Monday, June 29, 2015

Some New Faces

I thought today that I would introduce to you some new people that have recently starting working here at New Hope.
Shelva Hess has been with us since March of this year. She is a licensed social worker who worked for 20 years with the Lancaster County Children and Youth Agency. Shelva fills the void that was left by previous counselor Shannon Shertzer. Shannon saw quite a few women who were from the Plain sect and we were looking for someone who would work respectfully with the Plain women who come to us with their counseling needs. We are delighted with the acquisition of Shelva and are excited to have her on board. She is also available to counsel non-Plain individuals and we are sure that everyone who seeks her counsel will find her friendly and understanding and easy to talk to. Above all, she has a deep faith in God and her desire is to help her clients improve their relationships with God and with their families.
Our Community Closet Thrift Store has two new faces. Our new manager is Mary Brusstar. Mary had served on the Board of New Hope for several years and when the job opportunity arose at the Closet she expressed interest in it. Mary had previously worked in the corporate world and she is very excited to use her skills to serve others and show God's love to all those she meets. She brings creativity and enthusiasm to her position and we are so grateful to put the management of the store in her capable hands.
Jennifer Milligan is the new Assistant Manager at the Community Closet. Jennifer's husband is the pastor of one of our supporting churches, Little Britain Presbyterian. Jennifer has worked as a classroom teacher, a writing and Hebrew tutor, and in various retail positions. She is excited to use her organization, creativity, and love of people in her role at the Community Closet. We are so thankful for her and her excitement for her new job.
We know that nothing remains the same forever. And while we were sad to see some of the people who had been with us for many years leave for other employment opportunities, we recognize that this is life and that God has his hand in everything that happens. We are grateful for his perfect timing and so happy to have these three new people join our ministry.

Mary Lehman

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Bitter, The Sweet, and the Bittersweet

Sometimes we have to embrace the bitter cup that is set before us, allowing our souls to empathetically come alongside, to join into the sorrows around us and even to stir up the sorrows buried deep within us.

As we do this, we must also be aware and cultivate our end of a real conversation with Jesus in this process.

Even if He is not heard from or even felt within this cloud of sadness we have chosen to be blended into, or forced to walk through, we must never forget that He is still there with us and in the entire situation, in ways that are deeper and more significant than we will ever understand.

Just holding onto that Truth of truths… matter what things look like or feel like, will keep us from being sucked too far into the darkness.
Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and yes, forever.

Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us.
Jesus is with us always, and in all ways, even until the end of time.

Whether sooner or later, if we hold on in faith, with or without a discernible response, there will come… almost imperceptible lightening of our load.
...a subtle brightening in our hearts.
...a small taste of sweetening within the bitterness.

The circumstances may not change, nor ever have been able to be any different, but we are enabled to change our hearts, our minds, our understanding, our acceptance.

What was so so bitter, becomes slowly bittersweet, not because it is actually any better, but because we have become better, bigger, and stronger in our deepened and empowered faith, closer to Jesus... Who was with us the whole way through!

Neil Uniacke
Executive Director

Monday, June 15, 2015

A Sad Week for Quarryville

Last week was especially difficult for the people of Quarryville. A mother and two daughters (a third daughter was not home) were brutally stabbed in the middle of the night by a man who was about to be sentenced for sexually assaulting two of the girls. The mother and oldest daughter died from the attack. The girls had reported the assault to their mother who then passed it on to the proper authorities. Ultimately, they lost their lives for doing the right thing. It is very sobering for those of us who counsel these victims and encourage them to speak out to realize that sometimes harm may come to them for doing so.

We feel that our friend and counselor, Heidi Scott, from Morning Star Counseling Center, speaks for all of us in her Blog that she wrote about this tragedy. Please follow the link below to read what she has written.

Thank you, Heidi, for your well-written piece on this difficult subject. We join with the Solanco Community to pray for those affected by this horrible incident.
The Staff and Counselors at New Hope Community Life Ministry.

Monday, June 8, 2015

What Makes a Dad?

     As Father’s Day approaches, it makes me especially think about my dad. Although he is no longer here on earth I treasure the wonderful memories and the legacy he left behind. I also think of dads everywhere who follow the leading of the Lord as they lead their families. I want to share a poem that I found. God bless our Dads.

What Makes a Dad?

God took the strength of a mountain,

The majesty of a tree,

The warmth of a summer sun,

The calm of a quiet sea,

The generous soul of nature,

The comforting arm of night,

The wisdom of the ages,

The power of the eagle’s flight,

The joy of a morning in spring,

The faith of a mustard seed,

The patience of eternity,

The depth of a family need,

Then God combined these qualities,

When there was nothing more to add,

He knew his masterpiece was complete,

And so,

He called it … Dad

Author Unknown
Submitted by: Ann L. Gantt, Ph.D., LCSW, New Hope counselor

Monday, June 1, 2015

Who Are You, Really?

