Molly Ann Halpin connects others with hope. Molly came to Asbury Seminary to pursue a M.Div. degree, but partway through her first semester, her dad passed away. Through her own journey of healing, she discovered God’s calling on her own life.
“Often people mistake Romans 8:28 for God promising that life is going to be good as a Christian, when instead it assures that God will work out the good for his people,” Molly said. “This doesn’t mean the Christian life is devoid of pain, loss and suffering. His promise instead is that He is with us always and through all of these moments.”
Molly added a M.A. in Mental Health Counseling to supplement her M.Div. and completed that degree in 2018. But it wasn’t always easy or a sure thing. Molly almost didn’t show up for day one of her first practicum at the Kentucky United Methodist Children’s Home. Although shaking and about to cancel her internship, Molly decided she could “stick it out for one day.”
The experience changed her course. She continued taking counseling classes and started an internship at the Asbury University Center for Counseling.
“That’s when I really fell in love with counseling,” Molly said. “I recognized the joy I found in walking alongside people in their journeys. My dad always used to encourage me ‘to love people where they’re at.’ In counseling, we’re not asking for people to come perfect and whole. As counselors, we’re asking clients to come broken and to bring their vulnerabilities and imperfections. Counselors have a huge privilege and honor when clients trust their stories to their counselors and reach for help.”
As she learned more about counseling professionally, Molly continued to grow in her personal formative journey. Molly is grateful to her friends, family and mentors who repeatedly offered her grace in her grief.
“I wasn’t always making the best decisions, and I was be scared that I offended God in those choices,” Molly said. “A mentor firmly reminded me one day that I do not offend God in my imperfections. He loves me in my mistakes. I also had a great counselor who led me back to the Lord many times.”
In one session, Molly and her counselor were working through the empty chair technique, in which Molly engaged in a role-played conversation with her father. During the conversation, Molly shared with her dad that she had learned about the principle of grace. To her, grace meant you can be a good person and still make mistakes sometimes, but your mistakes don’t make you a bad person.
“In that moment, I was able to forgive him for some of the things that he wasn’t here for and wasn’t going to be here for,” Molly said. “I was also able to forgive myself for not being perfect all the time.”