Updated: Sep 14, 2022
Through the DBS process, Simon helped Sandy find healing and discover Jesus.
Simon is a counselor at a psychiatric clinic in Central Europe. Today's story is about how he integrated Discovery Bible Study with his counseling meetings with a client named Sandy. Through the DBS process, Simon helped Sandy find healing and discover Jesus.
Sandy Needed a Solid Rock in the Midst of Grief
I met Sandy in late Spring of last year. As a new counseling client of mine, She was grieving the loss of both her parents. Although they had passed away many years ago, she had not yet allowed herself to go through the grieving process.
In our first sessions, I focused largely on Sandy's mourning and healing process. I didn’t bring up God yet. I listened to her and explored what she believed about herself and her situation. I told her what I tell most of my clients: "All of us need a foundation for life that gives us the strength to go through life no matter what happens. Even in the midst of tragedy, we need something we can stand upon firmly. You can't be your own foundation. You need something else."
Sandy wanted to be her own rock, and it wasn't working. Eventually, I started having spiritual conversations with her about God, and she was open. One session, I showed her a Psalm that talks about God as the Rock. Then we did a Discovery Bible Study (DBS) on Psalm 139, which says that God knows us and we're fearfully and wonderfully made.
"What is one thing you could do in response to this?" I asked.
"I will step in front of my mirror and say, 'I am fearfully and wonderfully made.'" Then she did it. And it really impacted her.
Discovery Bible Study During Counseling Sessions
One thing to know about my counseling in soul care is that people come to me on their own volition. They're not forced to be here. I never know for sure if a client will return, but Sandy kept coming back.
Whenever Sandy came for a counseling session, I would first listen to her how she is doing and then I would ask her, "What do you want to do in our time today?" And she would say she wanted to read another story from the Bible. As I listen to what she shares with me I try to find a passage of Scripture that fits what she is telling me.
When Christmas time arrived, Sandy told me it was a time full of family memories for her. But she didn't have any family left. So I took this opportunity to ask, "Would you like to discover what the real meaning of Christmas is from the Bible?" She was interested.
So, we began doing DBS through the book of Luke, and we read about the birth of Jesus right at the beginning of December. It was all new to her.
In Response to John 10, Sandy Prayed to Follow Jesus
At the beginning of March, I was praying for Sandy while home from work. I felt God telling me to read two passages with her—Psalm 23 about God as the Good Shepherd, and John 10 on Jesus as the Good Shepherd. So, we did a DBS on the two passages and they really spoke to Sandy.
After we read John 10, I asked, "What touches you from this passage?
"What speaks to me is where Jesus says that His sheep hear His voice," Sandy said, "and nobody can snatch them out of His hand!"
"You know what? That's not the typical reaction of many people." We read the rest of the passage where it shows how people actually want to kill Jesus because of His claims. "You can see that people respond to this very differently than you do—it means something when you say this touches you!" After 9 months of meeting and doing DBS, Sandy's heart was open to Jesus.
Then I asked, "What do you want to do in response? There's two options I see in this passage. Some follow Jesus the Good Shepherd, and others want to kill him. Which group do you want to belong to?"
"I want to follow Him!" She replied.
"Would you like to pray and tell Jesus that yourself?" I asked.
Sandy did want to, but she was quite nervous. Nonetheless, she prayed in her own words: "I want to entrust my life to You. I want You to be my Good Shepherd."
From there, we kept up our regular counseling meetings and DBSes. After a few months, she said she wanted to be connected with other Christians. "You know what? I have some friends near you who I've been mentoring—I can connect you!"
I had been mentoring two Christian friends of mine on how to do DBS. So, my friends met Sandy and began a DBS with her and another guy!
What Simon Learned from This Experience
I see Sandy taking baby steps in faith. Sometimes the steps she takes in response to Scripture are very very small. But she always does something with it! I have learned to not disregard the smallest steps but to celebrate and honor them. It is important to understand that a small step in our eyes can be a huge step for them, especially when doing a DBS with people in psychological crisis.
In addition, she always comes back for more Scripture. She has a hunger for the Word which encouraged me very much. That's something you should look for when seeking to reach lost people—a desire for Scripture.
Another thing I learned is that I needed to address Sandy's felt need, right where she was, with a Biblical story. For hurting people, I found the Psalms to be very helpful since they communicate great pictures of God’s character that comfort them. Listening to God and finding the right story was often a challenge. But every time I did, something in the passage touched Sandy or she learned something new about God's character.
One last thing I learned is to be patient, take the time the people need, and trust God that He is working in their lives. After many months of meeting her needs with a passage from the Bible, she now wants to understand God’s big picture. So, we decided to go through the Creation to Christ passages in the Old and the New Testament. And I am excited to see what God will do in her life as she keeps discovering God.
Podcast: How do you help unbelievers go from DBS to following Jesus?
Hear our podcast on David Watson's experience in leading people to decide to follow Jesus and how you can do the same in your own neighborhood, just like Simon!
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