A little over a year ago, I called New Haven Ministries to set up an appointment for counseling. I’d been thinking my struggle with depression would simply get better on its own, but it was just getting worse and more hopeless. I told a friend of mine to help me keep at it until I made an appointment somewhere. New Haven was the first place I called because I got two recommendations, and because of their “pay what you can” system. I was skeptical at first, because their website states they are not licensed counselors or therapist, but simply counsel from a Biblical perspective. I grew up in church. I thought I’d heard it all. I thought my problems needed something new, or more than what I knew, or more than what well-meaning friends suggested, or more than the Christian books I’d read.But God knew exactly what I needed. I simply needed less. I just needed my Father God, and to find him right beside me, in the chaos and sin and darkness I thought kept me from him. My counselor, incredibly sensitive to the Holy Spirit and who listened with a compassionate ear, was able to speak truth and life in a way that was new, in a way that I needed to hear.At first I went weekly, something I never could have done if I had to pay a full fee. I paid an amount I could afford, financially. But also, each time I wrote a check, I had to tell myself I was worth that amount of money. Paying more would have stretched our family financially (but I could have gone to less sessions) but in my heart, I wrestled with wondering if I was worth the time, the money, and the drive to Sioux Falls, or my counselor’s time and effort.Through the last year, my counselor has helped me in ways and to a depth I couldn’t have imagined. She had a lot to unravel in me, but she quickly found the root of my struggles. She has given me effective tools to deal with issues as they come up, but so much more importantly, she has helped heal and strengthen my relationship with God. In our sessions now, I feel such an overwhelming sense of peace. I feel safe enough to be vulnerable with her. She helped me wade through emotions, false beliefs, lies from the devil, thought patterns, and years of reactions to get to the one thing thing that will never leave me or forsake me: my Father God. And she continually turns me back to him, as the source of truth, love and acceptance.I can’t say enough about New Haven and my counselor. I love that their services are accessible to anyone. I had to fight unworthiness and insecurity simply to make an appointment. We are financially secure enough that I could make a payment, but counseling would be completely out of my reach if we made any less income than we do. Through my counselor at New Haven, God reached through the storm and darkness that I kept myself hidden in, and showed me the light already inside of me.
Testimony from a staff member:
I was saved as a child, raised in the church, and spent much of my adult years in some type of ministry. I had a lot of “knowledge” about God and His word, had even experienced His love and healing in very tangible ways throughout my life, but there was a disconnect between my head knowledge and my heart. The deaths of my sister, parents, best friend, divorce, broken relationships, childhood sexual abuse, real and perceived failures in many arenas, kept me feeling hopeless, fearful, and stuck in the circumstances of my life.
Two years ago, after hearing about New Haven from a friend, I finally got the courage to make the call. The freedom I felt after my first visit was surreal. I found that New Haven was a safe place to be vulnerable and transparent. I wasn’t judged or looked down on because I didn’t have it all figured out at my age. Early on in my counseling, it became abundantly clear that I had serious trust issues with God. My head said he was trust worthy, but my actions and feelings, said something very different. I chose to forgive God for not meeting my expectations with how I thought things should have turned out! I chose to forgive myself and repent for trying to be god of my life, by controlling everything. It has been a day by day journey of learning to trust my ABBA Father in deep ways.
The Holy spirit exposed numerous lies I had believed since childhood, which kept me in an unhealthy cycle in many areas of life. I began to understand that the “real” me, the born again, crucified and raised up with Christ me, is who I really am; that my feelings and actions do NOT define or identify me, nor do the words, actions or opinions of others. As this truth – the Life of Christ in me, became solidified in my belief system, the more peace, and joy, I began to experience. The more I trusted Him moment by moment, the more victory I began to walk in. Through help in the counseling room, and the ever present help of the Holy Spirit, I saw my financial situation turn. I saw family relationships being restored, and I began to experience His presence and peace in my life, even in the midst of hard times.
Even though I’ve been a Christian for almost 50 years, I feel like I’m just beginning my Journey with Jesus. A year and a half ago, I started as a part-time receptionist at New Haven. I’ve been shadowing clients, and desire to one day be a counselor here.
My experience with New Haven has been special, private and, personally, very impactful. I was first introduced to New Haven by a friend who had already benefited from the biblical counseling services and it was at a time in my life when I had a child struggling with several major mental health issues. As a parent I “carried” all the burdens or illnesses of all of my family members and this led me to more stress and strife and a decrease in my overall health.
