Kids who get into a lot of trouble or adults struggling with addiction, where others see black sheep, Jay Breish sees people with stories. And he’s here to listen.
Breish and his wife spent 10 years working at a Christian residential facility for teens in Vermont. They arrived for the first time to four feet of snow on the ground and with their own questions about life as missionaries. When they left a couple years ago, they’d seen some hard things but had many more ideas about how to minister to those who were hurting.
“I don’t get fazed by people’s woundedness,” Breish said. “People come and say, ‘I’ve got this or that sin,’ but there’s a difference between what you’ve done and who God says you are. I want people to be able to see that difference. Half that stuff comes from trauma and lies anyway.”
Now Breish works for Paraclete Mission Group as a pastoral counselor that utilizes prayer ministry. He spends his days helping people of all ages work through trauma, addiction, and lies they believe. He wants them to get connected with God and be transformed by knowing their true identities in Christ.
“They’re no longer defined by their behaviors, patterns, and hang-ups,” Breish said. “Instead, they are defined by what God says about them. Maybe you’ve always run to anger and rage to control the situation because of your out-of-control childhood. That might be your ‘go-to’ coping mechanism. But you don’t have to be enslaved by that. We can teach you how to embrace what God has said about you, and when you know the truth, ‘the truth will set you free.’” (John 8:32)
Breish wants to help people learn better ways to deal with emotions and process their pain. Psychological tools can be a crucial part of that healing. But Breish also wants to bring the stabilizing peace of God’s love rooted in the truth of God’s promises.
“Survivors look at circumstances and try to make things work,” he said. “In contrast, God takes the messiest situations and turns them into glory stories. It’s in our weakness where His strength is displayed. You take someone who is deeply, deeply weak, and that person has potential for being so intimately connected to and resting in the Lord.”
Before helping others, Breish had to go on his own journey to understand identity in Christ. He grew up in a conservative Christian culture that provided an excellent biblical foundation, but he didn’t understand his spiritual identity or how to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading. Nor did he understand the realities of sin, addiction, and trauma.
“Working with other people who are struggling has helped me better understand the brokenness of our world and the great need we have for Christ’s redemption,” he said.
Currently, Breish is learning how to best care for his own kids—one of whom has a traumatic medical history. He’s learning how to let God speak love and comfort to him during trying circumstances and how to share that love with his children.
Breish recalled when the trauma was taking place back in 2014.
“We came out of that year and I realized as a dad, my heart was shattered,” he said. “I’m not OK, and I don’t know what to do about it.”
Thankfully, a friend came alongside and offered to pray through this with Breish. Breish encountered the Lord in that prayer time as God ministered to his heart. He felt like God told him that He saw His pain as a dad and loved him as a son.
“It’s like a light switched on,” Breish said. “The heaviness in my heart was gone, and I didn’t have to live out of that pain anymore.”
The Holy Spirit—called ‘Paraclete’ in Greek—comes alongside us to encourage and exhort, and Breish wants to continue that “come alongside” attitude for others in their stories.
“How do I help the body of Christ embrace the truth in a way that’s transformative in their life?” Breish said.
Then he remembered John 14 and Isaiah 61.
“The Paraclete is the come alongsider,” Breish said. “He’s anointed me to bind up the brokenhearted and set the captives free so that people can live out of their God-given destiny. I’m honored to be a part of what God is doing in other people’s lives.”
To learn more about or donate to Jay Breish’s ministry, visit: www.paraclete.net/associate/jay-breish.