Each month we will feature a “retro” CPO article, one that is pulled from our archives of quarterly newsletters. Whenever possible we will provide details regarding the author and date of publication.
This month’s Retro CPO article is an encouraging piece written by Janey Waters, one of CPO’s longtime therapists. It was written in fall of 2008.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” -Matthew 5:3
Some seasons are just exceptionally difficult. I’m sure that you, as I, are much more familiar with this times than you’d like to be.
In my professional work as a therapist, I have noticed that the nature of these stressful times varies. Some seasons may be overwhelming because of the sheer volume of clients; others, because of the severity of my clients’ mental illnesses; still others, because of the emergence of my own issues which can be triggered by any number of reasons.
At these times, the Lord seems ‘ever ready’ to invite me closer so that He can burn out those impurities – experiences which feel better than spending eternity in a firey pit but worse than ten simultaneous root canals.
The worst seasons for me are the hopeless ones; those in which I see little or no willingness on my clients’ part to mature spiritually or emotionally. The more difficult clients especially seem to take delight in blocking His Presence, thereby rendering counseling an impotent tool. I am in just such a season as this and it has taken its toll.
One night last week, I was feeling especially sad, discouraged, disillusioned, and heavily burdened. I felt overwhelmed and grossly inadequate as a therapist. I questioned whether or not I was making any difference at all in my clients’ lives. I felt that I was a disappointment to the Lord. Distraught, I sat on the edge of my bed with my feet on the floor, shoulders slumped. With my hands placed on my legs, palms up, I began to quote Scripture with an almost untraceable amount of enthusiasm. I quietly uttered, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come” aloud several times in a tone that would have made Eeyore quite covetous. Having little more than the tiniest mustard seed of faith, and expecting nothing from God in return, I repeated these very words which were placed on my heart and in my mind at that moment.
sitting in stillness and hearing nothing but my unenthusiastic whispers, I dropped my head back, face heavenward, and listened. It was at this specific moment that my Heavenly Father, knowing the breadth of my emptiness and despair, moved mightily, yet gently. I felt a cascading waterfall flowing from the top of my head to the bottoms of my feet. This internal visceral experience was so strong I thought it was nearly audible. The Lord washed clean my soiled soul which had been violated by a sin-filled world. I allowed and welcomed Him to refresh, restore, and renew my soul as only He can do.
During this experience, my mind was bombarded with many Scriptures, but the one which stood out above all was from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount – the Beatitudes. I had presented myself before my Creator, poor in spirit , mourning the loss of innocence and energy, longing to be comforted, thirsting and hungering, and seeking mercy with a desire to be made pure in heart after having been contaminated. I had been persecuted, insulted, lied to, yet i knew that my clients’ childhoods, riveted with pain, were displayed in an attempt to rid themselves of this vile anguish. I just happened to be the nearest, convenient target. I got slimed, and God saw my heart.
In Matthew 5:12, Jesus instructs us to rejoice and be glad for this, for your reward in Heaven will be great. I believe in my Lord’s promise for eternity, and I also believe that He heard my silent cry and ministered to me, without my having to wait. The King(dom) broke through the bars of my imprisonment, landed in my darkened room, and freely offered me the freeing gift of His healing Presence. The prince of this world is still lurking about, but we -the Christ followers- have the Most High, Who is always on duty. He is on a constant and continual protective watch – ever patrolling his saints.
On that particular night last week, I actually felt blessed to have been spiritually bankrupt because His Presence was manifested. It is our Father’s continual delight to offer Himself to us, both now AND at the end times. You don’t have to wait.
Ask. Knock. And the door will be opened.