5 Things You May Not Have Known About SAD

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5 Things You May Not Have Known About SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

By MHAFC (Mental Health America Franklin County)

SAD roseAccording to American Family Physician up to 20% of the US population may experience mild Seasonal Affective Disorder, meaning they are negatively affected by the changing seasons and [reduction in sunlight]. They may feel depressed, irritable, and tired. Activity levels may decrease, and they find themselves sleeping more.

Some interesting facts about SAD include:

1. It is four times more common in women then men.
2. Although some children and teenagers get SAD, it usually doesn’t start in people younger than age 20. And older adults are less likely to experience SAD.
3. SAD is believed to be related to daylight, not the temperature. Some experts believe that a lack of sunlight increases the body’s production of melatonin.
4. This is probably why it is more common the farther north you go. For example, it’s seven times more common in Washington state than in Florida.
5. Not as common, a second type of seasonal affective disorder known as summer depression can occur in individuals who live in warmer climates. Their depression is related to heat and humidity, rather than light.

SAD is treatable. If symptoms are mild, using light therapy has shown to be highly effective. Studies show that between 50% and 80% of light therapy users have complete remissions of symptoms. However, light therapy must be used for a certain amount of time daily and continue throughout the dark, winter months. For more severe cases,  your doctor may also want you to try an antidepressant or behavior therapy.

For in-depth information about dealing with SAD, check out Norman Rosenthal’s book, Winter Blues. 

Healing the 7 Types of ADD

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ADD

[An Excerpt From] Healing the 7 Types of ADD

By Dr. Daniel Amen

The 7 Types of ADD
During the live call, Dr. Amen walked listeners through the 7 types of ADD, but explained all exhibit three or more of the hallmark symptoms of ADD, which are:

– Short attention span
– Distractibility
– Disorganization
– Procrastination
– Impulse Control Issues.

“First of all, I use the term ADD and not ADHD because half of the people who have the disorder are not hyperactive,” he said. “People generally have three, four or five of the hallmark symptoms, and not just when they are going through a divorce, lost their mother or are going through menopause. This is a symptom cluster that you need to see throughout someone’s life.”

Type 1: Classic ADD – Hyperactive and restless are the hallmark symptoms here, and many tend to be active even inside the mother’s womb, said Dr. Amen. They have a short attention span unless they are interested, can be pretty impulsive, and they are very disorganized. They also tend to be extroverts.

Type 2: Innattentive ADD – These people are introverts. Like classic ADD, they have a short attention span unless really interested, can get easily distracted, be somewhat disorganized and wait until the last minute for things, but they are not very hyperactive or impulsive.

Type 3: Overfocused ADD – Described by a Harvard professor 30 years ago, for this type of ADD, it’s not that they can’t pay attention, but they can’t shift their attention.

“They tend to get stuck on negative thoughts or negative behaviors, and if you can’t shift your attention, you can’t really pay attention,” said Dr. Amen. “So five minutes ago I said something that bothered you, that you now thought of 15 times, so you have not heard anything I’ve said.”

The mechanism in the brain for Overfocused is very different from the first two types, which is low activity in the brain. For this type, a certain area of the brain Dr. Amen calls “the gear-shifter,” works too hard, so they tend to worry, hold grudges, and when things don’t go their way they get upset. They can be argumentative, oppositional, and get into loops of thinking.

“Put this type on a stimulant, and they focus more on the things that upset them and it can really make them almost obsessive,” he noted.

Type 4: Temporal Lobe ADD – We have temporal lobes in the brain under our temple and behind our eyes, which is the part of the brain for mood stability and temper control. When one of those is hurt, people have the ADD symptoms plus mood instability, aggression, memory problems and learning problems. Stimulants can make them much worse, Dr. Amen noted.

Type 5: Limbic ADD – This is where ADD, mood disorders or depression come together, but unlike depression that comes and goes, these people have a low-grade depression with the ADD symptoms all the time.

Type 6: Ring of Fire – This type is characterized by what Dr. Amen calls the “ring of fire” in the brain where people have too much going on everywhere in the brain.

Type 7: Anxious ADD – The newest type added in the revised addition of Dr. Amen’s book (which is part of his Special Package Offer) is where people have the symptoms of anxiety, nervousness, tension, tend to predict the worst, and have trouble with timed-tests or don’t like speaking in public, along with all the other ADD symptoms.

