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BEING ALONE CAN BE YOUR FRIEND OR ENEMY

(This was written for http://www.ladiesministries.org – HOPE section)

By: Carol Clemans

http://www.carolclemans.org

Aloneness after a divorce or death of a spouse is one of the greatest life changing challenges. Friends, family and counselees have shared that when their spouse divorced or died, the emptiness of not having that ‘sole mate’ to share life with was the greatest emotional pain. There is a transitional period of accepting the finality of divorce or death. If being alone happens because of death, the comfort is the loving memories of a spouse who was faithful. Divorce creates a different aloneness. Accompanying aloneness is the feeling of being abandoned, rejected and forsaken, etc.

Death is not by choice. Divorce is by choice. If you have children in the home, they can feel the same feelings of abandonment and rejection and even take the blame of the other parent leaving. As the custodial parent, you cannot expect your children to fill your aloneness. Please, never turn a child into a ‘substitute spouse.’ Never tell a six-year old son, “You’re the man of the house now.” It’s not true. No child can take the place of a spouse who is gone. (This subject is for another article).

Grief is a process. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wrote about stages of grief. 1. Shock and denial. 2. Anger (anger turned outward). 3. Depression (anger turned inward). 4. Bargaining. 5. Sadness. 6. Forgiveness, resolution, and acceptance. These emotions ebb and flow in the aftermath of loss. When you finally enter into the acceptance stage, this is when aloneness can become overwhelming. You now have choices to make. You can either hibernate within your four walls, or you can choose to accept God’s truth that you have value and worth that is not based on being someone’s spouse.

You could be a divorced mother with children still in the home; an older divorced spouse, a working or non- working person who is now single. Whatever your status, it’s how you feel about yourself that will determine how you deal with your aloneness. This is when your relationship with God is tested. If you know in your heart how special you are to God because HE fully loves you, fully accepts you and fully forgives you, that is the foundation upon which you will build your new life in Him.

God wants to be the most intimate relationship you have. You must spend time in His Word and prayer. Praying needs to be at the level of ‘spilling your heart’ to God knowing He understands all emotions because He created them. Praying in the Holy Ghost builds up your most holy faith according to Jude. Paul tells us in Romans 8 that we are praying God’s perfect will when praying in the Holy Ghost. Prayer journaling is another way of sharing your aloneness with the Lord. Tell Him exactly how you feel. He can take it.

Start looking outside yourself and find a place to share God’s love with others. The Bible tells us not just to look after our own interest, but be concerned about others. There is a deep fulfilled blessing that comes with helping others. Volunteer your skills to help others through your church or community. You can choose to enjoy your aloneness as a friend, or it will become your mental enemy and defeat you. Add to your education. Pursue a dream you had that you put on hold for the marriage.

Nothing happens in our lives that surprises God. He knows our end from our beginning. Ask God for His wisdom and guidance for this new life you are living. We cannot control the choices of others, but we can choose what we will do. Yes, aloneness is emotionally painful. But time does ease the wounded feeling. Refuse to allow another person’s choice to define who you are today. You are God’s special treasure. You are a new creation in Him. You are complete in Him. Suggested reading: “Search for Significance” by Robert McGee

Carol Clemans is a Certified Pastoral Counselor/Christian Life Coach/inspirational Bible teacher for churches/conferences. She provides counseling nationwide by phone and web cam (636) 448-0121. Email: carol@carolclemans.org. Go to: http://www.carolclemans.org for teaching CD’s & book. The Clemans’ pastor is Dieter Skowron of Johnstown, CO.

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Relational Growth

carol@carolclemans.org

 

PASTORS: Helps for Bride & Groom

 

Carol Clemans

June is a traditional month for weddings.  Much preparation, time and effort will be put into the plans for this grand event. How much time is spent on equipping the Bride and Groom for their life-long marriage? I recommend six to eight pre-marital counseling sessions plus required reading listed below.

The euphoria of ‘being in love’ can dissipate very quickly if a newly married couple does not receive healthy God-based counsel and information on how to have a God-centered marriage.  A healthy marriage means laying down individual selfishness and becoming ‘one flesh’ in body, soul and spirit.

