Monday, August 29, 2011


As I sat down to write this blog today, my mind went blank. I didn't know what I should write about. I felt so limited in the amount of wisdom or insight I could give to whoever happened to read this latest entry. Some days are like that. We feel word-less. We don't know what to say. As a counselor, I feel powerless and incompetent when that happens.

I'm supposed to be wise and capable. Able to ask the right question in the right timing and with great perception. Most days I'm pretty good at this, but not every day. Some days, I am advice-less. It's not that I'm temporarily stupid, just...not sharp. And when that happens, I have a choice to make. Do I allow myself to sit in my lack of astuteness and wallow in a "woe-is-me" mindset of uselessness or do I choose a better path?

The better path of being available. Whether I have the right words to write or say is not the only thing that helps others. Important, yes, but not all. I have found some of the most meaningful and healing sessions have been when there was little said. But I was present and with my clients in the middle of their pain. Those quiet moments are sacred and rich.

I am reminded of Psalm 85:10-13: "Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. The Lord will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest. Righteousness goes before him and prepares the way for his steps."

I'm thankful that God can use anyone (even those of us with limited vocabularies) to minister His love, righteousness and peace.

Isaiah 31:17 says, "The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever."

~Shannon Shertzer, MS, NCC

Monday, August 22, 2011


While working in my garden the other day I started to think about the seasons. When we were younger time seemed to stand still and we couldn't wait until we were older. I remember my mother telling me to stop wishing my life away because the years would start to go by faster as I got older. Guess mom was RIGHT! The seasons just seem to fly by the older I get.

In the winter time we start thinking about what we will plant in our gardens for the coming year. Spring time comes and we start to plant as the trees are budding and the flowers are starting to blossom. Summer comes and as we weed our gardens we see our crops growing and start to harvest some of our bounty throughout the summer, while some of our crops wait until autumn to harvest.

You know working in my garden shouldn't be any different than any other day in my life! I should always be pulling out the weeds and sowing seed of God's love to others and maybe just maybe I might get to see those seedlings blossom!

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 KJV

Elaine Campbell, MA

Monday, August 15, 2011

Our Thoughts

Our thoughts play a key role in our behavior toward ourselves and others. Proverbs 23:7 says "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he." So we can see that the fiber of our being is made up in large part by our thoughts.

Faulty and negative thinking sows seeds that result in unhealthy attitudes and ultimately unhealthy behaviors. This faulty thinking is commonly referred to as "stinkin' thinkin'" in twelve-step programs. By replacing these faulty and negative thoughts, we are following the Word's instructions to "[not] conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Romans 12:2).

How can we change our thoughts? The answer lies in the instructions that are given to us in Phillipians 4:8:

"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things."

Ann L. Gantt, Ph.D., LCSW (counselor)

Monday, August 8, 2011


I've been counseling a young lady who lives in a foster situation. She's experienced a lot of pain and suffering during her short life. She didn't have a carefree and protected childhood. She's had to grow up too soon. Fortunately, she's one of those resilient individuals who are able to find hope and light in difficult and dark circumstances. She's also a deep thinker and creative. She shared with me this poem, which she wrote in darker days:

What Happened?

We used to love each other
We used to be so close
I used to call you mother
But something changed

Your heart so loving
Changed one day
All your love for me
Suddenly went away

We used to laugh and play
We never used to fight
All our sunny days turned
Into a dark stormy night

I don't know what happened
We used to love each other
I hope this storm passes
I really need my mother

When my client read this poem to me, I was deeply impacted. I wondered why this lovely young woman suffered.

I question God often as I sit and listen to the hurting folks who come through our doors. Questions like: "Why did Grace get raped?" "Why did Emily's husband leave her?" "Why would Beth's parents treat her so abominably?" And, "Why did you allow that, God?" Sometimes God answers me. His Spirit gently whispers, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways."

Laura Story is a singer/songwriter who wrote the song below. When my "whys" become too weighty for me, I find this song and remember God's grace.


We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering.

All the while You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things.

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near?

What if trials of this life
Are Your mercies in disguise?

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel you near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough.

And all the while You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe.

When friends betray us, when darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It's not our home.

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst
This world can't satisfy?

And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise?

songwriters: story, laura mixon
Copywright: new spring publishing

You can find the audio at:

Shannon Shertzer, MS, NCC

Monday, August 1, 2011


Summer usually means vacation. Not only do children get a break from school but also adults often take a one or two week vacation from their jobs during the summer months. I guess I am no different than most people, as the 3rd week of July, my husband and I enjoyed a few days in the beautiful hills of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. We played a lot of golf, did some sightseeing, walking, talking, and reading. We ate when we felt like it, and basically did what we wanted and didn't do anything that we didn't feel like doing. This is called refreshment, right? And we all deserve it, right?

One of the things that I noticed during our sightseeing was how dry everything was. The grass was brown and hard, but it was the corn that struck me the most. It was small and spindly and its leaves were pointed straight up. It was as though they had their arms outstretched to God and were pleading for water. I couldn't help but parallel this with my thirst for God. Do I have my arms outstretched and open for him to pour down his love on me? All of us feel like we deserve a vacation from our jobs and maybe we do. However, I want to realize that God is always there for me and all I need to do is reach up my arms to Him and He will pour down refreshment on me.

The day we came home it rained. I couldn't help but think that God saw the corn's distress and answered its pleading. If this is how God refreshes the corn, which is here today and harvested in the fall, will he not refresh me more?

Mary Lehman