“Each of these types has it’s own treatment, and the problem is everyone who gets diagnosed with ADD gets stimulant medication, and that’s why we constantly hear the horror stories about stimulants, even though to the right person they can be really helpful,” said Dr. Amen.

Based on thousands of scans he developed a questionnaire to let people know if they have ADD and help them determine what type. Based on the answers, people get a report on what their type is because, while there are 7 types, many people have combinations, said Dr. Amen.

Treatments & Advice for Parents
While there are prescription medications available to help with certain types of ADD, Dr. Amen also advocates several natural approaches, including supplements and changes to diet.

“I’m really excited about natural ways to heal the brain. We have all had plenty of experience with medications making people worse. Many of our patients come and they say ‘I don’t want to take medications, what can I do?’ and I really felt like I needed to honor them. It starts by knowing your ADD type.”

For example, those with Classic ADD – both children and adults can benefit greatly from an elimination diet, said Dr. Amen. A study in Holland, that has been replicated, reported 73 percent show greater than a 50 percent reduction in symptoms within just one month of an elimination diet. So the first thing to do is get your diet right, he said.

“If you are Overfocused, and you got on a high protein, low carb diet, it will make you mean, so you have to get your diet right for your individual brain type,” said Dr. Amen. “If you do have Overfocused, there are natural ways to boost serotonin. One of them is exercise, and another is eating smart carbs such as sweet potatoes and garbanzo beans. Also certain supplements like 5HTP, St. John’s Wart and spices like Saffron.”

For parents who have a child with ADD, the most important thing to do is get blood work done first, Dr. Amen explained. This is one of the recommendations he gives in his plan “Heal ADD at Home in 30 Days,” which is part of his Special Offer, found at the end of the FREE questionnaire.

“If a child’s thyroid is off, he won’t get better. If he has allergies or infection, he won’t get better until you figure that out. If his iron is low, the medication, supplements or dietary interventions won’t work. Knowing your important numbers is one of the hallmark things we work on,” he explained.

It’s also important for parents to realize the harder their child tries the worse it gets for them because their brains shut off when they are suppose to turn on.  Parents need to stop putting pressure on them and become their advocate, said Dr. Amen.

“Also, ADD kids and adults are often conflict seeking and adrenaline seeking. For ADD, we use stimulants, but without them, these people will find ways to stimulate themselves, and for kids, often what they do is pick on the most irritable parent in the family and work on them over and over,” he noted. “So if you scream at an ADD child, there is a part of him that likes that, and he will figure out a way to make you do it again. One of the first things we do is to teach people not to yell.”

Another recommendation for ADD is to exercise. Michael Phelps, an Olympian swimmer, took medication until the 6th grade when he realized with intense exercises – for him it was swimming – he was a lot more focused and did better, said Dr. Amen.

Fish oil can also be very helpful, but not just DHA. People with ADD also need EPA, which is more stimulating and can be helpful for those types who need it. For those who are looking to calm down, Dr. Amen recommends focused breathing, which is especially good for those with Anxious or Temporal Lobe ADD.

Guiltless Ways to Say “No”

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Easy, Guiltless Ways to Say ‘No’ When You Need To

Take some time to watch this short video on guiltless ways to say “no” to something.

We often stall or come up with excuses that are lame or lies.  Lysa Terkeurst gives some great tips on setting priorities and saying “yes” and “no” graciously and without guilt.

Guiltless No

Mental Disorders Are Not Adjectives

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Mental Disorders Are Not Adjectives

From OK2TALK

Mental Disorders not adjectives

Besides struggling with the actual impacts of a mental disorder on one’s life, one of the most difficult things a person may deal with is being labeled as a mental disorder.  Sometimes other people label us. Sometimes we label ourselves.  Either way, when we begin to own the label it becomes increasingly difficult to hold onto hope in being able to successfully deal with our struggles.

Why?  Because when we accept a mental disorder as a label we see ourselves as that mental disorder; it begins to define not what we are struggling with but who we are at the very core of our person.

We at CornerStone Family Services recognize the pain that comes with being labeled with a mental disorder.  With that recognition, we want you to know that we will strive to help you see yourself as a human being who may be struggling with a mental disorder, not a human being who is a mental disorder.  We have found that this helps a person externalize their struggles, begin to regain their hope, and begin to healthily deal with their struggles.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental disorder, please give us a call at 614-459-3003 to set up an appointment and begin the journey to healing.

