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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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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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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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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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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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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Margaret Bernhart Profile

Margaret Bernhart LMHC

Margaret Bernhart

LMHC

Offices in Neptune Beach &
Tallahassee Florida
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