Below are a couple of dozen short tips to Pastoral Counselling that might be useful for you!
I wonder how I survived my second roller-coaster ride at forty. The first ride, in 1971, was undertaken as a teenager. It was not so terrifying and I had totally forgotten about it till I started typing just now.
This second time round, I gave in to the plea of my husband and children who wanted to share the fun with me. As we stood in the queue, out of boredom, I decided to record the time each car took to make a round trip back to the platform. It took only two minutes for the yelling riders to return to the innocent holiday-makers in the queue. "Well, it does not seem too long...at least it will definitely come to an end, whatever the ride may feel like..." So off went my son and I!
The ride started with a slow drag of the cars up a steep incline. I looked over the fence and pointed to a herd of gorgeous giraffes at a mini zoo nearby. But before my son could turn his head to look at them, the roller coaster took a rapidly accelerating Zooooommm downhill...Did we not grit our teeth and hold tightly with all our might to the bar in front of us...Lord, help! I was completely unprepared for the next few seconds of cruel jerks and heart-rending descents as it rushed up and down, up and down...till we come to a momentary plateau when I caught my breath and told myself..."It's O.K...it will take two short minutes...only two short minutes. Lord, please help me go through this in one piece!"
I could feel my little cervical bones knocking against each other on the way down...I wondered whether they were still in their joints! Wasn't I extremely relieved and pleased as the car rolled into a tunnel that took us back to the platform again and actually stopped.
As I got out, I shouted to my six year old daughter,
"Ping, DON'T go...you can't take the ride...anyone with heart problems should not go either!" (on noticing so many elderly in the queue). But to no avail; she went with Dad and returned safely, with a stunned facial expression and yet with an unutterable air of victory for having survived so well with Papa holding her securely! What was most embarrassing was that an elderly couple standing in a corner smiled at me over my anxiety.
Over the next few days, as I pondered over the event, I couldn't help comparing that horrific experience with the last stage of labour pains...and...the ordeals of a saint's life before she experiences the everlasting joy of being with her Saviour forever and ever. Amen!
Father, when You purify me with fire, please help me remember that the burning will end and that it will be worth it all when I see Jesus!
For Meditation and Prayer:
Hebrews 12:7-11; 1 Corinthians 15:58