Dark Side of the Full Moon: Postpartum Depression

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“Great article about awareness needed – for medical professionals and others – in the realm of perinatal mood disorders, such as postpartum depression! Please take some time to view the trailer of “Dark Side of the Full Moon” that is linked at the bottom of the article. As the article states, “we need to do more”!”
Therese Grieco, LPC-CR

Documenting the Dark Side of Maternal Mental Health

By Danielle Steer

USA

Dark Side PostpartumSuicide is a common postpartum complication.

Fortunately, I am not alone in asking these questions.When I first heard that 1 in 7 women suffer from a maternal mental health complication like pregancy depression or postpartum depression and that 1 in 1000 will suffer from postpartum pyschosis, I was shocked. Why are women in my community not talking about this? Why was maternal mental health not included in my high school sex education or health classes? Why, at 28 and on the verge of starting my own family, am I only now learning that women I have watched on TV, like Andrea Yates and Jeannette Hawes, are not simply monsters and murderers but women in need? These women – sensationalized for killing themselves or their children – were suffering from a relatively common condition.

Writer and Director Maureen Daniels and fellow postpartum depression survivor, Jennifer Silliman, are releasing online their documentary Dark Side of the Full MoonDark Side of the Full Moon delves into the unseen world of maternal mental health in the United States giving a face and voice to the countless women who have suffered in silence. It reveals a failure within the medical community to effectively screen, refer, and treat the 1.3 million mothers affected each year.

Maureen and I both studied public administration and social change at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. I have always looked up to her personally and professionally – she is the type of person whose laughter is beyond contagious and can be heard from a block away. Her husband aptly stated once that if you opened her head you would find lollipops and rainbows.

Yet in 2008, Maureen had her first suicidal thought.  An hour later she found out she was pregnant.  When she told her gynecologist she was sad and felt depressed, her doctor said, “you should be happy, you’re having a baby.”  So Maureen started asking for help elsewhere.  Over the next few months, as the suicidal thoughts became homicidal, Maureen sought out the help and diagnosis from 28 different health care professionals, none of whom were able to tell her what was wrong.  The 29th professional finally informed her that she was suffering from a severe perinatal mood disorder, a leading complication associated with pregnancy.

Maureen and Jennifer are pissed off and they want you to be too. “Nobody is asking any questions,” Maureen tells me. “Women are dying! Families are suffering! And there still isn’t a comprehensive policy to protect mothers.” Speaking with Maureen and Jennifer, I am struck by their resolve to change the conversation about maternal mental health.

Dark Side of the Full Moon portrays Jennifer Silliman’s terrifying story. After six months of intrusive thoughts – mostly visions of knifes, sharp objects, and stabbing – Jennifer finally told her husband she needed help. Even though she has fully recovered, Jennifer is reminded – and is grateful – daily that she is now able to be in the same room as scissors or a steak knife. When I asked Jennifer why she wants to tell her story, it is simple.

“I was sitting in a support group a few years ago … and I talked about my intrusive thoughts, which is not something that people normally talk about. I noticed the woman next to me started crying and she said to me, ‘I have exactly what you have right now, and I didn’t even know that there was a name for it.’ From that moment on I knew that I have a really powerful tool that I can use to help other people.”

When Maureen first talked to Jennifer about the film, they knew there was a huge need to educate, inform, and create change around maternal mental health. Jennifer tells me, “Things like dropping your baby, sharp knives, or drownings are the three most common intrusive thoughts that mothers have and I know there are other moms out there that are having thoughts like that and they don’t understand that they are not psychotic. They are not Andrea Yates. They are not going to kill or harm their baby because they know what they are thinking isn’t right. They understand that part. That is the difference between psychosis and intrusive thoughts.”

She continues, “This is happening so much more than people think and in so many different ways that are devastating to families. Even for me personally, I will never have another baby. When I think about what I went through there is just no way. I still don’t trust that there is enough help out there to take care of me.”

In the film Maureen and Jennifer interview professionals, mothers, and survivors all over the country; and the consensus is the same – we need to do more.

