Category Archives for "Blog"

Jan 27

CTTR: Splankna

By Stephen A. Luther | Blog , My Kids Program

This show discusses an amazing Christian healing ministry called Splankna and how listeners can either seek their own healing through this ministry or become a practitioner and help others. Splankna is a Christian Mind Body protocol that can be used by counselors, pastors, wellness practitioners or lay helpers alike.

dependence called to thrive
Jan 19

God Is Calling You To Radical Dependence

By Stephen A. Luther | Blog , My Kids Program

“God does not protect us from the things he will perfect us through!”

That’s a quote from a Family Life Marriage curriculum we use at our counseling centers.

It’s also a concept deeply embedded in our My Kids Therapeutic Parenting program (

I LOVE this concept…until I’m IN those times of hardship which God is using to refine and perfect me!

Isn’t that so easy to do…we raise our hands in praise, shout amen when the pastor preaches but then… “oh, wait, me? I’m going to have to struggle? I have to go through those things? Wait I thought that was just a nice concept we hear the preacher say and we agree with before we go home to our comfortable lives!”

Nope, God is showing me that He WILL allow us to struggle because it makes us better.

Think about it for a second…do you protect your children from all discomfort? I hope not…if you do, that is really bad parenting. Have you ever met a child raised this way? They’ve actually shown through psychological and neurological tests that over-protective and permissive parenting has the same effect as abusive parenting.

Yep, you read that right! So, we often want God to protect us from all struggles even though if we did this ourselves as parents, we would severely damage our children.

So, if you are struggling in your parenting or in other areas of life…God is calling you to RADICAL DEPENDENCE!

Not lukewarm or fair-weather dependence…I’m talking about RADICAL DEPENDENCE where you are willing to give up everything and depend on Him alone!

That’s the kind of dependence we need when our kids bring chaos into our home. Judging from the Facebook groups I belong to for parents of attachment disordered children, even the Christian ones, people do not want to have to be dependent on God in this way while raising their children.

That breaks my heart…we so often want comfort or to feel validated in our complaining more than we want to hit our knees and call out to God.

Think about that, God spoke, and 100 billion galaxies came into existence! This God calls you His child and loves you. This God wants you to depend on Him and not on whether we have the peace in our home we want or the money in our bank account we think we need. He is bigger than anything else we can depend on! Call out to Him today and cling to Him as He guides you to peace and contentment in your home.

Our Christ-Centered therapeutic parenting program is designed to come along side you as you depend on Him.

We have a free eBook for you.

Check it out!

PS: If you are in need of learning how to have RADICAL DEPENDENCE on God in other areas of life we can help you there too…visit for Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling and Coaching.


You are Called To THRIVE!

By Stephen Luther

Executive Director of Grace Wellness Center

Licensed Professional Counselor and Therapeutic Parent Coach

My Kid’s Therapeutic Parenting on Facebook:

brain chemistry called to thrive
Jan 19

Oh Crap…I’m Screwed!

By Stephen A. Luther | Blog , My Kids Program

A moment of fear overtook me…I had to get this right. My wife had handed me her laptop and asked me to hook up the new wireless printer. I opened the computer and it prompted me for a pin so of course this should be easy, right? I just ask my wife, she tells me, and we are all good.

No, not that easy! She looks at me with a sly smile and instead of giving me the pin she says “its our first date!” Oh man, I’m screwed!

So, a date comes to me that I think might be right but am not confident at all…of course I am doing my best to look confident. I slowly type in the digits and hold my breath…

Wallah…it worked! Disaster averted! Now it was my turn to give the sly look as if to say, “you thought you had me…not even close!”

Okay so why am I telling you this? Because something important was going on in my brain. I went from secure to insecure in a millisecond of time…and then back to secure just as quickly.

This process happens over and over again and this shift between secure and insecure is monitored by a small almond shaped structure in our brain called the amygdala…the amygdala is kind of like the guard of our brain. It tells us if we are okay or not.

Then my frontal lobe…the frontal lobe is kind of like the control center of the brain…attempts to regulate, manage and resolve these signals from the guard. If the control center doesn’t have an answer, it lets the guard signal the survival part of our brain to take over until security is restored.

