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Why Seek Marital Counseling

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Why Seek Premarital Counseling

Our Inherent Capacity for Evil

Scott Peck in The People of The Lie stresses the importance of naming evil. By its very nature evil confuses and deceives and is not what it seems. Unless we dig deep and name it, we will avoid seeing its reality in ourselves and others. Instead, we will categorize our lives as "good and ethical" because we haven't committed one of the big ten sins like murdering, stealing or committing adultery. However, evil is much more insidious. This silent killer wraps its cold, numbing tentacles around our hearts, distorting our thoughts and obscuring our motives.

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Change is a Certainty

Whether subtle or jarring, the momentum of change shifts our balance, disrupts our routines and rattles our repose. It impacts our lives and we are never the same. Our response to change can either be to submerge into lethargy or open our hearts to the breath of life, like a screaming new born baby. Change and its ensuing chaos can be less of an enemy and more of a friend for it can heighten awareness, shatter certainty, and engender perspective, while stirring our hunger for an authentic relationship with God.

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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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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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Overcoming Evil (Sexual Abuse)

People have said to me, why is sexual abuse such a big deal? My immediate reaction is to wonder if the person asking that question has been abused. For how could a healthy parent envision their trusting five-year-old son or daughter being touched and sexually aroused for the pleasure and exploitation of an adult and not wonder about its impact? It takes just a moment for innocence and childhood to be lost forever, and a lifetime is spent unveiling the heart from self-protective walls. Children of abuse will never relax in their mother’s arms the same way they did before the violation, nor will they rest with the same abandon in their spouse’s embrace. The damage to the soul will eventually erupt into external realities. "The incident of shame, depression, and dissociation have been found to be primary symptoms of significant trauma, especially sexual abuse," states Dr. Allender. Other problems often associated with sexual trauma are compulsive disorders such as alcohol and substance abuse, eating disorders, sexual dysfunction, poor self-esteem and narcissistic grandiosity, and a host of stress related disorders such as intestinal problems, lower backaches, neck and jaw pain and chronic headaches.

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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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Margaret Bernhart Profile

Margaret Bernhart LMHC

Margaret Bernhart

LMHC

800 3rd Street North, Ste C
Neptune Beach, FL 32266
904-510-2567 · 850-668-3750




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