Category Archives for "Life"

called to thrive - sorry
Mar 04

I Am Sorry Is Not Enough

By Dr. Phil Huggins | Blog , Life

called to thrive - sorry

I Am Sorry is Not Enough: Incorporating Genuine Apologies into Christian Counseling
“Real life involves real people who make real mistakes. Sometimes saying ‘I’m sorry’ just isn’t enough. The need for apologies impacts all human relationships.” This is the opening statement on the back cover of The Five Languages of Apology written by Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas. They present five fundamental aspects or languages of an apology:

Expressing regret – “I am sorry”

Accepting Responsibility – “I was wrong”

Making Restitution – “What can I do to make it right?”

Genuinely Repenting – “I’ll try not to do that again”

Requesting Forgiveness – “Will you please forgive me?”

These five aspects gave me something to think about. Chapman and Thomas present the premise that often times when an apology is offered, it is not totally accepted because it does not speak the language of the hearer. I would like to present an alternative view. It is not the wrong aspect of an apology that causes it to not be accepted, but that the apology is incomplete. The apology is lacking one or more of the five aspects. An incomplete apology has the potential to do more harm than no apology as it is perceived and received as hypocrisy.

While the authors stressed learning your primary and secondary “language”, it seems to make more sense to practice using all five in all apologies. They even encourage using all five at different points. Rather than five unique languages of apology a better concept would be the complete apology which would include all five aspects. It would be hard not to accept an apology that states “I was wrong. I am sorry. I will try not to do that again. Will you please forgive me. What can I do to make it right?”

The problem is not that an apology did not speak the right language but that it is incomplete. In my college classes, I have often told a student that what they did was good, but they did not do enough or go far enough so they received a less than desirable grade. The same is true in an apology. Often what is offered is good but it does not go far enough so the response is less than desirable.

To offer an apology and not have it accepted is devastating for the individuals involved. The one who did wrong is desiring the relationship be restored; the wronged needs to be healed. When the healing does not happen because of an incomplete apology and the relationship is not restored due to a lack of acceptance, the result is bitterness and anger and resentment.

It would be interesting to see how many marriages and friendships would have been salvaged if a complete apology had been offered. How many apologies would have been accepted if a complete apology was offered?

The next time you make an apology. Make it complete. Let me know how it works. I have begun encouraging complete apologies in my counseling sessions. It is having an amazing positive response. Truth is truth so this should work in your life as well.

called to thrive - redefine the problem parent coaching photo
Jul 02

Redefine the Problem

By dougl1kj | Blog , Coaching , Life , My Kids Program

called to thrive - redefine the problem parent coaching photo

Redefine the Problem with Parent Coaching

“My Kids” Therapeutic Parent Coaching Program

            When you look at it the way you have always looked at it, you will see what you have always seen.  We have been programmed by our culture to think in behavioral terms.

  “My child is defiant…manipulative…controlling…dishonest.”

  “I can’t let them get away with this.”

  “If I don’t make him feel bad, I am a bad parent.”

  “I have to give a consequence (even thought they aren’t working)…maybe something more severe will work.”

  “This time the sticker chart will work, they will want to earn TV.”

If you are cool with that way of thinking about things and don’t want to see things differently, you probably should stop reading now.  For the rest of you, open your minds to a better way to connect to your kids!

We are human beings, not Human doings!

            We treat our children as if they are human doings instead of human beings.  Why is this?  It’s because our world has programmed us to look at behaviors and not at the individual.   Think about it…insurance companies won’t pay for treatment if behaviors can’t be measured…many parenting books see kids, from new born to adolescents, as manipulative brats…If you walk into Target with a screaming kid under your arm while smiling and wave to people who are staring at you, they talk about you behind your back (or am I the only one who does that?).  Anyways, our world is about compliance not connection.  God created us to connect and for compliance to come out of those connections.  Neurologically, the executive functioning part of our brain (the prefrontal cortex) is designed to make decisions based 90% on our understanding of relationships, and based 10% on rewards and consequences.