Okay so for those of us who are fairly secure and have a lot of coping strategies this process isn’t a big deal and helps us live in an adaptive way in our world.

But what about our hurting kids who have a guard that is very sensitive because it was trained to fear and believe that disaster is always lurking? These same kids also typically lack the coping strategies and resources in their control center to manage these fears.

Hurting kids go into survival mode very easily and it is difficult to get them back to secure…but when they do function in security life is good, right?

Have you ever asked yourself “why can my child function well sometimes but most of the time they don’t?” This is why…when they are secure they make good choices but when they are insecure and in survival mode they make poor choices. This is true for all of us…It’s just that most of us don’t live in survival mode and when we go there, we come back quickly.

Wouldn’t you like to know how to help your kids function in secure mode more often?

The My Kids Community uses a brain based model for Therapeutic Parenting to help you DANCE (Have you gotten your free DANCE eBook? ) with where you child is functioning in their brain. We show you how to be in sync with your child and move smoothly into the hurt, insecure places of their brain and invite them to come out and function in a more secure manner.

Do you want this for your family? If so, join us in the community where we will help you master these skills so you can guide your family out of the chaos and THRIVE!

PS: After my moment of gloating about easily remembering our first date my wife and I had a good laugh about how I was really just a good guesser!


You are Called To THRIVE!

By Stephen Luther

Executive Director of Grace Wellness Center

Licensed Professional Counselor and Therapeutic Parent Coach

My Kid’s Therapeutic Parenting on Facebook:


called to thrive - chicken
Jan 18

Be a Wise Chicken

By Stephen A. Luther | Blog , My Kids Program

What does parenting have to do with chickens? I’m glad you asked! Let me begin with a story about my chickens. When we first got our chickens we had them in an area enclosed by a 4 foot fence. It didn’t take long before the chickens figured out that they could get over the fence. What did they do when they got out? They crossed the road! So I raised the fence and they couldn’t get over it. However, it didn’t take long before they found a gap under one area of the fence and, you guessed it, they got out and crossed the road. I was left pondering a very real question about why the chickens crossed the road. It seemed as though they had a singular focus of getting to the other side and nothing else mattered.

As I pondered this, I began to think about how much we tend to be like that as people and as parents. We often put the blinders on and pursue our goal without really thinking it through. Parents often get so focused on traditional approaches, such as rewards and consequences, that they don’t stop to ask if they are working. When we do this, we react and often get run over by the stress of parenting; we get stuck in unwanted battles and end up with chaos. If you are a parent to a hurting child, this is even more important as it is so easy to fall into that chaos. Or, alternatively, we don’t pursue our goals because of fear of what we cannot see. We shut down and just let the chaos control us or believe that it is just going to be this way. It breaks my heart when I hear a parent of a hurting child just counting down the years and months until the child turns 18. While I understand and empathize with this feeling, there is a better way!


A wise chicken keeps his goal, the other side of the road, in focus but broadens his view to consider other valuable information such as whether a car is coming. He acts wisely. As a parent to a hurting child, are you setting goals and working towards them wisely? Are you considering the hurt your kids have gone through and the specialized parenting techniques needed to repair those wounds? Do you have a vision for your family that includes having peace and joy in your home? Or have you given up on that?

 He who walks with wise men will be wise,
But the companion of fools will suffer harm. Proverbs 13:20

Parenting hurting kids is full of stress. Often we see stress as the enemy, but stress is good if it is kept under control. It helps us know that we need to act in some way, keeps us sharp and builds our resources for not just coping with life, but living the extraordinary and victorious life God calls us to. When we are stressed, we will proceed down one of two paths, the path of the wise chicken or the path of the unwise chicken. These two paths are rooted in one of two primary emotional states, love/security or fear/insecurity. If I can stay on the wise path, I will act in love and security. I don’t act hastily but I do act. I think things through and seek wise counsel. If I stay on this path I will find success and possibilities will unfold before my eyes. This is the green path on the diagram below. If however, I chose the path of the unwise chicken, I will react either by proceeding without considering the potential problems that will run me over, or I stand paralyzed. Both options are motivated by fear and insecurity. This WILL end in some failure in life and will bog me down with limitations and problems. This is the red path on the diagram below.

