Hello friends, both old and new!
For the past several years I have felt a strong call to healing ministry, especially laying on of hands. I've searched high and low for career avenues in this area but nothing ever quite fit - until recently, when I remembered the Myotherapy Institute here in Lincoln and little (celestial!) bells went off in my head. If I trained as a massage therapist, not only would I have a degree that opens the door to a (much needed!) new career where my daily work would involve helping and healing others through physical touch, but in time I could even have my own Christian practice that runs on the liturgical calendar (with feast day specials, naturally) and features the most beautiful sacred music during sessions. I could offer free services as a ministry through my church or other community venue - and, of course, use my practice as a hub for all kinds of other wonderful charity drives, but that's another story entirely.
And for those of you who know me through my written work: with such a career/ministry occupying my working hours, my (renewed) heart and mind could be channeled into writing in my off-hours so I could “touch” and heal still more people through my stories!
I started moving (eagerly!) toward this goal in June with a campus visit, which went very well, and promptly filled out my FAFSA for the first time in 13 years...and the very next day I discovered a lump in my abdomen that proved to be a very large uterine fibroid, requiring a surgery which ended up being a hysterectomy. As a result, I'm currently coping with a hefty measure of physical, financial, and emotional setbacks, but the more I think about this healing touch/creative writing dream and all the obstacles that have been thrown in my way, the more convicted I am that I need to do this, and soon.
I keep thinking of the famous prayer, attributed to St. Francis of Assissi:
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
And I'm wondering: what if this potential career is my way of living out that prayer? I often wish that I could figuratively cut open my heart and pour out love on the hurting people around me, and more than once I've wondered whether God might have equipped and intended me as a sort of channel or conduit for His healing and love. As New Age-y as that may sound, there have been times in my life where I have been in a church context and felt an almost overwhelming compulsion to lay hands on an individual - and, being a good Lutheran, promptly talked myself out of doing any such thing, only to regret it later. I sincerely hope that God hasn't given up on me after those missed opportunities, but my hands started warming up and tingling during this year's Ascension Day service, so I think there might be a little bit of fire in them yet. :)
So here's where I need your help, if you have been blessed financially and feel led to contribute toward such a unique ministry. This year has been a financial struggle and a half, even before the unexpected surgery, and I very much want to start the massage therapy program as soon as possible. I was originally hoping to enroll at the end of August, but I was in the thick of post-op recovery then, and my next chance to start the program is at the end of October. I know this is still pretty quick on the heels of a major surgery, but I really want some good to come out of 2014 and know that the sooner I can begin my training, the sooner I can literally touch hurting people. Clinicals start in our second quarter, I believe, so I could already be doing some hands-on work in January and by this time next year* could be delving into full-time healing in a massage therapy context.
*I just recalled that October 18 is the feast of St. Luke the Evangelist/Physican, which seems like a pretty darn good omen to me. :)
Anyway: to enroll in the massage therapy program I need $850 up front. The 12-month program costs $16,800 in total, and I'm applying for all the financial aid available through the school. I should be able to get student loans to cover the balance (no grants, alas, since I already have a bachelor's degree), but the $850 is a lump sum required before I can begin the program, and for obvious reasons, I'm having a hard time getting ahold of that much cash right now. I feel terrible asking for help in any time and place, but a few folks have suggested setting up something online for donations, and I'm truly at the end of my mental/financial rope here.
So: here we are. If you like the idea of contributing funds toward the education of a gentle, willing, would-be healer who just may have found what it is that she's supposed to be doing in this crazy life we live, it would mean the world to said healer and maybe also to the hurting folks who will one day interact with said healer. And if you feel like supporting me through thoughts and/or prayers, that's an equally vital gift and every bit as appreciated! <3
God's richest blessings to you for reading!
P.S. As an added bonus, with an AAS degree (versus a simple diploma in massage therapy) I get to choose a major/specialization, and I'm leaning strongly toward Long-Term Care (i.e., extra-gentle techniques for use with the elderly and those needing extended time in medical care). :)
- Shannon Williams
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