Kathy Looper Christian Counseling

Kathy Looper Christian Counseling

Sunday, December 29, 2013


I have been feeling the need to write for several months now, but have just not made the time to do so.  This need is so strong, I feel guilty with every passing day that I procrastinate.  I keep telling the lord, “as soon as I am finished with school I will set some time aside to write.”  So, here I am. I finished my semester and have 8 weeks of so now it is time to get busy writing.

I’d like to share a thought with you.  The thought is about dying.  Dying to self, surrendering to Christ.  I know that the Bible teaches us to take up our cross and die daily, but that is not what I am talking about.  Let me explain.

A few years ago, after several failed attempts throughout my life, I finally 100% surrendered to God.  I died my own grievous and painful death to self.  The reason I mentioned several failed attempts is because I couldn’t ever get past one thing.  My hang-up, the thing that tripped me up time and time again, was men.  More specifically, it was loneliness and the need to be loved.  This need was so strong and ran so deep through my soul, that as much as I loved God and wanted to live for him, I always compromised, thinking that I needed to be something different for the “right guy” to love me.  All the other guys I had picked over the years never did.

After the last breakup, something changed in me.  I decided I was going to live God’s way, regardless of what that meant.  I was single, I had my own business and no one would have probably guessed how lonely and heartbroken I really was.

Greif is something that cannot be explained.  It can only be lived.  Grief is something that one feels when someone they love has died.  It is gut wrenching.  Grief is something that takes a very long time to heal and the sorrow you feel lasts for months and months, in my case it lasted three years.  There were days I had to find a place where I could be alone and cry several times, just to make it through the day.

Have you ever saw the movie “Passion of the Christ?”  If not, I highly recommend it.  If you did see it, remember the scenes where they were beating Jesus?  Remember watching as he carried his cross up to Golgotha’s hill, often falling under the weight of it?  Remember as he hung on the cross, blood dripping from his head where the crown of thrones was placed?  That is what dying looks like.  It is painful.  It is bloody and it is ugly.  Dying is always met with fear and always, without fail, met with uncertainty.  After all, no one has ever died and come back to tell those of us left living what to expect.  Dying is the final act before crossing over to the other side.

But…dying is not the end of the story.  A resurrected life is the end of the story.  We all know that Jesus rose from the dead and because of this, we have a new life in him.  But that is not what I am talking about either.  Most of us have heard the story of the cross but none of us can totally relate to it because it is the story of Jesus and the story is so much larger that life.  We know that he died so that our sins could be forgiven but do we really understand what that means?  I know I never did, and I grew up in church.  But today the story of the cross holds another meaning for me.  It holds a story that directly affects me today.  In the life I live with my family, with my job, with my money and with my future.  The meaning it holds is the fact that once I died to Christ, once I completely surrendered; I have been living on a whole new level I didn’t know existed.

Jesus only went to the cross once.  You know why?  Because when he went, he gave it all.  He completely died to himself and to the world on that day at Calvary.  We never hear about Jesus having to die more that once.  One death was all it took and God resurrected him. 

I believe the same is true for us.  When you really die to yourself and fully surrender to God, I believe he resurrects you as a new creature in him.  I know that sounds cliché but think about it.  How many times have you struggled with the same thing?  How many times have you tried to change something about yourself, only to find yourself repeating old behaviors?  I believe the reason is because you have not died yet.  You have not given all yet.

Words cannot possible do justice to the changes God has made in my life.  I have the all the things I ever wanted.  You see, resurrection is about blessing, its about new life.  It’s about walking in promise.  It’s about walking in the power and prosperity of God.  It’s not just about a spiritual life its about having blessings here on earth in this life.  When you can die to God, truly gut wrenching grief, sorrow and desperation to do anything God wants you to do, then he lifts you up in resurrection and you begin to live in the blessings he has ordained for you.  The reason is because you know the source of your blessing and you understand that HE is all that matters.  Living for God is the best life I have ever know.  I have had a lot of things in my life and been a lot of places and met a lot of people that others would love to me.  And still, living for God is the best life I have ever known.  But I couldn’t have known it without first dying.

Have you died yet?  You cannot be resurrected until you have died. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

If only...

I have this friend who is completely awesome.  She could be the coolest girl I’ve ever met.  She has this rock star aura about her and she exudes charisma.  There is just something about her that has always drawn me to her.  It almost sounds a little romantic but it’s not. It is one soul seeing into another soul and knowing the kindness that is hidden within.