“The vast majority of postpartum women with depression are not identified or treated even though they are at higher risk for psychiatric disorders,” lead author Dr. Katherine Wisner, director of Northwestern University’s Asher Centre for Research and Treatment of Depression in Chicago, told the Telegraph. “A lot of women do not understand what is happening to them. They think they’re just stressed or they believe it is how having a baby is supposed to feel.”

When I asked two pediatrician friends if they screen their patients they both said, “Of course. We ask mom how she is doing every time she brings in her child for their check ups.  But I have no idea what to do except call Child Protective Services if she says she’s suicidal or that she needs help.”

Maureen and Jennifer found this trend among the many women they spoke with for the film and even experienced it themselves. Maureen says, “I was so thankful that my doctors caught my gestational diabetes. But 29 doctors to diagnose my mental health complication? The specialist was down the street. Down the street! And the OB didn’t know.”

Luckily, there is one state that some might call a positive deviant.  Massachusetts has one of the most comprehensive strategies for addressing maternal mental health complications.  They have successfully implemented a statewide screening system as well as a network of healthcare professionals that are trained to address and treat maternal mental health complications at every level of care for mothers. But one state is not enough.

While the film focuses on mothers, Jennifer and Maureen both agree that we are also overlooking the impact on children. When mom is sad and distant  – or dead – children suffer. In my most recent Skype chat with Maureen, she is living this reality. “I am sitting in a therapist office on Christmas Eve, my 6-year-old son is in a private session on his birthday because he can’t speak in school and has a rare form of social anxiety called selective mutism. Is my health when he was a baby connected to his current anxiety? I think so.”

Jennifer tells me, “As a mom, you want to believe that you’re not the reason why your child’s life will be forever changed. But we can’t really say that.” Maureen adds, “many women we spoke to said their kids have some anxiety issues. Mom’s health is huge for kids. If mom isn’t well the family isn’t well.”

Let’s change the conversation.  Let’s help our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, and our future generations. Let’s stand with mothers.  We have an opportunity to create real social change for our society and that starts by educating the public. Mothers, fathers, doctors, therapists, and legislators need to be informed about the complications associated with pregnancy and how we can best support mothers in need. Dark Side of the Full Moon gives a profound and startling inside look at maternal mental health. I only hope it will be a catalyst for the change mothers everywhere deserve.

Managing Anxiety and Making Friends

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Friends community anxiety

Managing Anxiety and Making Friends

By Anne Marie Miller 

With mental illness, community becomes more challenging… and more essential.

I was a high school freshman when I had my first panic attack. Heart palpitating and lightheaded from heavy breathing, I laid down and tried to take deep breaths, but my lungs didn’t want to cooperate.

What was happening? Was I having a heart attack? My heart kept pounding and my head kept spinning, and I wondered what they’d say the next day at school if I died. I could see the memorial page in the yearbook. Why couldn’t I take a decent school picture? I’d forever be remembered as the girl with a spiral perm and uncooperative ‘90s bangs. This fact only worsened my condition.

My dad comforted me by telling me my “irrational fear” would go away, and it did—for a little while. But then it came back and stayed, 20 years of constant panic.

Some days here and there, I’ll find mild relief, but I’m almost certain it’s here to stay. Most of the time, I’m functional and happy, and my anxiety lays dormant in the chemicals and synapses in my mind, hushed by medication that knows when it starts getting too loud.

Even on the quiet days, my anxiety can put a wall up around me, whispering (or shouting) how it’s not safe to go outside, how I’m better off alone. But I know God desires more for me. He wants me to have community, real friends. People I can lean on and people who can lean on me.

No matter who you are, cultivating friendships is a difficult process. As our developed societies have become more independent, we’ve felt the effects of disconnectedness on such a deep level, we’re afraid to admit it at times. Even though we have screens and pixels to connect us to anyone, anywhere, any time, we’ve never felt more lonely or unhappy in any decade in modern history. We’re surrounded by people everywhere we go—both physically and virtually—yet the need to feel that we belong somewhere is undeniably palpable.

As if the symptoms of an anxiety disorder aren’t damaging enough, coping with any mental illness (to name just a handful: depression, bipolar, ADD, and obsessive-compulsive disorders) can add to the challenge of finding community. Realcommunity. Friends you can be vulnerable with. People you let into those places in your life that seem unbearable.

