Grace College has basically been a second home for my wife for the past 16 years. During that stretch, her longest time away from Grace was 4 months. That was when she was hired to work as a therapist at a local community health center right out of grad school. While she was working there, a position as a student therapist opened up at Grace. Carol virtually had no experience as a professional counselor, but her reputation at Grace, her work ethic, her giftedness as a counselor, and the fact that it was simply God's plan for Carol, secured her a position as the only full-time student therapist on campus. Well, after 4 years as an under-grad student, 2 years as a grad student, and 10 years as a therapist, my wife's "official" time at Grace College has come to an end. She has made the decision to stay at home full-time with our kids.
5 years ago when we had our first son, she dropped her time back to only 2 days a week. With the birth of our next two daughters, she remained at 2 days a week. But, once we had our fourth child, Carol really felt the need to stay at home fully.
Yesterday we cleaned out her office at Grace, as you can see by the picture below. It was a bitter-sweet time ... an era coming to an end combined with the blessing to stay where her heart has always been ... at home.
My wife is an amazingly gifted counselor. The couch you see below is in Carol's office and has literally been filled with hundreds of college students looking to seek guidance, help, or healing in their lives. I've been in her office many times, but as I was there yesterday I was moved by how many tears have been shed, how much anger has been vented, the many lies demolished, and how much healing has taken place on that couch.
Proverbs 18:4 says "The words of a man's mouth are deep waters ..." expressing the idea that there is often hidden content in our words. Carol has been gifted with the ability to listen beneath the words and begin to point out what a person is longing for in their lives. She is able to look at behaviors and realize that our behaviors serve a purpose. Even if a person hates something they are doing, they are still trying to accomplish something through that behavior. She would help them try to discover the goal behind their behavior and often times help them to see that what they are doing is a sinful strategy that is looking for "wholeness" in something that was never meant to make a person whole. God has so much to give us, but we often fill ourselves with junk ... "emotional carbohydrates," if you will ... that will not satisfy. How we handle not getting our longings met point to the strategies we use to often get us through life. Carol would point out those strategies that are not working and then point them to the ONLY One capable of providing wholeness ... God.
1 Samuel 23:16 says "And Saul's son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God." I look at Carol in that way ... during her time at Grace College she has helped so many find their strength in God.
She has done that in my life as well and I simply cannot imagine life without her. I'm so proud of and amazed at the work she did at Grace College as a counselor, but am vastly more proud of and amazed at her ability to be a Godly wife and mother. As gifted as she is at being a counselor, she is even more amazing at being a wife and a mom. While I am sad to see her time at Grace College come to an end, I'm so thankful to have her at home full-time doing what she loves to do more than anything else.