Article

Who am I?

By Joe Brinkmann

One of the words that is often used in any conversation about counseling is the word “identity.” Not only is it a common concept within counseling, but you have probably heard it repeated in sermons, books, and conversations with friends. Identity concerns the answer to the big question we are all asking, “Who am I?”. This seems like a simple and natural question, and it is. But it can quickly become complicated and even misguided depending on how we are asking it. For example, do we ask this question apart from any consideration of our relationship to our creator? Do we ask it in light of the community in which we have been placed? Or do we see ourselves as isolated individuals who get to define ourselves?

               The reality is that we all seek to be autonomous (self-ruled) beings. Because of this, the question of identity is not a safe one. It is riddled with all sorts of self-centered (dare I say, sinful) motives. At the same time, we are created to ask this very question. It is not inherently wrong to be curious about who we are.

               This is a complicated matter. Because of the dubious nature of this subject, some Christian responses to the identity question have sought to snuff out any sense of self. Seeking to correct error, they place all the weight on God’s identity. This is understandable since God truly is at the center of everything. However, this same God has told us that we, as his prized creation, actually have incredible intrinsic value. It almost feels scandalous to say this, but he made us in his very image. We are made to partake of the divine nature (I Peter 1:4). We participate in his glory in ever increasing measure (II Cor. 3:18). So, what is the proper view of self?

               Let’s seek to judge this by its fruit. In a healthy context, seeking to understand who you are will always coincide with understanding who God is. And if we have seen who God is, we will worship. One of the misnomers about identity is that it is all about us. Truly, it is about us, but, according to the gospel, we can’t talk about us apart from our good God. Without him, there would be no us. In order to recover a proper understanding of self, we need to recover a proper understanding of God’s view of humanity at the same time. The answer to the idolatry of self is not to remove the concept of self. Rather, it is to insert the heart of God concerning humanity.

               This is where Biblical counseling comes into action. In the vast world of secular psychologies, there is one common denominator. They all look for the answer to our problems from within ourselves. The change is ultimately going to come from within. This stems from a skewed understanding of self that fails to consider how twisted and limited our sense of self actually is. The truth is that we are not our own. We belong to someone. This someone is able to change us because he has the authority as our creator. In Biblical counseling, we seek to look to our maker for the information and transformation that we so desperately need.

               Within Christian theology there is a doctrine called union with Christ. Basically, it means that our life, if we follow Jesus, is wrapped up in Jesus’ life (Eph. 2:1-10; Gal. 2:20). This neither elevates self above God nor diminishes self below God. It simply means that we are distinct from God while also being intrinsically connected to God. We are united to him. This implies that God really likes us and values us. People don’t choose to unite themselves to something that they don’t value.

               But aren’t we sinful? Yes, we are. This is the scandal of the gospel. God has restored us to a place of honor by taking our sin on himself (Eph. 5:25-27). This is because he always intended to be united to his amazing creation called humanity. Sin was never going to stop him from getting what he wanted. Because he is so powerful and so good, our sin only revealed his heart even more. Therefore, while salvation is pretty amazing, dealing with our sin is not the main point. We are not valued simply because God saved us. We are valued because God made us. Indeed, he does save us, but think of this salvation as something that points us to God’s original design for humanity. God didn’t just want little pets that he could save from the streets and offer a better life. He desired a people he could be united with like a man and woman are united in marriage.

               Biblical counseling seeks to recall this identity for each of us in our particular circumstances. This requires revelation from God’s Spirit who is the agent of our union with Christ. The Spirit helps us in our weakness and conforms us to the image of Jesus right now in the midst of our sin (Rom. 8:26-27). As we call out (sometimes in desperation), “Who am I?”, he is faithful to reply with profound and powerful truth.

Daniel Kim

김 다니엘 목사는 이민 1.5세로 초등학교 3학년 시기에 미국으로 가족들과 이민을 왔습니다. 청소년 시기에 목회자이신 아버지의 교회 개척을 돕고 섬기던 도중 하나님을 뜨겁게 만났고 복음의 능력을 경험하게 되었습니다. 청년기에는 목회자가 되기 위해 필라델피아에 위치한 웨스트민스터 (Westminster Theological Seminary) 신학교에서 목회학 석사와 상담학 석사를 전공하였습니다. 그는 15년동안 EM과 청소년, 가정 사역 및 상담 사역을 병행해왔습니다. 지금은 남침례 신학교 (The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary)에서 성경적 상담학으로 박사학위 (Ph.D.)를 취득 중이며 커넥션 포인트 성경적 상담& 교육 센터 (Connection Point Biblical Counseling& Training Center)에서 상담과 교육을 담당하여 섬기고 있습니다.