my kids stress diagram wisdom, wise,

In the My Kids Therapeutic Parenting Community we specialize in helping parents be wise chicken. We help you learn specific therapeutic parenting techniques and mindsets that will help you not only manage your internal stress but also help you connect with your children in a way that gives them the best opportunity to heal. We would love to come along side you and help you be a wise chicken…are you ready to THRIVE as a parent and have PEACE in your family?


To get there you have to begin the journey, let’s get started!


By Stephen Luther

Executive Director of Grace Wellness Center

Licensed Professional Counselor and Therapeutic Parent Coach

My Kid’s Therapeutic Parenting on Facebook:

consequences called to thrive
Jan 18

Parents, Let’s Talk About Consequences

By Stephen A. Luther | Blog , My Kids Program

What is your primary goal as a parent? To give consequences, right? Sound absurd; well it is. But unfortunately that is the unspoken goal of many parents. I know this because as a parent coach when I challenge a parent on the consequences they are giving I get very interesting and often defiant responses. Perhaps the parents need a consequence for their defiance 😉. Wouldn’t that shock them if I immediately put them in time out? I get responses like “But I can’t let them get away with it” or “but I have to give a consequence” or “where does parenting come in then?’

Ok let’s look at this. Write down all the consequences you use that work. What do I mean by work? If it works you won’t have to do it anymore. Not that it stops the behavior in that moment. I’m talking about real change; you do the consequence, you child is changed and you don’t have to do it again. Ok, how many do you have on that list? Maybe there are one or two but I bet you don’t have many. You see, our goal isn’t consequences and really isn’t changed behavior. Our goal is a changed heart. How do we change a person’s heart? We connect with them! You need to connect with your child. Any consequences we give are secondary and honestly only have value if you have a very good connection with your child. It is one tool but not the only tool. What if you could change my child’s heart without a consequence? Would that be ok?

Therapeutic parent coaching and the My Kids Program is about connecting with your child. This can be difficult if your child is damaged or if your relationship with them has slowly broken down over the years. This is even more difficult for foster and adopted kids because they are damaged at the very core of who they are and are incapable, without repair work, of connecting with you. So whatever your situation, if things aren’t working, most likely consequences are only making things worse and validating your child’s belief that you are the enemy. The My Kids Program and Community helps you repair the damage and bring the joy back to your relationship with your children.

Wouldn’t it be great to enjoy your kids again? Let us help. Check us out at:


To get there you have to begin the journey, let’s get started!

By Stephen Luther

Executive Director of Grace Wellness Center

My Kid’s Therapeutic Parenting page on Facebook:

Sep 26

Does Splankna Work?

By dougl1kj | Blog , Splankna Healing Ministry

You may or may not have heard of Splankna, a Christian healing technique utilized by a few of us counselors at Grace Wellness Center. If you haven’t I would encourage you to check out the website or see if your counselor is one of those trained to use it, as it is a technique that everyone can benefit from.

I heard about Splankna when I first started at GWC and was on-board with wanting to learn about it before I had even learned what it really was. All I needed was to be told that it was a Christian intervention that could deal with trauma. I had come from a job where my focus had been to work with people who had been through significant traumas and while there where many tools that I had learned that could help a person put their lives back together or to find a sense of wholeness if there had been no healthy base to build on, these tools were often lacking the hope that we have as Christians. So as soon as I learned that there was an intervention that could be used to bring that hope into moments of brokenness that I had so long worked with, I jumped at the chance to learn.

My real introduction to Splankna came when I started attending some practice sessions for those who had already been trained, and it was at this point that I learned, Splankna is weird. If you haven’t experienced it there are certain tools used like muscle testing where the person pushed on your arm. Since we also invite God to work where He wants the topics that come up aren’t always the ones that you expect. Knowing that this technique could work with life traumas, I thought I knew what would come up. Only the first bunch of times, the brokenness I remembered experiencing in my own life is not what God had in mind.

