Hope Sets Healthy Boundaries

Isn’t it interesting how we can tell others what to do but not apply that same wisdom to ourselves?

In my life coaching ministry at GateWay, I often ask women, “What are you doing for fun?” We track their progress and talk about the importance of setting healthy boundaries.

Sometimes we refer to an emotional boundary as setting a fence around the heart. fence-autumn

Likewise with my writing clients. I may ask, “What are you doing for an artist date?”

They tell me about roaming through bookstores, writing morning pages at a quirky and fun coffee shop or choosing a new journal.

Terrific success for my coaching clients. Not such a good job by their coach.

I find it increasingly difficult to schedule artist dates and/or find some time for fun in my busy schedule. Am I too busy? Yes. How can I remedy that? Hmm.

One of my friends recently asked me, “What are you doing for Rebecca?”

I had to stop and think about that question, because we often define fun as something we do that costs money.

But I need to consider other things that are just as relaxing and important for me – activities that cost little or nothing. Fun might include playing the piano, banging out chords that help release some of the pressures of a stressful day.

Walking through crunchy leaves or strolling through colorful chrysanthemums at a garden store. These joys remind me of the creator and how he blesses us with an autumn Kansas.

Other possibilities for fun:

  • An occasional movie
  • Watching the baseball playoffs with my son
  • Jayhawk basketball and OU football
  • Pulling out my coloring book and finding a quiet moment on the deck
  • Singing
  • A new color of fingernail polish
  • The turquoise and corals of a Kansas sunset
  • A haircut
  • One of the autumn craft shows
  • A new journal or reading through the old one with an attitude of praise

These are some of the things that bring me joy, however I need to work harder at getting away and forcing myself to relax. Is that an oxymoron? Forced relaxation?

Even now, I feel the need for some time away to reboot my soul and refresh that creative spirit in me.

I write better after a break when I feel more energized to connect sentences that form paragraphs, outline chapters and introduce new characters to the world.

So I need to be more proactive about using my time off. I need to actually schedule a writing retreat and a personal sabbatical – wherever and whenever I can – soon.

As 2017 approaches, I need to discipline myself to do the same thing I ask of my clients – to find that special place of inner rest, to plan an artist date, to find my own creative boundaries.

Hope asks accountability of others but also demands spiritual nourishment of the self. Even as I help others, I need to do a better job finding myself and define that fence around my heart.

Anyone else want to join me in the search?

©2016 GateWay of Hope – repost of RJThesman.net.

What God Says about Sexual Assault

During the last few months, we’ve been subjected to numerous reminders of how women are mistreated, undervalued and sexually assaulted.

identify-truthWhether or not you support one political candidate or the other, the truth is still a reality – no matter who is guilty of the crime.

Women are being disrespected, verbally and emotionally abused and sexually assaulted – in every country every day.

The next time you’re in a group of people, look around at the women.

At least 25% of them have been sexually assaulted or will be during their lifetimes. One out of four were sexually abused and/or traumatized as children, according to Child Safe Education.

One out of four women will be sexually assaulted and/or raped as adults, but only one out of ten will ever tell anyone.

A majority of these women will struggle through depression and low self-esteem while every one of them will experience some type of grieving behaviors, whether or not they recognize them. They may struggle with insomnia, binge eating and/or anorexia, cutting, the loss of relationships, the inability to trust or even to make simple decisions.

One of the most debilitating results of sexual assault is the sense of shame that torments and haunts. These women have been told the lie that the rape was their fault. “You dressed too provocatively. You wanted it. You asked for it. You deserved it.”

Shame began in the Garden of Eden when Adam pointed to Eve and told God, “This woman you gave me…she did it.” Adam blamed and shamed Eve for the original sin, then refused to admit his own failure.

The stats are daunting and we believe the percentages are actually higher, because some women will never report rape or childhood abuse. Some women are hiding their memories so deep, they don’t even remember the trauma.

Then one day something triggers the memory and life completely falls apart.

At GateWay of Hope, we work to help women identify the truth, face the pain and work through it. But as much as we respect women and want to help them, someone else loves them even more.

