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Finding Counsel and Redemption

They were simple things, really. A few personal issues that were starting to mess with my thoughts and me. They were nothing I couldn’t deal with. Or so I thought. After another night of crying myself to sleep while my husband held me, unsure of what to do, we finally decided my struggles were too big for us to deal with alone.

Growing up, I was told that if I just trusted God more, things I was struggling with would just go away. They wouldn’t hurt anymore. After all, I loved God. I was a Christian. He should be enough for me. Any mention of a struggle was often met with, “How are you and God?” as if the ideas of a struggle and a good relationship with God were mutually exclusive.

“Just focus on God, and He’ll get you through this.”

“I’ll be praying for you.”

“How are you and God? Really?”

People forgot that I was hurting from a devastated friendship, that I had scars on my arms from self-injury, that I felt abandoned sometimes. and that despite everything, I loved God and longed to follow Him. But now, here I was, five years later, curled up in a ball in our bedroom. My husband ventured the idea of talking to someone. It took me several months before I got up the courage to do just that. I met with a counselor once. She never called me back to schedule another appointment. Clearly, this was going well.

I had dinner with two friends about a month later. Over a plate of chocolate cake, I suddenly found myself pouring out my heart to these girls. They cried with me, prayed with me and recommended another counselor if I was still looking.

I told my husband this was my last shot. If this counselor didn’t work out, we were just going to have to fight through this our own way. I walked into Tiana’s “office” nervous. Actually, it was the church nursery, and there were stuffed animals on the floor. But, there, surrounded by stuffed Muppets and Disney characters, God met me. Counseling is a huge decision, and it’s not for everyone. The idea of walking into an office and pouring out your deepest hurts and struggles to a complete stranger may seem overwhelming or completely undoable. It’s like having a secret junk closet in your perfectly neat little house, and suddenly the complete stranger walks over, opens the door and throws everything on the floor.

There are no secrets anymore.

It hurts.

I spent a lot of time crying.

I finally told my counselor I just wanted to be done with this all. I didn’t want it to hurt anymore. I just wanted the redemption I knew God had waiting for me once I was finished with counseling.

She paused for a moment and said, “Lynn, God doesn’t have redemption for you at the end of all this—He has it for you right now, in the middle of everything, in the middle of all these messes. God’s redemption isn’t some grand prize if you make it through everything. His redemption begins now, in this journey. It’s not just the destination.”

It’s not just the destination. I still struggle every day. I still cry myself to sleep sometimes. Having issues in your life does not make anyone a bad Christian. Loving God and struggling with life are not mutually exclusive. Sometimes His redemption from the pain of a broken world comes when you least expect them. You see it as a friend sits and cries with you, when God begins to heal that secret hurt you’ve been carrying around so long. God started to bring redemption in my life through two of my friends and a counselor in a church nursery.

But redemption is part of the journey. You just have to go for it.

11 Comments

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Anonymous commented…

GO YOU! Way to be real and share struggles and your JOURNEY to triumph! Isn't it incredible that there is redemption in the midst of pain and brokeness. Our Lord is amazing and so wholistic in His healing for us.

85,085

Anonymous commented…

Thank you so much for sharing your life with us. This was exactly what I needed to hear. I have struggling with my mom's death and some other things in my life for a while and this encourages me that God is seeing me through and providing redemption through the circumstances. May God bless you.

85,085

Anonymous commented…

Thanks for these words of encouragement..I just started receiving counselling to deal with the hurts of my life, and I really identify with needing the redemption that God wants to give me NOW, and not just when these issues no longer hurt me.

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Anna commented…

I really really enjoyed this article. It was honestly what I really needed to hear. I tend to be a very legalistic person and very hard on myself. The idea of God's grace and love is something I have struggled very hard to accept and I definitely have seen redemption as this far off point in the distance.

Thank you for sharing your story.

Heather

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Heather commented…

lol, I do that to. I kind of thought it was just a "female" thing, because it seems like every girl goes through it. My problem though, is I have a REALLY hard time sharing my feelings and my experiences with other people. Even my husband. Its ruined a lot of my relationships in the past and I'm quite tired of it. But at the same time, I DON'T KNOW HOW TO CHANGE IT. And I HATE talking about it. I've thought about getting help, but to be quite frank, I'm afraid. I'm afraid it won't work. And then I'll be stuck like this forever. Maybe my fear is irrational, but its very hard for me to get passed it.

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