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Hope and Faith!

Hope and Faith!

Recently, A friend was explaining to me a brief anecdote about a sledding debacle at her family farm. Her two granddaughters were out back sledding down the hill, across a frozen pond, and up the opposite slope as a deceleration slope. She could tell they were having fun, and she was about to head out and join them when all of a sudden, the following scenario played out.

The first granddaughter, Hope, was heading up the deceleration slope after a nice fast run, and her sister Faith, was coming right behind her. Due to a timing miscalculation (or maybe a little mischief!), Faith did not wait long enough before heading down the slope – and just so happened to end up in the exact same spot coming up the opposite slope that her sister was coming down.

You guessed it. As Hope came drifting down. Grace was ramping up! Thump (or whatever sound two inner-tubes make crashing on a snowy slope!).

After making sure everyone was alright, it was a good laugh. Anecdotally, here’s the punch line I used for a sermon illustration:
If hope is coming down, it just needs a little faith to bump it back up!

In case that doesn’t sound right, remember, faith isn’t blind-belief; it’s trusting God to do what He has said He will do, and what He has demonstrated he is faithful to do many times before. Next time you’re bumped off your inner-tube, remember that – and get right back on it!

Be blessed out there!

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Hope!

Hope!

It’s interesting to note that the first Christmas recipients (those at the birth of Christ) were not aware that a plan had been set in motion which would lead to Easter. In fact, if they had been told about Easter then, they probably would have agreed with the song by 4 Him titled “What a Strange Way to Save the World” (see the video here).

All through the narrative of Jesus’ life, we see the evidence that no one had close to the right idea of how Jesus would fulfill the promise of “making all things new and right”. When they did finally catch a glimpse of what his idea of “fixing everything” looked like, most of them didn’t understand how this was God’s best solution. Yet, everyone was excited about his birth and the idea that God was enacting this long awaited promise of salvation! If you want to hear the message first hand, read Luke 2:1-20!

I am reminded that we are often like those first recipients in our daily lives. We are looking for, waiting for, possibly expecting, God to heal our hurts and make things right. But sometimes, His ways of using people and taking time and allowing process and pain don’t always make sense to us. This is when we learn the true meaning of Hope. If we believe that God is only Good, loves us and wants what is best for us, is powerful enough to do what He wants, and creative enough to make it happen no matter what else is complicating that, then we are experiencing Hope the way those first hurting souls did too.

This Hope isn’t something unsure as in, “I really hope this happens!”. This Hope is a truly believed-in-expectation that we simply haven’t experienced all the way yet.
Be encouraged this Christmas if you have need to remember that no matter what you are going through, if Christ is your Savior, the solution, healing, and restoration will come! Keep doing whatever it is you have been given to do and trust Him to be who has always been – Your Perfect Chain-Breaking, Way-Making, Compassionate, Understanding Father.

Merry Christmas! This is Hope!

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Counselors Don’t Work

Counselors Don’t Work

Occasionally, I hear a well -intentioned comment that sounds something like, “Counseling? No! There’s no counselor who can fix this.”

While it saddens me to be reminded that so many people reject the professional help that is so readily available to them, I have to admit that I whole heartedly agree with those statements.

Counselors don’t actually fix anything.

One of the things my family and I like to do together is watch those gladiatorial competitions on TV where athletes from around the globe will compete for some ultimate title based on their physical agility, strength and prowess. When watching these, very often the production team will fill in program minutes by giving the viewers the backstory of the contestants. We will find ourselves transported to Italy, Siberia, or even West Virginia, where the cameras reveal the contestants in their home settings, training and living life.

One of my favorite parts about this part of the program is seeing the contestants’ trainers in the background. Often, the contestants will be doing incredible acts of athleticism while their coach is in the background giving direction and challenging them on some specific aspect of performance.

This is A LOT like counseling. Many of the individuals who come to counseling have the resiliency and strengths necessary to “compete” in their arena of life, but they need some sort of coach who can help give direction, encourage endurance, and challenge on aspects of performance in order to help that person achieve the best possible and most fulfilling results. That being said, just as it is not the coach doing the work to achieve victory at the end of a great competition, it is not the counselor who is doing the work to find healing and/or progress in therapy. The counselor does the work of enabling and focusing transformation, but the transformation is wholly in the hands of the individual applying the work through their own effort and endurance.

This points out two profound realities for me as a therapist (counselor). First, not every trainer fits with every athlete. There is a powerful alliance that is formed when the right duo teams up with the right goal for that competitor. Likewise, the right alliance needs to be formed by pairing the right therapist with the right person seeking help. And they need to discern the appropriate goals for that alliance. Only then can they achieve victory beyond what is possible alone.

Second, it is incredible to note how many “normal” people are champions over their specific challenges because the right alliance enables them to do what they never believed or thought possible. I am often amazed at the transformation that occurs when people begin to believe in themselves and utilize the tremendous resources they find within that therapeutic alliance.

Here at The Center For Human Development, we are proud to be able to be a part of that journey for so many champions. We look forward to seeing many more!

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