While these phrases seem kind and beneficial, they are often not enough to help the person who is deeply struggling. Someone enveloped in the dark cloud of depression will likely discount every statement. You may say, “you are loved.” She will internally respond with, “you wouldn’t love me if you really knew me.” “You matter” becomes “my family doesn’t seem to care. No one cares what I do or where I am. No one is interested in my life.” “You are important” gets turned into “I am replaceable.”
I have a challenge for us all (yes, I am including myself!): qualify the statement. Tell the person in front of you why they are loved. Tell her why she matters. Tell him why he is important. Don’t assume they know. And this goes for all of the people in our lives, not just the ones we think are struggling.
Husbands, tell your wives why you love them. Mothers, tell your children why they matter. Sister, tell your sister why she is important to you. Manager, tell your people individually why they are important. Be specific. Be honest. Do not let your people go unnoticed.
How will you use this and offer hope to others this week?
Ideas for application:
Write a note and leave it for your spouse
Give a social media shoutout to a friend/family member
Send a thank you of encouragement to someone important to you
Send a text to a friend
Verbally tell your person what they mean to you
Develop a timeline of significant events in life and show your person how he/she impacted your life
Happy Valentine’s Day! We thought it would be appropriate to share with you some advice on building and maintaining a healthy relationship or marriage from some of our fantastic counselors.
Sawyer Nix emphasized the importance of intentional communication, beyond discussions about your schedule. Taking at least five minutes a day to have an intentional conversation about your life with your significant other, without the distraction of technology is necessary to maintain a healthy relationship, and will prove beneficial when conflict arises.
Holly Spiars discussed expectations. She raised the question, “how important is it for you to be right?,” and encourages you to filter your expectations. Sometimes, she says, you have to let go of control and be flexible to make a relationship, or marriage, work. In addition, she mentions that if unmet expectations were never spoken, you do not have the right to be angry. For further reinforcement, she recommends Philippians 2.
Kate Earle’s message is that “a fruitful marriage requires the faithful tilling and work to produce the fruits of love, joy, and peace within the relationship. Most individuals set their gaze on the fruits of a healthy marriage (love, companionship, etc.), but fail to recognize the necessity of the work required to bear such fruit. A huge part of this work involves sacrificing your own desires for the benefit of your spouse. Another part of this work requires communication on part of both parties. Ultimately, our model for how to produce a healthy marriage is the example of how Christ depicts his love for the church, in which sacrifice, communication, and great care is exemplified.”
John Nolette compared relationships to harmony in music. He said, “ in music, harmony is often defined as a combination of musical notes or sounds that blend to produce a pleasing sound. A musician or singer is focused on their part and does not miss a single note. The end result is a perfect sound that transcends time. In marriage, harmony requires the same level of focus and attention. Two people doing their part to love and serve one another. The result just like in music is two parts perfectly blended surpassing all expectations and lasting for a lifetime.”
We hope that you had a lovely Valentine’s Day with the ones that you love.
My wife asked me how I was handling the current situation with the ongoing pandemic, stay-at-home order, and self-quarantine. I gave her my best Christian answer. I responded without hesitation, “I am doing well. I’m reading God’s Word and keeping my mind stayed on Him.” Immediately after the conversation with my wife, I started making phone calls to members of the church to pray with them and to see if they had enough food and home supplies because of the shortages in the stores. I thought I was doing well until I made the next phone call.
This one member had a sister that recently died due to a head injury. Through her tears, she explained to me how grieved her family was and how they were not able to be at her sister’s bedside during her last hours because of Covid-19. Hospitals were not allowing family members to visit sick relatives in an attempt to keep the virus from spreading. Her family was angry and devastated. After the doctors removed the life support system, a nurse approached them in the parking lot of the hospital and said, “I’m putting my job on the line but follow me! I will allow you to see your sister.” The family received a moment of relief. They were able to spend the last 15 minutes together as a family before their loved one passed away.
