All posts in Guest Materials

Council of Counselors: Parentings Teens / Post-Abortion / Cultural Humility / Signs of a Faithful Husband / Anger

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.

A High School Counselor’s Tips on Parenting Teenagers by Leia Joseph

I have had the privilege of spending the last 13 years working as a music teacher and crisis counselor for teens. The following six tips represent a handful of lessons I have learned along the way. If you are the parent of a teenager or pre-teen, I pray that you find this helpful.

Post-Abortion Counseling by Julie Ganschow

It is estimated that 43 percent of women under the age of forty-five have had an abortion. One in six women in the evangelical Christian church is post-abortive.1 We live in a culture that idolizes personal choice and convenience, and as a result, more women than we are aware of are dealing with the aftereffects of abortion. Because of this, we have to know how to minister to this group of people in our churches. Below, we’ll take a look at three key ways we can minister to them well.

The Need for Cultural Humility by Dave

I had an interesting conversation with a couple at church a few Sundays ago. They both were born in Africa, but have lived in the US for a number of years. In discussing children, they told me that they were concerned about raising their daughter in America because of the dangers here. Without a second thought, I knew exactly what they were talking about. As Americans we have become accustomed to comfort, such that we think we deserve it. We have grown cold to the suffering of those in the majority world, and we are greatly tempted to live only for ourselves.

  • If you want to learn more about cultural intelligence, see the “What I’m Reading” section below.

8 Signs of a Man Who Will Never Stop Loving You by Matt Duczeminski

We men sometimes get a bad rap. The stereotypical “man” doesn’t do any of the following. However, the only men who are actually like this are created by writers as sitcom fodder (hopefully). In truth, when a man finds the person he knows he’ll be spending the rest of his life with, he’ll certainly work his hardest to keep them by his side at all times. If you have a man that adheres to the following, you know he’s a keeper for life.

When Anger Rears Its Ugly Head by Duski Van Vleet

I’ve been trying to get control of my temper since my husband and I were married.  A day planned and interrupted by children with different agendas; a husband who needs my support instead of first offering his, longings unrealized; efforts unseen—all of this often leads me not to a dependent conversation with my Father, but to self-reliant angry outbursts demanding my desires be fulfilled.  

What I’m Reading

CICustoms of the World: Using Cultural Intelligence to Adapt, Wherever You Are by David Livermore. Taught by an international adviser to leaders of Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, and governments, this eye-opening course reveals how you can actively improve your cultural intelligence in an increasingly globalized world.

Based on groundbreaking research, these 24 lectures address dynamics and customs related to working, socializing, dining, marriage and family – all the areas necessary to help you function with a greater level of respect and effectiveness wherever you go. You’ll also encounter practical tips and crucial context for greeting, interacting with, and even managing people from other parts of the world.

In the first half, you’ll analyze 10 cultural value dimensions that researchers have identified as helpful for comparing cultures; and you’ll see how these “archetypes” play out in day-to-day lives. In the second half, you’ll look at 10 cultural clusters around the world that – when combined with your understanding of the 10 cultural dimensions – provide strategic insight into how to be more effective as you live, work, and travel in our globalized world.

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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.

As both a professor and a student I resonate with this one.

Council of Counselors: Disability & the Church / Broken Hearted Children / Mental Health Creed / Ugly Porn Numbers / Creativity

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.

Disability Makes a Church Strong by Anthony Kidd

And if the daily burdens at home weren’t already enough, families with disabilities carry the possibility of their child being a disruptive force in worship. The one place where these families ought to feel at ease, comfortable, and settled in a grace-filled environment is often a place of palpable anxiety. And consequently, it’s the place where they tend to hide in the shadows the most. How do I know this?

I know this because I am not only a pastor of those who parent the disabled, but I parent a disabled child myself. I’m personally aware of the Sunday morning struggle: the feeling of needing to be considerately unobtrusive, instead of immersive and participatory, in order to avoid being disruptive or distractive.

