A Few IMPORTANT Lessons I Have Learned Along The WAY – Part 1

Years ago when I took my counseling internship, I took it in an office in the comfortable ritzy suburbs. The other portion in the homeless shelters with torn apart families, separated couples, displaced veterans, hurting people some traumatized with a multiplicity of issues and with battered and abused women. One of the shelters was in the suburbs right behind both a Mercedes Benz and Cadillac luxury car dealerships located in a vacated armory. One was located way out of the way, down across by and over on the other side of the railroad tracks in the city. One located amidst a commercial business park. What was so interesting only in the case of extreme emergency could the residents stay in the shelters during the day. They had to be out rain or shine first thing in the morning. In the suburbs they could not linger anywhere near or close to the luxury dealerships. They of course did not want their potential customers disturbed in any way by the homeless…

There was such a contrast in the various environments but not really in the overall personality dynamics. Hurting people exist in every walk of life no matter how much one might have or does not have! At the time my counseling supervisor was not too enthused about coming to the shelter at first… To be honest my home church at the time was not very receptive as well. They did not really want a lot of the homeless being brought there for counseling. No concern for worry because I went to them and eventually they set me up with a nice quaint little office… Initially the university wondered if maybe, or perhaps the environment would be a bit too harsh and…

It was here I learned the significant value of healthy boundaries as well as “One Spot” therapy! Which is a onetime counseling session. One spot simply means that when a person knows that they may have perhaps one opportunity to talk to you, and will probably not see you again. Once open they will say to you what has been stored up for years! I have heard the unimaginable… I learned to really trust the Lord during my many volunteer hours. It helped me to appreciate the value of not assuming or if you do to be readily willing to release any stereotypes. I learned here the true meaning of “ministry beyond the walls.” There is much spiritual warfare that takes place when you reach out to help those who are tormented and in much pain. There are times that anger may be projected upon you! Sometimes caring means not reacting but responding patiently… I also accompanied several clients (this is what they called the residents) on occasion along with a guard, who were 5150 sectioned to the hospital to help relieve a client who at times experienced extreme anxiety and sometimes considered volatile. 5150 Meaning they had been put under involuntary mandatory psychiatric confinement for observation for 72 hours to determine their mental state!

It is here I also learned that I naturally empathize. My concern literally drained me. My growing trust in God helped immensely and sharpened my discernment. Healthy boundaries are necessary! I learned that through my trust in God; it was what kept me safe. I was not fearful but cautious. I so had to depend on the Lord for direction in a totally non spiritual environment! Gradually the doors opened more and more… Although I was learning the required psychology and sharpening my skills on the art of counseling, I learned that it took God in my life to really help me help them. There is a huge difference between Christian and secular counseling!

The Lord had blessed us greatly at the time, my husband and I had a successful Professional IT Consulting Corp with many Professional Consultants… We Also had four children in college and one in Middle school at one time… We together have traveled extensively around the world, my husband was also a Minister of Music… we both had also been in Church all of our lives and I had worked in just about every department… We both had been raised in the city and had moved to the suburbs now for quite some time … We still continued to commute back to attend worship services and… This all served to give me a wide range of exposure to numerous varied facets of life! I knew the Lord’s call on my life at an early age and Ministry in Pastoral Counseling was my continued path of discovery…

It is important to KEEP in mind, God really does know what is going on. If you are sincerely interested in the counselee or whoever it is He will and can make a bridge between you and the counselee. Yet, you are only a small part of the healing process. There were a lot of politics that took place in the shelter. Some of the residents became territorial. I settled disputes between the staff and residents. I counseled and prayed with both staff and residents. Together we planned transitional strategies, the staff worked many arduous hours and hard long days. This further helped me with the counselees that lived safely tucked away in their own various homes as well! I learned that nothing anywhere in this world that anyone does, or says gets by the Lord! There is absolutely nothing that happens that He is not aware of! What matters most is our intimate personal relationship with the LORD! GOD KNOWS EXACTLY where each of us are or where we are are lacking…

Ultimately TRUE inner HEALING comes from GOD!

