Why did you leave your role as a hospital chaplain to start a new venture? This question has been repeated many times since September. Since then, I have had to remind myself as well to strengthen my fortitude. Stepping away from a secure position and creating a new avenue of caring has stirred my heart for years, even the name Pastoral Care 4U came to me in 2012.
As a chaplain for twenty-four years, a continual theme emerged with the patients and families. I continually heard, "I have no place in my life to talk about such things as we did today, chaplain." Those things were regarding faith and life, including why they believed what they believed or didn't believe, hearing God, and discerning their lives from their eyes of faith. There are many believers who love Christ who struggle with addictions and have no one to talk to for many reasons. Why should people have to wait to be in the hospital or receive a diagnosis to talk seriously was a continual question I asked myself. It has been a continual wooing over the years.
One particular visit I remember, a man that said to me, "I am going to die today, but I will be resurrected very soon." This caught my attention immediately. I asked, "How are you going to die today?" He said, "I am going to have my leg amputated and my old way of living will be behind me." I listened as he proceeded to share. "I will have a new way of living after recovery which will be my resurrection." I said, "That is a very interesting insight, and I take from your analogy you are a man of faith?" He agreed, and he shared for the next forty-five minutes how his faith has informed him in the past, how he will need his faith today, and his hope now will have to grow deeper for what's ahead. His faith was everything to him.
We all need a person to share freely about our lives of faith.
It's a wonderful way to grow spiritually.
This is spiritual companionship, formerly called direction ~ A quiet place, a refuge to 'flesh out' how we cope with our lives living from our faith - in the good, the bad, and the ugly of life. It is not counseling or therapy. It is informing ourselves from God's point of view about our lives. There are no two lives alike. There are plenty of similarities to our lives but no one has walked in the same shoes of another. Therefore, no prescriptive orders are written about one's faith and life. Sitting with a spiritual companion/director is sitting in the presence of another allowing breathing space to explore what one believes in the face of circumstances, past occurrences, or future endeavors. It is space to hear the Lord speak, heal, and liberate in a prayerful presence.
The Shepherd of our souls is not confined by the past, present, or future of our lives. He knows what we need when we need it. Our invitation is to listen and respond. This is faith.
Sessions with my Spiritual Companion two years prior to leaving the hospital gave me space to be heard, to see, and respond in the direction the Lord was leading me. Due to the space I had with my spiritual companion, I am able to write this today. It has been beautifully hard with the emphasis on the beautiful.
In my continual journey of discernment, I am more comfortable in my skin. I have a tremendous amount of peace and rest. I am not going to pretend it has not been hard. I have learned to let go of identities that stroked my ego and learned to live in new rhythms of being. I wouldn't change the trajectory of my life in this season. I shared with my wife yesterday, "It has saved my life."
If you are struggling with your life, addictions, wrestling with what you believe or don't, or just need to process your life in your faith, I offer my prayerful presence to you ~ A place of grace, mercy, and love overshadowed by our Savior. pastoralcare4u.com