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God at Work: Dari Sweeton
News for 03.12.17
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God at Work Testimony     March 12, 2017        Dari K. Sweeton

Last year sometime, Rick asked me to do one of these “God at Work” testimonies and I must have said something like “okay, sure”, because he sent me a date. (What was I thinking, I’m an introvert and I don’t do public speaking.) My recall is that he wasn’t very specific about what I should talk about, and it was kind of a long time ago. I think I figured between Rick and God I would get the specifics by the time this day came, well not so much. It was still pretty much wide open when I sat down to think through and compose something.

In some ways that is the story of my work, it is pretty much wide open in terms of what I might be called to address when a client walks through my door. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in private practice. What I do is generally referred to as psychotherapy or professional counseling. I primarily meet with individuals and couples, and every so occasionally families.  As a state licensed therapist who is a Christian, I work to apply all the wisdom available to me to help my clients. Depending on whether my client is a believer or not will determine how overtly the things of God and biblical wisdom gets discussed in session. But it’s always there.

Starting at wide open could be a way to describe how God got me here too. I had no idea what I was really going to do with my life when I went to college. I was kind of good at science and I liked biology and animals. I was not a Christian and had no sense of God. I thought perhaps I would be a veterinarian, hang out mostly with animals and not have to talk to a lot of people. I ended up with an undergraduate degree in zoology and found myself with a job as a research associate in a university lab. My introverted self happily spent my days working mostly alone in a dark room with a big microscope. Then God broke through, changed my perspective on everything, including people and life’s struggles, and sent me off to graduate school. Now I spend all day in a nicely light room with other people, actually talking to them quite a lot. That is clearly God at work.

The role God has given me as a therapist really is quite wide. It can include helper, healer, comforter, teacher, advocate, confessor, witness, companion, coach and truth teller, to put just a few words to it. I get to see and hear some of the best and the worst about people. I know things I wish I didn’t and get to witness things that I’m so glad I did. It is a privilege and a responsibility. This work is an exercise in patience and knowing who is in control. God does not, on this earth, in this time, heal all that I so wish that He would. However, He calls me to walk alongside, so that person He has called me to is not alone in their suffering. At times my job is simply to carry the hope, so someone can remember it exists when they can’t see or feel it.

I think the best part of this work that God has called me into, is when I get the privilege to witness and perhaps participate as He breaks someone’s life wide open. Sometimes that is when He has gotten a man’s attention such that he learns to love his wife the way he vowed he would. Sometimes it is when a woman leaves an abuser or an abusive church and gains freedom in the choices God lays out before her. Sometimes it is when a rape victim’s nightmares stop and she no longer believes lies about her value and her future. At times it is when the depression lifts and the anxiety shuts up and a person can think clearly again. Other times it is when the Christian finally confesses the ongoing struggle with pornography and opens the door to recovery. And then there are the times when the light breaks through the distortions of bad theology or no theology and a person sees Jesus, really sees Him as He is.

And sometimes I get to help people see God at their work. And we rejoice together, because God is always at work.