“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails,” Proverbs 19:21 (NIV). | Michelle Adams

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That scripture comes to mind when I reflect on my personal journey and decision to attend Loyola.  I am the spouse of an Army officer, and last summer, our family moved from Missouri to Maryland.  Initially, I refused to move with my husband, because we have a son with a joint custody agreement.  It was not “my plan” to leave or separate as a family – I couldn’t even entertain the idea.  But then God placed a strong and clear calling for me to trust Him … I knew that He was sending us to Maryland.  I knew there was a higher reason and calling, but I had no idea that a few months later I would find myself applying to Loyola University to be a pastoral counselor.

It all came about when searching for job openings in the area.  I had been separated from my son, and longed to discern why and what God had in mind.  Instead of job matches, a biography of an alumna from Loyola first appeared in my Google search window.  She had earned a master’s of science in pastoral counseling and instantly my heart leaped at the thought of “pastoral” or “spiritual” and counseling combined.  In the same day, God confirmed my calling – His purpose – by crossing my path with three people who spoke highly of Loyola’s reputation and commented, “it’s a renowned program.”  Having worked at a university for 15 years in Missouri, I believe God knew that it would be important to me that Loyola had quality academics and a solid reputation.

Before I could apply and seriously consider the pastoral counseling program, I started exploring financial aid and scholarship opportunities.  Living on a single income, I had no idea how we could afford graduate school.  That same day my husband came home from work and stated, “you are eligible for post 9-11 G.I. bill education benefits!”   I was floored how God had everything in place.  I also visited and attended one of the classes to ensure the location was accessible (I’m not a city-driver), the students and faculty were friendly, and class times would accommodate our family commitments.   It was ALL in check with my mind, body, heart, and soul. 

My journey as a M.S. Pastoral Counseling student just began this past January 2012, but there hasn’t been one class that I haven’t walked away thanking God for the opportunity and privilege to attend Loyola and to soon serve Him as a pastoral counselor.