Category Archives for "Counseling"

called to thrive - vision, decision,
Mar 22

Vision, Decision, Provision

By Stephen Luther | Blog , Coaching , Counseling , Thrive , Wellness

called to thrive - vision, decision,

I was once asked if, as Christians, we should be plan makers or order followers.  How are we suppose to Thrive as Christians?  Do we create visions, make plans, or wait for orders?  As I thought about this and what scripture says, it was clear that we are to be both plan makers and order followers.  We need to find our calling, create visions and be obedient even when we feel ill equipped.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  Matthew 16:24

Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.  Proverbs 15:22

God desires our partnership in carrying out his work.  He wants us to rely on Him and do extraordinary things in his name.

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.  John 14:12

Ok so how does this work?  How do I THRIVE as a believer?

When people hear that my wife and I have 13 kids, many of whom have been severely abused and neglected before they came to us, we get very interesting reaction.  Most are very affirming and encouraging but usually somewhere in the discussion they say that it is great that God has equipped us for that calling but they know they haven’t been equipped for something like that.  Ok so let’s first look at the calling.  God calls us to be more than conquerors, to overcome and to have abundant life.  He calls believers to do the works that He did and in fact to do “greater works.”   How about this?  In James 1:27 God calls us to take care of widows and orphans.  So all believers are called to do God sized things; extraordinary things.  Every believer has been called to THRIVE!  

Ok so now let’s look at this idea of equipping.  Every time I have taken in another abused child I have felt ill equipped; because I am.  We recently had two children placed with us temporarily and the option to make it permanent came up.  Initially I said “absolutely not, we can’t handle any more kids.”  Well one day I was sitting next to one of the kids and felt an undeniable call from God that this was my child.  That was it.  I wasn’t equipped but God called me.  I can either be obedient and trust Him to do it through me or I can be disobedient because I don’t feel equipped.

So I believe the process of Thriving, of taking on God sized challenges, looks like this.  First we have the vision.  We look at how God has designed us and what passions He has placed in our hearts and we allow ourselves to dream BIG.  We wake up every day and, like Isaiah, say “here I am God, send me.”  Then we EXPECT him to do big things because he is a big God.  After seeking God’s direction with these visions, we then make a decision.  We decide whether we are going to be obedient and trust God or not.  If we decide to wait until we are equipped, we are deciding to not trust God.  Then once we trust Him, He gives us the provisions to carry out the vision.  If we wait to be equipped we miss it.  Dream big, decide to follow God and then watch Him equip you and do it through you.

Vision – Decision – Provision

God is calling you to THRIVE!  We are here to come along side you, meet you right where you are and help you get there.

Life is a Journey, do more than survive; choose to THRIVE!

called to thrive - live a life that thrives
Mar 22

Live a Life that THRIVES!

By Stephen Luther | Blog , Coaching , Counseling , Thrive , Wellness

called to thrive - live a life that thrives

Are you thriving in your life?  Do you believe you can or have you settled for just surviving?  Have you wondered if there is hope or is this all there is?  Let’s take a look at this.

“But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.”  Romans 8:37

Are you overcoming?  Yeah, me neither.  But check it out, God is!  Too often we think we have to do it on our own and get overwhelmed and depleted.  We conclude we can’t do it….and we are right.  But God doesn’t want us to do it; he wants to do it through us.  Isn’t that amazing?  Doesn’t that make you excited?  The God of the universe wants to give you abundant life and help you thrive in your life despite your circumstances.  He wants to move you past the limitations and lies that the world has given you.  They are nothing to him!  What does God want to do in your life that He isn’t because you won’t get out of the way?

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

In case you are wondering, this doesn’t mean you won’t have suffering or bad things happen to you.  What it means is that God has already overcome those circumstances.  Read the above verse again.  “I HAVE overcome the world.”  He has done it, we just have to accept it and let Him live through us.  Are you ready?

Life is a Journey, do more than survive; choose to THRIVE!

called to thrive - shame
Mar 04

Guilt: True or False?

