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Affirmation Therapy

As we identified the in the last “encouragement” segment about the old man and the new man, living a life of integrity and authenticity is an ongoing and continuous process. It involves the daily choices and surrenders of taking off those attitudes and behaviors that were a part of our old life and putting on

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Surrendering Bitterness

In Ephesians 4 Paul has been urging us to take off the old and put on the new. This taking off has included dishonesty and criticalness, while putting on affirmation, along with honesty of emotions. Now Paul tells us, “Let all bitterness…..be put away from you, along with all malice.”  Bitterness and seeking to emotionally hurt

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The Old Man and the New Man

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesian Church he encouraged them to put off the old self and to put on the new self. The tense of the verb in Greek is present perfect, which means it involves an ongoing and continuous action. Paul outlines attitudes and behaviors that need to be continuously “put on” and

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No Worries

I’m not a superstitious person. I don’t spy a devil under every bush, or an angel, either, for that matter. But I do love the unexpected God flashes that make my spirit smile, stretch and say ahhhh. The kind that appear at just the right moment to punctuate joy or embolden courage or hearten despair.

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A Godly Sorrow

The Apostle Paul shares an interesting concept in 2 Corinthians 7:10, where he writes, “For godly grief (sorrow) produces repentance …. Whereas worldly grief (sorrow) produces death.” If we would apply these words to recovery we see the difference between guilt and shame. I see “godly grief” as a picture of guilt. When we experience

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Newsflash!

Beginning with my sabbatical in August, I realized my emotional state is better when I don’t follow the news, at least in televised format. I’m not the junky I was once, yet the acute troubles of our culture intrude, and these days the headlines are especially disturbing. Because of my own story, I’m particularly triggered

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Music of the Ages

The music of Christmas is one of the best parts of the season for me – the spiritual music, at least. I’m not particularly fond of most of the Christmas jingles, though the Charlie Brown Christmas melody never ceases to delight and move me. Many of my most poignant childhood memories involve music. My mother

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Needed: A Tutor for Persistent Problems

A recent devotional in Jesus Calling by Sarah Young (December 18th) opens with this challenge: “When you are plagued by a persistent problem – one that goes on and on – view it as a rich opportunity.” I immediately connected with the idea of persistent problems, as I too easily focus on things gone wrong. The news

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Gratitude Moment by Moment

Recently, I left for a speaking trip feeling poorly physically and frazzled emotionally from a variety of challenges that felt weighty in the moment. The events had been planned for months and were important to me, and I doubted I was up to delivering anything close to my best. Before I left for the airport

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Carrying Your Baggage

A recent trip found me people-watching at a major airline hub, which is something I really enjoy. The passing scenery of humanity is fascinating. What people wear (or not), their demeanor and interactions, the food they eat while juggling kids and suitcases – all of it is mesmerizing. This time my focus was mainly on

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More Than a Job

During a recent trip to Portland, Oregon, my husband began having debilitating pain that started in his back and radiated down one leg. We correctly suspected sciatica, and the prospect of a cross country flight home seemed impossible. After a very long night where both of us slept very little, we went to the emergency

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High Maintenance

Since childhood I suspect I’ve often been termed high maintenance. I felt like I was too emotional for my stoic family, and my unrecognized attachment and trauma wounds prompted volatility and neediness. Thankfully, years of recovery and healing have mitigated those symptoms to a large degree. On the other hand, recovery induced a different kind

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A New Beginning – 2015 Calendar picture submissions

A New Beginning ~  Calendar Picture Submissions As we try to think of new themes and pictures for the 2015 Bethesda Workshops calendar, we decided to ask for help. Bethesda Workshops wants to invite you to submit pictures that represent ‘A New Beginning‘ so that we may use them for the 2015 calendar. Make sure your

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Different Diseases

Recently, a period of Lectio Divina of Psalm 103, long one of my favorites, reminded me of the promise that God “forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases.” For years I clung to that promise and the ones that accompany it – “to redeem your life from the pit and crown you with

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Not Happy with Good Options

I spent the first week of my August sabbatical caring for our young grandsons while their parents had a mini-vacation. Like most kids, four-year-old Jim’s food repertoire is pretty small and not necessarily super healthy. In response, I decided to see if I could coax him into trying different options. Together, we came up with

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Accepting Each Day

Life was simple during my sabbatical, especially the time I spent alone at our retreat in the mountains. I ate when I was hungry and rested when I was tired. Without the distraction of TV or Internet, the pace automatically slowed. I enjoyed uncomplicated choices interspersed across the hours. Which path would I walk? What

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Cleansing

When my friends became obsessed with body cleanses, I thought it was just a fad.  That is, of course, until I did my first cleanse. It wasn’t easy.  I drank additional fiber in the mornings, took additional pro-biotics, and significantly changed my eating habits for 10 days – no processed foods, fried foods, sweets or

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A New Measurement for Recovery Birthdays

“There is no doubt that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it,” Philippians 1:6 (The Message). Twenty-two years today, after a full year of intense work in therapy, I fully committed to recovery by walking away from an affair partner. I can picture the scene as clearly as if

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Flipping Out

Much to the chagrin of our pediatrician and homeowner’s insurance company, Steve and I decided to get a trampoline to add outdoor entertainment for our three kids. Since our home is a gathering ground for the neighborhood and we wanted to ease our consciences, we got a top-of-the line model in regard to safety. It

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Taking a Time In

Many of you are kind enough to tell me how much these Encouragement Emails mean to you and how moved you are by my “vulnerability.” I love hearing from you and I’m glad my musings are helpful. This week I’m following the example of Rachel Held Evans, one of my favorite authors and bloggers, to

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Beneath the Mohawk

During my camp week at Myrtle Beach I got to spend a good bit of time with my four-year-old grandson at the pool – and not just any normal pool. It was a near Olympic size pool that was only 12 inches deep and accented by huge animal shaped water slides that were perfect Jim

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Are We There Yet?

This week I’ve traveled from Nashville to Myrtle Beach to be with my son-in-law, daughter and family at the youth summer camp he co-directs. Though I was driving the 600 miles alone, the last couple of hours I asked myself several times, “Are we there yet?” I left Nashville much later than I intended for

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Stings of Life

Sometimes life delivers an unexpected sting. The zap!! comes out of nowhere and the next thing you know, you’re yelping in pain. It might be an all-caps STING like a death or divorce or cancer or a loved one’s addiction. Other times, though, it’s a simple sting. Not life shattering, just annoyingly painful. An otherwise

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Futball Fever

Americans have finally embraced football and are definitely tuned in to the 2014 World Cup. The Ferree household has been enthralled with soccer since then 3½ year old Matt first stepped onto a field at the YMCA. We’ve been through the youth leagues, travel teams, school soccer, visits to the orthopedic clinic, and near-trips to

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