I was required to study many of the psychology theories and its founding fathers. There is much knowledge here. But, there are many concepts and theories in psychology that go against Christian principles. For example at the time I had to study the DSM-IV > Which is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders. It is what is known as the “Psychiatric Bible. It serves to broaden one’s knowledge on clinical language and facilitates diagnosis. Which may require psychotropic interventions… One refers here, in order to professionally label or should I say make a clinical diagnosis. This can at times I believe somewhat hinder one seeing the uniqueness of the individual and often rules out the spiritual element of their character… The DSM-IV actually contains a plethora of information on hundreds of possible mental disorders! A Psychiatrist is both a Medical Doctor MD who is a specialist in mental disorders they can prescribe medications that Psychologists cannot.

As a Pastoral Counselor/Minister, I was required to have a relative understanding of the process… We as well in our practicum had lessons on evaluating many of the characters in the Bible as well and seeing how they could have possibly been perceived? KNOW most of the time they would have been unfavorable labeled by this criteria… Most would be thought of as a bit strange and some with mental disabilities or severely depressed…. .I had to know about secular counseling methods to a degree, but my interest was in the spiritual aspect and how it serves to bring about “wholeness!” God can fill the void in one’s life like no other! I saw it time after time in the shelter. I also realized that many do not subscribe, respect, nor care to prescribe to this belief, nor believe in the Bible!

There is a constant change in the world as to what is right? For one, I can remember when homosexuality was considered taboo! Now, it is no longer considered by the American Medical Profession to be abnormal? We are able to see the results of what massive societal pressure can do. Now it has “come out of the closet” Now since it is so prevalent within our society it is now known and supported as “an alternative lifestyle.” This is quite interesting because, if you do not agree you can be considered to be homophobic if you are not somewhat supportive? If that is your choice, it’s your choice. But I believe all the Bible and I do not believe that it should be considered the same as Marriage which was designed by God! God’s view has not changed! Marriage in the eyes of God is HOLY MATRIMONY! Marriage in the eyes of God is sacred! What I find interesting that now many want to have the same rights and privileges as marriage because of their sexual preference! I personally find this disturbing. If this is your choice call it what it is “an alternative relationship” of the same sex. If you are not in agreement you can be considered judgmental and uncaring and…. I am “PRO MARRIAGE” GOD’S WAY! I also believe that this compromises our Christian Values however I realize that we all must answer to the Lord for our choices… We have come a long way… But have we really? Just something to really think about!

It is important to know that a lot of the original research for evaluations in psychology did not include taking into consideration the cultural differences of many People of Color. So where you might be just being polite, patient and considerate it may be perceived as being distant somewhat aloof and unconcerned, or passive… Where you might be disciplined and exercising self control, you may be thought of as mechanical…. If you speak confidently and fearlessly you could be considered delusional or arrogant! If you talk about God too much you may also be a considered a religious fanatic…This is a result of labeling and racial profiling…

On another note; I also find it quite interesting the mass shooting that took place a while back on the military base at Fort Hood in Texas. Where a military trained Psychiatrist Nidal Hasan massacred many of his fellow soldiers! They were in a soldier readiness facility where the troops being deployed to both Iraq & Afghanistan received their last medical checkups? What about the World Trade Center bombings where so many lives were taken? Have you noticed the many senseless shootings and incidents regarding guns in our schools that have since occurred? Need I remind you of the bombings at the Boston marathon where so many were hurt? All this has caused much fear and insecurity to dismantle our normal systems of life. Terrorism comes in many forms. The spiritual warfare has heightened! We must daily seek refuge in the Lord. It is important to spend time daily in His Word. The Lord can and will impart His Peace to you!

The recent acquittal in the Trayvon Martin case has caused many raised eyebrows! How can a grown man who was told not to get out out a vehicle; do so anyway, then shoot and kill an unarmed seventeen year old teenage boy with a gun that he should not have been carrying on neighborhood watch and be found not guilty? He had a choice he could have secured his car by locking the doors and keeping the windows closed until “help” came! Just perhaps Trayvon Martin would still be living?This is sheer madness no wonder so many are outraged! The lines of justice have once again been blurred.

