Archive for the ‘grief’ Category



I received a wonderfully encouraging letter from a dear sister in Christ…someone whom I hold in very high regard.  Her note brought God right into the core of my own issues in dealing with depression…loss of hope and self-esteem. That was over a year ago, but her thoughts are just as relevant and encouraging today to all who bump up against the rough edges of life. It is a note that I recently went back to to share the same encouragement with another. Here are the verses she shared…given by God:

“I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you.  I said, ‘you are my servant, ‘I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; Do not be dismayed, for I am Your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. “Isaiah 41:9-10


She shared, “I have prayed these verses over you with astonished awe over a God who stoops.  Not the posture that is normally associated with deity, but the only one that brings hope.”

The God who stoops is the God who brings hope. Through this dear friend and sister in Christ and others who seek to encourage as God has called us to do, I am thanking God for His fathomless love for me, and the promise of redemption that He has given.  I am thanking Him today for the great things He has in store for me in serving Him and knowing Him….and for His sustaining strength I feel in my life today.  All because of someone who truly walks with God took the time to pray and care and share.

Thank you to those who continue to love as Jesus loves…


Gods's Unfailing Love

Gods’s Unfailing Love


Not all wounds are visible.

Crash!  The sound of two cars colliding at high speed in the street brought me to my feet and out the door.  Two badly smashed cars, several people injured, and one bleeding profusely right in front of me.  I tore off my shirt and made a compress to stop the bleeding from his head wound. His mother took the compress and held it tight. I proceeded to assess the others, some still in the vehicles.  One young man involved in the accident was walking around directing me to the others who might be injured. He seemed unscathed, just as the paramedics arrived  he collapsed and was quickly taken care of and transported by ambulance to the hospital.

He had no visible wounds because his were internal.

Sometimes the wounds that you cannot see are the ones that are the most damaging of all.

 So it is with soul wounds… injuries to your soul, heart, and/or mind. 

What happens when your emotions are torn, there is a hole in your heart, and your thinking and beliefs have been damaged?  How can you identify your soul wounds and what must you do to heal from them?

Why Identifying Our Soul Wounds Is So Crucial —

Here are some key thoughts, proven principles about this:

  • Soul wounds affect how we think, how we feel, and therefore affect how we act and relate.  The wounds are at the root of everything in the sense that they affect everything.  I heard someone say that a heart early broken will grow back crooked and that crookedness will make us live and relate that way.
  • We are powerless to change that which we are unaware of, do not understand, or deny.
  • Soul wounds hold us back I life, in relationships, in loving, in serving or work, and even in our ability to receive love from others.
  • Soul wounds become walls to protect us from being hurt, but walls don’t keep just one person out.  The walls we erect (and they take many forms) keep all people out.
  • Our protective but destructive behaviors anesthetize, numb, or push down unwanted painful thoughts, feelings, and memories.  But, listen! We must feel in order to heal.

How We Can Begin To Identify Our Own Soul Wounds—

  • Look at your own copes:  What do you do to cope? Why? If you were not doing what you are doing to cope (to numb the pain), what might you begin to think about, begin to feel, or remember?
  • Look at your over reactions or under reactions.  When have you over reacted to a situation or person?  How about a gross under-reaction?  Either may point to an earlier time, event, or person that hurt or threatened us and how we learned to cope in a situation where that “button” gets pushed.  The soul or heart (limbic system) does not tell time, so when that same type of wound is opened the soul or heart react the same way. Who made you feel this way before? How old were you? What did you tell yourself as a result of what was happening to you?
  • Look in the mirror:  Who do you dislike?   What about them do you dislike the most? What negative quality in other people do you dislike a lot? It could be that you are projecting something about yourself onto others…something you can’t accept in yourself.
  • Ask Others.  I have at times of personal evaluation asked others, “What is it like to experience me?”  When honestly answered the results are very revealing though sometimes painful.  At one point of burn out I told my wife I had asked my staff that question.  She then asked, “When do I get to answer that question?” Sometimes the truth hurts, but truth is necessary to our healing.
  • Ask God.  A great man once asked God this of God: Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24
  • Ask Yourself.  Where does it hurt? Why?  Your wounds may be internal but they still hurt and they still “bleed.”  Write it down.  Discuss what you are thinking about with someone who can help you identify truth and discern the real issues.  You see, the truth is, we are all wounded.  So do not be embarrassed at that being the case for you.  Safe people are also vulnerable and honest people who are real and authentic and caring rather than judgmental.

