left my job as a school counselor in Chicago because I was completely burned out and I wanted to move to Rockford to be closer to my family and to be more involved in R2HOP. I wrongly assumed that I would never again work as a school counselor because I didn't think there was a private school here that would hire me and because I was so mentally and emotionally exhausted that I could not ever imagine working in another school.

Well, you know what they say: never say never.


As I initially considered the position, I was surprised by how quick my heart was to remember what it was like to be entrusted with the precious thoughts and feelings of children. I was surprised by how much I wanted to have that opportunity again.

I am excited about this new position, even though I know it will be a huge transition for me. I look forward to doing more preventative work and to having shorter sessions that include art and play. I'm also excited and curious about other possibilities that are available at RCS like helping with music during chapel or offering an elective to help children learn to express and care for their feelings in healthy ways.

And, I'm thankful that I can keep most of my clients in my private practice and continue the work that we have been doing together.

Engaging the desire that I felt about pursuing the school counselor position has also grown into something larger in my life. Recently, I have become aware of how much of my life I still live mostly from duty and out of fear. Wanting to be "good" in the eyes of God and others still strongly motivates a lot of my behavior and I want this to change. I want to be governed by love and desire for God, rather than fear and duty.

I'm meditating on John 15:9-10:

I've loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you'll remain intimately at home in my love. That's what I've done--kept my Father's commands and made myself at home in his love. (The Message)

I wrote it out on a card that I'm carrying with me. I'm praying for God to help me make my home in His love and to stay intimately connected with it. Where my desire is weak or stronger for someone or something other than God, I am presenting it to Him honestly and asking Him to change my heart. Where I am tempted to do the right thing for the sake of being "good" or because I'm afraid of what people will think or how they will respond, I am owning what I truly desire and making it my offering to God.

Still Counting Gifts:

  • #1152: We had a wonderful time in Chicago celebrating my friend and former intern, Frances, as she married Matt! (The first three pictures are some of the beautiful moments that we captured there.)
  • #1153: It was so, so refreshing to my heart to spend a weekend in Chicago and reconnect with my treasured friends and former roommates Michelle and Christine!
  • #1154: Just days later, Ben and I got to host my dear friends from my time at the French School, Carine and Lilita, at our home
  • #1155: Carine and Lilita got to visit the farm and take some delicious vegetables back to Chicago with them
  • #1156: My house is clean because of all the company
  • #1157: I have been living a new rhythm of prioritizing resting and receiving in my free time over accomplishing important tasks
  • #1158: I have been practicing saying calm when someone seems unhappy with me or needs something that I am not willing to provide and waiting until I am actually ready to respond before I try to fix the problem
  • #1159: We get to go camping AND tubing this weekend
  • #1160: My birthday is on Monday and I took the day off, decided that I'm going out to breakfast and making myself my favorite cake
  • #1161: We got to borrow one of our favorite dogs this weekend

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on the new job, Jody! It sounded like such a great opportunity when you told us about it at the wedding; I'm thrilled to hear that it has become a reality. Best of luck as you get started!

    ReplyDelete