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Posts Tagged ‘Shaunti Feldhahn’

I started counseling today.
Again.
You know the old saying – thirteenth time’s a charm. No, I don’t actually know how many times I’ve gone through counseling, but I’ve done it several times. I see myself a lot like the 1989 Buick I drive – it keeps running as long as you do regular maintenance. I go through counseling, do really well on my own for a while, and then life comes along and boots me in the head, and I need help again.

It’s not the major stuff anymore. I don’t feel like I’m lamenting the sexual abuse or resenting my mother for drinking anymore. I feel like I’ve had all the “light bulb moments,” but there are things that rear their ugly heads from time to time, and I have to squash them before they become bonafide problems. I talk pretty openly about this, because I have a general disdain for people that pretend to have it all together, when in actuality they are struggling to keep their head above water. I’d rather be honest about who I am, flaws and all.

I’m also not planning to be in counseling for a long stretch of time, because I am finding that talking to God and staying in the Word on a regular basis does wonders for the soul. I suppose that’s why God tells us to do that, huh? I’ve lived most of my life viewing the Bible as a book of good suggestions. You know, like those ridiculous motivational posters you see in offices. But the Bible is a guidebook for living life. It tells you how to handle anger, disappointment, sadness, how to overcome the past. I’ve spent a lot of money on self-help books over the years, and some of them were very helpful, but they don’t compare to the Word of God.

So, my first session was today, and it was your typical first session – we went over the basics, where I come from, who I think I am (still working on that one), who I want to be, etc. With joy I talked about my dear husband and my good friends and how much they mean to me. This counseling is a good thing. Any time you get to strip away the scar tissue and reveal new flesh, it’s a good thing. God is really good at patchwork.

I made two coffee stops today – the first one at McDonald’s, where I also assaulted the dollar menu, as well as my arteries, the second one at Dunkin’ Donuts… my home away from home. By mid-afternoon, I was so caffeinated I could have pushed my car the rest of the way home. FYI – Dunkin’ has really good hash browns. Ya gotta try ’em.

Shaunti is coming to town next week to do a book event in a nearby town, and she’s bringing my dear friend/coworker Linda with her. I have to say I’m pretty overwhelmed with excitement. I don’t get to see them very often. It is amazing to me how 3 people can have such a close friendship (and can work together) from hundreds of miles away. God is definitely in the mix. And in 6 years of knowing Shaunti and 2 years of working for her, this will be the first time I’ve ever heard her speak in person. I’ll be oozing pride from every orifice of my body. And, as always, I’ll be taking zillions of pictures. 🙂

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This is kind of a strange topic to write about, but… well, it has been on my mind all day.

Today is my friend Shaunti’s 41st birthday.  Not really a milestone, but another marker of another year lived for Christ.  That’s how my friend lives, and it’s how I want to live.  We hit big numbers – for her, it was her 40th last year.  For me, my 30th in the coming year.  But every year on this earth is a gift, despite the troubles and heartaches.  And the older you get, the more you realize what a gift everyone else’s years are to your own life.

I met my friend when I was 23.  I was still sort of a newlywed, but my marriage was crumbling.  I had just lost my job.  I was mercifully “employed” by my brother as a nanny to my then-2-year-old nephew.  I was very ill with Bipolar Disorder, but not yet diagnosed.  I read one of Shaunti’s novels during my nephew’s naps, and fell in love with it, so I e-mailed her to let her know.  This was before “For Women Only” and that whole series came out.  Somehow, over e-mail, we developed a deep friendship, and became as close as two people can get to being sisters without sharing a mom.  She took me under her wing in a million ways.  Never gave up on me.  Encouraged me, and loved me.

People change over the years, and I know I have changed for the better.  I’m medicated, for one thing.  🙂  But I have a real relationship with God now, and even though I still struggle and still need the hand of big sister to hang onto sometimes, I’m a million miles from where I once was, and I know it’s because God used Shaunti in my life.

I went on to know her better, and eventually work for her, and Shaunti has NOT changed.  She is sill a sweet, funny friend with a deep longing to know more and more of Christ.  Her kindness and generosity has only increased.  Well, maybe she has changed.  She seems to just get better.  We all have our faults, but my friend strives to be like Him, and she is incredibly successful at it.

Everybody needs a mentor, I am sure of it.;  I cringe to think about where I’d be without one.  I have mentored people, as well, and see how mentoring is a cyclical thing.  I learn from my mentor, I mentor others, and the circle goes around and around.  Does anyone walk this life with you?  If not, find someone.  I’ve had a few mentors in my life, all beautiful and special, but Shaunti has been a constant in my world for five years now.  She holds me to a high standard and fully expects and believes that I will meet it.  Everyone needs that, and I’m convinced that God has someone like that in existence for each and every one of us.

So this was going to be a happy birthday post to my friend, but I feel like I’m the one getting the really cool gift.  Well, happy birthday, Shaunti.  Thanks for pouring yourself out for people, for me.  I love you a ton.

But you knew that, didn’t you?  🙂

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