Category Archives for "Walking Wounded"

Called To Thrive - covering face
Apr 28

Take Off The Mask

By dougl1kj | Life , Walking Wounded


Called To Thrive - covering face

Why do we wear a mask? Often we are afraid to let people see who we really are. We might fear that if they really knew us with all of our imperfections they wouldn’t love us or accept us. Often we mistakenly believe that other people have it together and it’s just us that have the problems. So we try to get others to see us the way we see them…without problems.

In the last newsletter we talked about the “walking wounded” and outlined the process of healing through Biblical counseling. This month we are going to look more closely at the first step in that outline, taking off the mask. As a framework for this discussion, the following is the outline that was presented last month:

The Process of Healing through Biblical 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.

12 Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, 13 and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. 14 But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. 15 But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; 16 but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

Does the veil remain for some in your church? Do you struggle with people in your church who just don’t seem to be growing and aren’t realizing the freedom they have in Christ? Look at 2 Corinthians 3:18. We are to be transformed to ever increasing degrees of glory into the image of Christ. “The image of Christ!” That is who we are called to be, if we would just take off the mask and allow God to transform us.

Unfortunately, too often it seems easier to be fake and hide behind various masks that we create to fit each of our roles in life. We chose the mask instead of facing the pain that has occurred in our life. We mistakenly believe that the pain of healing will be worse than the pain that we live with. Unfortunately this pain just seems to grow with each new failure, rejection or hurt. In my 15 years of working with hurting people, not one of them has ever gone through the process of healing and told me it wasn’t worth it. However, I have had many say they wish they had done it years earlier.

It seems so obvious that we need to face our pain and heal, so why do we often not do that. I believe it is because we are deceived. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” I believe it is time to expose this deception and let people know that there is help. At Grace Wellness Center we specialize in helping people find safe ways to take off the mask and begin to face the pain they are covering. Would you join us in this process and make our services available to your church? We would be happy to speak with you and tell you more about our ministry and how we can partner with you. If you would be interested in developing a ministry partnership with us, please contact us at 724-863-7223 or send us an email to learn how to get started with this process (

called to thrive -deep subconscious
Jun 03

Why Can’t I Get Well?

By Stephen Luther | Blog , Counseling , Splankna Healing Ministry , Walking Wounded , Wellness

called to thrive -deep subconscious

We have all had this experience; we know what is wrong, we want to get well, we may even seek help, but nothing works.  It’s frustrating and if you’re like a lot of people, you have just accepted that some things won’t change.  You’ve accepted something less than the abundant life Christ came to give you.  Or maybe you have accepted some watered down version of abundant life and become convinced there is nothing 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 NASB

But if Christ came so that we can have abundant life, it must be possible.  I challenge you to start believing that.  Or at least to start wanting to believe it.  Are you willing to do that?  Let’s look deeper into this issue and explore what is going on and why so many of us can’t find freedom.

Most of our issues are deeply rooted and buried in our subconscious.  They emerge when they are triggered but then they get submerged until they are “needed” again.  These issues are the result of a past wound or maybe many past experiences that hurt you.  These experiences come with a lot of negative emotion that get attached to that issue and, unless resolved, weigh it down and keep it buried in your subconscious.  You may be aware that it is there, but in your conscious mind you cannot resolve it or deal with all of its impact.  Think of something being submerged in the deep end of a pool weighed down by a lot of heavy weights.  You may dive down and try to bring it to the surface but the weights become too much and you lose your grip and it sinks to the bottom again.  This is what it is like when we try to resolve deeply rooted issues.  We try to bring it to the surface and deal with it but we can’t.  Each time we try, we begin to lose faith that it can be resolved.  It’s hard to believe something can be resolved when all your experiences tell you otherwise.  It’s hard to believe you can truly be free and have abundant life.  That’s why I challenged you, that if you can’t believe it, you can want to believe it.  That’s where it starts.  Choose to want to believe you can get well, offer that to God and ask him to fill in the gaps in your faith.

Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”  Mark 9:24

Let go back to our analogy for a second.  What if you could dive down and one at a time cut the weights off of this thing that is submerged in the deep end of the pool.  With each weight that is removed it would begin to rise and eventually be floating on the surface of the water.   Could you remove it now?  absolutely!  So what if we could do that with those deeply rooted issues in our lives?  Well, you can.  This is exactly what we do in Splankna healing ministry.

