Journey Through The Wall

Journey Through “The Wall”

We encounter the wall when a crisis turns our world upside down. These walls are not simply one-time events that we pass through and get beyond. They are issues that return and effect our relationship with God and others. Several years ago, I was going through a divorce. I was determined not to give up but to follow Matthew 5:44, “Love you enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” My mantra was, “If you have a problem, find a promise, and decree it because, “God’s Word will not return void,” Isaiah 55:11. These statements are true. But, what do you do when you continue to believe, decree but your prayer isn’t answered? My marriage was over. That’s when I hit the wall!

It’s easy to blame God and others, be mad and not move forward. For most of us the wall appears through a crisis that turns our world upside down. We question ourselves, God, and even the church. We discover for the first time that our faith does not appear to “work”. We have more questions than answers as the foundation of our faith. The wall torments us. We don’t know where God is, what he is doing, or when this will be over. But there is a purpose in “The Wall.” Stories in the Bible help us understand what God is doing. Abraham faced the wall of delays and disappointments with infertility for twenty-five years before the birth of Isaac. Thirteen years later, God led him to another wall—the separation from Ishmael. Abraham encountered a third wall when God commanded him to sacrifice his long-awaited son Isaac on the altar. God was preparing Abraham in great faith that would bless future descendants as a great nation, Genesis 12:1-9.

There are things in all of us we are unaware of. This is God’s way of renovating and purging our affections and passions so that we might enter a fuller relationship with Him. He wants to free us from unhealthy attachments of the world; such as: pride, discontentment, luxury, anger, glutton, envy, slothfulness, etc.

Therefore, great faith does not mean an end to dark times when everything and everyone seems to be against you. Great faith means trudging on regardless; stubbornly holding on to the conviction that, “nothing—not oppression, anguish, persecution, or feminine, or peril or sword…nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord,” Romans 8:35-39.

God works to free us from unhealthy worldly attachments. Before my divorce, I had a worldly attachment to things. I wanted everything that does not go into eternity but steals my relationship with Father God. He wanted to communicate his true love to me and for me to know his peace and rest. Therefore, we attain this through trusting that the wall is drawing us into an intimate relationship with Him. ”It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?” Hebrews 12:7-10.

Young man with three kids

Just as an earthly Father will lovingly, discipline and protect his children, so does our heavenly Father. His purpose is for us to know him so we can trust Him to face and accept the purpose of the wall. We joyfully and willfully detach from certain behaviors for a more intimate, loving attachment to our Heavenly Father. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should as God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you,” James 1:2-5.

To restore a trusting relationship with Father God when you’ve hit The Wall, pray this prayer of faith:
“Father, I confess that when difficulties and trials come into my life, I have grumbled and complained. I realize these trials are not necessarily “walls”, but they are difficult but not impossible with your love. Bless me with a vision of a transformed life filled with hope so that I might consider it “pure joy” when trials come my way. I believe and know you are for me and nothing can come against me. In Jesus Name, amen.”


Break the Power of the Past 
Be Your Authentic Self

Have you ever been in a place where you didn’t say anything but continued to serve or appease another person because it wasn’t worth the cost to address and share your true feelings? If so, it’s an indicator of being emotionally immature. Immaturity means, you continually avoid healthy conflict to keep peace and ignore and suppress your emotions to avoid conflict. Therefore, you lose your voice and your identity. If that’s you, then it’s time to learn the biblical principles to guide you into an experience of lasting, beneath-the-surface transformation in your relationship with others and God. He wants to “Restore to you the joy of your salvation, and make you willing to obey. Then you will teach His ways to rebels, and they will return to God,” Psalms 51:12-13.

Interestingly, our bodies know our feelings before our minds. Self-awareness is intricately related to our relationship with God. The challenge is to shed our old “false” self in order to live authentically in our new “true” self. Augustine wrote in Confessions, “How can you draw close to God when you are far from your own self?” Our goal is to know ourselves so that we may know God and fulfill our purpose.

Accept feelings and experience emotions:


The journey of genuine transformation to emotional healthy spirituality begins with a commitment to allow yourself to feel. Scripture reveals God as an emotional being who feels as a person. Having been created in his image, we also are created with the gift to feel and to experience emotions. Therefore, we must pay attention to our emotions. Too often our bodies know our feelings before our minds. Consider prayerfully the following. If there is emotion in regard to issues, such as: health, relationships, work, etc. Ask the Holy Spirit to walk you through each issue to gain back your voice and identity:

    • What upsets you?
    • What are you sad about?
    • What are you fearful of?
    • What makes you happy?
    • Is it difficult to be your true self?

