Written in the story of my faith is a cosmic battle the Father authored before time began by allowing what He hates in order to achieve what He loves. While Christ was breathing His last breath, joyfully being crushed for a people who despised and rejected Him, my sin (and the sorrow and grief that come along with it) were laid bare in the Person of Jesus. This kind of cosmic battle is one many people know, but are afraid to tell of God’s faithfulness in the midst of due to stigmas and labels placed on them by those who know no depth of God’s saving power and mercy.
As we round the last few days of this decade, I am reminded of the Counselor to my soul: the One in whom all my trust, hope, and faith rests. However, just because I am a child of God does not mean I will not devastatingly sin against the Father. Nor does it mean God will not let me sit in the mess I may make due to the hardening of my heart toward Him. Broken cisterns and empty wells were where I would draw from to satisfy my thirsty soul. I had let myself be ruled by my self-focused desires rather than God’s clear commands. I loved a created thing more than I loved the Creator. I willingly stepped over God’s boundaries in pursuit of what I wanted. However, it is astonishing how God’s kindness led me to repentance, confession, and restoration with Him by the power of His grace. This season of repentance and restoration was the most difficult season of my 32 years. I have never known a weeping or wrestling like this season. I found consolation only from God’s Word, prayer, and writing. When I could sleep, I would have nightmares of what my sin had done. I believed I could be the judge of my own sin, yet Scripture was telling me I was not wise enough to be a perfect Judge full of limitless grace, mercy, and justice. Only Christ could be the Mediator for me. Suicidal thoughts plagued me morning and night. I despaired of life to the point where I would beg Brian not to leave me during the day for fear of carrying out the plans I had prepared in my mind. The pain, guilt, shame, and despair was exacerbated in June when we were given a letter of denial for an adoption of a little girl we had bonded with for over a year. I believed it was my fault we weren’t granted the adoption. During this time there were even a few people who acted as Job’s friends had… giving unsolicited advice which if heeded would have shattered my life. I begged God for mercy. I clung tightly to His promises He gives to us regarding our sin: He is faithful and just to forgive us (1 John 1:9), He will break us down only to bind us back up again (Hosea 6:1), He will heal us speedily when we offer our hearts to Him in repentance (Isaiah 58:8), and finally, He disciplines those whom He loves like any good father would (Hebrews 12:6). In the darkness of night, I would repeat out loud to myself over and over again that perfect peace have those whose minds are stayed on Him (Isaiah 26:3). During the heat of June, I finally decided I could not walk this journey alone and desperately needed another to walk alongside me in order to stay alive, both physically and spiritually. Someone to help me wrestle well.
While the all-knowing Creator has designed humans and all their faculties and intellectual capacities with the capability to communicate, the One who created us must be able to communicate to His creatures. He makes His will, desires, hopes, thoughts, His character known to us through the use of context (including grammar, syntax, connotation, etc.). Communication is the basis of our society, and therefore God must be able to communicate truth to us. Because of this, God has motive to provide means of understanding Himself and He does that mainly through the God breathed Scriptures. He also makes Himself known through creation, by which no one is without excuse in knowing Him (Romans 1:20). Finally, He reveals Himself through His people. We read in Scripture how Christ is our Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6). We as His children bare the imprint of His divine nature. How gracious He is to display His character through His children. Because of this, I have been able to learn from one of the most qualified Christian therapists in the United States who acted as the counselor I so desperately needed. She brought me to the well of God’s Word with boldness and the power of the Holy Spirit. She refreshed my soul in a way I never imagined I needed. She helped me break down the walls Satan had deceived me into believing I needed to build. She taught me to pray God’s Word with power and authority.
For years I had demonized counselors and biblical counseling. I had been hurt so many times by “counselors” who had attended a weekend long training session and were put in place as the counselors for the church with no real life experience or training in the mental health field. However, I did my research. My sweet therapist has many years of experience. Her schooling alone is extensive and thorough. I did not want to entrust my soul to just anyone. I prayed. I begged God to lead me to the right person who would rightly handle the Word of Truth and guide me to Living Waters that would soothe my breaking heart.
Mental health is an area I am new to. I am learning the emotionally unhealthy Christian will demonize the reality of the human condition. I do not mean the sinful nature of man as the human condition in this context. But, rather the CONDITIONS humans face due to the fall of man: depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, spectrum disorders, etc, and especially mental health in general.
Churches: DO NOT PLACE SOMEONE INTO A COUNSELING ROLE WHO HAS ONLY BEEN TRAINED THROUGH A CONFERENCE. Do your homework! Hire folks who are trained counselors and therapists with extensive experience in the field working with a number of different types of mental health issues.
After having been sitting in darkness for most of this year, I am so thankful God has been my Wonderful Counselor through my therapist. What a kind gift He has given. If you are struggling… Get help. I can’t say that enough.
As I enter 2020, I have put into place rhythms of receiving God’s grace: daily practices of rest, restoration and renewal. I am healing. By God’s grace, I am healing.
Jesus & therapy kept me alive when I didn’t want to be. Thank you, Emmanuel. Maranatha.