Tag Archives: pastoral counseling

A Counselor’s Prayer


This prayer (I believe was written by Lea Ann; found at http://leaannsgarden.blogspot.com/2011/01/counselors-prayer.html) is AMAZING!  As a person on the journey to becoming a Pastoral Counselor, with dreams of working with “aging out” foster care youth, I can see myself praying this daily. 

We are so fortunate that God IS.

Oh God, remind me why I’m doing this.

Why me? What do I know about anything?

They sit across from me, broken dolls whose dull eyes beg me to offer hope that they no longer believe exists. Hope is a four-letter word that belongs to someone else. They’ve given up because they are out of options. They can see nothing in the future but more pain.

And I’m IT? I’m all that stands between desperation and hope? Sometimes, life and death? What were you thinking, Lord?

Who am I to tell a young rape victim that God loves her?

Who am I to advise a wronged wife to stay with the man who tore her heart out?

Who am I to offer understanding in situations I have no ability to understand?

How can I make a woman believe in a loving Heavenly Father when all she knows is fatherly abuse?

How do I gather the scraps of a shattered life and put them together again?

How do I convince a woman consumed by rage that it is safe to leave that anger with You? She’s mad at You too.

How do I pretend to believe that this round of sobriety will be different for the lifetime drug addict? The last eight times didn’t work, but this one will? Because now he faces ME? I’m not sure I believe that myself.

I feel so inadequate. So unworthy. Who am I to be trusted with this great responsibility? Who am I to meddle deep inside the private recesses of a human heart, to hold it in my hands, twist it, turn it, hurt it so that it can finally struggle free from its prison.

It’s scary, Lord. Sometimes, right in the middle of a session, I don’t want to do this anymore. Why am I doing this?

But now I’m remembering something.

I’m doing this because You asked me to. You promised that you would do it through me if I would just stay out of the way.

And now that I think about it, You have every time.

You put a smile on the lips of that rape victim.

The young couple is holding hands again.

The ones who knew only hate are experiencing love for the first time. It’s hard for them. They don’t know what to do with it, but You’re showing them a little at a time.

And as I watch, I know it isn’t me at all. It never was.

You always seem to enjoy choosing as your tools the least likely people: the frightened Gideon, the obstinate Jonah, the renegade Moses. And look at that ragtag band of disciples Jesus chose. What an unlikely group to be entrusted with Your plan of salvation for the entire world! Frankly, I would have chosen some better candidates, if I’d been given the opportunity.

So I guess I’m in good company, huh? Is that what You’re telling me? My inadequacy fits the profile?

Is this what you meant by “My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in your weakness”?

I’m glad to know that, because if I wasn’t sure You were doing this through me, I would quit. The burden is too great. The price of failure too high.

But You’re right. I have seen You work. I’ve sat there and watched Your Spirit open a closed heart, purify a perverted soul, cleanse a dirty conscience, heal a damaged spirit. And I just sit there. You’re doing all the work.

If You called me, You will enable me. I’m just a warm body for Your Spirit to flow through. Healing is not my job, it’s Yours.

I panic when I forget that. Help me never to forget again.

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First Day of Graduate School


Everyone kept asking me if I was nervous.  Heck, it’s only been 11 years since I got my Bachelors…can’t be too bad.

btw, my Mommy sent me an email from her blackberry asking for a “first day of school” picture!<3 My heart melted right then.  Sweet…but was I nervous?

Well, a lot is different now.  Everything is electronic.  I don’t own any of the fancy iThingies or eReaders or whatever.  And Renting books is now an option?  We used to call that a cork board at the student center back when I was in college.  Typing during class would have been considered horribly rude…back then.

I was only mildly frazzled when I realized that I had 12 chapters to read and a several page personal assessment to complete before the first day of class, and the bookstore didn’t have my books, and then was closed for what seemed like forever! (Still don’t have 2 of my 4 books!)

Ok, so there was quite a bit to be nervous about.  But I wasn’t.

Right now, I am personally a mess!  Why else would I be blogging?  seriously?

On one level, I can’t wait to absorb every morsel of information (btw, one class this term is Family Counseling), and use it to help my family through this mess of a life I have made for them.

Wow.  I just said it.

Anyways, I have my “own agenda” planned for this educational journey I have embarked upon.

Then, I look at the professional side of it.  Truly, I have always been a counselor or mother to people.  It seems to be so instilled in me that I now could not imagine anything else.  Because, see…my ULTIMATE goal is to be able to use what I learn help me have more knowledge about counseling and relational dynamics when I begin my independent living foster care home.  (I would be lying to you if I said it wouldn’t be named Mama’s House or something similar.)

I have my “own agenda” once again.

In the meantime, I work in a vocations office at a convent.  How would the skills of counseling NOT be beneficial in several real and potential opportunities?  No pressure from work to get the skills, or to do well.  I just get to use what I am already learning.  Bonus!

What it all boils down to, is that I have no deadlines to finish…no pressures to do well.  For me, the Masters degree at the end seems like it would be the icing on the cake.

THEN…

Add the fact that I LOVE this stuff.  I love the “hows” of why people function and how to help them and how to help myself and my own family.  Throw a spiritual twist on it all, and how is that not Paradise?

Exactly.  I was not nervous about tonight.  I was excited.

Well, that is “my version” of the story.  I think God has another version…last year, while volunteering at the Women’s Wellness Retreat where I work, I had an epiphany.  I had been wanting for years to get my Masters, but never could decide on a field.  That Saturday night, deep in contemplation, I heard God’s voice whisper in my ear.

I have always loved psychology, but never liked the clinical aspect.  I literally never knew that a degree in Pastoral Counseling existed…until that weekend.

After I heard God’s whisper, I went down to my office (convenient, huh?) and looked up a degree on spiritual counseling and ended up at Loyola.  When I read the description of the degree program, I realized what was right.  Right then, at that very moment.  It was such a celebration of emotion.  So, this afternoon, when I walked onto campus, that elation was with me.  I knew it was right.

I knew I was on the path God provided.

I knew I was there to learn.

And I was excited to absorb.

God’s way was even more announced when I realized that this very weekend, beginning TOMORROW, is the Women’s Wellness Retreat, at which I will be volunteering once again.

See?  It doesn’t matter how I try to justify it…if it is God’s will, it shall be done.  THAT is why I was not nervous.  God’s honest truth!  😉