Going back to go forward:

These concerns can open the door to “emotional baggage”. Our goal is to walk in union with the Lord and to live joyfully in the present; however, it requires going back in order to go forward. We must recognize and break free from the destructive patterns of our past. If these issues are not confronted, just as a physical wall stops us from moving ahead, God sometimes stops us in our spiritual journey through a spiritual wall to radically transform our character and restore our identity and voice. Every follower of Jesus will at some point confront the wall. Failure to understand and surrender to God’s working in us at the wall often results in great long-term pain, ongoing immaturity, and confusion.*

Be intentional

A simple, clear “Rule of Life” is to love others and yourself. It will increase awareness of God’s presence throughout the entire day and give you grace when tempted to fall back. To love you and others is practicing, and integrating such skills as speaking respectfully, listening with empathy, negotiating fairly, and uncovering the hidden expectations we have of others and of ourselves. If we are to nurture a heart that treats every person with respect, we need to be intentional about our lives and grow spirituality with a thoughtful, purposeful plan. To develop this plan, follow these steps:

    • No longer living out of a false self but developing a relationship with God and others.
    • Use your voice to live out your identify by accepting changes, grow through them
    • Trust God even when you don’t know the purpose now but choose to use every challenge as an opportunity to grow.*
    • Embrace God’s plan and anchoring yourself in Him, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and all things will be added to you,” Matthew 6:33.

*Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, Peter Scazzero.

African Woman on sofa thinking.

Empowered for Breakthrough

Have you ever been in a place in life where everything seems to be falling apart? Jamila felt there was no hope. Even though her name means “beautiful,” she did not feel beautiful. In fact, she felt just the opposite. She was stuck in a toxic relationship, with no money and a new baby. Negativity exists in some form in everyone’s life at different times. It can keep people from achieving hope and spiritual fulfillment. Jamila needed a breakthrough. When a breakthrough is impending, there will be a purging process that will clear out hopelessness, defeat, and negative thinking. God can and will work with you to eliminate toxic relationships, habits, and things that influence you negatively. These negative factors are from the enemy and distract you from hearing and achieving your purpose in life. The goal is to remove negative influences and to create space for positive thinking, freedom, and fulfillment.

What is a breakthrough?
A breakthrough is that moment when frustration, struggles, fear, worry, or anxiety disappears. It’s a moment of insight, recognition about who you are, what you’re called to do and how to achieve a purposeful life. To understand breakthrough and why it is important we must define what is a stronghold. We are at war with evil. The battlefield we face is in our minds. The enemy introduces thoughts within us to keep us in bondage and to prevent us from knowing God and doing His will. The thoughts the devil implants within us argue against truth and try to create barriers to knowing God and form strongholds. We must take these thoughts captive for a breakthrough.

What is a stronghold?
A stronghold is an incorrect thinking pattern that has molded itself into our way of thinking. These strongholds have the capability to affect our feelings, how we respond to various situations in life and they play a large role in our spiritual freedom. Strongholds are built upon deception and error. These errors and deceptions which form strongholds can come from a wide variety of sources, including our environment, those around us, our parents or even demon spirits. Jamila was rejected by her partner and unknowingly formed a stronghold of fear, hopelessness, and anxiety.

How do we tear down strongholds?
Since strongholds are built upon error and falsehood, it is through the truth that you tear down such faulty thinking patterns. Strongholds are built when we accept and receive error and begin to meditate on them; such as: fear, depression, bad attitude, cursing, lying, stress, bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, resentment, etc. It forms in our minds what is known as an imagination, that is, a false concept that we believe to be true, but in reality, is not.


How do we renew our minds?
These strongholds must be cast down through the renewing of our minds. “Be not conformed to this world: but transformed by the renewing of your mind…”, Romans 12:2. Our minds are renewed by recognizing wrong thought patterns, repenting and renouncing any agreement we made knowingly or unknowingly.

Confession: I confess that wrong thoughts are warring in my mind to keep me from knowing God and experiencing His best for my life. I repent and renounce every negative thought I have agreed with and choose to change my thinking.

