Fall is in the Air

September 20, 2018

The following article was published in “First Things” for First Presbyterian Church.

 

It is that time of year.  All of the indicators that summer is ending and that fall is quickly approaching are upon us.  School is beginning, football is here, the church’s fall activities are getting ready to start, and we even see some slight weather changes on the horizon.  The changing seasons of the year are part of life.  It has been said that life as a whole consists of numerous seasons.  I personally am in one of those changing seasons.  The kids have been launched, an empty nest, and downsizing of the large family home.

All change has a certain amount of stress associated with it.  Sending the kids back to school is stressful.  Adjusting to an empty nest and parenting adult children is stressful.  This human life is always changing.  Adjusting to those changes requires navigating and managing the stress well.  One common reason that people seek help at the counseling center is because they are having trouble with the stress of change.

I was recently thinking about God and change.  The bible tells us two things about God and change.  First of all, God never changes.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever ().  At the same time, God is doing new things in me, you, and all of his creation (, ).  It occurred to me that in all of the changes in my life (some natural and some supernatural) that God is the same.  He is always for me, He always loves me, He always seek relationship with me, He always is sovereign over my life, and He is always there.  It is these truths about God not changing that can help me navigate the changes in life.

In the work we do at The Christian Counseling Center, we help people to apply these biblical truths as they navigate the changes in their lives.  The work of the Christian Counseling Center is always available to you and also exists as an outreach to the city.  Check out our website, www.christiancounseling.ws, for more information.

 

Tom Barbian, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Dr. Barbian

Dr. Tom Barbian, LPC

Executive Director View More Posts »
More about Dr. Barbian »

ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key ’TEST’
ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key ’TEST’
ERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key ’TEST’

Soul Wounds

December 7, 2016

Attach: Join, put together, connect. Abandon: Throw away, dispose of, dump.

Abandonment and Attachment…two important words that affect our ability to have relationships. In his book “Why You Do the Things You Do“, Tim Clinton says that the following questions point to important aspects of relationship:

Are you there for me?

Can I count on you?

Do you really care about me?

Am I worthy of your love and protection?

What do I have to do to get your attention, your affection, your heart?

How a person answers these questions indicates how secure their attachments are. If a person has been abandoned in any way, they will be very insecure. A child can perceive abandonment in a number of different ways that may seem very benign to a parent at the time. Dr. Mary Ainsworth did a study on the interaction between Moms and their babies to measure how secure a child feels in a relationship. What she found led to the labeling of four distinct types of relationship styles: the first being secure, and the other three – ambivalent, avoidant, and disorganized – being insecure. A study of Christian college students found that those students with insecure relationship styles felt anxious, overwhelmed, and angry. The ones with an ambivalent relationship style tended to doubt their salvation very frequently, wondering if they had really said the right things to God when they were saved or even if maybe they had committed the unpardonable sin. The ones with avoidant styles tended to give up on God when things didn’t go as they thought they should and would begin to follow sinful habits. Those with a disorganized style vacillated between responding in ambivalent, avoidant or even secure ways to God.

Perhaps understanding these relationship styles can help us understand why it is so difficult for some people to draw near to the Lord. It is not always simply a lack of discipline or an inadequate prayer life, but a deeper issue that we call a “soul wound.” Soul wounds can cause a person to get spiritually stuck and unable to move forward to draw near to our Lord. But, the good news is that our early, unhealthy relationship styles don’t have to mean lifelong problems. Our God is a redemptive God and through His power and grace, awareness of why we do the things we do, and a bit of courage, these self-defeating tendencies can be overcome.

This is the main goal and ministry of the Christian Counseling Center: to help people heal wounds and work through painful situations that often are blocking a secure and vibrant relationship with Christ Jesus. Please call us if you or someone you love is struggling and needs a counselor to come alongside and help them to heal so they can have a more secure attachment to Jesus and to others. You can request an appointment at any time by clicking here.

