Thursday, September 23, 2010

Self-Evaluation as a Counselor (Paper for School)

I have felt a calling to be a counselor since I took my very first psychology class. I found learning to understand people very fascinating. With time, I also learned the importance of self-help, through counseling or reading independently. I learned what it felt like to be a client, myself, as I’ve seen many different counselors when obstacles come up in my life. I believe that anyone can benefit from therapy.

I was awarded my Bachelor’s in Psychology in 2001 from the University of Florida, but ended my career before it started when I got married and started a family. It was decided that I would be a stay at home mom. But I still had an inner huger to grow. I continued learning about subjects pertaining to my life at that time by reading Christian books on marriage and parenting, for example. One of my favorite authors is Dr. Bob Barns. I went to several of his marriage and parenting conferences, over the years. There is always room for spiritual growth and maturity, especially as a parent.

Before long, I found that my friends began to confide in me with their problems. I am very outgoing and caring. Empathy comes very easy for me. I’m a good listener, and people sense that they can trust me. They also know very well where I stand, in my faith. Any response I provide will be well grounded in Biblical principals. I may not be very good at quoting particular scriptures and telling where someone can find it in the Bible, but everything I am is based on it. I walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Everyone who knows me, knows my faith in Christ. I don’t believe in hiding it. It defines me!

It wasn’t long before I realized that God had gifted me with a heart for people. God also put me through many trials like infertility, miscarriages, and divorce. Those all seem like very bad things, but I am able to see past that. I know that God has put me in those situations “for such a time as this”. My past is all part of God’s perfect plan for my future. These trials in my life give me the credibility I’ll need to help people who have gone through similar experiences. I will truly know what they’re going through, and I’ll be share my story of how I coped in order to help them to heal. God works all things for our greater good!

I have been through my share of heart-ache, but I am bound and determined to turn my experiences around
to help others. In doing so, I started a blog just before my divorce was final. It is “me” in raw form. I hold
nothing back. It is honest and shows my strengths and weaknesses. It shows that I too am human. I have feelings. I went through DivorceCare, which helped tremendously. It allowed me to go through the “process” to get healthy again. I’ll be able to share everything that I learned through my own experiences.

I feel called to write books in order to reach more people, those who I will never have the honor to meet in person. My blog is my trials in raw form, and it is a work in progress. But one day, I’ll be able to use that material to write a book to help people to cope through their own divorce in a healthy way. It has already helped so many people, some in which I’ve never met. It is public for everyone to see at

Sometimes I feel like I’m going to explode inside, because I’m so excited about sharing what I have found. Through my trials, I grew 10 times closer to Christ. I learned what depending on Him really means. I truly hit rock bottom. I was at risk of losing everything. He was my only hope. I joined 6 Bible studies a week during that time. I read scripture daily. I prayed with tears of brokenness, and God was listening. He even spoke to me on several occasions. I owe Him everything. He held my hand through every step. He never left my side.

I thought I knew what faith was until I went through this. It’s incredible how far I’ve come. I just can’t wait to share that hope with future clients. I feel like I’ve already been a counselor, as I’ve actually saved a few marriages just this year. I don’t hide my trials. I’m not afraid of allowing myself to become vulnerable. I spoke out in my Bible studies. I wasn’t afraid to cry and show that I was weak. Because of that, women came to me. Many told me they were going through similar things, but were too afraid to share, as I had. I was able to minister to these women. If I hadn’t spoken up about my trials, they would have never known that we had this in common. They are still fighting for their marriages today.

Even though my marriage ended in divorce, I recommend that as a very last resort. Even after discovering my husband’s many affairs over the years, I still gave him 6 months to change, and I waited on God to make my path clear. My whole body wanted to end the marriage right then and there, but God hadn’t released me yet. It is incredible what God can do in your life, when you give it all up to Him. I have the peace in knowing that one day, when I stand before our Lord in heaven, and He asks me, “Did you do everything to save your marriage?” I can say, “Yes, I did.” That is one very important question I ask people when they are contemplating divorce. Yes, Biblically, I had a way out of my marriage, but God still hates divorce, and boy do I know why, especially when children are involved.

I have so many dreams. Dr. Bob Barns is someone admire. I want to do what he does. I want to help people through counseling, writing books, and lead Bible studies. I would like to help to lead a DivorceCare group locally. I’m not comfortable speaking in front of people, but I’d like to try to overcome that. I have a passion burning deep down inside me. I’m on FIRE for Jesus! And I’m not afraid to tell the world! I believe that God is going to use me mightily. Therefore, I can be excited about what my future holds. God is in control. I’m so thankful for what He has done, and what he’s going to do.