At Grace Wellness Center we provide both Splankna treatment and in partnership with the Splankna Institute are now offering level 1 Splankna training to pastors, counselors and anyone else who has a passion for ministry and helping others in the Pittsburgh area.  You do not have to be a pastor or professional counselor to use this tool.  In my personal counseling practice and ministry, Splankna has become my most valuable tool and I believe once you experience it you will understand why.  Training is coming to Pittsburgh in July 2016 so don’t miss out!

Please contact me directly with any questions or to come to the office and see a live demonstration.  If interested please email me at

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

By Stephen Luther

Executive Director of Grace Wellness Center

Licensed Professional Counselor, Therapeutic Parent Coach and Splankna Trainer

called to thrive - dog fight
May 25

A Dog Fight

By Ron Agostoni | Blog , Counseling , Life , Walking Wounded , Wellness

called to thrive - dog fight

“That will teach them”.  Every utter that phrase? Ever experience that feeling of rage building inside of you, ready to explode out of your chest like something from the movie Alien.  Like an untamed wild animal gnawing at your mind and emotions. There’s that desire to tell someone off, cuss them out, or to slam on the accelerator speeding past the person who cut you off while “flipping the bird”. Like a dog tugging at its leash, it pulls you down, drags you about, and leads you down somewhere you don’t want to go.  And what do we call that dog; it goes by the name of Anger.

This dog named Anger has a message.  In the midst of the gnarling and the showing of teeth, it’s saying: “They deserved it”, “They will pay for that”, “They will regret it”, “I swear to God, I’m gonna…”, “If only they would shut up, then I wouldn’t…”.   And the fight is on.  The fight between giving someone a piece of your mind and that voice saying, “let it go”.  And there it is, the other dog named self-control; telling you to stop, or you shouldn’t do that, this won’t help.  So which dog is going to win, well it depends on which dog you feed the most.

That untamed dog named Anger has proven to destroy friendships, marriages, land someone in prison, and can even lead to major health problems.  But the dog named self-control is capable, patient, mature, forgiving, expresses forbearance, and restores.  Which dog do you feed?  John 6:35 reads: Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”  Are you eating from the bread of life or are feasting off the bait of Satan?

Scripture reveals to us that vengeance belongs to our Lord.  Deuteronomy 32:35 reads: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.”  The truth is that vengeance is His and we have no right to seek it out on our own.  We are required to forgive, this is not an option that we have the right to decide whether or not we will forgive someone, but rather something that is vital to our wellbeing, both spiritually and physically. We are called daily to forgive, 7×70, not allowing the sun to set on our anger.  Despite the dog fight between wanting our own “pound of flesh” and “turning the other cheek”, the fact is that God will avenge us and He is more swift and just than we are.

Even as I write this, I am reminded of the dog fights I have had to endure throughout my life. When I was younger, if someone hurt me, I would hurt them worse just to “teach them a lesson”.  We may feel justified to retaliate, or to speak our minds telling someone exactly what we think, but we are not. And there lies the problem as I see it. That side where we believe that we are entitled to seek justice and “speak our mind” and the side that reminds us we are not.  Let me be clear about this, I am not saying that anger in itself is wrong, sinful, or always unwanted.  After all anger is only an emotion.  However, what we do with that anger and how much time we devote to “feeding that dog”; well that can turn into a destructive pattern within our lives.

When we feed off of the bread of life and enjoy the fruits of the spirit, allowing God to deal with those who have offended us, the load on our shoulders is no longer heavy.  There is a relief and a sense of freedom that comes about. So in the end, the hard part in managing your anger comes down to the struggle between your sinful soul that seeks justice and the spirit of God what dwells inside of you. Which dog will you feed more? Learn to lean of the strength of God that dwells inside of you.  You need to prevent anger from overcoming your thoughts and life by being in the word of God because when you are in the word of God, His word reminds you of these things that provide the strength you need.  So be still and know that He is God and there you will find that peace that surpasses all understanding. And isn’t that is the end goal you’re seeking, that peace that surpasses all understanding while in the midst of a dog fight.