After that conversation, the weight of everything came crumbling down on me. Consequently, I realized that I was not alright, as I had previously mentioned to my wife a few minutes earlier. Looking up at the blue sky on the patio of my home, I became quite emotional. As a pastor, I was supposed to be strong but I had a moment of weakness. Troubled times like these can mentally wear you down to the point of anguish and hopelessness.
At that point, I had to find strength and hope. Where would I turn? I would go to my source of solace, the Scriptures.
In the book of Nehemiah 9:18-21, we read some encouraging words of how God demonstrated His deep devotion and miraculous wonders to the children of Israel with they were living in desperate times. After they had left Egypt, they were in the wilderness for 40 years. God would provide for them in ways that would benefit us during the difficult days that we are experiencing.
GOD’S MAGNIFICENT MERCY
The children of Israel made a golden calf and claimed that it was the god that delivered them out of Egypt, (Nehemiah 9:18). Even in their rebellion, God did not forsake them. In Nehemiah 9:19, we see where God provided his “manifold mercies.” Psalm 136 proclaims how God’s mercy endures forever. During critical circumstances of our day, we can take comfort in the magnificent mercies of God. He will not fail us.
GOD’S DIVINE DIRECTION
While the children of Israel were in the wilderness, God miraculously directed their paths. He led them with a pillar of cloud by day and by a pillar of fire by night. Additionally, He gave them His Spirit to instruct them (Nehemiah 19-20). When we have difficult days, it is hard to know which way to turn. When we put our trust in God, His Holy Spirit can lead us in the right direction. We have His GPS, God’s Powerful Spirit.
GOD’S CONSTANT CARE
For 40 years God sustained the children of Israel in the wilderness. They did not need a Chick-fil-A. He fed them manna. They did not need a water supplier because He provided water for them. Lastly, they did not need a doctor because their feet did not swell and their clothes did not wear out, (Nehemiah 9:20-21). God took care of them. He is Jehovah-jireh. God provides for His children. He knows what we need and He will sustain us during times of uncertainty.
I am so glad that troubles don’t last always.
“This poor man called out, and the LORD heard him; He saved him from all his troubles, (Psalm 34:6.)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, more commonly known as PTSD, seems to be one of the most misunderstood mental health conditions many people struggle with as there are quite a few misconceptions about what exactly it is, the symptoms, and who it affects. I have found myself in many conversations where people have asked me what I treat and as soon as I mention PTSD, they respond with “Oh, you work with veterans. That’s awesome!” And while working with veterans is probably super awesome, that is not the population I most commonly work with. While many veterans and military personnel battle with this, they are not the only ones. It is assumed by many that to suffer from PTSD you must have had to witnessed war or some sort of extreme violence, while this can lead to PTSD, these are not the only traumatic events that lead to its development.
There are multiple types of events/experiences that can lead to PTSD, such as: medical procedures, feelings of helplessness, danger, or fear, natural disasters, abuse, seeing violence, divorce, death of a close friend or family member, etc…(NIMH, 2016). Many of these event/experiences are things many of us experience at one point or another in our lifetime, and as you can see, these are things that are experienced across the age spectrum. Which leads to another misconception, which is the thought that this is something only adults can be diagnosed with. Anyone at any age can develop PTSD. Yes, that’s right, children and adolescents can suffer from PTSD. Children and adolescents are sometimes seen to have differing symptoms than adults, which can sometimes make it more confusing to understand and diagnose. Adults with PTSD are seen to commonly experience flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance of reminders of the event/experience, being easily startled, feeling tense or edgy, difficulty sleeping, and irritability. Children can experience these same symptoms, but they can present with bed-wetting after having been potty-trained, regression in speech, acting out event/experience in play, and/or separation anxiety with caregiver. Adolescents are seen to have similar symptoms to adults but can develop behaviors that are disruptive, disrespectful, or destructive (NIMH, 2016).