그는 우울증, 불안, 영적 침체와 같은 삶의 문제에 대해 상담하는 것을 좋아하며 십대와 그들의 부모가 겪는 독특한 어려움을 헤쳐 나갈 수 있도록 돕는 데 열정을 쏟고 있습니다. 그는 또한 목회자들과 사모님들이 하나님 나라를 위한 상처받은 치유자로 훈련될 수 있도록 돕는데 특별한 마음을 갖고 있습니다.

그는 아내 이루리 사모와 함께 성경적 상담 사역을 통해 조지아와 미주 지역을 섬기는 비전을 가지고 있습니다.

Lorna Hall

Lorna Hall is a Biblical Counselor who believes that God speaks through his Word about every issue we face in life.  She believes in supporting her clients by using the treasures of Scripture to address the normal and the not-so-normal trials of everyday life.

 Lorna has cared for family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances for over twenty years.  Over the years, this gift of caring has established Godly relational trust with those in her care. 

Her early educational background was in the business world.  The required attention to detail in the business world gained her leverage in caring for others.  She responded to the Spirit’s direction to formally build on the years of lay care experience by enrolling in programs that would bring added value to time spent with those in need.  She enrolled in the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and graduated as a certified health coach.  This certification improved her understanding of our humanness.  After gaining that training, she enrolled, graduated, and received her certification as a Biblical Counselor, Level One, through the Association of Biblical Counseling.  Currently, she is finalizing her certification as a Level Two Biblical Counselor.  The combination of these certification paths supports her as she counsels the whole person.

She is active in her local church’s ministrys leadership, where she teaches and leads the Women’s Ministry.  She has been married to Robert for over forty years, and they have had the incredible privilege of raising two children.

Lorna’s mission is to see her fellow brothers and sisters encouraged and changed by connecting God and his Word in the most challenging places of life.

Ruth Lee

Ruth moved to New York from South Korea to pursue a career as a fashion designer, enrolling at Parsons School of Design during her college years. However, God had a different plan for her. After wrestling with the complexities of her identity as an immigrant and a pastor’s wife for several years, she discovered her true identity as a citizen of God’s kingdom and a sojourner in this life. Upon embracing this newfound identity in Christ, she discovered a profound purpose—to share God’s comfort, hope, and truth with those facing challenges of depression, anxiety, and isolation— as a biblical counselor. Although she wishes to provide Christ-centered healing through biblical counseling to all who are hurting, she has a special place in her heart for fellow pastors’ wives.

Ruth is currently finishing her master’s degree in biblical counseling at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

God has blessed her life to be a sister, friend, and mother of her two daughters. She loves writing on her blog (ourhopestory.com), sharing hope in Christ, and offering biblical counseling resources for the Korean community. She also enjoys going for walks with her husband.

Lainey Greer

Hi I’m Lainey Greer, and my faith in Jesus Christ sets the foundation for all I do. My educational background from a bachelor’s in exercise science to a PhD in systematic theology greatly shapes everything you see here. Plus, my 20 years of nutrition advising and personal training paired with over 10 years working in the local church have given me the experiences that drive what I do today.

My aim is simple. I want to equip you with a biblical and theological foundation for the body matters and then extend that knowledge to areas of practical application. Christians believe in created bodies, an embodied Savior, and bodily resurrection. Given these truths, we should seek to glorify God in our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:20), which impacts daily, practical realities. Laying biblical groundwork for your body is vital to daily realities and motivates the writing and speaking I do, along with the workshops, Understand Healthy, and the other services I provide.

Laura Andrews

Laura grew up in the suburbs of St. Louis, MO. She holds a Master of Divinity degree in Counseling from Westminster Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Missouri. 

She has been counseling, coaching, teaching, and writing since 2009, and was a faculty member at CCEF and a lecturer in Biblical Counseling at Westminster Theological Seminary. 

She lives in the greater Philadelphia area and loves gardening with her husband, Joel, and their son and daughter. 