Like many counselors I have had my own experiences and need for support that has taught me to want to help others. The most significant of these experiences was the basis for most of my nightmares as a child, and while I had grown into a well-adjusted adult, there was still this memory that I had built a wall around. An area that, if anything brought up thoughts of it, I would feel like I had been kicked in the gut. A trauma, that despite all my efforts, still affected my thoughts and outlook on life. I thought that with Splankna this would clearly be where we went, as being a counselor with all my years of experience and training of course I knew what I needed to deal with. Only it appeared God disagreed. For my initial experiences I kept processing emotions from ages early enough that I didn’t remember what produced them. I could see how these emotional strongholds had affected my life, but still wondered at the efficacy of Splankna since it wasn’t working where I thought best. Also since I couldn’t remember what had caused the emotions I didn’t notice any major shifts through the work.

Then I went to the training. I should explain that the week I went, I actually left helping out with my church’s teen camp that week to attend. A week where I was spending hours a day in worship, praying over other, and participating in the ministry that God was doing. In this mind frame I went to learn about Splakna. At the workshop, you learn to use the skills not only academically but you practice them with your fellow students. God chose this moment to deal with the worst night of my life. Looking back I think that with Splakna I would still have gotten there, but with spending the days proceeding focused on God I was more willing to trust Him to deal with such a significant source of pain. After processing it, I can still remember that night, but there is no longer any emotional weight to it. So despite its weirdness and despite how even knowing how it works I don’t know where any particular session will go, I can say that my own experience has shown me that this is a tool that God can use to bring healing even to broken areas of your life where nothing else has seemed to work.

called to thrive - eye of storm
Sep 22

Parenting Through The Hurricane

By dougl1kj | Blog , My Kids Program


Chaos, confusion, tiredness, anger, resentment…these feelings and others make up the hurricane many of us experience as parents. Is there something wrong with my kid(s)? Am I a failure? Is this just something I have to endure? Why doesn’t anything work? These are the questions, among others, that we ask when we are in the hurricane.

How do I know about this hurricane? I know it because I have lived it! In fact, I have lived it many times. As the parent of 11 children, many of whom were badly hurt before they came to us as foster kids, I feel like I have seen it all. When my wife and I faced those early hurricanes we scrambled to find the calm in the eye of the storm but we learned that this wasn’t going to work long term. We learned strategies from some of the best in the field of working with hurt and difficult kids and I have put those techniques together into the My Kids program at Grace Wellness Center.

But I am getting ahead of myself. Let talk about this hurricane before I tell you more about the My Kids Program. The hurricane is the chaos that hurt and difficult kids bring into our lives. It causes most of us to react in one of two ways. Either we fight with our kids or we throw our hands up and give in. Neither is a good option and actually, neither is necessary. While, this fight or flight response does helps us survive the moment it is also what sends us scrambling for the eye of the hurricane. The eye of the hurricane is that place where we haven’t really worked through anything but we have peace for the moment. The problem is we will just find ourselves back in the hurricane. There really is no other option, it is all around us if we haven’t worked through it and resolved it. These patterns are reinforced by the immediate relief they sometimes bring but they don’t get us anywhere.

The only way out is through the hurricane. We have to actually deal with the problems and the ineffective patterns. Getting through the hurricane means you get to the point where the same things aren’t happening anymore and you don’t have to live in fear that they will reemerge any moment. If you already know how to do this, then this isn’t for you. However, most people don’t know how to get through the hurricane because it involves doing things differently and practicing therapeutic or reparative parenting. The My Kids program helps you learn therapeutic parenting and is based on solid techniques developed from an in depth understanding of how your child’s brain is functioning. You will learn tools to work with instead of against what is going on inside your child.

So you are on this journey called parenting. Your kids are going to grow up, you can’t change that. However, you can have an impact on how they turn out and what that journey is like for you. I would love to meet you where you are on your parenting journey and help you and your family live the life God has called you to and finally get out of the hurricane.