Prayer: Father, I ask that you reveal every stronghold in my thinking and speaking. If there is anything separating me from You or my purpose, I will take authority and repent and renounce any agreement. I choose to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ and to think on the things that are honest, just, pure, lovely, and productive. Give me grace for every battle and lead me to the truth of Your Word. Thank you for loving me, forgiving me, and giving me the keys to freedom to live an abundant life, in Jesus Name. Amen.


What Makes Christian Counseling Distinct?


Finding the right counselor goes beyond just having someone give you good advice. Friends offer advice to one another on a regular basis. We all find ourselves helping and supporting those we love through hard times. Biblical counseling takes authority of Scripture and helps individuals see how it works and is practical for their situation. Many Christians who are devoted to the Lord still feel stuck. They are doing everything that they know to do but they just cannot seem to move forward. There are steps to take that will break any unhealthy patterns. Therefore, if someone is feeling overwhelmed, sad, or fearful and is depending on alcohol, drugs, porn, or any other coping mechanism, it will not solve the problem. Christian counselors have a unique advantage of being able to approach issues holistically based on three dimensions – body, mind, and spirit. Perhaps some counseling approaches miss the spiritual dimension. A biblical understanding of how we are made, as physical, psychological, and spiritual beings, means all three dimensions play an important part in one’s health, peace, and happiness.

Understanding A Biblical View of People

At the heart of Embracing His Call, is a Biblical view of people. We see “every person is uniquely created in the image of God”, Genesis 1:27. We also understand that we live in a fallen world and that sin has entered humanity, as a result of trials, tribulations, and that sin affects everyone, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23. Sin is real and it causes pain and dysfunction everywhere—in our minds, bodies, families, relationships, and environment. The Biblical worldview involves more than just patching together verses here and there but provides a broader and deeper understanding that is both spiritual and practical. It’s a worldview based on God’s unchanging Word, “He is the same yesterday, today and forevermore,” Hebrews 13:8. Since God is the creator of everything in heaven and on earth, He is the standard of truth. “Jesus said, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” John 14:6. It is not just treating the symptoms but getting to the root of how the enemy had the legal right to come to steal, kill and destroy. This underlying Biblical View is that Jesus came to destroy the works of the enemy so that all may lead a long, happy abundant life, John 10:10. This truth is the foundation that guides and shapes Christian counseling. The biblical narrative tells us who we are, why we’re here, how we exist in relationship to God, and how to understand and overcome the many hardships we experience in this life.


Building an Intentional, Caring Relationship

A Christian approach to counseling is primarily forming a safe, nonjudgmental environment for clients. Since we were created to live before and with God and each other, we engage in an intentional, trusting relationship that respects where individuals are spiritually and emotionally. Empathic listening is at the heart of facilitating a relationship. We hear our client’s heart with a personal kind of listening and desire to create a compassionate exchange. For example, a couple came in for marriage counseling. After a discussion, it was noted that previous counselor had given coping mechanisms and set marriage goals but had not met the spiritual differences. His spiritual checklist revealed he had been looking to other sources rather than God to meet a need. He had pursued occult games, New Age teaching and other false guidance. His spiritual foundation conflicted with his wife. Her foundation was built on the Word of God. After examining the foundation of both beliefs, they were able to come to a mutual spiritual agreement. Our desire is to help people overcome, recover, discern, forgive, and to walk in victory. Therefore, we use biblical tools so clients may take charge of their personal world and walk in freedom.

Discerning and Respecting the Whole Individual

We hold to an ethical standard; we are all creatively and wonderfully different and made in the image of God. As Christian counselors, we respect individual’s different belief systems; therefore, we listen to hear rather than to respond. It’s our job to encourage individuals to be a researcher of truth and to give direction and hope in their thinking and decision making. Our purpose is to address both the external behavior and the interior heart. For example, a female client sought help for overeating having unsuccessfully tried dozens of weight-loss diets over the years. This to be understood and dealt with by getting to the root of this behavior. If we dealt with simply suggesting behavioral change, dealing with her bad habits and boosting her self-esteem, we just put a band aid on the problem and have not identified the root. We take time to ask open ended questions. Through careful investigation and prayer, a deep issue surfaced, then we could deal with the deeply entrenched rejection and anger.