In the book of Lamentations from the Bible, the prophet Jeremiah writes, “My eyes flow with rivers of tears at the destruction of my people. My tears will pour out in a ceaseless stream until the Lord looks down from heaven and sees us. My heart is grieved when I see what has happened to the women of the city” (Lamentations 3:48-51 Good News Translation).

These verses underscore the fact that God loves women and he is grieved with what is happening to them.

He cries with each little girl who is abused, and he takes that assault seriously. Someday he will judge those who have injured his precious daughters.

He empathizes with women who struggle through depression and grief because he knows how difficult it is to feel alone, rejected and sad.

He comforts women who have been assaulted by the people they trusted most. He promises to be their eternal husband and maker as well as taking special care of their children.

God grieves over his daughters because he knows how wonderful they are. He planted within them brave giftings that have not been respected, tender hearts that have been bruised and strong minds that have been tormented.

He cares. He grieves and he promises to make it right. “Your innocence will be clear to everyone. God will vindicate you with the blazing light of justice shining down as from the noonday sun” (Psalm 37:6 The Living Bible).

Someday, justice will be complete. God will judge those who have hurt his daughters and he will bring wholeness and healing to all the women he so dearly loves.

In the meantime, he is available and eager to comfort his daughters.

At GateWay of Hope, we help women embrace that truth and show them how to trust the God who grieves for women.

©2016 GateWay of Hope – Hope, Healing and Wholeness for Women

How to Deal with Discouragement

discouragementOne of the lines in the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life,” presents a great truth.

Clarence, the second class angel who’s trying to earn his wings, watches a video about his divine appointment. Then Clarence asks God, “What is wrong with George Bailey. Is he sick?”

“Worse,” God says. “He’s discouraged.”

Anyone who has experienced discouragement knows it is a feeling of being sick at heart, a heaviness and a dread, almost a hopeless feeling.

We might define discouragement as a black cloud that hovers over us, stealing our joy and distracting us from the abundant life. We feel melancholy and can easily slip into a gloomy pessimism that eliminates hope.

Sometimes, as in George Bailey’s case, discouragement settles in because of the circumstances of life. George was facing the possibility of jail time and scandal because his uncle lost the company’s money. Basically, George was discouraged because he thought he was worth more dead than alive. He listened to the lies of Mr. Potter, and then considered taking his own life.

Discouragement escalated to despair.

Some of our discouraging circumstances might revolve around a financial setback, a health issue, a child who denies her faith, the loss of a job – or any number of struggles.

Sometimes discouragement is a result of how others treat us. Constant verbal abuse that tears at our self-esteem or someone who ignores us when we so desperately need to be cherished.

Any type of devaluing statement can cause discouragement. This is one reason why our words are so important.

Sometimes discouragement creates a rut of gloominess, especially when we’ve experienced a series of losses. We feel we’ve struggled so long, we can’t move forward and we don’t know how to climb out of that dark pit.

So what do we do when discouragement settles in? Can we pray for an angel, a Clarence, to come alongside us?

Yes, we can. We can ask God to send us encouragement through the presence of angels or through the kindness of other Christians. God knows the exact gift we need or the exact words we need to hear.

We can ask Jesus to pray for us and help lift us out of our melancholy. His role at the right hand of God is to intercede, to remind God of what we need and ask for divine intervention. So we can cry out, “Jesus, pray for me. Send help!

Sometimes the way out of discouragement comes through powerful music. Just listening to a song or even dancing to the music can help us feel better.

When we are discouraged, we can talk to counselors and coaches at GateWay of Hope who will help us find the root of the problem and formulate a plan to move forward.

And we can remind ourselves that discouragement doesn’t have to win.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 TMB).

What are some practical steps for dealing with discouragement?

  • One day at a time, present the discouragement to God.
  • Journal about your thoughts.
  • Check with us at GateWay for ways we can help you.
  • Stay in hope – don’t lose heart.
  • And keep reminding yourself … Discouragement does NOT have to win.