Starting Grad School

It’s definitely about time for a blog update. The title pretty much explains my neglect of the blog. I’ve been in Grad School at Trinity International University for the past 3 weeks. I’m studying Christian Counseling. I really enjoy it, however, it consumes A LOT of time!!! I have 10 books to read for my 3 classes this semester. One I read in just one week, along with some of the other 9 books. Needless to say, I’m overwhelmed!!! I just can’t keep up on all of the required reading. Friends have told me that no one actually reads everything that is required. I’ve been told to skim and pick and choose the things I don’t already know.

It has also been hard for me to just sit down and read for a whole day, hours on end, which is what I have to do. There are days that I just don’t have time for reading and only a few that I do. So, those WHOLE days are spent studying. I’m ADD. That just doesn’t work well for me. I’m so easily distracted by every little thing. I think I’ve gotten better at it, though. I expect it’s a transition that I must process over time.

I’ve turned in some quizzes and a paper and have gotten all A’s on all of them! I worry about the exams, though. That’s not my strong point. Papers are no problem for me. I also have oral presentations in 2 classes coming up. I hope to get better at speaking in front of people. I want to be confident to do that often in my career and in churches.

The material is right up my alley. I was meant to be a counselor. The head of the department, one of my professors, even told me that I will make a great counselor. That meant a lot to me!!! I really think this is my calling. I’m excited to see what God has in store for my future using my education.

There are all sorts of students in my classes. I think that probably half are young students right out of their bachelor’s. Others are divorced women like me. Some are married and furthering their education after hitting a dead end in the work force. There are only a few men in the classes. One is even all women, which is nice, because we actually get to counsel each other in there….love that class!

I also have been working on choosing my own personal counseling theory. I will have to write a paper on that at the end of the year. I seem to be mostly person-centered so far. That may change. I was supposed to write what my strengths and weaknesses are as a counselor right now in my latest paper. I got a 9.5/10 because I didn’t list enough weaknesses. I’ll have to work on that. I’ll post that paper as my next blog.

But overall, I’m really enjoying school. I just need to work on time-management to get more reading done. It may be better for me to take fewer classes, as 3 is a full load in Grad School, but I really want to get my class work done ASAP. I want to be able to start my own career and move on with my life. But God will work it all out, so I’m not going to worry. Hey, I have all A’s so far!!! Who cares if I haven’t read every word? I just hope I can keep my grades up.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Still Feel...Why???

I’m having a lot of trouble validating my feelings this evening. The X came to pick up Hannah after work. I try to “see” him as little as possible…staying in the background, while he’s at the door. He doesn’t come in, so that’s usually easy. Well, tonight, I don’t know what went wrong. I didn’t look in his eyes, because our eyes would never meet. It was his arm. His ARM?!?!?!?! What’s wrong with me? I just noticed how nice and muscular it looked. Then memories came back to me from when he used to wrap those strong arms around me. I even remember how his arm hair felt on my skin. Yes, I realize I need therapy!

When he left, I felt so sad. I kept questioning to myself, what went wrong. Obviously, I still feel for this guy….who was once my husband, this guy who hurt me deeper than I can say. Why did he have to turn out like that? Why couldn’t we just live “happily ever after”? Then I begin to ask myself, “Am I that bad that he couldn’t see himself with only ME for the rest of his life?”

Now I know that it has nothing to do with me. I know that what he did has to do with his personal issues, which developed into an addiction. But we loved each other once. We did! He used to look at me with “those eyes”, eyes that adored me. Why did that change? When I said “until death do us part” I meant it. I think he meant it then, but why do those vows change with time? Can boredom really cause a person to go so far off course, and jeopardize everything?

How can I choose differently next time? How will I know when I’ve found a truly FAITHFUL man “until death do us part”? How will I know? I sure don’t want to go through this again. I am probably as loyal as they get! That’s why this is so hard for me to comprehend. I mean, I wouldn’t even LOOK at another man, let alone form any kind of relationship with them when I was married.

Why can’t I just feel indifferent when I see him? It would be easier if I hated him. I see him, and I forget all that he’s done and is doing. I stop and remember when….things were different. When will this fantasy end? Will I ever be completely “over him”? Is that even possible when you’ve committed your whole heart to someone in marriage? A vow is a vow. How can I get past that?

Just when life looks good, I hit a wall…..