     How well do you know yourself? Many of us are still searching to know what it is we want in life, what we want to do, what makes us happy, what makes us unique from every other individual on earth. It's a little scary to think God knows more about us than we do. Yikes! You may be thinking, "I wish He would let me in on His plan." There is true comfort in knowing the Lord knows us so well. Think about it. He has known you since you were conceived and being formed in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13-14). This is God’s reality — knowing and loving you!
     But too many times we get led astray in our thinking. This can be attributed to the environment in which we live. Often our society places many unrealistic expectations on what we develop into being. We are bombarded with images in advertisements and media sites defining what is beautiful and acceptable. We spend thousands of dollars to get rid of the things that do not measure up to that standard.
     There is an all too familiar conversation some of us have with ourselves that goes something like this: "I hate my looks... I'm fat and ugly, I don’t have that wonderful personality, why am I not this or that.”  Sound familiar? Whatever your thought may be, change!  You are pleasing to Him. You are the great love of His life. You matter.  Yes, you do! Every part of you has been created by the Lord of Lords.  The King of Kings. You are beautiful to Him and are a cherished child of the Almighty.
     I work with women who have been in abusive relationships, and the greatest thing to overcome is the messages that their abusers spoke to them. These negative words have become engrained into their thinking and they no longer view themselves as acceptable. If you struggle with self-concept, pray that God would enable you to see yourself as He sees you. It is a natural desire to want to be accepted and loved by someone. But when that acceptance and love makes us struggle in accepting ourselves, it is not a relationship worth pursuing.
     “My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves." 1 John 3:18-20 MSG
     Are you struggling with seeing yourself as beautiful and acceptable?  If you are I suggest reading the following scriptures and then take some time to mediate on them (Isaiah 64:8, Zephaniah 3:17, Luke 12:7, 2 Corinthians 10:12).  Come into agreement with God about whom He says you are, for He only speaks truth and life to your soul.
Connie Hanten, BCMCLC
New Hope Counselor/Life Coach

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Change Your Focus

If you are feeling down and out change your focus.  Have you ever noticed that whatever we focus on seems to grow? Take for instance, if someone is constantly focused on their job they tend to spend more time with job related activities. If someone is focused on getting more and more fit and in shape they tend to go to the gym or constantly workout.  Whatever we give our primary attention to that is what tends to take up most of our time and thoughts. So, if you focus on feeling sad then the tendency is to remain sad and that is what will consume your thoughts.

What I have found throughout my lifetime during bouts with depression is that I become focused on myself. Sometimes I have allowed that to happen. I have used some bouts of depression to do self- reflection and sort out where my life is headed. I have taken a close look to see the mistakes I have made and things I have been doing wrong, and then look at ways that I could be doing things better and how to correct some of my character flaws.  I have found these to be times of real spiritual, emotional and personal growth. 

Now there have been times I admit that I have allowed my depression to swallow me up. During those times, thoughts have been focused on how others are hurting me, how life is difficult, how I’m too tired to go on and in a nutshell “woe is me”. In all fairness, we all need to lick our wounds now and again. However, too much of this is destructive to our own well-being. I am not the center of the universe and the world does not revolve around me. Everyone has their trials and tribulations they have to face. If we focus on only our problems we can sink into a deep dark hole. Reality is rarely found in the kind of thinking that goes on when we give in to this kind of despair.

Now you may be saying it sounds like you think that depression is under our control. There are some depressions that are outside of an individual’s control. But, for many of us the depression we experience is fully within our control. Having struggled with depression throughout the years, I have learned the art of controlling my depression. The one major factor that I have learned is more effective than any other in controlling my depression has been a change of focus. I change the focus from myself to the wants and needs of others. We all share in the sadness of humanity. We and those around us are not perfect and at times we hurt each other. When we change our focus from looking solely at our own struggles to helping others with their struggles we not only help the other person we help ourselves. If I can help to improve someone else’s day, help to make a moment of their life just a little easier, or offer them a leg up in the struggle of life that makes me happy. The depression is gone.

For those of us who are Christians we also have another focus that can leave us in perfect peace. The Bible makes a promise that he will keep those in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on him. If we focus on God and his kingdom then the heartache and hardships of this world disappear. This promise has taken me through many a dark and difficult time. I changed my focus from those who were hurting me to the God above who was lifting me up each and every day. I changed my focus from those who didn’t care about me to the God above who cares enough about me to even know the number of hairs on my head.  I changed my focus from a whole and dying world to an eternity of peace. I changed my focus from a world where you can’t count on anything to a God who can be counted on for everything.

