by Patrice Horton, MA LPCA, NCC, March 20, 2016, Inspirational
On any given Sunday you will find me rejoicing and praising God exuberantly, as a personal witness and testimony to His faithfulness and unending love for me. I don’t have time to fully share my story of personal deliverance and freedom but its suffice to say that I have history with God that goes way back! But on this past Sunday as I began to worship I sensed that there was something very different happening on the inside. Something hit me and begin to swell up within me, something that I can’t fully explain and it was difficult to contain. In that moment God allowed to me get a glimpse of my future and I couldn’t do anything but thank Him and rejoice! For a while I have wondered and even questioned God’s specific assignment and plan as it relates to counseling, and particularly mental health issues and the church. Everyone, particularly the church seems to have their own thoughts on best practices regarding treatment approaches to help those impacted by trauma and or mental health issues, which can drastically vary among certain faith persuasions.
Nevertheless, one thing I realized while being at my alma mater this past weekend for a training on treating anxiety and phobia related trauma is that I LOVE science, particularly behavioral and social science, and that it’s okay for me to LOVE science. I know this might seem like a “no brainer” for some but I also know that I’m probably not the only person who has wondered how to blend both faith and science and the intricate interweaving that this can entail or even if the two can coexist. Needless to say, I can personally and professionally attest to the transformation that counseling (behavioral science) can produce in people’s lives! But getting back my story, after I got home from church I still couldn’t shake the sense that God is doing some BIG things in the lives of his people. The rumbling in my spirit persisted and I asked God what is this? What are you trying to say or communicate to me? And I heard the Lord say “I give you permission” and “Permission Granted.” I began to weep because so often we (myself included) look for permission from others to fully be or walk in what God has called us to do. The words “I give you permission” dispelled the doubt and questions that I had about whether it was okay for me to fully embrace the things God has called me to do in the area of counseling and even with my nonprofit organization (Healing Hands Healing Hearts Ministries); where we seek to encourage and strengthen the lives of those impacted by abuse, neglect, trauma and or mental health disorders.
But I also believe those words released something in me and unlocked access to a realm or level that I had not had access to prior. Permission to simply be and do what God has placed in my hands, and to truly see it as an assignment or mandate from God. I know I am not the only one that needed to hear the father say “I give you permission.” It was so affirming to hear him say I give you permission; permission to pursue, permission to be great, and permission to live and not simply exist! Oh the power of permission! I wonder how many others are waiting on permission. Well I hear the Lord saying Permission Granted, you have my permission!
Patrice Horton MA, LPCA, NCC
Minister Horton is a Licensed Professional Counselor Associate (LPCA) in the state of North Carolina and a National Certified Counselor. She currently holds a Masters of Art in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Regent University and a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from the University of UNC at Greensboro.