This page contains words written and collected by my friend, Angela, as she encouraged me to pursue a counseling certificate through the Allender Center by setting up a Go Fund Me page to help jump-start the process. While the funding campaign is no longer active, I saved the words here. I am grateful and so very blessed.
A year ago, Julie shared a dream with me – to pursue the Lay Counseling Certificate through the Allender Center. It sounds perfect for her. If you’ve met Julie, you’ve probably seen how God has gifted her and grown her in ways that make this a logical step for her. She has a heart to help others process their hurts and heal from them. She wants to enhance her skills to do so even better. I am excited to see her pursue this dream.
The lay counseling certificate is described as “Uniquely designed to develop the capacity to offer deep listening and healing care for leaders, advocates, and helpers working in a wide variety of contexts.” If you’d like to see more, you can go to http://theallendercenter.org/
I have included some testimonials below, from people who have already benefited from or observed Julie’s loving care. -Angela
“Julie is using the Gifts God has given her, as she knows how to ask questions in a way that is not intimidating. She’s very intuitive and seeks to know people well. I have been blessed to see her train people well for counseling and watch her care well for others.
I sat with her at a picnic once and she was asking questions of others. She was remembering her last time with them, really finding out where people were with their situation, and finding out how they have seen God work in all of it. She has a true sense of giving back to the body, in a way that comes very naturally to her. I admire how she digs deep and doesn’t just stay on the surface level. She is never judgmental, yet directs others to be a better follower of their Savior. I personally would describe Julie as; Caring, Loving, Sharing, and she is committed to the Gifts that God has given her.”
“Sometimes gifts look like pretty flowers, pointing us to Spring while Winter is still here. Sometimes gifts look like cards, with words expressing feelings previously unnamed. Sometimes gifts look like presents, wrapped up with bows and sparkly paper, a sign that a date has been remembered.
For me, Julie has been all of those things over the past 2 years. As she has walked alongside me— through grief and pain, through emotional healing that has felt too long and too hard to handle alone, through moments of joy mixed with fear— she has been God’s gift to me.
As a person who spent years priding myself that I had it all together, it took the unexpected death of my brother, two weeks after his wedding, to make me admit my world had been shaken. The surprise of a pregnancy and then miscarriage a few months later made the balls I had been juggling tumble to the ground. While I sorted through the steps of processing my story—moving from trying to grab as many balls as I could and stuff them into my pockets so my mess wasn’t visible, to recognizing that my desire to continue juggling had landed me in a metaphorical ball pit—those close to me were reaching out, recommending I find a Stephen Minister. By the grace of God, they were persistent enough that I conceded, and Julie was assigned to walk with me through my mess.
What I didn’t know was what her faithfulness to the call would look like in my life. Still fighting to admit the brokenness, I wanted this time paired with Julie to be a quick check-off-the-box step on my way to being healed. More juggling for me, please. Instead of a self-help book, or 3 easy steps to get over grief, Julie showed up in my dining room and sat. She sat with me in my pain. She asked me to describe it. She helped me examine the places that were raw and sharp. She asked me to consider where my tears were coming from. Most importantly, she called me to look at myself with the same eyes I would use for my friends. She cried, prayed, and rejoiced with and for me as we grieved together and celebrated together. She walked with me through my subsequent pregnancy-after-loss and praised God for his gifts in my life.
Over the past 2 years (That’s right, my 3 step list and check-the-box recipes were underestimating…just a little!) Julie has gifted me with reminders of the gospel—pointing like beautiful flowers to a Spring filled with promises kept and healing that only comes from and by the Lord. She has given me words—lending me those of musicians, poets, and even her own at the shower for my baby—until I had ones of my own to describe my story. And she has remembered—anniversaries, important moments, and triggers for my grief. Because she believes in a God who shows up—so has she—week after week, month after month, being faithful to his call on her life to care for others. She has given me the gift of her presence.
As I hear her pursuing additional training in this gifting, I can’t help but be excited to see where this will take her. Tools in the hand of an already gifted worker allow them to hone their craft. Julie’s craft is wise counsel in the context of compassionate caring, and I’m grateful to have been a recipient of it.”
“In August of 2010 my life was completely shattered when I lost my older brother in Afghanistan. After trying to figure out how to survive in my “new normal” alone, I reached out to our church’s Stephen Ministry program to find someone that would walk by me. That someone was Julie. Up to this point I didn’t know Julie very well, but I had seen her around church. Julie knew my brother Brian, however, and had been neighbors with him before he flew to Afghanistan. I began meeting with Julie once a week. The time was spent talking, crying, listening, and just being. It was such a blessing to me. Looking back, it never ceased to amaze me that despite the fact that Julie has eight kids of her own, she still had time to be with me and love me. She bent over backwards for me. I was able to be real with Julie and never felt judged or insecure. Talking through my brother’s death was and is at times still very painful, but Julie was (and still is) one of those people who really and sincerely cared about how I was feeling and what I was dealing with. I am so thankful and grateful that God brought Julie into my life to walk alongside me during the first few years of my journey through grief.”