Here’s beautiful truth: You are who God says you are!
And God says you’re worth it and you’re lovely.
Pretty amazing, isn’t it? God cares about you and me and everyone. But isn’t it tough to believe that something so wonderful is true? That he protects you? That he cares?
In fact, you may have struggled with believing you matter and that God has a good plan for your life. Have you ever asked yourself questions like,
- Do I make a difference in anyone’s life?
- Does God smile when he thinks of me?
- How can God love me?
The truth is, Jesus is with you. He loves you. He cares.
Two Encouraging Stories
Corrie Ten Boom: God’s Protection
Chances are, you’ve heard parts of Corrie Ten Boom’s WWII story. Her family hid Jews in a secret place in their home above their watch shop. When the Nazis discovered their secret in 1944, they arrested the Ten Boom family and sent them to a concentration camp.
Upon arrival at the camp, Corrie and her sister, Betsie, waited in line to be searched. And guess what Corried did? She prayed.
With a bible hidden in her clothing, she prayed that the Nazis would not find it. She prayed, “Dear God, you have given me this precious Book. You have kept it hidden through checkpoints and inspections.” The Nazis searched the woman in front of Corrie, and they searched Betsie.
But Corrie? They left her alone. The bible stayed with her in the camp, and God’s word kept hatred from her heart.
Like Corrie, you are secure because you are hidden in Christ.
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble. Psalm 32:7
Sandi: Small Acts of Kindness
Years ago I counseled “Sandi,” whose parents were addicts and abused her every which way imaginable. As the eldest, she would stand between her parents and her little brothers and sisters, sparing them and taking the punishment. And she was a child too!
The authorities caught up with Sandi’s parents, who were convicted of child abuse and distributing child pornography, and served time in prison. Sandi and her siblings ended up in foster care. Yet God blessed her and gave her a desire to be kind to others.
Among her stories I love is the time she noticed a homeless woman taking food from a dumpster behind a fast food joint, She offered her her own uneaten lunch. The woman declined at first. Then Sandi began regularly buying two lunches a few times a week–one for herself, one for the woman–and the woman ate hers.
Sandi’s small acts of kindness demonstrated the truth that God treasures all people–Sandi, you, me. And the homeless.
Like Sandi, you are significant because you are precious in God’s eyes.
You are precious and honored in my sight…because I love you. Isaiah 43:4
Scriptures About You
Read through this short list of the truth of who you are. May I encourage you to look up the bible verses too? They are hope for your heart.
I have a long list too. If you want the long list, please send me a message with the words “Who I Am in Christ” in the subject line and I’ll send it to you.
You are precious to God. (Isaiah 43:4)
You are a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
You are complete. (Colossians 2:9,10)
You are secure. (Romans 8:31-39)
You are God’s workmanship. (Ephesians 2:10)
You are God’s treasure. (1 Peter 2:9,10)
Father, thank you for reminding us who we are in Christ. Thank you that when you look at us you see true beauty that comes from your Son, our Savior. Amen.
Counseling Hope to Your Heart,
The Dynamic Heart in Daily Life: Connecting Christ to Human Experience is a treasured tool I very highly recommend and use regularly in counseling. if you’re a counselor, you’ll appreciate this tool to help women and families. If you’re not a counselor, but want to understand why you feel, and say, and do, the way you do, then this book is for you too.
READ A CHAPTER –> Wouldn’t you like to read a chapter? Here’s a link to chapter one.
In this brief article, you’ll learn from Jeremy Pierre’s book:
- What makes your heart tick
- How the heart is corrupted and redeemed
- A plan to counsel the heart
What Makes Your Dynamic Heart Tick?
Your heart responds cognitively, affectively, and volitionally to the life’s circumstances. It is multidimentional, it is dynamic. Most important, faith in Christ is the means by which your heart can respond to life differently, better.
Did you know each person’s heart is both simple and complex? The heart has automatic responses to situations. But underlying these seemingly auto-responses are deep beliefs, desires, and commitments of which people are generally unaware.
However, people can become aware and should. While psychotherapy on the whole divides awareness into conscious and subconscious, Scripture has a multifaceted view.
The Dynamic Heart, Corrupted
The corruption of the heart began at the Fall (Genesis 3) and infects all of the dynamic heart: cognition, affection, and volition. It shows up as idolatry.
Idolatry is a whole-hearted inclination that fails to believe God is God and worship him alone.
