Doesn't everyone? :) Shawn and I do counseling with several people each week - it comes with the territory of being a pastor and his wife. And I really believe what I am saying when I tell them that it is a healthy, good thing to go to someone for help or advice. I think we are very self righteous if we think we must have all the answers, and refusing to go to someone else for help when you need it shows that you must believe that! We have also been in counseling in the past. When we were in our church in Ohio and had gone through a few crazy years of babies, miscarriages, redevelopment churches, surgeries, depressions and RJ's holes in his heart we looked at each one day and said, "And who are you?" Shawn wisely called our wonderful DS and the district set us up with a week away with some intense counseling and then some weekly stuff for a while. Just being away and having someone help us focus on God again did wonders. We saw that we had not been guarding our hearts well in all the craziness of life, and so we were in survival mode instead of living as God intended.
We also went into counseling after we got back from Malawi. We had been ripped away from a place that, for the first time, I had thought "I could spend my life here." I didn't want to be in New York. I wanted to cry and mourn. Shawn wanted to "move on" Both of us needed to work through things in a healthier way, so once again God placed us in the presence of someone who would help us through.
This time the situation is a little different. There is no big crisis. In fact, our lives are going pretty wonderfully right now. We have moved into a beautiful house, we have ministry happening in two churches that are challenging, but in no way boring. We have friends who love us, family close by so that we get to see them, and there are no big obstacles happening right now. But as many of you know, we are hoping to go to Sudan with WHM and so there are some things that we need to resolve (or at least recognize and work on) before we go. I understand this. They (the WM people) do not know us really. They want to make sure that they are sending us in a state of mind that will not destroy either us or their team there. I am thankful and grateful for that. The last time we went it went something like this: We want to go overseas, someone wants to do a ministry there, yippee - let's go. No preparation, no organization, nothing. And while I don't regret a minute of our time in Malawi, I wouldn't want to repeat that situation. And let's face it -Sudan makes Malawi look like summer camp.
So on to counseling again. With the same wonderful woman who helped us when we got back from Africa. I am so thankful for that contact and her ministry to missionaries and pastors, because she offers her time for free. But I admit, my flesh fought it. I was prideful enough to think I actually had it all together this time. Then I swung the opposite direction and thought that I would never be good enough and fell into self pity. Then I got angry and self righteous again. Then the pity party showed up again. Then...well, you get the picture.
But today I feel like I have a new, fresh view of the fact that God is working in me, and he believes that I am worth polishing, cleaning up, using, and displaying. He is proud of me and loves me, and this time of sorting through things and working through issues is a time of showing me that love.
So I will guard my heart, allow God to pour into me through this time of stripping away and revealing, and praise his name through it. Thank you for your prayers.