©2016 GateWay of Hope – Hope, Healing and Wholeness for Women

 

Defining GateWay

GateWay Logo Original with OutlinesAs we promote GateWay of Hope and work on marketing the services we provide, several words keep emerging as key tags.

HOPE

This word is, of course, in our name but it covers everything we do at GateWay. When women first come through our doors, they may feel hopeless and powerless. They may wonder if life will ever improve.

Then they walk into GateWay and begin to hope.

Hope is a feeling of expectation, but it also involves trust. Women trust their hearts to us and as we work together, we experience a warm belief that hope exists and life can get better.

Hope grows as women meet with counselors and find safety in having someone listen to them.

Hope expands as women become involved in a group. The group relationship underscores the truth that these women are not alone. Other women struggle with the same problems. Other women want to learn more about Boundaries, Journaling and how to pray for their adult children.

Hope finds a plan as women begin the coaching relationship. They put action steps to their dreams and discover how to jump over the obstacles that once held them back.

Hope is a consistent topic at GateWay, and it is the goal of every conversation.

SAFETY

Women feel safe at GateWay. This involves physical safety, of course, but it’s more than that. They know all our services are confidential so they can be vulnerable and honest about what they share.

They discover they are not alone with their concerns, so they can safely incorporate other women into their support systems.

Women feel emotionally safe at GateWay. They know they can take off their masks and lay down their walls.

At GateWay, they can be their true selves. We will not condemn them. We will not betray their trust. We value their vulnerability and the trust they put in us.

We will not do anything that violates their trust.

ATMOSPHERE

We work hard to make the atmosphere unique and beautiful at GateWay. Almost every visitor who enters our space comments, “Oh, this is so beautiful! This doesn’t feel like an office.”

GateWay is beautiful and infused with a sense of peace. We want women to feel comfortable within our space and to feel the warmth and love of the GateWay experience.

Sometimes women wish we had a place for them to stay night. That’s part of our dream for the future. A place where women can take a break from the stresses of life, stay night if they want and walk the beautiful grounds of GateWay.

We decorate with women in mind, and we often see the visible effect when a woman crosses our threshold. She sighs and says, “Ah,” because she feels the peaceful atmosphere.

She lets go of her stress, her fears and her struggles within the walls of GateWay. She is moving toward a more empowering future and it feels so good.

ENCOURAGEMENT

In our difficult world, we are often faced with discouragement and despair. At GateWay of Hope, we work to encourage women in their personal gifts and talents and to help them become who God created them to be.

This encouragement might happen through a counseling session, the group experience, an hour with a coach or a time of prayer. It might look like a hug or a pretty card, a smile or a warm cup of coffee.

Encouragement includes total acceptance and the presence of a listening ear.

Women are encouraged to be their true selves at GateWay. This is where they come to journal for an hour, to de-stress in our Serenity Room, to express the anger that has been building for years, to tell the truth about their lives.

GateWay is the catalyst for moving forward, feeling valued and empowered. Women are encouraged to bring their knitting and sit a while. They can meet a friend at GateWay for coffee and a chat.

And as we encourage these women to be themselves, they also share that encouragement with each other. So the ripple effect continues.

TRANFORMED

When women come to GateWay and begin to experience our services, their lives change. As they feel hope and receive encouragement, they work through their issues.

As they meet other women, they realize they are not alone. They feel empowered to embrace their true identities.

In fact, some of our women experience such a transformation, they change their names. They feel like new creatures, able to function and succeed in life. They feel whole again, and we can see the difference in their faces.

Here’s the way one woman describes GateWay, “My life has been transformed by the counsel, resources and groups at GateWay of Hope. When I walk into GateWay, my walls come down, because I know it is safe.”

Our vision is “To help women transform their lives and create new legacies.”

As women become healthy, they return to their families and their communities more empowered to use their gifts and make an impact. Their children see the difference as their mothers live in wholeness, no longer encumbered by traumas from the past or living in dread for the future.

That’s what we do at GateWay of Hope. We help women discover hope, pursue healing and live in wholeness through Counseling, Coaching and Groups.