Carol has personally helped me work through many different life and family hardships and I still remember her telling me that no one loves my daughter and family more than God does. That was the start to a turning point for me to work toward “letting go and letting God”. I had for a very long time thought if I controlled the situation I could fix it but I know for sure now that that is the farthest way from the truth.
I took the Level One class with my husband as a means to learn more about God together as well as further my Christian education. I really benefited and enjoyed the numerous topics including Who’s the Boss, Our Settled Identity, What the Law Could Never Do, and Understanding Behavior, to name a few, and the different speakers with different perspectives that taught the classes. I recommend you take the Level 1 class if you want to increase your bible knowledge and grow in your relationship with our Heavenly Father.
And it was fun!!
I came to New Haven in 2013 from a referral by a Christian friend as I was seeking counseling from a Christian view. At the time, I was struggling with fear, doubt, unworthiness, feelings of being unlovable and unfixable. Through weekly sessions, my biblical counselor listened, provided scripture and showed me who I am as a child of God – loved, redeemed, worthy and accepted.
I had lived my life up to this point trying to get approval and acceptance from man, either through my husband, my son, friends or co-workers. My biblical counselor showed me who I am in Christ and how to take what other say about me and filter them through God’s word and who He says I am. I am loved. I am accepted. I am worthy. I have been redeemed. This was a long process for me that took years. I still ask myself sometimes when I’m struggling – Who do I get my approval, acceptance, love and worth from? Only Jesus!
Little by little, I was falling in love with Jesus, which didn’t make sense at first. As I read God’s word, spent time in prayer and talked with trusted Christian friends, I began to understand it. Now I go to Jesus first instead of looking for answers from other people. It’s OK to get advice from others, but ultimately Jesus knows you better than anyone on this earth.
Jesus is my healer, redeemer, savior and Lord. He changed me from the inside out and took the fear, doubt, and feelings of insecurity away. My life verse is 2 Corinthians 5:17; Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new is here.
I am a new creation in Christ!
I am grateful to New Haven and the staff for walking through this journey with me. They are shining God’s light to all who come through their doors.
Reaching out for help approximately a year ago, I was married to an abusive alcoholic and drug addict. I didn’t know where to turn. I thought that the only peace I could find would be to get my husband help and reached out for counseling at New Haven. My husband was unwilling to go to counseling, so I started attending sessions and through healing, found that my greatest love story wasn’t in repairing my marriage but rather it was understanding my love relationship with Christ! I have been so liberated into this life of a faithful woman who now has a double job and is a single Mom. I had been searching for help not realizing that I was the one that needed help in the understanding of my own relationship with Christ and what it means to be a healthy woman and truly free by God’s grace and seeing His value in me. Through understanding and growing, I have come to a new place where I truly am 100 percent dependent on Christ and found healing and being set free as I let my husband go. This is a different outcome than what I anticipated but it has been an incredible blessing and gift in my life. I am forever thankful for New Haven and the saving grace and blessing it has brought me.
Herb, Staff Counselor
I served as a pastor for 22 years in three different churches. God called me to the pastoral ministry through the words of Isaiah 42:6-7 which says, “I am the LORD, I have called you in righteousness. I will also hold you by the hand and watch over you, and I will appoint you as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon and those who dwell in darkness from the prison.”
After 2 or 3 years at my first church, my wife and I were really struggling with personal problems, relationship issues and concerns within the church. God brought a Biblical counselor into our lives. He introduced us to the Biblical truths of our identity in Christ and replacing the lies in our belief system with the truth. It was life transforming.
Over the next ten years I went to Biblical counseling training events. I read books, studied materials, listened to teaching tapes and did my own Bible studies on the truth of my identity in Christ. This became the heart of my Bible teaching and my passion was to help others come to know who they were in Christ as well.
After I had been serving in my third pastorate for 7 years, I came to a crisis point in my life. I reached the point of burnout as a pastor, so my wife & I made the difficult decision to leave the pastoral ministry and seek a time of personal healing. We assumed that this would be a temporary break for several months or maybe a year and then I would become the pastor of another church somewhere. The Lord had other plans.