So the next time sadness begins to overtake you, take control and decide how you’re going to handle it. Are you going to make it a time of self-growth or self-reflection? Are you going to do a little self-denial and help someone else through a difficult time? Hopefully you will always choose, even during good times, to grab onto God’s promise for perfect peace and keep your eyes on the goal.

Shelva Hess, MSW, LSW

Monday, May 18, 2015

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for Loving Each Other

I’ve been thinking about my parents lately, most likely because yesterday was Mother’s Day and Father’s Day isn’t far away. On Mother’s Day, my lovely wife, Thelma, and I, had dinner with my 92 year-old Dad and also took him for a drive to see Mother’s grave in Brecknock Township, Lancaster County. Mom died a little over two years ago. On the way back to Dad’s home we also stopped at Thelma’s Mother’s grave near Ephrata. It was a poignant time of remembrance and reflection.

Recently I was bicycling with some friends in Juniata County. The group numbered about 20 people, some of whom I did not know prior to the weekend event. We were sitting in a little restaurant eating Italian food and getting “refueled” for the return ride to the cabin where we were staying. One of the ladies in the group said to me, in the course of conversation: “You must come from a really happy family.” She said this partly because two of my sisters were accompanying the group as hostesses, cooking and providing support for the riders and she saw how my sisters and I related to each other. I thought a few moments on how to respond to Jane, the rider’s, statement about my family. I said to her, “Well, I think one of the most important memories I have about my Mom and Dad is that they loved each other. There was never any doubt about that, and their love for each other provided the security we needed as kids growing up.”

And so I say to my parents today: “Thanks, Mom and Dad, for loving each other. That provided a stable backdrop for my siblings and me to grow up and launch out into the world.” As a young boy growing up in their home, my parents provided me with a great example of how a husband and wife can love each other and live together in peace and harmony, giving most of their attention to loving each other and their kids, rather than expending emotional energy in fighting, arguing and sabotaging each other. That, truly, was a priceless gift our parents gave to us. 

Tom Horst, MA
Marriage and Family Therapist

Monday, May 11, 2015

Moving On

Almost 30 years ago my husband and I moved to Quarryville with our young family. The first time we drove through the town, I was under impressed with the “Main Street”.  However, it was not long before I began to understand that Solanco's sense of community is one of their greatest strengths.
We rented a farm house and our landlord shared with us where the best place to buy our milk was. They invited us to church and to dinner. They made us feel like part of their family. And, I began to feel like I had moved “home”.
As our children grew, we began to develop relationships with families through their school and activities. We developed relationships through our church. And, we developed relationships in the borough of Quarryville.

For the past 7 ½ years I have had the privilege of developing many special relationships as I have managed the Community Closet Thrift Store. We have many customers who shop in the store on a very regular basis. There are some customers who make stopping in the store a regular part of their week. Many of the customers have become my friends and I miss them when I don't see them for a while. They have shared their joys and their sorrows with me as we have taken a few minutes to chat in the store.

I will always remember some of the stories. I remember the young mom who was expecting her second child. During her pregnancy, her husband passed away in an accident. She now had great needs and was going through a time of grief. I was able to share the love of Christ with her.

I will remember another customer who is in her 40's. I asked how she was doing and she said, “O, okay”. But she said it in a way that made me ask her what was going on. She shared with me that her husband had recently passed away from an unexpected heart attack. She also was walking through a deep time of grief and I was able to share Christ's love with her.

And then there are the friendships with the volunteers. Each morning we have a time of prayer together where we often laugh and cry together. They share their stories and what is going on in their families.

I hear the voices of volunteers in different situations.  I remember the volunteers laughing together and having fun as they work. I remember them sharing their joys and sorrows with each other. Friendships are developed as they work together.

And so, as I move to another chapter of my life away from New Hope Community Closet, I will miss the friendships that I have made. And, I have come to know that Quarryville's real strength is their sense of community and love for each other. Quarryville has indeed become home to me. Being part of the Solanco community is a blessing

I have learned so much as I have managed the Community Closet. I have learned to rely on God day by day. I have let God love others through me as my love is less than perfect.

My desire has been to give God glory through all I did. Helping the store to be a great place to shop has always been about giving the customers a great shopping experience. My hope has been that God's love, kindness and peace would be seen each day to each of the customers.

And so, this chapter of my life is ending and another is beginning. I hold you all in my heart. Your voices and memories will stay with me for the rest of my life. Thank you each so much for being such a wonderful part of my life.

