Absolutely, one of the most wonderful things about my life is sitting in my office with a student and watching her begin to open up, a tiny little crack forming in the hard shell around her mind and heart, as we talk and I share Scripture, respond to her questions, teach her about the process of spiritual formation and human development, describe the ethical basis and values of our program, show her the humanness and divinity of Christ and the virtues he exemplifies in the Gospels, teach God’s ways of working among his people and how change occurs and progresses as one yields to the invitation, and so much more. We lose all sense of time as we talk, pray, cry, laugh, and learn together. This is what is so exciting about Christian counseling…..
I was talking with another Christian counselor about witnessing and participating in this process and shared with her a dream/vision/delusion I had in 1997, five years before God called me to start training for a vocation in Christian education and 10 years before I started graduate school for counseling. It was just prior to my hospitalization for acute depression and a psychotic break……I had this vision of myself helping people crawl through some sort of opening, like a crawl space ….it was sort of a flexible tunnel that was shifting and contorting, expanding and contracting and some people were able to get through quickly….Others I was having to push and coax and encourage to go on through. We were furiously working to get everyone through to the other side. In the end, everyone had gotten through except me…..I was left there tugging and pulling at walls that were like play-doh, stretching in my hand and leaving me nothing to grasp, kicking against air, trying to get through the opening myself….and crying out to God to please help me get through the tunnel to the other side….my sense was that something had happened and the entire world had been transported through this opening into a new place, a new state of being, and I was the last one left who had to struggle through the passageway myself. it was a sad, disheartening feeling, wondering if I was the only one who would be left in the old place and knowing that the new place was just a little ways away but with no one to help me get through. I had struggled so hard to help others get through……and I was left there questioning if there was anyone to pull me through or if God himself was going to help me get to the other side or if, like Moses, I alone would be left on this side to die and be buried by God. The urgency and exhilaration of helping others get through that passageway is a little like the urgency and exhilaration that I feel during and after a session like that in which I see eyes opening to a new reality, hardened hearts melting, and minds reeling at new possibilities coming alive. It’s a little like spiritual mid-wifery or emotional CPR……watching a spirit being reborn and a soul being revived.
“Can one re-enter his mother’s womb and be born again?” John 3:4. Witnessing the wonder of a spirit reborn….
This is the first time I think I’ve ever shared this story of my vision with anyone other than perhaps Pam Nevins, my long time friend and prayer partner. It has only been as I’ve been blessed to journey with women as they were “reborn” that I began to realize the meaning of that vision….God was showing me that I was going to help others in that passage, but also that I needed additional equipping before I’d be ready myself to do it. I needed training on how to firmly grasp the “handles” for getting through the process that I myself had been and was continuing to experience, then I’d be better able to get others through it. Instead of pushing and coaxing people through the passageway, I needed to be able to tell them how to grasp the “handles” and move through it themselves.