As Christian Counselors, we share three goals: To guide the counselee in identifying and stating the problem, to provide scriptural insight for dealing with the problem, to help the counselee find answers to challenges through the application of scriptural principles and to promote biblical change that will transform lives. We are so humbled that God would so graciously include us in His Kingdom purpose. Serving people through the teaching of His Word and renewing hope and purpose is truly our joy.

Fulfill your destiny sign

Find Your Purpose

Build a Meaningful Life

If you are experiencing a lack of purpose in your life, you may feel constantly bored, dissatisfied, or empty, like life has no meaning. There is always hope when we learn to think differently. Your purpose in life is as unique to you as your fingerprint. We all have a particular set of goals, values, talents, experiences, skill sets, and interests that light us up. It is why you get up each morning, it is your reason for being and goals set for your future.

To find your purpose, begin by defining what you value. Value has to do with how much something is worth or what you are holding in high regard. For example, if you value someone’s opinion you will ask that person’s advice before deciding. To value is to understand a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life and HOW we want to live our life. Values are like a compass that keep us headed in a desired direction and are distinct from goals. When you value the principles in the bible, you will use them as your guide. For example, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them,” Matthew 7:12. Because you value a spiritual rule, “You reap what you sow,” Galatians 6:7-8, you choose to forgive the offender. It is a spiritual law; a seed in your spiritual ground when you fall short, someone will forgive you. Therefore, values are chosen qualities of being and doing, such as being a forgiving friend, caring parent, remaining loyal, honest in business, and/or courageous during challenges.

Interestingly, values are not goals. Goals are finite; they are achievements, and once you reach the goal, you are finished with them. After running a marathon, your goal was reached. Then new goals are set. Values are enduring, eternal guides to living. You cannot achieve a value; you can only manifest it by acting in accordance with it. “Bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come,” 1 Timothy 4:8. Therefore, physical conditioning is important, but godliness (the quality or practice of conforming to the laws and wishes of God) has lasting value for all things and holding promise for both the present life and the eternal life to come.

Albert Einstein said, “Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.” His wisdom lines up with purposes found in the bible, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you…” Jeremiah 1:5. God reveals that when he creates a person it is from a plan that he has developed before he began forming them “in the womb.” He not only knows what he is going to make, he knows the person as though they have already been made. He plans us according to his purposes for us and his plans to glorify himself by our lives. When we come to know him, it is comforting to understand this great truth more and more.

Woman staring at a white board

To find your purpose and value the gifting God has given you, begin by developing a positive mindset founded in God’s Word. “You can do all things through Christ…,” Philippians,” 4:13. Embrace challenges as opportunities. A personal vision statement can help you find purpose, manage stress, and find balance in life.

1. Determine your vision statement will line up with God’s Word, “Go into all the world….,” Mark 15:16. That means to live with purpose and to share the good news.

2. Project your goals for the future. Imagine you in five or ten years. The following question can help you clarify your vision:

          • Where can you be beneficial to someone?
          • What can you realistically achieve?
          • What problems will you solve?
          • What changes can you make for individuals?

3. Keep it short and simple. For example, “Through biblically-based counseling, I will guide individuals to discover freedom and to support all to become who they were created and redeemed to be.”

Your values not only tell you where to focus your efforts and energies but also provide you with a new source of motivation. The pain you have had to endure along your journey becomes much easier to bear when it is in the service of your goals and values. By acting in line with your heart’s deepest desires, it brings a sense of fulfilment and vitality that no material wealth can match. May the Lord continue to bless you and increase your sphere of influence as you determine your purpose that will line up with God’s perfect plan in living a meaningful life. I Chronicles 4:10.

Man with outstretched arms toward a sunrise

Man sitting and thinking

Dealing with Personal Challenges

Stand Firm in Pursuing and Decreeing Truth

A personal challenge is a challenge that’s just for you; no other participants. It typically is geared around goals you set for yourself. Do you feel that things are out of control? It seems when one thing falls apart there is a series of other mishaps that keep happening. All of us need help from time to time. It could be a battle against fear and discouragement, struggles at home with discontentment or lack. Or, even an awareness we’re facing a worldwide crisis.

