Archive for January, 2017

Video: Overcoming Codependency (Step Four)

Below is a video from the presentation of “Overcoming Codependency.” For the various counseling options available from this material visit www.summitrdu.com/counseling.

NOTE: Many people have asked how they can get a copy of the seminar notebook referenced in this verbal presentation. You can request a copy from Summit’s admin over counseling at counseling@summitrdu.com (please note this is an administrative account; no individual or family counsel is provided through e-mail).

The Toxic Scripts of Dysfunction
LEARN MY SUFFERING STORY which I use to make sense of my experience.

Overcoming Codependency – Step 4 from The Sam James Institute on Vimeo.

Memorize: Psalm 22:1-2 (ESV), “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.” As you memorize this passage reflect upon these key points:

  • Matthew 27:46 – This script also entered Jesus’ story. These words are a common refrain in a fallen world.
  • “Forsaken me” – Pain, conflict, and betrayal make it feel like God has turned His back on us.
  • “So far” – More than merely having his back turned, pain makes it feel like God is walking away from us.
  • “Do not answer” – When God does not end the pain it is easy to believe He is not hearing our prayers.
  • “No rest” – In the midst of pain it easy to think God is a liar for not keeping His promises (i.e., Matt. 11:28-30).

Teaching Notes

“Sometimes the problem isn’t that we didn’t learn a lesson; it’s that we learned the wrong one (p. 168-169).” Melody Beattie in The New Codependency

“Many victims feel that God is punishing them, and they look for causes in themselves. They may think, ‘I haven’t been a good wife or mother, so God is punishing me,’ or ‘I did something wrong when I was a teenager, so God is punishing me,’ or ‘I haven’t been a good enough Christian, so God is punishing me.’ None of these are true. For God is a God of grace, not karma (p. 81).” Justin and Lindsey Holcomb in Is It My Fault?

“If you are a victim of domestic violence, then that is part of your story that you should not deny [Step 2] or minimize [Step 3]. But if you let it become the reigning story, then your identity will be founded on disgrace (p. 84).” Justin and Lindsey Holcomb in Is It My Fault?

“Family members (not only parents) and friends usually come to us believing they can only be as happy as their unhappiest loved one (p. 103).” Foote, Wilkens, Koskane and Higgs in Beyond Addiction

“Children pick up on what makes life work and what’s worth living for through the behaviors they witness at home, including destructive behaviors or attitudes not directed toward them (p. 58)… As long as I believed her words were more true than God’s Words, she had the power to destroy me – because I gave it to her (p. 66).” Leslie Vernick in The Emotionally Destructive Relationship

“The problem is when fear forgets God (p. 60)… With God reduced in our eyes, a fear of people will thrive (p. 85).” Ed Welch in When People Are Big and God Is Small

“Whereas Christ’s suffering may be seen as redemptive, suffering from abusive men does not redeem, indeed it guarantees that the violence will continue (p. 108).” Carol Adams in Woman Battering

“For many of us, lies feel truer than the truth does. It’s easier to believe that God hates us or is angry with us than it is to believe that we are his beloved children and are precious to him. We meditate again and again on some hurtful words someone has said, yet when another person pays us a compliment, we dismiss it or don’t trust it, even if that person is genuine (p. 69).” Leslie Vernick in The Emotionally Destructive Relationship

Paul David Tripp on “The Big Gospel Picture” for Parenting

parentingDo you feel like you are approaching parenting “the right way” but still feel frustrated or like something is missing? Is it your tendency (like mine) to focus on what God is doing in your children through your parenting and fail to recognize that God wants to parent you through your parenting of your children? If you answer “yes,” then Paul Tripp’s book Parenting: The 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family would be an excellent resource for you (as it was for me.

To help you get to know a book that helps you learn the “why” of parenting that fuels the “how to,” I have included a PDF sample of chapter 2 (see below). This chapter makes eight points about grace that are tailored in their application to parenting.