  • For ministry advice for families with children who have disabilities I have found Dr. Stephen Grcevich’s blog “Church4EveryChild” to be very helpful.

5 Ways to Assist a Child with a Broken and Hurting Heart by Linda Jacobs

Let me ask you: if a child in a wheelchair showed up at your ministry, you would accommodate him, right? You wouldn’t expect him to jump and dance to a praise song. So when a child with a broken, hurting heart shows up, we need to learn to also accommodate that child’s situation.

  • As we think about the privilege of walking with another person (in this case a child) through their suffering, we often still be uncomfortable with this opportunity. This collection of resources on suffering may help you be more comfortable being uncomfortable.

My Hope for Mental Wellness by Aimee Caverly

This is something the Lord has laid on my heart to share.  I pray you will enjoy it and pass it on should it be of value to you or someone else experiencing a mental health struggle.

10 Ugly Numbers Describing Pornography Use in 2017 by Tim Challies

We all know that the world has become pornified, that the internet has made available to all of us an entire universe of pornographic content. Yet many of the statistics we rely on and commonly quote have become outdated. As technology changes and as new generations grow up, the pornographic landscape inevitably changes. I went looking for updated numbers and want to present some of them to you today. All of these are based on credible studies carried out in 2016 or 2017.

  • If you struggle with pornography, consider the False Love seminar as a resource to help you find freedom and the “What I’m Reading” section below.

Top Ten Quotes from Creativity, Inc. by Danny Franks

I first read this fantastic book when in came out in 2014. We recently re-read a portion of it for our staff meeting, which has generated new ideas and practices for some of our workflows. As the president of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation, Ed Catmull walks the reader through not only a history of the two companies, but lays the groundwork for how great teams pull together to get the job done.

What I’m Reading

closing the windowClosing the Window: Steps to Living Porn Free by Tim Chester. Pornography is everywhere. Far too many Christians regularly use and are addicted to it, warping their perception of sexuality and relationships, destroying marriages and ministries. But Christians who struggle with porn also long for change. When we realize the unfulfilling emptiness of porn, we come to yearn for freedom from it. But what do we do? Tim Chester says that we can be captured by a better vision–a liberating confidence that God offers more than pornography does. Moving beyond pat answers or mere willpower, Chester offers spiritual, practical and corporate resources for living porn free. He exposes the false promises of porn and redirects us to the true promises of God. With assurance of God’s grace and cleansing power, we can change our desires and escape the traps and temptations of pornography. However great the challenge, God’s grace is even greater. And we can come to a place where we no longer feel the need to use porn. Close the window on porn. And open the door to freedom, integrity and new life.

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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.

This week you get a two-for.

Council of Counselors: Mortify Sin / Helping Parents / Sexual Abuse / 6 Basic Struggles / Theology of Trauma

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.

How to Mortify Sin by Sinclair Ferguson

These are some of the things my friend and I talked about that memorable evening. We did not have an opportunity later to ask each other, “How are you going?” for it was our last conversation. He died some months later. I have often wondered how the months in between went in his life. But the earnest personal and pastoral concern in his question still echoes in my mind. They have a similar effect to the one Charles Simeon said he felt from the eyes of his much-loved portrait of the great Henry Martyn: “Don’t trifle!”

  • Session 3 in this series provides a 9 steps methodology for overcoming sin that attempts to “unpack the gospel in slow motion” for mortifying sin.

Help for Parents Who Want to Give Up: 10 Keys to Raising Kids by Ann Voskamp

I wish I had done that. I wish someone had told me that. There’s support groups for moms of preschoolers, but where’s triage for the moms of teenagers? #MOTS The older our kids become, the greater our isolation can become, because while mothers can instagram and commiserate together over the Terrible Twos — but mothers struggling through a stretch of terrible teens can suffer alone.

10 Things Sexual Assault Victims Want You to Know by Karen Swallow Prior

“What do you wish people knew/understood about experiencing sexual assault?”

