Soul Care and Faith Companionship:

Ministry of Spiritual Direction

What is Spiritual Direction?

The ministry of spiritual direction is a ministry of companioning those who want to go deeper in their relationship with God through Christ. It is a resource and a key discipline for Christian, not only for deepening, paying attention to the movement of God in one’s life, but also for integrating this important and foundational relationship with all of life.

The premise of spiritual direction is that God is present and active in your daily life in a multitude of [usually unnoticed] ways. When you slow down, begin to reflect, and take a long, loving look at what is happening around you, you begin to become aware of the experience of the presence of God.

Eugene Peterson, a Presbyterian pastor, author and professor of Christian spirituality, describes spiritual direction in this way:

 

It is teaching people to pray, to discern the presence of grace in events and feelings, affirming the presence of God at the heart of life, sharing a search for light through a dark passage, guiding the formation of a self-understanding that is biblically spiritual instead of merely psychological or sociological.

In their book, The Practice of Spiritual Direction Barry & Connolly offer this definition:

We define Christian spiritual direction, then, as help given by one Christian to another which enables that person to pay attention to God’s personal communication to him or her, to respond to this personally communicating God, to grow in intimacy with this God, and to live out of the consequences of the relationship.

My work as a spiritual director is to be a faith companion who listens to your life stories with an ear for discerning the movement of the Holy Spirit in your life. God is the true guide and director, while the human spiritual director is like a nurse or a midwife, assisting you (aka “directee”) in noticing, experiencing, and responding to the inner voice of God.

Spiritual Direction or Psychotherapy/Counselling? 

 

It should be noted that there are distinctions between spiritual direction and psychotherapy. In general it might be said that therapy and counseling deal primarily with problem areas of one’s life and attempt to bring healthy resolution to issues. Spiritual direction is concerned with finding and responding to God in the midst of pain or disorder as well as in the rest of life. Problem and issue solving is not the primary focus of spiritual direction.

What to expect?

 

There are several things for you to notice and consider prayerfully before you enter into this journey of spiritual direction with me:

 

1. Appointment

In spiritual direction an appointment or session usually lasts for an hour, once a month. I meet with directees in person on Fridays. I can also arrange sessions on other days by Skype. It is up to you to set up an appointment with me. I will do my best to accommodate your needs. I can speak fluently in both English and Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin). Please feel free to use the language that is most comfortable for you.

 

2. Preparation

Prayer is an essential part of this ministry. It is important that you commit to cultivate your own prayer life, take time to notice what’s stirring in your heart, and then decide what you would like me to process with you during our time together.

 

3. Commitment

As spiritual direction is basically a ministry of relationship, I want to invite you into a six-month commitment to journeying together. At the end of that time we will reassess and discern together whether the relationship is fruitful and should be continued or not.

 

4. Session Fee

I believe this ministry is God’s own work and I am a participant, as well as you, in this venture. The cost for spiritual direction session normally range from $60 - $100 per session, but I believe that money should never be the issue in seeking support or assistance with one’s life with God. Therefore, I don’t charge a set fee. Although the work I do helps support me financially, it is solely your prayerful decision on how much you want to pay. As well, if you should cancel the day of or forget a session, except for emergencies, I will need to charge you what you normally pay me. I take seriously the space and time I’ve set aside to be with you and hope you can honor that too.

 

5. Confidentiality

I am committed to keep confidential whatever you share with me. However, I am required ethically and by law to report to appropriate persons two kinds of things:

  1. Any intent of a person to take harmful, dangerous, or criminal action against another person or against him/herself, or

  2. Any act of child or elderly abuse or neglect.

It is also important for you to know that I am in supervision as is common to the spiritual direction practice and will be meeting monthly with my spiritual direction supervisor to discuss our sessions together. Your anonymity will be preserved.

 

A little bit about my own journey...
 

I work as a registered clinical counselor (RCC) after I graduated from ACTS seminary of Trinity Western University with a Master degree in counseling in 2001. After a few years of practice in the field, I noticed my passion in walking with people, accompanying them in seeking God has grown stronger and deeper. I sensed God’s invitation for me to get a better grip on His Word and so I started my journey at Regent College. After I graduated from Regent with a Master of Arts in Theological Studies (concentrating on Applied Theology), I went on to receive spiritual direction training from Christian Formation and Direction Ministry (North West) in Seattle to become a spiritual director. Currently, I am an active participant at Tenth Alliance Church in Vancouver. I work as a RCC in my counseling practice at FHL clinics and I also serve as a spiritual director to walk with people who desire to have a deeper relationship with God.

I encourage you to spend some time in prayer and listen to that inner voice of your soul. If you do sense a desire to embark this spiritual journey with me, please feel free to contact me by emailing me at esther@estherchow.ca. Looking forward to hearing from you.

 

Warmly, Esther

"That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus...and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them...." Luke 24:13-15