A Note from Chris Adams: We are beginning a new series on Fridays on ministering to women in crisis, and we are calling it, “Ministering in the Messy.” I know this will be helpful to women leading or serving women anywhere. Today, Deb Douglas, First Baptist Church, Bossier City, LA, gives an overview of what to expect in this series.
I began leading my first women’s Bible study group at the age of 20. That was 38 years ago—38 years of ministering to women. I’ve ministered in churches, crisis pregnancy centers, homeless ministries, a ministry to women in the sex trade, a ministry to persons impacted by a cancer diagnosis, some other places I have forgotten about, and now as a biblical counselor.
In these places that God has put me, I have spent my time ministering to women in the messiness of life. It’s not been easy. It’s taken me to places I never dreamed I would go. I’ve met incredible women overcoming horrendous circumstances and situations by the grace and mercy of God. I have wept with women, learned from them, and been available for a hug and encouragement when needed.
I have lived a messy life. I am a dyslexic woman who has struggled with infertility, been wounded to the core, suffered a great personal loss, lived through grief, have moved frequently, and faced a myriad of challenges and health issues. I have survived by God’s grace and the knowledge that each challenge, each hurt, and each situation will be used to help other women in their messiness. I have been blessed in the messiness with an amazing husband, 2 children, a daughter-in-law, son-in-law, and 3 grands who keep me smiling and laughing.
Now, I am writing a series on ministering in the messiness because there are women living messy lives in every church, in every town, in every nation. Women who need someone to listen to them, someone they can trust, someone to pray with them, and someone to give them a hug.
There are a few things to know as you read this series:
- In this weekly series, I will be sharing what God has taught me along the way. I will give hints and helps on how to help women with messy lives survive and see God at work in the midst of their messiness.
- Healthy boundaries are crucial in ministering to women, even more so with women with messy lives.
- While I will be sharing situations and circumstances that women face in today’s world, I will not be sharing the stories of women I have met or listened to along the way. Confidentiality means no sharing, so what has been said to me remains with me.
- Although, I have earned a doctorate in ministry, I am not a licensed counselor.
My goal in counseling women is…
- To listen. Most women have no one who will really listen to them.
- To give encouragement.
- To pray with hurting women.
- To give biblical guidance and background information for decision-making.
- To refer women in need of continued counseling to a licensed professional.
Reading the articles on this site will not make the reader a qualified counselor. I will give hints, advice, and encouragement as you reach out to women in their messiness. (You may even discover God is leading you down a path toward becoming a counselor!) Abuse, divorce, addictions, abortions, grief, betrayal, habitual sin, loneliness and isolation, and depression are themes I will address. Along with issues such as recreational drug use, conflict, prodigal children, stress, and many more.
The series begins next week. As we embark on this journey together, I pray God will use this to equip you to deal with the messiness of life. With messiness comes great surprises and blessings. Get ready to get messy!
For more help and resources on ministering in the messy, check out Women Reaching Women in Crisis and Steps: Gospel-Centered Recovery or refer to the other articles in the Hurting Women or Ministering in the Messy categories.
Dr. Deb Douglas has served in women’s ministry for over 37 years. Now she spends her time working with Purchased Ministry, a ministry to women in the sex trade industry. Deb is also the Director of Biblical Counseling at First Baptist Church, Bossier City, LA. She was the first to graduate from New Orleans Baptist Theological seminary with a Masters degree focusing on women’s ministry and has earned a Doctor of Education in Ministry degree from NOBTS. She is “Pearl” to 3 sweet grand babies, “Mom” to Jared Douglas and Katie Chavis, and wife/sweetheart to Paul Douglas.