Dr. Margaret Virginia Rives McBride (Ginger) is a Certified Pastoral Member of the Sarasota Academy of Christian Counseling and has been an International Representative since January, 2018. She is also an NCCA Licensed Pastoral Counselor. Dr. McBride’s ministry is: Almost Home Behavioral Health Ministries.
God is Love
God is great; God is good; God is love. I praise Him for His loving kindness, and His watch care over all of us. I never want to pass up an opportunity to talk about how He is working in the lives of men and women at Almost Home Behavioral Health Ministries.
In 2016, some friends and I were asked to be a part of prison ministry. We would go into the women’s cell block and minister for about 2 hours every Tuesday night. We weren’t the only ministers there, so we asked if we could go into the Female Mental Health cell block, because no one was ministering there. Our chaplain asked us if we had in counseling experience. When we said we didn’t, he shared information on counseling through the Sarasota Academy of Christian Counselors (SACC) and the National Christian Counselors Association (NCCA). He allowed us to go into Female Mental Health. The visits validated the fact that we truly needed counseling instruction and experience.
We started taking classes right away. We started with Created In God’s Image and Creation Therapy, classes. We appreciated a Christian counseling program starting with the Bible, and who God created each one of us to be. Two years later, God called us to open a halfway house because 2 hours on Tuesday night was not enough. The ladies in jail told us that they had “burned their bridges” with their families. When they got out of jail, there was no place for them to go except back to streets, and back to the lifestyle that landed them in jail. God wanted us to give those who find themselves in this predicament a chance to change.
The Lord laid a halfway house on Debbie McClure’s heart, so she began to look for the house. We fasted and prayed for the first 21 days of January. On the 22-day, God provided a house under foreclosure, needing a lot of TLC and repairs. We worked out details with the bank and started working on the house. It was all God from the beginning, and it still is. He is a good, good Father and He attends our every need.
Through Almost Home Behavioral Health Ministries (Almost Home), God has provided 4 homes, a church, and a thrift store. But more than structures, He has provided a way of escape for people who are serious about getting out of their lifestyle of addiction. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NASB).
Almost Home typically is a 3-month program, but residents can stay until they have acquired life skills to live without addictions. We work closely with the court system, providing services and classes for those who are court ordered. They can stay as long as the court order, or as long as it takes for them to acquire the life skills to make it on their own. Almost Home offers counseling, classes on parenting, anger, grief, and others. It offers opportunities to learn those important life skills. It offers programs Celebrate Recovery and Alcoholics’ Anonymous/Narcotic’s Anonymous. It offers opportunities to start jobs in the community. But most of all, it offers Jesus. Jesus is the answer. Once we begin to understand how much God loves us, repentance and forgiveness follow, along with the Holy Spirit’s work of turning our hearts to Jesus so that we trust Him as our Savior and Lord.
Some of our residents want to help others as they have been helped. Open Door: Christian Counseling and Life Coaching (Open Door) is a CIA that offers classes to Almost Home residents and volunteers who are interested in learning more about temperament and the unique gifts God placed inside each of us. Created In God’s Image builds on their own individual APS. It opens up knowledge that allows understanding of ourselves, and how to meet the temperament needs of others.
One of the ladies in our program is Gc-Mc-Gc. We talked to her about her temperament and helped her understand that she would need self-disciple to help balance her need to be around people and her need to have alone time. We explained that she has the ability to make good decisions, if she would give herself time to think before she acted. She would have to be intentional about making good choices. All of a sudden, her “light” of understanding came on. She told us that this is the reason she is in trouble all the time. She wants to take Created In God’s Image to help herself and help others.
Most of the volunteers at Almost Home have taken Created In God’s Image or Creation Therapy. We don’t require the classes, but we strongly recommend them. We have found that while we have to establish and enforce rules of conduct for the houses, we must consider each person’s individual temperament needs. We must provide peace for our Phlegmatics, alone-time for our Melancholies, people-time for our Sanguines and Supines, and leadership opportunities for our Cholerics. By taking these classes, our volunteers learn to help work out ways to meet temperament needs for themselves and the people they serve.
God is allowing us to equip the saints. He is providing resources and opportunities to those who have made a decision to live for Him. Life at Almost Home is chaotic at times, but so is the real world. We are teaching our residents to live by morals, and Christian values. We are helping them make good decisions, inside a safe, drug-free environment. Hopefully, when they step outside the walls of the homes, they will make the next good decision.
God loves each and every one of us. He is not willing that any should perish. He wants to restore every broken life. God is allowing Almost Home and Open Door to be a part of His will and His purpose. The Lord is not slow about His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 (NASB).