 What We All Need To Heal Our Wounds —

Part Two, to be released later this week, will address a Ten Part Process of Healing.  But for now let me give you a few keys to get started with:

First, no one heals from soul wounds and destructive relationship patterns through counseling alone. I counsel many and it is essential.  But people are wounded in relationships and people are healed in relationships, but (LISTEN!) it takes real people in real community in real relationships. Find or create a safe forum of safe people for yourself and for others.

Second, we must experience truth in our soul, truth that identifies and replaces the lies or false beliefs we may unknowingly hold in our hearts.  When Jesus of Nazareth said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free,” He wasn’t talking about facts or head knowledge.  The word he used from that culture meant to know by experience or to know something in your soul.

A number of years ago Dave, a counselor  I was seeing asked me a question.  “What are the three deepest hurts in your life?”  “Let’s ask God to show you,” he said.   And God did.   

Dave had me pick one and relive it in my mind, narrating all that had happened.  IT involved rage and abuse from someone dear to me but much older.  I was a young boy. When I finished, Dave asked, “Do you sense Jesus coming into that room in the scene?”   I answered, “Yes.”

“Well,” Dave asked, “What does He do and say?”  To my surprise Jesus came over to me, held me close, and said, “I love, you, Bobby.”

There is more, but my life changed that day.  The lie I had learned to believe, that I was not loveable, was erased and rep-laced with the truth that I was lovable and deeply loved by God.

I knew the truth (experienced it) and the truth then set me free….

Well there is more to come about healing our wounds.  Next time we will look at the 10 or 12 keys to our healing….

PART 2 Coming Soon…

Gods's Unfailing Love

Gods’s Unfailing Love

Hesed & Meg

MEG…the Suburbanstein Girl

Written by: Anonymous in Testimonials


She was lost…but she didn’t know it… She, Meg, had never been found.  She survived but that’s it.  She was five when she first became aware of the fact that she was different.  That she didn’t wear monster-skin… that she didn’t need it to fit in with the Normals.  She became aware that “they” were not always trustworthy… that her “caregivers” “providers” and “spiritual guides” were all wearing monster-skin.  She assumed she was supposed to as well and figured God did too.

She wandered in and out of the years through the darkness that was seeping into her life. Though it was always present, the darkness slowly started creeping into her awareness like mist, at first barely noticeable. But it became more solid and started sticking to areas of her life and personality.   This darkness seemed to stick with every hurt whenever her reality did not match everyone else’s. People would come into her life and then leave especially once she got attached to them.  This was the monster way.  She had a family member who was a Normal but she abandoned Meg too when death took her away.  Then there was the time her unicorn lost its fragrance… when her father had monster claws but a nice voice…

What she didn’t know is that’s how the monsters make more monsters. She didn’t realize who she was.  That she was not alone.  Eventually the darkness became her friend.  Her security.  She knew it well and it was a constant companion.  It even talked to her.  It reminded her of her monsterness and how worthless she really was.

The darkness had left a shell of Meg by the time she started working in the “normal’s” world.  It became worse every year until her shell became so thin that she actually thought she would break.  To counteract this, more and more monsterness grew to protect her shell.  The razors in place of teeth became sharper…the tears of self- loathing became darker…the thoughts of suicide became stronger.

THEY – The Couple

They had experienced Great Change.  They had a love that was so strong it got them through anything; it radiated from their being because it came from THE GREAT SOURCE.  THE GREAT SOURCE… He is the beginning and the end… HE IS LOVE… and HE reigned in their life.  At the time, though, their Great Change didn’t seem like it was a positive thing. They were left isolated on an island amongst people.  They had and lost the very people they gave themselves to who didn’t seem to reciprocate in the time of Great Change.

