Beth: Counselling Without Control
Fun Facts: Beth
Favourite holiday destination: India and Italy
£10 treat: Coffee and breakfast at Bills
Most underrated virtue: Is GRACE a virtue…?
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background in mental health.
I trained as a Social worker and worked mostly in Child protection. I also trained in Family therapy. But all this was a long time ago! I now live in Cambridge, I’m married to a vicar, we have 3 children who are all grown up and no longer live at home.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love spending time with people, helping them think through how their relationship with Christ is relevant to everything in their lives. I guess I often see people when they find themselves in a crisis, which is always a rich time for the Lord to be working in us. It is a privilege to walk with someone through a time like that.
When life gets busy and the stories of suffering you hear become overwhelming, how do you find comfort and rest in God?
This is a great question. People’s stories of suffering can be hard. Romans 5v3-5 gives an extraordinary context for suffering; one we might sometimes only appreciate when we look back on a time of suffering.
“….we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us”.
It is a privilege to come alongside someone in the midst of suffering: to persevere with them, pray with them and for them, love them, encourage them and practically support them. If we feel a failure, frustrated, or overwhelmed by walking alongside someone, perhaps we could ask “Am I trying to be their saviour?...Am I trying to make their life okay?...Do I have a plan or am I looking to the Lord for His plan for them?”. Our role is not to take over and make everything right, but to point them to the Lord.
2 Chronicles 20 v 12 “O our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you”
When everything feels out of control and we get overwhelmed, we can tend to respond by getting busy, anxious, irritable, distant, or ……whatever your default mode is to life not going your way. Do we first turn our eyes upon our Lord, or do we do that after we have got busy or anxious etc…..? I love this verse because the people go straight to the Lord.
I find deep comfort and rest in knowing that it is our loving God who is in control and though sometimes I get confused and think it’s me in control, it is most definitely our great and glorious God. My job is to encourage people towards Him. We can trust His plan.
How can girls like us make a difference in our friends’ lives who struggle with mental health problems?
Girls like you, who know the gospel, are wonderful friends to have, because you know that struggling is part of a fallen world. You know it doesn’t mean everything is out of control. The Lord has chosen you as a friend for this person, you aren’t the person who will control things or make them better, that is God’s role, but He can use you to show His love to them. He will teach you and mature you as you love your friend.
If you know Jesus and are struggling with mental health problems, I hope you know that the Lord is walking with you every step of the way and He hurts with you. Your friends might not say or do the most helpful things, there is much for them and you to learn in walking the Lord’s path with people close to us. It is too much to suggest you coach your friends in how to support you. Perhaps though, you might seek to tell them when they do something you find helpful. This will encourage them, and teach them what is useful. This could be a blessing to you both.
Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-17)
Beth lives in Cambridge with her husband, Steve. They have three grown up children but the house is never empty! When she's not serving the church or the hospital's ethics committee, Beth can be found rowing or creating stained glass artwork. Beth is an amazing cook, which can be verified by her daughter, Abby, who is on the team at More Precious.