“What you do does not determine who you are, who you are determines what you do.”  Neil Anderson

If this is true, traditional parenting approaches are very inadequate!   We need to redefine how we see the problem if we are going to change how we parent.  What would I do if I didn’t see my child as defiant, manipulative, or controlling?  I’m glad you asked!  At the root of all negative behavior, your child’s and yours, is insecurity.  When I am insecure I react out of fear.  Why do many parents give consequences?  Because they are afraid of what will happen if they don’t or that their child with think they “got away with it.”  Why do children act up?  They are stressed and become insecure because they don’t know how to manage it.  They haven’t developed the connections necessary to help them regulate their stress.

When I am stressed, or when one of my kids is stressed, we chose either the green (secure) path, or we chose the red (insecure) path.  If I see my child’s behavior as defiant or manipulative I am more likely to go down the red path which means I react with the same consequence (maybe more severe this time) that has never worked (If it worked you wouldn’t still have to do it).  This reaction leads to disconnection with my child, failure and limitations in our relationship.  If I redefine the problem and see my child as stressed and insecure instead of defiant and manipulative, I am more likely to move down the green path.  I stay regulated and connect with my child.  This gives them the opportunity to connect with me and regulate their stress.  This leads to success (you are successful even if your child doesn’t comply right way because you have stayed regulated and changed the pattern…eventually your child will regulate and connect to you and begin to change his behavior).  This path also leads to more possibilities to connect as the relationship grows and behavioral patterns start to change.

Are you ready to go on this journey or do you want to stay stuck in old patterns that haven’t worked?  If you are ready to transform your family, our parent coaching program is for you!


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 parent coaching group on Facebook:
Grace Wellness Center on Facebook:

called to thrive - failure to success
Jun 04

Moving from Failure to Success – Biblical Life Coaching

By dougl1kj | Blog , Coaching , Life

called to thrive - failure to success

As Christian Life Coaches, we begin by pointing people to the scriptures to see that we were clearly not made for ordinary lives, we were created for so much more.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:10

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

Why do many Christians settle for the ordinary?  Why do so few even seek “abundant life?”  Why are most Christians not even conquerors let alone “more than conquerors?”  Why do so few think it is even possible?  While there are likely many reasons or variations on why, I believe that it boils down to two related issues…unbelief and fear.  Living in fear leads to foolish decisions and ultimately failure.  Repeat this cycle long enough and you begin to believe it is all you can do.  At this point you are thinking “but I’m not afraid of anything.”  Some men are even insulted by the thought they might be afraid…well sorry guys but like it or not we all have fear at the root of our failures.

 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. I John 4:18

                When I step outside of God’s love I step right into fear.  I am not talking about the “fear of the Lord,” that is the only fear that is rooted in love.  All other fears are rooted in self love.  Does that make sense?  If I am walking in God’s love it casts our all other fears but if I am walking in the flesh, pride, self love, I live in fear of things not being how I want them to be and act foolishly based on those fears.

Let’s look at this a little closer.  Why do I get angry at my wife?  Because things aren’t the way “I” want them to be.  In my pride, I lash out at her because I am fearful I won’t get what I feel I need.  I act foolishly and end up with a worse mess than I had to begin with.  I don’t find peace until I begin to walk in love.  This love casts out my fears and I can see clearly to make better decisions.  In my fear and anger I have torment as described in I John 4:18.  When I walk in love I find answers and greater success.  In fear there are problems, in love there are solutions.

Let me put this in a different context.  I started Grace Wellness Center a little over 5 years ago.  I had no idea what I was doing but believed God lead me to begin this ministry.  I followed his leading but then quickly fear took over.  I feared failure so I acted in desperation in a number of pursuits.  One of those was investing $15,000 in radio ads that didn’t work.  When they weren’t working I just kept acting in fear and stubbornly kept trying.  I couldn’t accept the loss of $5000 dollars and felt I needed to make it work, so I kept listening to my sales rep that “it just takes time.”  Then I couldn’t accept losing $10,000 dollars and felt I had to make it work or the money would just be wasted.  I kept convincing myself foolishly that “I” could make this work and recoup my money.  I felt “I” had to do this.  Then one day I got to the end of myself and got on my knees and asked God what I needed to do.  God didn’t meet me with the judgment or disgust I had for myself.  He met me with love and I felt him physically lift me up off my knees and heard him tell me “it’s not your job to pay the bills, that’s my job.”  I realized at that point that my role in this was to be faithful and to abide in him.  With this new contentment and walking in his love, I began to make wise choices and the business began to take off. Five years later we have 15 counseling and coaching centers throughout western PA and offer Biblical Counseling and Biblical Life Coaching to anywhere in the nation via phone or skype.