©2016 GateWay of Hope – Hope, Healing and Wholeness for Women – gwhope.org

How to Move Forward in Life

In a recent telecast, Joyce Meyer said, “We live life forward, but we understand life backward.”

This is a valid truth and one we women often reverse. We look backward and then decide how and if we should move forward.holly-gerth-quote-worth

We look back at the what-might-have-been moments of life.

  • If only I had married a man who kept his covenant vows
  • If only I had finished college when I had the chance
  • If only I hadn’t said that or done that
  • If only I had known then what I know now
  • If only …

But looking backward and living in regret will keep us from a healthy forward movement. When we’re looking back all the time, we’ll bump into something ahead of us – and usually cause some type of harm, emotional or physical.

To truly understand life backward, we can instead ask ourselves some difficult yet pointed questions:

  • What did I learn from this situation?
  • What did I learn about myself from this situation?
  • How can I improve in this area so I won’t make the same mistake again?
  • What did I learn about God’s love for me because of this situation?
  • How can I use what I learned to help someone else?

Do you see how much more positive these questions are?

When we journal through the process of learning from the past, then we focus on how to grow and how to share. The If Only statements are self-deprecatory. They condemn us, blame us and eventually – shame us.

We don’t need to live in shame – ever – because shame keeps us from moving forward. It blocks hope from our souls.

Author Holly Gerth writes, “I don’t produce my worth; I receive it.”

So no matter what we have produced or what has happened to us in the past, that situation does NOT affect WHO we really are. It is only a piece of our history, a small part of our journey on earth.

God does NOT look at what we do and judge us for it. He looks at WHO we are and loves us no matter what.

As a life coach at GateWay of Hope, I help my clients move forward. We talk about the obstacle or block that is keeping them from joy. Then we put together a plan for the next step in the journey.

We move forward based on that plan, and I become my client’s accountability partner. We don’t dwell on the past. We don’t look backward unless we’re going to find a nugget of learning and base our next step on that truth.

We don’t live in condemnation about what has happened before. We don’t judge each other. We never approach life from the viewpoint of shame.

So as you’re thinking about moving forward in life, as you’re putting together some steps for a positive attitude – think about how you may be sabotaging yourself by dwelling in the past.

If you need some help with the past, we have counselors who can help you find your way to healing and wholeness. Check out our website at: gwhope.org.

If you want an accountability partner / coach to help you move forward, then contact me at GateWay. My email addy is: rebeccat@gwhope.org.

Together, we can move forward and then celebrate the successes of an abundant life.

©2016 GateWay of Hope

What is the Secret Sauce at GateWay?

GateWay Logo Original with OutlinesPeople with the Secret Sauce are vital commodities in today’s workplace. These are the experts, the advice-givers, those people we seek out who can help us successfully move forward.

For example: Bill Gates has the Secret Sauce for Microsoft – this business he designed and put his life into.

Another example is Julia Child who had the Secret Sauce and determination to share the joy of French cooking, to persevere until her first cookbook was published and then walk into her celebrity with humility and grace.

Jesus has the Secret Sauce for helping us move past our strongholds, our bondage, lies of the past and any number of other struggles. He also has the cure for society and the future of our hearts.

At GateWay of Hope, we have the Secret Sauce to help women transform their lives and create new legacies.

Our Counselors are licensed, professional therapists who deal with any number of issues and crises women struggle with. They help women process through past abuses, depression, relationship struggles, grief and/or emotional angst.

Our Coaches are certified professionals with a wealth of experience. They help women design plans to move over obstacles in life and progress toward their authentic selves. Our Coaches partner with their clients to advance their personal development, effectively start over single after divorce, set healthy boundaries in relationships, move forward in spiritual formation and recover from betrayal.

Within the group relationships at GateWay, women discover more of the Secret Sauce available in such a comfortable and beautiful atmosphere. Women who have been betrayed, abandoned and emotionally abused find connections with a group that Restores Hope After Betrayal. These women learn they are not alone in their struggle and that even if their husbands choose pornographic images or other sexual deviations – these women can be strong enough to take care of their hearts. The tools these women learn in this group provide hope and healing as well as the gumption to move forward stronger and more content than ever before.