Where do you begin? Begin by identifying the challenge. For example, you may feel fear, stress, or even unhappiness and or dissatisfaction with life. You are ready for a change. When things aren’t working out and doors are closing, it’s time to find God’s promise to cancel the problem. For example, you when challenged with fear, stress and anxiety. A promise to claim and receive is, “God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind,” 2 Timothy 1:7. Receive the promise, make a decree by declaring that promise out loud. Everything starts with prayer, and one of the power tools of prayer is our ability to “make a decree”. Making a decree causes the blessings of Heaven to be released from heavenly places into our natural realm. We decree our peace, we decree our health, we decree salvation to our families, our destiny, favor, wisdom, financial abundance and stability, etc. If He said it in His Word, then it’s ours and it’s “decree-able.”

A decree is defined as an official order issued by a legal authority. Naturally speaking, a decision made by order of the court supersedes the desire or opinion of the defendant, whether it’s a fine, a denial of driving privileges, or even a jail sentence. It instructs us saying, “Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways,” Job 22:28.

We Make the Decree in Faith

When we make a decree, we say it out loud because the spiritual realm must hear it in order to obey it. A decree is not a passive, silent, done-only-in-our-own-minds type of effort. You make the decree, which is the wisdom of God, before the angels, as well as the powers and principalities. “Praise the Lord, you angels, you mighty ones who carry out his plans, listening for each of his commands,” Psalm 103:20. Ephesians 3:10-11, “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Your decree sets the spiritual realm in motion, just like God’s Word had originally set creation into motion. By our words we can initiate life or death, and the decrees that we believe and speak aloud will be established Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof,” Proverbs 18:21.

Sometimes we feel like our decrees have failed because things haven’t happened instantly. Just like a plant needs time to grow before it bears fruit, our decrees are released in seed form into the spiritual realm requiring various amounts of time to grow. How do we water the seeds of our decrees? By reminding the spiritual realm of their orders.

Joshua demonstrates this during his battle with the Amorites. Joshua had a promise from God of victory. When an opportunity came to defeat them, he needed more daylight to accomplish it. In the presence of the Lord and in the presence of all Israel, Joshua boldly commands the sun and the moon to stand still and they did (see Joshua 10:12). The Lord listened to the voice of a man. Joshua went on to defeat the Amorites because he was given enough daylight to finish the job. Like Joshua, we can rest assured that our decrees from His Word will be stamped in the court of Heaven as, “Yes and Amen; For all the promises of God in him are yes and amen to the Glory of God,” 2 Corinthians 1:20.

Praying hands on bible

This is the posture we are to take as we seek truth and pray during any challenge, problem or global crisis. All of God’s promises turn any problem into a breakthrough of hope. Our prayers actually are calling heaven to come to earth. When we pray according to His will, His truth, He will use our prayers to establish “His Kingdom on earth,” Matthew 6:10.

In the Bible, when Joshua had grown old, the Lord said to him, “You are now very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over,” Joshua 13:1. His example shows us that age, energy and time are not to interfere with what God wants us to do. We must ask ourselves: What excuses are we making because we’re afraid, it’s not convenient or we’re tired. Name the problem, which is a lie, then find the truth found in God’s Word. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” Philippians 4:13.

Joshua is an example we can follow. He was obedient to change his focus from being too old, to staying the course. His legacy reads: “Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed, Joshua 23:14-16.

Man with his arms raised

If we are going to overcome challenges, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness and all things will be added to us,” Matthew 6:33. Follow Joshua’s example of obedience by standing firm in pursing truth found in God’s Word, decreeing the promises and great will be your reward.


September is Suicide Prevention Month

Know the Signs and Respond Effectively

A suicide attempt left 16-year-old varsity cheerleader, Emma Benoit, paralyzed, but propelled her on a mission to use her painful experience to help others find hope, and shine more light on the fact that 20 young people die every day by suicide in the United States.* Her story demands our attention for the need of awareness and the necessity of bringing hope to this generation.

The suicide rate for teenagers is climbing. “It is now the third leading cause of death among young people aged 15–24, and the second leading cause of death among college students. For every completed suicide, estimates assert that there are as many as 25 attempted suicides.” * As Christians, we want to be able to help those who consider or attempt suicide to choose a future and a hope instead. Why do so many of today’s teenagers consider death their only option? How can we help teenagers learn effective ways of dealing with their problems?