  1. Like everything else God calls people to do, God doesn’t call people to be parents because they are able.
  2. God never calls us to a task without giving us what we need to do it.
  3. God’s grace works to open your eyes to see yourself as a parent accurately.
  4. God’s grace frees you from having to deny your weakness.
  5. God’s grace rescues you from you.
  6. God’s grace grows and changes you as a parent.
  7. God’s grace works to make your heart tender.
  8. God’s grace liberates you from the prison of regret.

This was a refreshing read for me. I love the practical books, so it took me a while to adjust to parenting book that didn’t give me collection of new techniques. But the more I read, the more I realized that having a deeper gospel perspective on why God chose to use in-process parents to raise in-process children it gave me more patience and skill with the techniques I already knew. I hope that you find the same.

To download a PDF of chapter 2 of Paul Tripp’s book click here.

Taken from Parenting: The 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family by Paul David Tripp, ©2016, pp. 33-44. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.
If this post was beneficial for you, then considering reading other blogs from my “Favorite Posts on Parenting” post which address other facets of this subject.

Council of Counselors: Words Spoken from Pain / Homosexual Neighbor / Boosting Emotional Intelligence / Depression & Heart Disease / Sanctification

This is a weekly post that highlights resources from other counselors that I have found helpful. The counselors may be from the biblical counseling, Christian psychology, integration, or secular counseling traditions. By linking to a post, I am not giving it my full endorsement, I am merely indicating that I believe it made a unique contribution or raised an important subject for consideration.

Words for the Wind by John Piper

In grief and pain and despair, people often say things they otherwise would not say. They paint reality with darker strokes than they will paint it tomorrow, when the sun comes up. They sing in minor keys, and talk as though that is the only music. They see clouds only, and speak as if there were no sky.

  • This article uses Psalm 103 as an example of how God allows us to express very raw honesty in the midst of our suffering.

Do You Really Want to Minister to Your Homosexual Neighbor? by Mark Yarhouse

“But I would tell you this: The most frequently asked question by gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people — people navigating this terrain — is, ‘Do you want me here?’ And each and every one of us has to answer that question.”

How to Boost Your (and Other’s) Emotional Intelligence by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic and Michael Sanger

In fact, thousands of academic studies have demonstrated the predictive power of scientific EQ assessments vis-à-vis job performance, leadership potential, entrepreneurship, and employability. Moreover, the importance of EQ has been highlighted beyond work-related settings, as higher scores have been associated with relationship success, mental and physical health, and happiness.

Depression [Is] as Hard on the Heart as Obesity and Cholesterol by Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen

Depression poses a risk for cardiovascular diseases in men that is just as great as that posed by high cholesterol levels and obesity. This is according to a report recently published in the Atherosclerosis journal by researchers from the Helmholtz Zentrum München, together with colleagues from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the German Center for Cardiovascular Disease (DZHK).

10 Things You Should Know about Sanctification by Sam Storms

We all hear a great deal about Christian sanctification, but what precisely is it, and how does it work? Today we look at ten things about this crucial biblical truth.

What I’m Reading

depressionChristians Get Depressed Too: Hope and Help for Depressed People by David Murray. Many Christians mistakenly believe that true Christians don’t get depressed, and this misconception heaps additional pain and guilt onto Christians who are suffering from mental and emotional distress. Author David P. Murray comes to the defense of depressed Christians, asserting that Christians do get depressed! He explains why and how Christians should study depression, what depression is, and the approaches caregivers, pastors, and churches can take to help those who are suffering from it. With clarity and wise biblical insight, Dr. Murray offers help and hope to those suffering from depression, the family members and friends who care for them, and pastors ministering to these wounded members of their flock.

Tweets of the Week

Meaningful Meme

abortion

On the Lighter Side

Because, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones,” Proverbs 17:22.

Jesus as Savior

Video: Overcoming Codependency (Step Three)

Below is a video from the presentation of “Overcoming Codependency.” For the various counseling options available from this material visit www.summitrdu.com/counseling.