In the Grief Recovery Program at GateWay, the Secret Sauce is included in the truth that all women suffer a loss of some kind and it’s okay to grieve about it. So many women hide behind the mask of “I’m fine” or “I have to be strong” and they deny the power of grieving in healthy ways. Women’s lives have been changed by simply learning ways to grieve and being given permission to do that at GateWay.

The Secret Sauce is prayer for the PAC Moms group. These women come to GateWay twice a month to pray for their adult children. Their hearts are breaking for their babies who are now adults and have chosen to ignore God’s love or are engaged in harmful behaviors. So these mamas come to pray, and their fervent pleas to God are heard. We see miracles happening at GateWay as a direct result of these intense and genuine prayers.

The women who populate the Treasures group have become a band of “she-roes” at GateWay of Hope. These incredibly strong women find treasure within chronic pain and the illnesses they bear every day. Yet they do not come to GateWay to morbidly complain. Instead, they encourage each other in ways to live out their lives – albeit in pain – with a sense of joy and contentment. Their Secret Sauce include perseverance, gratitude for simple joys and the certainty that pain may last as a temporary affliction, but someday – healing will be complete.All women need hope

Although we often encourage women to journal and process through their thoughts, our Journaling Class occurs twice a year at GateWay. The Secret Sauce is conveyed through the teaching gift and life experiences of our facilitator who shares fascinating new ways to journal and gain benefits from this important discipline. Women come away from the Journaling Class with a renewed vision for how they can share their learnings and apply journaling tips to their own decision-making processes.

Our cornerstone group at GateWay of Hope is our Boundaries track. Three times a year, we present some sort of boundaries class, because we know how important it is for women to learn how to say, “No” and when to say, “Yes.” We have seen the consequences when women do not know the difference and allow life to take away their precious selves. So we want every woman to learn about these life-changing guidelines and begin to implement them into their worlds.

Where is the Secret Sauce at GateWay? It’s interwoven into everything we do and every woman we serve. Why is it so important to find the Secret Sauce at GateWay? Because we are the premier place that presents such restorative and transformative change in the lives of women.

Come join us on this journey. We’d love to serve you.

©2016 GateWay of Hope

Finding Women in the Queue

For some strange reason, my printer decided to freak out. Everything was working fine, then it wasn’t. Even after unplugging and rebooting, the printer would not print.printer

In my frustration, I attempted to print several documents which sent them into the queue. Several times, I sent those documents on to this invisible place in techie land where they disappeared. Then I completely forgot about them.

The next day, after I unplugged and rebooted again, the printer decided to resuscitate itself and come back to life. But then, all those documents in the queue spilled forth – in fresh black ink – several copies of the symbols of my frustration.

While I was grateful the printer had decided to join me in the tasks of the day, I now added several pieces of paper to my scrap pile.

Then I decided this experience was not wasted. I could learn something valuable and share it with you.

When women first come to GateWay of Hope, they may be stuck behind a wall of depression, past abuse or a relationship struggle. They may be in crisis and need a counselor or they may need an accountability coach to help them over an obstacle. They may need to find relationship in groups so they know they are not alone.

Many of the GateWay women struggle with their identity. Who am I, really? I am searching for healing, but where do I go from here? What does God have for me? How can I find my purpose in life?

They may feel as if they are in the queue, just waiting for some power source to help them move forward.

Then one glorious day, everything begins to make sense. They realize who they really are – the incredible daughters of God.

They are women who have been gifted to help others, to serve in their communities, to raise a family or to live a contented single life.

They are unique and can accept their authenticity while setting boundaries around their hearts.

They represent the future for our country and they influence others through volunteering, facilitating a group or mentoring a younger woman.

The transformation becomes apparent for those of us on staff who have watched them morph into who God created them to be in the first place.

The junk of the past is gone. The emotional baggage has packed up and left.

What remains is the pure, sweet presence of God in their lives, redesigning their purpose and restoring what was stolen from them.