The pre-marital ‘baggage’ of divorce, sexual abuse aftermath, pre-marital sex, etc., all needs to be faced and processed through God’s healing before marriage takes place. Yes, we must deal with these issues today in the church. Rec. reading:  Healing for Damaged Emotions -David Seamands, The Door of Hope – Jan Frank and

Too Close Too Soon – Jim Talley & Robbie Reed.

Marriage is work-work-work! The key to a healthy marriage is Ephesians 5:21 “Submitting to one another in the fear of God.” When a husband loves his wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her, no godly woman can resist that kind of loving man! As we submit to Christ because of His love, a wife will arrange herself under the loving authority of her husband because of his kindness and consideration of her needs and desires.

The following books are ‘must reads’ for the Bride & Groom:

Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts – Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott

Hidden Keys to a Loving Lasting Marriage – Gary Smalley

Before You Say I Do – H. Norman Wright

The First Years of Forever – H. Norman Wright

Communication: Key to Your Marriage – H. Norman Wright

Intended for Pleasure – Dr. Ed Wheat

These books should be read within six months before the marriage. Counseling sessions should be planned around the issues of these books.  The decision for a marriage partner is the second most important decision of a lifetime after salvation.  Yet, very little preparation or knowledge is required which leads to marital conflict almost from the beginning of the marriage.

Pastors, as shepherds of your flock, please equip couples for a God-centered marriage and it will save much heartache in their future. (I teach pre-marital/marriage seminars for churches).

 

Carol Clemans is a Certified Pastoral Counselor/Christian Life Coach/inspirational Bible teacher for churches/conferences. She provides nationwide phone/webcam counseling (636) 448-0121. Go to: http://www.carolclemans.org for CD’s. Pres. of LIFE ENRICHMENT MINISTRIES, INC. (501c3), 1437 N. Denver Ave. Ste. 251, Loveland, CO 80538

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.firstladiesministries.wordpress.com – March 1, 2011

 

FRIENDSHIP IS A TREASURE

 

By: Carol Clemans

 

God tells us that a friend loves at all times or is always loyal. When you have a friendship like this, it is a real treasure in life. The definition of friend and friendship is to know someone and have a bond of mutual affection trust and support. I have been blessed to have a handful of friends that meet this definition.

Friendship must be cultivated. As I look at my close friendships, each one happened because both of us made a conscious effort to spend time together. We had to plan our luncheons, etc. If distance is between us, we send notes, email or call each other on a regular basis.

I want to give honor today to my friend, Judy Segraves, who went to the Lord on January 16, 2011.  Twenty-eight years ago, God brought our lives together. Dr. Daniel and Judy Segraves were invited to be a part of Christian Life College in Stockton, Ca. Pastor Kenneth Haney’s office called me and asked me to have the Segraves to my home for a welcome dinner. About four days after that get acquainted dinner, Judy’s mother died in her sleep. She had moved with them to be the cook for the college. I offered my home to my new friend for the after funeral dinner place for their friends and family.

This very sad event started the bonding between Judy and me. We were involved in ministry together as I taught six years at Christian Life College. We went through many experiences together. Somewhat surprisingly to both of us, we lived for a while in Missouri at the same time. Judy was a friend I could trust with my good times and my rough times and I did the same for her. I knew she would keep my issues in confidence as I did hers. We prayed, cried and laughed together. This was my friend who loved me at all times.

When Judy received the horrible news of inflammatory breast cancer, we prayed and cried together.  The Lord moved us to Colorado about 3 months after Judy’s diagnosis. My support to her had to be by phone.  I called her almost daily for two years. Again, we prayed, cried and laughed together in sharing all that was happening. The Lord allowed me to spend a week with her in October 2010. It was a special treat to be with Judy. We talked about healing and hope and we also talked about the security there was to know that God has victory over death.

Both Segraves were able to visit for one full day in our home in Colorado on December 17, 2010. It was wonderful to have Judy visit me. We had no idea that she would be in the arms of the Lord one month later. Our earthly friendship came to an end, but I’m so thankful for 28 years of the treasure of her friendship. Judy was always sending notes of encouragement to others. She truly loved at all times. All of us have the ability to be a friend. It’s better to love and suffer loss than to never love at all. Be a friend that loves at all times and your life will be blessed.

