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When the Roof Caves in:

HELPING YOUTH OVERCOME LIFE’S MISTAKES

By:  Carol P. Clemans

Life Enrichment Ministries, Inc.

Certified Pastoral Counselor

Bible/Seminar Teacher

http://www.carolclemans.org

E-mail:  carol@carolclemans.org

Synopsis Statement:

We don’t just live with the facts of our lives, but we live with our own interpretation about the facts of our lives.  Our interpretation can  be very distorted.  The healing comes when we understand what is God’s truth  about the facts of our lives.  When we know His truth, then we can be set free.

God is the healer of our brokenness.  Isaiah 6l: 1 – 3,  “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, because the Lord has appointed me to bring good news to the poor.  He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to announce that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.  He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.  To all who mourn in Israel, he will give beauty for ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise  instead of despair.  For the Lord has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory.”

After the gospel, the Lord came to comfort  our brokenhearts.  He came to release us  from the prison of the “stinkin thinkin” of our minds!  It’s time to stop mourning over the wrong we have done and accept God’s favor and forgiveness.  God gives beauty instead of ashes for pain, joy instead of sorrow, praise instead of pitifulness.  For we are the plantings of the Lord and nothing can remove us!  As we understand God’s design for change then we can overcome our mistakes.

In this class session I will teach from the perspective of how I counsel.  When I’m teaching or counseling, I talk about “we” and “us” instead of “you” and them”.  I don’t want anyone to feel inferior to  me as a helper.  But for the grace of God, go there I.  We all have fallen short of the glory of God.  When someone is hurting and is seeking help, they don’t need to feel the added condemnation of a helper acting “spiritually superior”.  Remain humble and sincere before God and you will be an effective helper that God can use.

ACCEPTING FORGIVENESS – THE SECRET TO OVERCOMING MISTAKES:

Accepting God’s forgiveness for our sins and mistakes is the secret to being an overcomer.  The first step to overcoming life’s mistakes is to admit the mistakes.  Many times people feel condemned about their mistakes, but they don’t want to confess to God and honestly admit what they have done.  The Lord loves a honest,contrite and repentant spirit.

Unhealthy families don’t talk, don’t feel and don’t trust.  They keep secrets.  We cannot get over mistakes by not talking and not sharing how we feel.  This is the only way to build trust with God, self and others.

In healthy families, people talk, feel and trust.  God wants us to be spiritually, emotionally and relationally healthy.

Honest repentance before God is what forgiveness is based on.  We can do nothing to earn forgiveness or to be worthy of it.  It is a gift from God.  Our feelings of being unworthy are our own worst enemy.

Youth who have been promiscuous may feel that since they are no longer a virgin, “What’s the use?”  We must be reminded that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.  Just because we fall in a gutter and get dirty doesn’t mean that we stay there.  We need encouragement to get up, get out and let God cleanse us with the power of His blood.

I want to share some scripture about forgiveness and then discuss how to help someone who has made a mistake to learn from what happened instead of being destroyed by it.  I recently heard a minister say,  “I want you to fail intelligently.”  That statement doesn’t seem to make sense, but it holds a truth.  If you learn from your failures, then you will become more intelligent and become a wiser person.

God is the forgiver of our sins (mistakes):

Isa. l:18 – “Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord.  “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”  ——-Believers are made white as snow, no matter what the mistake is.  To be an overcomer is to believe God’s truth and take it as our own.

Ps. 32:1-2 – Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.  Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.   ———   If there is no deceit, that means to be totally honest with God.  He knows everything about us anyway.  There is such a feeling of freedom when we are honest with God.  We will give an account to Him for our every thought, feeling and action so we need to be a person of authenticity.

Ps. 32:3-4  –  When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.  For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.   ——–David was depressed until he repented and was forgiven.  Confession is good for the soul!