NOTE: Many people have asked how they can get a copy of the seminar notebook referenced in this verbal presentation. You can request a copy from Summit’s admin over counseling at counseling@summitrdu.com (please note this is an administrative account; no individual or family counsel is provided through e-mail).

“What Is the Impact of Living In Brokenness?”
UNDERSTAND the impact of my suffering.

Overcoming Codependency – Step 3 from The Sam James Institute on Vimeo.

Memorize: Psalm 55:12-14 (ESV), “For it is not an enemy who taunts me—then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me—then I could hide from him. But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend. We used to take sweet counsel together, within God’s house we walked in the throng.” As you memorize this passage reflect upon these key points:

  • “Psalm” – God knew we would need words to express the pain of hardship and betrayal in close relationships.
  • “Not an enemy” – This multiplies the pain. Hence David repeats it twice. Love leaves us more vulnerable to pain.
  • “Then I could hide” – When dysfunction occurs at home it feels impossible to “get away.” Rest is hard to find.
  • “My familiar friend” – Codependent relational styles usually require closeness and familiarity before they manifest.
  • “Used to… together” – Time invested in the relationship, even if unhealthily, becomes something to be grieved.

Teaching Notes

“Many women do not realize the different ways that an abuser has been harming them until they are out and away from his grip of power and control (p. 41)… The pattern starts at its center, which is the abuser himself. He puts his wants and whims first and foremost. And while the abuser’s life revolves around what he wants, the life of the abused revolves around the abuser (p. 42).” Justin and Lindsey Holcomb in Is It My Fault?

“Sin-shame is something we bring on ourselves; victimization-shame is done to us. Everyone has the experience of sin-shame, but not everyone has this shame intensified by victimization shame (p. 26)… Victimization-shame usually intensifies pre-existing sin-shame (p. 27).” Ed Welch in When People Are Big and God Is Small

“God did not intend for people to continuously depend on other people for their well-being. As we mature, he wants us to depend upon him. Certainly God uses individuals to meet many of our needs, but no person can meet all our needs all the time. When we believe that we always need a particular someone, we put that person in God’s position in our lives. Replacing God with a person will destroy us (p. 32).” Leslie Vernick in The Emotionally Destructive Relationship

“‘Enabling’ refers to anything you do that reinforces or increases the likelihood of your loved one’s substance using behavior, or any other behavior you don’t want to support (p. 183)… A screaming fight might also be enabling as it could give him all the reason he needs to justify smoking more pot (p. 184).” Foote, Wilkens, Koskane and Higgs in Beyond Addiction

“All codependent behaviors make sense if traced to their origins. The behaviors associated with codependency – from controlling to caretaking – are behaviors that saved our lives when we didn’t know what else to do (p. 9-10).” Melody Beattie in The New Codependency

“People-pleasers can mistake ‘niceness’ for love… People-pleasers can also mistake ‘yes’ for love (p. 214).” Ed Welch in When People Are Big and God Is Small

“One problem with masks and walls is that, though their purpose is to protect you from hurt, they hurt you even more because they don’t allow relationships (p. 26).” Ed Welch in What Do You Think of Me? Why Do I Care?

 

Manipulative Repentance: 8 Red Flag Phrases

manipulationThe recognition that there are healthy and unhealthy forms of repentance is both common sense and biblical (2 Corinthians 7:8-13). On this everyone agrees; secular and sacred. The difficulty is in discerning disingenuous repentance. Mature and discerning people can witness the same conversation and walk away with distinctly different impressions about whether a given expression of remorse represents genuine repentance, sorrow for being caught, or a tactic to gain relational leverage.

In this post, I hope to accomplish two things. First, I will attempt to clarify two common misperceptions about manipulation. Second, I will discuss a series of phrases commonly used in repentance which can be red flags that the remorse being expressed will not lead to healthy relational restoration.

Misperception #1:

Manipulation is about motive (why or how something is done) more than method (what is said or done). There is no way to make a list of “manipulative phrases.” Every phrase listed below has a context in which it could be legitimate and appropriate. Manipulation is about motive (resisting change, minimizing responsibility, blame-shifting, etc…) and is most effective (in a negative sense of “effectiveness”) when that phrase/action used seems legitimate.