 

Carol Clemans is a Certified Pastoral Counselor/Christian Life Coach/inspirational Bible speaker for churches & conferences. Carol provides nationwide phone & web cam counseling – (636) 448-0121. Go to http://www.carolclemans.org for CD’s, info and additional articles. Email: carol@carolclemans.org. Carol is wife of Rev. Harold Clemans. They are part of Pastor Dieter Skowron’s church in Johnstown, CO.

 

 


http://www.ladiesministries.org – February 2011

 

YOUR WORDS ARE POWERFUL

 

By: Carol Clemans

 

If you are single (never married) or divorced, February 14th can be a very depressing day in your life if you allow it to be.  You can focus on the Valentine’s Days of the past when they were sweet and full of good memories, or you can focus on what you do not have now. Remember, Valentine’s Day is a man-made day. A Wal-Mart newsletter says, “About one billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged in the United States each year. Women purchase 85% of those cards.”

Wal-Mart also included a paragraph on Love:

“When we think about love, especially around this time of year; we usually think of romantic love, but love, at its root is not about romance. Webster says that love is ‘to feel affection for – a kind or loving feeling.’ In this way, kindness is a form of love. As human beings, we all need to love and be loved. A simple act of kindness can have immeasurable results, both for the one giving and for the one receiving.  Spread some kindness – to your spouse, your children, your parents, your neighbors, your friends, others you know and those that you don’t.  IMPACT THE WORLD, ONE ACT OF LOVE AT A TIME.”  WOW!!  That came from Wal-Mart!

What does God say about love:  GOD IS LOVE! The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy and peace.  To get love joy and peace, we must be longsuffering, patient, kind, good, faithful and have self-control.  What does this have to do with the power of our words?  If we are critical about our circumstances, critical words will flow out of our mouth and hit those around us with a negative impact. Our family and friends will know exactly what is in our hearts. From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  The love of God is ‘shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost.’ If your words are negative, your attitude will be negative and you will show others you are not Holy Ghost controlled.

I challenge all of us in whatever state we find ourselves in to speak words of love, encouragement, faith and blessing upon self and others.  If you are single again or never married, this status does not define your value.  Focus on the fact that God loved you so much that He came down from glory and robed Himself in flesh to die a horrible death on the cross to prove His love for you.

The God of creation who spoke our world into existence and everything we enjoy on earth wants us to speak words of faith and goodness into our own lives and to those around us. He also wants us to do acts of kindness to others no matter how we may be feeling.  It’s an act of obedience.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  You do reap what you sow.  Sow words of blessings – receive blessings from the Lord. Sow words of kindness – receive kindness from others. Sow words of love – you will be loved.

We have a moment-by-moment choice to use our words for the glory of God.

The Bible teaches that we are accountable to God for our every word and act.  I want my actions and words to reflect the glory of God in times of adversity and in times of blessings.

One commentary says God bends down from heaven to listen closely to what we say. Let our daily prayer be:  “Lord, let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, Oh, Lord, my strength and my redeemer.” YOU CAN DO IT!

 

Carol Clemans is a Cert. Pastoral Counselor/Christian Life Coach/anointed Bible teacher for spiritual, emotional & relational growth for all ages. She provides counseling nationwide by phone or web cam – (636) 448-0121. Carol is founder of LIFE ENRICHMENT MINISTRIES, INC. (501c3) 1437 N. Denver Ave., Ste #251, Loveland, CO 80538, accepting donations toward a counseling facility in Colorado. Pastors Daniel Batchelor and Todd Gaddy are on her board of directors.

Rev. Harold Clemans and Carol are part of Pastor Dieter Skowron’s church in Johnstown, CO. To schedule Carol for conferences or seminars call phone # above or email at: carol@carolclemans.org. Go to: http://www.carolclemans.org for additional articles, teaching CD’s or info.

Carol  writes for http://www.greeleygazette.com on a weekly basis (Editorial/Carols Corner) and bi-monthly for http://www.firstladiesministries.wordpress.com. She has a monthly column in PERSPECTIVES – now on Internet at: http://www.ibcperspectives.com – video presentation with article.

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.ladiesministries.org – Nov. 2010

 

CHOOSE TO MAKE HOLIDAYS JOYFUL

 

By: Carol Clemans

 

The aftermath of divorce has all types of ramifications.  One of the most painful is the first and yearly round of holidays and birthdays, especially when children are involved. There are several issues the divorced parents must face:

#1 – Your own attitude.  The challenge is to both parents. You must decide to cooperate together on figuring out what will happen on the holidays.  Instead of your own selfish desires, you need to consider the desires of the children. It should not be turned in to a ‘tug of war’ between parents. Yet, that is what many parents do.

