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Why Seek Marital Counseling

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Why Seek Counseling and Therapy

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Why Seek Premarital Counseling

The Primary Goal of Christian Counseling

Christianity Today talked with Dr. Larry Crabb--well known author and speaker--about Christian counseling. CT: What's the first thing you would suggest to Christians who want to become counselors?

CRABB: The first thing I'd suggest is that they ask themselves what they fundamentally believe about the root purpose of counseling. What are they trying to accomplish when they sit down with a client who is anorexic, in a bad marriage or whatever. What's their root thinking when trying to get a girl to start eating again or a marriage straightened out. All are worthy ambitions, but they must be secondary.

Our highest purpose as human beings isn't to try to make this life work. It's to reflect the character of God--of our Creator, Savior and Lord--in the middle of a life that doesn't work. About the first thing Cain did after God judged him and told him he was going to wander around the rest of his life was to build a city. The implication was--forget this wandering stuff, I'm going to build myself a city and make my life work. God says in Hebrews that he's ashamed to be called the God of a people who are looking for a better city than the one they'll ultimately have in heaven.

CT: Is it wrong for Christian counselors to ask God to take away the pain in their clients' lives?

CRABB: The Bible says our primary focus is to glorify God. If you have any compassion at all for your fellow man, of course you want to relieve the pain. But there's a danger that god will become someone to be used rather than Someone to worship. He becomes useful for putting your life together--the way you want it. The tricky thing is, there's nothing wrong with wanting your life put together. There's nothing wrong with wanting a good marriage, enjoying your kids and managing your money in a faithful way.

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Leaving a Legacy

All parents will wound their children. It's a given due to the curse of living outside Eden. Yet, it is a rare gift to model encountering the enemies of our heart and how to struggle well. The redemptive lessons are immeasurable and the impact substantial when parents exhibit strength that is counterbalanced by humility and honesty. Children need strength that offers structure, the protection of limits and the ability to rest in something larger than themselves. There is no question that children will see their parents fail. The real question is whether parents will acknowledge their flawed humanity and thus affirm to their children that what they see is indeed true.

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First and Final Words

My mother’s joy is now complete. With her final words, she risked sharing what was most profoundly in her heart. She was closer to wholeness in that moment than she had ever been on earth. And now she is healed. Her memory is perfect. She laughs as she freely shares her heart. She now sees God’s face and her soul is sated. She is home. We don’t have to wait to offer our final words. We can borrow from heaven what is supernatural; God’s favor upon us. We can allow our empty ache to be filled with joy and we can speak life-giving words now.

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Extreme Spouse Makeover

Marriages can have their own extreme makeover. Two people meet, fall in love with the man or woman of their dreams, and eventually this culminates in the beauty of the marriage nuptials, celebrated by friends and family. The couple is then whisked off to their honeymoon vacation—carrying the hopes and dreams of an Oh So Sweet new life together. As the flower petals fall and the tail lights of the limousine fade from sight, what happens next can catch the couple by surprise.

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Surrendered to Love--Mary's legacy

Incarnation as one author says is “God—ultimate reality, becoming flesh.” All incarnation involves saying, “Yes” and then embracing the narrow road. The manger and a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes is God invading the earth to bring incarnation to our past, present, and future. Certainly, with love’s ultimate reality comes brokenness, the washing of wounds, and like the wise men, the bending of knees—that leads to hearing the sweet melody of heaven.

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An Identity that Transcends

I turned to say goodbye to my parents and gazed into their tender, loving and sad faces. I had received their blessing, yet their devotion to seeing my dreams come true would come with a piercing price—the sorrowful severing of the umbilical cord that bonds parent and child together. We embraced through the tears and for a moment time was suspended. I felt like a little girl who was suddenly struck with a panicked desire to call the whole thing off, unpack the car and say, What was I thinking? As the consequences of my decision came hurtling into focus, the fact that I was the last to leave the nest, but the first of my three siblings to relocate only inculcated the thought to reverse course and stay. Adding to the pressure was the uncomfortable prospect of having to admit defeat and move back home, if this adventure went up in flames. What helped stay the course that day was an intuitive Yes that marked the dreaming, praying and planning phases and resonated through every minute detail. I hoped a larger sovereign plan was afoot. Standing there that day in the surge of emotions was a glorious and honorable rite of passage; I was being lured away from the only family I had known into the mystery of larger open waters.

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Margaret Bernhart Profile

Margaret Bernhart LMHC

Margaret Bernhart

LMHC

2050 Kings Circle S
Neptune Beach, FL 32266
904-510-2567





One of the most profound desires of every human being is to be known, observed and touched by the soul of another. -MB