Implication – The explanation after each phrase below will be important to understand. If the description of how each phrase can be a part of manipulative repentance does not fit a given use of that phrase, it should not be considered manipulative.

Misperception #2:

Manipulation does not require “malice aforethought” or intellectual cunning. From my experience in counseling, most people who are using remorse to gain an advantage or avoid responsibility are not aware, in the moment, of what they’re doing. They just want to escape the discomfort of the moment. This driving desire (i.e., to escape) shapes the way they define words and frame questions.

In reality, that is what manipulation is: manipulation is defining words and framing questions (by verbiage or emotions) in such a way that makes a healthy response from the other person seem selfish, mean, or unreasonable.

“I know I’m not perfect.”

Your expectations that I responded decently are unreasonable. You are holding me to a perfectionistic standard. In order to avoid being confronted by you, I would have to be perfect. You should feel bad for being judgmental and harsh instead of asking me to seek restoration for what I did.

“I’ve never pretended to be someone I’m not.”

You knew who I was when we started this relationship so you are being unfair by expecting me to be decent. This confuses genuineness with righteousness; authenticity with holiness. By this standard, someone could be consistently hurtful and we would still be to blame for their sin because we chose to be in relationship with them.

“You are bringing up stuff from the past.”

We can only talk about events, not patterns of behaviors. Often this impasse is reached when the individual repenting is unwilling to see that the event (for instance, intoxication or belligerence) in question was part of a larger pattern (i.e., addiction or abusive speech). If there is a pattern of behavior and this pattern goes unacknowledged, then the level of efforts towards change will be inadequate to produce the necessary change.

“You know I am not the kind of person who would do that… that is not what I meant.”

Your experience of me is not an accurate depiction of reality. My self-perception and intentions are truer than your experience. These phrases leave the person repenting in charge of defining the event for which forgiveness is being sought. The intent /self-perception of the sinner is being imposed as a limit on the pain of the one sinned against. The result is that the offended person has less voice in describing their pain. The offending person remains in charge of the narrative.

“I said I was sorry. What more do you want from me? What more can I do?”

If anything more than my words (i.e., “I’m sorry”) are required in response to my actions, then you are being unforgiving, mean, weak, or hyper-emotional. Also, this response often implies that an apology should be met with an immediate sense of trust and equanimity in the relationship. Any lingering sense of mistrust by the offended person is then labeled as an unreasonable and ungodly form of punishment.

More use of first person pronouns (i.e., I, me, my) than second person pronouns (i.e., you, your).

While this is not a specific phrase, the excessive use of self-centered pronouns may reveal that the person repenting is focusing on their personal experience of the offense more than the impact on the person they hurt or offended. In this way, the person repenting is remaining the main character in their repentance as much as they were in their sin.

Note: First person pronouns should be used in the active / ownership part of repentance. However, in the description of the impact and aftermath of our sin, healthy repentance focuses more on the disruption we caused in the other person’s life.

“There are a lot of people / couples who have it much worse than you / we do.”

You should feel bad for complaining when the situation was not as bad as it could have been. This equates “could have been worse” with “not bad enough to mention.” It also portrays suffering as a competitive sport in which only those who suffer the worst merit sympathy for their hardship.

This phrase often comes towards the end of an unhealthy repentance conversation. Early in the conversation the repenting person minimizes or blame-shifts. When the offended party tries to clarify the degree of hurt, this is viewed as exaggeration. This perception of exaggeration leads the repenting person to use the logic of “this situation is not as bad as [more exaggerative situation].”

“I promise I will do better (without agreement about the problem or concrete examples)”

Even though I minimize and disagree with you about the past and present, you should trust what I mean when I say “better” about the future. Commitments to change are not bad, although these commitments should usually have more humility than an absolute promise. However, when commitments to do “better” are made during a disagreement about the nature of the offense, these commitments become a way to shut down communication. Again, if you don’t accept my promise, you’re being mean, unforgiving, or unreasonable.