#2 – Listen to your children.  Allow them to voice their feelings and opinions about the holidays.  Sometimes a court judge will make these decisions. If so, cooperate with a good spirit and attitude.

#3 – Affirm with your children how much Mom and Dad love them.

#4 – Remember, your actions do ‘speak’ louder than your words. If you show a hateful or unkind attitude toward your ex-spouse, your children take ownership of those feelings.

#5 – Don’t force your children to take sides.  If one parent makes threats or negative remarks about the other parent, the children will have conflicted feelings. Children feel the unhappiness of the whole family is their fault.

#6 – A holiday does not have to be celebrated on the exact day.  You can make a choice to celebrate another day and make it special for the children.  Get your extended family or a church family involved in the process.

#7- Allow the children to help you make NEW traditions for your holidays. Help the children find a way to give to others that might not have as much as you do. Buy a gift for a needy child – make it a family project.

#8 – Help the children to understand the REAL meaning of Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Life is not about ‘give me’ and ‘take-take’ for selfish reasons.  Thanksgiving should be about giving thanks to God. Christmas is about how much God loved us to come in ‘flesh’ to become a sacrifice for our sins and redeem us to Himself.

#9 – If your ex-spouse is causing trouble, make a copy of this article and send it to them.  Hopefully they will recognize that what they are doing in a negative manner will ‘boom-a-rang’ on them.  We do reap what we sow.  If they sow emotional pain in the family continually, they will eventually lose the children when each child becomes of age and has the choice to whether they want the ‘painful’ parent in their life or not.

#10 – Accountability to God is the most important factor.  Every person (believer or non-believer) will answer to God for EVERYTHING they do and say. We can never blame others for what we choose to do in any situation.  Our responsibility is to react in a godly manner. Allow the Fruit of the Spirit to manifest itself in all circumstances.

The divorced parents need to come together in a ‘healthy’ attitude and consider what are the best plans for their children collectively long before the holidays.  Prepare the children ahead of time as to the plans.  Make it a positive experience for the children, not selfish desires of the parents.

I fully understand that if both parents had been emotionally, spiritually and relationally healthy there would have not been a divorce. But that does not excuse the continued dysfunctional action of either parent.  It’s time for not just one parent, but BOTH parents to choose to put their children first.

Parents, divorced or non-divorced, are responsible to God for how they treat and provide for their children.  Children are a gift from God and they are to be valued as the special treasure they are to God.  Choose to make the holidays joyful for your children in spite of being a divorced family. YOU CAN DO IT BY THE HELP OF THE LORD!!

 

Carol Clemans is a Certified Pastoral Counselor/Christian Life Coach/Bible teacher for churches, retreats, conferences, etc. She received the Holy Ghost in 1955. Her heartbeat is helping others grow spiritually, emotionally and relationally through the Word of God. Carol provides counseling nationwide by phone and web cam for pastors and individuals. She’s been counseling for 18 years (the first 10 of those years for Bishop Kenneth Haney at CLC in Stockton, CA – taught six years at CLCollege) – teaching the Bible for 50 years. Carol has been married 40 years to Rev. Harold Clemans. Mother of two and MieMie of two grands.

Carol is president/founder of Life Enrichment Ministries, Inc. (501c3). She is believing God for funding for a counseling retreat facility in Colorado to help hurting ministry families and others in times of crisis. Pastors Dan Batchelor and Todd Gaddy are on the board of directors of LEM, INC. You may send donations to LIFE ENRICHMENT MINISTRIES, INC., 1437 N. Denver Ave., Ste. 251, Loveland, CO 80538.

The Clemans are part of Pastor Dieter Skowron’s church in Johnstown, CO.

Carol writes weekly for http://www.greeleygazette.com and monthly for the’ PERSPECTIVES’ from Indiana Bible College. She has posted numerous articles on her web site: http://www.carolclemans.org.  You may contact her: (636) 448-0121 or email: carol@carolclemans.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CAROL’S CORNER – http://www.greeleygazette.com

LOVING FATHERS ARE NEEDED IN THE HOME

By:  Carol Clemans

The Bible is the greatest ‘handbook’ of instruction that exists in the world.  It gives a plan for every aspect of our lives. In Ephesians 6: 1 – 4, there is a blueprint for children’s conduct and fathers’ responsibilities. NLT – “Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. ‘Honor your father and mother.’ This is the first commandment with a promise: if you honor your father and mother, ‘things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.’ Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.”