Whether you are experiencing failure in your relationships, career, health, parenting or any other area of life, Biblical Life Coaching can help you turn those failures into successes.  We have several highly qualified coaches with specialties in every area of life waiting to help you find success.  Will you partner with us and let us come along side you on your journey towards abundant life?

A wise man will hear and increase in learning,
And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel, Proverbs 1:5


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 Biblical Life Coach


called to thrive - chicken
Jun 03

Be a Wise Chicken

By dougl1kj | Blog , Coaching , Life

called to thrive - chicken

What does Christian counseling and life coaching 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 we are much like that.  We often put the blinders on and pursue our goal without really thinking it through.  We react and often get run over by life.  Or, alternatively, we don’t pursue our goals because of fear of what we cannot see.  A wise chicken keeps his goal, the other side of the road, in focus but broadens his view to consider other important information such as whether a car is coming.  He acts wisely.  Do you often get run over by life circumstances?  Or do you stand on the side of the road afraid to cross because of uncertainty of what lies ahead?  If you are like me, most times, you can’t see those cars coming at you.  Often I need someone to come along side me and help me see where I am about to get run over.  So let’s look at the process.

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

Life 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 routed 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.

At Grace Wellness Center our Christian counselors and life coaches specialize in helping you be a wise chicken.  What areas of life are you struggling in?  Where are you getting run over by the circumstances of life?  What areas are you stuck in and can’t see past the limitations before you?  Our counselors and coaches would love to come along side you and help you be a wise chicken…are you ready to live the extraordinary life God designed for you to have?


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 Biblical Life Coach


called to thrive - connection not compliance
Apr 27

Parenting for Connection not Compliance

By dougl1kj | Blog , Life , My Kids Program

called to thrive - connection not compliance

Parenting for Connection not Compliance

Therapeutic Parent Coaching

            Have you ever heard that you should pick your battles in parenting?  What if I told you that you didn’t have to battle at all?  You would think I was nuts right?  Well I might be, but the fact is, you never have to battle with your kids.  It’s true!

Luke 6:45

The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.

God commands us to be obedient but that is in the context of a relationship.  Luke 6:45 tells us that what is in a person’s heart is what leads to the outward expression of either good or evil.  If we focus just on this outward expression, we battle.  When we focus on the heart we don’t have to battle, we learn to connect and dance with our children.

“Dance?  What do you mean dance?  I don’t like to dance!”

I am talking about doing a relational dance with your kids.  When your child (or anyone for that matter) engages in a negative behavior, they are communicating something to you.  They are insecure and acting on what is in their heart.  Are you listening?  When we address the behavior we battle.  When we address the heart, we dance.

All negative behavior comes out of some insecurity that your child can’t regulate.  When we battle our kids, they perceive us as against them and as a threat to what they are trying to do to resolve the insecurity.  What if you could help them deal with the insecurity and not get caught up in battles no one wins?  “Wow, that would be cool!”

Dancing 101:

  1. Accept that this behavior is their best attempt to deal with what is going on in their heart.  This is hard for a lot of parents because they are afraid if they accept it, it won’t change.  The opposite is actually true.  Acceptance is the beginning of change.  Not accepting leads to more of the same.
  2. Stop doing what isn’t working.  Stop going right to consequences.  What if you could create change without consequences?  Would that be ok?  What if you only had to use consequences as one tool among many?
  3. Empathize with their hurt and insecurity.  Empathy gets you into their heart and sooths the hurt.
  4. Be curious about what is going on for them.  While empathy gets you into their heart, curiosity invites them to come out.  This may take a while but if you don’t battle and keep at it, they will begin to come out and connect with you.
  5. Connect with your kids and enjoy them!

Do you want more?  Try Parent Coaching, it will help you learn to dance with your kids and transform your family.  Let us know if we can help!

Psalm 127:3-5

Behold, children are a gift of the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.


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 parent coaching group on Facebook:
Grace Wellness Center on Facebook:

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