gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,
keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and
sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the
fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the
fourth generation.” Exodus 34:6-7
say that God will punish children for the things that their parents choose to
do, but isn’t it simply the truth of the way things work in our fallen world?
family’. Both of my parents drank alcohol on a daily basis, starting when they
got home from work and continuing until bedtime; they were ‘functional
alcoholics’. It never occurred to me that other families might behave
differently, because the environment that a person grows up in becomes her
definition of normal, and this was mine. We attended church until I was about
eleven years old, but I had no conception of who God is. Church was just a
place we went once a week because that’s what people were supposed to do. When
my much older brother disclosed that he was homosexual, my parents began a long
slide into depression and isolation. The year was 1969 and the culture was very
different. My parents chose to close themselves off from family and friends,
and to cover up my brother’s life choices by lying to anyone who asked about
him. I was required to do the same, thus setting up a very deep-seated
stronghold of fear and shame in my life (“…visiting the iniquity of the
fathers on the children…”).
heart. I remember quite deliberately deciding that I would stop being a ‘good
girl’ and become a part of the ‘cool’ crowd, the would-be hippies who used
drugs and drank. I was terrified that my friends would find out about my
family, and I believed that this other crowd would not care even if they did. I
can look back and see God’s protection very clearly, because I did some very
foolish and dangerous things.
its end is the way to death.” Proverbs 16:25
psychologists would probably say that I was coping with my feelings of shame,
that I was numbing my pain, or self-medicating, with drugs and alcohol. Had I
ever been taken to a therapist, I probably would have been given multiple DSM
diagnoses, prescribed various psychotropic medications to control my symptoms,
and all of my problems would have been blamed on my ‘family system’. There was
a time when I resented my parents for not taking me to a counselor; now I see
it as the hand of God working in my life, shielding me before I even knew Him.
for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
where I was. From that point forward, God began to work in my life and, little
by little, I began to trust Him. Today I marvel at the way that God has
redeemed my life in spite of my past, and at the way He is working in the lives
of my children and grandchildren. Although I continue to struggle and to make
sinful choices, He is faithful. Fear, which is really unbelief, is still my
greatest battle but now I know that the battle belongs to Him, not to me. I
pray for faith to trust Him more, to believe Him more, and to more fully grasp
the promises in His word.
dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will
uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
counselor, I worked briefly in a secular Community Mental Health facility which
was rich in man’s knowledge but denied the only way to true healing, Christ. I
counsel biblically now, and as I walk beside my counselees through their
struggles, my prayer is that they will see the same mercy and grace that has
been freely given to me by Christ. He pulled me out of a pit that was so deep
and so dark that all I can do is fall on my knees and praise Him, offering back
to Him the life that He redeemed to be used for His glory.
Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts
us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the
comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the
sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” 2
is Jennifer Miller. I live in gorgeous northeast TN near the Smoky Mountains,
where my husband and I ran a small business for over 26 years. We have three
sons, ranging in age from 16 to 30, and three grandchildren. When we closed our
business in 2007, I returned to school to complete my Bachelors Degree in Child
and Youth Development and went on to obtain my Masters Degree in Professional
Counseling. Upon graduation, I worked briefly in a secular agency doing group
and individual therapy with women struggling with addiction. I did not last long in that
setting, because it is only through Christ that true healing and freedom is
found. I am now a biblical counselor, working
towards certification from the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors
(NANC). I facilitate classes for members of my church in lay counseling and am
prayerfully waiting for God to open a door into a full-time counseling
ministry. In the meantime, I do Specialized Crisis Counseling with at risk
children and youth on a PRN basis.
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