They were Normals.  No people skin needed to hide their monsterness because there wasn’t any.  They were amazing. They had no dark mist around them.  They were people of light.  And even though they experienced Great Change they did not lose love.  Nor did they give up on THE GREAT SOURCE.  Their reality matched their lives.  Sure, they had flaws as all Normals do but their light and love seemed to make their flaws disappear. Even stranger, the light and love that radiated off of them seemed to make other people’s flaws disappear too.

They = a man and woman who were married and deeply in love.  They had grown children and many grandchildren and much love in their hearts for everyone.  They thought that THE GREAT SOURCE was done with building their family…


At times, Meg could not stand life anymore she would cry out – watching the Normals…wanting to be one…wanting to belong and be known. She felt as though a piece of her dilapidated heart was missing.  She desperately wanted “family” people to love her unconditionally, darkness and all.  She would confer with the Normals she knew but she was told that was “impossible this side of heaven” and that her “expectations were too high.”  She believed in “God” but her God wore monster-skin and didn’t love her really.  Her God saw her needs but didn’t answer and if he did he answered her by allowing more hurt and people to abandon her either because of their monsterness, or because of death.  She was so conditioned to her perception of “God” that when THE GREAT SOURCE was working she didn’t even notice…not even when the evidence of this was right in front of her…


You know how when your heart skips a beat because of anticipation and excitement of something?  Maybe it’s going on your favorite ride, or watching a great movie, or spending time with a pet who loves you know matter what…  well, THE GREAT SOURCE — his love for us is like WAY MORE than all of the wonderful and exciting experiences you have had put together! He, although “he” is a relative term… he could be called “they in one”, “her and him”,  well, we should just stick with THE GREAT SOURCE… loved people very, very much.  Hesed was like a mist but instead of spreading darkness and pain… it wove itself through everything… Hesed was present everywhere and at all times because of THE GREAT SOURCE.  See, Hesed was THE GREAT SOURCE’s unfailing, all encompassing, palpable, permeating, penetrating, gentle, love.  And it began to weave this girl, now shell of a woman, and the couple who were Normals together…


Some would say that “God” frequented it occasionally so they hoped to catch a glimpse of him and like rats trained to hit a button to receive food they would go in anticipation of this glimpse, often to be disappointed.

Others would say that THE GREAT SOURCE arranged this Meeting Place… and while Normals were flawed, despite their flaws THE GREAT SOURCE was present with them EVERYWHERE – even in The Meeting Place.  And The Meeting Place became a place of safety and family for Normals and for people trying to get help for their perceived monsterness.   HESED was great in this place.  And it was just this place that the girl now shell of a woman, Meg, turned to.

And they helped.  But they were not what her heart was begging for.   She was loved and accepted and cared for, monsterness and all.  But that was the problem, although she didn’t see it as one. Because she believed in her monsterness and the darkness that had become her friend…it showed to the Normals at The Meeting Place.   And they loved her.  But they saw it, too. Her monsterness and darkness had become stronger than the shell of who she was and it tended to be what people saw.

HESED at Work

Like a beautiful butterfly weaving its way through the world ~ HESED was at work weaving THE GREAT SOURCE’s love throughout Meg’s life.  The man from the couple approached The Meeting Place.  She ignored him.  Why connect?  Only to have yet another prove his monsterness and abandon her?  Meg chose to ignore him.   At The Meeting Place he sat across from her.  She was a bit less impressed with “God” thinking he was trying to set her up for something. (That’s the great thing about THE GREAT SOURCE and HESED, love wins despite people’s misconceptions and jaded interpretations of reality, including Meg’s.)