Suddenly, the power source is obvious. The Holy Spirit is alive and well in their souls and they are no longer stuck in the chaos or struggling to find their direction.

They are transformed and released.

They begin to pour forth love and fulfillment into their communities, their workplaces, their churches and their families.

And their influence creates a ripple effect throughout society.

These are the women of GateWay, empowered to move forward with hope and wholeness, because they have experienced an inner healing that can never be taken away from them.

In the Bible, the prophet Joel wrote, “In the last days, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons AND daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men AND women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days” (Joel 2:28-29 TNIV).

This is what happens at GateWay of Hope. Women who once were stuck in the queue are now going forward to make a difference.

Won’t you join us in this incredible ministry? Check out our website or give us a call at 913.393.GATE (4283).

©2016 GateWay of Hope

 

Finding a Healing Journal Method

At GateWay of Hope, we have found journaling to be a wonderful process that leads us toward hope, healing and wholeness.journal

But sometimes, we need a new way to think about journaling and process our thoughts.

In his book, “The Listening Life,” Adam S. McHugh suggests the AHEN method.

AHEN is a simple yet wonderful acrostic for helping us find clarity about situations we find ourselves stuck in. As we process through the acrostic, it might also bring up other possibilities for clarity and growth we haven’t yet considered.

So how does this work?

A = ANGER:

We may hate to admit it, but most of us have some type of anger. We may have hidden it well through the years, or we may have masked it by calling it something else such as frustration, irritability or being ticked off at someone.

The tricky thing about anger is that if it isn’t acknowledged and worked through, it can bury itself so deep that it causes depression. Because depression has so many nasty side effects, it’s best to call anger what it is and deal with it.

So make a list in your journal of everything you’re angry about – then consider who you’re angry at. That might include yourself, a parent, a child, a church member – even God.

Once you start on your anger list, you may be surprised at the emotions that surface, but keep working on it. Acknowledge that anger and then move on to the next step of the acrostic.

H = HURT

When someone hurts us, we often develop anger toward that person or that situation. None of us likes to experience hurt, whether it’s emotional, mental, physical or spiritual.

But life is often filled with hurts and again – when we discover them and acknowledge the hurt – then we begin to deal with the effects of that hurt.

For example: are you isolating yourself from a certain person? Maybe that person hurt you and you don’t want to expose yourself to more hurt. That is self-protection, a valuable tool for setting healthy boundaries.

But is that isolation caused by the hurt someone did to you? And are you angry about it?

Journal through the hurts you may be feeling and consider how they might be connected to any anger you are experiencing.

Why does it hurt so much when people say things to us or do things to us? Because of the next piece in the acrostic….

E = EXPECTATIONS

We are hurt because we have certain expectations about people, about life, even about God. When those expectations are not met, we are hurt and that results in anger.

For example: when a woman dresses in her bridal gown and marches down the aisle toward her lover, she expects him to keep the vows – to love and cherish her until death parts them.

But if he breaks that commitment, that covenant, then her expectations have been shattered. She is deeply hurt and incredibly angry. She may carry that anger for several years, into divorce court and beyond – even to the point where she loses the ability to trust.

All because her expectations were not met.

What are some of the expectations that have failed in your life? How deeply did they hurt you? Did they result in any anger? Journal through these possibilities.

Why are expectations so important? Because they are based on the next phase of the acrostic.

N – NEED

We all have deep-felt needs, sometimes so deep we are not aware of them. Our needs then feed into our expectations.

In the above example, the expectations were not met for a lifetime of love and commitment. Why did that hurt so deeply?

Because women have a deep need to be loved. They crave strong arms around them, the security of a home and the presence of the man they fell in love with – all those years ago.

They need the intimacy of someone talking and listening to them at the breakfast table, a warm body to cuddle next to at night and the wisdom of a man who knows how to fix the flat tire and the leaking kitchen sink.

They long to be cared for, to be honored and cherished, to be the only person that man loves for a life-time.

When that need is not met, when that commitment is broken, then the hurt spawns other problems.