Ps. 32:5 –  Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover my iniquity.  I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”—and you forgave  the guilt of my sin.   —— We need to understand that God readily forgives our sins (mistakes) when we repent and confess to Him what we have done.  If we are only sorry because we got caught, then we have not truly repented.

Ps. l03:8-12 – The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.  He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

The amazing thing about God’s forgiveness is that He does not give us what we deserve –  none of us could make it if He did —-God’s forgiveness wipes the slate clean – He sees our sin no more.  The problem is we still SEE OUR SIN (OUR MISTAKE) and we refuse to accept God’s forgiveness.    To be an overcomer, we must accept God’s vision of us!  Our sin is washed away in the power of the Blood of the Lamb!  It does not exist!!!!!!   When we truly receive that truth and transfer it from our head to our heart  (I call it heart knowledge) and  take ownership of God’s truth — WE WILL BE SET FREE FROM THE CHAINS OF THAT MISTAKE  which has disappeared from view.    This is an example of changing our interpretation about the facts of our lives to God’s interpretation!!!!

I John l:9 –  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Prov. 28:13-14 –  He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.  Blessed is the man who always fears the  LORD, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble.

I Cor. 6: 9 – 11  –  Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived:  Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.  And that is what some of you were.  But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.  PRAISE GOD!!!!!!!!!

As a youth leader, you will find the Word of God is your main source of helping young people to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  The more they understand about God’s overall plan for their lives as a child of God, it will give them direction to follow His will.

REVIEWING THE PAST:

As a counselor, the only reason I ask a counselee to tell me about their family life, their relationship with their parents, siblings, etc. is to try and understand what might have been a cause for them to make the choices that they made that were mistakes.

Many people make choices that are unwise out of the emotional hurts they have experienced in their lives.  If they didn’t receive healthy parental love, they could seek love and acceptance in promiscuous relationships not realizing they will come out more damaged.  Then through that choice, they could become pregnant and have an abortion.  Guilt piles on guilt, rejection piles on more rejection, until they feel helpless and hopeless.

Maybe they were sex abuse victims and they take the blame and guilt that belongs to the perpetrator and  hate themselves which leads in a downward spiral to destructive  behavior.  They feel dirty, useless, hopeless and helpless.

The message they need to hear from you as a helper is that they are loved by God no matter what was done to them or what they have done acting out in their pain.  The above scriptures are what will help them to change their interpretation  about the facts of their life.

They need to be loved and accepted by you right where they are.  They need to hear about God’s unconditional love.  He loves us inspite of our sins and mistakes.  He also demands that we repent and make a decision to change.

The decision to change may be in their heart, but they will need a lot of encouragement from you.

They might need help in understanding why they need to forgive someone who sinned against them.  They need to forgive the pain that someone else may have caused them so they will no longer be controlled by the events of  their past.

By this time their self worth has been destroyed by the devil.  They need to hear about God’s love, how he created them in His image and after His likeness.  They need to know how special they are to God.

Psm. 139 is a wonderful passage of scripture to help us understand how we are so special to God.  He tells us that he was there when we were being created in our mother’s womb – he designed every part of our body.  He knows everything about us and he still loves us.

As a youth leader helper, your unconditional love and acceptance of the teen or youth who has made a mistake  will be one of the greatest strengths the overcomer will hold on to.  You are a representative of God to them.  If you love them, accept them, encourage them and spend time with them, they will feel God’s love and forgiveness through you.  They will grow in the Lord and gain God’s wisdom and understanding that will help them not to repeat the sins (mistakes) they have made in the past.  They will learn that they do have better choices to make which meets with God’s approval.

Knowing God’s Word is the true healer.   Teach the Word, share the Word, walk in the Word, live by the Word.  Then you can say to the youth,  “Follow me as I follow Christ.”   WE ALL CAN BE OVERCOMERS!!!!!!

