ending and beginning.

Have you ever had that sense, deep within, that a soft, yet strong wind is beginning to blow in a different direction? It’s like there’s a feeling inside of you that something is shifting, getting ready to alter your path. Not a full 180 turn, just a slight right, pointing your focus and intent and passion to its new course, its new place to grow and give and serve.

For me, that shift began in April at the ETC Conference. I had this gut conviction and invitation to live differently, both in my home and in my world outside of my home. At first, I knew this was mostly about my daughter – about being with her and for her, mentoring her, enjoying her. Not because I hadn’t been, but because I wanted to…more. See, she starts Kindergarten in one month, which means life as I know it with her, with my first born, will come to a close. I want to end the “at home” years with a bang, with gratitude, with presence. And so, we will make an extravagant bucket list for the month of August, one that I know will consist of all things girl-y and princess-y and eating out and silliness and feeling special and everything-we-can’t-do-with-a-toddler-brother. We’re both pretty pumped.

This swirling inside me kept moving and evolving. There was more to come, to change. And then there was this moment when my spirit felt this release, this permission, to take a pause from working for a while. A break that would allow my spirit to rest and refresh from “giving” as a counselor. And in that moment, I just knew that this was part of the next curve, the addition to the next season. And it felt right. Perfectly right.

As a counselor, you offer yourself, your entire presence, to others, for others. (Hmmm…maybe I should write a book on this!) For the past 10 years, the counseling space has taught me how to listen to the voice and story and heart of others in a way that allows people to feel heard and seen and known. I’ve loved this. I’ve felt so honored to “hold” the stories and tension and conflict and deep hearts of people, with them, and then speak truth into the vulnerable places and remind them of who they are. It’s taught me how to receive someone’s trust. It’s taught me how to trust…to believe in another person’s capability, in their goodness. What a profound gift! Yet, as a mom of two little ones spending my days giving, giving, giving, at times it has felt weighty, almost like I’m giving too much to too many people, and there’s only so much one can give before they lose their best self and then those closest to them suffer. And so, it feels like the right time to let go of serving people, in this way, at least for now. It feels like I’ve received an invitation from above to let go and release my role in that protected and special space. It’s a hard decision. It’s hard to step away from offering myself in this way, and to be totally honest, to relinquish being needed and valued in this way. (It always feels good to be needed and valued, right?) But as my story has historically written itself out, the hardest decisions have always become the best decisions – for me, for those close to me – and in some mysterious and profound way, has drawn me closer to God’s heart. Actually, I think it’s always been about the process of listening and discerning and trusting more than the actual decision. Grateful for these opportunities to grow and transform and lean…on Him.

So today, I’ll enter that sacred space one more time, offering who I am, listening to the human heart, inviting it to become familiar with the voice within, the voice above, inviting it to believe in what it was created for…more wholeness, more freedom, more hope, more life…and then what it means and looks like to offer that kind of self to the relationships around them. And, like every other week, I’ll walk away feeling blown away and humbled by how God uses that space…for them, for me, for Him.

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And then I’ll play…with her.

And then I’ll write…and offer my words and heart and story in new ways.

And then I’ll speak…and offer my voice to a different world, a different set of ears.

And then I’ll trust…that He who began a good work in me will continue to guide me and use me and change me and blanket me with his love and protection and grace.

Here we go. Can. Not. Wait.

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10 thoughts on “ending and beginning.

  1. Carissa, You are awesome! I am glad to call you a friend! I know that you are going to do wonderful things in your speaking and writing. Skyla is lucky to have as her Mommy!

  2. Somehow, I just know how FINE you and your loved ones will be. Knowing a few people who have relied on your deep trust and professionalism, I imagine the loss they will experience, but I am totally confident that EVERYTHING will work out exactly like it should. Best of luck to you. I know that you and Skyla will enjoy August immensely. Happy Kindergarten-ing. It is a magical place unto itself.

    • oh, sue…you are a voice of encouragement to me. someone who is walking “before” me who i get to learn from. you are a gift!

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