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Find the Beauty

I never intended to work as a psychotherapist.  When I first went off to ‘pursue’ a career I chose being a school teacher.   I even taught Grade 6 for two years. Then as life would have it, I decided to take a risk and covered a maternity leave teaching GED (high school equivalency) to moms in the Jane/Finch area of Toronto.  I fell in love with the vulnerable women that I was working with. However, the pain and experiences that I interacted with had me heading off to Tyndale University to complete a Master’s of Divinity in Clinical Counselling.  I wanted to be able to have better conversations, again never intending to be a psychotherapist. My goal was to be able to enter into healing not harming conversations with my students. 

I was dealing with trauma every day.

Eventually, I graduated and started working at a Women’s Counselling Centre with women who have been domestically abused or experienced childhood abuse.  I was dealing with trauma every day. My perspective on life was shifting and I needed to understand how trauma and God could fit together. How can I hear trauma all day long, every day and still continue to find hope and encouragement?  It was almost as if God had to build up an answer for me deeply and slowly.  

Two key points came out of this experience for me.  The first is that humans are naturally depraved. Trauma is what humanity is capable of without Jesus being present.  It is painful and heart-breaking to hear and witness the stories of what depravity is capable of. And second, that there is beauty in this world.  That Jesus is in the beauty that we do get to see.  

I remember crying on my way to church

I remember one day driving home from a second stage shelter where I had heard stories of similar themes and the world turned dark for me.  I remember crying on my way to church, wondering where God could be in all of this? He replied “I am in the beauty” and the message during the church service confirmed that.  In order to have hope in the counselling world, you need to know that Jesus is there and then pay attention to how He is healing people.  

The joy that I find in this job is not focusing on the painful stories and the evil that I hear, but in the hope of healing and resiliency that people have.   I am able to work in this world because I get to witness the change that I see happening in people. I have the honour of being part of their healing story. And there is always hope of healing – no matter what the story is.  

Beauty means finding the moments where someone is resilient.

It is not always easy to focus on the beauty – sometime you actually have to work to find it.  Beauty means finding the moments where someone is resilient. It’s not always the dominant story, it may be a small part of the story.  It may be a situation amongst the trauma and struggles that someone handled well. It may be finding where God is amongst the storms of life. 

I often ask my friends who are going through a tough time “what is God teaching you in this season?”  We often feel we have chosen wrong when things get tough, but it may be that there is something beautiful God is working through us or underneath the surface.  Recently, amongst all the Covid-19 fears and uncertainty, I came across a quote that said when the news is anxiety-provoking focus on the people who help. The idea is to focus where beauty is – where people have stepped up to the challenge of Covid-19 to help others.  

but that Jesus is also here. 

Currently, I am working for an organization called Fight4Freedom where I’m working with individuals who have been exploited by the sex industry.  It’s very challenging and intense work. I have to keep remembering that sexual sin is a spiritual issue and part of how Satan interacts with our depravity, but that Jesus is also here.  Some of my clients have experienced trauma since childhood, and yet I know that life can be changed for them. God is working miracles every day in my clients’ healing. And just to remember, He’s also healing your and my stories as well.  

Don't miss the other blogs in this series 'Growing Weary of Doing Good.'  

Photo by Soner Eker on Unsplash

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