A little more than a year ago, my marriage was an emotional train wreck. In two years, I had a bad car wreck followed by two spinal fusions, we moved twice, lived in a two bedroom apartment with 3 kids, built a house, and I released my first fiction novel.
We didn’t mean to neglect each other. We didn’t plan to go to bed every night without a word or a kiss. It just happened. I look back at that time as one of the worst seasons of my life because we were so emotionally distant.
I was heartbroken, but so deep in the fog that I couldn’t see a solution.
I desperately needed someone to talk to, but I walk a tightrope when it comes to confidants. I can’t confide in friends from church, because my husband is their minister. I can’t confide in my closest family because my husband is their minister! To tell the truth, I felt completely alone with no one to turn to.
Alone. I felt like I might break into a thousand pieces, or do something crazy that would become a headline in the town’s newspaper, so I started thinking about seeing a counselor; someone I could talk to that would be neutral, someone whom I could tell the nitty-gritty details to and not feel that I was injuring the cause of Christ.
But counseling costs money, and our insurance wouldn’t cover it…even if they did, the $10,000 deductible was, I admit, a deterrent.
Other areas in my life suffered: parenting, ministry, writing, worship…I felt the strands of my life fraying.
One night, I was desperately lonely, crying to God, telling Him again I had no one to talk to…and that night I met my counselor.
In the silence and misery of my tears, God said, “…And he will be called wonderful counselor…” Isaiah 9:6. I imagined myself stretched out on a luxurious therapy couch, the kind you see in old movies. From there, I poured my heart out to my counselor. This was not the kind of prayer I was used to praying. I spoke of the sins of my husband, the wrongs he’d committed against me. I told my counselor how I felt about my husband, my marriage, and the state of my heart. I cried and I moaned and I complained.
I tried to put it all together in a timeline, looking back to the earliest days of our marriage where some of the hurts still stung. I forgot to put it together into pretty sentences. I forgot to keep up the act before God; the one where I appeared unselfish, the one God never bought in the first place.
You see, I had prayed about my marriage, but I hadn’t poured out my marriage to my counselor. I was still holding onto it when I prayed about it. I let it go when I poured it out.
Jesus answered me by listening in a way no earthly counselor could. He heard the words of my mouth AND the groans and aches and sorrows of my heart.
I think I fell asleep on His therapy couch that night, tears drying on my cheeks. In the morning, everything was new, my marriage wasn’t fixed, but I felt lighter than I had in a long, long time. I could face the struggles. I had renewed strength.
[Tweet “I found Jesus in place of the pain. He poured himself in as I poured my troubles out.”]
Many things have changed since then. My marriage is happier and my worship is purer. No, I don’t pray every prayer from the “therapy couch”, nor do I need to, but I know it’s there when I have no one to talk to, or when my troubles threaten to overwhelm me. I know he’s there as my wonderful counselor.
Sisters and friends, many of you are facing unbelievable trials. Marriage struggles, unbearable grief, stresses that threaten to crush you, consequences of sin, sickness of mind or body, and cultural pressures. I encourage you to meet your counselor tonight. Pour out your troubles, so He can fill you with his Grace. Begin by seeing Jesus as he is: A WONDERFUL COUNSELOR.