From the moment I met her, I knew she was something special.  We were both apprehensive about one another.  As girls do, we were sizing each other up and trying to decide if we could be friends.  Maybe a more accurate statement would be we were trying to decide if each of us was “cool” enough for the other.  But aside from the outward impression, my friend had an honesty about her that I have rarely seen in others.  She was always looking at me intently to see if I was real, to see if I was telling her the truth and to check for pretenses.  The crazy thing is honesty and integrity came natural for her.  I use to always talk to her about God, talk to her about men, talk to her about quitting her bad habit, but she was always content to accept herself for who she was and in many ways I admired that about her.  I see my friend as someone who can be anything she wants to be.  I believe in her ability because I see her heart and I know she has everything she needs to be a huge success in life.  Yet, she cannot see that about herself and she sees me as an eternal optimist who gets on her nerves because I am always telling her everything is going to be ok.  My friend is really struggling right now in life.  Just the other day, she told me that she was all done with everything and she needed to take a break from everything including me. She wants to be alone to figure out her next step.  My husband tells me that she doesn’t value me as much as I value her and that might be true, but, I love her as a friend no matter what and when she is ready to talk or hang out, I will be there for her.  I see her for who she is and I know she struggles like all the rest of us on this earth.
The reason I am writing about this today is because as I was thinking about her need to be absent from my life, the thought kept running through my mind, “I wish she knew how much I cared about her and I wish there was something I could do to help her through this hard time” and immediately I realized that is exactly how God must feel about us when we try to do things on our own.
I wish I could package this experience I have with God, wrapped in a bow and give it to my friend so she could know how wonderful walking with the lord truly is…but I can’t.  I want to give Jesus to her, but I can’t.  I want to show her the hope that exists in prayer, but I can’t.  I can’t do anything but love her from a distance, pray for her and wait until is ready to let me in her life again.  I wonder if God feels the same way.  I wonder how much it grieves him when we push him out of our lives because we are struggling.  I wonder all the ways he wants to help us in our time of need but we don’t let him.

I run into people all the time who are hurting, who are struggling with life’s challenges and I always leave those experiences wishing I could just give them Jesus.  It is never about being better then someone else, it’s really about knowing where my hope comes from and wishing others could experience the same hope I have.
 Living a Christian life does not mean we has it all together.  It doesn’t mean there will not be problems.  It doesn’t guarantee a marriage will last and it doesn’t mean success will come.   Living a Christian life means that when trouble comes, when relationships fail, when our heart is broken and when the money is gone, I still have hope because God is with me.  He loves me in a way I can’t understand but I can definitely feel.  God is always there for us, even when we walk out on him, even when we deserve the consequence of our actions and even when we push him away.  God waits.
If only I could give Jesus away to those who need hope, but I can’t.  I can only love… and pray… and wait.  If only…..

Friday, February 22, 2013

How God Must Feel

I woke up an hour earlier than usual this morning.  When that happens I ask myself why. I have been accused of “over thinking” and “over analyzing” on several occasions and I have decided that I am guilty as charged.  However, my over thinking and over analyzing has served me well.  In this instance, I asked, Lord, what do you want me to do?  I thought maybe I woke up extra early so that I could read my Bible or pray and sure enough, when I started praying, I realized why I had woke up.

Let me begin by saying that almost everything I have learned in life has come from my own experiences. As a graduate student, I learn the material by relating it to something I am familiar with.  When I am working with clients, I relate to them through similar experiences I have encountered.  When I study my Bible, I understand the scripture by relating it to something that is applicable in my own life or in my environment.  The reason I say all that is because my blogs are typically about my experiences and how I see and understand God through them.  More times than not, I reveal too much personal information, yet, I believe that the truth speaks louder than a make believe scenario and the reader is intuitive enough to tell the difference.  So with that, I begin.

For any of you who know me, you probably know the struggles I have had in my marriage.  For those of you who don’t, suffice it to say that it is nothing short of a miracle that my husband and I are still married.  We have an uncanny bond that can only be explained by the fact that it is God given.  In our four years of marriage, we have tried to divorce each other 3 separate times and split up a total of 5 times, not a very good track record.   Crazy as it may sound, never once did those separations have to do with the fact that we did not love each other.  On the contrary, we love each other very much; we just both come to the table with sorted pasts that predicates our behaviors when times get hard.  I think Dale and I have both come to the conclusion individually that our marriage is about something bigger than just him and I and that has forged a commitment we had never had before.  That isn’t to say that both of us have a difficult time “staying” but when we do get to the place we want to run, we try really hard not to.

I am learning more about who God is through the relationship I have with my husband.  Here is what I mean.  Before I met Dale, I had spent three years on a Sabbatical.  That is to say that I didn’t date anyone for those three years. I spent my time somewhat in isolation.  I worked out, I went to church, I wrote in my journal and I ran my business.  I did not even spend time with friends, I was alone.  The sabbatical was induced by a break up that was really difficult, because it represented my “belief” in what I believed God was doing in my life and I really thought I would end up with the person who had just broken my heart.  After the break up, I was so broken and dismayed.  I knew there was no place to turn but to God.  I had already decided the bars and cheap thrills were not for me because they always left me empty, so God became my only option.  During those three years, God taught me what love really was.  I remember nights when I would cry like a baby from the loneliness and say to him “I wish you were flesh so that you could just hold me and make me feel safe.”  I felt so frustrated that God was a spirit and not tangible, yet there was no mistaking his tangible presence.  He was there with me and he was holding me in a way that I could not see with my eyes but I could feel in my heart and spirit.  It was during one of those times that he began to teach me the role of a husband.  He showed me that my earthly husband would be the flesh and blood that would hold me and comfort me as an extension of my spiritual husband, Jesus.  I know it must sound trite, but at that time in my life it was so important for me to create a distinction between who God was to me and who a man was to me.  Up until this time in my life, I always chose a man over my walk with God.  I found myself compromising my beliefs in order to fit into a relationship.  The guy who represented the breakup I just discussed also represented the very first time in my entire life that I chose God over the relationship, which made it all the more difficult when it ended because I knew I had done the right thing by God.  I thought for sure HE would honor that.  For me, I didn’t know how to draw a distinction between my love for God and my love for a man because I was trying to fill a void with whatever means possible. Men always took first place because they were flesh and blood and I needed that.  God was intangible and often silent.  He left me to walk in obscurity instead of certainty and I hated that because I was afraid.  Yet, when I finally surrendered to him during this three year sabbatical, I learned what my relationship with a man was supposed to represent and I learned how important the role of both husband and wife are.   In this instance, God was distinctly showing me the differences between my spiritual husband, him, and my fleshly husband I would one day have.  I knew that my fleshly husband would be an extension of the love God has for me.