We moved to Sioux Falls, SD where my wife found employment as a nurse. Over time I learned of a Biblical counseling ministry in town called New Haven Ministries. I interviewed with the director, presented my training and experience in Biblical counseling, and in 2008 I was hired as a staff counselor at New Haven. In the 10 years since then, I have seen God do incredible things in the lives of people. Deeply hurting and wounded people have found healing; broken marriages and relationships have been made new; people have been brought out of slavery to sin and addictions into the freedom of Christ and lives have been transformed. Earlier I said that God had called me “To open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon and those who dwell in darkness from the prison.” That certainly did happen when I was a pastor, but my ministry here at New Haven is so much more of a fulfillment of that call than being a pastor ever was. I certainly never dreamed all those years ago when God first brought that Biblical counselor into my life what an impact it would have on me or how I would end up in a very different place & type of ministry than I expected. But I know I am exactly where God has called me to be, doing what He has called me to do and seeing Him fulfill His call and promise in my life in greater ways than I ever could have imagined. To God be the glory!
Rachel, Staff Counselor
In 2011, my life and everything I thought was my life began to crumble. It was during that time that my friend recommended taking classes at New Haven. I was amazed at the biblical teaching while I took their Discipleship classes. I learned on a deeper level about God’s love, His forgiveness, His life in me, it started to break through the mask that was my life. I started seeing a counselor there and instead of trying to “fix” me, they walked me into a deeper relationship with God. Over the next 3 years, God worked and I tentatively started to respond to Him in little ways.
Then in 2014, my marriage in shambles, my 11 years of staying home with my kids coming to an end, friends being revealed as untrustworthy, and my financial situation unstable. Everything ripped apart. After a while, I started getting the advice of just get over it and move on. I went back to New Haven and they said process everything you think and feel with God. The only way to get over deep hurt is with Him. I began the slow and painful process of letting God break me of my dependence on others and this world and walk me into a set foundation of Him. It was during this time that I became employed at New Haven. I was amazed as He build my life up again with Godly, loving, coworkers turned friends that accepted me as I was, not as I “should” be. They accepted me in my despair as well as in my hope. As I worked at New Haven as their receptionist, God reawakened a dream in me that I had years ago. I had received my Bachelor of Science in Psychology in college with a goal of becoming a counselor. With life’s twists and turns that dream never became a reality. But as in everything, God’s perfect timing is just that…perfect. Through taking classes through New Haven and shadowing the other counselors (sitting in with them as they counsel), I am now able to take on my own client’s. I didn’t have to go through pain to become a counselor, I had to go through pain to be humbled enough to realize I don’t have all the answers and never will. To be able to walk beside others, to share their pain and to be able to relate to what they are experiencing. New Haven’s counseling is just that, walking beside others as we point them back to God, to their Creator, to the One who knows them better because He made every member of their being.
I could not enjoy anything. The anxiety and depression, which had always been a close companion, was overwhelming me and pulling me into places that I didn’t want to go. I had experienced grief before, but never like this. In my past I had gone to psychologists, therapists and counselors, but this time nothing was working. I was getting advice that didn’t feel right. I no longer enjoyed anything, and everything was a huge effort. Despair held me down and pushed me deeper into a chasm that I could never climb out of.
Recently I had lost my mother. Mom and I had a very complicated relationship growing up, but because of God working in and on hearts much of our negative past had fallen away. We were far from perfect, and we were still healing in many ways, but we truly enjoyed spending time together. She lived life with us. She participated in the every day. She was the first person I called with heartaches or praises. The day she passed away, she was supposed to call me after her nap. I am so blessed that my very last memory is telling her I loved her. She never called that day because earth could no longer hold her.
Suddenly, the person who gave me all of my advice, was no longer there when I called. Not only that, but I was suddenly the decision maker. The daughter, sister, granddaughter, mother who needed to make the decisions for those around me. Funerals are definitely for the living, because the extreme busyness of that time is all that kept me putting one foot in front of the other. After the funeral was over, there was still more, and my person was no longer there. Figuring out the ‘after’ of life is so strange. Life put on paper, with dates signifying the beginning and the end, never tells even the beginning of the story.
I found out about New Haven through a friend who was telling me about this class she had signed up for. What does “Biblical Discipleship” even mean? I was intrigued and went online to look it up. I read about the class and signed up instantly. It wasn’t even a decision I made, I was suddenly just hitting enter and I was enrolled. A few days later I received a call confirming and letting me know about the dates and times of the class. I heard that the counseling was different than traditional counseling, and knew God was providing me a safe place. I asked to also be seen for biblical counseling, not really sure what I was getting into, but knowing there was more than the world was telling me there was. I had no idea what this journey was about to bring for me.