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hannah Meeting the Other Woman

8-26-10 My X was to take Hannah to Orlando with his sister to go to Blizzard Beach for the weekend. I told him before, ‘Under NO circumstances does he introduce Hannah to any woman while there”. He said, “I know how to be a good role model for my daughter.” When Hannah came back to me that next week, she talked all about this woman and her daughter, who they spent a lot of time with over the weekend. From what I understand, they didn’t spend nights with the at the hotel, but they were with them during ever day while there.

They live in Orlando with this woman's mother. She was never married, but has a 5 yr old daughter. She’s from Argentina. She has some family down in S. FL. Hannah has met them before when they visited Miami. My X sat Hannah down and told her how he likes this woman very much. They’ve only been dating 2 months!

Hannah has since shown signs of insecurity. That next Wed night I took her to AWANA (a children's church club that she's been in for 2 1/2 yrs and LOVES), where she cried the whole time until I picked her up, which is very unlike her. She acted scared to death! She said she was afraid I wouldn’t be able to find her to pick her up. Later that night, she woke up twice with bad nightmares, where she was covered in sweat and crying. Then the 3rd time, she got up throwing up in her room and mine. After, she complained of a sore throat. I let her sleep in, but she went to school late that next day.

9-2-10 Hannah talks about playing with the girlfriends daughter a lot, but when I bring up questions regarding the girlfriend, she changes the subject, refuses to talk about her. Yesterday, Hannah agreed to go to AWANA again. All was well, until I left her. She came out to find me still in the hallway. She looked troubled, and told me, “My body feels like it needs to cry, and if I don’t cry, I feel like I will throw up.” She was shaking and crying. She held on to me for dear life, like someone was going to try to take her from me. People we know from AWANA came up trying to help me talk her into going back into AWANA, but she would hold to me even tighter. I’ve never seen her like this. She was SCARED! She complained that once again her tummy hurt and she felt like throwing up. I assured her that she didn’t have to go anywhere unless she wanted to. I tried many tactics to get her to go back to class, but all failed. We finally left to go home.

9-4-10 Hannah hasn’t been the same since AWANA a few days ago. I was up all night with her that Wed and Thurs night. She has terrible nightmares. All she would tell me about them is that I was in them, but didn’t want to tell me the rest. The night after AWANA she got a 101.9 fever, tummy ache and sore throat. She was up all night both nights, and had to sleep in my bed. She didn’t want to be away from. She hasn’t slept in my bed since she was 10 mos old! She stayed home from school for the next two days sick. She had been FINE before AWANA.

When I ask her what she’s afraid of, she tells me, “I’m afraid that you are going to move far away from me and leave me here.” She’s also said that she’s afraid that someone will take her away from me. These are obvious signs of insecurity. I explained to her that I will never leave her! I also reminded her that she can always call my cell and I will come, no matter where she is. She has my cell number memorized.

My Theory: Meeting her daddy's girlfriend has made Hannah feel like Mommy is being replace, subconsciously. She’s afraid of losing her mommy. Hannah is 4 yrs old. She doesn’t really understand relationships, but she can since that this isn’t as it should be. Her family has been broken. I can only imagine how it must make her feel to see her daddy having such a good time with another woman, when he can’t stand being around her mother.

Somehow, the insecurity she feels from meeting this other woman has been displaced to AWANA. Now AWANA is a trigger. She can’t explain it, but certain feelings just take over when she’s there. When she explained to me how “her body had to cry” I knew this was psychological. And I knew that this was caused by meeting the girlfriend. It was then, I burned with anger for her father had caused this. He did this against my will.

I called him Wed night after putting Hannah to bed, for the first time, and let him have it. I demanded that he will NOT allow this other woman around Hannah until it has been Oked by a Child Psychologist. He had already made plans to have this woman and her child come to stay with him and Hannah in the same house for the Labor Day weekend. I told him that if she is coming, Hannah will be with ME! At first, he agreed that he would choose to be with his girlfriend and give up his weekend with Hannah. Later, he changed his mind after talking with the girlfriend, who I guess convinced him that it will not be good for me to see that he’s choosing her over his daughter. So, they decided that she wouldn’t come, and he would spend the weekend with Hannah alone.

My X was supposed to have Hannah Thursday night, but Hannah chose to stay with me, since she was sick. So, he took her Fri night, instead. By that time, she was feeling better.

All of this happening the week I start Grad School.  I have 10 text books to read this semester, so you can imagine how much reading I have weekly.  So, it's been a stressful week, to say the least!