Our first concern should be to pray for sons/daughters and to enlist others to pray. At the same time, take steps to determine whether he/she’s clinically depressed. Behaviors such as painful introspection, negative self-concept, dramatic mood swings, episodes of moping and crying, withdrawal and isolation, fatigue and other unexplained physical ailments, poor academic performance, and outbursts of anger and overt acting out are common symptoms. If any of the following are present and persist for more than two weeks, you should seek appropriate help immediately. The following are steps one can take to identify and to support your child.

  1. Be Proactive. “Be sober-minded; be watchful,” I Peter 5:8. 
Focus on what you can control. Maybe your child is just having a bad day, but when signs of mental health troubles last for weeks, don’t assume it’s just a passing mood. Don’t wait for them to come to you. You might start by saying, “You seem sad. I’m open to talking about this, because I love you and I care what happens to you.”
  2. Listen even if they are not talking. “Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,” James 1:19. 
Recognize and watch for major changes in your child’s sleep patterns, appetite, and social activities. Self-isolation, especially for kids who usually enjoy hanging out with friends or playing sports, can signal serious difficulties. If your child is struggling more than usual with schoolwork, chores and other responsibilities, these are additional signs you shouldn’t ignore.
  3. Build trust. “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love,” Romans 12:10. Realize that your child might be facing suicide risks you haven’t considered. Here are some things that can cause young people to think about ending their lives: Loss of a loved one to death, divorce; bullying (in person or online); discrimination, rejection, racism, family history of suicide or mental health difficulties; stigma (the belief that it’s wrong or shameful to talk about mental health or suicide).
  4. Restore hope. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds,” Psalm 147:3. 
Define challenges, give unconditional love and set healthy goals to restore hope. Try not to dismiss what you’re seeing as “teenage drama.” Never assume your child is exaggerating or playing games if they say or write: “I want to die.” “Nothing matters.” “I wonder how many people would come to my funeral?” “Sometimes I wish I could just go to sleep and never wake up.” “Everyone would be better off without me.” “You won’t have to worry about me much longer.”
  5. Respond with understanding. “Encourage one another and build one another up,” 1 Thessalonians 5:11. 
When your child talks or writes about suicide, you may feel shocked, hurt, or angry. You may even want to deny what you’re seeing or argue with your child. These feelings are natural and valid, but it’s essential to focus on your child’s needs first and foremost. Your goal is to create a safe space where your teen can trust you to listen and express concern, but without judgment or blame.
  6. Synergize. “We are laborers together with God,” 1 Corinthians 3:9. 
Get professional help right away. If your teen is self-harming, or you sense they’re at risk for attempting suicide, take them to the emergency department of your local hospital. Fast action is crucial when things have reached a crisis point.

If you see signs of suicidal thoughts but don’t sense an immediate crisis, you still need to take action. Reach out to your pediatrician or local mental health providers who treat children and teens. Explain what you’re seeing and hearing and schedule a mental health evaluation. Health care providers can help you and your teen create a safety plan that covers: Warning signs or triggers your teen feels will lead to suicidal thoughts; Possible steps to help them cope when they feel triggered; Sources of support: family, friends, teachers, mentors and others; Emergency contacts and steps to take if things get worse.


If you are worried about your child, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (273-8255). This free lifeline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from anywhere in the United States. Lifeline team members are there to listen and help you find the resources you need.

You can also learn more about Focus on the Family’s teen suicide prevention online training,

Alive to Thrive.

My Ascension

National Institute of Health

Girl sitting at gas pumps

Power Found in Hope

Do you ever feel like you’re the only one who is “stuck”? Your prayers aren’t being answered, you feel abandoned, life is out of control, you’re grieving a loss, you’ve been betrayed by a friend, harassed by fear, and/or defeated with no hope. In fact, the cycle continues to repeat, and every time it does, the hole turns into a bottomless pit.

It’s time to stop and look beyond your present circumstances into hope for the future. The fact is…life can be hard. The truth is… God’s Word has power over every challenge. In I Samuel 1:9-14, we see an example of power found in hope.

Hannah’s greatest desire was to have children, but God had closed her womb. Also, her husband, Elkanah, married another woman. And to add insult to injury, Penninah kept having children and would mock Hannah for barrenness. In those days, the value of a woman was enhanced by their child-bearing capacities. Penninah continually reminded her of her lesser worth. Instead of remaining “stuck”, Hannah decided to look beyond her present situation and find hope by going to the temple to pray. God heard her cry and answered her prayer. Due to her earnest prayer, Hannah was able to receive the hope of a son.”

