Interview with Lucy Ann Moll
This is the ninth interview, by Ellen Castillo, in a series of posts featuring women who are biblical counselors. Each post will feature one or more counselors who have agreed to an interview to tell us about their ministries, their experience and expertise, and the history of their involvement in biblical counseling.
We trust that you will find this series informative and insightful. Many women have asked what opportunities might be open to them upon obtaining either a degree or certification in biblical counseling. As the biblical counseling movement expands, so do the opportunities for women to serve in a variety of ways as biblical counselors. Over the course of this series, you will hear from women who serve vocationally, as volunteers, in their churches, in a parachurch organization, in colleges, and a variety of other areas where they are serving around the globe.
Today we are sharing our interview with Lucy Ann Moll. Lucy is a Graduate of the Pastoral Care to Woman program at Western Seminary, Portland, Oregon and is a certified biblical counselor through Association of Biblical Counselors and Association of Certified Biblical Counselors.
Q: Lucy, please tell us about yourself.
A: My husband, Steve, and I will celebrate 32 years of marriage this September. We have three amazing children: Laura (26), Julia (20), and John (17) – a family formed through adoption. We live in Sycamore, Illinois, a quaint, small city surrounded by cornfields to the north, east, and west, with the University of Northern Illinois to the south. I’m an avid reader, walker, tea drinker, and chocolate lover. Our cat, Polly, rules the house.
Q: Are you in vocational ministry (paid), or volunteer?
A: I’m a biblical counselor on staff at Biblical Counseling Center, based in greater Chicago. This is a paid position. I am also the center’s website content manager, communications director and event coordinator.
Q: How long have you been a biblical counselor?
A: I have worked as a biblical counselor for 10 years, two of them at Biblical Counseling Center.
Q: How did you get interested in becoming a biblical counselor, what drew you into the ministry?
A: After I finished my Pastoral Care program at Western Seminary, I sensed something was missing. I stumbled across Jay Adams’ books. His emphasis on the gospel speaking to problems man encounters resonated deeply in me. What drew me into the ministry was my compassion for women – especially hurting Christian women – who needed a safe place to share deep hurts and receive help and healing through Jesus Christ.
Q: Please give us a history of your experience as a biblical counselor.
A: In 2006 I began a Shepherding Ministry for women at my former church while attending Western Seminary online courses. Two years later I began informally counseling women biblically and soon began Skype-counseling hurting women and families all over the world, as the need for biblical counseling is great, while maintaining my online presence and blog at www.LucyAnnMoll.com. In 2014, I was employed by Biblical Counseling Center and meet with counselees in person and by Skype and FaceTime. I’ve counseled women and families throughout the United States and Canada as well as Sweden, England, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Tanzania, and other nations.
Q: Do you have particular areas of expertise?
A: My particular areas of expertise include counseling sexual abuse, domestic abuse cases, depression, anxiety, marriage difficulties, parenting problems, adoption issues, and same-sex attraction. I speak to women’s groups and write books and blog posts.
Q: Is there anything particularly unique or unusual about how you serve in ministry?
A: At www.LucyAnnMoll.com I have started the Heart2Heart Counselor Directory for female biblical and pastoral counselors. The goals of the directory are 1) helping counselors reach more hurting people; 2) connecting counselors with each other for mutual support; 3) providing the hurting with a single place to find certified (and vetted) female biblical counselors and pastoral counselors: and 4) providing counselors and counselees with engaging counseling resources.
Q: Do you partner with male counselors or pastors in your ministry? In what ways and what advantages does male partnership bring to your ministry?
A: Yes. Working with male counselors helps greatly in marriage counseling and in referring a male (husband, brother, son, and so on) who is struggling with sexual sin including pornography.
Q: Do you partner with other female counselors, and in what ways? In what ways and what advantages does female partnership bring to your ministry?
A: Yes. The female counselors at Biblical Counseling Center pray for one another, and the counselors on Heart2Heart Counseling Directory encourage one another, pray for one another, and learn from one another.
Q: What unique strengths and advantages do you believe that women bring to a counseling ministry?
A: A female counselor like myself is able to understand the many issues women counselees struggle with – marriage, parenting, depression, anxiety, and so on. God wired women to give and receive compassionate truth shared in love.
Q: Describe any hardship or challenges that you have faced as a woman in ministry.
A: In general, working as a woman in ministry can get lonely. Counselors often work alone and occasionally team counsel. When I counsel a husband and wife, I ask God to guard everyone’s hearts.
Q: What women have most heavily influenced you as a biblical counselor?
A: Bev Hislop, professor emeritus of Pastoral Care to Women, Western Seminary, Portland, Oregon; Elyse Fitzpatrick; Julie Ganschow.
Q: What men have most heavily influenced you as a biblical counselor?
A: Jay Adams, Paul Tripp, Ed Welch, Bob Kellemen
Q: What counseling or ministry resources specific to women do you find most helpful?
