“God Is Your Father” – Good News or Bad?

Father Teaching Son BaseballIf you’ve gone to church or read the Bible you’ve surely heard that God is your Father. You’re supposed to feel safe and secure knowing that. The thought of God as your Father is supposed to make you want to run into His arms with joy, knowing He will handle all of your problems.

But does it really make you feel that way?

Your mental picture of God probably looks very much like your earthly father. Sadly the idea of “father” is not a positive one for many, and that can create a major stumbling block to a relationship with God.

What was your relationship like with your father? What did you have to do to get his attention? What kind of attention did he give you? Were you afraid of him? Was he proud of you, or ashamed of you? Was he absent or distant? If he disciplined you, was it with violence or cruel criticism? How did you feel when you were around him?

Just reading those questions, can you see how your relationship with your earthly father – or lack thereof – has affected your relationship with God?

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5 Thoughts Before You Speak Harshly

5 Thoughts Before You Speak Harshly

Words can hurt!

Right now, think of something someone said to you that still hurts. Perhaps a parent who sighs, “Why did I ever have another kid?” Or a teacher who declares, “You’re just too stupid to teach!” Or a spouse who yells, “I don’t love you anymore!” Sometimes the wounds caused by such words are never completely healed. Apologies help, but the effects cannot always be completely undone.

It takes real emotional and spiritual maturity to pause before speaking, and to consistently use our words for good and not for ill. (See James 1:26, 3:5)

Husbands and wives have a unique power to build each other up or tear each other down. Much of that power resides in your words. Speaking harshly to your spouse is one of the most destructive things you can do to your marriage.

But what do you do when you’re upset, frustrated, or downright angry at something your spouse has said or done?

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The Space Between You and Your Spouse

The Space Between You and Your Spouse

How close are you and your spouse? How wide is the space between you? What’s in that space?

When your relationship began you probably felt you couldn’t get close enough. You spent every possible moment together. You shared thoughts and feelings even when you didn’t really have to. You wanted to know everything you could about your sweetheart, and wanted him or her to know everything possible about you.

Time marches on. Life happens. Things change. Something comes between you and your spouse. It may be something small at first: a harsh word, a misunderstanding, an unmet expectation. This becomes a brick on the ground between you. It’s almost small enough to ignore at first. You stub your toe on it once in a while, but mostly you just step around it.

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Being REAL or Being Helpful

Two Girls Sharing SecretsDo I share my feelings completely? ALL the time? Will it hurt other people if I do? If I don’t, will keeping secrets hurt me – or them? If I know this, shouldn’t I share the information?

Some people naturally share everything they hear or know or feel. Others have developed the habit of keeping everything to themselves. Here’s a truth to ponder: once you tell someone something, you can’t “untell” it. Apologies can help if you’ve said something that is harmful, but how much better to never tell something that causes pain in the first place. It may not always be easy to know whether sharing certain information is wise or not.

Here are a few examples of where “keeping secrets” is actually a good thing:

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5 Tips for Getting Past the Drama

Drama MasksIn my office today sat a couple planning the next steps in their journey to try to have a child. Couples dealing with infertility are already on somewhat of an emotional roller-coaster. On top of all this the additional stress of the Christmas holiday season is sometimes just too much.

But for this couple it wasn’t the physical or emotional pressure of infertility, or the extra travel or financial “stuff” over the Christmas holiday season, or the somewhat depressing weather that was getting them down: it was the family drama they had just been through. Why does it seem the holidays so often bring that drama to a boiling point?

I doubt this couple are the only ones who have just experienced some fatiguing family drama.

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