The first few years of my marriage with Pastor Jones Cumpio had been a difficult period of adjustment for both of us. He and I had been raised from totally different family backgrounds with a different set of values even though we both grew up, for the most part, in Christian homes and were discipled in Bible-believing Baptist churches. We got married just as we crossed over from our late twenties to our thirties, which meant that we both had been single for quite some time and were used to making decisions for ourselves based on our own set of beliefs, routines, and preferences. Needless to say, my husband struggled to love me, and I struggled to submit to him as Ephesians chapter 5 clearly teaches. I was quite assertive, and I tended to be emotional and often excessively anxious. He was impatient, short-tempered, and had difficulty communicating his thoughts and feelings. Quarrels were usually followed by my crying spree or his silent treatment that could go on for days.
Because of my personal experience in consulting with psychiatrists and psychologists trained in clinical counseling due to my previously diagnosed obsessive-compulsive disorder, I encouraged my husband to join a support group and recovery program on anger management, which was offered in one of the large churches in the city, at the suggestion of my doctor. He went. He attended sessions faithfully every Saturday for about six months. At the end of the program, all he gained was the realization of how his father’s failures may have been the reason for his inner struggle of harboring bitterness and his tendency to blow his temper. That was it. There was no solution offered. Blame had been shifted to his father and the negative memories of his upbringing. In other words, he came out of that program still frustrated with himself, still searching for answers about how he could help me overcome my anxiety disorder.
I don’t remember who it was that invited him to the first biblical counseling training conducted by OIC at the Word of Life Camp in Laguna in 2006. What I remember very distinctly and quite fondly were two things – my husband’s radiant countenance when he came home after that three-day training, and my husband’s changed behavior in the days that followed. It was the same every year after that. Jones was changing, little by little, and I cherished those baby steps he was taking towards becoming more like Jesus. His daily devotions and passion for Christ were revived. He even began a personal Scripture memory program for himself wherein he memorized one verse a month. I could hear him at bedtime reciting the verses to himself, and I also saw him give effort to apply it in his life. He became more patient, more understanding and able to express his thoughts, and most of all, more loving towards me and our children. The Word of God has literally been transforming his life! Because of the man of God he is becoming, it has become increasingly easier for me to trust him and God’s leadership through him, to submit to his decisions and instructions. I said to myself, “Whatever it is that those trainers are doing to my husband, it’s working!”
Eventually, I also experienced how the truths of God’s Word healed me and set me free from my anxieties. Jones patiently and lovingly walked me through the biblical counseling steps, correcting and teaching me how to conquer my fears. Soon, I stopped taking my medication for my OCD and I also stopped consulting my psychiatrist because I saw that God’s Word is, indeed, enough for me to daily overcome. I glorify God alone for His wonderful grace in our lives.
The changes in my husband, in me, and in our marriage and family life made me want to explore what made biblical counseling different. Every time Jones would share with me the things he’d been learning from the OIC trainings, I struggled… because the assumptions and principles were very different from the ones I had learned in the university and even from seminars hosted by the evangelical Christian community here. I resisted the idea that integrationist approaches really contradict the sufficiency of Scripture, telling my husband how I found that position to be narrow and biased. I realize now that my initial reactions were due to my lack of understanding of the Bible’s teaching on the subject of counseling. It took just the first day of Module 1 of BCT last 2014 at Higher Rock Christian Church, Manila, for the light bulb in my brain to turn on, as the Holy Spirit worked in my heart and opened my eyes to the truths from God’s Word. After four modules of BCT, I can say that I have, like my husband before me, caught the vision of the biblical counseling movement that had swept America and has now reached our borders – one that is grounded on the sufficiency of the Bible, aimed at the transformation of the heart, and participated in by every believer in the Body of Christ. It is my humble privilege and pleasure to be partnering with my husband in serving God through this challenging yet wonderful ministry of making disciples of Jesus Christ.