Scripture makes it plain that expecting the perfect life is simply not realistic.
“I just don’t know what to do anymore.” “We just can’t get along.” “I
am slipping past the end of my rope.” “We’ve tried everything but
nothing has worked.” “I’m so depressed.”
Most of us have struggled with the aforementioned feelings at one time
or another. Some of those challenges come as we move through the
normal stages of life – career choices, marriage decisions, parenting
issues, and aging. At other times we are faced with the unexpected –
family violence, divorce, unemployment, traumatic childhood events,
illness, and more.
In some cases we are able to cope well with the circumstances and move
on. At times, however, we find ourselves in need of help and in our
society today we may not want to admit that need. Feelings of
embarrassment, inadequacy, and failure often prevent us from seeking
assistance. We don’t want to admit that some of our problems are the
result of our own poor choices. And at times we want to protect those
who have hurt us.
As Christians we live with the added tension of feeling that some will
judge us and conclude that we are just not close to the Lord when we
are overwhelmed by crisis. Ministers feel that stress even more. “I
need to be the consummate Christian leader who has life under control,
the one who has the perfect marriage and the ideal family where
problems just don’t exist.”
Even a cursory reading of Scripture will reveal that expectations for a perfect life are simply not realistic.
Every day at the Granberry Counseling Centers, a ministry of the
Children’s Home, we meet people who need help so they might be able to
experience the abundant life Jesus came to give.
Granberry counselor Amy Butler tells us about Jolie (fictitious name).
Jolie came to Granberry with a history of mental health issues. In her
first session she was unable to make eye contact and seemed very
restless. She was on several psychotropic medications and was convinced
that something was inherently wrong with her personality. “I’m just a
defective person,” she cried.
After several months of counseling Amy was able to help Jolie
understand that what she was experiencing was the result of what had
been done to her and not because she was a defective person. Within a
few more months this frightened young woman had the courage and
confidence to move forward with her life.
Jolie is just one of hundreds who come to Granberry each year.
Counseling services focus on family issues such as strengthening
husband-wife relationships, working with parent-child conflicts, and
offering parent-training support groups. We also provide individual
counseling for personal issues such as stress, anger, depression, and
A very special part of the Granberry Counseling ministry is the
Minister Care Program sponsored in conjunction with the Pastoral
Leadership Team of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, directed by Dr.
Alan Miller. The program provides counseling for Southern Baptist
ministers and their families. Dr. Kelly Barnett, Granberry Director,
reflects on this important minstry. “The spiritual and emotional health
of ministers and their families is vitally important to both the
minister and the Kingdom of God. Recognizing the unique needs of
ministers and their families, we feel privileged to be a part of this
Recently, Dr. Barnett helped a minister and his family through a very
trying time. The father and son were having difficulties in their
relationship. The son was expressing his frustration with destructive
behavior. The Granberry counselor worked to reconnect the minister and
his son. The father realized the need to reprioritize commitments at
church and began spending more time with his son.
He also found productive ways to manage the stress of ministry which
helped the entire family. The son’s destructive behavior ceased and
relationships are now greatly improved.
Providing help based on Biblical principles and immersed in prayer is
what Granberry is all about. Our counselors know that the Bible is the
source of truth and the Word of Life. The model and guide for Granberry
counselors is Christ, the counselor described in Isaiah 9:6 and the
Lord we see moving through the Gospels helping people.
Perhaps you or someone you know could benefit from the counseling
ministry of Granberry. You can find contact information about the 16
locations on our website at www.lbch.org. Choose the link “Marriage and
Family Counseling”. The phone number for the main office in Monroe is
Thanks for your support as we provide “Help for Today and Hope for Tomorrow.”
Perry Hancock is executive director of the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home.