Fast forward three years later, imagine my surprise when my marriage started to fail after just 2 months.  I didn’t understand. I was so confused and profoundly wounded.    My husband and I spent the first three years trying to divorce each other, yet, I went into this marriage with the belief that this was the marriage God had been preparing me for which it is.  However, it is not without its struggles.  Every single thing in our lives is being used by God to teach us about ourselves and about his love for us. There is nothing that is not purposed and there is not an end point to the lessons until we are dead.  I finally understand that there is no one place I will “arrive” at on this earth, my destination point is heaven.  I use to think that everything I have learned was leading me to my “purpose” that place where I would arrive at when everything falls into place at once and life gets better.  Coming to the realization that life is one big journey and none of us ever “arrive” took a lot of pressure of the expectations I had about myself and about my marriage.

So, back to where all this started.  I woke up an hour early wondering why I was awake so I started to pray and inquire of the lord if there was something he wanted to tell me.  As I lay there in bed praying, my feet where touching my husbands.  I felt him move in bed to a position away from me.  Since I am an over thinker and being the girl that I am, I wondered to myself if he was moving so he didn’t have to touch me.  I felt hurt and I ask God in that moment if my husband would ever be able to give me the love that I needed as his wife.  I asked God if my husband would ever really trust that I was on his side in life and if he could ever trust the fact that I truly love him with all my heart.  Immediately God begin to show me in my thoughts how often we move away from him.  He showed me all the times I had chose to not trust him and walked away from him.  He reminded me that all the while, he was there, loving me and waiting for me to come back to him.  It hit home with me so completely that I was inspired to get out of bed and put my thoughts on paper.

The issues that my husband and I have in our marriage are exactly identical.  We both question if the other is committed.  We both question if the other really truly loves us.  We both question whether or not we can trust one another with our hearts.  We both react identically the same when faced with hurt, judgment and rejection.  Dale and I could not me more alike.  We were made for each other and both of us have said to one another that there is probably no one else on this earth that could live with me and no one on the earth that could live with him.  We are difficult people.  This morning I asked God, will my husband every trust that I am on his side?  It breaks my heart when he treats me like his enemy.  Don’t get me wrong, I do treat him the same at times, but in that moment this morning when I was praying, the lord said to me, that is exactly how I feel when people don’t trust me.  I just started crying because I understood just how vast Gods love for us is because I know how deep my love for my husband is and God’s love for us is indescribably more infinite.  I fail daily at unconditional love.  I do not give my husband the love he needs and deserves because in doing that, I risk rejection and pain.  Yet, that is exactly what God does for us.  He shows up time and time again to love us, even though we don’t trust him, even though we question him and even though we turn our back on him and try to do life our way.  Then when we get to the end of ourselves yet again, he is there waiting.

I know God is asking me to give the same love to my husband.  A task I fear I will fail because of my own fear of being unloved in return.  But, when I have ears to hear the lord, he reminds me that my marriage is in his hands and this is the man in which he has joined me to.  There is no doubt that Dale is exactly the person I needed in this life if for no other reason that I grow in God because of him.  I believe all the struggles I have had in my marriage are present to grow me in God and to grow me as a wife.  I believe Dale is everything I want and need, just like Jesus is everything I want and need.  But life is a journey, here a little and there a little.  One of my favorite scriptures is found in Isaiah 28:10 “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little”  this scripture helps me to remember that things do not happen overnight.  The happen by putting one foot in front of the other.  Walking one block at a time until eventually you can run a marathon.

Someday, my husband and I will grow into a strong unified relationship and I will eventually have the love I always imagined.  But until then, I am learning how to love and how to give and how to be, hopefully, a godly wife and woman.  Until I arrive at that destination point, I am so thankful for the struggles, because those struggles are giving me deep roots and a stronger bond in both my marriage and with God.

God IS good all the time, we are just afraid to trust that!

Kathy Looper, MA MFTi

Kathy Looper, MA MFTi
Marriage & Family Therapist