A Brave Story: Jen J Kelly

on October 1, 2014 in #thatisbrave with 6 comments by

thatisbravesquared[Once a week, I am going to be sharing with you a brave story sent in from a reader. You can comment, respond, encourage. Want to submit your own story or a story of a brave friend of yours? Head to thatisbrave.com!]

This week’s #thatisbrave story comes from Jen J Kelly. You know I’m a BIG fan of counseling- and I love how she talks about it here! Her words, and her name, are used with her permission.

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Counseling is an incredibly complicated and artful activity to describe.  It’s like a great, big, mesh of remembering the old and starting anew.

It’s the sometimes long/sometimes short/just right process of opening up wounds, forgotten and unforgotten, and then willing to stay there for a while.  Just long enough to figure out how they got there, but not too long to inhibit healing.

Counseling is trying your damnedest to be open and honest but finding it almost impossible to do so.  It is absolutely about being comfortable enough to share repressed memories, hurts, and blessings over time, while not knowing exactly how the progression of counseling works. 

It’s oftentimes a difficult journey of admitting regrets, selfish behavior, unwelcomed hurts and doing the homework after the session.   It is a procedure, a development, an activity, a method, scientific, spiritual, and terrifyingly intimate.  Counseling is doing all of this, at separate times and at the same time.  It’s knowing how to manage this unique relationship, by being respectful of both parties involved when so much is shared.  Counseling looks the same at a distance but is always unique to the individuals involved.  My counseling session has never been done before and will never be done again.  The tears, the talking, the secrets, the questions, the realizations, the thoughts, and the time invested, is truly unique and priceless.  If done right, with the right person, and the right amount of time and prayer: counseling is healing…

To tell you that the journey was easy and counseling was a walk in the park would be a sick joke, and I’m not one to sugar coat.  Counseling is more than hard.  But if you are willing to listen, to open up, to share, and to do the work after the session, than healing old wounds is possible.  God is furiously longing to restore people and marriages and stories like yours and mine.  But it takes both parties involved.  Much like counseling.  Actually, a lot like counseling.

The one piece of advice I so wish I would’ve heard or had growing up is that – Counseling is good.  You don’t need to hide it, or pretend you are too good for it.  Counseling is not for the weak but for the courageous.  The brave souls that can face the bare, raw, baggaged, beauty of themselves and ask for help.  If you think you need to talk to someone, go do it.  Not just someone who will prescribe you pills and not to someone who’s only advice will be to ‘pray more’ or ‘read your Bible more’, but someone who loves Jesus and knows there is science inside of you that exists.  Someone that is professional and loving and knows that science and spirituality go hand in hand with healing.

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Have an encouraging word for Jen? Leave it in the comments below!

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  1. Mike Kelly
    posted on Oct 01, 2014 at 9:09 AM  |  reply

    This is awesome. Thank you Annie for sharing my wife’s piece!

  2. Melissa
    posted on Oct 01, 2014 at 10:55 AM  |  reply

    Beautifully written!!! Thank you for sharing.

  3. Merideth
    posted on Oct 01, 2014 at 2:24 PM  |  reply

    I am actually a counselor in Atlanta, and I so appreciate how you worded your experience of counseling. I completely agree with how you describe counseling. I think it is awesome that you were willing to step out and work through your struggles, and even more so that you were willing to share here on Annie’s blog. I think too often people thik counseling is only for serious psychiatric illnesses or “crazy people”, and something to be avoided. Still quite a stigma attached to it. But, that is not at all the case, and I think what you shared here helps people realize that. That it’s not something to be avoided, but embraced instead. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Dee
    posted on Oct 07, 2014 at 10:25 AM  |  reply

    It is great to have a place that you can be totally honest. A safe place. A person that will listen sometimes just for the sake of you ranting, freeing yourself of all the thoughts. There was a time in my life that I needed a place that would not judge me for wanting to voice my feelings, my thoughts. Sometimes getting it out, knowing she was listening, was enough to help me sort through it all.

  5. Dee
    posted on Oct 07, 2014 at 10:26 AM  |  reply

    forgot to click to sign up for newsletter!

  6. Ann Jorgensen
    posted on Oct 15, 2014 at 7:12 AM  |  reply

    Beautifully written. Counseling is hard work, but so worth the effort as it brings healing. And you are right, it isn’t something we should be ashamed of needing. This is a wonderful encouragement to those who are in counseling and those who are thinking about it.

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