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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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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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Suffering that Transforms

Our suffering is not without purpose. God’s plan is what is best for us (although perhaps not what we would choose). In His mercy, we are privileged to participate in the usurping of evil and the transforming of sorrow. Yet, some redemption wait’s for eternity. However, we know God remembers and redeems every last tear. Until that time, He offers reminders found in beauty, food, good friends and sexual intimacy that whisper there is more. That more is found in God as we wait for the Great Consummation. He loves us enough to not give us what we want--what in the end will kill us. Rather, He gives us what we desire most–Himself.

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Love Looks Inside So We can Look Out

>“It’s all about me,” my good friend Terrie laughed. “It’s always more about me than I’d care to admit when it comes to relationships.” Paul said the same thing, when he declared, “I’m the chief sinner of all” (1 Tim. 1:15). Even Socrates acknowledges, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” This brings up two important questions: How do we acknowledge our brokenness without drowning in introspection and self-loathing? And how do we pursue spiritual growth and healing without making it a remedy for our brokenness?

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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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How Does My Heart Need Reaching?

Surprise, enlightenment, repentance, hope, and joy--all parts of my experience as I sat under the teaching of Dr. Larry Crabb during his Reach the Heart Experience. Good teachers invite, challenge, and leave you coming back for more. As he described the radical shift needed in our hearts to have authentic community and live in transforming relationships, hunger and hope were ignited with a slight bit of trepidation, knowing the cost of what lay ahead--seeing my tarnished and ugly motivations. Real community and spiritual formation aren't pipe dreams. To give us vision for how true community functions, God reveals it through the unity and sacrifice of the Trinity--the intimate dance of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And we are all invited!

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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





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