(Image By Christoph Hessel)

Bobbie Lackey

Bobbie Lackey

Licensed Professional Counselor View More Posts »
More about Bobbie »

All Things for Good

October 10, 2016

Some people I meet with have been so unspeakably abused by others, it is almost impossible for them or me to grasp how something so horrific could a) be allowed by God and b) be used for good.

Thomas Watson, a 17th Century writer who wrote the little book, All Things for Good has done an excellent job of helping to unpack this concept. In chapter two, he deals with how the worst things work for good for the godly and I would like to share a portion of these concepts. First, he clarifies that these worse things are a fruit of the curse and that though naturally evil; the wise overruling hand of God transforms them and uses them for the good of the universe. One of the evils he discusses is the evil of affliction.

-Affliction teaches what sin is and helps us to see it in our own heart. We may hear about how horrible sin is, but until we experience it ourselves, we have no idea. And, having experienced it, we see our own sinfulness in our reaction to it.

-Afflictions are the means of making the heart more upright. When things are going well, our hearts are apt to be divided between the world and God. When the world draws us away from God, affliction can pull us back again.

-Afflictions conform us to Christ. Our goal is to be like Christ. Christ’s life was a series of sufferings. He wept and bled. Jesus drank a bitter cup; it made Him sweat drops of blood to think of it. He did it for us – if He gives us this path, can we walk on it for Him, even when we don’t understand why?

-Afflictions are destructive to sin. There is much corruption in the best heart; affliction does by degrees work it out, as the fire works out the dross from the gold.

-Afflictions are the means of loosening our hearts from the world.

-Afflictions make a way for comfort. God sweetens outward pain with inward peace. “Your sorrow shall be turned into joy” )

-Afflictions are a magnifying of us…in that a) God would go so low as to take notice of us and find us worthy to be smitten b) they are ensigns of glory, signs of sonship and c) they make the saints renowned in the world…’ye have heard of the patience of job”…()

-Afflictions are a means of making us happy. When God sets our worldly comforts on fire, then we run to Him, and make our peace with Him and find happiness in His nearness.

-Afflictions put to silence the wicked. Wicked men are silenced when they see that the godly will keep close to God in a suffering condition and even though they lose all will hold fast their integrity.

-Afflictions make way for glory. God first lays the dark colors of affliction as a backdrop and then lays the golden color of glory which then shines even brighter.

Working through the pain of the past is difficult…but what a magnificent victory when that terrible darkness is covered over by God’s glorious light!

Bobbie Lackey

Bobbie Lackey

Licensed Professional Counselor View More Posts »
More about Bobbie »

11 Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. (ESV)

“It will be the happiest time in your life.”

“You will feel nothing but unconditional love.”

“Don’t worry, being a mother will just come naturally.”

These are very common phrases that moms-to-be often hear as they near the birth of their baby. Although these comments are meant as encouragement, they inadvertently create a set of expectations about what motherhood and those first few months postpartum should look like and feel like. For some postpartum women, these phrases may ring true. For many others, these phrases feel unfamiliar and seem more like some standard to which their own experience falls vastly short. These new mothers gaze at their baby through unwelcome tears, wondering what went wrong.
The postpartum period comes with challenges that threaten to overwhelm even the most prepared, supported and experienced mothers.

There are emotional challenges as women often struggle through a broad range of feelings, such as confusion, uncertainty, joy, fulfillment, pain, longing, guilt and sadness. There are physical challenges, such as learning to care for an infant while managing sleep deprivation and healing from childbirth. Relationally, there are role adjustments and identity changes. And there are spiritual challenges, as mothers wrestle with managing fear and faith.