Are you looking for ways to start wading through the hurricane? Check out our 4 Free Preview Lessons of the My Kids program:

called to thrive
Aug 10

Oh Precious One

By dougl1kj | Blog , Counseling , Depression

Oh Precious One

By Paget McCarthy


Sad, broken one,

What has left you

In so many pieces

You no longer

Collect them?


Laughter, joy, smiles all cease

Fade away, until forgotten.


Pain and sorrow


Taint the past

Distort tomorrow.

How long will it last?


Oh Man of many sorrows,

Surely you can know me.

You who formed me

Like a potter

Surely you can see a ray of hope.

If I’m your son, if I’m your daughter,

Show up, my King, show up, my Papa.


What would my maker say?


Come to me

I will wrap your wounds.

Come to me, my precious one.

See the vessel of your tears?

A regal collection.

Come to me.

I have healing in my wings.

Rest in the shadow of your maker.


In due season,

You will see

There’s a reason

And a purpose

For your story

And the pain.

Sometimes cruel –

But promised gain.

A joy, placed in the distance.

You are fashioned

In my likeness.


Soon enough

Tears no more.

Kingdom come.

Oh precious one

Your story will live

Beyond you.

Come to me, come to me.

Glory, Glory.


You have purpose

You have meaning

Let the light


On your weary soul.

Let your life

Be a part

Of an eternal



Don’t give up

Stand tall.

See the hope

In your call.

You are loved,

Apple of my eye.

The eye who creates

Awesome value…


Grasp the meaning.


Like the psalmist

When in anguish


To his Father

Come, my child.


Do not miss

Your purpose

Oh precious one.





***If you’re hurting and struggling, please consider calling Grace Wellness Center.


You are precious in God’s sight (Isa 43:4,5).

God has a plan for you; a life with a future and a hope (Jer 29:11).

Jun 23

Because they are My Kids!

By dougl1kj | Blog , My Kids Program

“My Kids” Therapeutic Parent Coaching Program and Community

So I was sitting there looking at this woman trying to figure out what to say to such an absurd question…then it hit me, it wasn’t an absurd question to her and probably wasn’t to most of the people she had asked it to previously. We were in the process of adopting two of our kids who had been with us as foster children for almost two years and this woman was asking questions for our home study to see if we could adopt these children. The question she asked was why do you want to adopt “these kids?” After staring at her confused for a few seconds thinking “well which ones do you think I would want to adopt” I simply replied “because they are the ones they gave us.” Now SHE looked confused. She said “yeah but what about them makes you want to adopt them.” Ah, yes, there it is. She was looking for something conditional about these kids that makes me want to adopt them. What’s wrong with that you ask? Well, kids change! If I want to adopt them because I like certain things about them, then what happens when that changes? This is how we pick puppies from the pound but shouldn’t be how we adopt kids.   So my next response was a defiant “because they are my kids!” I wanted to ask why she wanted to keep her kids but I didn’t. You see, when a child is born into a family, the parents already decided to love that child long before he or she was born and no matter what the child’s attributes are, they love them. You don’t see parents at the hospital looking at their child and deciding if they are going to keep them or not, do you? No! So when a foster child comes into our home we have already been praying for that child and loving that child no matter what they are like or what is wrong with them. They are our kids!

As a licensed counselor and therapeutic parent coach who specializes in working with foster, adopted, traumatized and difficult children I work with a lot of parents on this concept of unconditional love. Not only do we have to unconditionally love our kids, but they have to feel and believe that we do. This is where it gets hard. Every child needs someone to say “that’s my kid” and mean it with every fiber of their being no matter what happens or what the child does. But beyond that, the child has to take a risk and believe it. Hurt kids have a hard time doing this and often push parents away and even make parents act in ways that the child uses to confirm that they aren’t loved. Really bad and destructive patterns emerge when we don’t know how to handle situations with “hurt kids.” Notice I say “hurt kids” and not “bad kids.” These kids are hurting and they need someone to love them in a way that the child can believe them.