The man was gentle.  She didn’t see pride in his eyes or any monsterness.  He was nice.  He seemed to see in her what she secretly hoped hadn’t wilted when she adopted her monsterness.  She was intrigued by him.  He spoke openly.  They met over several occasions; each time he seemed to be a Normal.  And there was this light that permeated his being, so much so that his eyes sparkled when he spoke to her.  He introduced Meg to his wife.  Much to her astonishment, the woman was the same way.  When she spoke she was captivating.  Light would pour out of her smile and her eyes showed an acceptance that Meg found comforting.  Over time searing pain began to tear at the girl turned shell of a woman… it was the darkness…because darkness cannot exist in light and the shell of a woman only knew the darkness’ shelter.  The light that the woman and man exuded was inviting and felt so different than anything Meg had ever known…


Meg saw the bright light, flow through the couple, a light she began to identify as THE GREAT SOURCE.  Every time they interacted with her she began to see herself differently.  Over time they helped her remove the darkness that clung to her life and memories…they helped her say good-bye to the darkness that was her friend, pointing out a true friend who would never tell her she was worthless.  And over time the HESED had woven them close, so close that Meg became who she never knew she could be. She became connected to THE GREAT SOURCE…

And the couple discovered something too.  They had a mirror that they wanted to show Meg one day, to show her what she looked like to them and, more importantly, to THE GREAT SOURCE.   They held it up…and in its reflection wasn’t her monsterness…nor was it the markings of hurt or the gouges that pain had left in her past.   No one saw any stains of self-loathing dripping down her face in her reflection.  Instead they saw something sparkling… something of great worth and beauty on the inside and out.  They saw a Gem… and in that moment THE GREAT SOURCE gave her to them and she went from wishing she was known and wanting to belong… to being THEIRS.  And at that same moment THE GREAT SOURCE filled a Gem shaped place in their hearts that only a daughter’s love could, and they became HERS.



We all live at the level of our choices… including the level of our faith.

Sifted: from “to sift” (verb) –

—To separate, examine closely, or question. 

—To pass through, sort, scrutinize, or inspect.

Luke 22:31-32: “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, Simon that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”   — Jesus

Wayne Cordeiro’s words in his book Sifted captures my thoughts and frustration with Jesus’ promise when he writes, “I don’t find this very reassuring.  What I’d like is for Jesus to pray that Satan would be thwarted, or even that God would dispatch angels to assist me.  But that my faith would not fail? That doesn’t sound very reassuring!  Jesus, by praying this way, seems to suggest that there is a very good possibility that my faith might indeed fail. Gulp!”

What I know is this:  Jesus prays for me (you) in this same way… that my (your) faith might not fail.  Ouch! That’s when I realize as I examine my prayers that in some ways it already has, just as Simon’s (Peter’s) had.  The next phrase is revealing: “and when you turn back.”  Isn’t that the definition of repentance (metanoew)… a changing of the mind that results in a right change in direction?   My prayers already reveal the need for a changing of my mind because 99% of my prayers are for Jesus to fix it and make all things right…often frustrated prayers …alright angry prayers at God’s seemingly unwillingness to help me in the way I have decided He should.  All I want to do is for Him to make it right so I can get on with serving Him.  All He wants is for me to get my heart right so He can answer my prayer.

But there is more.  There is another promise:  “And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”   So somehow in this sifting process God first strengthens me so I can in turn help others, especially the ones I love, be strengthened in their faith as well.  “When the season of sifting is finished— and the difficulties have been navigated well — we end up with a new level of faith, a quality that is not available to us by any other means.  Sifting produces a clarity about who we are and what we do, giving definition to the work of ministry that produces long term results and fruitfulness.The real question then, is not whether we will face failure.  It is how well we will face it…making all the difference in the world.” (Cordeiro, Sifted)

We live at the level of our choices.  When God takes us through a season of sifting (cleansing of our core) He always presents us with choices that either move us deeper into our faith or farther from it.  Peter (Simon) had a divine purpose that was still being unfolded, but Jesus had to allow a season of sifting in Peter at the hands of the same tempter that had tempted Him (Jesus) in the wilderness.  Then Peter would be ready for the next season of serving as God had planned for him.

A few personal observations about sifting:  This is where casualties occur because it is a tough place and Satan wants to take you out.  Sifting is a lonely place… a place of isolation.  Sifting is a place where we begin to question God and His goodness… doubting it – doubting Him…maybe cursing Him as Simon Peter did.  Sifting is a place where we see things in ourselves we never thought we were capable of doing, saying, or being.  Sifting is where we lose our objectivity and follow the flesh rather than the Spirit or give in to our fears…finding comfort wherever it can be found rather than in seeking God.  But listen!  Don’t miss this! Sifting always is a platform from which we can go on to the next level of faith and on to the next level of ministry God has for us in all realms of our lives.  We live at the level of our choices.  That includes our level of faith. Jesus is praying that your faith and my faith might not fail.  How good is that!