Conclusion

Remember most expressions of manipulation are unintentional (this does not reduce culpability). Many people are unskilled at difficult communication and become unduly shaped by their own interests when they should be owning their sin.

Frequently, I have found that when a counselor can articulate the unhealthy dynamic that exists in an attempt to repent, the offending person can see the coerciveness of their attempt at reconciliation. Usually (if it’s in marriage counseling), the couple will say, “Yikes, we do this a lot. We knew it wasn’t working but we couldn’t figure out why.”

This leads to a fruitful conversation about why their past efforts at restoring conflict through the biblical process of repentance and forgiveness had been unsuccessful (or, only intermittently effective).

In other cases, where the offending spouse is more committed to their self-centeredness, these explanations are rejected as unreasonable. In these instances, helping the offended individual / spouse remain open to the possibility of a more fully restored relationship without acquiescing to the manipulative style of communication becomes the focus of counseling (example of this kind of approach here).

This blog was originally posted at the Biblical Counseling Coalition site.

If this post was beneficial for you, then consider reading other blogs from my “Favorite Posts on Abusive Relationships” post which address other facets of this subject.

Council of Counselors: Miscarriage / Personalities Change / Church Liability Insurance / Workaholism / PTSD

This is a weekly post that highlights resources from other counselors that I have found helpful. The counselors may be from the biblical counseling, Christian psychology, integration, or secular counseling traditions. By linking to a post, I am not giving it my full endorsement, I am merely indicating that I believe it made a unique contribution or raised an important subject for consideration.

Podcast: Miscarriage by Practical Shepherding

Miscarriage is a sorrowful, but all too common experience that calls for special pastoral care. Listen as Brian Croft discusses his own experience of a miscarriage, and how to care for others going through this loss. This episode address questions like: What is it like to experience a miscarriage? What do you say to someone who loses their baby? How does a pastor and a church care for someone grieving this loss? What does long-term care look like?

People Change: New Research Shows That Personalities Change by Charles Hodges

People who struggle with fear, worry, sad moods and other emotional problems do no need to spend their lives believing that there is no hope for change. Current research tells us they can change. This has always been an essential part of the gospel message.

5 Signs You Might Be Due for an Insurance Checkup by Church Executive

If you filed a church insurance claim tomorrow, would your policy protect your church from loss and liability? If you’re not sure — or if the answer is “no” — it’s time to schedule a coverage review with your insurance agent or broker.

3 Ways to Recognize Workaholism in Ministry by Eric Geiger

Ministry leaders, like all leaders, are prone to either laziness or workaholism. On your worst days, on days when you are not living in submission to Christ, you either move toward being lazy or move toward finding your meaning in work. By God’s grace, we don’t need to live in either. But how do we recognize workaholism in ministry? What does it look like in our hearts? Here are three indicators…

PTSD: A New Theory? An Old Treatment by Phil Monroe

Researchers Liberzon and Abelson at the University of Michigan have published an essay articulating a new way of conceptualizing what is happening in the brains of those with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. While you can’t read their essay for free, you can read this good summary here.

  • If you or a loved one struggles with post-traumatic stress, consider this resource.

What I’m Reading

hillbillyHillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance. From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class. Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild (the author) would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that this is only the short, superficial version. Vance’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother, struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. Vance piercingly shows how he himself still carries around the demons of their chaotic family history.

A deeply moving memoir with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.

Tweets of the Week

Meaningful Meme

MLK

On the Lighter Side

Because, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones,” Proverbs 17:22.

Video: Overcoming Codependency (Step Two)

Below is a video from the presentation of “Overcoming Codependency.” For the various counseling options available from this material visit www.summitrdu.com/counseling.

NOTE: Many people have asked how they can get a copy of the seminar notebook referenced in this verbal presentation. You can request a copy from Summit’s admin over counseling at counseling@summitrdu.com (please note this is an administrative account; no individual or family counsel is provided through e-mail).

“I’ve Been So Busy I Haven’t Been Paying Attention”
ACKNOWLEDGE the specific history and realness of my suffering.