Hands holding a flower

Jesus has prepared us for life’s challenges. John 16:33, “…In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  When challenges come, any decision made will affect your future.

Those decisions are “stepping stones” with power in hope for your future. Below are purposeful steps for breaking the cycle of being “stuck.”

    1. God prepares us. It’s inevitable; you will have challenges. Romans 5:3,4, “We glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
    2. Accept the challenge as an assignment for a greater reward. In God’s Sovereignty, He’s permitting the challenge to build enduring faith. Instead of asking God how to get out of this mess, ask him what he wants you to learn while your there. Hebrews 11:6, “Without faith it is impossible to please God… he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
    3. Resolve to guard every spoken thought and word. Your thoughts become words, and words define your future. Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”
    4. Make a choice to forgive any who have offended or hurt you. Matthew 10:14, “If you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you”.
    5. Choose to seek God, to pray, and to believe God’s promises. 2 Peter 1: 4, “He has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world….”

Mother and son

If you choose to respond like Hannah, great will be your reward. She chose to cast her care on Him and trust the One who gives us the desires of our heart. By looking forward in hope, the day came when she would hold her child. Psalm 25:5, “Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. Keep looking beyond the situation and see power in hope for the future, and great will be your reward.”

Theatre sign

Dealing with Uncertainty in a Changing World

Wall Street just posted, “Investors brace for pivotal July after dismal first half!” As we read signs and hear news, our brain starts to process angry, fear, injustice, hopelessness, lack, etc. When we’re bombarded with these negative thoughts, the battle is in the mind. Our minds run rampant, thinking in a damaging direction. We can feel as though we are stuck, locked down negatively and can’t move forward.

The Bible says, “In a world of tribulation, be of good cheer; I have overcome the world,” John 16:33. You may wonder, how?? When life is filled with uncertainty, stress, worries or many things you have no control over, your mind starts receiving, processing, and agreeing with turmoil. Therefore, unknowingly, you have formed a negative mindset. That seems so unfair. But unconsciously by meditating on the disappointments and challenges, you opened the door in the mind and formed a set of attitudes, social or cultural values, philosophy, frame of mind, and/or disposition of hopelessness. The result is a vicious cycle because of the way you’ve learned to cope with difficulty. You can’t move forward; therefore, you are forced to live a in a world of frustration, depression and unproductivity.

Let’s consider the big picture. A mindset is also formed with global pandemic, failing economy, decreasing income, declining health, and/or future uncertainty due to what lies ahead. We all desire security, safety, and want a sense of control over our well-being. Uncertainty opens the door for fear and can leave one feeling stressed, anxious, and powerless over the future. It can also drain anyone emotionally and trap a person in a downward spiral of endless “what-ifs” and worst-case scenarios about what tomorrow may bring. There’s a way to better deal with uncontrollable circumstances, alleviate anxiety, and face the unknown with more confidence.

How to Respond to Uncertainty in a Changing World

Confused person

To live free and in peace, remove the present mindset and respond with God’s authority found in His Word. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will,” Romans 12:2. To transform our mind, we declare a promise over negative thoughts or problems. God’s Word cancels the lie of the enemy tempting us to give up. The promises in the Bible are our truth that stops any negative hold. Below is an example of how to renew you mind and to restore your future by decreeing the promises of God:

    1. Global pandemic, I choose to resist and cancel in Jesus’ Name the result of fear by decreeing the truth in God’s Word, – “I will not fear, for God is with me; I will not be dismayed, for I belong to my God. He will strengthen me and help me; God will uphold me with His righteous right hand,” Isaiah 41:10.
    2. Failing economy, I renounce the effect of hopelessness and receive God’s promise to deliver me – “And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been, but at that time, we are God’s people and we shall be delivered…” Daniel 12:1.
    3. Decreasing income – I reject and cancel any lack I’ve knowingly or unknowing agreed with and receive God’s provision. “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus,” Philippians 4:19.
    4. Declining health – I renounce and reject any agreement I’ve made knowingly or unknowingly that I will not get well. “I pray and receive that all is well with me and that I am in good health and all is well with your soul,” 3 John 1:2.
    5. Future uncertainty – I break the agreement with fear, anxiety and stress in Jesus Name. I choose to receive the promise, “I will not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, I present my requests to God,” Philippians 4:6.

