We Have Good News
I've been retired from law enforcement for over six years now, but to this day, the training and experiences I amassed over the course of my seventeen-year career come rushing back in the blink of an eye.
So, when the dear friend who serves as our receptionist at Baylight Counseling rang our office line at the end of a counseling session recently, and with clear angst in her voice said to me, "Josh, I need you up here. We have a problem," I may as well have had a uniform on once again.
When I rounded the corner from our counseling office into the front lobby, I found that another friend to Baylight was standing with my next appointment. My counselee, who I'd been working with for severe depression and other related issues, was standing in a puddle of tears.
Across from them, on a chair, sat a blue box with the words "Smith and Wesson" clearly emblazoned on the front. I was told that my counselee had arrived for their session with a gun and ammunition. The tension in the lobby was palpable. With no prior warning, we could have all ended up on the nightly news.
"I brought the gun to turn it in to you, Josh. I knew that you'd know what to do with it. I don't want to kill myself. I want to live. And, I want to follow Jesus. I believe!"
Those were the stunning words from my counselee to me, whom I'd been witnessing to for weeks in the context of clinically-informed, biblical soul care. This was to be my last scheduled counseling session for 2017. It was already way more than I had expected--but that's only because I tend to forget that our God's ways are not my ways (Is. 55:8).
This counselee, who as a result of our first session some weeks prior, voluntarily admitted themself to a receiving facility for emergency psychiatric care, and who had expressed uncertainty as to the truth of the Gospel in follow up sessions, was now clearly and cogently professing faith in the Good News of Jesus.
Good News of Great Joy
Not every counseling case is as "dramatic" as this one. But, every counseling case is just as important to us as the next. How so? Because everyone who comes to us at Baylight is a person with a story of life in a fallen world seeking the hope that what they see is not all there is.
We have been entrusted with the Good News, and in the context of people's sin and suffering, we seek to usher in real hope for change in the midst of what often feels like despair. Not every case ends the way we desire, but the seeds of Gospel-driven hope are sown with every opportunity we're given.
Sometimes, the question is posed to me, as the founding Executive Director of this ministry, what keeps us leaning in to provide this ministry as a nonprofit organization, when such an arrangement brings so much uncertainty at times. Why risk the misunderstanding of some who are offended by the necessary appeals for financial support (in fact, IRS law requires us to raise one-third of our financial support as a 501C3).
There are a myriad of answers I could provide to these and related questions, but at the end of it all is our call to bear the burdens of others as ministers of the Gospel (Gal. 6:2), and the people themselves--people who are increasingly making their way to Baylight Counselign for Christ-centered hope.
God is with Us
For the fourth straight year, we saw marked increases in key categories, namely, actual sessions provided (500+), actual counseling hours (650+), and pro bono (75+) or reduced fee (40+) sessions provided. When we established Baylight, a core value for us was that we would never turn anyone away due to financial concerns. Nearly five years and 1,800+ sessions later, we never have. And, by God's grace, we never will.
That grace I speak of is provided for in large measure by the faithful and generous giving of ministry partners who believe in our work. Without it, we could not legally exist as a nonprofit ministry, nor could we account for the hours invested in the lives of hurting, addicted, suicidal, grieving, on-the-brink-of-divorce people who turn to us for help.
As we enter 2018, we are carrying a $1,500.00 budget shortfall. While we wish this weren't so, consider that eight weeks ago the figure was $6,000.00! God has been good to us, and we don't anticipate that changing anytime soon. We're confident that he will provide, because we have his promises in Scripture, plus a track record of supplying for our every need.
As we prepare to turn the calendar on a new year, I'm wondering if you might consider an end of year gift toward this $1,500.00 figure. It's the last day of the year, so there's not much time! Your gift, which may be tax deductible, will help to ensure that Baylight Counseling can continue its work into 2018.
While we can't accurately predict the occurence of stories like the one I shared at the beginning of this post, I have every reason to believe that there will be other stories of redemption worth telling this time next year. And, your financial gifts will have had a direct influence on their outcome.
If you've already supported Baylight in 2017, I want to say "Thank you!" It isn't cliché for leaders of small nonprofits to say, "We could not have done it without you!" If you haven't partnered with us yet, and would prayerfully consider doing so, please let me know if you have any questions. I'm always glad to make myself available to our friends.
To partner with Baylight Counseling today, please click HERE.
Note: 2017 gifts must be recieved online prior to midnight tonight in order to be considered for this tax year.
With hope for a blessed New Year,
Josh Waulk, MA