This reflection was written a few years ago while I was an undergrad at Rochester College. Self- Reflection: What is the basis of your faith and counseling approach?
I am a PK(Preacher’s Kid). My parents have been in the ministry since before I was born. I have always been raised to know that there is a God and that Jesus died on the cross for my sins. With that said, I am convinced that Jesus is Christ, the Son of God. Christ is all that I know. It is impossible for me to believe otherwise. There are a few things that I am sure about. I am sure that I am a black woman, I am sure that my name is NA’Arah and I am sure that Jesus is my Lord and Savior. This is my stance and the foundation in which I approach every aspect of life.
Growing up I was taught what seems to be some contradictions in regard to faith. On one hand, I was taught that as Christians there are certain rules we must follow. On the other hand, I was taught that is it not about rules but about grace, mercy and faith. It is due to these contradictions and my parents along with others having planned my life our for me, which I begin to seek God for myself.
Searching for Answers
I started this quest to find my own way and to find God for myself, by asking questions regarding what I already believe to be true. For some time now I have been questioning myself on what it is I believe to be true about Christ. I have wondered what I will say to that person who is hurting and in need of my counsel. There is only one clear answer that I can offer for any person, myself included. That one answer is that I have no idea how this life thing works entirely. After all of my education and study, I think I am more confused now than I was ever before.
I am sure that Jesus died for us and that if we believe on Him we will be saved. I am sure that one day He is coming back for His church. Additionally, I am sure that in order to receive salvation we must repent continually, accept Christ as our Lord, one person in the Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and believe that He died for our salvation. Other than these foundational Christian truths, I have no promises or assurances to give.
For example:all of my life I have been told, “if you tithe you will prosper financially”. Well, I have been tithing and my family is still struggling financially. I have learned that there are some prayers God chooses to answer and some that He doesn’t. I have learned that life will be life. We pray, we hope, we are obedient to what we believe the Word of God is teaching us, and we hold with all of our might to Christ.
I love the scriptures, but there is one verse of text that is my anthem, theme and is imbedded in my very being. 1 Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord”. Not just this verse but the entire chapter gives me hope and strength to go on another day, even when there are so many questions that I don’t have the answers to. This chapter speaks about our victory in Christ and death having no power.
My biggest enemy is death and Christ conquered that. Therefore I have nothing to fear, come what may. Though I realize it is easier said than done and I still have to deal with the trials of life. I know that one day this will all be over and my light affliction is but for a moment (though it may seem to be forever). Sometimes it is in pain and tears on the inside that I make it through my days, but I make it.
What I Can Offer
I think this is what I have to offer the body, or anyone in pain be it emotional, physical or spiritually. All I can offer is a listening ear, and the truth. That I know, I know ,and for that which I don’t know, I must be honest and say so. It is very true that people most often just want to share their story and have someone care. It’s their life and I, in Pastoral Care, must allow them to tell their story and to write their own endings.
I know all too well how it feels not to be able to tell your story. My parents being in ministry, I have to always be concerned about their reputations. Therefore, I can never share my entire story. I am forced to smile when I am hurting. People have always written my story for me. I have been told how to dress, what to feel, and what to think. I would never want to put out anyone’s light by not allowing them to tell their story. Listening, following the guidance of the Holy Spirit and using the best and most important story (the Biblical Story) as my guide, is how I would approach counseling.