I’m a big fan of professional counselors and not just because I’m married to one. Many of the ones I’ve known have been dear friends and I know first-hand their passion for helping people. They bless people every day with their gift of listening and understanding. I’ve also heard the grateful testimony of individuals who have been helped by a counselor. So if you need a counselor by all means ask around and find a good one. I can certainly recommend one that I think is the best!
The Groanings of My Heart
Life has difficult seasons.
This year and a half (2013) is one such season for me.
I lay in bed thinking about the past eighteen months and run through a list in my head.
- Death of my mother
- A difficult season in our 26 year marriage
- 5 children, living at home, between the ages of 13 and 20.
- Disappointment at church
- Family conflict
These issues, along with several others I didn’t mention, give me a score of over 300 on The Holmes and Rahe Stress Inventory. According to their scoring interpretation I have “a high or very high risk of becoming ill in the near future.” Yep. That’s the impact of long-term stress.
Maybe I need a counselor.
I need to pour out my heart to someone that will understand without judging. I need to cry with someone who is familiar with tears and comfortable with silence. I need to confide in someone who can remove the shame and guilt I feel over past mistakes. I need a strong-someone who can lift the ten-ton elephant sitting on my chest. And I need that someone on speed dial, 24-7.
My life is rich with godly friends and family who know me and love me. They’ve spent hours listening over coffee, reading long emails and texts, or holding on to the phone as I rant. I am so very thankful for their faithfulness and wouldn’t want to do life without friends and family like them. In addition, several godly, professional counselors are within a short drive of my home.
But sometimes my heart is two-weeks-overdue-pregnant with thoughts and feelings and hurt and disappointment that even I can’t put into words or on a list. Sometimes, in spite of being surrounded by faithful friends and family and counselors, I have a heart loneliness that feels almost unbearable.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times these last eighteen months. “I just wish I had someone to talk to who really knew what my heart is feeling.” I didn’t say it out loud the morning I made my mental list but I thought it. Again. And the One who always knows what my heart is feeling, the One and Only One who truly knows me, spoke to me these five words: “groanings too deep for words.”
I knew what He was talking about. I knew He was telling me to go to the Source of Truth—The Word.
I read His Inspired Words from Romans 8:26-27 in The Message:
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
And here in the English Standard Version,
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God (Romans 8:26-27 ESV).
Life has its seasons. Some of them are really long and hard. Most of us are blessed with the dearest kind of friends who are faithful during those times. Sometimes we even make an appointment with a good counselor. But even then there are wordless sighs and aching groans that they cannot know. But oh praise God there is One who knows, a counselor—The Counselor—who knows my heart and understands.
He is familiar with tears and comfortable with silence.
With Him I feel no shame or guilt.
He is the One who can help me bear the heaviest weight in my life.
I need THAT counselor. How about you?
I am so thankful for the ever present Holy Spirit in my life that perfectly comforts, guides, convicts, and encourages.
And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive Him because it doesn’t see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you (John 14:16-18).
Have you spoken to The Counselor today? He is ready and waiting to hear from you.