Given the private nature of the question and the public nature of the medium, I anticipated only a handful of responses. I was astonished that dozens and dozens of people responded, whether directly on the thread or in private messages. (I should also note that I know most of the respondents in real life, including many who have been my students.) Their comments altogether filled up 60 pages.

Six Basic Struggles by Ed Welch

Most people would acknowledge at least six basic struggles.

  1. Anger
  2. Guilt and regret
  3. Shame
  4. Suffering, such as loss, victimization, sickness . . .
  5. Fear
  6. Saying “yes” when we should say “no”—this would include everything identified as an addiction
  • For another quality resource from CCEF see the “What I’m Reading” section below.

Why We Need a Theology of Trauma by Phil Monroe

We live in a world shaped by violence and trauma. This week that I write 147 Christian Kenyan university students were killed because of their faith. Such horrific forms of violence shock us. But they shouldn’t given that in our own country violence and trauma are everyday occurrences. While some of our local brothers and sisters face actual death, all of our communities are shaped by soul-crushing abuse and family violence. Take the most conservative numbers we have—1:6 males and 1:4 females have experienced sexual assault before age 18—and realize that a large portion of your friends and acquaintances have traumatic experiences.

What I’m Reading

how people changeHow People Change by Tim Lane and Paul Tripp. What does it take for lasting change to take root in your life? If you’ve ever tried, failed, and wondered why, you need How People Change. This book explains the biblical pattern for change in a clear, practical way you can apply to the challenges of daily life. But change involves more than a biblical formula: you will see how God is at work to make you the person you were created to be. That powerful, loving, redemptive relationship is at the heart of all positive change you experience.

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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.

Council of Counselors: Fallen Pastors / Abusive Husbands / Hurting Counselors / Subtle Gossip / Emotional Intelligence

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.

Restoring Pastors to Ministry After Affairs? Possible or Impossible? by Phil Monroe

Now, none of these reasons are enough to always say no to return to pulpits after sexual infidelity. While a return may not be probable, it can be possible. Every situation is unique. That said, unless the disgraced pastor has evidenced many of the signs of repentance (taking full ownership, accepting consequences, giving up control over recovery process/submitting to the work of therapy, seeking accountability, pursuing utter transparency, and not placing demands to return to the position) for a long season, it is doubtful that a return to leadership is right. Frankly, one of the best signs of repentance is not being so worried about reputation and not seeking a return to a previous level of ministry.

  • For a book that addresses ministry-based infidelity and restoration in a holistic, redemptive context see the “What I’m Reading” section below.

4 Questions for Abusive Husbands by Leslie Vernick

When working with husbands who have been abusive, you will find that most all of them have a stubborn blindness to what they are doing that is destructive to their wife. Their habit patterns are to blame and to accuse rather than take the time to reflect upon their own attitudes and behaviors. When they are asked the question, “Why did you behave that way?” their answer is always externally referenced rather than internally referenced.

As A Psychiatrist, I Thought I’d Be Immune To Postpartum Depression. I Was Wrong. by Michelle Woo

I am a psychiatrist who treats mental health issues during pregnancy and the postpartum period. I had thought that this would somehow make me immune to postpartum depression, as though I could have seen it coming from a mile away and warded it off. But I was wrong. Quite frankly, I never thought it would happen to me.

Six Questions to Diagnose Subtle Gossip by Paula Marsteller

It’s easy to think our intentions are good. I thought that originally, too. But maybe we should distrust our intentions a bit more than we do. Even if our base intentions are good, we should always be on guard of having mixed motives. Love can often attach itself with the sinful desire to know other people’s stuff, to be “in the know,” or to feel puffed up that our lives aren’t so messy.

18 Behaviors of Emotionally Intelligent People by Travis Bradberry

Emotional intelligence is the “something” in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions to achieve positive results. Despite the significance of EQ, its intangible nature makes it difficult to measure and to know what to do to improve it if you’re lacking. You can always take a scientifically validated test, such as the one that comes with the Emotional Intelligence 2.0 book, but unfortunately, most such tests aren’t free. So, I’ve analyzed the data from the million-plus people TalentSmart has tested in order to identify the behaviors that are the hallmarks of a high EQ. What follows are sure signs that you have a high EQ.

