Deborah M. Jackson, M.Div.
I’ve noticed the last few months have brought new followers and subscribers coming side by side with me and all my wonderful existing friends. Welcome! I thought it a timely opportunity to reintroduce myself. Many things are evolving behind the scenes and pushing into reality during such and intersecting season of life. While life feels brand new in so many ways without both my mother and father, seeds I sowed for decades during the care of my mother are coming to fruition.
I am a minister, writer, educator and speaker, and August 2023 will have completed my Clinical Pastoral residency with Ochsner Hospital becoming a Board Certified Chaplain. Currently, there is very little separation between my role as a resident and full-time Chaplain as it relates to responsibilities. My role as a Chaplain engages me in deeply structured and expansive support emotionally and spiritually for families, patients, nurses, doctors, and VP’s in an interfaith capacity. My learnings are rich and my exposure great. This is not easy work on a multiplicity of levels. In a very personal way it has been an open door for the Lord to continue to work restoration and healing in me through my own deep loss. God often allows part of the venom to be an integral part of the cure. As I go to the bedside of others – 99.9% of people in uncertain, unexpected intersections of crisis and traumatic situations I am called to see even my own pain in their situations.
The uniqueness about professional chaplaincy rests in the word “interfaith”. Not everyone is the same in their spiritual beliefs, yet we are all the same when it comes to our painful places as human beings. While I am a Christian, and my relationship w/the Lord rests at the center of my life, I believe Clinical Pastoral Training infuses me with formative skills making me a better Pastor, preacher, teacher, counselor and person. Heart to Soul is my ministry and choosing Chaplaincy to add to my training has been quite intentional and something I could never because of the level of commitment level while I cared for my mom. During the care of my mom I trained theologically at Regent University School of Divinity. While I have not shared much about it yet ( I will in coming months) Clinical Mental Health training is also expanding my capacity for the soul work I’m called to.
Spiritual leadership continues to evolve as part of my research and training in areas of spiritual caregiving (leaders and lay people who care for others), spiritual growth and clinical pastoral education. I’m passionate about helping people see things in their lives and relationships that may feel hidden and/or emotionally/spiritually confusing. My style of Spiritual direction and pastoral care/counseling is often described as potent and unique - helping to braid together the strands of life to bring clarity and flourishing.
What's interesting is how little community understands about the true role and training of professional chaplains. Often when asked people think Chaplains primarily pray with others. While we do pray, prayer encompasses maybe less than 5% of what we do. The other 95% is in deep emotional and Spiritual training (different than theological training) preparing us to lead family meetings, engage side by side with rounds with Dr.'s, perform spiritual assessments, consults, and so much more. As a chaplain I’m probably most humbled by how God continues to reveal himself. Human to human is where I believe the Lord teaches us the most as Spiritual leaders. I’ve learned in my own journey of grief and suffering what refining happens only there. I see a need for deeper sharpening in the body of Christ and communities - a sharpening of character and spiritual /emotional strength and fortitude. Finally, I’m a believer in cultivating resources bringing true restoration for the body, mind and soul. The way to Christ-Centered transformation starts in the heart. That’s why my ministry’s name is Heart to Soul…