Recommended books:

“Healing for Damaged Emotions” – by David Seamands

“Door of Hope” – by Jan Frank

(c) Carol Clemans – September 2009

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DETOURS:  WORKING WITH DEPRESSED YOUTH

Carol Clemans

Certified Pastoral Counselor

www.carolclemans.org

carol@carolclemans.org

(636) 448-0121

SYNOPSIS STATEMENT:  We will discuss the possible sources of depression in youth.  To understand that depression could be dangerous and lead to threat of suicide that needs to be taken seriously. Depression is not inherited, but usually caused by a person’s attitude and behavior, rooted in unresolved anger and guilt feelings about life’s experiences. God’s truth will bring healing to depression when the person makes a decision to take action to change their thinking with forgiveness being a key issue.

NOTE: Some of the following information is from THE COMPLETE LIFE         ENCYCLOPEDIA written by Doctors Minirth, Meier & Arterburn.

Depression is the number one mental health problem in America.  Depression occurs two times more likely in females than males.  Depression has more to do with anger than sadness.  Depression takes place in the mind and the emotions, but also has a powerful and destructive effect on the body.

Depression is the number one cause of suicide, and suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States.  Never take a suicide threat lightly.  It may be appropriate to get professional help when suicide is talked about.  A youth leader would not want the responsibility of a youth committing suicide if forewarned.  I recommend that you encourage the youth with their parents’ approval to get a physical by a medical doctor.

The following are some of the symptoms and personality traits commonly seen in youth who are depressed.

  • worry and pessimism
  • low energy; weariness
  • feelings of worthlessness
  • feelings of hopelessness
  • feelings of helplessness
  • feelings of guilt
  • low self-worth
  • bitterness, anger, resentment
  • loss of weight or increase in weight
  • frequent crying
  • headaches
  • feelings of being unloved and mistreated
  • belief that life is not worth living
  • craving of love from others
  • clinging behavior
  • feeling rejected
  • feelings of isolation

Along with low self-esteem and loneliness there is usually a feeling of not being close with God.  The anger or guilt that is present in a depressed person pulls them away from his/her belief that God loves them unconditionally.

When working with a depressed youth, it’s important to build a rapport with them that helps them feel “safe” in sharing their life’s story with you.  Their fist response will probably be no response.  One reason they are depressed is because they are suppressing their feelings that takes a lot of emotional energy.  We call it “stuffing the vat.”  One reason they do not want to share is because they are afraid of dealing with their anger or guilt.  These are powerful emotions.

Depression can start by events in life such as a death of family member, divorce of parents, a health problem, a major move, a friend’s rejection, sexual abuse, being involved in sinful activities, a break up with boy/girl friend, etc. It’s the external events and then how they are interpreted internally that is the basis for depressed feelings.

Depression is often a natural by-product of sin, and that depression usually remains until the sin has been confessed and forgiven by God and the youth takes ownership of the forgiveness. Many times depression remains because the forgiven accepts it as “head knowledge” and not in the heart.  They must be reminded that when God forgives, He also forgets.  God’s truth is that He is faithful and just to forgive our sins when we confess to Him.  Romans 8: 1 & 2 tells us that we have no reason for condemnation when we are in Christ Jesus.

If the basis of the depression is anger towards self or others, it must be confessed also.  Anger in itself is not sinful.  God tells us to be angry, but sin not.  For example, if the youth’s parents have divorced, there could be anger toward one or both parents, plus the distorting thinking that somehow the divorce is the youth’s fault.  As a youth leader, you could help the depressed youth to talk about why they are angry.  What is God’s truth about the situation?  Is the divorce the youth’s fault?

Healing comes through the ability to share feelings in a “safe” environment.  As youth leader (you are a counselor), you can help the youth sort through the truth of their circumstances and see God’s perspective on the situation.  Maybe the youth needs to be able to talk to the divorced parents and share their true feelings instead of “stuffing” them.  Remember, you can’t fix a depressed person.  You can be God’s helper in encouraging the depressed youth to look at Jesus’ life on earth and what He suffered in the flesh.  Jesus knew rejection, abuse, physical pain, and much more.  From the time of His conception there was a negative cloud over His life in the eyes of others.  He is touched by the problems of our life that we go through.  Bring that thought to life for the depressed youth.  I call it ‘bringing God down out of heaven and let Him walk on earth’ for a while in our thinking.  It creates an intimacy with God.