The National Institute of Mental Health tells us 18.6 percent of American adults have a diagnosable mental illness. That’s almost one fifth of our population. Although we may feel alone, we’re not. And we’re not a burden to each other, either.

Over the years, I’ve experienced various seasons in my approach to finding community in the midst of mental illness:

There’s the “I’m fine, everyone!” season. This season is the one where you shove every fear and idea of brokenness you have deep inside you. You numb out any uncomfortable feeling using whatever means necessary. You plaster on a smile when people ask how you are. “I am fine,” you say. You know you’re not being honest or open. When nobody’s looking, you allow yourself the freedom to be not okay. As time goes by you realize living two lives is exhausting.

Next, there’s the “I’m by myself and I like it!” phase.For me, this phase usually follows a period of “I’m fine, everyone!” You are exhausted from pretending you’re fine, and you tell yourself you’re better off alone. You cancel activities with friends, you skip out on work, and you duck in and out of church before anyone can talk to you. Sometimes we need our alone time, but this phase is about isolation. Isolation eventually leads to despair.

Finally, you reach the “I’m broken and I need help”chapter. Although it sounds like this new chapter is emerging from a place of defeat, it’s actually the birth of acceptance, healing, and freedom. When you can share your struggle with another person, safely and vulnerably, the burden is lifted off you and somebody else is there to help you carry it (see James 5:16, Gal. 6:2-3). It is not an easy place to be. Much courage is needed to realize this and to act on it.

Having genuine community takes intentionality. I used to believe the only relationships worth keeping were the ones that flourished organically, without much effort. That couldn’t be further from the truth. While some relationships will grow naturally, most have to be nurtured from the beginning. When you’re wrestling with mental illness, it feels like you don’t have the strength to reach out. Let others know. Pray, asking God to meet your need for strength and for people.

If you’re a friend or family member of someone struggling with mental illness, it can be difficult to understand what to do. Although each unique situation calls for discernment and prayerful guidance (even sometimes, outside counsel), my friend Lon, an emotional health researcher whose wife and daughters suffer from depression, offers this helpful advice from 1 Corinthians 13.

Community gives us a place to be vulnerable, even about our mental health issues. We liken being vulnerable with being honest, but it also means being open to being wounded, defenseless. Too often we assume we must wait until we feel safe to be vulnerable with other people. They must earn our trust and show us they will not take our wounds and cause them to bleed more. We misconstrue the wisdom of guarding our hearts, our life’s wellspring, as a command for us to form a fortress around it. Piece by piece, we can let the bricks of our walls down and allow others into the most sheltered, secret parts of our lives. And we can let them in consistently.

When you’re intentional and vulnerable in community, the only way growth happens is through surrender and consistency–by committing to one another. Our relationships are more nomadic and sporadic than ever. We tend to see relationship as something that has to be convenient for us in order for it to work. Instead, relationships should actually require us to step beyond convenience into being uncomfortable. If we aren’t feeling growing pains as we move into more committed relationships, that’s an indicator those relationships aren’t becoming stronger. Commitment causes discomfort, and it also causes growth.

Mental illnesses can steal our energy and motivation. But sincere, God-given, life-giving friendships can help us through the times when we struggle the most. Where we are weak, he is strong. Anxiety is my weakness that can either break relationships and isolate my spirit or it can boast Christ’s strength and join me with other believers.

In the midst of our struggles, he is with us. He knows every malfunctioning neurotransmitter in our brains. And his desire for us to have relationships – to be united one to another, to carry each other’s burdens – doesn’t change.

 

Three Steps to Forgiveness

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Three Steps to Forgiveness

By Emerson Eggerichs

Q: How does one forgive a spouse, especially when you have been hurt and don’t feel at all like forgiving?

Dr. E says: Through the years I have heard many people ask that question and I have read and listened to many excellent thinkers attempt to answer it. For me, the best insights continue to reinforce what I have learned from the Person and teachings of Jesus.

What Would Jesus Do?

Jesus was wronged more than anyone. All the sins of the world were placed unjustly on Him!

So let’s begin by asking this question: What did He, the Perfect One, demonstrate about how to forgive?

Three Steps to Forgiveness

Three Steps Reveal the Secret

Jesus’ words and ways reveal the secret to forgiveness, which includes three steps:

  • Jesus sympathized with the offender.
  • He relinquished the offense to His heavenly Father.
  • He anticipated the Father’s help.