Deb Riddell
Closet Manager

Monday, May 4, 2015

To be a Servant

One of the most important lessons I have learned is to have the desire to be a servant instead of the need to be served.  Jesus came to earth and humbly served others.  How often are we humble enough to be a servant to others and what does it entail?  Helping people by preparing a meal, grocery shopping for a shut-in or just taking the time to sit and visit with them and really listen.

Recently I have had several opportunities to be a servant.  One was for the Community Meal at my Church.  The reward of watching the community enjoy the meal we prepared was all that I needed.  There is something about seeing people come together, eat and fellowship together.  I especially enjoy just watching and listening to the hum of conversation going on around me.    

Another opportunity was working at New Hope Community Closet Thrift Store.  Working with the volunteers and customers was a very humbling experience.  Everyone working together to get the work done and the patience of customers when glitches come up from a re-learning curve of working with a cash register helped me remember my need and desire to be humbled!
Make me a servant, humble and meek
Lord let me lift up those who are weak
And may the prayer of my heart always be
Make me a servant, make me a servant
Make me a servant today

Elaine Campbell, MA, MHC

Monday, April 27, 2015

How Can Anyone "Delight in the Fear of the Lord?"

Part 7 – Growing to Understand Rightly the Fear of the Lord
As we come into some small degree of understanding the interaction between Jesus and the Holy Spirit in producing fruitful aspects and holy attitudes within ourselves, and in our relationship with God, we are challenged and compelled to desire those same things growing within ourselves, overtaking our own base human natures. 

A. W. Tozer helps us to begin to see how this can be experienced personally, by those of us who are becoming more and more intimate, adoring followers of Jesus ourselves, as we grow in Him:

When we come into this sweet relationship, we are beginning to learn astonished reverence, breathless adoration, awesome fascination, lofty admiration of the attributes of God and something of the breathless silence that we know when God is near.

You may never have realized it before, but all of those elements in our perception and consciousness of the divine Presence add up to what the Bible calls "the fear of God."...

There are very few unqualified things in our lives, but I believe that the reverential fear of God mixed with love and fascination and astonishment and admiration and devotion is the most enjoyable state and the most purifying emotion the human soul can know.                                  (Whatever Happened to Worship? 30-31.)

This kind of godly fear is not at all like the panoply of unclean fears terrorizing many people:

1. Our focus is on our human condition, without leaning in confidence on true faith in the Lord God Almighty, who is love, and who loves us.                                                                                                    

2. Our fears are based on some unnamed perceived threat to our own existence, with or without knowing whether there are real enemies.                                                   

3. We walk through our lives, sometimes falling into those dark places, where we find ourselves obsessed with what could happen.                                                   

4. We begin to identify with, and to cope ineffectively with this frighteningly unbearable, palpable sense of feeling totally alone.                                                                                   

5. We perceive ourselves as without any protection from harm.                                          

6. We ultimately find that we are unable to defend ourselves from these unknown and unseen potential assailants.

Reverential and obedient fear of the Lord is a clean, full sensation, of ourselves personally and completely being in the presence of and intimately connected to God, drawn into a realm above and beyond our universe, and in fact, as the Bible says, “being found in Him,” the only One “in whom we live, and move, and have our very being!”

This conjunction of tremendous intimacy and connection, coupled with a sensation of the immensity in power, love, knowledge, and the very Presence of another Being, creates both a complete and unearthly fulfillment, along with absolute respect accorded from our innermost heart, through layers and levels that have become attuned to Him alone.

As John the Baptist so eloquently phrased in his statements concerning this reality, toward the end of his own ministry and his very life, while surrendering himself into the burgeoning new ministry and person of Jesus, rising up before him:

JOHN 3:30 He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease. [Jesus must grow more prominent; I must grow less so.]                                               

31 He who comes from above (heaven) is [far] above all [others]; he who comes from the earth belongs to the earth, and talks the language of earth [his words are from an earthly standpoint].                                                              

He who comes from heaven is [far] above all others [far superior to all others in prominence and in excellence].

Nothing in this universe is more fulfilling and exciting than:

·         truly experiencing the communion that we can have with Jesus
·         being enabled to more fully recognize and bow before His greatness
·         having the amazing privilege of  His permission given freely to come closer into Him
·         entering into an endless loving grace that is far above and beyond us
·         surrendering ourselves in adoration before Him with utter reverence
·         finding ourselves embraced and engulfed in Him
·         experiencing wave upon wave of purest joy and peace flowing through us
·         receiving a foretaste of never ending heavenly delight