An alcoholic, then, is not worshipping a bottle but something deeper and more complex—a way to get something good apart from God. As this becomes habitual, the person loses sight what the idol is doing to him and he takes on the deadness of the idol to his detriment. God interrupts, he gives a Cross-shaped message of hope.
The Dynamic Heart, Redeemed
Jesus redeems the dynamic heart so it can do what God intends: worship him in thought, desire, and choice. God made the heart to imitate his own. Did you know you are an image-bearer?
While God is unlike people in many ways (e.g., he is omniscient), he is like people in some ways. For instance, he reasons and has emotion. As believers respond whole-heartedly to God and without reservation in reflective prayer and careful study of Scripture, they become more like Jesus.
Counseling the Dynamic Heart
A plan for counseling the dynamic heart requires four tasks. They are:
READ: Hearing people’s hearts
Llistening is crucial to understanding a hurting person and her problem in its context. Hearing the heart includes paying attention to what the counselee is saying (and not saying).
REFLECT: Helping people understand their responses
Self-awareness helps a hurting her connect her intuitive (or, automatic) responses to their belief system. Then she can challenge her automatic heart responses and begin to change.
RELATE: Looking to Jesus
With greater self-awareness of one’s responses, she sees that the help she needs comes from Jesus. Just as a believer trusts Jesus for her salvation from sin, she also learns to trust him for helping her make new heart responses.
RENEW: Calling for new responses from faith
Commitment to change is key. This requires an active faith since “heart change occurs as it is lived out, shaping and reinforcing new values and commitments,” Pierre writes.
Resources for You!
COUNSELING: Struggling? I offer biblical counseling by Skype and in person (greater Chicago). Learn more.
FIT FOR LIFE eBook: A comprehensive weight-loss and life change plan. Check it out. Click here for information.
ARE YOU A COUNSELOR? Join Heart2Heart Counselor Directory! Get details now..
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
The best lesson God taught me also turned my life around.
I confess I had trusted in by own abilities. And why not? I knew everything, right? As God rescued me from me and my pride, he taught me a lesson in three parts:
1. Believe God is who he says he is: good, in control, loving, just, merciful.
2. Believe what he says about you: valuable, significant, blessed.
3. Believe that you have an enemy who steals, kills and destroys, but God has defeated him.
Even as a Christian I leaned toward self-dependence, then the hard hit.
Click & Tweet!
One Saturday morning many years ago, awful memories of past abuse flooded my mind. So I sobbed from a sacred place in my soul at the time God chose.
This star-flinger, this day-numberer, this God drew me toward him, beginning with the lesson of who God is.
Lesson 1: God Is Who He Says He Is
Among the most beautiful bible verses is the one where God describes his character. I wrestled with whether to believe it is true or not true. Here’s the verse:
And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming,’The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.’ Exodus 34:6-7
Compassionate, gracious, slow ot anger, great love and faithfulness, and forgiving–did I believe this of God? Do you?
If you’ve been hurt by someone who should have protected you, you may struggle believing these truths. You are not alone. Others struggle as you do.
In fact, the counselors listed in Heart2Heart Counselor Directory on my website biblically and lovingly counsel all of God’s healing hope to their counselees. Why not check out the directory for someone near you or who meets by Skype?
In addition to daily Bible reading, I journaled, exchanging the lies I believed for the truth. It looked a lot like this. My journaling and listening to gospel-centered music also helped got me to the place where I believe God is who he says he is. What helps you?
Lesson 2: I Am Who God Says I Am
God says all of his daughters are chosen. Before you took your first baby step, before you were conceived, before God fashioned the heavens and the earth, he chose you.
The moment you believed on Jesus as your Savior, your old self died. You became a new creation. You are in Christ and Christ is in you.
This “in” means you have a place as a member of Christ‟s body, vitally united with him. The death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus — yes, the heart of the gospel — made possible your true identity. God now sees you as blameless because his Son is blameless, having paid the ultimate price to conquer sin and death. Being “in Christ” is the true you.
Click & Tweet!
Does knowing you are chosen change the way you think and feel about yourself? about God?
Lesson 3: God Defeated the Enemy
Can you guess the big lie Satan wants you to believe? It’s NOT that you’re not good enough, though he tempts you to believe that one too. It’s NOT you’re unsuccessful or unattractive or a total mess-up or a waste of space, though you and I have fallen for some of these lesser lies, haven’t?
Can your believe I bought the lie that I was a defect? Have you?