Add to this a major depressive episode, and life can begin to feel very unbearable, indeed. What is the struggle like for a woman with PPD? She feels anxious, irritable and sad almost all day, everyday. She is plagued with guilt. Guilt that says to her, “You aren’t a good enough mother.” She is so tired it hurts, yet she is unable to sleep when given the opportunity. Her thoughts are scattered, random, and she can’t focus. Except on the scary thoughts. She can’t get those unwelcome, intrusive thoughts out of her head. She isn’t able to manage her day-to-day responsibilities anymore. More guilt. She feels hopeless and helpless, and has even thought that her baby and family might be better off without her.

If this sounds like you, know that you are not crazy. You are not abnormal. You are not alone in feeling this way. And if you are feeling this way, it is important to reach out for help. It’s ok to reach out for help. There are people-trained counselors- who know what this is and know how help you feel better. There is a path to healing, and we want to walk alongside you as you begin to reclaim your life, your motherhood, and yourself.

Rebecca is a Licensed Professional Counselor/Intern (LPCI) at the Christian Counseling Center. Her areas of interest include women’s issues, emotional regulation, and mothers dealing with perinatal and postpartum depression. She is married with one daughter and a perfect day for her would include the beach, coffee, baking, a nice outdoor jog, and watching movies.

Fear

August 16, 2016

Earlier this week, my one year-old daughter was playing with a toy on the bed. I watched her pick up the toy, throw it off the bed onto the floor, and then in an attempt to retrieve the toy, dive headlong after it over the side of the bed. Totally unafraid of the fall or impact that awaited her! Thankfully, I quickly caught her before she tumbled head-over-heels onto the floor. As I thought about the accident we had just avoided, it occurred to me that she is not yet old enough to understand fear (in this case, fear of falling that would have deterred her from jumping off the side of the bed).

Some fears can be appropriate and useful. But what about the fears that feel crippling, burdensome, confusing, or excessive? Some fears may be situational, such as giving a presentation or flying on an airplane. Others may be relational, such as doing something embarrassing in front of others. Some fears are easy to pinpoint while others can be hard to distinguish, and can feel like a vague, overwhelming anxiety about things in general. What kinds of things are you afraid of? What are we supposed to do about it?

Thankfully, though fear may be present, it does not have to consume. Below are some suggestions you may find helpful when faced with fear:

1. Increase your familiarity with the feared object/situation. We tend to fear things that are unfamiliar to us. Typically, the more familiar something becomes, the more comfortable with it we become. So work to familiarize yourself with what you feel fearful about. Let’s assume I’m afraid to let my child ride the school bus. To increase my familiarity, I can ride the bus with her one morning, talk with other parents to see what their experiences have been, introduce myself to the bus driver, talk to school staff, and research ways to teach my daughter safety skills.

2. Examine your expectations. What are you anticipating will happen? Spend some time writing these expectations down or talking them through with someone you trust. Then think about this: based on the information you gathered in Point 1, how realistic are these expectations? Oftentimes, we come to see that the facts do not support our fear.

3. Focus on what’s within your control. Some things are within our control, and other things are outside our control. While this seems like a simple, obvious statement, it can be extremely liberating to truly grasp this concept. Separate the things that you have some degree of control over from the things you have zero control over. Focus your thoughts and energy on what you have some degree of influence over. I can’t control the behavior of other children on the school bus, but I can teach my child safety skills.

4. Surrender and entrust what’s outside of your control. So, you’re working to influence the things that are within your control, but what do you do with the things that you have no control over? Do I just try to forget about them and hope for the best? Thankfully, no! Instead, I choose to surrender them to God. I can consciously entrust the things that are outside of my control to God because (a) His understanding is greater than mine, (b) He is trustworthy, and (c) He is capable (; ; ; ; ) Thus, even though there are things I cannot directly influence, I can still exercise personal responsibility and choice by deciding to surrender it and entrust it to God. How empowering!

This can be hard work; easier said than done. If your fear is starting to feel out of control, I can assure you that you’re not alone. Talking it through with someone you trust, whether a friend or a counselor, can be an immensely helpful first step to feeling free, unburdened, empowered, and at peace.