Neil Uniacke

Executive Director

Monday, April 20, 2015

It's 3:00 in the Morning and I Can't Sleep

After reading Deb's blog last week, I decided to piggyback off of it. As I read it, I thought, "that's me." I have a daughter getting married in three weeks. She is trying not to turn into bridezilla and I'm trying not to turn into momzilla, but it is still a very stressful time. Deb talked about the Fashion Show and while she carries most of the responsibility, there is always last minute things that need to be done by me as well--mainly the seating arrangements that usually require juggling right up to the last second. There are some other changes happening at work that I am not looking forward to and my husband would like to purchase another property and I am dragging my feet.  When I wake up at 3:00 in the morning and think about all these things, I feel as though my life is spinning out of control.
On last Wednesday's "Our Daily Bread", the devotional was "Too Much for Me." A posting on their  Facebook page said that they had a tremendous response to this devotional. Why? I am convinced that almost everyone in the world feels overwhelmed many times during their life. We all have different problems and situations in life that seem unbearable. I feel guilty at times, because when I hear of peoples sufferings in other parts of the world, or of someone dying of cancer, or of the death of a young child, my problems seem minor and I think I need to just shut up and be extremely thankful for the life I have. And I am thankful, but I still feel suffocated at times with the things that I am dealing with.
I know that life has its ups and downs and I know that my life will probably get a little easier after the wedding is behind us. The other things that are worrying me will also be resolved in one way or another. After things have settled down a bit, new concerns and fears will be on the horizon because that is just the way life is.
I find great comfort in knowing that although my life (and others) can seem like a roller coaster, God is the rock Who never changes. I don't know what my future holds but God knows and I trust Him. I love the phrase that "Our Daily Bread" ended their devotional with:

"With God behind you and His arms beneath you, you can face whatever lies ahead."
Mary Lehman


Monday, April 13, 2015

It's 4:30 AM Saturday Morning and I Can't Sleep

My mind is spinning. I feel like I am in a storm with giant waves crashing over me. I may be about to sink. I cry out to Jesus and ask Him to calm me through this storm. I know He is in the midst of this storm with me, but for now I am afraid.

I think over the past weeks. A beloved volunteer passed away very unexpectedly. I miss Rose Mary. Tuesdays are not the same without her. The Fashion Show is coming up on April 23. This fundraiser that we put on through the Community Closet and New Hope Community Life Ministry takes a lot of work to put on. There are many details. And, as the one who oversees the event, I wonder if everything will get done. Between the details for the fashion show and the details for work, I was feeling overwhelmed, but I was keeping my head above water. I could do this with God's help.

And then came Monday and the announcement that the assistant manager was giving her two week notice. All of a sudden, I did not know how I would handle hiring someone on top of everything else. All of a sudden, I could not do this at all. God would have to take care of things.

As I went through the week continuing to take care of details, my time with God each morning became more important than ever. Different scriptures came to me that gave me hope. Friends encouraged me that it would all work out. I took the time to relax and get a pedicure.

But, then came Saturday morning and I was awake. I talked to God, and somehow I fell asleep again. I even slept late that morning.

I don't know what tomorrow holds, but God will be hemming me in. I need to keep my eyes on Him, and not on my circumstances. I need to rehearse the truth of Scripture. And, I let music soothe my soul.

I have always loved the song "It Is Well." I love the story behind the song. And, now there is a new version of "It Is Well" sung by Bethel Music that I also love. This song speaks volumes to my weary heart and soul. I hope you will let it minister to you as well.

Deb Riddell
Closet Manager

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Risks and Benefits of the Therapeutic Journey

           In my last post, I suggested that good therapy is a relationship that promotes “the making of good connections in all directions” (Dr. Robb Palmer, Evangelical Seminary, Myerstown, PA). What might that definition of health suggest as goals or desired outcomes of therapy? What factors impact outcomes that can be expected from therapy? Could therapy make things worse? Just what are the risks and benefits of therapy? Those are all important questions to consider. Developing clear goals and expectations will help you make the most of your time and resources in therapy. In therapy, as in planning any journey, it is important to begin with the end in mind.
Desired destinations:
            Therapy typically involves reaching at least one of the following three destinations: 1) a place where you are better situated to cope with unsolvable difficulties; 2) a place where you are better situated to reach a solution to solvable problems; and/or 3) a place where one is better situated to participate in vitalizing relationships. Therapy might help you to develop strategies to cope with the unchangeable, to develop new ways of finding solutions, and/or to develop fuller self-knowing of how you can participate more fully in vitalizing relationships. The distance to the destination varies case by case, as does the pace of progress towards one’s destination.
Hazards and Roadblocks:
            In the course of therapy, additional emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and/or relational difficulties or challenges related or unrelated to the your initial reason for seeking therapy (the presenting problem) may manifest and complicate treatment of the presenting problem. Your presenting problem might not only fail to improve but might worsen as a result of therapy, if underlying challenges or difficulties manifest in the course of therapy. The therapist has an ethical obligation to make appropriate referrals should difficulties arise that lie outside the scope of the therapist’s expertise or exceeds the therapist’s competence.
            Most therapists belong to professional organizations that offer guidelines for their practice. You might want to explore the website of the NIHM (the National Institute for Mental Health), the APA (American Psychological Association), the NASW (National Association of Social Workers), or the AAMFT (American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy), to learn more. A number of training programs equip mental health professionals. New Hope counselors are not medical doctors.
            Therefore, if for example, the therapist were to suspect that emotional or cognitive difficulties might be the result of an underlying medical condition, then the therapist might question the benefit of therapy since the therapist suspects the client needs care beyond the scope of the therapist’s practice. The therapist would recommend a medical evaluation. Whether or not a medical evaluation affirms or denies the therapist’s suspicions, the client may undergo distress unrelated to the client’s initial reason(s) for seeking therapy.
            Yet, the fact of the therapist-client relationship implies a duty to care, and therefore the therapist acting in good faith must make such a referral, when there is reasonable evidence of its necessity (in the above case, such would very likely include the results of a mental status exam). There are numerous scenarios wherein problems related and unrelated to the presenting problem exacerbate a client’s presenting problem, and the therapist welcomes clients to discuss with the therapist concerns regarding the risks and limits of treatment at any time.
Aaron Arnold
Counselor Intern