This isn’t the big lie either. It destroyed my peace, though. God — through life-giving Bible truths and uplifting Christian music as well as counseling — showed me the truth: that I and every believer in Christ is his precious child and God also revealed the big lie at the core of my shame lie.
So what’s the big lie?
The Big Lie Is. .
The big lie Satan tempts you to believe is the same one Adam and Eve ate up in the Garden: God is holding back, that he couldn’t care less, that he’s not. . .good.
And the Truth Is. . .
Satan is defeated!
From Life Lesson to Action
As I embraced this three-part lesson and intentially put God first, he revealed a purpose for my life: to help Christian women know that they are valued by Jesus, who wants to heal them. Yes, to counsel hearts to hope! Still, I felt afraid and told God so.
Our conversation went like this.
“Lord, I don’t know how to begin.”
“Do not worry, Lucy. I’ll show you.”
“How will I know it’s you?”
“You will. The Holy Spirit who’s in you will confirm my words. You’ll know.”
“I don’t think I’m ready for this, Lord,” I said. “What if I mess up?”
That’s where we left things. God said trust. I sat there, speechless.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7, ESV
How about you? Where has God changed your thinking? Are you ready for deeper healing?
Are you tired of living a less-than life? Why not contact me
to set up a no-cost introductory phone consultation? Remember, God loves you, whoever you are, wherever you’ve been.
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
Cancer: A cancer diagnosis surprised Heart2Heart counselor Donna Hart, PhD. Her first question was, “What in this do You want me to learn?” The Lord’s answer: worship. Donna’s article appeared first here on her website and is used with permission. Donna also adds an update below to her cancer diagnosis. To all who prayed for her, thank you. –LAM
I was doing well and just starting the deeper research of chapter five of my dissertation. The chapter was on endurance. I prayed the Lord would lead me to the best resources for the research.
Not many days later the doctor called to say the results from the breast biopsy tested positive for cancer. I had had these done before all with negative results so when I got the call I was taken by surprise. We know nothing is a surprise for God and that His hand was allowing this for me.
My first question after the fog cleared was to ask our dear heavenly Father,
“What is in this You want me to learn?”
I got a most curious and surprising one word answer, “worship.”
I am “Miss Independent” and very used to caring for other people; I’m very low maintenance when it comes to needing help from others.
God Provides a Friend
The first person the Lord provided to help me was a good friend who happens to be a nurse. She declared that she was going with me to all doctor’s appointments and surgeries. She said it would be important to have another set of knowledgeable ears to listen. At the time, she was walking through her own deep valley of trial: while she was on a road trip a while back, she looked down for a moment and ran a red ligh. This resulted in a fatality.
During my cancer journey, we walked together; she ministered to me as I ministered to her. I learned that trials are more endurable when walk through it with a friend.
Click & Tweet!
Through the process of multiple cancer surgeries, my friends would go walking with me because that was the only exercise allowed. They walked with me outside on the miles of bike trail near my home and inside when the weather was inclement. We would talk and grow closer in our relationship.
God Provides Praise Music
The Lord blesses us with His love through the voices of other believers.
The days I walked on the treadmill I would listen to the Vertical Church Band. Do they realize how many songs they have written about heaven? What a gift to me from the Lord to get my heart focused on the right things. I thought, it does not matter what happens, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). I will worship You, Lord.
My treatment included four rounds of chemotherapy, four hours each, three weeks apart. My favorite sisters went along with me for this journey. We sat, relaxed, chatted, and knitted. What a blessed treat from the hand of the Lord: sweet friendships to make a trial a joy.
I did not know I was going to be my own dissertation research on endurance. As I sought references for my paper, the Lord brought me to an article on Counseling Suffering by John Piper, and I shall never forget his words, “The Lord is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him.”
The world is watching: Are we a testimony that the Lord is good and enough, no matter what the trial?
The Lord was with me every step of this journey, teaching me to be less self-sufficient and more dependent upon Him knowing He works all things together for good.
Life After Cancer
Now years later and cancer free, I celebrate that the Lord is a continued song in my heart. I remember His words to me every time I would get my eys off Him and onto the circumsitons, “Iwhat crucified for you.”
Those words are a memorial reminter that He is with me, and I have nothing to fear. He started a goood work and He will finish it.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6
Question for You!
FREE DOWNLOAD: When you subscribed to this blog, you get the free and well-loved 64-page download “5 Names God Calls You!” Fill out your information below to claim it, cool?
COUNSELING: Would you like counseling from me or Donna? Please let me know, and we’ll connect. Counseling offered in person and by Skype.