These three steps may sound unfamiliar, even impossible. But stay with me. They offer a pathway out of bitterness and a way to avoid becoming bitter in the first place.

You’re thinking, “Sounds great if you’re Jesus. You just said He was the Perfect One. That puts Him out of my league. I can’t do what Jesus did. Besides, you don’t know what my spouse did to me!”

Oh, I know there are plenty of reasons not to forgive. I’ve heard every excuse and have even invented some of them myself!

The Example for Husbands and Wives

Peter clearly indicates that Jesus is the example for husbands and wives. In 1 Peter 2, the apostle continues to explain the meaning of grace in a believer’s life, a discussion he began in chapter one. He spells out how Christians are to be holy, God-fearing, loving, honoring, mature, and submissive to authorities even when subjected to unfair treatment.

And why should Christians do all this? “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps” (1 Peter 2:21).

After taking several more verses to describe how Jesus responded when He was mistreated, Peter goes on to say, “In the same way, you wives…You husbands likewise…” (1 Peter 3:1, 7). In the same way as what? Like what? You are to respond to your spouse and to any mistreatment or misunderstandings in your marriage in the same way that Jesus responded to the mistreatment He received.

Peter is saying Jesus is not out of our league at all. By becoming a man and dwelling among us, He put on our uniform, so to speak. He is not a model “who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses.” Instead He “has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

Step One: Sympathize

When counseling people, I have noticed something about those who can forgive. They understand the well-known saying “There but for the grace of God go I.”

Look Beyond the Offense

When you sympathize, you try to look beyond the offense to other factors that help explain why your spouse offended you. The better you understand your spouse, the more easily you can forgive.

I am often asked, “What if my spouse has hurt me far more than I have hurt my spouse? How can I forgive when I have been treated so unfairly?”

Suppose, for example, your husband hurts you with anger and harshness. But suppose you learn that, while he was growing up, your husband was wounded and to a certain extent, shaped by his father’s rage. Consequently, your husband struggles with a volatile temper and doesn’t even realize how harsh he sounds most of the time. As you look beyond how he is treating you to his upbringing, it helps explain why he is so harsh and angry.

This does not minimize your husband’s sin, nor does this “looking beyond” suggest you never confront his anger and harshness. But because you know his background, you see a bigger picture. You are more able to understand his heart and struggle. Again, this does not mean you excuse his sin! Please read what I have written on respectful confrontation to fully understand what I teach about this.

Forgive as the Lord Has Forgiven You

How does Jesus model this step? While He is suffering in horrible agony on the cross, He prays, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Jesus prays for forgiveness of the Jews and the Roman soldiers who are taking part in crucifying Him. He forgives by looking beyond their heinous crime to see the ignorance, mindless fear, and blind hatred that have driven them to do this. On the cross, in terrible pain, Jesus sees the true condition of His enemies and feels compassion for them.

The apostle Paul echoes Jesus’ teachings on forgiveness. For example, before he addresses the topic of marriage in Ephesians 5, Paul speaks about forgiveness in chapter 4, so husband and wife can extend it to one another: “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).

Repeating his advice in Ephesians 4:32, Paul writes in Colossians 3:13 to “forgive as the Lord forgave you” (NIV). In the final analysis, your spouse is like you and you are like your spouse when it comes to forgiveness. You both have done and said things that need forgiving.

So, why not start by sympathizing with each other? There but for the grace of God go I.

Step Two: Relinquish – Let Go

But even though you have sympathized with your spouse, resentment can fester inside of you. So you must let go of your unforgiving spirit by giving it to God.

Let Go of Bitterness

For many people this sounds good in theory, but not at all within the realm of reality. Their bitterness feels like a tumor that cannot be removed. And for some people, the bitterness has even become a good friend, and they simply don’t wish to say good-bye.

Still other people have become the resentment: it is who they are. In these cases and others, the act of relinquishing the hurt and hate to God seems an insurmountable hurdle on the path of forgiveness.

Furthermore, when we refuse to forgive, and live with bitterness in our hearts, we lose fellowship with God!

But what did Jesus do when He faced the insurmountable?