What I’m Reading

restoring the fallenRestoring the Fallen: A Team Approach to Caring, Confronting & Reconciling by  Earl D. Wilson, Sandy Wilson, Paul Friesen, Virginia Friesen , Larry Paulson , & Nancy Paulson. When brothers and sisters in Christ fall into sin, how should the church respond? Very often, Christians stumble in their attempt to address this issue. Either they ignore the wrongdoing or they banish the wrongdoer. The authors of this groundbreaking book advocate another way: the spiritual care team. A spiritual care team is a small group of mature Christians who voluntarily commit themselves to support and guide another through the process of repentance and restoration. This community-based and community-oriented approach emphasizes the importance of acknowledging sin, making repentance complete and reestablishing personal spiritual discipline. Restoring the Fallen offers practical guidance on how to form a spiritual care team, as well as how to support the spouse and family of the one working through the process of restoration, how professional helpers and the whole church body might contribute to restoration, and how to provide ongoing care after the main work of the spiritual care team is complete. It is an essential book for pastors, counselors and church leaders.

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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.

Council of Counselors: Porn Lies / Difficult Ex-Spouse / Loneliness & Addiction / Happy Couples / Confirmation Bias

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.

8 Lies to Reject in Overcoming Lust and Pornography by Chuck Lawless

I’ve seen [pornography] destroy far too many families and ministries. I greatly appreciate the ministries and resources now available to help people work toward freedom. At the same time, here are some falsehoods I’ve heard for winning this battle:

Dealing with a Difficult Ex-Spouse: 10 Tips to Help You Cope by Ron Deal

Wouldn’t it be nice if adults could remember that parenting is not about them, and that it is about the children? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the pain of the broken personal relationships of the past could be kept separate from the practical parental concerns of the present. Wouldn’t it be nice…  Yes, it would. But sometimes people aren’t nice. Dealing with a difficult ex-spouse can be very discouraging and defeating. Yet, we are called to continue trying to pursue good, to “turn the other cheek”, and “walk the extra mile.” Hopefully the following tips can aid you in your efforts to cope—because it’s all about the children.

On Loneliness and Addictive Technology by Philip Lorish

All too often, what is sacrificed at the altars of “work” and “family” is friendship (and sleep). In the process of reporting the piece, Baker comes to realize that he is, in fact, “a textbook case of the silent majority of middle-aged men who won’t admit they’re starved for friendship, even if all signs point to the contrary.” In seeking to remedy this situation, Baker comes to the conclusion that “built-in regularity” is crucial. It is not enough to admit to being lonely, or even to form ad hoc relationships around shared interests. What is required is something like “Wednesday Night,” a simple friendship-sustaining practice that Baker learns from a local man named Ozzy. For years, Ozzy and his friends got together on Wednesday nights, without an agenda and with any number of activities in mind.

8 Things The Happiest Couples Do Every Morning by Kelsey Borresen

Mornings can feel frantic with everyone trying to get out of bed and out the door on schedule. But making time ― even just a few minutes! ― to connect with your partner before the chaos of the day sets in can make a big difference in your relationship. Here’s what the happiest couples do daily.

Are You a Confirmation Bias Christian? by Jared Wilson

Confirmation bias – The tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs or theories.

  • If this subject interests you, consider the resources listed in the “What I’m Reading” section below.

What I’m Reading

deceptive mind(Actually, this time I’m listening to) Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills by Steven Novella, M.D. What should you think? Who should you believe? Could you be deceiving yourself? These are questions that all critical thinkers of any age must constantly ask themselves. There is no more important skill in today’s world than being able to think about, understand, and act on information in a way that is both effective and responsible. Critical thinking transforms you from a passive member of society into an active participant in the ideas and issues of the day. It empowers you to better understand nearly every single aspect of everyday life, from health and nutrition to science and technology to philosophical and spiritual belief systems.

