Kathy Looper Christian Counseling

Kathy Looper Christian Counseling

Thursday, October 16, 2014


I read an article a while back that disturbed me so much that I saved it in every conceivable place I could think of on my computer.  The article was about a Methodist Minister who became an Atheist after over 30 years of pastoring a church.  What struck me the most about this story was not that this person quit believing, but how they described the process of being a believer to becoming an unbeliever.  They wrote, “It was a very, very gradual process.  There was not one single moment where I can look back and say, ah, that was the moment.  It was kind of a slow progression.”  

Does that bother anyone else besides me?

            After I read that comment, the first thing I thought of was the word “drift.”  I thought about how easy it is to slowly drift away from the things and the people that had our complete attention at some point in time.  It happens all to easily.  All we have to do is look at the number of people who join the gym in January after making a New Year’s resolution to live a healthier lifestyle; or, look at the number of marriages that end in divorce, or the number of people using prescription and illegal drugs and alcohol to cope with depression.  I understand that divorce and depression occur randomly and sometimes for good reason, but the majority could be averted if people got back into the fight and demanded a better life for themselves.  Yes, you read that right, I said demanded.  Who is going to give you the life you want and deserve if you are not willing to fight for it?  Do you think success is just going to be handed to you?  Do you think a strong marriage is what happens because you love each other?  Do you think that depression and oppression is going to magically go away because you wish it to? 

             Anyone who knows me, or who has read my column, knows that my faith in God is the foundation on which my life is built.  I am all about faith and I am all about prayer and trusting God to provide.  However, the Bible says, “faith without works is dead.” (James 2).  James goes on to say that “I will show you my faith by my works” that means that we have a part to play in this relationship God.   The Bible is rich in metaphors of warfare.  It describes the Christian as a Soldier.  It also teaches us to “run the race with endurance that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).  The word endurance means to keep going no matter what until the race is finished.  To endure means to hold out, or sustain without yielding.”   We cannot quit !!!

            As much as I believe all things work together for the good, I am not naive.  Life is hard.  Marriage is hard.  Not quitting is hard.  Standing up for what is right is hard.  Loosing weight is hard.  Going to the gym is hard.  Making the life you want for yourself is hard, but so what !  We would never know joy if we didn’t know sorrow.  We would appreciate success if we hadn’t first failed.  We wouldn’t know love unless we first had to live without it.  Why are so many people willing to accept the deck of cards they are dealt in life?  Why are so many people living in bodies they can’t stand to look at in the mirror? 

            I am here to tell you that you don’t have to live with less that what you want.  I have seen to many miracles to believe otherwise.   This Saturday, I will be attending a baptism of a girl who was recently released from prison for armed robbery.  She was a gang member and she was a client of mine when she was first released from Prison.  When she left her re-entry program, everyone thought she would fail and return to the life she knew.  But she didn’t.  She got a job.  She started a relationship with God.  She wanted a different life and she is getting a different life.  I cannot wait to watch her get baptized on Saturday.

Change isn’t easy.  You’re going to have to fight.  You’re going to have to endure the temptation to give in.  You’re going to have to let go of your ego in order to see your dreams come true, but it really isn’t that hard once you determine that quitting is not an option.  I have lost everything in my life, including loved ones and my business. It was very difficult to get through it, but I wouldn’t go back and change one thing.  My life is better today than I would have ever thought possible and it is not better because of material possessions.  It is better because I am at peace with who I am.   My marriage isn’t great all the time, but it’s great sometimes.  My income isn’t what I want it to be right now, but it will be soon because I have a goal.  My body isn’t what it used to be, I am 47, but I still go to the gym and I eat right 70% of the time. 

            If you want a better life than the one you have right now, all you have to do is change your mind, that is where it starts.  We are what we eat.  I believe in that 100%.  It is biblical.  What we feed our mind is what we will become.  You may not know where to begin, but I can help you with that.  The point is to just begin and that starts with making a decision to change.  If you need a little more motivation, go to www.youtube.com and search for the audio book, “The Power of Vulnerability” by BreƱe Brown or order her book “The Gifts of Imperfection.”  Just begin by feeding your mind something different, something encouraging and then call me.

            Don’t become like the Methodist minister who lost their faith in God after 30 years because she was not paying attention to her life.  Don’t be like so many people who drift slowly away from the life they once hoped to have.  As long as you’re still breathing, it is never to late to be who you want to be.  Just begin.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

“I am going to hell and I am ok with that…….”

