From misery to misson
“Tell me three positive things about yourself,” I said to my client in our therapy session one day. We had been working for months on her self-esteem. Not only had she been bullied in school, but she also grew up with a verbally abusive father and a distant mother. Due to horrific circumstances beyond her control, she lost her job and her apartment and had to move back in with her father.
We sat in silence as the time ticked by slowly, and I waited for her to come up with a response.
“Okay, tell me one thing you like about yourself.”
The tick of the clock sounded incredibly loud as she struggled to come up with a single positive thing about herself.
“I can’t think of anything,” she replied sadly.
“Okay, let me start us off by telling you three positive qualities I see in you.” I don’t remember what I told her that day, but I remember her reaction like it was yesterday. She started sobbing, hands over her face, uncontrollable sobbing.
“What’s going through your mind right now? What are you feeling right now?”
After taking a few moments to compose herself, her response was, “No one has ever said anything positive about me in my life.”
Here I was, sitting in front of a woman who was almost twice my age, who had never been told that she was valued. That she was loved. That she had dignity and worth. That her life was worth living.
I went home that day, and in the quiet of my bedroom cried. I cried for all the countless amount of men, women and children that I would work with in the next few years that felt worthless, unloved and hopeless. I cried for all the individuals that were handed a deck that was stacked against them from birth. I cried for the injustice that is in our world.
And then I got angry. I got angry that a woman could go 35 years without someone telling her that she mattered. I got angry that no one saved her from the abuse that she endured as a child and an adult. I got angry that there were not enough services to assist her in climbing out of the hole that she was in. I got angry that no one had advocated for her, that no one had offered her help.
Just Ministries was born out of these tears and anger. It was born out of my husband’s personal experiences of falling into the system and climbing his way out. It was born out of the idea that we all can change the world. Sometimes, all it takes is telling someone they matter.
Join us, as we create a culture of healing in our broken world.
About the author:
Amy is the co-founder and executive director of Just Ministries. Just Ministries has been a dream for over five years, and together with her husband Martice, Amy founded the non-profit ministry. Amy has worked in ministry since she was in high school and has been interested in social justice and the root causes of inequality since a young age. Amy graduated from St. Norbert College with a bachelors of arts in religious studies, human services (sociology) and a minor in peace and justice studies. After going on an alternative winter break trip to St. Lucia in college, Amy returned multiple times to the island. It was from her work with the youth in the village of Anse La Raye, that she decided to pursue her masters in clinical mental health counseling from Mount Mary University. Amy is a licensed psychotherapist specializing in trauma-informed counseling, and has worked for the past four years doing case management and therapy with those who are experiencing homelessness, struggling with addiction, or suicidal.
Amy and Martice have one son, Mason, who is almost three years old. Amy is beyond excited to bring her passion to life.