My journey to be a counsellor of the heart
My journey to become a psychotherapist was born out of abuse. From the time I was a toddler until my young adulthood, I was abused my schizophrenic father. In his sickness, he would seek for me to believe lies about myself. He would shout at me things like this: "You're lazy. You're stupid. Your clumsy. You're a failure. Your brother's smarter than you'll ever be." I saw things no one should ever see. Hatred for my father burned inside of me, fueling an anger at God and him. I wondered how a loving God could allow me, my mother, brother and two sisters to suffer so much. Why didn't He stop it?
At the age of five, as the cool breeze on a hot summer day caressed my face, I made this prayer. I don't remember the exact words, but they were something like this "God, please save me from my father hitting me, my mother, brother and two sisters. Please, oh please, I don't want to see my mother ever beaten again! If you take us all away from this living hell, I promise when I grow up I'll help as many people as I can to be healed from their abuse."
It would be six more long, miserable and and horrifying years before God answered my prayer. God provided an opportunity for my mother, me and my brother to escape our perpetual hell. Why did He wait so long? The only reason I can think of is it was to be part of the fire of preparation I needed to endure to be the therapist God wanted me to be. Yes, He could have rescued us sooner. I think I will always have questions about all the whys of my journey. We all do. This is the mystery of the life we live. .
The promise I made to God to counsel the abused would take me on a divergent calling. As a young man, I believed God was calling me to be a minister, but a kind of pastor who would do social work ministry. That was part of my calling, but not all of it. A number of people said my calling was to be a counsellor. As I reflect upon what they said, I can see they were right. God let me do pastoral and social work. That was part of His calling, but He reminded me through much prayer and others that my main calling was to be that counsellor who listens to the journey of others, and does what he can to help them through their issues.
Along the way I have had to learn what forgiveness truly means. For me to be the psychotherapist God wants me to be, I had to take back the vow I made at age 11 that I would find a way to murder my father. Then, I had to do the tough work of forgiving him for all of my abuse. I also had to forgive all who have hurt me throughout my life. It's a journey of many steps. It takes time. I have been in counselling for over six years for my post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It was rough at first, going to all the hard places in my past. I'm so glad I did and am continuing to do so. It allows me now to give to others from a more healed self.
I am so thankful God brought Karen into my life. She has been used by God to bring much greater inner healing to me. She understands that I am a strong yet gentle man who loves her deeply. We have been brought together to be counsellors of the heart. While we have studied many years, we have yet so much more to learn. We could study and work a lifetime and still not learn all there is to know about life and living. We are here not just to help you, but also to learn from you.
Thank you, Father, for our calling to be counsellors of the heart..