In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus looked ahead to His crucifixion – to the shameful treatment, the agonizing pain, and, worst of all, humanity’s sins being placed squarely on Him. Facing the unimaginable, Jesus prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42 NIV).

Clearly, Jesus let go of His own will, which shrank from what lay ahead, and surrendered to His Father’s will.

Not My Will Be Done

Just as He relinquished the right to retaliate and trusted His Father for the outcome, so should we. When you relinquish an offense, you need to send that offense somewhere. So follow Jesus’ example and release it to your heavenly Father. You must pray, “Not my will be done.”

Over the years I have seen that people have far more control over their emotions than I was willing to admit. God does help you forgive when you feel helpless to forgive, but other times He reveals to you the need to put away bitterness.

You may not want to admit it, but the reason you have to work toward forgiving your spouse is because you have bitterness in your heart. Remember Paul’s words from Ephesians 4:31? He tells all believers to “let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.”

We Have a Choice

We can get rid of bitterness – if we want to.  I have seen that the ultimate reason a lot of people are bitter is that they want to be bitter. However, when they finally realize bitterness is contrary to God’s will, that it is self-destructive and ineffective in changing the other person, they can choose to stop.

We all have a choice: keep manufacturing your bitterness, or choose to relinquish it to your Heavenly Father.

Are you ready to give up the bitterness in your heart?

Step Three: Anticipate

When Jesus prayed, “Thy will be done,” He believed the will of His Father would be accomplished. This is why “He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23 NIV). In other words, after you relinquish, anticipate! You need to foresee God entering your world. As you entrust yourself to God, anticipate His working on your behalf.

Yes, perhaps your spouse should make the first move and ask for your forgiveness. But what if your spouse is not as mature as you are or is more rebellious than you are? Will you remain an unforgiving soul?

Is it worth forfeiting the peace and power of God in your heart?

If you have been angry and unforgiving but have slowly moved through
the steps of sympathizing and relinquishing, I pray that you will move forward, anticipatingGod’s touch on your marriage.

Let me emphasize that these three steps offer guidance on a path toward forgiveness. Anytime something is described in terms of three steps, it can sound like a formula to be followed to the letter. But the point is, all three of these steps put you in a more open frame of mind to allow the Holy Spirit to work within you.

Will you allow God’s healing power to free you from the bondage of unforgiveness? Step out in faith and ANTICIPATE what God can do!

Excerpts taken from The Language of Love & Respect, chapter 7, Forgiveness: The Ultimate Strategy for Halting the Crazy Cycle by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.

How to Change Your Mind

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How to Change Your Mind

By Joe Carter

The beginning of a New Year is an an excellent time to try something new. As you make your list of resolutions and goals I want to recommend adding a simple four step process that could transform your life by, quite literally, changing your mind.

After reading the entire post the vast majority of readers will snicker at such a hyperbolic claim and never implement the method I outline. A smaller number will consider the advice intriguing, my assertion only a slight exaggeration, but will also never implement the method. A tiny minority, however, will recognize the genius behind the process and apply it to their own life. This group will later say that my claim was an understatement.

This post is written for those people.mind change brain

A few years ago I stumbled across a variation of the four steps in an article by theologian Fred Sanders and implemented his recommendation that day. I later had the pleasure of meeting Sanders in person and telling him how his post had transformed my life. My hope is that at least one other person will follow this advice and experience the same transformative effect.

Before I reveal the four steps I want to reiterate that while the advice could transform your life, it likely will not. As with most life-altering advice, it is simple, easy to implement, and even easier to ignore. Statistically speaking, the odds are great that you’ll ignore this advice. But a handful of you will try it so for the one or two people who will find this useful, the four steps that will transform your worldview are:

1. Choose a book of the Bible. 
2. Read it in its entirety. 
3. Repeat step #2 twenty times. 
4. Repeat this process for all books of the Bible.

Christians often talk about having a Biblical worldview yet most have only a rudimentary knowledge of the Bible. They attempt to build a framework without first gathering the lumber and cement needed to create a solid foundation. The benefits of following this process should therefore be obvious. By fully immersing yourself into the text you’ll come to truly know the text. You’ll deepen your understanding of each book and knowledge of the Bible as a whole.