By Beth Allen | Blog , Counseling , Life

called to thrive - shame

Guilt: True or False? Can Christian counseling help me get rid of my guilt? After all, guilt is usually viewed as a negative emotion, causing us to feel like failures or feel condemned, or unable to meet what is expected of us. Guilt is not always bad however. It can lead us to repentance, towards righteousness, and toward making needed positive changes in our lives.

So then, how can Christian counseling help me tell the difference between good guilt and bad guilt? Christian counselor June Hunt refers to this as “true guilt” versus “false guilt.” True guilt is based in fact: I was at fault…I did do something to deserve a punishment…I did commit a sin. True guilt is the result of any wrong attitude, thought, or action.

On the other hand, false guilt is based on the feeling that I’ve failed to live up to my own expectations or someone else’s. False guilt involves self-condemnation: either I blame myself (even though there’s no evidence that I committed a wrong) or continue to blame myself even after I’ve apologized and made amends. False guilt causes me to feel accused. False guilt leads to shame, fear and anger. Through Christian counseling, it can be revealed how false guilt is contrary to what Scripture says. (Discuss Romans 8 with your counselor).

To get to the bottom of the guilt, we will need further examination of our “self-talk” which is our internal chatter, the messages we tell ourselves, our thinking patterns. Do you often think to yourself (or say out loud) any of the unreasonable “shoulds”? For example, perhaps you are giving yourself messages such as: You should be smarter; you should be more careful; you should never show your anger; you should be more like your sibling, etc. These statements are often impossible to live up to, judgmental, condemning warning signs that we are being affected by false guilt.

Walk through the following steps with your Christian counselor: 1) Find the source of your guilt: fact or feelings? Examine why you are feeling guilty. 2) List out the facts! Take responsibility for your sin. Discuss with your Christian counselor if any restitution would be appropriate. 3) Ask for forgiveness from God and the offended person if possible. 4) Give up dwelling on the past and become willing to stop the self condemnation. 5) Practice prayer and positive self-talk if the old accusations and condemning thoughts arise. (Process Philippians 4 with your counselor). 6) Practice some more. 7) Review steps 1-6 with your Christian counselor as needed and keep practicing!

Submitted by Beth Allen, LPC Adapted from Counseling Through Your Bible Handbook by June Hunt, 2008

called to thrive - relationships
Mar 04

Christian Counseling Helps Build Relationships

By LeeAnn Trout | Blog , Counseling , Counseling and Therapy

called to thrive - relationships

Searching for deeper connections with others? Surrounded by others but still feeling alone? Christian Counseling can help build closer relationships. We were not made to live alone regardless of the independent nature of our American culture. The fast pace and media saturated lives may leave less time for nurturing close personal relationships. While our social networks grow through various social media, our true intimate relationships suffer, including intimacy in marriage. Why this loneliness when there is so much going on around us? Within each of us there is a void that can only be filled with an intimate relationship with God. Also, as image bearers of God, we seek intimacy within community. God said that it is not good for man to be alone (Gen. 2:18). So from Adam he made Eve (Gen. 2:23) and joined them together showing a deep intimacy of the two becoming one (Gen. 2:24). They were naked and unashamed, not just in a physical sense but in a completely emotional, vulnerable, open and trusting relationship. They were truly known by one another and by the Lord. Before sin entered the world the relationship between Adam, Eve and God was perfectly intimate.
Since The Fall, we must now discover a relational God and develop the skills to be in relationship with others. Sin brought shame and the reaction to hide ourselves over being open, resulting in us not allowing others to fully know us. With the inborn desire for intimacy and the ability to increase in knowledge it is possible for us to improve in relational skills. The perfect, intimate relationship of our Triune God is impossible for us to develop but with His grace, He will teach us to be more like His Son, leading us to deeper intimacy with Him and others.
The Lord knows his people and how they work. This drive for intimacy brings benefits when it is being fulfilled. Research shows the importance of intimacy. Intimacy provides a buffer to psychological and physiological effects of stress. Lack of intimacy or emotional support from wives makes a heart attack more likely in men. Both men and women report less depression and anxiety when they also claim to have high intimacy within their relationships. Intimacy difficulties are also associated with maladjustment, personality disorders, admission to mental hospitals, and suicide. Marriages that are suffering from a lack of emotional intimacy will also negatively impact the couple’s spiritual and physical intimacy. So, it is evident that intimacy is a need psychologically, physiologically and spiritually. We were created for intimacy.
What types of experiences keep people from allowing themselves to be known or intimate with others?

