06
Jan

My New Adventure…

Forest Trail 1Those new to MaryAnn In Progress (MIP) may be wondering why I decided to leave my volunteer position at Compassion. Go here to learn more about Compassion.

Since Compassion’s opening almost a year ago, we have completed 800 hours + of counseling. The average fee is a little over $ 7 per session. Our cost for providing counseling is currently over $ 15 per session. We rely on donations to make up the difference.

I began as Compassion’s Board secretary and then as a daily volunteer who scheduled appointments, arranged rooms for counseling and church purposes, created new client files, drafted grant proposals, promoted Compassion, and did any other tasks that needed an extra set of hands and/or feet. It became so time-consuming that I finally had to give up posting here 3 times per week. While I thoroughly enjoyed working with the other volunteer staff members, something else was going on internally.

Even before we opened Compassion, I felt that God wanted me to do counseling myself. This was not a thought I relished. An intern (a new counselor who has already completed their master’s degree) must, in the state of Texas, provide 3000 hours of counseling to clients in the first 5 years and pay for supervision (even if not paid by their internship site). For a perfectionist like me, this stresses me a great deal. I tend to do my worst counseling when I am stressed. It would also complicate my role at Compassion.

I finally asked God, around March, to “hit me over the head with a spiritual 2 X 4” if He really wanted me to counsel people myself. That very week three different people, who I don’t usually see and who I highly respect, asked me if I was doing any counseling myself. I think we can safely say that was the 2 X 4! I spoke to my pastor about my thoughts and he suggested pursuing spiritual direction. Spiritual direction had been mentioned to me before I did my master’s but I couldn’t find any training programs nearby.

What is a spiritual director? To me, it means being a spiritual companion to those who would like a closer relationship with God and a more obedient lifestyle as directed by God.

Thinking that perhaps there might be something closer to my area now that some years had passed, I turned to that great spiritual search tool, Google (Don’t tell them that.), and found with just a few clicks, Heartpaths. Heartpaths was started in Oklahoma and then spread to the north side of Dallas. The Dallas program now has a group meeting in Fort Worth and Fort Worth is not that far from where I live.

I immediately felt at home and intrigued when I went to one of their information sessions in May. Heartpaths is a three-year program and participants can opt out after completion of any of the first two years. In the first year the students intensely study different types of prayer. (I ignorantly thought there were only a few types of prayer.) In the second year the students study one type of prayer even more intensely and in the third year the students actually begin to direct their own clients under the tutelage of the Heartpaths spriritual director.

I have to confess: Prayer was not my thing prior to Heartpaths. I regarded it as my Christian duty and pretty boring most of the time, honestly. Now, I crave prayer time. Yes, crave. God is blowing my mind with what He can do with regular prayer time and by different types of prayer. I have actually heard God speak to me in these prayers. He has given me some Twilight Zone type visions and feelings. (Are you ready to commit me to Bellevue now? I wouldn’t blame you!)

God is smart. He knows that the best way to draw MaryAnn into a relationship with Him is to blow her mind periodically. And that is what is now truly developing–a relationship with Him. I would have told you that I only did the talking before. Now, God occasionally breaks through my incessant train of thoughts and imparts some wisdom that I know did not come from me. If I could more fully just be silent in prayer, He probably would impart even more, but silence and a lack of thoughts has never been one of my strong points.

The Heartpaths assignments take some time. Thankfully, God has provided Compassion with an assistant who can easily take my place. This allows me greater freedom to help my husband with his business (Talk about someone who needs an assistant!), assist my awesome family, learn and worship at church (We have a Bible study currently discussing contemplative prayer–a sign that I’m probably on the right track!), de-junk my home, perhaps speak publicly (Another pursuit that seems to be God-directed.) and build a log cabin. Yes, build a log cabin.

When my brother died, his best friend dedicated a portion of his land to a park in my brother’s memory. My other brother and I went there for the dedication. My hubby and I fell in love with this land,a development site for log and timber homes on four small lakes. The hubby has always longed to build a log cabin and I have always longed to have a lakeside home. Thus, we bought not one, but two lots there and are preparing the land for a log cabin this past year.

We plan to rent this first home whenever we aren’t using it and I think I will even offer it as a retreat site. We once lived in Virginia and the wooded beauty of Virginia is something I still miss. This land reminds me so much of Virginia and the sunsets are just spectacular.

Our aging golden Lab, Maizie, loves it there although she is sometimes a little intimidated. She has already figured out that those lakes are one large water bowl and that swimming in them on a hot day is fun. We hope her chunky size diminishes by having to track down every rabbit for miles as well as investigate every scat trail. (Why do dogs love poop?)