Stress management is important and needed regardless of who you are. No matter what station one reaches in life balance is always key! Extensive training does not mean that you are immune to anxiety, impulsive behavior and pressure! In my counseling practicum I was required to study and know to a degree what others believe that are non Christians. There are many many religions… The beliefs of many differ greatly! This is also why the spiritual side needs to be addressed as to what do you believe about life, living, and how you value life! How you embrace and practice your beliefs are a huge factor in one’s behavior.

Our true security rests within our relationship with the LORD! I personally BELIEVE that GOD is the GIVER and SUSTAINER of life and we do not have a right to take anyone’s life just because…

Please continue on to Part 2

President Jimmy Carter & “WOMEN” in Ministry

President Jimmy Carter & Women in Ministry

 Crosses & Domes

I am once again happy to see that President Jimmy Carter is in the news.  But not for  his political views.  At  least not concerning the U.S.  Government.  But his views as far as the Church are concerned.  He has been a member of the Southern Baptist  for many decades.   After  (60) sixty years he has taken  an adamant , publicly visible stand  and decided to part company.  He does not subscribe to many of  their doctrinal beliefs.

 

There is a belief  among the leadership of the Southern Baptist  clergy that women are to be restricted  and forbidden to be ordained.  They in fact believe that our position  as  women  is  to  basically appease our husbands, be subservient  and attend to the  non  leadership  issues that arise as a subordinate.  I have always found this interesting.  I  have  in the past regularly  attended  their services.  But have always been concerned with this very  issue.  As women you can participate in the “Women’s Ministry”  teach Sunday School, work with the youth , usher,  talk about the Lord but you cannot become  an ordained minister.

 

I find this so very interesting because this does not only exist in the Southern Baptist  it existed among  the Traditional  Baptist  as well where we attended FAITHFULLY  and generouly supported  for many years.  It has changed among Baptist somewhat in some places.     But there is  a definite discrimination that takes place   I know this firsthand.  To keep women in their place or else.   You can  be a Minister at home?  The   C.M.E. Methodist have allowed women to the forefront   because they are losing ground and dwindling in numbers.  They allow women to become ordained but are  still  quite controlling.  The male clergy  in general tend to be very ritualistic, condescending  and dominating  they  allow women to participate by doing the things they deem appropiate.

 

Is it not God that calls us or anyone  for that matter  to ministry?  Is He not “a respecter of persons?”   The Word says “He will pour out His Spirit on ALL flesh.”   Male or female! Did not the  Lord use a donkey to speak to  Balaam his prophet who was overcome  by his  love for  the world and  money?  Balaam  according to the Word taught  Balak  “to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed  to idols and commit sexual immorality…” ( See Revelations 2)  Balaam allowed himself to be used by baal and caused 24,000 people to be killed.  The point is;  The  Lord  can use whomever He pleases.  Certainly if  the Lord used a donkey to warn his prophet of his  sudden death if he continued to proceed; He can use women inside or outside of the walls?   I could go on but my point is God never intended for the Church to  just be housed in a building of  brick and mortar.  The building is a dedicated place to come to gather or assemble!  God’s Church is the Universal Church of  believers   who are people throughout the world from every tongue and nation. 

 

I can testify first hand to the underhanded discrimination and outright mistreatment of women within the Church that President  Jimmy Carter is standing “UP” for!   If  you choose to  participate   then you must subject yourself to the whims of the “man in charge!”  Who makes it clear that it is his call and vision you serve?  I  have personally found it  to be true what President Carter stated in his essay 

 

The AGE”   

“At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.”

And, later said

“The truth is that male religious leaders have had — and still have — an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. “

 

When I finished Seminary there was no women  being ordained in ministry within our congregation.  You could teach Sunday School,  be a clerk, become  a Trustee, or sing in the choir,   or be a Deaconess?  There was only one  ordained  female minister in the whole entire city that I knew of at the time.  She had  at  one time been the choir director but  was not allowed to  sit in the pulpit  were we worshipped whenever she returned to visit.  It has changed to some degree.  But  many of the same chauvinistic  issues are  still there.  It was not out in the open most of the time  for all to see.  I was just blacklisted and overlooked and labeled.  Hmm like  jealous, unyielding,  wanting to be… as well as unteachable, self serving and …. which is so  far from the Truth! 

