I have been doing a bit of research this week that led me to a lot of counseling work, writing, and teaching by Diane Langberg. I so highly respect her writing and her influence in the field of Christian counseling, particularly with survivors of abuse. Knowing that she is so good at her work makes her works about parenting, marriage, and vocation really powerful to me.
These quotes just jumped out at me and I just needed to copy it down for others and to look back at myself.
"There is governing principle that is foundational to all that follows (as a counselor). Our real work in life is not our marriage; it is not counseling; it is not parenting or anything else that competes for our time and attention. Our real work as believers is maintaining our relationship to Jesus Christ above all else. All other areas of our lives are to be under the dominance of this passion."
"I remember an inner struggle I experienced during the years when my two sons were quite small. our sons were born shortly after I finished my doctorate and got my license. I had been in private practice for a short while, and it was clear that the practice was about to take off. However, I distinctly sensed God directing me to devote myself to mothering my young children. (I realize that he does not lead every young mother to do this.) I loved my work, so setting it aside to be a mom was not an easy thing to do. Also, if God had gifted me for counseling work, why would he ask me to lay down that which he had given? Nevertheless I obeyed. I kept the practice open to a minimal degree and sent most of my referrals elsewhere while I played with LEGOs and Matchbox cars.
During those precious years I learned something of what it means to set aside a good thing - something rightfully mine - for the sake of others. God had indeed called me to do some exceptional things, but he had also called me to exceptional in the ordinary - to be holy in the small places, loving with the little people, unrecognized, and unapplauded."
Fascinating that she calls this a central lesson to her counseling work - learning to set aside and simply sit with the simple, the difficult, the struggling. See a fantastic article by her on counselors here.