Forgiveness is a key issue in recovering from depression.  Unforgiveness imprisons us in the pain of the past.  Whatever the circumstances of the pain from the past or present which might create anger, bitterness or unforgiveness, we must forgive and let go and allow God to be our avenger.  Romans 12: 19-21 tells us that God is our avenger and we are not to be overcome by evil, but we are to overcome evil with good.

We are accountable to God for our thoughts, feelings and actions.  When we process our emotions through God’s truth, we are empowered with His strength and peace.  The ‘others’ who caused our pain will also be accountable to God in God’s timing.

Forgiveness is making a choice and an act of the will. Forgiveness is an act of healthy, biblical self-love.  Love God and others AS YOU LOVE YOURSELF.  This is the greatest commandment.  Forgiveness is an ongoing process.  Keep obeying God with the choice to forgive and your ‘feelings’ about forgiving will gradually catch up with your decision to forgive.  Jesus forgave those who killed Him!  We have His Spirit dwelling in us and by His power we can forgive too.

It would be wonderful if every church would activate a mentoring program between older and younger.  A depressed youth would greatly benefit by having an older, spiritual, same-sex, mentor whose chief purpose would be to listen.  Everyone needs validation through love, acceptance, encouragement and a spiritual example.

© Carol Clemans – September 2009

JESUS IS THE HEALER OF OUR EMOTIONAL WOUNDS

By: Carol Clemans

In the church we tend to smile and greet each other with, “How are you?” The usual response is, “Fine.” Behind the smile and the ‘fine’ there can be a deeply wounded soul. (I personally was raised to greet other saints with, “Praise the Lord!” I still do this at 63 years old!)

In the Christmas season, we celebrate the birth of Christ that includes His life, death, burial and resurrection.  The resurrection is what gives us hope for eternal life. The gift of salvation removes our sins as far as the East is from the West. God puts our sins in a sea and forgets them.  God erases our sins, but He does not remove our emotions or memories.

Emotional wounds do not go away when we are born again. We would love to believe that everyone in the church is raised in a God filled family that portrays the love of the Lord in every area of their family relationships, but we know this is not true.

Abuse happens in the homes of churched and unchurched people.  The dysfunctional family has these unspoken rules: don’t talk, don’t feel and don’t trust. Because of the family secrets, it’s usually difficult for a saved wounded person to trust another person in sharing their emotional wounds.

But the Word of God tells us in Isaiah 6l that Jesus came not only to bring the ‘good news’ – the gospel, but he came to heal the brokenhearted, to set captives free from prison (of their ‘stinkin thinkin’), to help people grieve their losses and to give beauty for the ashes of their pain.

For ten years I provided the ministry of confidential pastoral counseling for Christian Life Center in Stockton, California, under Pastor Kenneth Haney. In the past 17 years, I have been privileged to see hundreds (maybe more) of people come to emotional healing through applying the truth of God’s Word to their lives.

We don’t just live with the facts of our lives, but we live with our own interpretation of those facts. If we have suffered emotional/physical abuse, our interpretation of our lives could be twisted and painful. What we have to do is replace the twisted interpretation of our lives with God’s truth. This is the powerful work of knowing the truth and being set free. This is where we need skilled, knowledgeable helpers to come along side the wounded person and help them to see God’s truth and take ownership of it.

Many people who have been abused tell themselves negative ‘put downs’. I’m unlovable. I’m not worthy. God couldn’t use me. Even though they have been born again of water and spirit, the devil steals their joy of salvation with these negatives thoughts. They usually need help in applying God’s truth to their lives. The truth is that they are a new creation in Christ. This word ‘new’ means unused, clean and novel. Even though they may feel used and abused, they must change their negative thoughts to God’s truth. It usually takes some repetition and encouragement. But when God’s truth is digested in their soul and spirit, we see a gradual miracle take place in their heart and belief system.

