Spring has sprung! Well, who am I kidding. I live in Florida. Other than the 7 days of below-sixty-degrees-weather this year, we are moving right into summer. But that’s why people move to Florida, right?
It’s only March and this year has already been full of ups, downs, side-swivels, and everything in between. For anyone who is keeping up or curious, I thought I would give an update of all that is happening here in Orlando. Supporters will also get a newsletter in the mail in the coming weeks, so look forward to that!
I am still working out of two venues here in Orlando: private practice and in the Orange County Jail. Private practice is going well. THANK YOU to everyone who is making this ministry possible! I can’t do it alone. Every donation means someone else gets to start or continue therapy. I am asking anyone reading to consider a monthly donation to this counseling ministry. I am very much in need. I can just about pay my bills on what clients do pay, but that lives no room for everything else that life and this profession require. My car broke down in December and that was a huge hit. I travel a lot during the week between work, church meetings, and the jail so fixing that was vital but it costs a lot. I also need to prepare for the national Mental Health Exam and take that exam this summer to prepare for licensure.
The diversity (of all kinds) of the people I work with continues to amaze me. I am learning so much from people every day. I have had the immense privilege of seeing incredible things happen in the lives, marriages, and families of my clients. I get to see people decide to live instead of consider taking their own lives, repair broken relationships, and restore or establish a healthy sense of self. I get to see people cease self-harming and start self loving, and loving others in turn.
As for work in the jail, well, that has just rocked my world. I still lead a service every Sunday afternoon with Summit Church. We are going into our fourth month with the women in the 33rd Street Jail! This ministry has sharpened and challenged me in ways I never thought possible. I even had the chance to preach one Sunday!
Out of my work with Summit, I have developed a relationship with the team that runs Inside Out Jail Ministries here in Orlando. This is a phenomenal non-profit group that starts working with inmates while they are incarcerated, and continues to support them as they re-enter society. Through ISO, I have been able to counsel female inmates and will be teaching a life skills class to address anger management, relational struggles, and other skills these women were never taught or exposed to in their families.
Many times, I use the metaphor of a tool kit with my clients. When we are born, we should all be given a tool kit from our parents that helps us build the things we need to get through life: self care, autonomy, the capacity for relationship, compassion, discernment, wisdom, empathy, and love. Many of us do not get good tool kits. Some do (praise God!), but most do not. Some of us get empty tool kits. Some of us get tool kits with missing pieces. Some of us get tool kits with broken tools or, even worse, weapons. Some get no tool kit at all. My hope in working with people one-on-one and in group or class settings is to help people find and learn to use some of those tools so that they can built a different life.
Right now, I do not get paid for my work in jail. I am happy to do it, but I need financial support to sustain and improve the quality of my ministry there. If you are already supporting this ministry, THANK YOU! If not, please consider a monthly donation. I promise no amount is too small. I really need the help, and so do the people I work with every week.
I may be on the front lines and in the trenches, but you can play a HUGE role by praying, supporting, and encouraging. Thank you for reading and know I am always sending hugs!