They may look for comfort in substances, even food. They may try to find intimacy in another relationship that ends in another tragedy or a lifetime of toxic communication.

Even worse – they may cover up the need so deeply that they become bitter and refuse to ever love again.

The expectations were not fulfilled, therefore the needs surface and become a stumbling block for the abundant life.

Do you recognize some needs that have not been met because expectations were shattered?

FINDING THE HEALING PLACE

Now that we’ve journaled and worked through this acrostic, let’s find how to work toward healing by starting backwards.

Our NEEDS are great and sometimes we are needier than we want to admit. But when we base the meeting of those needs on another human being, we will inevitably be disappointed.

Our deepest needs were made to be met by the God who created us. In fact, he promises, “I will meet all your needs according to my riches of glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

So the healing place begins by taking those needs right back to God. No matter what your needs are, God is able to meet them.

Do you need some encouragement? Ask God for it and then watch for the amazing ways he chooses to meet that need.

Do you need some help with finances? Ask God to give you the name of someone who can help you.

Do you need something more concrete? Clothes, shelter, food? God knows all the resources available at all times. Tell him what you need, then be ready to receive his blessings.

When we place EXPECTATIONS on another human being, we may be disappointed. Sometimes we need to speak about what we expect so that person knows how to plan for that need.

Do you expect your children to go to college? Then begin a college fund, make sure they do their homework and talk about the value of education. Still, they may make other choices, so you may have to change some of your expectations.

Be realistic. Most of us experience some shattered dreams in life, but that doesn’t mean we have to live in despair. It just means we need to set new goals.

If you need help with expectations, consider the Coaching services at GateWay of Hope.  We can help you set realistic expectations and then work toward meeting them.

All of us are going to be HURT sometime in life, because life is hard and some people tend to be cruel. That doesn’t mean we have to wallow in the hurt or surround ourselves with self-pity.

It just means we can expect hurts. But it’s what we do with the hurt that matters.

Again, God has a solution. “Cast all your cares on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

We can bring those hurts to God and ask him to help us forgive so they don’t dig deeply into our souls and keep us from living in peace.

Some hurts ARE going to burrow deep, just because of how intense they are. If that is your experience because of abuse, then contact one of our Counselors at GateWay of Hope. They are skilled in dealing with many types of abuse.

So we’ve worked backward and now we’re at ANGER once again. But you may find that because you’ve journaled through this AHEN acrostic, some of the anger doesn’t seem so intense.

Now it’s time to let the anger go. Think of it as a visual – a box of yuck you’ve been carrying around. It’s become a burden and you don’t want it anymore.

Let it go. Bury it at the foot of the cross. Turn it over to Jesus and let him heal you in those deepest places of hurt.

Get rid of the anger so you can begin living in joy and peace. Then you’ll experience the abundant life and become the woman God has created you to be.

©2016 GateWay of Hope – Hope, Healing and Wholeness for Women

6 Words to Avoid

number 6The voices in our heads often determine the actions we take, and while the voices may point us in right directions – sometimes they whisper words we need to avoid.

What are some of these negative words – specifically the SIX words we need to avoid?

What If …

The “What-If” questions are usually based on fear.

  • What if I don’t get the job?
  • What if he leaves me?
  • What if it’s cancer?

Some of these “What if” questions are valid responses to a circumstance in our lives. But sometimes we allow those “What If” questions to keep us from something good.

We respond to the fear generated by the “What-Ifs.”

  • What if I want to move to a new place but I’m afraid of taking the risk?
  • What if I need to see a Counselor or a Coach but I don’t want to be vulnerable?
  • What if I want to try a different job? What if it doesn’t work out?

For many of our “What-If” questions, just taking a step forward might answer the question. Most of the time, the things we fear never happen. And even if they do, we may discover more strength and faith than we ever imagined possible.

The next time you hear yourself asking “What if,” stop and examine your situation. Maybe it’s time for a change in your life that careful planning and an accountability partner can help you figure out.

What’s another word to avoid?