Monday, March 30, 2015

Life Purpose

Have you ever seen the movie “Facing the Giants”? Throughout this movie, numerous life obstacles are presented to Grant Taylor and his wife. He owns a car that constantly dies on him, they live in a house that has numerous problems to be fixed, and he does not make enough money on his job. As if that were not enough to overwhelm them, Grant and his wife have desired to have children. Their attempts for four years have been unproductive. Needless to say, life is not going well for them. Does this sound familiar? I know that a few of these situations have been the events within my life from time to time.  But in the mist of it all, God has a purpose and a plan. 

Let me share a scene from this movie that had a major impact on me. Coach Grant Taylor has his football team on the field, practicing drills. His lead player, Brock, has a negative attitude that is affecting the whole team. The coach is addressing this issue and has just said, “Attitudes are the aroma of your life.” He calls out Brock, (who is displaying a bad attitude), to do the death crawl. With another player on his back, he is asked to crawl as far as he can.  Coach Taylor blindfolds Brock so that he does not give in at a point in which he feels that he has done well enough. He wants to have Brock give him his best. As Brock crawls the coach is encouraging him all the way. He directs him, and consistently tells him not to quit. When the weight is starting to cause Brock pain, the coach tells him to keep going. Brock yells, “it hurts, it’s too hard”, but the coach yells back, “keep on going, don’t quit, 10 more steps, you can do this. Give me your very best!”  Brock continues on and then collapses on the field. The coach takes off the blindfold and tells Brock to look up; he is in the end zone.
Coach Taylor tells Brock that he is his most influential player on the team and if he walks around defeated, so will they. He points out the fact that he just crawled from one end zone to the other with a 140 pound man on his arms. Then he says “God has gifted you with the ability of leadership- don’t waste it.” 
Maybe you are like Brock, with a bad attitude that is becoming a roadblock to your potential. Maybe those attitudes are affecting the power of your influence on everyone around you, your family, your co-workers, your friends. Maybe you are feeling like the weight of life is just like that player on Brock’s back, too much to bear.
You see, I passionately believe that God has gifted every one of us with abilities, to lead, to comfort, to inspire, to create, and to share. How has He gifted you and are you like Brock, just wasting that ability?
As a Christian Life Coach, I help clients to step into their destiny and discover all that God has created them to be.  I am here to cheer you on and speak into your life, “Don’t quit. Give your very best, keep going, you can do this.”   

Connie Hanten, BCMCLC

New Hope Life Coach

Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength

Monday, March 16, 2015


I’ve been thinking about assertiveness. Assertiveness is the ability to express your feelings, opinions, beliefs, and needs directly, openly and honestly, while not violating the personal rights of others. Assertiveness does not in any way mean being aggressive. Aggressive behavior is self-enhancing at the expense of others. It does not take other individual's rights into consideration. If you are aggressive, your spouse's, children's, extended family members and friends' feelings are ignored, violated and not taken into consideration when interacting with them. Furthermore, as a result of aggressive behavior, they feel hurt, humiliated, angry, and revengeful.

Assertive communication can strengthen your relationships, reducing stress from conflict and providing you with social support when facing difficult times. A polite but assertive "no" to excessive requests from others will enable you to avoid overloading your schedule and promote balance in your life. Assertive communica-tion can also help you handle difficult family, friends and co-workers more easily, reducing drama and stress.