Since this method is adapted from a book by James M. Gray (1851-1935), How to Master the English Bible I’ll let him explain in his own words:

The first practical help I ever received in the mastery of the English Bible was from a layman. We were fellow-attendants at a certain Christian conference or convention and thrown together a good deal for several days, and I saw something in his Christian life to which I was a comparative stranger—peace, a rest, a joy, a kind of spiritual poise I knew little about. One day I ventured to ask him how he had become possessed of the experience, when he replied, “By reading the epistle to the Ephesians.” I was surprised, for I had read it without such results, and therefore asked him to explain the manner of his reading, when he related the following: He had gone into the country to spend the Sabbath with his family on one occasion, taking with him a pocket copy of Ephesians, and in the afternoon, going out into the woods and lying down under a tree, he began to read it; he read it through at a single reading, and finding his interest aroused, read it through again in the same way, and, his interest increasing, again and again. I think he added that he read it some twelve or fifteen times, “and when I arose to go into the house,” said he, “I was in possession of Ephesians, or better yet, it was in possession of me, and I had been ‘lifted up to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus‚’ in an experimental sense in which that had not been true in me before, and will never cease to be true in me again.”

I confess that as I listened to this simple recital my heart was going up in thanksgiving to God for answered prayer, the prayer really of months, if not years, that I might come to know how to master His Word. And yet, side by side with the thanksgiving was humiliation that I had not discovered so simple a principle before, which a boy of ten or twelve might have known. And to think that an “ordained” minister must sit at the feet of a layman to learn the most important secret of his trade!

Rather than wasting time attempting to defend the wisdom of applying this method, I’ll close with a few helpful suggestions for putting it into practice:

1. Choose shorter books and work up to longer ones. Since you’ll be reading an entire book of the Bible and not just a chapter or two, you’ll want to work your way up to more extensive readings. When beginning this program you may want to start with a short book that has only a few chapters that can be read several times in one sitting. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and help develop the reading habit. For example, a short book like John or Jude can be read four or five times in one sitting allowing you to finish the entire twenty readings in less than a week. [NT books, shortest to longest: 3 John, 2 John, Phlm, Jude, Titus, 2Thess, 2 Peter, 2 Tim, 1Thess, Col, 1 Tim, Phil, 1 Peter, James, 1 John, Gal, Eph, 2 Cor, Heb, 1 Cor, Rom, Rev, Mark, John, Matt, Acts, Luke; OT books, shortest to longest: See this chart.]

2. Read at your normal pace. Treating the material reverently does not require reading at a slower than normal speed. Read for comprehension, ignoring the division of chapters and verses and treating each book as one coherent unit.

3. Skip the commentaries (for now). Don’t get bogged down by referring to commentaries or other outside sources. Commentaries are for your Bible study, rather than for this synthetic reading. Read each book in its entirety and then attempt to summarize in your own words its theme and major points.

4. Stick with the process. After the eighth or ninth reading you’ll hit a wall that is similar to what runners face in marathons. The text will become dry and lose its flavor. You’ll want to move on to the next book or abandon the program altogether. Stick with it. Persevere and you’ll discover the treasures that repeated readings can provide. Keep in mind that not every book will be equally rewarding. It doesn’t mean that you’re a heretic if during one of your readings you find 2 John a bit redundant or Jude just plain boring. Keep in mind the words of 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” Stick with it and you’ll fully understand the truth of that verse.

5. Choose an appropriate version. A modern language paraphrase is not an appropriate version for synthetic reading. Likewise, the familiar rhythms and cadences of the KJV can, upon repeated readings, get in the way of comprehension. I personally recommend the ESV, though the NIV can be a suitable alternative.

6. Pray. Ask God to open your heart to his Word. Trust the Holy Spirit to illuminate the text and provide guidance and understanding.

7. Begin today. Don’t put it off another day. Don’t say you’ll start tomorrow, or next week, or next New Year’s. You won’t. Start with the only time that you are guaranteed — today. Use some of the time you’d normally spend  reading blogs to begin this program. Start now and then tomorrow, next week, or next New Year’s Day — after your mind has become saturated with God’s Holy Word — you can tell me my claim was an understatement.

Happy New Year

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Happy new year

Happy New Year!

We at CornerStone Family Services wish you the very best for your start of 2015.

Please contact us at 614-459-3003, if you would like help with establishing healthy patterns to assist in achieving your New Year resolutions, or help in making this new year a better year than 2014.