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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.

Council of Counselors: Redemptive Leadership / Preaching & Personality / Singleness / Parenting Teens / 3 Relational Keys

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.

Authority and Vulnerability: 2 Necessary Ingredients for Redemptive Leadership by Phil Monroe

What I liked about Sherwood’s part of the talk is that he describes a process he takes pastors through as they examine ministry failures. Which choice do they tend to make and why? Of the 129 he has taken through this process, 55% chose the path of power and control (exploitation), 29% chose to withdraw, and 16% chose to remain in ministry but disillusioned and wounded.

Preaching and Personality by Gary Millar

Some people are more interesting to listen to than others. I’m sorry, but it’s true, and it’s now out there. Some people make me sit on the edge of my seat, and others have the gift of encouraging me to slide back as far as I can go. So what makes the difference? What makes a talk engaging rather than sleep-inducing? Some people have written books about this, but even the very best of these leave something out. Yes, we can make sure that our language is arresting, and our structure clear, and our application rich and our biblical theology compelling—but there is another factor which is slightly harder to address. It’s the personality factor.

Pastoring Singles by 9Marks

20 articles on ministry and singleness from the journal of 9Marks.

10 Fun Things to Do with Your Teens by All Pro Dad

I love teenagers. For fifteen years I spent week after week creating nights of fun activities for teens. A few things I observed about teenagers is they love to laugh, play, experience adventure, and be heard. If you can create an experience that includes at least one of these you will be off and running. When you create an experience that includes all four you will make a bonding moment, and, potentially, a life-long memory.

  • For one of my favorite books on parenting that does not get the attention I think it deserve, see the “What I’m Reading” section below.

Three Qualities that Improve Every Relationship by Ken Sande @ RW360

My best co-workers thrived because of three key character qualities. The disappointing ones struggled because they lacked the very same qualities. I’ve noticed an identical dynamic in friendships, marriages and ministries, all of which either thrived or withered to the degree that people cultivated humility, teachability and flexibility.

What I’m Reading

everyday talkEveryday Talk: Talking Freely and Naturally about God with Your Children by John Younts. The most important conversations you will have with your kids will be in the context of everyday life. In ‘Everyday Talk, ‘ author John Younts explains how to use ordinary conversations to talk to your kids about God and his world. You?ll be delighted by his clear, practical insight and biblical wisdom. Buy this book and read it. But don’t stop there?put it into practice. Your children will thank you!

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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.

Council of Counselors: Authoritarian Parenting / Single Parenting / Unhealthy Friends / Effective Therapists? / Fun Marriage Questions

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.

10 Signs You May be an Authoritarian Parent by  Amy Morin, LCSW

Authoritarian parenting is one of the four main parenting styles recognized by researchers. It’s characterized by rigid rules and high demands. Authoritarian parents have high standards and can be highly critical when those standards aren’t met. They also tend to offer less emotional warmth compared to authoritative parents. Read on to find out if you exhibit any of the characteristics of an authoritarian parent.

Single Parents: Is Your Church Meeting Their Unique Needs? by Linda Jacobs

Regarding Single & Parenting, Angela Thomas says, “I think this program is so powerful for the church for several reasons: it meets an immediate need of the single parents who are already attending your church and also the needs of their single friends whom they invite. So not only do you meet the needs of your body, but you have the opportunity to reach out to the community, to those who are hurting and wounded and truly don’t have any other place to turn to find answers for how to be a single parent.”

7 Trademarks Of An Unhealthy Friendship by Paul Tripp

Begin you start reading, let me warn you: it will be very tempting for you to identify a friend or former friend who can be characterized by these trademarks. The Bible surely sympathizes with, and provides comfort for, those who have suffered in relationships. No one understands the hurt caused by poor friends more than Jesus Christ! However, the point of this passage is for us to examine our own hearts, not convict others. As you read, fire your inner defense lawyer and ask the Lord to show you areas of personal weakness in your relationships.

