From midnight vision to reality

By Posted on Feb 22 2019 | By

Spiritual Care Support Ministries forged in a dream

Dreams can come true. But you may have to wait 15 years and labor with endless love to see them materialize.

One story that embodies that reality belongs to Liz Danielsen, a nationally endorsed ordained minister, whose gift of compassion has changed the lives of thousands of Fauquier County citizens and beyond.

Chances are you’ve never heard of Danielsen. Scoring headlines is the furthest thing from her mind. Bringing peace to souls suffering from any number of physical and emotional torments is her only goal.

As a result of her labors, today the Spiritual Care Support Ministries is a quiet yet integral part of Fauquier County.

“For the love of God”, is often a throwaway line for exasperation. But for this dedicated minister, it is her core value and drives everything she does. The Piedmont region is a better place for the work of this love-focused individual.

The tale
The story begins in New Jersey in 1989. Danielsen was working as a hospital and hospice chaplain and repeatedly saw a need that was not being met.

Chronically ill people, those who had lost loved ones, and the personal loss of divorce, drugs, aging and more took a toll on lives beyond what physicians could cure.

One day she returned home exhausted from the strain of tending to the psychic pain of those she was ministering to. “I was very exhausted and tired because of my work and went to bed praying and asking God to give me an idea of how to meet the needs of both children and adults dealing with loss and chronic illness.

“Then I had a dream. I had all these deaths and emotional issues I was dealing with and I had a dream—a vision—of this ministry,” said Danielsen.

Intriguingly, she had never dreamed before and the next morning shared the dream with her husband who urged her to see their pastor. The man counseled that if the dream was God-directed, it would come true.

In the interim, he let Danielsen have a room in his church where she began her nascent counseling services.

One of her early revelations was to learn grief cannot be assuaged quickly. One needs time to work through emotional trauma. “If you lose a child, others may want you to move along quickly but it can take years.

“Nowadays we know it takes at least two years for people to just find they are getting back to normal after emotional trauma.”

In the course of her emerging ministry, her husband’s job was relocated to Warrenton in 2000 because of a corporate merger.

Shortly after arriving here both the Culpeper Hospital and the Hospice of the Rapidan (now the Hospice of the Piedmont) recognized her talent and hired her as a chaplain.

Almost immediately she again recognized the unmet needs of those in emotional pain. Then God stepped in. “I was in a car accident in 2004 and suffered multiple broken ribs and swelling of the brain that affected my eyesight.”

The accident was not her fault but not wanting to pursue an extended lawsuit she accepted a financial settlement from the insurance company.

“I called that settlement my ‘seed money’ for the counseling center. My husband had a good job and he was 100 percent behind me so we used the money to open the center at 76 West Shirley Avenue.”

In a twist of irony, the location was a former palm reader business. “I felt like now we could really help people who came here. Fifteen years after my dream it had come true.”

Center’s programs
In addition to Danielsen’s own initial funding, a few grants also helped established the non-denominational, non-profit center. Some additional operating revenues come from local churches via monthly investments.

Most importantly, volunteer contributions offered by those who have been healed through the ministry’s work fund the majority of its operating budget. There are no fees for any of the services rendered.

What is the scope of the work? The center is officially opened Monday through Friday. However, with special sessions and training, it is not unusual to see something unfolding seven days a week at the center.

The ministry is led by Executive Director, President and CEO Danielsen. She has three part-time paid employees; 13 counselors; 114 volunteers; conducts almost 700 counseling sessions annually; leads a seven-member board of directors and serves some 3,000 people in need each year while publishing a newsletter for 4,000 recipients.

“The number served does not count our telephone ministry. And because of technology, I talk and Skype with people all over the world. I’ve been to Bangladesh, Nepal, England, and Australia to conduct training sessions. Not to mention my speaking engagements throughout the United States.”

Each Wednesday she conducts counseling sessions at the Chapel Springs Church in Bristow. “I’ve been doing that for years because there are people in the Manassas area that need ministering also.”

Danielsen does all of this without compensation. Her work is performed gratis.

“Because we do not charge for our services, we have locally licensed counselors who send us patients when they can no longer afford their counseling. Often these people only have so much money and after that there is nowhere for them to go. We work with children from six years old and up.

“For many of these people, the light has gone out of their eyes. To see them working toward healing is exciting for me,” said Danielsen.

A recent example of such healing was a woman who anonymously wrote an article for the center’s website describing the grief she experienced with the death of her father.

As her recovery progressed, she asked to write a follow-up article using her byline. In it, she revealed her father had committed suicide.

“She realized the way to fully resolve her grief and help others was to reveal the truth. That’s the key to our ministry. Healing is a process. A journey. And we’re here to support that journey.”

The future
Under the banner of, “what goes around comes around” the next chapter of Spiritual Care Support Ministries is emerging off of Airlie Road across from the Chestnut Forks Athletic Center.

A couple who were healed through the work of the center is funding a new 3,500 square foot counseling office that is under construction and will launch the next chapter of the organization.

“The work we are doing is so exciting. I hope to be blessed with doing it until I die, said Danielsen,” Such sentiments will surely echo from future sufferers who will be comforted through the work of this extraordinary ministry.

To learn more about Danielsen’s dream that came true, visit the organization’s website at https://www.scsm.tv/

Published in the February 21, 2019 edition of the Fauquier Times.

Categories : HAGARTY TALES