But …

This is such a tiny word, but it wields incredible power in our lives. The “but” response may also be based in fear, but often it’s just another way to make an excuse.

  • But I don’t want to marry again because I’m afraid he’ll hurt me just like the last guy.
  • But I’m not sure a job change is the best direction for me right now.
  • But I can’t make enough money if I really follow my passion.

If we allow too many “buts” in our lives, we may never accomplish the things we were designed to do. Or we may live our lives doing only the necessary and urgent things rather than really living the abundant life.

The “buts” of life are easy excuses and usually not valid reasons why we should make an attempt or risk something.

We can talk ourselves out of anything just by using the “but” word.

Instead, we can make a list of all the positive possibilities that might come from a particular choice and take one step at a time.

Again, it helps to have an accountability partner to help us sort through the reasons and/or excuses we’re using that keep us stuck. Partnering with a coach at GateWay of Hope can help you get unstuck and move forward.

What are the last three words to avoid?

I Should Have …

These three words have possibly caused more damage to women than any other types of verbiage. We constantly guilt ourselves with the “I should haves.”

  • I should have married someone else.
  • I should have finished my education before I had children.
  • I should have used my inheritance for more retirement savings.
  • I should have kept Mom in my home instead of moving her to a nursing home.
  • I should have stopped after one cookie.

The reason to avoid these three words are because they are based on regret and often – false guilt. They keep us from moving forward because once we are listening to the “I should haves” then we replay them into the mindset of regret.

When we constantly guilt ourselves for a past decision, we begin hating ourselves and our lives. We no longer live with joy nor can we find that abundant life we’re looking for.

The truth is:

  • Life is filled with opportunities to make a mistake.
  • We can learn best from our mistakes.
  • Our mistakes often strengthen us and give us the wisdom we need for the next choice.
  • We cannot undo the past; we only have today and this particular moment.
  • Nobody is perfect and nobody makes perfect decisions all the time.

So…stop guilting yourself. You did the best you could at the time with the information you had then. You can’t go back and undo anything. Learn from it and move forward. Stop living in regret.

These powerful six words can make a difference in our lives. So let’s avoid thinking about or speaking about the “What Ifs,” “Buts,” and “I Should Haves.”

Instead, let’s find something to be grateful for today and enjoy being the women God made us to be.

©2016 GateWay of Hope – Hope, Healing and Wholeness for Women

How to Live Life

One of my friends recently sent me an encouraging note that said, “I hope you are living life to the fullest.”looking up

Smack in the middle of the winter blues, I wasn’t sure if I could totally embrace her encouragement. So I started thinking about it.

What does it mean to live life to the fullest?

For me, it begins with the practice of acknowledging who I really am. If I am living an authentic life, then everything I do will somehow encompass my core values.

I can’t live life to the fullest if I’m lying to myself about who I am or if I’m living out of activities that don’t fit with my core values.

So I have to know my core values and determine that every activity is in sync with them. If not, then I need to get rid of that activity.

I am also an introvert and a writer. Although I love working with women and coaching them here at GateWay of Hope, I also need my space and my quiet time.

So I set boundaries around how many people I serve each day and what that looks like. I carve out time to write and I spend time each day in quiet meditation.

Living life to the fullest also includes setting goals for my own growth and planning how I will progress forward.

Since I’m a coach at GateWay, I know how to do this. I help women do this every week. But I also need to be proactive about my own growth and make sure that I’m moving toward my own goals.

If I don’t help myself, I can’t help others.

One of my goals for 2015 is to engage in more artist dates. I pencil in on my calendar the places I will go and the things I will do to nurture the writer within and keep me creatively fresh.

So right now…I set an artist date for myself for Feb. 28th. I’ll be visiting a bookstore in the area and browsing through the art of other writers.

And … just because … I may even indulge in some chocolate on that day.

It’s a good practice for us to occasionally check out our core values and make sure we’re living authentic lives. Then as we set boundaries and move toward our goals we live life to the fullest.

I hope you’re doing the same today.

©2015 Rebecca Thesman, CLC
GateWay of Hope – The Helping Place for Hurting Women