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.
JOURNEY IN TEMPERAMENT
God is so smart! I am awestruck at the thought of our Creator and His love for us. He did not stop with creation. He made a plan for our lives, and wrote it down in a book before we were born. (Psalm 139:16) What freedom to know God created us with purpose and meaning! Seeking His plan for our lives is our quest.
Temperament is the foundation of our journey. God “packed our bags “for us, and in them He put everything we would need. We do not always know everything that is in our suitcase. That is where prayer comes into the big picture. We must always seek His will. If we think we have it all figured out, and strike out on our own, we get in trouble. God knows we will not get in trouble if we remain dependent on Him.
Joshua had the monumental task of leading the Israelites into the Promised Land. He sought God’s plan in crossing the Jordan and overtaking Jericho. (Joshua 3:7-17; 6:2-5, 20) Ai was small. Surely the Israelite army that had besieged Jericho could handle little Ai on their own, but they could not. (Joshua 7:3-5) Joshua needed to understand God helped the Israelites across the Jordan River. It was God that brought the walls of Jericho down. With their defeat by Ai, God taught an important lesson. God wanted Joshua totally dependent on Him for this important assignment of conquering the Promised Land. That story is written in the Bible so that we do not make the same mistakes, but we do- over and over again.
In 2015, God put Debbie McClure, Sandy Burford, and me in jail ministry through an organization called Purchased: Not for Sale. It was all God’s doing, because never in a million years would I have thought visiting women in jail would be such a blessing to me. Every week, our team would meet and pray before visitation. Then, our team leader would give us names of women who needed a visit. These women in jail had either been arrested for prostitution, or were known prostitutes. We would ask them about their week, share Bible verses to encourage them, and pray with them. It was a short 15 minutes on a telephone through thick plexiglass.
Then, God then gave us the opportunity to minister inside the women’s cell block during a church service held every Tuesday night. Our chaplain would share words of encouragement and pray with us before service. He said he wanted us to study and pray before our visits to get a fresh Word from God. He wanted us to bring “fresh bread” to the altar. Because we did not have counseling experience, he recommended Temperament Therapy. In 2016, we started taking Christian counseling classes. We continued to minister in the jail, but discovered God provided jail ministry as a stepping stone for other endeavors.
God wanted more. During the fall of 2017, God spoke to Debbie and told her one hour a week was not enough. He wanted her to open a home and minister to women getting out of jail. We were in the habit of fasting and praying for our ministry the first 21 days of the year. Needless to say, opening a home for women was our main prayer focus of January 2018. We did not feel we were worthy or equipped, but we knew if God was in it, we could do it. We knew that prayer was the most important element in accomplishing any God-sized task. Also, in January, as an International Representative (IR) with Sarasota Academy of Christian Counseling (SACC), I began teaching Created in God’s Image to those who were interested in the class.
During jail ministry, we found out jail will get a person clean and sober, but if a person truly wanted to stay clean upon leaving jail, it was almost impossible. Through their addiction their family had most likely rejected them, unless their family was part of their problem. When they were released, there was no place to go, except back to the same environment that got them in trouble. Maybe it was just an excuse, or maybe it was not. It seemed to us that God was leading us to give them a safe place to recover and start making better decisions.
Again, for the first 21 days of the year we fasted and prayed for God’s guidance in a ministry He had already put on Debbie’s heart. On January 22, God showed us a place and gave us a ministry, Almost Home Behavioral Health Ministries. The house was in foreclosure and needed a considerable amount of work, but we knew if God was in it, it would happen. God provided a Christian banker and a Christian lawyer. By February 1, 2018, we had keys and a contract for the purchase. The banker told us we could start with renovations and treat the house as if it were already ours. He said he would take care of the foreclosure, and he did. God is so smart.
In 2019, our first 21 days were spent praying and fasting for another house. We thought it would be a home for men finding themselves in the same predicament. God had another plan. Debbie was inundated with requests of women. God found another house for women, and we were able to renovate and furnish that home as well.
Now, in the beginning of 2020, we find ourselves ministering to 20 women or more at any given time, and running two households. It takes time, money, staff, and volunteers. As an IR, I have been able to offer Created in God’s Image and Creation Therapy to anyone interested.