So join me in praying the prayer of David, a man after God’s own heart, but a man who knew both the thrill of success and the agony of failure in times of sifting:

Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

What is it God is showing you?  What are the choices He wants you to make?  We all live at the level of our choices.  Choose wisely and turn back so God can move you to a new level of faith and ministry.  I have.



I entered counseling with Pastor Bob Barnett in 2009 to deal with issues in my past that was impacting how I was living in the present.  I had sin in my life that I was not able to claim victory over regardless of how many times I would try or how many prayers I would lift up to God.  Bob helped me identify the false beliefs I had about myself and the reasons I held those beliefs and taught me how to identify what God believes about me and the value that I have in Him.  Through the tools that I gained during the months spent with Bob, I have been able to move forward in my faith, maintain victory over my sinful nature and truly follow after God wholeheartedly.  His compassion, understanding and non-judgmental approach to counseling has been life changing for me and my family.


When I look back I don’t see the hurt, I see the healing.
Reflecting on the most heartbreaking days of our lives the sentence above sums up how much Pastor Bob and the Genesis process helped us get through those days. The healing that went on continues to help us today in relationships, grief, and decision making. We had been trying to have a baby for many years and all in the same year had two devastating miscarriages  With gentle council I had the opportunity to work through forgiving others and myself. I was able to identify lies that I had believed for years and replace them with the truth. So many things we got to work through helped me/us make decisions for our future that at the time seemed very hard, into peaceful and joyful choices. Pastor Bob’s compassion and insightful words helped me share personal things that were necessary for healing. He continues to be a great support in my family’s life, and always uplifting with his words of encouragement. I often think of and use the tools I was given to work through life’s journey. Praying that many others will find healing within their hurt through this amazing ministry.

“I met Bob almost 20 years ago as I was in the most difficult period of my life. My wife of 16 years had moved out and I was lost and searching for how to continue to go forward in my life. I was just figuring out I was a ‘control addict’ and had ruined my relationship with my wife by trying to control her and everything else in my life.
I was also just figuring out how to turn my Christian life into a real walk with God. Bob was the new pastor of the church which I had begun attending after my ex (now) had moved out. He mentored me in my Christian walk, he was a model of how to be a mature Christian man and he was my friend who cared, prayed and helped me through the difficult emotional times I was experiencing.
He also led me through the Genesis Process which began a time of healing in my life. I was quickly approaching 60 and I had never looked at my life and the hurts and pains that had caused me to be living a fearful life (using control as protection). It was the beginning of a process that enabled me to accept myself and the love of God for the first time in my life. I was able to give God control of my life (and I still work on that) and accept love from a new wife, feeling that I am worth being loved.
Although I no longer attend church with Bob, he still is one of my best friends and I continue to be grateful for all he has meant to me and my new wife.”



“I went from my goal being to stay safe and having anxiety, depression, and using suicidal thinking to stay safe…to my goal being ” ANEW RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD – so that I am never “safe” again – to fully trust God with my life.”

The facilitator expressed warmth and caring so that for the first time I felt totally safe and cared for. He gave me permission to be myself and he looked at me the way I now know Jesus does….”

Here is my story: The Genesis Process helped me identify my “monster” traits and see that I was really a loveable person all along …