Joe Brinkmann

Joe is a Midwesterner at heart and will always be rooting for the Iowa Hawkeyes. Perhaps more than sports, Joe enjoys reading theology, making music, and learning about what makes people tick. Most of his time is spent being a dad to his five kids and a husband to Stephanie. He has spent a good bit of his adult life in ministry both domestically and internationally including the last four years as a pastor. Joe graduated from Wheaton College (B.A. Biblical and Theological Studies) and Westminster Theological Seminary (M.A. Counseling). Joe holds an Advanced Certification from the Association of Biblical Counselors.

Although he is always up for addressing whatever God may be doing in a person’s life, Joe has a particular desire to help leaders who may be struggling. Sometimes the most crucial needs go unnoticed (or ignored), and it can be difficult to trace our steps to where things went wrong. Joe likes to help when people find themselves in these places and see where Jesus will lead them. Additionally, he has special concern for individuals, marriages, and families that have been wounded by multiple forms of abuse in the home and in the church. 

Sarah May

Besides writing, Sarah loves traveling with her family, exploring the outdoors, watching sports of all kinds, weightlifting, gardening, decorating, and having any conversation over a cup of tea. Her passion for seeing potential in unfinished spaces is not just relegated to the decorating world. Though Sarah has a heart to walk through the muck with others through any type of suffering, she is especially burdened for children and teens, as well as those struggling with parenting, parent/child relationships, identity, understanding felt emotion, life transitions, and infidelity. Her greatest desire is for individuals to see their worth in Christ, understand they are uniquely gifted because of the significance God has created in them for His Kingdom, and that in any situation, you are never alone.

Sarah graduated from Auburn University with a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and has spent the majority of her professional career working with children, adolescents, and teens in public and private schools as well as church environments as a teacher, children’s director, mentor, and group leader. Sarah has completed all of the coursework for an M.A in Marriage and Family Therapy at Northcentral University and holds a Level 2 certification through the Association of Biblical Counselors. Sarah is also a published author, and her book There is Always Hope has been ranked #1 in New Christian Counseling literature on Amazon.

Danielle Sheets

Danielle was born and raised in Michigan, graduating from Capital University with degrees in Psychology and Sociology. She has lived all over the United States in her many years of marriage, and wherever God has taken her, Danielle has always had a heart for the isolated, the overlooked, and the sufferers. She was inspired to begin counseling by a counselor who ministered to her during one of life’s many difficult seasons, and after graduating from Westminster Theological Seminary (M.A. Counseling), she began counseling regularly in her local church and in her surrounding community. Danielle is passionate about pointing sufferers to Jesus and the rest He gives to those He loves.

In her free time, Danielle enjoys spending time with her family, British tea and literature, working on home improvement projects, and traveling to new places. Danielle and her husband have six children and currently live in North Metro Atlanta. Throughout her experiences as a friend and a counselor, Danielle has come to love serving women struggling in their faith, women of all ages who are bemused by life, young adults seeking guidance as they launch into life, and parents experiencing parenting issues. In all her work, Danielle desires to see Christ magnified, His People blessed, and the Church strengthened to the glory of God. 

Kathy Tufts

Kathy grew up in Northeastern Ohio, but a military man took her on an adventure around the country.  After 27 years of military moves, she and her husband, Winfield, have called Georgia  home for the last 20 years.  They have three adult sons, 3 wonderful daughters-in-law, and 5 adorable grandchildren. Kathy has a passion to walk alongside women in every season of life – from single women and young moms to empty nesters and every season in between.  Her desire is to help people see who they are in Christ and to find their fulfillment in Him.  In this fast paced world, there is hope and rest to be found in Christ.

Kathy holds Advanced certification with CCEF and Level 1 certification with ABC. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Theological Studies from Westminster Theological Seminary and her Level 2 certification with ABC.

In her free time, Kathy’s favorite pastime is time spent with her family.  She loves to have people in her home for a good meal or a cup of coffee and chat.  When she’s not spending time with her grandchildren, she loves to be outside and hiking, biking, or trying something new. 

Connection Point Ministry Biblical Counseling Atlanta Georgia

Angela Shelton - Founder

Angela is a woman with big dreams, a big family, and a big heart. She grew up in rural Alabama and became a believer in Christ at a young age. She graduated from Auburn University (B.S. Psychology), Westminster Theological Seminary (M.A. Counseling), and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Biblical Counseling at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. Angela holds an Advanced Certification with the Association of Biblical Counselors and has recently been approved as a certified trainer for aspiring biblical counselors.