As for Compassion I will remain on the Board for as long as they’ll have me and help around the fringes when needed. I suspect that Compassion will flourish even more without my presence.

I have a question for you: Would you like to read what I’m learning via Heartpaths and my church Bible study each week? If so, please submit a comment to this post.  Would you like to hear more about our log cabin adventure? If so, please submit a comment to this post.

I’m reading books for Heartpaths, so I will use these as fodder for the Slow Reader posts each month. Most of the books are very inexpensive and can be purchased in an e-reader format.

Just for fun I am thinking about writing a feature from time to time from the “eyes” of Maizie, whose facial expressions will tell you everything you need to know about her! I once wrote Facebook letters to my eldest from his beloved dog, Freya, when he was relocating and she needed a temporary home with us. Everyone seemed to enjoy these letters and so, I think it might be fun to hear from Maizie, too. Her life is about to get a lot more exciting as she goes on treks with us to “Lot 6.”

Are you in? I hope so. My favorite parts of the blog are when YOU write. 🙂

This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 6th, 2016 at 12:07 pm and is filed under God stuff. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

comments

15
  1. January 6th, 2016 | Miranda Thames says:

    Would love to hear more about everything! I too am not the best at prayer so I am excited to see and hear about what you learn and maybe learn from you in the future! 🙂

  2. January 6th, 2016 | Claudia says:

    Please include me in your Heartpaths and log cabin musings! When I read about the land left in Allen’s memory, my heart twitched. A sign??? And I too need to learn to be quiet long enough to hear God speak…I used to say God must have laryngitis but now I know He just can’t get a word in edge-wise since I keep talking! 🙂 Must be a Hulick thing!

  3. January 6th, 2016 | Marsha says:

    Hallelujah! This will be an amazing journey for you, Maryann, as God reveals what He has in store for you. I cannot wait to vicariously see what He will do in your life and participate in it through reading your books, watching you evolve through study and prayer. Whooppee! One day soon I’d like to share my adventures with God, with you. Giddy with excitement for you! Prayer is an endlessly wondrous place – not a thing to do – a real place! It is my praise and worship place at times, my “let it all hang out” place at other times, lessons learned place, and finally and irrevocably my meeting place! Wow! What an adventure you’re undertaking.

  4. January 6th, 2016 | Shayla says:

    I want to know more about all of your endeavors!

  5. January 6th, 2016 | Leta French says:

    Mary Ann I would love to follow your blog and hear about Heartpaths. But you know what I would really like? To visit the land and the park sometime. As I told you I spent time there with Alan at Joe’s place and those are sweet memories. Visiting the place would be special. I know Alan loved it out there. He would be proud you and your husband are making a second home there.

  6. January 6th, 2016 | Diane Haseleu says:

    Being included in your Heartpaths and log cabin adventures would be absolutely wonderful. It will be great to hear where God leads you with Heartpaths. I am always asking him to watch over me and lead me in the right direction and hearing from you may help me. As far as the log cabin! wow!!! that would be absolutely wonderful to see it progress as it is built and also give you the warmth of your brother always being with you when you are there. Looking forward to hearing more of your adventures!

  7. January 6th, 2016 | Denise says:

    I would love to hear about Heartpaths, the log cabin and dog adventures. What a treat it is that you will share with us your journey. Thank you in advance.

    Denise Goodwin Stuart

  8. January 6th, 2016 | Charis says:

    With delight, I will read anything you write!

  9. January 6th, 2016 | Pam Patterson says:

    Please include me in your various communications. I, too, have been craving a closer prayer relationship with God and look forward to
    your input.

  10. January 7th, 2016 | Mikah says:

    Congrats on your new adventure. Sounds like you are headed in a great direction. Would love to hear all about all of the above!

  11. January 7th, 2016 | Joyce Visser says:

    MaryAnn I would love to follow your new adventures. Not only because I know for sure it will be very entertaining(especially the “thoughts” of Maizie), but I hope to learn from your Heartpats experiences.
    I am looking forward to your stories, thanks for your willingness to share!

  12. January 8th, 2016 | Bob Arnold says:

    Count me in for all of it! B

  13. January 8th, 2016 | Liesa says:

    I’m in!

  14. January 11th, 2016 | Chelsea F says:

    Congrats on your new adventures! I love prayer…I’ve always been decent in practicing prayer, but have never studied it at all. Would love to hear more!

  15. January 14th, 2016 | brent says:

    I’m in! Can’t wait for the next chapter!

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