We want our children to honor us, but the question is, “Do we act honorable?”

As parents, we must behave ourselves wisely before our children and earn their respect and honor.  We can’t preach, “You must honor me!” and then act like the devil. Our best teacher is our example.

I appreciate Apostle Paul’s direct address to fathers. Many children today carry a lot of anger because of the harsh, unloving way their fathers treat them. Many times it is a dysfunction passed to the third or fourth generation. Notice the instruction was “do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them.”  Fathers are to treat their children as our heavenly Father treats us. He (God) is gentle, loving, caring, kind and admonishes us without hostility.  That is the example fathers are to follow.  Fathers are the first ‘god with skin on’ that children will know. The birth fathers’ actions and attitudes will have a dramatic effect on how children view their heavenly Father.

Pease, fathers, be loving, caring and kind to your children and they will honor you. Discipline in love not anger. Be firm and tender at the same time. With God’s help it is possible to do.

Carol Clemans is a Cert. Pastoral Counselor/Christian Life Coach/speaker. She provides nationwide counseling by phone & web cam – http://www.carolclemans.org – live teaching on http://www.altonline.org – audio archives.

                                      WHY DID THIS HAPPEN TO ME?

Up to this present time, I have not met a couple who when they married planned to be divorced in a few years. Most people marry because they ‘fall in love’ and feel that this man/woman will make their life complete.  They view their future through the ‘rose colored glasses’ assuming that marriage will bring them complete indescribable happiness. In this state of ‘twitterpation’ (from Bambi), they see no faults in each other.  They will say, “When we get married everything will work out perfectly.”

Unfortunately, when the ‘honeymoon’ period is over, the reality of living with another imperfect human being starts setting in.  This is the time when every couple needs to understand God’s definition of unconditional love – I Cor. 13. Science has proven that when a couple first falls in love, there is a chemical high that happens in the brain to both people. It’s the excitement, the unknown, the getting to know one another. All of these create this euphoria for a while in the relationship.  Once engaged and then the marriage, the euphoria chemical high settles down to the normal endorphins of everyday life.

After this happens, then life happens: jobs, bills, kids, sickness, etc., etc. Romance in the marriage must be nurtured. If the romance is not nurtured, then the true test of a marriage begins to happen when one spouse starts being selfish. Selfishness is the root of all marital problems. So the simple answer to the question, “Why did this happen to me?” is the selfishness of the ‘walk away’ spouse. The core reason selfishness raises its ugly head is because God has been pushed off the ‘throne’ of a person’s heart.  When God is not allowed to be in control of the heart, selfish attitudes and acts start happening.

When a spouse walks away from a marriage, it is usually because of their selfish desires.  The most common reason is they get their eyes on another person besides their spouse. It starts with emotional adultery and then actual adultery. In the process, they have turned away from God too. The same excitement and euphoria happens with this ‘new’ person and leads to the destruction of the first marriage and statistics prove that the divorce rate for second marriages is higher than for first marriages.

The reason I felt to write on this subject is because many times the erring spouse wants to blame the other for their wrongful choices. No matter what they might say in blaming, the true blame belongs to them. Instead of using their energy and time to nurture the marriage or seek godly counsel, they look elsewhere and follow their sinful desires.  Once a spouse chooses an ungodly path, the blame for their actions falls at their own feet.

A successful marriage happens when both spouses put the desires and needs of their spouse before their own.  They also must keep God in the center of their marriage. Their love for each other is nurtured and grows because they love each other sacrificially that leaves no room for selfishness.

Yes, you may feel rejection, but please do not hold on to the shame or blame of your erring spouses ungodly selfish choices. If you have remained faithful to God, God will give you strength to survive and be a whole person again spiritually, emotionally and relationally.

