For the last several months, I have picked up about a dozen books (or received them) concerning counseling with women (because that’s really what I am trying to do here. (P.S. – there may be a huge overhaul here and a new address…don’t freak I’m just trying to get my message farther with the talents of others)
Anyways, back to these guides. I received the latest one and I was thrilled because it actually hit on some hard topics, but I left it disappointed.
The two main topics I am looking for are:
- Domestic Violence
- Mental Health
I cover those frequently here, because it’s where I have been. It’s what I know. Yet, I still wanted a more comprehensive book that could help me farther than where I have gone when I counsel one on one (NO – I am not a paid therapist – but I am invested in you and that’s why I have always been so real and honest with my struggles)
I am not bashing anyone’s work here (I swear) but most of what I come across is like a little checklist of what the person may be experiencing and feeling. It’s mostly for leaders, so I expected a comprehensive work that really touched another heart by bearing open their own. Not to be reminded over and over that you have to be emotionally stable in order to counsel another woman.
I am sure you know (by the time you start searching for help) what an abuse cycle is. How you are being abused. You also know you have mental health problems because you can tell that you are stagnant with no will to move forward except maybe for your family.
Quit going to books for the answer and if you seek therapy from a church….make sure who you are talking to has been there and not just read up on the subject. You need someone to break their heart open again and show you their wounds. They need to cry with you in empathy and assure you that you will make it. Your mentor needs to be someone so well scripted in life experience that she/he can walk with you hand in hand for more than just a few sessions, but to be a permanent life line you can reach out to when you slip.
Churches and Spiritual Leaders:
Please stop feeling like you have to have the cream of the crop of spiritual leaders who can quote scriptures to somehow help these broken people. Your words will bounce off deaf ears, because (likely) they’ve been praying for help to get out of a domestic violent relationship (and somehow blame it on vows before God to stand by your man) or praying their mental anguish will end. Scripture is the last thing they need; love and acceptance is what they need most.
Look at it this way….when we go to a third world country. We start by building wells, tending the sick, providing schools, sponsoring the orphans, etc….before we bounce God in their head. We have to take care of immediate needs before we can tell them about a man who died on a cross for them. If we did it backwards, while they are starving and dying….would they believe you?
Same thing with these hurting women. Ask around the church for those who have been broken and are healing (not all the way healed) start a mentorship program. If your mission is on the internet…have guest posters who are real, raw and ready to help someone else in the language it needs to be in.
Churches (in their very creation) aren’t where the perfect go, but the broken in need of help. Somehow we have forgotten their purpose and everyone there is fine and ready to worship with a song in their heart. Some of it is an act by someone who barely made it to church because of their depression. Some woman has a bruise that is concealed by makeup for a reason she doesn’t understand, since she did everything right.
Don’t just have a educated triage team on standby, have a heart that is willing to become invested, but she knows that someone invested in her. This is the ONLY way we can fulfill the mission of mercy that someone inside your church has been gifted with. This is the ONLY way we can show God’s love. Even he showed his scars to the doubters, because some of us need proof of the pain that has been overcome.
Great post, Alycia ~ touches on something else I have been wrestling with: We show up at church and everyone wants us to “plug in” and get to work. But just becs I am already a Christian, no one realizes that I may be too broken and bruised to plug in, much less get to work. I am wounded and I NEED HELP. But I’m expected to shut up and help others, or sign up for a commitment to their group. They don’t realize that just getting out of bed that day has taken everything I have. It’s a confusing conundrum. I don’t really pretend to know the answer, especially not in the way churches operate in this day and age. I just know it’s hurtful. Thanks for your validating and important words.