1) Abuse – those that have experienced abuse of any type will naturally become guarded
2) Unforgiveness – unable to forgive and harboring the pain and resentment toward those that have hurt you keep people from opening up to others.
3) Judgmental- When expressing one’s self has been met with criticism, sarcasm and judgment.
4) Fear of rejection – fear of not being liked or cared for will also keep others from experiencing the real you.

Healing past hurts and traumas, learning to take steps beyond these experiences and allowing yourself to be open toward others in a safe relationship are all possible and will allow you to experience deep personal connections and acceptance in others. Christian Counseling can assist individuals in the identification of intimacy breakdown and walk with the client in opening up a path to experience real intimacy with others.

called to thrive - stress
Mar 04

Counseling Children Through Divorce

By LeeAnn Trout | Blog , Counseling , Divorce , Marriage


called to thrive - stressStatistics surrounding divorce are heartbreaking. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2012) for every 1,000 people there are 6.8 marriages and for every 1,000 people there are 3.6 divorces. Marriages are constantly breaking up and within those marriages are precious children being faced with difficult life situations. The 2009 American Community Survey indicates that only 47% of children reach the age of 17 in an intact married family. The effects of divorce on children are related to the degree of conflict level within the parents’ relationship. Counseling is encouraged for children of divorce to adapt to their situation and to learn to express emotion and gain proper coping skills. Studies in the area of effect of divorce on children vary greatly. Some research will suggest a lower level of well-being in children of divorced families when compared to intact families, while others suggest that the majority of children can overcome this situation with no difference in well-being. Research can conclude though that the higher conflict divorce, the greater the effects on the children. Stressors such as change in community, friends, or school, a decline in economic status, as well as less time with each parent and an inevitable sense or fear of abandonment lead to diminished functioning or health. Effects can be seen within relationships and interpersonal skills, diminished religious faithfulness, educational achievement, future income, and physical, emotional, and psychological health.
The effects of divorce seem to be life altering in many cases. Children’s adjustment to marital discourse and divorce can be helped through various types of therapy. Group therapy seems to be a leading approach to helping children of divorce, such as Divorce Care. Behavior change theory has been suggested to assist the parents in becoming better models and more peaceful in co-parenting. The use of expressive arts in all therapy is intriguing and has shown to be helpful with children of divorce.
Considering level of conflict amongst the parents is a determining factor on how effected the children are from the divorce, co parenting counseling can reduce the conflict and bring parent’s together to raise the children in a united relationship while remaining separated, all within the best interest of the children. Those attending co-parenting counseling are typically court ordered. However, some parents chose to participate in co parenting in order to ensure a healthy environment for their children. Co parenting counseling gives the parents the opportunity to sort through parenting issues and learn to provide a stable atmosphere for their children rather than taking one another to court to resolve conflicts.
It is imperative for our nation to understand the impact that divorce, especially high conflict divorce, has on children. Many children go through these difficult transitions without appropriate care and will possibly pass to the next generation the legacy of divorce. By providing children with appropriate counseling and entering into co parenting counseling the impact can be minimized.

called to thrive- teen frustrated
Aug 04

Christian Counseling for Teens When Life Feels Like a Big Pile of Manure

By dougl1kj | Blog , Counseling , My Kids Program

     called to thrive- teen frustrated

As a Christian counselor with youth I long for break through sessions where a teen I am working with finally “gets it.”  I was talking with a teen boy recently and reflected to him that it “sounds like life feels like a big pile of manure right now.”  He agreed and began to reflect on that idea.  We began to discuss the redeeming power of Christ in making all things new, even a pile of manure, when he had that break through thought.  He said, “manure can be used as fertilizer.”  “Wow! That is an awesome thought” I replied.  What does manure do?  It is stinky and dirty but when used as fertilizer it makes things beautiful and healthy.