When her nose is not in a book, Angela enjoys gardening, beekeeping, home improvement projects, and spending time with her large family. She is married to Brad and they have ten children and two grandchildren. Though she counsels many different issues, her counseling passion is to help adults and families overcome the trauma of sexual abuse. Angela’s desire is to peer below the surface to uncover the depths of a person’s heart and then link that person’s broken heart to the true Comforter and Healer.

Steve Worth

Steve is a fellow image-bearer of our Creator, who thoughtfully connects with people when they are experiencing the complexities of life. He has a heart for people who have experienced trauma and has worked with foster and adoptive families. Walking alongside men, pastors, ministry leaders, couples, teenage boys, and others is a passion for Steve.

Steve grew up as a missionary kid in Scotland. He loves traveling and learning about people and places. Besides his wife and two daughters, some of his loves in life are outdoor adventures, drinking quality coffee and considering a good story in print or film. 

He has degrees from Napier and Heriot-Watt Universities in Scotland and Westminster Theological Seminary (M.A. Counseling). Steve holds an Advanced Certification with the Association of Biblical Counselors. He enjoyed an internship with the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF) prior to contract counseling with CCEF in Pennsylvania and Montana between 2013 and 2014. Steve has also provided informal counseling in church settings. For the past ten years, Steve has worked in child welfare, most recently with foster families providing respite. Steve loves spending time with someone long enough to hear their heart and help them see Jesus and his renewing faithfulness in the uniqueness of their own story.

Trisha Adams

After fourteen years in ministry, Trisha is pursuing a Master of Arts in Christian Counseling from RTS, in view of becoming an Advanced Certified Biblical Counselor. She is passionate about seeing the beauty of the gospel mending our shattered world. She is a deep conversationalist and thinker, and loves Jesus and people, especially teens, young adults, foreigners, and the elderly. Every person and every story is miraculous. She has a soft heart particularly for those navigating grief and loss, and believes in the power of walking together as we navigate complicated relationships, and our embodied human experiences and circumstances.  

Trisha has spent a decade in Colorado where she met her husband, before moving to Thailand, and is now currently settled near family in Georgia. She has a bachelor’s degree in music education as well as a master’s of music performance in percussion from Colorado State University. Her education has been used in middle and high school public education, senior citizen education, as well as music director for a local church, in addition to performing and touring with multiple bands as well as solo performances. Her personal and professional interests have led to a variety of vocations including a backpacking guide in the Rockies, ministry training in Nepal coordinating youth, college, and young adult ministries, working with missionaries, foreigners, and refugees at home and abroad, and even in biopharma with the FDA. Her favorite way to spend free time is either reading on her back porch, exploring new contemporary art exhibits, or going on prayer walks, alone or with her husband, usually through botanical gardens with coconut La Croix and Welch’s fruit snacks. 

Shaylee Harper

Shaylee is active in her rural community of Littlefield, Texas. She grew up in a farming family and continues that legacy with her husband, Chris. They have four children and three grandchildren. Shaylee enjoys reading, cooking, community service, and good conversations. Shaylee attended Lubbock Christian University. She graduated Westminster Theological Seminary (M.A. Counseling), and holds an Advanced Certification with the Association of Biblical Counselors.  Shaylee is a lifelong learner who is always looking for opportunities to continue in education. 

Shaylee works with Connection Point Covington as a remote counselor. She counsels many different issues and welcomes those who are overwhelmed with life and underwhelmed with God. Her own experiences of raising a child with autism, infertility, losing a parent, and being a caretaker of those with mental illness shape her work as a counselor. 

Daniel Kim

Daniel has been a pastor for over fifteen years, serving families and youth through biblical counseling in the New York City and Philadelphia area. He is a graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary (M.A. and M.Div) and currently pursuing his Ph.D. in biblical counseling at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY.

He was born in South Korea and raised in New York City, where his faith was tested and strengthened while assisting his father’s church plant throughout his high school years. Although he has a love for counseling individuals with any life issues, such as depression, anxiety, and spiritual guidance, his passion is in helping teenagers and their parents in navigating through their unique struggles. He also has a special place in his heart for counseling pastors and their wives to help them rise as wounded healers for God’s Kingdom.

Daniel is happily married to Ruth, and they have two beautiful daughters, Ellie and Sharon. He enjoys reading, watching movies, and going for walks with his wife and children.