Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Counseling and prayer ministry...

This week’s counseling was very good. For once we didn’t tackle anything hard, anything strenuous, just caught up on the week, and identified a few things to think about and be aware of.

When I walked in, the first thing Tricia asked me was how my week went. I looked at her, smiled and said, “Tricia, I think I have turned a corner. I mean, last week’s session has had such an impact, I really think it is going to be a lasting change. I feel different, better than I have in a long time.” She paused a moment, and then a huge grin spread across her face as she gave me a high five and said “Praise God!!”

We had a wonderful time sharing, and I was able to tell her in more detail what had happened in our session the previous week. You have to remember, I was very much in shock when I left her office last week, so much so, I was trying to put my shoes on the wrong feet, and my jacket on upside down! So to sit and be able to tell her how God spoke to me, and pulled ideas and devotionals and scripture readings together this week was really wonderful.

I read to her most of my post about the session last week, and shared with her the poem that Cindy wrote for me. There were a couple of times that I thought she was going to cry. And other times I could tell she was thrilled with the new thought patterns that were starting to develop.

We got done talking about that, and I brought up a couple of things that I had noticed. One of them being how quickly my mind flips a switch when I feel like people are pulling away from me. I just start putting up walls between me and those people, to protect my heart. I back away, don’t share as much, feel uncomfortable around them (internally, though I try to hide it outwardly), and over all try to make myself appear relaxed and out going, when inside I am guarding every word and deed so as not to get hurt.

One of the things that hit me when I was on my way down to her office was that Jesus has my heart in His hands. I don’t have to throw up walls to protect my heart anymore. The walls kept people and hurt out, but kept me in as well. I realized that Jesus has my heart in His hands, and He will protect it. He sets a hedge of protection around my heart. And what is a hedge in real life? Something living and growing and breathable that lets air in and out. I can get out, and others can get in. Yes, some “fiery darts” will get in and through but I know that Jesus will allow through only what will strengthen me, even if it hurts at the time. And He will heal me from that hurt.

After sharing that with Tricia, I felt God prompting me to share something else with her. So, I shared the following, and I wasn’t quite sure how to start, but felt I just had to speak from my heart. The last couple of weeks, she has been pretty transparent with me about some things going on with her. She hasn’t been able to give me details, obviously, but I know that she has been dealing with some things in her life.

Well, specifically this last week, God really placed Tricia on my heart to pray from her. Every day this week I have spent some time in prayer for her, daily, but also as God prompted me. Monday night I stayed up late to quiet and organize my thoughts before the counseling session the next day. During the time I was up, there was a point where I just couldn’t avoid it, and had to start praying for Tricia. My prayers ranged all over, from God helping her rest, to His gifting of discernment, strength, wisdom for her counseling the next day, spiritual protection for her and her family. I just prayed as the Spirit prompted me, prayed through scripture for her… For me it was a wonderful time of concentrated prayer, and I knew that it would benefit her as well.

So I told her this, and then she thanked me, and without my breaking any confidences here, told me that there were some things happening that night, and the past week that were very difficult. She said there has been a bunch of stuff going on that I could never imagine, and probably wouldn’t believe if she told me. She told me she has some people praying for her regularly, one a former client. She asked me if she could count on me to be a regular prayer warrior for her. I was able to commit to that, to say absolutely, YES. She may be an instrument of healing for me in God’s hands, but she is also human and has needs as well. The best way I can minister to her, as a sister in Christ, is by prayer. It echoes something I talked about with Pete and Donna last week. Pete said that I had a ministry to her, just as much as she was ministering to me. I had a ministry as a sister in Christ, to encourage and to pray. It felt like a confirmation of what I thought I had been feeling from God but was second guessing.

The bonus with praying for her is, she never has to tell me anything. She just knows that I will be praying for her. I don’t have to contact her and ask her how she is doing. I just have to pray. It won’t over step counselor/client boundaries. I just have to pray. And I am willing to make that commitment. A commitment like that, in the past, I had been unwilling to make. I just have to pray.

So, now I am going to go pray. For Tricia, for my friends and family, my husband and children… and the people we encounter each day.

God bless all of you who read this and thank you for your prayers for me. It doesn’t matter if I know your are praying or not, I am grateful.

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