One last thought to consider, there are tools that can help you develop that self-control and manage your anger.  Head knowledge is good, Godly wisdom is essential, and developing tools that help enable self-control is possible.  If you are struggling with anger, or know someone who is, call the main office of Grace Wellness Center at 724-866-7223 for more information on our anger management group.  It is a group that utilizes Cognitive Behavior techniques and the word of God to reach a more abundant life.  Let go of angers leash and find rest in God.

called to thrive - heal the wounds
Mar 04

Heal the Wounds

By Stephen Luther | Blog , Life , Walking Wounded

called to thrive - heal the wounds

In the last couple newsletters we have been talking about the walking wounded… those among us who are hurting and have not gotten help for their emotional, spiritual or relational wounds. We know about some of these folks, but many are suffering in silence. We know because often when people come to our counseling centers for help, we are the first people they have told about their problems. Our mission at Grace Wellness Center is to help the walking wounded by providing a safe place for them to heal without fear of judgment or rejection.

In the last newsletter we discussed taking off the mask and being genuine and why many people choose not to do this and instead suffer in silence. This month, we are going to talk about healing the actual wounds. As seen in the outline below this is the second step in the total process of healing.

The Process of Healing through Biblical 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.

In his book Pure Desire, Ted Roberts tells a story of speaking at a church in the Bible belt. He asked the pastor what he wanted him to speak on and was told to just speak about all the good things God is doing in his ministry. Ted responded that he could do that but was sure he would end up talking about the hurt and brokenness that exists in the church, especially around sexual issues. The pastor assured him that while he could do that, he would not find people like that in his church. After all, they are not only in the Bible belt but the buckle of the Bible belt. So as Ted Roberts spoke about sexual sins and brokenness he gave a call for all those who struggle with some of these issues to come forward and acknowledge it before God and get help. He tells us that at first no one moved but once one person did, they were lined up 3 deep coming down the aisles. You see, often we think that our church or our family or our friends don’t suffer with the kind of brokenness we see elsewhere, but usually we are deceiving ourselves. The walking wounded are in our midst at church, in the community, in our neighborhoods and in our extended family. Let us help you meet the needs of these individuals and provide a safe place for them to heal.

The type of wounds people deal with are many. Often if we have secure relationships with others and God, they heal over time. However, many do not heal even if we have secure relationships. For those who lack proper support the healing of wounds is even more infrequent. You may think that everyone in your church has the support they need from the pastors, church leaders or others in the congregation. However, people who are deeply wounded, especially from very young, often don’t have a foundation of trust and security that allows them to take advantage of this support. Many who are not active in the church are this way not because of choice, but because of ability. They can’t connect because of their woundedness. Not connecting only intensifies their woundedness. At Grace Wellness Center, we specialize in helping people heal in a way that repairs the very wounds that keep them from taking advantage of the support in your church. Our goal is to return them to you healthy and able to grow and contribute based on their gifts and calling.

Psalm 34:18 tells us that “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” He wants all that are hurting to know that His grace is sufficient for them and that he has already provided the victory over their brokenness. Healing from brokenness and developing the ability to live in line with God’s truth and free from destructive patterns of behavior and thinking is essential if we are to fulfill our calling to be transformed more and more into his image (2 Corinthians 3:18, Romans 8:29). In order to do this, we need to examine the hurt and through God’s word figure out how to integrate it into our life story. Unfortunately attempts to deny and forget hurtful things end up only causing more harm and leads to us missing out on the blessings that God has planned for us through the suffering. We need to help people see that through God’s grace, suffering doesn’t have to be destructive. It can lead to the development of perseverance, proven character and hope (Romans 5:3-4). We also want them to know that God does not want our suffering to be fruitless but to lead to an endurance that will enable us to be complete and lacking in nothing (James 1:4).

Will you join us in our effort to get our message to the walking wounded in your church and community? Consider partnering with Grace Wellness center and letting us come along side you in your existing ministry and strengthen your impact on those in your care. If you would like to explore the possibility of developing a ministry partnership with Grace Wellness Center please call the office (724-863-7223) and ask for either Kaelynn Labra, our Outreach Coordinator, or Dr. Phillip Huggins, our Director of Spiritual Development.

At Grace Wellness Center, the invitation is open to every heart that has been broken…let us help!