Overcoming Codependency – Step 2 from The Sam James Institute on Vimeo.

 

Memorize: Luke 10:40-42 (ESV), “But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.’” As you memorize this passage reflect upon these key points:

  • “Distracted with much serving” –Distracted already implies she wasn’t focused on what was most important.
  • “Lord, do you not care?” – Her over-involvement caused her to question and turn on everyone, even Jesus.
  • “Left me to serve alone” – In this case Mary (the other) chose the better option. That may not be the case in your life.
  • “Troubled about many things” – The implication is that Martha was troubled by things outside her control.
  • “One thing is necessary” – You are to honor God with your life; not control everyone else’s life to honor God.

Teaching Notes

“If you want to learn to act right when your spouse acts wrong, you will need to make a commitment to yourself never to pretend that things are fine when they are not (p. 81).” Leslie Vernick in How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong

“It’s not as much what we do as how and why we do it. Two people can engage in the same behavior in similar situations. One will be acting codependent; the other will be exhibiting healthy behavior (p. 50)… Sometimes one moment of awareness does more than months of hard work (p. 7).” Melody Beattie in The New Codependency

“Pain is no proof of a bad relationship or even a harmful one. There is no perfect relationship or perfect person (p. 25)… What makes these sinful interactions destructive is their repetitive patterns, as well as lack of awareness, lack of remorse, and lack of significant change (p. 28).” Leslie Vernick in The Emotionally Destructive Relationship

“This type of behavior, called ‘splitting’… is the rigid separation of positive and negative thoughts and feelings about oneself and others; that is, the inability to synthesize these feelings (p. 14).” Jerold Kreisman and Hal Straus in I Hate You – Don’t Leave Me

“Naming domestic abuse for what it is – and dealing with it as such – is important for this essential reason: the abuse usually gets worse. Infrequent episodes usually progress to more frequent ones. Less severe episodes usually progress to more severe ones (p. 23)… Abusive men often take the biblical text and distort it to support their right to abuse (p. 127).” Justin and Lindsey Holcomb in Is It My Fault?

“Acceptance does not mean approving, giving up, or detaching; it means recognizing things for what they are, no better but no worse (p. 94)… When we accept what is hard, we don’t make it harder than it is (p. 96)… Often what we call ‘the problem’ is really a pileup of problems that overwhelms us with its size and complexity when we regard it as one big thing (p. 150).” Foote, Wilkens, Koskane and Higgs in Beyond Addiction

“Sometimes people believe (incorrectly) that recovering from codependency means they have to get a divorce (p. 8)… My husband’s drinking didn’t create my codependency. I’d been doing the behaviors his drinking triggered – controlling, taking care of others and neglecting myself, repressing emotions, feeling victimized – most of my life (p. 20).” Melody Beattie in The New Codependency

“Our problem is that we need them (for ourselves) more than we love them (for the glory of God) (p. 19).” Ed Welch in When People Are Big and God Is Small

Sanctify of Life Sunday: Testimony & Resources

There may be nothing more painful and disruptive than the loss of a child. It is what makes it so hard to write, read, think, or talk about the subject of abortion.

You may be reading this post because you lost your child to abortion. Your pain is real, and we recognize the challenges of this healing process. We want you to know that we (The Summit Church) want to be a place of acceptance, hope, and healing for you. God forgives you. He loves you, and we love you. You do not have to carry guilt and shame any longer, or face the journey of healing alone.

We are grateful for the members of our church, like Becky, who have experienced grace and had the courage to share their stories so that: (a) people who have experienced abortion can have hope and (b) people who are considering abortion can better understand the pain it causes and consider a different choice.

Becky’s Story from The Summit Church on Vimeo.

You may be reading this post because you are burdened for the unborn. Your burden is good. We want members of our church to be burdened for all the marginalized lives, born and unborn, in our community and our world. This includes fighting well for the unborn and loving those who are considering or have already had an abortion. We want to advocate for the dignity of the image of God everywhere it is devalued.

