I am studying to be a marriage and family counselor, but sometimes I wonder if I will be very good at it. So far, each time I have my doubts, God reassures me and reaffirms my calling. The last few times, He has done this by sending someone, sometimes even one of my fellow counselors-in-training, to seek my counsel. This is a good general reaffirmation of my calling.
But lately, I have wondered how I would handle certain specific types of clients. For instance, how would I handle a client with schizophrenia or one with cognitive issues? How will I listen to heart-breaking stories without crying?
In the past week, I have had three opportunities to find out how I will handle these specific types of situations.
First, I spend some time at a local cafe that is located in the distressed community I live in. A few days ago, as I was leaving the cafe, a few of the regulars there were hanging out on the sidewalk smoking, including one who sufferes from schizophrenia. I had been warned about this particular man, as he has been known to grab women and kiss them, but he had never done more than say hi to me in the past. As I walked past him, he said, "Wait a minute! Come here." So I stopped. He looked at me with what I am pretty sure was supposed to be a sexy smile and said, "So, whadda ya think? You like?" I responded with a smile, "I think I need to get going or I'll be late!" and escaped to my van, and he just laughed. Apparently God will equip me with the proper response to someone with schizophrenic disorder.
Second, this past weekend, my mom developed a UTI, which in an elderly person, can include confusion as one of its symptoms. I spent about three hours in the emergency room with her, and during that time, she asked me repeatedly how she came to be there. Her short term memory was temporarily gone. My aunt, who was with me, tells me she was amazed at how gently and patiently I repeated the story over and over and over. So am I, because on the inside, I wanted to scream. Apparently God will equip me for dealing with those with cognitive impairments.
Finally, I spent some time this weekend talking to a friend. I knew this friend had come from a very bad marriage, but I heard details. Those details made me want to cry, but my friend didn't need my tears. My friend needed my strength this time, and God provided the strength I needed to temper my compassion so that I wouldn't cry. Apparently God will equip me to hold back my tears when I hear about heart-breaking situations.
So there is my answer: God will equip me for each and every situation. I can go confidently where He has called me knowing that He goes ahead of me, walks beside me, and has my back. Thank God!