Fiona's Story

 

To an outside observer, my childhood would have looked fine.  But for me it was a time when I received emotional wounds from those closest to me which would stay with me and have a profound influence on my perception of God, myself and others into adulthood.  Emotional reserve and criticisms hit hard and, unable to shrug them off, I grew up feeling rejected, unlovable and inadequate.

 

Over the years, I came to recognise that my present self-loathing and other emotional difficulties had their origins in my childhood experiences but despite the love and appreciation of dear friends and a family of my own, I was unable to put past hurts behind me and move on.  Finally, I reluctantly admitted to myself that I was going to have to ask for professional help, but fear of rejection meant that I put it off for years, despite feeling that I was barely coping with life.  The turning point came when I was diagnosed with a degenerative medical condition.  Now I had a whole new challenge to deal with.  I hit my lowest point - life seemed hopeless and I knew I could no longer rely on 'getting by'.  I had briefly had a few sessions of secular counselling in the past which helped for a couple of years, but had offered no permanent solution to my problems.  I thought that Christian counselling would address the issues I struggled with in the spiritual context within which, as a Christian, I live my life.  A google search for 'Christian counselling Glasgow' led me to Dove.

 

The first few sessions with a counsellor at Dove involved pouring out my story, along with many tears!  I felt as though I had brought a tangled mess with me but over the weeks, clarity emerged from the confusion.  It helped me to be able to rationalise my past, to identify the specific words and behaviour which had led me to wrong beliefs about myself, others and, most importantly, God.  Then it was time to forgive and to change my mind about how I was going to view God, myself and others from now on.  Of course it was a painful process, but I was encouraged and excited by the progress I could see each session and it was made so much easier by the fact that I felt safe and accepted, and by the sense that God was at work in me.

 

I haven't been brainwashed - I can still remember the past - but when I do, the sting has gone from the memories.  As a result, I'm less emotionally fragile - more robust, more peaceful and relaxed.  I used to wish I could be convinced that God really did love and value me, but I found myself unable to believe because of the messages I had received from the past, that I was unlovable, insignificant, just not good enough.  But the process of counselling has been like going to hospital to have an old, infected wound cleaned out and bandaged up!  I can already feel the effects of the healing process.  Now I am more comfortable being me - I'm less defensive and accept myself more.  I used to hope God loved me; now I am convinced of it, and truly grateful.  I no longer feel on the outside looking in.  The past is forgiven: now I can keep a short account of any wrongs against me.

 

Pain can be all-consuming, whether physical or emotional.  Now past hurts have been dealt with, I can look back over my life so far and see how God's hand has led and guided me, even when I thought He wasn't there because I wasn't important enough for Him to take notice of me.  Now I can see that during those years He was working out His purposes in me, forming my character and demonstrating how much greater He is than I could ever imagine.