Resources

The organization Hope After Abortion (Project Rachel) has put together several helpful articles.

The organization PATH also has resources for men who are wrestling with guilt after advocating that their wife or girlfriend have an abortion.

Biblical counselor, David Powlison, overviews the healing process after abortion in this 8 minute video.

Tim Challies helps us think through how to make the case for being pro-life most effectively in our current cultural context.

Here are several books, workbooks, or booklets you may find helpful.

Local Ministries

Here are some ministries in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area that either provide support for young women experiencing an unexpected pregnancy or counseling for women facing the emotional impact of an abortion.

Next Steps

The Summit Church wants to be a blessing to our city and an advocate for marginalized life wherever it exists. If you want to get more involved in one of these ministry initiatives, please look at the opportunities on our local outreach page.

 

Council of Counselors: Postpartrum Depression / Fostering Teens / PTSD & Sex / Budgetting Tool / Pastoral Referrals

This is a weekly post that highlights resources from other counselors that I have found helpful. The counselors may be from the biblical counseling, Christian psychology, integration, or secular counseling traditions. By linking to a post, I am not giving it my full endorsement, I am merely indicating that I believe it made a unique contribution or raised an important subject for consideration.

In the Valley of Postpartum Depression by Lindsey Carlson

While PPD is common, it often goes undiagnosed. According to new research out of Canada, postpartum women actually experience anxiety more than they experience symptoms we’d typically associate with depression. This was certainly the case for me. Because not every mother’s symptoms are the same, it can be easy to overlook or dismiss warning signs. According to the American Journal of Clinical Medicine, “the majority of undiagnosed cases are probably due to the social stigma of being labeled an ‘unhappy mother,’ not to mention the public image of PPD.”

  • If you are struggling with depression, regardless of its various causes, here is a resource that can help.

How to Help Church Members Who Take in a Rebellious Teen Relative by Linda Jacobs

Many times when a teen is out of control and the parent is not capable of caring for the child, a family member or other person is called in to help. If a state agency is called in and the agency workers determine a child must be removed from the home, they will usually try to find a relative to care for the child versus putting the child into foster care. When a relative can be found, kinship care, the term for when a relative provides care, is preferred by most state agencies… In this post I want to share some of his suggestions; some of the things I knew intuitively to do; and also some suggestions from a personal friend who was a teenage counselor.

For Veterans, Trauma Of War Can Persist In Struggles With Sexual Intimacy by Alisa Chang

Much has been said about the physical and psychological injuries of war, like traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder. But what we talk about less is how these conditions affect the sexual relationships of service members after they return from combat.

Mint Budget Tracker: Leveraging Tech to Glorify God in the Home by Jeremy Lundmark

If you’ve ever written a budget, or been through a budgeting class like Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University or Crown Financial’s Money Map you already know how to write a budget. However, for most people it’s not writing a budget, but sticking to the budget, that is the hard part.

The Pastor and Counseling: When to Refer by Jesse Johnson

In fact, it is because they stress the priority of the local church so thoroughly that they are able to write with conviction on the counseling pastor’s dilemma: referring out. When should a pastor tell someone in their congregation with a spiritual problem that they would be better served by seeing a professional counselor outside of the church? Pierre and Reju offer four indicators of when a pastor should refer.

CCEF Now (PDF Magazine)

This edition contains articles on prison ministry, identifying oppression in marriage, and when a child says, “I don’t know.”

When I’m Reading

parentingParenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family by Paul Tripp. What is your calling as a parent?In the midst of folding laundry, coordinating carpool schedules, and breaking up fights, many parents get lost. Feeling pressure to do everything “right” and raise up “good” children, it’s easy to lose sight of our ultimate purpose as parents in the quest for practical tips and guaranteed formulas.

In this life-giving book, Paul Tripp offers parents much more than a to-do list. Instead, he presents us with a big-picture view of God’s plan for us as parents. Outlining fourteen foundational principles centered on the gospel, he shows that we need more than the latest parenting strategy or list of techniques. Rather, we need the rescuing grace of God—grace that has the power to shape how we view everything we do as parents.