There was a point in time when I decided to be God’s child. I decided to let him adopt me into his family. Maybe you have as well? When we do that God reaches down, takes us in his arms and says “my kid” and it’s done. You are his kid unconditionally, no matter what you have done or how damaged you are. This is the model we have for adoption and for parenting, but it is hard to live. The “My Kids” program was started to help make this a reality. Our passion is for every child to have someone say “My Kid” and mean it and for every child to have the chance to take the risk and believe it.

My wife and I currently have 10 children in our home. Some are our biological children, others are adopted and others are foster children. But they are all our kids, period. People often ask “which ones are ours” to which we give a really confused look and say, “well all of them are ours.” James 1:27 commands us to look after the orphans. The My Kids program is committed to fulfilling this command and pursuing the goal of every child having someone say “my kid” and mean it.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27


We are your community…

By Stephen Luther

Licensed Counselor, Therapeutic Parent Coach and founder of the My Kids Program and online Community

My Kid’s Therapeutic parent coaching group on Facebook:

forest - Called to Thrive
Apr 21

Fighting God’s Will: Get Out Of The Way

By dougl1kj | Blog , Life

forest - Called to Thrive

Something you’ll probably notice if you walk into The Grace Wellness Center or follow any of our social media pages or blogs, is the emphasis on living an abundant life. As Christians, we are called to not just muddle through our days, but to live abundantly. We are born again in Christ, and are promised that God will provide for our needs and has a specific plan for our lives. So why does it seem that so many Christians are just waltzing through life, and struggling to find peace, joy, and purpose? Why are we not thriving?

Simon Peter was a good man. He was an apostle. He walked with Jesus and learned from Him first hand. Peter was the first to see Christ and the only apostle to have an individual meeting with Jesus following the resurrection. He was “the rock” that Jesus trusted to build the early Church. Yet when we look at Peter’s story throughout the Bible, there is a pattern; a pattern that I believe holds true in the lives of many Christians today. Peter couldn’t get out of the way.

Peter had a habit of being impetuous. He often spoke or acted without putting much thought into what he was doing and saying. He let his human emotions and personal thoughts cloud his perception, and he got in the way of God’s will. A good example of this is his questioning of Jesus in Matthew 16:23. Peter rebukes Christ and resists that the Messiah must suffer. Jesus responds by telling Peter, “you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man”. Other examples of Peter’s struggles include drawing his sword in anger when Jesus was arrested, and denying Christ in the courtyard of the high priest to protect himself. These were both actions that were driven by human emotions and personal thoughts and interests, instead of Spiritual wisdom.

If selfish thoughts and human emotions can trip Peter up, then it’s safe to assume Christians today can be stumped by similar thoughts and emotions. Think about your own life for a minute. In what areas of your life are you getting in the way of God’s will? What is preventing you from living an abundant life? What is preventing you from thriving?

Sometimes life is difficult. We all go through different struggles. Selfishly, we ask God, “why?” Here is something to remember. We only have our own understanding; a human understanding. We are ignorant of God’s plan and ways. We often decide to do what is in our own best interest, which is self-promoting. We interfere with God’s will because of our own limited self-perception, and therefore, we find it difficult to find this abundant life that God promises in Christ. So what can we do? Get out of the way.

Easier said than done, right? How do we get out of the way, start living abundantly and really thriving the way God wants us to? I have an idea on that. Prayer is a vital part of connecting with God. Constantly talking to God and seeking Him, we gain discernment and are able to separate our selfish thoughts and emotions, from His will and His plan for our lives. But even in prayer, many Christians allow their insecurities and negative thoughts to get in the way of their connecting with God, worrying about the right time to pray or what words to say. Scripture gives us guidance on this. In Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus teaches the disciples to pray (the Lord’s Prayer), with the focus being on God’s will coming to fruition. “Thy will be done,” is a powerful prayer that Jesus used even in Gethsemane when He set His own desires aside to accept and become God’s plan of salvation for humanity (Luke 22:42). God has given us a guidebook in the Bible, and an example to live by in Christ. Being in the Word consistently is also important for spiritual growth. God provides examples and stories in the Bible that teach us how to live and how to connect with Him. The more we connect with Him, the more we grow to trust Him, and the easier it becomes to get out of the way.

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