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
Adopted teens have unique struggles as well as the same heartaches nearly all teenagers face. How might the gospel apply to struggling adopted teens? Like guest writer Ellen Castillo, I too have adopted children (now adults) and so I found her article wonderfully instructive and encouraging. (It appeared first here on the Biblical Counseling Coalition website and is used with permission.) If you or someone who know is a family created through adoption, please share this post with them. –LAM
A Challenging Journey
“And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me” (Matthew 18:5).
Twenty years ago, when my husband and I adopted three foster children, we were the only people in our small Christian community who were doing so. Our children were ages 5, 7, and 9 at the time of each of their adoptions. They all came from a background of abuse, neglect, and abandonment. We knew that this kind of background would mean that there would be challenges ahead, but we had no idea just how difficult those challenges would be.
When two of the children became teenagers, we were facing parental challenges that we were not prepared for, and our church was not equipped to help us. God was faithful to see us through those years.
One of the ways He has used those experiences in my life is that I became burdened to help other adoptive parents and their adopted teens through the ministry of biblical counseling. As I have counseled several adopted teens in the past few years, there are recurring issues that I have noted.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Teenagers commonly struggle with their sense of identity. Teens who have been adopted have a unique form of this struggle as they have been removed from their birth family and placed into either foster or adoptive families. This can create a feeling of having nowhere to belong. This will often manifest as a lack of attachment to a new family.
The new family offers love, security, comfort and care. But at times the teen rejects all of their adopted parents’ sincere efforts, because of feeling displaced, confused, and disoriented. If they do not have the tools to communicate their feelings well, they may act out with poor behavior instead (lying, sneaking, anger, defiance, etc.)
If they do not know or remember their birth-family history, there will be identity struggles. Some will struggle with a sense of (false) guilt over the birth family not staying together. Others will struggle with worry and guilt about being disloyal to their family of origin if they love and attach to the new family. These are all complicated heart struggles that must be seen through a biblical lens rather than just assuming the teen is being rebellious.
Adopted Teens and Trust Issues
Understandably, adopted teens may have trust issues. If the people who were supposed to protect them abused, neglected or abandoned them, certainly they will wonder if others will do the same to them.
Adopted teens may struggle with unbelief that stems from having been betrayed. This often manifests as lying or sneaky behavior. They might think, “I can’t trust, so I really am all on my own. I must protect myself at any cost, even breaking the commandments such as ‘do not lie.’”
If adopted teens feel rejected, they often expect that they are going to be rejected again. Some will behave in such a way as to attempt to force the adoptive family to reject them because they believe it is inevitable, and they would rather have some control over the timing of it. Much energy is expended on acting out in order to force rejection. The outward behavior resembles normal teen rebellion, but the heart issues are actually rooted in significant fear.
Typical teen rebellion tends to have a malicious “I don’t care” nature to it. An adopted teen’s rebellion can be less malicious and more self-protective in nature. It is important to discern the difference as you seek to parent, mentor, or counsel the teen.
Applying the Gospel
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
Practical help needed for those who parent, counsel, and mentor struggling adopted teens is found in God’s Word. Determine to do your best to discern whether or not the gospel has been understood and received.
Once you believe that the teen is a believer, be sure that you teach him or her to view the past through scriptural teaching. Focus on all that the gospel has provided. Talk about sanctification as a process towards Christlikeness. Be sure that grace and mercy are understood.
Teach God’s view of family and the impact of sin on the family. Teach teens to apply the gospel to hurts, struggles, circumstances, and fears. Show them in Scripture that their identity is not in their birth or adoptive family; it is in Christ.
Click & Tweet!
Teach them that the fear of man is a snare and that people will disappoint them at times, but that they can fully trust in Christ. They must see that the gospel applies to their salvation and to their sanctification.
Call on a biblical counselor with experience in counseling troubled teens if you need assistance helping an adoptive family. Many adoptive parents endure the struggles alone, but God’s design is that the body of Christ would be a safe place for help and hope.
In the gospel struggling teens meet a very relatable Savior.
Click & Tweet!
He has endured betrayal and rejection, too. He modeled forgiveness, mercy, and grace. The entire narrative of the Bible is a story of redemption, and teens need to view their own history in light of that story. This is our hope–and the hope for the teens we are called to love.
Join the Conversation
Do you know an adoptive family that needs to know the hope of the gospel? How can you come alongside the parents and their teen?
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,