Rebecca is a Licensed Professional Counselor/Intern (LPCI) at the Christian Counseling Center. Her areas of interest include women’s issues, emotional regulation, and mothers dealing with perinatal and postpartum depression. She is married with one daughter and a perfect day for her would include the beach, coffee, baking, a nice outdoor jog, and watching movies.

28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
30 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint. (ESV)

10 fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:13

13 For I, the Lord your God,
hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Fear not,
I am the one who helps you.” (ESV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths. (ESV)

19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (ESV)

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (ESV)

Conflict

July 25, 2013

A few years back I spent time training with an improv comedy group. I wanted to learn the art of improvisation after having some experience doing sketch comedy. I quickly realized that while improv is essentially making up what you are performing on the fly, there are rules that govern making an entertaining scene. Here is the basic structure:

1. As quickly as you can set the scene and define the relationship.

2. Once the relationship has been defined and the scene progresses, establishing some sort of conflict is vital.

3. Once conflict is established, the scene is shaken up to make it more compelling and take it to the next level. This is referred to as “the tilt”.

4. Finally, finding a place to naturally end the scene with a clever pun or tag line to close out the action.

In essence what I have described above is in a lot of ways the framework of good story telling. However, I find it interesting that while we are so drawn to good story telling in our books, TV and film, we often times struggle to live out our own personal story. I see it frequently in how we deal with conflict. Either we avoid it like the plague or we get into patterns of emotional reactivity that cause a lack of healthy resolution and often more damage.

I believe that if we can learn to do conflict well, that it can lead to richer and more mature relationships that are consistent with the rich and abundant life God desires for us here on earth. Many authors have sought to address this topic and while not an exhaustive list, here are three suggestions that I believe will allow us to tell better stories with our lives.

1. Approach relationships with an attitude of humility

And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

We are all people in need of grace. Checking our motives and attitudes can go a long way when dealing with conflict.

2. There is power in having a sense you’re being heard

Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.

When someone is not heard, a conversation becomes a debate and potentially adversarial. God wants us to hear each other’s hearts and seek what is in the best interests of the relationship and not our own selfish desires.

3. It’s completely acceptable to take a break.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.

When you find yourself in a heated conversation that is in a sense hitting a wall or standstill, do not be afraid to take a break. I had a professor call it a “Critical Pause”. Walking away from the conflict for an agreed set of time with the purpose of praying and thinking about not only how to communicate more successfully, but to more importantly process how you can seek to hear the other person more effectively.

What story will your life tell?

Will Troutman

Will Troutman

Licensed Professional Counselor Intern View More Posts »
More about Will »

Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (ESV)

13 If one gives an answer before he hears,
it is his folly and shame. (ESV)

19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; (ESV)

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (ESV)

A Rough Time

June 11, 2013

We all go through difficult times. Going through them “well” is the challenge. Scripture has much to say about how we are to respond to the difficulties and trials of this life. Whether our difficulty is physical, spiritual, relational, occupational, or material/financial in nature, God wants us to turn to Him. But how exactly should we come to Him? The apostle Peter gives us a couple of guidelines for turning to God in the midst of life’s difficulties ().

The first thing that Peter tells us to do is to humble ourselves. The reason for humbling ourselves is found in the preceding verse where we are told that “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble”. To humble ourselves means to see ourselves correctly in comparison to God. We are the creature, and He is the creator. We have all the questions, and He has all of the answers. In order to receive the grace that God makes available to me in times of difficulty, I have to acknowledge my need for it and acknowledge that He is the ultimate source/solution of my help.

What I am humbling myself under is God’s kind and loving providence. tells us of our great value in God’s sight. Not one sparrow (of minimal worth) dies out of God’s will, and we are worth significantly more. In fact, we are worth so much to God that he has numbered the hairs on our heads (and I assume continues to keep an accurate count of them over our lifespan). The trial or difficulty you are experiencing comes from “God’s mighty hand” (v.6). He is in complete control of all that is happening to you.