  • See the “What I’m Reading” section below for a great book on friendship.

What Are the Essential Qualities of Effective Therapists? by Kenneth Miller, Ph.D.

Good therapists, like all helpful listeners, seem to possess a particular set of attributes, the same set of common factors that explain why most forms of therapy are about equally effective. It’s simply not clear whether graduate schools, which focus so heavily on specific theoretical models and their related techniques, are actually training students in the qualities that seem most critical to effective therapy. And that raises an even more fundamental question: Can these common factors actually be taught? To what extent are they personality attributes rather than teachable skills? Can graduate school really make students more empathic, enhance their interpersonal skills, or increase their tolerance for intense emotions? Are good therapists already effective helpers before they get to graduate school?

25 Fun Questions To Ask Your Spouse by Casey and Meygan at Marriage365

We call them open ended questions. The point here is that you talk, laugh, dream and learn more about each other. Some questions are silly while others really get you thinking about some possible big life decisions. Either way, pull these out on your next date night or after the kids go to bed and spend time connecting.

What I’m Reading

friendshipThe Company We Keep: In Search of Biblical Friendship by Jonathan Holmes. Friendship: it’s one of the simplest of human relationships in comparison to marriage or family relationships, yet it’s one of the least understood and practiced. For all of our progress in making connections through Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, people are consistently experiencing loneliness and growing disenchanted with the whole notion of friendship.

Could it be that our understanding of friendship has been more informed by pop culture and social media, and less informed by the vision of friendship offered in Scripture? Is it possible that friendship exists for a greater purpose than merely our enjoyment and comfort? Does real friendship involve more than just hanging out on a weekend, participating in a book club, or hitting the golf course together? These questions and more are answered in this book.

Biblical friendship is deep, honest, pure, transparent, and liberating. It is also attainable. Dig into this book, and learn how your friendships can embody this amazing and wonderful reality.

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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.

Council of Counselors: Bulimia Stereotype / Parenting & Eating Disorders / Stepfamily Math / Nuerology & Gratitude / Broken Trust

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.

Stereotypes die hard: What happens when you’re bulimic, but not thin enough for anyone to notice? by 

A lot of people don’t think a chubby girl can have an eating disorder. The pervasive stereotype in our culture of someone suffering from an eating disorder is that of a tiny, emaciated girl who thinks she is fat but is really withering away. But it’s so much more complicated. As Giardino’s case shows, it’s possible for a person to suffer from disordered eating and to have an unhealthy obsession with their weight, while still technically being what’s considered a “normal” weight.

Walking with Your Child through an Eating Disorder by 

The day I learned my daughter was battling bulimia, we were together in the car—an increasingly rare experience since she’d gotten her license the month before. I was excited to have her in my front seat again, because “car time” is when we have our best conversations. This day would be no different. Yet what followed was a conversation I never expected.

  • For a book that helps you relate to the experience of living with an eating disorder see the “What I’m Reading” section below.

Stepfamily Math (Podcast) by Ron Deal of FamilyLife Blended

A family of five has about 20 relationships to manage but what about a stepfamily of five? Well, add the ex-spouses, their new partners and their children and a stepfamily of five has 210 relationships to manage. Then there is the confused identity multiplier. The stepdad has one idea of his role, his wife has a second, his stepchildren, biological child and his wife’s ex-husband have others. That calculates to 420 relationships. No wonder stepfamilies are tired. Don’t worry we’ve got your back.

How Expressing Gratitude Might Change Your Brain by Christian Jarrett

A lot of so-called “positive psychology” can seem a bit flaky, especially if you’re the sort of person disinclined to respond well to an admonition to “look on the bright side.” But positive psychologists have published some interesting findings, and one of the more robust ones is that feeling grateful is very good for you. Time and again, studies have shown that performing simple gratitude exercises, like keeping a gratitude diary or writing letters of thanks, can bring a range of benefits, such as feelings of increased well-being and reduced depression, that often linger well after the exercises are finished.