So why be assertive?

1. By standing up for ourselves and letting ourselves be known to others, we gain self-respect and respect from others.

2. By trying to live our lives in such a way to NEVER hurt ANYONE under ANY circumstances, we end up hurting ourselves and other people.

3. When we stand up for ourselves and express our honest feelings and thoughts in direct and appropriate ways, everyone usually benefits in the long run. Likewise, when we demean other people, we also demean ourselves and everyone involved usually loses in the process.

4. By sacrificing our integrity and denying our personal feelings, relationships are usually damaged or prevented from developing. Likewise, personal relationships are hurt when we try to control others through hostility, intimidation or guilt.

5. Personal relationships become more authentic and satisfying when we share our honest responses with other people and do not block others from sharing their responses with us.

6. Not letting others know what we think and feel is just as selfish as not attending to other people's thoughts and feelings.

7. When we frequently sacrifice our rights, we teach others to take advantage of us.

8. By being assertive and informing others of how their behavior affects us, we are giving them an opportunity to change their behavior, and we are showing respect for their right to know where they stand with us.

Tom Horst, MAMFT
Marriage and Family Therapist

Friday, March 6, 2015

When God Speaks

One morning as I was getting ready to go to work my mind was filled with frustration and angst over a situation.  I confess there was a spirit of revenge in my heart and in my thoughts. As my thoughts rolled over and over in my mind I became more and more uptight and yet determined.  As I worked on knitting that ball of frustration tighter and tighter a voice suddenly came out my radio and shouted very loudly “Get out of God’s way”.   There was a pastor preaching a sermon on forgiveness on my radio station.  He continued to, in his boisterous manner, to go on to say that God cannot take care of the wrong doing that has been done to us till we get out of His way.  I looked heavenward and rhetorically asked with a smile, “That was no accident was it Lord?”  I had to laugh to myself, then sincerely repent and move on. 

I pondered what had happened as I made my way to work.  I love when God sends loud and clear messages to me and this message was certainly loud and clear, straight from the mouth of God through that pastor.  I started to think about how God knows our end from the beginning. He knows every choice we will make along life’s way.  He knows how every moment of our lives will play out.  Every moment…those few tiny seconds when that voice came out of the radio…God had to create that pastor’s mother and father, they gave birth and one or both had to raise him or influence him to be a good and godly man. He had to grow up and he had to choose to become a pastor, my radio station had to put him on their schedule at just the right time for me to hear that. All the human choices along the way. I thought about all the possibilities of how just one thing going differently in this chain of events and that voice would not have come out of my radio at that time – the perfect time.

What a peace and joy that gave me as I realized how intricately God has planned my life.  Imagine- Before the world began God had a plan for every second of everyone’s life.  Not impossible for a God who spoke the world into existence. God’s fingerprints are all over my life and yours too. There is nothing left to chance.  Sure man has free will, but God has His provisions for those wills already worked out. I can bask in the safety and security of the mighty hands of God.  I can know that He has everything already worked out for me.  If I make a “wrong” choice He has made provisions for that. If someone else makes a bad choice and it hurts me He has people and supports already worked out to help heal the hurt. If I stray from Him he already has folks in place to steer me back. His guidance, safety and protection are absolute. 

So relax! Get rid of that anxiety.  You have nothing to worry about.  Live in this world like a child under the tender loving care of the perfect parent of the universe.  God and all His angels are looking out for you.  You have only to put yourself in the capable and loving hands of God and His precious son Jesus Christ! 
Shelva Hess, Counselor

Monday, March 2, 2015


I recently received a text from one of my sisters about how many days there are until spring.  We are so focused on the weather and how soon this “season” will be over that we lose focus on more important things going on around us.  We are like the disciples in Mark 4:35 – 41 where they are on a boat and they start to fear for their lives because of a storm.  They wake Jesus who was asleep and he calms the wind and the water and questions their faith.  We are just like the disciples when we question the storms and trials that we face.

During the snow storms we have going on outside our homes we don’t always recognize the raging storms of our mental wellbeing.  Are we so focused on the next “season” so much that we lose focus on the here and now in the anticipation of what is to come next?  I have learned that if I don’t take care of my mental wellbeing and remain focused through faith in Jesus that I am not able to handle the little things that I over look.  My anticipation should be keeping my focus on Jesus and everything around me will fall into its proper place.

While we are in the storms of our lives where is our focus?  Would Jesus call us out on our faith as He did his disciples?  It certainly helps us think about our “storms” from a different perspective and realize where our anticipation and focus need to be!

Elaine Campbell, MA, MHC

Monday, February 23, 2015

How Can Anyone "Delight in the Fear of the Lord?"