You are also told in v.7 that you can “cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.” God loves you deeply. He takes great delight in you (). If God loves and cares for me, and he has brought/allowed this trial in my life, then I can know for sure that He is working in me and through me to get through it. It is the truth of knowing that a God who loves me beyond what I can imagine, who is working all things for my good (), and who is in control of all my circumstances, that allows me to humble myself before him and to cast my anxieties onto him.

While these guidelines are crucial for going through difficult times, they tell only part of the story. We find in numerous other places in Scripture (; ; ) that God intends for us to go through difficult times in community. The stress and, at times, embarrassment of trials lead us to isolate. During such times we really need the support and encouragement of others. “Humbling ourselves” enough to allow others to care for us and to speak into our lives is part of God’s plan to sustain and comfort us.

As you struggle with difficulties in your relationships, your health, your job, or your material world, let the truth of these verses be an encouragement to you. I pray they will give you the strength to do what God calls you to do in these circumstances. And in due time, he will lift you up.

Dr. Barbian

Dr. Tom Barbian, LPC

Executive Director View More Posts »
More about Dr. Barbian »

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (ESV)

28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (ESV)

17 The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing. (ESV)

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (ESV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. (ESV)

13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. (ESV)

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (ESV)

In the first blog, we discussed a preliminary inner thought process of someone with an eating disorder. We will discover what an eating disorder actually is and define different disorders. Eating disorders include extreme thoughts, behaviors and emotions about eating, weight, food, and body type, shape, and build. Eating disorders are characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating patterns. They can be life-threatening and are very serious emotionally and physically.

There are different eating disorders: Anorexia Nervosa (AN), Bulimia Nervosa (BN), Binge-eating Disorder (BED), and Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS).

Anorexia Nervosa is characterized by restriction in eating, self-starvation, excessive weight loss, an extreme fear of becoming overweight, loss of menstruation, and an unhealthy concern with weight and body image.

Bulimia Nervosa is characterized by binging on foods and purging. Binge-eating is eating an excessive amount of food in a short period of time. Binging produces an “out of control” experience for the person with bulimia. After binging, the person purges, which can include self-induced vomiting, the use of laxatives, diuretics, diet pills, exercising excessively, fasting, and other forms. Like anorexia, there is an unhealthy concern with weight and body image.

Binge Eating Disorder is characterized by binging on foods, but there is no purging process to the cycle. The person will excessively overeat, but not purge after every binging episode. Yet, the person may fast or be known for always being on a diet.

Eating Disorder NOS is a diagnosis for those that have an eating disorder, but do not meet the entire diagnostic criteria for AN or BN. For example, someone with all of the criteria of AN, yet still has menstruation or someone who purges without binging.

Eating disorders are difficult to live with and also difficult to work through. But, there is freedom from these disorders. Psychotherapy and a tailored team approach (medical, dietitian, etc.) is the most helpful form of treatment for eating disorders. If you feel overwhelmed or stuck in an eating disorder, seek treatment to find that freedom from what is controlling you.

Find out more information on particular eating disorders here: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org.

Kristi Clements

Kristi Clements

Licensed Professional Counselor Intern View More Posts »
More about Kristi »

Happy (Belated) Birthday

April 17, 2013

Several weeks ago, the counseling center completed its 16th year of ministry. It is wonderful to see how this ministry has been a fulfillment of a vision for ministry dating back to the church’s long-range plan in the early 1990s. It was envisioned that the counseling center would provide biblically-based counseling that is compatible with the beliefs of First Presbyterian Church and that uses Christian psychological principles and techniques. Further, it was envisioned that the ministry of the counseling center would be available to the church and the community at large. I am excited to say that this center has and continues to be part of this church’s care for its own members as well as an outreach to the community.

