“Hope is the anchor to our souls.”

In my former career as a marriage and family counselor, I faced a monumental counseling challenge. A young, deeply depressed, divorced mother came to me.

Being new to the profession, 1971 to 1975, listening to her story was eye-opening, to say the least. Under psychiatric care, she had attempted suicide six times.

Comedians make jokes about such stories. This was nothing to joke about. This was life and death.

Here are the steps I implemented at the time:

Step One: Ensure the client was safe. This meant knowing for sure she had “eyes on” protection.

Step Two: Assess the client’s want to factor. Do you want to live or die?  Dig deep here. Be sure your diagnosis is correct! This woman wanted to live for one reason and one reason alone. Any idea what that was? The reason was her 3-year-old, adorable, little girl.

She reached into her purse and handed me a photo of an angel-like child. As she shows me the picture, we extolled her blue eyes, her blond hair, and all her brilliant qualities.

Mom laughed and smoked and spoke life. This was my hook to help her!

Step Three: Uncover the poison called resentment, buried anger, and most of all the roots of bitterness and shame. We divided her life into blocks of 5. Being about 30 years old, there were six time periods of her life to mine out the poison, over a six week period.

Each week her assignment was to mine the source of the poison, then write it down on paper. Now that it is out for the conscious mind to examine, some therapists suggest burning it. My suggestion is to thank the Lord, by first bringing the garbage to the surface, then seeking His forgiveness for your wrongs and forgive others for theirs.

Our final act is to write scripture across the poisonous words, even multiple times.

The Lord’s Prayer, forgive me as I forgive others….

“If we confess our sins He will be faithful and just to forgive all our sins.” – 1st John 1:9

For six weeks this was hard work. Tons of tears in my office. Today this grandmother is one of my heroes. She had a wonderful career in the human services profession. Married a wonderful loving man, and had even more angels.

Get any better than this?

Hope beats depression. Hang on to hope!