Our staff and many volunteers have taken the classes. For us, it has opened up a deeper understanding of who these women are, and how they think. People, even those with like morals and values, do not always think alike. What would seem so logical to us, may seem bizarre and irrational to someone else. So, add in unhealthy environments of abuse, addictions, selfishness, immoral behavior, etc., and no one can begin to understand each other. But God understands us because He created us. As we study Temperament and begin to understand ourselves and others as individuals and unique creations of our Heavenly Father, we can intently listen to others’ views and thoughts. Temperament and environment have helped shape us and others. Even though our shapes are different, God uses us in His big plan.
As women move through the 3-month program, we administer the Arno Profile System (APS). During counseling sessions, we discuss who God created them to be, and their Temperament needs. We help them determine how to meet their Temperament needs in Godly ways and assist them in discovering the purpose God intended for their lives.
In the last month of the program, we teach the women to work. First, we train the women as volunteers, and then, help them find employment. This serves a three-fold purpose: It teaches the women a work ethic that they may have forgotten, or they did not have. It provides an honest income, and allows them to feel a sense of worth and accomplishment. It helps them establish confidence and work references so that when they leave the program they will be able to continue in the jobs they have, or find employment elsewhere.
Success comes in many different packages. Even though a graduation celebration is held for participants that complete the 3-month program, the women can stay at the home as long as they comply with the house rules. Some women come and leave within the first two weeks. Others leave without graduating. The women who leave early, know they are loved and they know where they can find help. Even in those cases, they may be successful if they have grasped the concepts that their past does not dictate their future, they are capable of making their own decisions, and they are responsible for the decisions they make.
Some graduate and decide to hang around and save some money in order to leave with a plan and financial ability to implement it. Still others start making plans to leave within days of starting the program. Some leave; some hang around and graduate. Others may leave and come back to start all over. If this is the case, before they leave they understand that certain criteria must be met before they are allowed to return. The staff at Almost Home wants the women to leave confident in themselves, and totally dependent upon God.
One particular lady entered the program. I had the opportunity to talk to her within the first few days. She seemed very timid and shy. More than that, she portrayed worthlessness to the point of saying that her children were better off without her. She seemed to believe she deserved every bad thing that happened to her. She felt that Debbie was going to ask her to leave the program even though she could not give a legitimate reason why she felt that way. I assured her that she would not be asked to leave without just cause and that the Debbie and all the staff at Almost Home wanted her to get well and succeed in life.
During subsequent visits, I found out she has an accounting degree and has worked for a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). I also found out she has sold cars and furniture. She liked sales because she was around people. In sales, her ultimate goal was to get a customer the car or the piece of furniture that would meet their needs.
Her APS revealed she is Phlegmatic Sanguine in Inclusion, Choleric in Control, and Sanguine in Affection. I carefully discussed her Temperament pointing out her strengths before exposing areas for work and growth. After 2 months, she started looking for work. Because of her accounting degree, she was hoping to find a job with a CPA. I reminded her that Temperament traits suggest she needs a lot of interaction with people. I told her I believed she did well in sales because of her ability to meet people, and make them feel special. She told me that she had considered her Temperament while she was looking for a job. She said that she had applied for the job as a receptionist for a CPA firm, so she would be getting interaction with people. She thought she would be an asset to the firm because she knew something about the business. Wow! In 2 months she had been transformed from having a poor self-image to the “take-charge” kind of person God had created her to be.
At Almost Home, we have the opportunity to give these women a little something more. It may be the results of their APS. It may be learning to embrace their Temperament. It may be understanding the consequences of their actions. It may be a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, or a closer relationship with God. It may be they feel real love and acceptance for the very first time. It may be the development of a work ethic. It may be a safe place to heal, free from drugs, alcohol, and abuse of all kinds. They have the opportunity to start making their own decisions and being responsible for the decisions they make.
God created us and gave us purpose, but we have to search for it. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13. He provided us everything we need for life, but we must find it. Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3. He offered us the privilege of prayer, but we must act on it by asking for what we need. ...ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full. John 16:24. He gave us the Bible to instruct us, especially in our relationships with God and others, but we have to apply it to our lives. And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39. He offered us Christian friends and prayer partners, but we have to make the right choices. “ ...he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.” John 13:20. God is so smart."