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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

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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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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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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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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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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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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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