“To say that one is wholly and undeniably happy is to lie. For how are we, such shallow beings, to determine those things which have gone to the utter depths of our souls and left them scarred with sorrow? Does not every singular happening that we perceive affect us? There is no way to sort those affectations into bundles and say which ones we shall one day be forced to recall- and regret!
Did not God impart to each of us a bit of himself? It may be so encumbered by human actions and thoughts that it is quite unable to be seen. But it is there, even so. Because of this fiber of deity in each of us we must take care to protect our own selves from injury whenever possible and avoid those things which might seek to harm- knowingly or not- this inner self.” Cathy Byrd 2/18/1971I’ve been a journaler most all of my life. I wrote this the day before I turned 17. I think God likely had a plan for my life as a women’s Christian counselor all my life. He certainly gave me an awareness of the depth of the soul that was at risk of woundedness even without being consciously aware of it, an innate knowledge of the imago dei, and a sense of the need to guard one’s heart. I remember the first psychology class I ever took in college and my attraction to the field of counseling. But, alas, in 1971, counseling was not as common or as dependably employable a career as it is today and “Christian counseling” outside of a pastor’s office was unheard of. And then, too, I was a Baptist. Pastoral counseling would never have occurred to me. I spent a lot of years in other pursuits……none of them wasted, as all of them have been woven into the skills set, experiences, knowledge base, and resources that I bring to the spiritual formation and Christian counseling task today. God gives us clues. He plants seeds. He is patient. And He wastes nothing.
In 1992, then again in 1997, God made two major course corrections in my otherwise fairly standard middle class, college educated, married-with-children life that started me in the direction He desired to take me. I was oblivious to the goal at that time. I began to have a clue in 2002. By 2006, I knew the direction but still didn’t see the destination. In 2008, the path became clearer and for the last six years I’ve been joyfully engaged in what I believe God had always intended for my life. I feel like, most days, I’m going where and doing what He desires. It is a good place to be. That doesn’t mean there aren’t days when I fret and fume and say, “Really, God? Do I have to do this? Is this what you are going to require?” Then after I have my hissy fit, I get in line (like Jonah AFTER the whale incident.) and do what God requires. I wish I was a Stephen or an Andrew or a John or even a Peter, but mostly, I’m a Jonah…sometimes a Habbakuk, or even a Jeremiah. And sometimes I’m just plain Cathy….beloved, if sometimes exasperatingly independent and outspoken daughter whom God loves, even when she sometimes stomps her foot and cries because she doesn’t feel that she can do what He wants in the way that He wants. But He keeps lovingly teaching me, encouraging me, whispering instruction in my ear, cheering for me when I get it right, and picking me up and carrying me when I don’t until I can get my wind or footing back. I have a sense that the major course corrections and hairpin turns in the road are over. The rest is likely to be more level and leisurely. I’m good with that. Daddy and I have a good relationship. We can take our time now and enjoy the wildflowers along the way. He walks with me and He talks with me and He tells me I am His own….And the joys we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known! (Well, maybe a few brothers and sisters through the millenia and across the globe have, but I’m still His favorite girl! At least, that’s how He makes me feel!)