Part 6 – Revelation of Jesus’ Interaction with the Holy Spirit

In the light of this powerful prophetic revelation offered to us by Isaiah, in chapter 11, the first and foremost aspect for us to see and to understand, so that we may digest carefully what the prophet has shared with us here, is not only his picture of our Redeemer Himself, but also with Him, the abiding Presence of the Spirit of God resting forever on Jesus.

In His state of humiliation, in which Jesus permitted Himself to become dependent on the third Person of the Triune Godhead, the Holy Spirit, our King also became for us the truest example of steadfast and unfailingly obedient humanity.

Jesus’ example for us, is the best one which we all can choose to emulate, in our own growing dependent faith in God Almighty, living by faith and trust in Someone beyond ourselves, our own resources, or our own devices.

Isaiah’s description that follows, is a complex revelation, touching on the interaction of Jesus as the incarnated GodMan (Theanthropos), with His unique human and divine natures in hypostatic union in one Person, and His interactions with the Holy Spirit during His time on the earth, but also giving evidence of His continuous, intimate, eternal coordination with the Holy Spirit:   

ISAIAH 11:2 And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him—the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the reverential and obedient fear of the Lord—

The Hebrew word used here by Isaiah, translated as “rest” in English is nuwach or nuah, conveying a basic sense of absence of movement and of being settled in a particular place with overtones of finality.

W. E. Vine, in his Expository Dictionary notes that "To rest’ can sometimes indicate a complete envelopment and thus permeation, as in the spirit of Elijah “resting” on Elisha (2 KINGS 2:15), the hand of God “resting” on the mountain (ISAIAH 25:10), and when Wisdom “rests in the heart of him that hath understanding.” (PROVERBS 14:33)

The Septuagint translates nuwach, with the Greek verb anapauo in the sense of "to settle on an object" as exemplified by the Spirit resting on believers who are reviled. (1PETER 4:14)

The Holy Spirit will rest on the Messiah (permanently; not temporarily come upon, e.g., NUMBERS 11:25, 26), a prophecy that was fulfilled at His first coming, but will also be fulfilled at His Second Coming.

This is a fascinating and somewhat mysterious statement, in view of the unity of the Trinity and yet the Gospels speak very prominently of the ongoing role of the Holy Spirit in the life of Jesus.

While this is indeed a great mystery, Jesus' dependence on the Holy Spirit to control and empower ministry during His time on earth, should also be a great encouragement to all believers and strong motivation for each of us to seek to learn to walk by the Spirit, keeping in step with Him!  (GALATIANS 5:16, EPHESIANS 5:18)

After laying the revelatory foundation that the Holy Spirit will eternally rest on the Messiah, Isaiah continues to unfold the revelation before us, showing that this is the sevenfold Spirit, Who is from the beginning and is without end!

The Holy Spirit is first and foremost, the Spirit of God, the Lord, Who as third Person of the Trinity, is co-essential with the Father and the Son, having every attribute of the Godhead within Himself.

After this firm foundation concerning His deity is laid, the prophet reveals six other amazing attributes or qualities of the Holy Spirit of God:

Spirit of Wisdom – indicating a level of discernment and discretion that can come through experience and/or revelation/insight that causes the most appropriate, or proper application, of knowledge into a particular situation, to bring about the best solution to the problems that are being faced.

Spirit of Understanding - the ability of perceive and comprehend moral, ethical, and abstract truths which can also come through both revelation and insight from the Lord, as well as experientially.

Spirit of Counsel – this attribute of applied knowledge, to strategize and to capitalize on understandings that have been retrieved, itemized, catalogued, and integrated, to form a plan, is coupled in a special way, linguistically termed a hendiadys, a figure of speech used for emphasis, where two words joined by and are used to express a single complex idea, in this case with the Spirit of Might.

Spirit of Might – once a wise plan, using insightful understanding, is properly applied with strategic precision, it must have the power or might to be acted upon – thus Counsel must have Might to move to completion and conclusion.

Spirit of Knowledge - the accumulated accrual of practical and useful facts about the material and spiritual reality in which we live, used as a resource to draw upon in addressing issues and solving problems

Spirit of Reverential and Obedient Fear of the Lord – implies a true core, intimate, experiential knowledge of God, just Who and what He is, which comes from a basic foundation of believing, saving faith in Him, serving to separate the follower of Jesus, yet also engendering respectful, honoring, reverence to the ultimate Source of all that is, and the almighty Ruler above all that is, was, or ever will be, bringing about obedient surrender of selfish, willful, thoughtless living, into selfless, passionate desire to serve Him lovingly, worship Him totally, creating within and acting out of compassionate care for all others.
Neil Uniacke
Executive Director