Editors note: This post is written by Lucy Ann Moll who counsels for Biblical Counseling Center. After five years counseling in the BCC Dupage office, she recently relocated to Alabama and continues to counsel online for BCC. In this series, we are featuring articles written by the women of the Biblical Counseling Center, talking about how God has shaped them for their ministry of biblical counseling. Lucy shares about how the pain of her past and the resulting struggles with anxiety have given her a heart to help others overcome and find hope.
No one’s life turns out according to plan. Not yours. Not mine. In fact, I wouldn’t have chosen parts of my story if I were writing it. Would you change parts of your story too?
Wonderfully, the all-knowing Author composed every detail of my life and yours, putting us right where he wanted us, giving grace to face whatever came our way. So here I am, a grandma and a doctoral student, meeting hurting women all over the world through the technology of video-conferencing. I am shepherding their hearts with compassion and the timeless truth of Scripture.
Shepherding women’s hearts sounds like a happy chapter in a full life, right? It is. But it comes by way of pain, as do many good things.
Climbing trees, doing cartwheels, and going to school—these activities filled my days. My older brother and I got along all right, but my mom seemed preoccupied much of the time, chain smoking and watching “Day of Our Lives” and game shows. My dad rarely smiled. This saddened me.
Things got scary on “the night of the twisted chairs.” There was yelling and crying in the living room and when I went to check, my mom and brother shooed me to my bedroom. My dad had gone berserk, tossing and bending chairs.
The next day my parents’ psychiatrist met them at the hospital, and my dad eventually received the diagnosis of manic depression, which is the old term for bipolar 1. I remember thinking, “I’m the daughter of a psychotic.” Melodramatic? Yes! I was 14 and confused and hurting.
I learned I was vulnerable and had little control. But I eventually understood that God knows what he is doing even when I don’t.
God Shows Up
High school and college swooshed by. I switched my major from psychology to journalism, met my future husband, graduated, and married. One day I went to the library for books on decorating but came home with a thin volume called Basic Christianity by John Stott. I read it in a few hours.
Convicted that I was a hopeless sinner, I confessed my need of the Savior and received Jesus by faith alone. This is not what you’d expect of a good Catholic girl, is it? God had better plans. That God would have mercy on me rocked my world. He changed my life from the inside.
A few years later, my world turned upside down again. Out of nowhere, it seemed, panic attacked me and my heart beat triple-time, sweat beaded my forehead, and my knees felt wobbly like Jell-O. Long story short, my faith in Jesus and help from my doctor pointed me in the right direction. Retraining my thoughts by the Word, and lots of practice, provided what I needed to overcome panic attacks. (I share my story and solutions to panic in my mini-book Help! I Get Panic Attacks, scheduled to publish this fall.)
Through this trial, I learned God is with me, especially in terrifying panic, and changing me into the likeness of Christ.
A Call, Answered
Three children later, I was back in school studying pastoral care to women online through Western Seminary in Portland, OR, answering a call to shepherd the hearts of hurting Christian women. My hope: to reach the women at church and in the community, who don’t get involved in women’s Bibles studies, teas, and retreats … because they are hurting.
Later I discovered a book by Jay Adams, the founder of the modern biblical counseling movement, and got biblical counseling training too. Five years ago, I joined Biblical Counseling Center’s staff, continuing to shepherd hurting women and families in person and online.
And forever a student, crazy me is on schedule to receive my doctorate in biblical counseling in May. I tease my husband that soon he’ll have to call me Doctor Lucy. He thinks that’s funny.
I and many biblical counselors anchor our ministries on 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.
“ Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
Truly, God is the Author writing our stories according to his best plan. For hurting women, he provides other women who lovingly shepherd them, listening deep and giving counsel that encourages them to wholeness in him. And so, it seems, God planned my story so I could meet hurting women in theirs. He’s not finished with us yet, right? I wonder what’s next.
I am a cat person. (Sorry, dog people) Recently transplanted to northern Alabama from Illinois, I and my husband are renovating our “‘cottage on Sycamore Lane” a dollar at a time while learning a new language: Southern. We also keep up with our adult children and grand baby by FaceTime and IRL. For BCC, I get to counsel people all over the world by Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, phone, and email. It’s pretty cool, really. My heart is for hurting women and families who don’t have it altogether … people just like me. Learn More.