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Charles R. Smith

MA, CMHC

Growing up through the 60’s and 70’s in a career military family, I experienced moving around the country multiple times and with each move, the experience quickly and naturally taught me to remain detached from others and avoid becoming dependent on anyone. This type of self-reliance rapidly discourages deep, intimate and honest relationships because every move or loss of friends brought with it pain. Being truthful and trusting others became confusing and brought the mistaken understanding of what relationships meant. Truth in my personal life seemed relative depending on the circumstances and I found it impossible to form healthy relationships.

 

It took years as an adult for me to realize that my experiences and false beliefs taught me to harbor the shame of sexual molestation as a child warping any ability to be truthful with others, God or myself. Very few people knew of my experiences or struggles and because I did not understand that the motivation for my choices in life were rooted in shame and detachment, no one else could understand my choices either. My distorted sense of shame kept me from realizing the damage I would perpetuate within my own life and those around me. After years of chasing the wrong solutions to the emptiness inside, God broke through my self-deception and lies allowing me to experience God’s love and forgiveness as well as becoming honest with myself and others. I continue to grow daily in my understanding of love and intimacy that is not defined or measured by sex. 

 

God is persistent in calling to us because God values us and wants a deep, intimate relationship wherein we find our life of purpose and meaning (1 Jn 4:16) in relationship to Jesus. We are all broken in some fashion and God showed me that my brokenness does not disqualify me from ministry but rather has equipped me by using my experiences and heartbreak as a basis wherein I can relate to pain and trauma within others.

 

From 1978 to 1981 I attended Weber State College where I met the woman, I would eventually marry in 1983 after joining the US Air Force. Between 1983 and 1987, I served as an enlisted airman in the USAF, both stateside and in England. In 1987, our daughter was born at RAF Upper Heyford, in England and shortly afterward completed my tour of duty, receiving an honorable discharge. We returned to Utah where I completed a Bachelor of Science in Law Enforcement at Weber State with the hope of pursuing a career in Law Enforcement.

 

We moved to Washington State, where I served with the City of Kent Police Department from 1989 through 1994. I left the career field after sustaining an on-duty injury spinal injury that prevented me from continuing a career in LE. However, law enforcement, first responders and military members and their families remain close to my heart.

 

From 1994 through 2001, I worked various positions across the country trying to reconcile my inner spiritual struggles before settling into graduate studies at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, TX in 2001. By 2004, I earned two Master of Arts degrees, one in Community Counseling and the second in Pastoral Ministry. From 2004 through 2007 I helped put together a consortium of 5 United Methodist Churches in northern Bexar County providing low and no cost counseling to church members of those 5 congregations as well as working for a company providing in-home counseling to families in CPS reunification programs. My first glimpse of understanding God’s love and forgiveness began at St. Mary’s in Texas.

 

2007 saw us move back to Washington State, after being recruited by Kitsap Mental Health Services in Bremerton Washington in the position of DMHP (Designated Mental Health Professional) wherein I responded to hospital emergency rooms and in the local community with police at their request to conduct assessments and crisis interventions with suicidal persons. By late 2008, for several reasons, many I recognize as my own doing, my marriage ended in divorce.

 

After our divorce, I moved to Forks, Washington in 2009 to fill the role of primary intake and assessment specialist conducting biopsychosocial assessments for diagnosis and treatment planning for West End Services in Forks, WA filling that role from 2009- early 2011. This position provided a unique opportunity and privilege of working with local tribal members at Neah Bay on the Makah Reservation and Quileute tribal members in La Push.

 

In 2010, during a visit to my parents in Utah, I realized the magnitude of my parent’s health issues and made the decision to move back to Utah to assist my parents through their health care in early 2011. Upon my return, I worked briefly worked as a mental health therapist for a year at a local correctional department before beginning work as a contractor on Hill AFB with military families in 2012. In July 2013, I married my current wife and by October had transitioned to a different contractor’s position at HAFB as a ¾-time counselor the FOH-EAP program working with federal civilians and their households. Shortly after transitioning into my current position at HAFB, I became aware of a growing internal desire to minister to others helping them reconcile their emotional and spiritual pain by recognizing God’s desire for relationship through forgiveness and inner healing. I am honored to be given an opportunity to join Grace & Peace Christian Counseling in 2019 in a part-time capacity.