After Cheating: Restoring Relationship Trust by Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S

Infidelity (cheating) is the breaking of trust that occurs when you deliberately keep intimate, meaningful secrets from your primary romantic partner. I developed this definition because it focuses not on specific sexual behaviors, but on what ultimately matters most to a betrayed partner—the loss of relationship trust. That is the crux of infidelity, and that is what must be repaired if cheaters hope to salvage a deeply damaged primary relationship. In fact, after more than 25 years as a therapist specializing in sex and intimacy issues, I can state unequivocally that the process of healing a relationship damaged by infidelity begins and ends with the restoration of trust. Moreover, to repair relationship trust cheaters must not only come clean—in a general way, and preferably with guidance provided by an experienced couple’s counselor—about what they have done (i.e., the cheating), they must become rigorously honest about all other aspects of their life both in the moment and moving forward.

What I’m Reading

Life Without EDLife Without Ed: How One Woman Declared Independence from Her Eating Disorder and How You Can Too by Jenni Schaefer. Jenni had been in an abusive relationship with Ed [Eating Disorder] for far too long. He controlled Jenni’s life, distorted her self-image, and tried to physically harm her throughout their long affair. Then, in therapy, Jenni learned to treat her eating disorder as a relationship, not a condition. By thinking of her eating disorder as a unique personality separate from her own, Jenni was able to break up with Ed once and for all.

Inspiring, compassionate, and filled with practical exercises to help you break up with your own personal E.D., Life Without Ed provides hope to the millions of people plagued by eating disorders. Beginning with Jenni’s “divorce” from Ed, this supportive, lifesaving book combines a patient’s insights and experiences with a therapist’s prescriptions for success to help you live a healthier, happier life without Ed.

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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.

I can’t unsee this.

Council of Counselors: Singleness / Dating / Domestic Violence / Race Bias / End of Life

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.

The “Gift” of Singleness by Jayne Clark

You’ve expressed your desire for marriage to family and friends, and they have reassured you with a common refrain: “If you want to be married, it’s obvious you don’t have the gift of singleness. You’re meant to be married. The right guy just hasn’t come along yet. But hang in there—he will.” They are confirming what you have suspected: since you want to be married, God hasn’t given you the gift of singleness. If you had the gift, you would not be struggling this way.

10 Questions on Dating with Matt Chandler

  1. Is My Boyfriend (or Girlfriend) Godly Enough?
  2. Is There “Too Fast” in Christian Dating?
  3. Has Facebook Ruined Dating?
  4. Should My Church Help Me Get Married?
  5. Should I Date a Godly Girl I Do Not Find Attractive?
  6. Should a Boyfriend “Lead” His Girlfriend?
  7. Keys to Sexual Purity in Dating
  8. When Should a Single Stop Dating?
  9. Dating and Marriage for the Victims of Past Abuse
  10. What Hope Does God Offer Lonely Singles?

How Pastors Perceive Domestic Violence Differently by Bob Smietana

When it comes to domestic violence, Protestant pastors want to be helpful but often don’t know where to start. Most say their church would be a safe haven for victims of domestic violence. But many don’t know if anyone in their church has been a victim of domestic violence. And only half say they have a plan in place to help if a victim comes forward. Those are among the findings of a new report on churches and domestic abuse from LifeWay Research, based on a phone survey of 1,000 Protestant senior pastors.

Productive Conversations about Race, Bias, and Cultural Intelligence (CQ) by David Livermore

Diversity fatigue is not going away. Particularly with political riffs dividing friends and family, many people have had enough of it all and long for the days when recipes and cat videos filled their Facebook page. While this applies to political conversations, I’m actually interested in thinking about it far more broadly than that.

End of Life Planning by UCSF Memory and Aging Center

Life-planning decisions should be discussed as early as possible so you and your loved ones can thoughtfully consider options and voice your values. Talking about these plans may make you uncomfortable or seem irrelevant if you’re young, but the earlier you start, the better off you and your loved ones will be. You will have more time to think about what you really want. These documents can be updated and changed over time as needed.