Once upon a time, there was a normal middle class house in a normal middle class neighborhood with a normal middle class family or so it seemed. There was a mother and a father and older siblings that came in and out of the home. And there was a little girl. But the family carried a secret. Unlike some other families who just go about their normal lives doing normal things the Suberbansteins had to “get ready” to be normal. They had to put on their people skin to cover up their monsterness. Daddy Suberbanstein was a mixture monster of fear – which gave him claws, pride which made him abnormally gigantic, selfishness which gave him one eye, numbing which encased his body in this shiny metallic black armor and hurt which allowed large lesions to fester. Mother Suberbanstein was a mixture monster of the wrong kind of submission – which made her small and flimsy like tissue paper, false beliefs – which caused her to have eyes everywhere including the back of her head, and fear which caused her feet to be light and her tongue to be metallic and sharp with jagged edges on it. The younger but older Suberbanstein siblings were monster mixes of addiction – which caused them to have little aliens coming out of their stomach and hijacking their brains and neglect which seems to make them have eyes that were blind to the world around them but facing inward so that they could not see anyone but themselves. The little girl didn’t need to “get ready” when she left the house when she was younger. And this “normalizing” practice confused her and made her wonder what she should be hiding about herself.
The outside of Suberbanstein home was beautiful. It was well manicured with flowers everywhere. But years and years of the Suberbanstein’s taking off their people skin when they got home had damaged the inside of the house. The interior walls were painted with fear. The air was filled with anxiety and tension so much so that it actually had a certain smell to it. There was so much negative energy that it dimmed the lights and drained the color out of everything.
Daddy Suberbanstein was the worst sometimes he would confuse the little girl wearing his people skin. One day Daddy Suberstanstein came home smiling in his people skin until he saw the little girls pet unicorn was leaving a fragrance of beautiful sweet flowers…Daddy’s smile changed and the little girls saw his monster horns come out as he went after her unicorn. He wanted to paint the unicorn with fear and fill it with anxiety so it no longer perfumed their home. Afterwards, Daddy put on his people skin again and called the little girl over to him. He sat her on his lap and she was hopeful that Daddy would make her unicorn better.
Instead he explained how she didn’t really see his monsterness and that unicorns weren’t supposed to be fragrant – all while his claws of fear were digging into her back and his eyes flashed with pride.
Such was life for the little girl. Normal =people skin and monsterness was the unacceptable norm. Over the years little by little the little girl began to adopt the normalizing process of the ADULT Suberbansteins. In was insidious and subtle. First it was in little things – she saw her reflection changing. Her voice became silent. She noticed part of herself becoming invisible and transparent under the weight of despair; then she grew small razor sharp spikes of hatred dripping with self-loathing on top of her head so she had dark streaks of loathing dripping down her face. The little girl became aware of her need to find people skin that would fit her so that she could go into the world of the “normal” people.
By the time the little girl grew up and left home she had become a full grown monster. What started out as silent voice became such a void of sound that her mouth had disappeared altogether. In it’s place was a dagger with razors for teeth. Her spikes had become adult horns and the self-loathing had a red tint of death in it now. Her eyes were sullen and she began looking for a way to stop her monsterness.
She tried a variety of things including getting more people skin and people gadgets to help her look less monster-like. She tried denying the monsterness which helped her horns and dagger to vanish if only for a moment or two. She learned about being “normal” and what the other people in suburbia do and she mimicked them – so much so that others believed her to be an upstanding “normal” middle class adult in a normal middle class neighborhood.
One day she a grown monster in people skin was out helping other “normals” when her people skin fell off in front of everyone and her monster-self started to show. She was mortified and began trying to “fix” her monsterness. She would saw off the horns – only to have them grow back bigger and stronger. She would tear the dagger off of her face only to have a sharper one grow in it’s place with more deadly razors.

Then she went to a place where some other middle class “normal” people were. She was about to tell everyone at this place that she was a monster and giving up her people skin when someone from across the room said he noticed she was helping the “normal” people…that she was helping them ~ so that they did not have to get any monster traits…
He was different. He saw through her people skin. He had a beautiful wife and she also saw through her people skin. But the really crazy thing was that they saw through her people skin and they didn’t see a monster. They saw a little girl and they loved her. He became her Genesis facilitator.


To whom it may concern,
I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the fine work Bob did on my behalf working through the Genesis process.
Bob is kind, compassionate, empathetic and very competent. He has helped me through the inner healing process.
Throughout the time we spent together this humble man and I became friends.
I would strongly encourage you use Bob in this capacity. We live in a sinful world full of pain, disappointment, and despair. Bob brings a level of commitment sorely needed to a world needing a second chance.

In Christ`s Name,