To confuse you even further, not everyone who has experienced a traumatic event or had a traumatic experience will develop PTSD. There are several factors that can play an instrumental role in reducing one’s risk of developing PTSD. One factor that can be very helpful is leaning in to a support system and allowing them to be supportive through the difficult times. If you or your loved one are not in a position to be surrounded by a support system, seeking out a support group that can help one through this experience can prove to significantly decrease this risk. Another factor that is helpful in reducing one’s risk is to find healthy ways to cope with the experience. If you or your loved one are unsure of healthy coping skills, seeking out a licensed therapist that has trauma-informed training can be beneficial in identifying healthy ways to work through the traumatic event/experience. Lastly, finding a way to process through the event/experience and identify bravery and/or viewing one’s actions in a positive manner can help to reduce the risk of developing PTSD (NIMH, 2016).
If you feel that you or a loved one have been through a traumatic event and/or experience and need additional support or feel that you may be suffering from PTSD, please feel free to contact us at Restoring Hope, LLC to schedule an assessment.
I’m sure you have seen a sporting event where the coach is directing or coaching players, often yelling. Did you know that we can be our own coach? We all need a support system, but when it’s just us and our thoughts, it’s important that we encourage ourselves or coach ourselves up. Positive self-talk is the phrase that counselors use, but it is simply coaching ourselves in a positive way.
There are many times throughout life when we have been in tough spots such as first learning to tie our shoes. Sure, we had encouragement from others, but it also took some belief and coaching of ourselves to accomplish the task. Next time you are struggling or in a challenging area, be a coach and tell yourself good things like, “I’ve got this; God is always with me; I’ve handled tough situations before; and/or I can do my best!”
“Life has been so stressful lately. Well, not even just lately. It seems like life has always beenthis way. I can’t catch a break.”
“I’m hurting and I can’t figure out how to tell someone – or who to tell. The thoughts just keepcoming and I don’t know how to stop them. I’m tired of feeling this way. I feel so alone.”
“Life is scary. I am constantly bombarded by the ‘what ifs’. Panic hits me out of nowhere and Idon’t know what to do. I just want to run.”
“I’m not sure how to communicate with my child. He just seems so angry and doesn’t want totalk.”
“Food seems to be the enemy. But I love it. But it hates me. The struggle is real.”
“I feel like my spouse doesn’t understand me anymore. It’s as though we are just roommatesthese days.”
If any of these thoughts have crossed your mind, counseling may be helpful to you. The wholeconcept of counseling has grown through the years, though many are still uncertain as to whatis involved. The basics of it are: we are here to help.
Most of us go to the doctor when we are in physical pain. Why? Why go to a doctor and not justread a book on pain? Because the doctor is trained to help figure out what is wrong and how totreat it. Do doctors have all of the answers? No, but they have the tools necessary to point us inthe right direction for relief and solutions.
Much is the same with counseling. Counselors are trained with the tools necessary to help pointus in the right direction when we are in emotional and mental pain. So why not go to a counselorwhen symptoms arise?
We are all going to face something in life that is challenging to get through. Having a greatemotional and spiritual support system during such times is essential to our ability to cope.However, sometimes, we need someone with specific training to come alongside us to help usnavigate the thoughts and emotions that come with challenges. And that is what we, ascounselors, are seeking to do – help you work through the thoughts and emotions on your pathto hope and healing. (At RHC, we do so from our own personal foundation of faith in Christ.While we do not force our beliefs on our clients, we know that the source of our hope is Jesus.)
Whether you are super stressed with life or dealing with intense grief or anything in between,our goal is to offer you hope. Our job is not to judge or tell you what to do. We want to offer youa safe space to feel what you need to feel and work through what is necessary to be a healthieryou.
Warning: counseling can be hard work. But a lot of hope and healing may be found in the hard.Which makes the effort worth it.
So now the question is for you to answer: why counseling?