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”  Revelations 21:4,5a

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.  2 Corinthians 5:17

 In Revelations we are given hope in knowing that eventually all things will be made new and there will be no more sorrow and no more pain.  But 2 Corinthians reminds us that if you are “in Christ” being made new is not just a future hope but a present reality.  We can live in a world full of manure and come out smelling like roses if we use that manure as fertilizer instead of just letting it stink up our lives.  Too many teens and others are just living with the manure as they get swept away by a culture that openly mocks God.  As Christian counselors we help these youth and people of all ages find hope in the redeeming power of the Lord.

Many of us struggle with understanding why God allows bad things to happen in our lives.  While attending a training on the Art of Marriage program by Family life recently we were presented with the idea that “God does not protect us from the things he will perfect us through. “  What a beautiful and accurate way to understand God’s plan.  God allows the manure in our life not because he is mean and wants us to stink but because we need to recognize the reality that, apart from him, we are lost and in need of redemption.  That “manure” can either make us hardened and callused or it can be the very thing that God uses to set us free.  It is his intention that, just like when manure is used as fertilizer to produce beautiful flowers and healthy vegetables, our suffering is used to produce beautiful and healthy things in our life.  He wants us to be made new!

Are you feeling like life is a big pile of manure right now?  Maybe a teen or someone else you know is feeling that way?  Would you let one of our Christian counselors come along side of you or your loved one and help them be set free and made new.  We counsel both locally and through skype so that location and schedules are not a barrier to receiving Biblical counsel.  As Christian counselors we long to point people to the redeeming power of Christ and help them take the manure they are living with and use it to fertilize the growth of healthy, beautiful and pure things in their life.  God longs to bless you!

Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you,
And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
How blessed are all those who long for Him.  Isaiah 30:18

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called to thrive - hurt teddy bear
May 03

Christian Counseling- A New Perspective

By dougl1kj | Blog , Counseling , Counseling and Therapy

called to thrive - hurt teddy bear

The wounds of the heart are the subject of Christian counseling, but often as a church community we don’t give them the same weight as we do physical wounds. Imagine if I walked into church with a big open wound on my body, I would immediately be approached by several caring people who would offer help and healing. If I told them I didn’t want any help with my wounds and that preferred to just walk around bleeding on everything they would be shocked. While this might sound farfetched, our churches and our communities are full of people walking around with open wounds on their hearts and in their lives. They are choosing not to deal with the problem.

Through the eyes of Christian counselors these people are considered the “walking wounded.” They may have tried to get help, but people didn’t understand or rejected them. If their wound has been with them for a long time, they may have grown comfortable with the problem or may even believe it is normal. Many of us have become accustomed to just accepting the masks people wear. It is more comfortable to accept that people are ok than to dig deeper and get to the truth. The truth is, many in our churches and communities are the “walking wounded” who have put on a mask to convince us they are ok. Are you willing to see the truth? Are you open to what you will see? Will the love of Christ in you be enough to keep you from running? I suggest that it’s time we stop letting people walk around wounded and do something about it. We at Grace Wellness Center specialize in helping the walking wounded become healed and whole again through Biblically based Christian Counseling. Please take a few minutes to look at the outline of our philosophy on healing wounds. Consider having us come and present a seminar that will encourage people to take off the mask and deal with the problem.

The Process of Healing through Christian Counseling
Take off the MASK: We need to begin the healing process by being genuine and open about our pain.
Heal the WOUNDS: Just like physical wounds, emotional, spiritual and relational wounds need to be treated and healed.
Remove the TOXINS: Toxins are the false beliefs that result from unhealed wounds and a life of covering our pain with masks.
Replace with TRUTH: The Bible tells us we are to be “transformed by the renewing of our minds.” We need to examine our life under the light of truth and replace the false and destructive beliefs with those that are true and healthy. This is what makes Christian counseling different, we get to the root of the problem and allow the truth to set people free.

Do you know people who are hurting and can’t seem to break the destructive or avoidant patterns in their lives? Are their people under your leadership who just don’t ever seem to get it and are spiritually stuck? Is there ongoing and unresolved conflict within families or between members of the church?
Grace Wellness Center can walk with you on your healing path. To schedule a Christian counseling session or just to get you questions answered simply call (724)863-7223 or email us at