The counseling center has grown beyond what was initially envisioned, to meet a large need in our community. The following are some facts about the center:
• In 2012, the center provided nearly 10,600 sessions of counseling.
• 820 new individuals sought counseling services.
• Approximately 35% of the counseling sessions provided were for a reduced fee (we provided help to those with legitimate needs who otherwise would not be able to afford Christian counseling).
• The staff of the center totals 21. This includes 5 full-time counselors, 9 part-time counselors, 3 student interns, and 3 administrative personnel.
• The center is overseen by a board of directors which consists of 13 members form the congregation. They include: Craig Hess, David Taylor, Jim Newman, Macky Dunbar, Bill Neely, Mardi Smith, Dr. Frampton Henderson, Emma Forkner, Dr. Helen Laffitte, Holt Chetwood, Emily Luther, and Charlton Law, and David Lauten (ministerial representative).

While we have a wonderful staff of skilled counselors who provide biblically-based counseling to the church and the community at large, that only tells part of the story. The other part of the story is in the changed lives of those who seek help here. I am reminded of one such family that came to the counseling center a couple of years back. This Christian couple was separated for the second time in their marriage and headed for divorce. They and their two young adult children were devastated. The cause was his ongoing struggle with sexual addiction. They both began individual counseling and participated in our treatment program for sexual addiction. This was followed by marital counseling and they have continued to work in recovery since. God used the ministry of the counseling center, along with others in the body of Christ, to deliver this couple form bondage and to redeem them and their marriage.

While the counseling center is a ministry of the church, it is also your ministry. So many of your refer your friends and family for help in the midst of very difficult times in their lives. We do not take that confidence that you have in us lightly. We are truly blessed as a church to have such a resource. It is the prayer of the staff and board of the First Presbyterian Church Christian Counseling Center that we will continue to be used by God as an instrument of deliverance, transformation, and healing in the lives of many more over the years to come. Thank you for your ongoing support of this ministry.

Dr. Barbian

Dr. Tom Barbian, LPC

Executive Director View More Posts »
More about Dr. Barbian »

In my last blog “Gardening and Marriage”, I discussed how blossom end rot is a term that is not only used for gardening but can also be applied to many marriages. The main thrust in that blog was centered on the mistakes I unknowingly made as I planted my tomato plants, which, in the end, led to a slow death for many of the first fruits for most of those plants. Unfortunately, there are many marriages that are similar to this illustration. The good news is that there is hope for most, if not, all marriages that are struggling.

As a counselor I feel that putting priorities in place is the biggest thing that allows marriages to thrive. One of the main reasons a marriage fails is because people forget to make their spouses their number one priority. Similar to my illustration, one of my top priorities should have been putting lime in the ground which I forgot. This led to missing a vital step in the planting stage. Since there was no lime for the plants, it led to the decay of many of my first tomatoes. Likewise, if our priority is to just be married and not give it our all, this causes us to miss out on the vital things our marriages need.

God states in , “When a man is newly married, he shall not go out with the army or be liable for any other public duty. He shall be free at home one year to be happy with his wife whom he has taken.” This verse declares that we are to make every effort to ensure our spouses are our number one priority. I can’t help but wonder how different marriages would be if we took this verse of scripture to heart. Maybe for you it is cutting back on your workload to spend more time with your spouse. Maybe it is reevaluating how much time you spend with friends so you can spend more time with your spouse, or maybe it is time for you to put more of God’s word in your marriage. Whatever the case may be for you and your spouse, take some time out of your busy day today and sit down with each other and ask yourselves, “Do we have our priorities straight in our marriage?”

For more information on some of the skills sets just mentioned please go to Focus on the Family or look me up on my twitter account at @WoodReid.

Reid Wood

Reid Wood

Licensed Professional Counselor View More Posts »
More about Reid »

“When a man is newly married, he shall not go out with the army or be liable for any other public duty. He shall be free at home one year to be happy with his wife whom he has taken. (ESV)