Freed from the burden of trying to manufacture life-change in our children’s hearts, we can embrace a grand perspective of parenting overflowing with vision, purpose, and joy.

Tweet of the Week

Meaningful Meme

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On the Lighter Side

Because, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones,” Proverbs 17:22.

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Video: Overcoming Codependency (Step One)

Below is a video from the presentation of “Overcoming Codependency.” For the various counseling options available from this material visit www.summitrdu.com/counseling.

NOTE: Many people have asked how they can get a copy of the seminar notebook referenced in this verbal presentation. You can request a copy from Summit’s admin over counseling at counseling@summitrdu.com (please note this is an administrative account; no individual or family counsel is provided through e-mail).

“I’m Tired of All the Drama… Exhausted!”
PREPARE yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually to face your suffering.

Overcoming Codependency – Step 1 from The Sam James Institute on Vimeo.

Memorize: John 2:23-25 (ESV), “Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.” As you memorize this passage reflect upon these key points:

  • “In Jerusalem at Passover” – Like you, Jesus made difficult relational decisions in real places and at specific times.
  • “Many believed” – Not every good thing that happened around Jesus was a sign for him to let his guard down.
  • “Did not entrust himself” – Jesus, who was perfect, did not trust everyone; he trusted wisely, not absolutely.
  • “Knew all people” – Part of Jesus’ hesitancy to trust was based upon his personal knowledge of who he was with.
  • “What was in man” – Part of Jesus’ hesitancy to trust was based upon the general human condition – sin.

Teaching Notes

“Isn’t that what we’ve been taught? If we do the right thing, then our marriage will get better (p. 8)… I find that Christians are often confused on what ‘dying to self’ really involves. Sometimes we act like martyrs within our marriages, suffering under all kinds of inappropriate and sometimes abusive behavior, thinking that this means dying to self. It is never wise or godly to sacrifice our self in order to give our spouse more license to sin (gamble, abuse drugs, abuse us or our children, etc.)… Dying to self means that we let go (or die to) our old, immature, and sinful ways and grow to become what God has made us to be – like him. Therefore, like him, we are called to sacrifice our lives for the good of another (p. 155).” Leslie Vernick in How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong

“People who are destructive should lose the privilege of your fellowship. That does not mean that you have to turn your back on the person in question. Step back while facing forward, inviting that person to change so that reconciliation may be possible (p. 167).” Leslie Vernick in The Emotionally Destructive Relationship

“Taking care of yourself is a skill you can’t afford to ignore (p. 10)… Your emotional resilience, physical health, social supports, and perspective on change can contribute to this. First, you will be setting an example. Second, you need internal resources to do what is most helpful for your loved one (p. 11)… Typically people experience a shrinking social support network as the problem takes over… We cannot overstate the importance of social support and enjoyment independent of the status of the substance problem you’re dealing with (p. 275).” Foote, Wilkens, Koskane and Higgs in Beyond Addiction

“Ultimately, whether or not your drinker achieves lasting sobriety, your journey with us will give you the skills and tools to enhance your own quality of life. Hence, in a best-case-scenario, the two of you will achieve peace together and worst-case-scenario is that you will have done everything possible and be able to move on and take care of your own life. In either case, your future looks brighter (p. 5).” Robert Meyers and Brenda Wolfe in Get Your Loved One Sober

“Codependency is about normal behaviors taken too far. It’s about crossing lines (p. 5)… Blaming ourselves is a survival skill. It helps us feel in control when life doesn’t make sense and being abused doesn’t make any sense at all… Controlling and taking care of others – the entire package of codependent behaviors – become survival tools, living skills that we think will keep us safe (p. 2).” Melody Beattie in The New Codependency

“I always warn my clients that even if their marriage fails and they no longer live with their spouse, they will always have to live with themselves. Therefore, it is crucial to their long-term well-being that they conduct themselves in such a way that they will have no regrets (p. 185).” Leslie Vernick in How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong