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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

We Were Made For Something More

Everything is turned upside down. Life is the opposite from what it should be -- what we deeply long for. We are catapulted from the secure, soothing cadence of a mother's heartbeat to startled breath, bright lights and cold air. By design we adjust to our new environment with insatiable curiosity, exploration, wonder and awe. Moments are magical, days longer than 24 hours, dreams so profuse it would be easier to capture all the stars in the sky. Imagination turns clouds into animals, raindrops into pearls and sunbeams into rays of tiny dancing ballerinas. For the child the simple becomes sacred. Fairy tales, magic wands and ruby slippers speak of the hope, dreams and desires that live inside each of us - a sacred hope that lies beyond this world.

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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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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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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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Redemption Amidst The Carnage

Tragedy sharpens the focus of what was once obscured by the cataract of fallen humanity. Monotony, boredom and addictions are the symptoms of soul deadness. As Sir William Wallace in the movie "Braveheart" exclaimed, "Every man dies, but not every man lives." Sacred to being given the privilege to walk this earth, is the opportunity to be emotionally alive and available to all life has to offer. Suffering is the gift least desired, but instrumental in delivering us from our numbed existence, while exposing our deepest longings--reminders of another home. The Apostle Peter writes: "But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen (1 Peter 5:9-11)."

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The Favorite Child

Secrets by their very nature are powerful, untold realities. Their energy lies in their governance and mystery. Acting much like a rudder and sail, secrets steer human behavior while their covert nature fills and billows with potency. All families have secrets. And they serve to bind humanity together for we all share the same secrets. One classic family secret is that of the favorite child. Phrases like the teacher's pet, boss's protégé, and Daddy's little girl all smack of partiality. It is a common tool used in reality TV shows to heighten drama. Competition is fueled as one contestant is offered a privilege--be it a coveted date night with an eligible bachelor or a free pass that promises safe passage through a maze of obstacles. Partiality chooses one and un-chooses the other. To those excluded it increases the desperation to scrap and crawl to the top of the heap. Literature abounds with stories of the favored child who struggles against the hatred of their own flesh and blood. The narrative of Joseph chronicled in the Old Testament is one example.

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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