Friday, February 8, 2013

Overcoming the Obstacles of Fear & Shame

Photo by Amelia Grace Photography

Overcoming the Obstacles of Fear & Shame

Cheryl Laurenza, LPC, NCC, BCPCC

"Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19

These were the Giants that held me bound for many years. I was saved out of
a wild lifestyle of alcohol, drugs and other sin. I had a very low opinion of myself, my abilities and my future. There were those that helped me with that sadly enough, yet that is a topic for another time. I was saved at 23, and it was not until I was about 31, that I felt "called" to become a Christian counselor.  Though God had been at work in my life for several years and I had been radically changed, I still struggled with fears of failure, ridicule, rejection etc. I remember asking God “Are you sure you didn't mean someone else?" I believe He was clear in telling me that he was calling me to minister to the body . . . essentially Is 61:1-4

Because of the shame grid and the way that I saw myself, I was overwhelmed by the thoughts about what it entailed and I was concerned if I could even do it. You see I had dropped out of HS at 16, and now at 31, married, with a preteen, working full time-how in the world could I do this? God reminded me that he equips the called so I was

prayerfully holding Him to it.  

Long story short, I had to take the GED, I
didn't realize you were supposed to study or perhaps take a class, so I
signed up. I passed with a very high score (again, all due to His Spirit's
leading and empowering). I had to apply to a college and be accepted, some
do not take GED's. I applied only to one, that was known for their
Psychology undergrad....I had to submit written references from my Pastor,
and others, as well as a 10 page reason why they should accept me. Surely
they would not accept me; after all I had nothing to offer-no pedigree,
no accomplishments, etc. They did! I started the following Fall Semester and
did so while still working and going to school at night, till about
1045pm . . ..Those were very hard times where I thought surely I had
heard God....He gave me grace. . . mercy . . . wisdom, and the ability to
manage all things. In the midst of this my husband was transferred to
Georgia from Massachusetts with me having one more year, and an awesome
job at a Christian inpatient facility. That's another installment
for another time. 

We came here in November, 1996. There was so much change, loneliness, and loss,
but there was so much more promise. My daughter had to deal with all of this as well. I
believe, though it was hard on her, she wanted to come as much as Jeff & I.
So, I was able to finish my program by being an "at large" student, and I
graduated from my college back east and then went on to my Master's program,
which I completed in 2000/2001. I have now been a fully licensed
therapist in GA for the last 9 years, as it takes another 3 years of
working under someone to become fully licensed. Some great positions had opened up for me as well, but it's too much to tell. I have stood amazed at His grace and leading every time. I believed Him when He called me, that He would make a way, and accomplish in and through me, what He needed to happen. 

It was back in 2004 as  I was working at Wellstar's HOPE Program in Marietta,
that I received a call from the Director of Counseling at FBCW who asked me to interview for a Staff Counselor position at my church. Initially I said
no, as I loved my job and had been promoted recently. They asked me
to prayerfully consider it, which I did as I had felt a strangely,
familiar leading. After several months of asking, praying and
interviewing, I was offered a position and I accepted it. I started in
February, 2005 and I learned and grew so much there that it allowed me to step out on my own this past December and create The Refuge Counseling Center in Roswell, GA.

The bottom line is this, I was afraid and I felt like I was somehow
disqualified from doing anything for God because of my past, my lack of
education etc., . . .. But God . . . and the words from Isaiah 43:18 "behold, I am
doing a new thing . . ." and  Isaiah 61:1-4 " The Spirit of the Lord is upon
you..."doing a new thing . . ." have shown me that I am his daughter, I am designed with a
purpose, and that He will fulfill his plan for me regardless of all my
fear, shame, barriers etc. I pray that each one of you will hear this as

encouragement to move forward with that call or dream on your life. Never

allow the Enemy to steal from you what God is speaking in your heart. It

is a journey for sure, but one you will never be alone in, never.


 Cheryl Laurenza, LPC, NCC, BCPCC


  1., admire and respect you so much! Thank you for sharing your incredible journey with us! :)

  2. Thank you I'm in my doctorate and someone asked me what I was going to do with it, I said the age old question what do I want to do when I grow up. But I have felt a strong pull towards the Word and prayer in seeking his will for my life, you comfirmed it.

    Thank you.

  3. Cheryl. This was a great post about your journey and listening to God's leading. Thanks for sharing


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