Monday, May 9, 2011

Becoming grateful... the whirlwind week of blessings

Have you ever had one of those random moments when you just all of a sudden realize how absolutely blessed you are?

To a certain extent, I am usually aware of blessings, especially as I intentionally count the God gifts... but then sometimes I am suddenly hit with a wave of awe and wonder at the beautiful gifts in my life.

This past week has been an absolute whirlwind... finishing papers, ending with clients, saying goodbye to mentors and new friends, filming a video, attending a banquet, a bonfire, and my dear friends' graduation, and having very many friend bonding moments.

The stress has been intense, but the blessings immense.

I am absolutely in love with the people God has placed in my life.  This whirlwind of a week has particularly shown me how special the people are who have poured into my life for the past 2 years.  I am also in complete awe of God's timing.

During the trials of the past year and a half, God has surrounded me with the perfect people.  They aren't perfect by any means, but they are perfectly what I needed during this season of my life.  I never would have imagined being blessed in such a way.

There is nothing quite like the grace, love, emotional acceptance, and patience of therapists, and I am surrounded by them.  Dear people who look at me and say, "How are you doing?" and expect complete and utter honesty.  People who can look into my eyes and somehow see into my heart, and they are not at all ashamed or embarrassed to say what they feel like needs to be said.  People who will randomly approach, huge tears in their eyes, and say, "I just need to tell you what it is like to be around you... to experience you," and mean every word uttered from that point on.  People who want to hear you... and I mean REALLY hear you.  Not just the words, but the meaning and emotions and the person behind the words.

When I needed it most, God placed me in a world filled with lovely hearts that earnestly seek to know my own heart... and even more importantly, these hearts don't mind touching pain.  They do it on a daily basis, and at a time in which I was so scared that the pain in my heart was too heavy for others to bear, these special hearts came around me and told me that the pain was too heavy to bear alone... and they carried it with me.  They carried the hope for me.

I am so thankful. So so SOOO thankful.  I am a changed person, becoming more and more the woman God intended, and so much of that growth is a result of the people that God uses everyday to touch and hold and encourage my heart.

God certainly knows what He is doing!

For my gift list this week, I'm listing the people that have played large roles in my life for the past 2 years of grad school.  Disclaimer:  These are NOT the only people have blessed me... these are just the people that are within close proximity.  So, my dear friends and family who may read this and do not live in Wheaton, know that you are not forgotten. :)  Also, all of these pictures (minus one!) were taken in the past whirlwind of a week!

First of all, I could not have picked a more perfect practicum placement for myself.  God opened up this door in amazing ways, and I am so thankful for the people who loved and encouraged me at this site.
Cynthia, a wonderful therapist and Southern Belle at heart
Kelly, a fellow practicum student from a different school and such a blessing to get to know!
Dr. Vander Veer, my very first supervisor ever and someone who has played a HUGE role in my growth over the past year (and this picture was not taken last week...)

Dr. Mills, one of my wonderful supervisors (the lady in blue other than me!).  She has been such an encouraging and wonderful teacher, and I am honored to have served with her.
Anna, one of my closest friends in Wheaton.  It has been such a joy to share the adventure of our first practicum together!  She has been one of my greatest encouragers in the past year.
And Ben, another Wheaton College Psy.D. student, is probably one of the reasons that my practicum has been an adventure!  He is possibly one of the funniest people I know, and he's an extremely gifted therapist.  I'm so glad I've gotten to know him this year!
Linda, the fabulous administrative assistant who helped me procrastinate on a regular basis, and Nurse Mary, the sweetest lady you'll ever meet!
The next set of pictures is from the Psy.D. banquet, which was a celebration of all doctoral students, as well as the professors... especially the ones who are moving on to different places in the next year.  My classmates and professors have served as a constant source of love and encouragement, and I have never been more aware of how God arranged this path for me because He knew where I needed to be at this point in my life... with these amazing people.
Some of my precious cohort members.  They are A-mazing! 
Sarah and Kate, my very first friends in the program.  We bonded in a group project where we were each other's therapists, and we have been close ever since!
Julie, another classmate who lights up my life.  We have to be very careful in class because if we sit together then we are sure to giggle and joke the whole way through.  No one else matches my silliness like this girl!
Alana, another classmate who has an absolute heart of gold!  And she's also pretty silly herself.
Dr. Brian Post, the professor who has impacted my life in so many ways.  He has had such faith in me... and I needed that more than anything at a time when I didn't have faith in myself. 
Ben and Anna again... because I just love 'em!
Saturday was the graduation of my dear classmates with their Master's (I slowed down in the program and didn't get to graduate with them).  It was wonderful to be able to cheer for them and spend more time with these sweet blessings!

Anna, again!
Dr. Derek McNeil... the wisest, most compassionate man in the world.  He has a presence that is larger than life, and there is no doubt in my mind that he has the gift of seeing into souls.  If you ever met him, you would understand.

Lastly, I have to mention my advisor, Dr. Kelly Flanagan.  I somehow managed to miss getting a picture with her this week, but she has prayed with me, listened to me, guided me, and hugged me more times than I can count.  She has been one of God's greatest gifts, coming into my life at the absolute perfect moment as yet another testament to God's perfect timing.

I hope you have people in your life that really hear your heart.  They can be one of the greatest gifts, shining God glory all over your life. 



thejoyproject40 said...

Stopping by from A Holy Experience. Love your post and God's provision of so many wonderful friends and mentors to guide your path. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Before even reading about your list of people...just thinking that having people who will listen to your heart is such a blessing. I don't have that around me, though I do have a few friends's not the same. It is a blessing to have those who really care and I'm happy for you and it was a joy to see all the one's who have blessed you along the way!