 

To some degree  a  few of my  supposed  “sisters” in the Lord were used to oppress  me and  make sure I was limited since I did not bow to the authority to the “man in charge.”   They were used as  examples to me and show me what was possible if I went along with the head.   But they could do as they pleased because they would do whatever it took even if  it included …   Of course I could participate in the “Women’s Ministry.”   And yes many would seek me for counseling  still.  But there was a definite unspoken no to limit me in  ministry.  So  I calmly  protested silently.  Instead   I opted to  support  my  own husband within the ministry and just made a point to Worship and Praise the Lord in “Spirit and in TRUTH.” They were  vigilante  in their efforts to isolate and  discredit me.   No doubt my husband was also   penalized  within ministry because of my position. I can boldly say I have acquired much Patience  and  have great Peace  knowing that the Lord knows  my sincere intentions as well as the TRUTH!

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After I graduated seminary I was ordained by the University’s  Chancellor  who confirmed my call.  Who too wanted me to support him and  just become his assistant.  Therefore my husband and I  continued to attend  were we worshipped for a while  faithfully and  eventually founded  and embraced the concept of  “Ministry Beyond The Walls.”  It is so true “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is LIBERTY.”  I say this because I know first hand.   I have lived it!  But through it all my  fervor, steadfastness, personal and public love for the Lord and devotion has grown tremendously!  I can truly say I love the Lord more each day.  Their oppressiveness just showed me where I did not want to be.  I even tried to support those who wanted to participate  in  the “Center Stage ”  of it all.  (That is another story in itself)   I also realize that once we  ALL have completed this course  of life we  will have to give an account to the Lord for our actions.   Praise God!

 

Therefore I applaud  President Jimmy Carter for taking such a noble  Stand.    As  a woman I hold ALL of the Lord’s Word  dear to my  heart.  Inside and outside the walls.  I can say that I love being “His child” and a Minister of His GOSPEL!  No need to sit in a high chair.    I Peter  says;    “…  For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the  Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.  Wives , likewise, be submissive to your own hubands, that even if some do not obey the WORD, they without a word,may ne won over by the conduct of the wives, when they Observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear…”

 

I love this scripture   because I know who my Shepherd  is.   “The Lord is My SHEPHERD!”  I have no problem with authority!   I have no problem with submitting when it does not go against the Lord ‘s Word as well as obeying the laws of the land!   If you read the passage of scripture  in  I PETER  slowly again  it says to be subject to your own husband not everyone else’s!   Think about that for a moment.  When Peter refers to us as the “weaker” vessel  this is not at all to infer that we are weaker Spiritually.  Ephesians assures us  “We can be Strong in the Lord and the Power of HIS…..”

 

The Bible speaks of the women as the “weaker” vessel because we are built differently and  naturally tend to be more emotional.    I love being a woman and all it entails!  If you listen closely you will see that this is a position of  STRENGTH as we embrace self control we are able to do this through His Holy Spirit!  When a  husband does not obey the Lord you can  win him over… Without even speaking if need be.    The husband prayers are hindered when he mistreats his wife…    Read this passage slowly and  again  if  necessary.  This is Powerful!  By the way this does not mean  using manipulation!  God truly is awesome!

 

We live in a nation and a  world that is constantly shifting away from God’s principles and  many within God’s Church have enlisted and  embraced worldly ways, concepts and methods  in their attempts to control and dominate God’s people!  Lord Help US!

 

Therefore I applaud President Jimmy Carter because he has brought an issue to the Light that many skirt or avoid.  The question for Carter — and for others who find themselves at odds with leadership — is, when a group you’re deeply involved in starts to move away from your own core beliefs, do you stay and try to change from within or, at some point, do you have to look for the exit?

 

This is the question that each individual must deal with  it may be considered spiritual suicide to go against the  ideology  of  an organized religion.  But when you really think about it this is how and why we have so many denominations!  Some things will just not be understood on this side of  HEAVEN!    Protesting by  sitting down or moving away from  oppression can  help you move closer to a growing rewarding inner satisfying relationship with the Lord.  It frees you to live each and every day for the Lord!  Especially when you know that Christ is not coming back for a church made by hands.  But He is coming back for  HIS CHURCH!  Because according to the Lord’s Word  there is still  “One Lord, One Faith … and  One Church which  by the way belongs to Him! To GOD  Be The GLORY!


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