What I’m Reading

abuseIs It My Fault? by Justin and Lindsey Holcomb is a message of hope and healing to victims who know too well the depths of destruction and the overwhelming reality of domestic violence.At least one in every three women have been beaten, coerced into sex, or abused in their lifetime. The effects of domestic violence are physical, social, emotional, psychological, and spiritual, and can have long-lasting distressing consequences. It is common for victims of domestic violence to suffer from ongoing depression and recurring nightmares, self-harm, panic attacks, substance abuse, and more.
Is It My Fault? addresses the abysmal issue of domestic violence with the powerful and transforming

Tweets of the Week

Meaningful Meme

self centered salvation

On the Lighter Side

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

Council of Counselors: Autism Ministry / Single Parenting / Suffering / Mental Illness Education / Spiritual Abuse

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.

5 Steps to Serving Children with Autism, ADHD, and Attachment Disorders by Evan Collier

Recently, our church launched a program dedicated to serving children with behavioral diagnoses such as autism, ADHD, and attachment disorders (common with adoption). Your mileage will most certainly vary, but I wanted to share some possible steps toward serving what seems to be an under-served community in our churches.

  • For more on raising an autistic child, consider the late Lauren Hendrickson’s book. She wrote with the multi-faceted background of a parent of an autistic child, biblical counselor, and psychiatrist. Her book is referenced in the “What I’m Reading” section below.

The Sufficiency of God for the Single Parent by Anna Meade Harris

Six years ago, my husband died of cancer and I became a single mom to our three boys, ages nine, twelve, and thirteen. There’s a reason God involves two parents at every conception; parenting is a job built for partners, too big for any one person to handle alone. Most people would not choose to parent without a spouse: death, divorce, and abandonment add substantial pain to the challenges of raising children. As a mom with her husband, I often felt ill-equipped and unqualified for the task of raising godly young men. As a mom without her husband, well, let’s just say I am in over my head.

How Not to Help a Sufferer by Gavin Ortlund

It’s easy to criticize Job’s friends, but let’s be honest: We can all be like them. In fact, a good litmus test of our heart’s alignment with the gospel—whether functionally we believe in a world of grace or a world of karma—is how we respond when a Job comes across our path. Suffering pulls out our real theology like a magnet. Here are four things in particular to avoid when with a sufferer. Think of them as four ways we, like Job’s friends, can pour burning coals on the heads of those already sitting in ashes.

What Health Class Didn’t Teach Me About Living With My Mom’s Mental Illness by Juliette Virzi

While my ninth grade health class prepared me for avoiding teenage pregnancy, it did not prepare me for inheriting motherhood to my 13-year-old sister when my mother’s mental health took a turn for the worse a few years later. I was 16.

Spiritual Abuse: What it is and Why it Hurts by Phil Monroe

Spiritual abuse is the use of faith, belief, and/or religious practices to coerce, control, or damage another for a purpose beyond the victim’s well-being (i.e., church discipline for the purpose of love of the offender need not be abuse). Like child abuse, spiritual abuse comes in many forms. It can take the form of neglect or intentional harm of another. It can take the form of naïve manipulation or predatory “feeding on the sheep.”

What I’m Reading

autismFinding Your Child’s Way on the Autism Spectrum: Discovering Unique Strengths, Mastering Behavior Challenges by Dr. Laura Hendrickson. Dr. Laura Hendrickson is a trained psychiatrist, biblical counselor–and the mother of an autistic child. She understands the struggles parents face as they try to communicate with their autism spectrum child and manage behavior challenges.

With an approach that is grounded in a deep understanding of the challenges those caring for autism spectrum children face, Finding Your Child’s Way on the Autism Spectrum gives the reader sound, practical tools for understanding how to guide an autism spectrum child to function more fully as the person God created them to be.

Tweets of the Week

Meaningful Meme

john owen

On the Lighter Side

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