I pray this prayer for you: Romans 15:13 NLT “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

NOTE:  Carol Clemans is a Certified Pastoral Counselor/Bible teacher/Christian Life Coach/author. She travels nationwide teaching for churches/conferences. Carol provides a unique ministry of phone and web cam counseling nationwide – (636) 448-0121. She and her husband, Rev. Harold Clemans, live in Loveland, CO. Carol provides a teaching/counseling ministry for Pastor Dieter Skowron, Johnstown, CO – http://www.altonline.org.  Go to: http://www.carolclemans.org for info and teaching CD’s.  Carol is president of LIFE ENRICHMENT MINISTRIES, INC. (501c3) – 1437 N. Denver Avenue, Ste. 251, Loveland, CO 80538. Pastors Daniel Batchelor and Todd Gaddy are on her Board of Directors. Email: carol@carolclemans.org

© Carol Clemans – April 2010

PARENTS, WAKE UP!

Carol Clemans

The most precious gift you can give to your children is to love your husband/wife according to I Corinthians 13 and Ephesians 5. Children create their image of God by how Daddy loves Mommy and by how Daddy and Mommy love them. The secret to this type of love is dying daily to selfishness. I counsel adult children who had parents that abused them verbally, emotionally and physically – including sexual abuse.  Even though these adult children have a salvation experience with God, they struggle with their distorted God-concept because of how they were parented.  It’s hard to trust their ‘heavenly Father’ when their earthly parents were abusive in the home.

Young parents need to WAKE UP to the powerful influence they have on their children’s concept of God. The secret to a God-centered marriage is Ephesians 5:21 KJ – “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” When a Mom and Dad live in submission to God and each other, peace and harmony will rule their home. Love for God, each other and the children will manifest itself through their actions.

God’s love is patient, kind, never jealous, boastful, proud or rude. It is not selfish. It is not irritable!!!!!!!  (How do you treat others when things don’t go your way?) God’s love forgives and ‘forgets’. God’s love only rejoices in truth, never gives up, never loses faith and is always hopeful. God’s love is faithful and endures through all circumstances.

Parents, you are your children’s ‘god with skin on.’  Your children need to see in you God’s character – GOD IS LOVE!!  Instead of repeating generational dysfunction in the family, be accountable to God and give the gift of love to your children and grandchildren through the life changing power of the Holy Ghost!

© Carol Clemans – December 2009

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

Spiritual Healing

carol@carolclemans.org

Wives, please wake up!

A few years ago a pastor’s wife called me anonymously in tears. Her husband had been addicted to pornography for 12 years.  They had children who were pre-teen and knew something was wrong. Her husband was verbally abusive to her. She said, “I almost hate him for what he has done.”  People were leaving their church.  She was calling for help.  My first response was that she needed to tell his ministry supervisor what was going on.

Unfortunately, she had called one of their close friends (who was a pastor) for help and he put her off and told her not to tell anyone (he had the problem himself) and she just needed to be supportive to her husband! She was fearful of losing the church and their lifestyle if she exposed her husband’s addiction. I pointed out to her that their world was already falling apart and she admitted it was true. (Be sure your sins will find you out.)

I recommended that she contact another trusted leader and verify my counsel to her.  I don’t know what she did, but she is one of approximately 60% of American pastors’ wives who are dealing with the same problem.

Experts say that pornography addiction is the most destructive addiction. This addiction is a self-induced chemical high that happens as a person views porn and acts out the fantasy. This addiction is never satisfied.  Porn degrades and devalues women making them objects instead of real people. No wife can compete with porn no matter how beautiful.

Wife, please do not cover for your husband.  He needs help! Don’t allow him to blame you for his addiction! Tell his ministerial superior. Don’t stop until you are believed.  Help is available. The American Association of Christian Counselors (www.aacc.net) has a DVD counseling course on SEXUAL ADDICTION RECOVERY. I’m a graduate of this program and recommend it to all pastors for their churches.

For recovery, their needs to be genuine repentance, accountability and willingness to be self-disciplined. Read BREAKING FREE Understanding Sexual Addiction & the Healing Power of Jesus by Russell Willingham. Use www.pureintimacy.org promoted by Focus on the Family. I have counseled people successfully who are determined to be Holy and He is Holy.

Note: Call Carol Clemans (636) 448-0121 for seminars or counseling. Pastors Dan Batchelor & Todd Gaddy are on her Bd. of  Dir. of Life Enrichment Ministries, Inc. (501c3). Go to www.carolclemans.org for her bio and teaching CD’s.

© Carol Clemans – April 2009

Welcome

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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