A: Any of Elyse Fitzpatrick’s books but especially Counsel from the Cross, Good News for Weary Women, and Women Helping Women. The first two underscore the role of the gospel in counseling and in healing as well as one’s identity in Christ. The third is a solid handbook on many counseling topics. Very useful. The first chapters describe biblical counseling clearly.
Q: How do you stay current as a counselor, and is this important to your ministry?
A: I read and reread many books by counselors, keep up with many blogs by counselors, and am finishing my MABC.
Q: What unique ways do you serve other than providing 1:1 counseling?
A: I’ve written eBooks on identity in Christ and weight loss, and am working on a basic biblical counseling workbook for counselees and counselors.
Q: When you first became a biblical counselor, what do you wish you had known then that you know now?
A: God has His reasons, but I would have preferred to have learned about biblical counseling before I attended Western Seminary for Pastoral Care to Women. While this was a good program, I prefer one specific to biblical counseling.
Q: What would you like to say to any women considering becoming a Biblical Counselor?
A: Pray and get a sense of the goals God has for you. Your goals will change as your life changes; as children get older, you’ll have more time and energy to spend on the craft of biblical counseling. Start small. Go easy. Take one step at a time.
Q: We all must count the cost of ministry. What has ministry cost you?
A: Saturdays! My position at Biblical Counseling Center requires availability on Saturdays – and I’m thankful to God for my position but I’d rather have the entire weekend off. Lost sleep. Every so often, a counselee shares very difficult details of her story and I think about her while trying to fall asleep. When this happen, I pray for her.
Q: What blessings has your ministry brought you?
A: It’s wonderful to pray with counselees, show them Scripture that pertains to their problems/solutions, and watch many – not all! – “get it,” meaning they apply God’s Word, no matter how they feel, knowing God promises a good result.
Q: How has being a counselor benefitted your own walk with The Lord?
A: Often I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing in counseling. Yes, I’ve had training and have counseled for years and I know what I’m supposed to do as a counselor. Because I feel inept, I must continue to trust God and learn His ways by reading and meditating on Scripture and by praying for His help.
Q: Do you have a ‘ministry verse’ for your ministry that you find most meaningful? If so, why is it special to you?
A: Yes. It is 2 Corinthians 1:3-4: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord 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.” The reason I treasure it is I went through a difficult time of depression and anxiety in my early 30s. This verse gave me hope then and now that God uses our pain to help others. I’ve seen many of my counselees also come alongside the hurting, providing comfort in the areas of domestic violence, depression, people-pleasing, anxiety, to name a few.
Q: Are there things you would like to do as a biblical counselor but have not done yet?
A: Finish my MABC. Finish my book tentatively titled Hope for Your Heart Handbook. Speak at biblical counseling conference workshops. Become an adjunct professor.
Q: In what ways have you grown as a counselor since the beginning of your ministry?
A: I’m more knowledgeable but that means less than my walk with the Lord. I’ve learned I must depend on God in counseling.
Q: What does a typical work/ministry week look like for you?
A: Sunday, rest. Monday, writing book sections, filling in calendar, paperwork. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, writing blog posts, doing social media status updates, strategizing website content, Skyping counselees. Thursday and Saturdays – counseling in person, planning events.
Q: How do you manage your own spiritual growth and spiritual health?
A: Read the bible, pray, attend church, fellowship with others at church.
Q: Ministry can be draining and exhausting. How do you recharge?
A: Read novels, walk, play with Polly the most awesome cat.
Q: How can the readers be praying for you and your ministry?
A: Please pray that I always put God first and do not fall into the trap of busyness. Also pray for my husband and our three children, that we all keep growing in the Lord.
Q: Are you optimistic about the future of women in the biblical counseling ministry movement in general?
Q: What kinds of opportunities do you see available for women in biblical counseling?
A: I see the day when ACBC leadership will allow women to become Fellows. I know of one woman (there probably are many more) who fits every qualification but one – her gender. The advantage of this is women Fellows could “supervise” women counselors seeking certification from ACBC. It fits the intent of Titus 2. I also see the day when there will be a strong women’s counseling coalition with a biblical counseling conference focused on women – women speakers on topics of interest to women (which includes the specific, like menopause, and the general, such as speaking the truth in love).
I see offshoots of this strong women’s counseling coalition meeting women’s needs all over the world, from the practical to counseling the hurting to training women in their respective nations to train other in their nation to help the hurting. I see the day when the Church will shut the door on making referrals to psychotherapists and instead refer to biblical counselors.
Thank you, Lucy Ann Moll, for sharing your heart for the ministry of biblical counseling with our readers today. May God richly bless you as you continue to serve Him!
This series of interviews is conducted by Ellen Castillo, a Biblical Counselor and the Director of Word of Hope Ministries, Inc., on behalf of Biblical Counseling for Women. You can connect with Ellen at www.wordofhopeministries.com and www.biblicalmentor.com.
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