When these promises are prayed, the lie of the enemy is cancelled and one’s mind is renewed with hope for the future. It changes the way we think to create a better life for ourselves and also, allow us to live a life that honors God. There is no power over us that God’s Word does not have power over. “For the word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two edged sword..,” Hebrews 12:4. When we define the wrong pattern of thinking, cancel it by decreeing a promise over the negative mindset, then our reality of hope in an uncertain world is, “I am of good cheer. I have overcome the world!”!!


Scrabble with the word hope

Person holding pronoun sign

Christian Response to Gender Dysphoria

On September 9, 2016, Time magazine featured an essay telling the story of a man giving birth to a son. That might catch you off guard, especially since human biology does not allow for biological men to give birth. “This was designed to document the brave new frontier transgender individuals are promising to bring to America. A frontier that requires accepting the supposed reality that men can give birth and other gender dysphoria.” *Andrew Walker

We might be tempted to respond with shock and dismissal or judge someone disparagingly by reducing someone’s psychological experiences of gender dysphoria to derangement. But how are Christians to respond to a person experiencing gender dysphoria? Our approach to these individuals is to be with “grace and truth”, John 1:14. They are victims of a fallen world and the enemy “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour,” I Peter 5:8. Somehow a door was opened that allowed a deceiving, lying spirit to enter a person. It may be a generational curse, abandonment, rejection, fear, confusion, etc. When these demonic spirits enter, the victim will experience distress, anguish, and conflict over their perceived gender identity. In most cases, their experience cannot be reduced to simply “living a lie” since most don’t feel they’re lying to themselves. In fact, just the opposite is true. People with genuine cases of dysphoria believe it’s their biological body that is lying. A person in this situation truly believes he or she is a member of the opposite sex.

Path to Freedom and Joy

Girl with outstretched arms looking out over the ocean

Understanding how and when the enemy deceived an individual helps us recognize and get to the root of why they perceive themselves the way they do. Biblical counsel, that doesn’t simply repeat what political correctness demands, offers an opportunity for genuine counsel and compassion. It begins by helping a person accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Then it addresses and embraces, however difficult it may seem, that their birth sex is a testimony to their true nature, and that perceptions of a different gender identity, while sincere, do not constitute an actual identity change. This truth, spoken in love, sets people free, John 8:32.

We do not want the stories like the one in Time Magazine to become the new normal in America. If not addressed, the pace of acceleration and the implications will be enormous, touching almost every area of life. Christians must have an understanding of compassion and sympathy—as well as love and hope—that goes deeper than simply affirming another’s experiences as normative and praiseworthy. We are called to, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation,” Mark 16:15. There are ways we can support and connect with those who are struggling with their gender identity:

  1. Get acquainted with individuals and have open conversation. Don’t assume you ‘know’ what their authentic gender is or you know what they are going through. Don’t assume anything.
  2. Listen attentively. Open yourself. Every person’s gender journey is distinctly theirs; there are no cookie-cutter ten steps to success. Who is this person? What matters to them? How do they talk about their gender? Their passions? Their needs? Listen.
  3. Ask questions about how to help or how to be there. Don’t ask questions about their body or money or therapy or how this will impact their family or their job or their relationship.
  4. Offer prayer and support. Listen to what their central worries are and consider if there is a way to fortify them as they take steps toward authenticity and self-affirmation.
  5. Look for opportunities to share the love of God. Don’t give advice about anything unless you are asked. If you are worried about self-harm, call a hotline and get confidential advice.
  6. Keep their confidences. They are your support and prayer assignment.
  7. When they are ready, lead them in the following prayer.

Group of guys praying

Dear Heavenly Father, You are present in this room and in my life. You alone are all-knowing, all-powerful and everywhere present. I declare my dependency upon You. I ask in Jesus Name that you forgive me for opening the door for gender confusion, fear, rejection, anguish and conflict. I repent and renounce any agreement I made knowingly or unknowingly. I command all evil spirits to release their hold on me. I believe the Word of God. The Bible says when Jesus sets me free, I am free indeed. I decree, I am free and chose to live the life you chose for me before the foundation of the world. In Jesus Name, I pray. Amen.