I did not ask Jesus into my heart as a child. I was 24 years old before I knew of a loving God. This is so alarming because I had grown up going to church every Sunday. I had prayers, hymns, and bible verses memorized. I knew the stories and heard of the miracles, but I didn’t know my Father. It is amazing because now when I look back, I realize how He was lovingly leading me. I went to, even searched out, and welcomed the darkness. I pushed him away and delved into the exact opposite of what He wants for us. Yet, HE held me. HE protected me, and pulled me to Him, no matter what my rebellion looked like.
While I did welcome him into my heart, I still really relied on myself and others around me to meet my needs. I have so many lies that I have believed in the past, and still do. I relied on myself to work harder, do better, and earn my way out of any problems. Around 6 years ago I had a wakeup call. I realized that life was becoming more than I could handle. I didn’t want to keep going, living was too hard. I was too tired. I was too broken. I began to go to Him, begging for miracles. Not miracles that can be seen but can be felt in your heart. I knew there was more and I started to search. I realized, through scripture and prayer, that I could listen! He was waiting for me to listen!!!
When I began attending class, I thought I knew. I knew my Savior, I knew my God, I knew my Father. I already felt very connected and treasured…but there was so much holding me back. There is still so much holding me back, and I still don’t know! I believe we never really know until that day we run into his arms. I do know I am loved. I am unequivocally, totally, intimately, in an all-consuming way loved by my Abba Father.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” John 15:9
I have so far left to go. More than I can even imagine. New Haven points me in the direction that matters eternally. It is exactly as its name says. It is a NEW HAVEN. A safe place that lets you know more about yourself, more than you even know is possible. It gives you a new perspective, a new outlook and a new hope.
After being told my husband was cheating on me, a friend put me in touch with New Haven Ministries. My first call was answered with such concern; all I could do was cry. The counselors there have spent the past year and a half listening, guiding and helping me find out who I really am. Little by little God has been growing me and I learn to depend upon Him each day. He has given me a joy that I cannot explain but I know comes from Him. With the help of New Haven I am learning to make decisions and have found peace and joy in the Lord. Thank you God for helping me find them.
I’m grateful for the ground work that was laid for me at New Haven, through counseling and classes. Difficult circumstances brought me there, but God used it for good (through all of you) giving me tools to begin my own personal journey of faith.
“I think you might benefit from seeing a counselor,” my boss told me as I took another bite from my bagel. We were on a break at work, and she was being candid with me. I didn’t really know how to respond, so shocked by the comment, that the only thing I could muster out of my mouth was, “Where would you suggest?”
Looking back at that moment, I know I am extremely fortunate to work with someone who cares deeply about my personal spiritual life, but I did not feel that way right away. I was embarrassed to have hit a point in my life where everyone else around me could tell I wasn’t doing well. My husband and I had recently moved to Sioux Falls, both started a new job, bought our first house and had our first child on the way. The things I used to turn to for comfort and a sense of control – friends, family, a clean house, a predictable pattern to my life – had all in one swoop been taken away. The anxiety and depression I had struggled on and off with most of my life really bubbled up, and quickly spilled over. There were many moments in that season that I spent alone in the bathroom, at work or home, crying, feeling so overwhelmed by life.
I was introduced to Jesus going into my sophomore year of college. That moment had caused much change in my life, and it was a true joy getting to know Him. Yet, eight years later, He still felt so distant in those moments of anxiety and depression. It was confusing to understand what that meant for me and my relationship with him.
As per my boss’ suggestion, I started seeing a counselor at New Haven Ministries shortly after our conversation. Much to my surprise, she wasn’t just some lady in a chair with a pencil taking notes on me, she is someone who loves the Lord and cares deeply about my relationship with Him. She has helped me to see lies I am believing about God and myself. She has given me assignments, prayers to replace lies and speak truth, and just general encouragement to keep seeking Him, keep talking to Him, keep letting Him in. I have learned that I need to be aware of expectations I place on myself and others, and that God meets the needs in my life for worth and belonging. I’m learning to see God as present in all things in my life, even the anxiety and depression, as well as to separate my feelings from what the Word says is actually true of me and God.
Counseling has been a consistent place to go to be pointed back to God, to have truth spoken to me, and to be encouraged. I am so thankful for her, as well as New Haven Ministries. God placed it in my life at just the right moment.
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6
I wanted to say thank you for all you have done. While my home life has not improved much, my life in Christ has. And that changes everything. I wanted to thank you for your kindness and voice of reason in one of my darker times. I can honestly say, were it not for New Haven, I would not be alive today. Keep up the good fight, you have no idea the impact you have.