Satan wants to kill, steal and destroy us with his lies. But when we apply God’s truth to our lives, we can have our joy restored to the glory of God. We all need to grow spiritually, emotionally and relationally through the Word of God so our relationship with God and others will be healthy and productive.

I thank God for the opportunity to share His truth through teaching and counseling. I taught six years at Christian Life College, two of six subjects being Principles of Counseling and Marriage & Family. I teach for churches, conferences, retreats, etc. I provide confidential pastoral counseling in the St. Louis area and by phone/web cam nationwide.

Jesus is the healer of our emotional wounds through the power of His Word. It is my passion to share His good news that goes beyond salvation so we can be the ‘planting of the Lord’ that nothing (no thing) can uproot or destroy.

Carol Clemans is a certified pastoral counselor/Bible teacher/author. (Husband, Rev. Harold E. Clemans) She is founder of Life Enrichment Ministries, Inc. (501c3) with Pastors Daniel Batchelor & Todd Gaddy on her board of directors. Teaching CD’s at: www.carolclemans.org, Email: carol@carolclemans.org, For seminars or counseling call (636) 448-0121.

© Carol Clemans – 2009

BY: Carol Clemans

www.carolclemans.org

In my youth I heard a saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” Whoever started that saying did not understand the power of the tongue. There are many adults today sitting on church pews with invisible wounds that have scarred their emotional hearts created by both physical and verbal abuse.

In the past 15 years of my experience of being a pastoral care counselor, I would ‘guesstimate’ that 80 – 90% of the people I have counseled had some type of abuse in their past.

The aftermath of abuse comes out in broken relationships and wounded hearts of people who know they are saved, but do not feel loved by God in their hearts. The devastation of the power of the past abuse is heartbreaking. Sexual abuse, verbal abuse and physical abuse all leave emotional wounds that lay deep in the heart, mind and soul of a person. Satan takes the abuse and adds his lies to it driving bitter nails of low self-worth in to the heart. He wants to kill, steal and destroy our joy in the Lord.

God wants us to love ourselves. Before you start arguing with me about loving yourself, remember Jesus said that we are to love Him with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength and; secondly, love our neighbor as we love our self.  Loving God is the foundation for healthy relationships with self and others.  We must love ourselves first as God loves us unconditionally, then we have a much easier time loving the ‘others’ in our lives.

You must refuse to let the abuse of your past define who you are today. There is no condemnation NOW for those who are in Christ Jesus. You are His NEW creation – clean, unused and fresh in God’s sight!  The wounded heart has a hard time accepting God’s full truth about salvation and how God’s love is unconditional.

I want to recommend two books that will help heal the invisible wounds of a sexual abuse survivor. The first is The Door of Hope by Jan Frank. Her stepfather sexually abused her, but today she is a Christian counselor helping others heal.

The second book is The Wounded Heart by Dr. Dan Allender. Both books are based on Godly principles of truth and give hope and healing.

My two CD’s Winning the Battle of the Mind & Abuse Recovery God’s Way are also based on God’s truth that brings victorious healing of the invisible wounds of the heart. We need to be healed and then become healing helpers in the Kingdom of God.

© Carol Clemans – February 2007

Everyone involved in ministry at some point becomes overwhelmed with the needs of others. This is especially true for women involved in ministry. If a woman is a pastor or pastor’s wife, a Bible teacher, lay leader, pastoral counselor, church secretary (the list could continue), she is giving of herself to love, nurture, encourage, pray for, and take care of others on a continual basis. But her job does not end when she enters her own home.

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Our ministry exists to help others grow spiritually, emotionally and relationally by teaching, counseling and writing the truth from God’s Word. When we know His truth we can be set free!
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