This was the statement I heard my client say to me the other day and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

My life for many years has been in the fitness and nutrition industry.  I have been a columnist for the Tulare Voice and other publications writing about nutrition and fitness.  I love to teach what I know about both subjects and in my everyday life, I still make a living as a nutritionist.  However, I have also finished my Master’s and have been gathering my hours to become a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  I am also a Licensed Christian Minister.  I currently work as a therapist intern in a female felony parolee residential treatment facility.  I love the time I spend with the girls in this program.   That may sound strange, but each and every one of the girls I work with has a story that is sad, shocking and courageous all at the same time.

It has surprised me that I could love working with this population with compassion instead of judgment because I come from a very pro law enforcement background.  Two of my uncles are retired California Highway Patrol Officers. One uncle is a retired Captain and one is a retired Sargent.  Many of my friends are police officers and I myself came very close to becoming a police officer many years ago.   While in graduate school, I struggled with my classmates because of my staunch position of people taking responsibility for their actions.  I haven’t been one who wanted to hear reasons or excuses for bad behavior, especially when I didn’t get to use excuses myself when I made a mistake.  I was especially predisposed to judgment when it came to matters of addiction.  I had a zero tolerance rule and that had much to do with my own experiences in life with loved ones and addiction issues.  So, working with female felony offenders is not something I ever thought I could do because I was always on the other side of the fence.  But, somewhere along the line, God really changed my heart.  Today, I care very deeply for the girls that I see as therapy clients because I see them as people, I see who they are behind the mask of self protection that they wear.

Just the other day, one of the women came to see me for her weekly appointment.  It was her second therapy session with me.  In her initial session, she stated she wanted help for her anger issues.  She felt angry all the time and she didn’t know why.  So when she came back this week, I asked her about how she was doing with the anger issues and to my surprise, she said that she felt much better and hasn’t felt angry since seeing me the week before.  That was great news for me and it allowed us to do some deeper work in that session.  Often, the subject of God comes up therapy sessions because some form of faith is at the core of all of us.  I can say all of us confidently because the Bible teaches us that God placed a need inside us all to know him.  Regardless of what people do with that void, it is still there, begging the question “what do I believe about God.”

On this day, my client said to me “I know this is off subject but can I ask you a question?”  I said of course and she asked me a very direct question about what I believed about her lifestyle and if I thought she was going to hell.  If you are like me, you are probably reading this thinking, holy moly, how are you going to bow out of that gracefully… I was thinking, oh God, please help me have the right words to give this girl that will show her your love.  I won’t go into the details of that conversation right now, but she did make the bold statement of “I am going to hell and I am ok with that….I don’t want to go to hell, I want to live right, but I know what the Bible teaches about my lifestyle.” 

As I was driving home late that evening I couldn’t stop thinking about how many times I have heard people make that statement and sing about it in music, totally unaware and in complete utter ignorance of what hell is going to be like.  I can’t even tell you what hell is going to be like but my experience with God tells me that if GOD can blow my mind with the kindness and love he has shown to me, and if the rolling thunder and lightning can cause me to be frightened when I hear it at night, how much more terrible is hell going to be?  The place that God has reserved for those who do not love him and follow him?  The closest thing I can think of as a comparison is an erupting volcano, which we have seen in the news recently.  Can you imagine being thrown into a volcano and not dying but having to suffer the pain of the burning?  I cannot.  Worse that that, I cannot imagine being separated from God for all of eternity never again able to feel his sweet spirit.  

I am not writing this article to incite fear.  I am writing this because I am coming to terms with my own complacency.  I try very hard to live the Christian life of loving God and loving people but the truth is, loving people is hard work and requires time and energy which most of us are in short supply of.

My heart is heavy because I see how easy it is to take care of my own needs instead of the needs of others.  I watch day after day as close personal friends post on Facebook about their daughter being diagnosed with a brain tumor, our friend, Joel who recently passed away too young from an illness, and a former co-worker of mine who at age 37 was diagnosed with cancer and undergoes blood transfusions every week.  There seems to be so many friends and acquaintances with major illnesses that I can’t remember to pray for all of them, and the truth is, I go about my life and forget about their suffering, I forget to pray for them.  I finally started making a list of the people I needed to remember in prayer but I know I am not getting everyone on that list and there are many days that I still forget.

I have become increasingly aware of two things:  1.  If it requires too much work, people will not bother.  I see this play out in marriages, parent-child relationships and numerous other instances.  People in general rather not bother with the struggle of conflict if it can at all be avoided.   2.  Life has become overly busy and any free time a person has to themselves is spent on their phone texting or using social media.  There is not time to stop and be still and be present in the moment.  We are complacent. 

So what is the solution?  For me, my unintentional solution has been waking up in the middle of the night to pray or write and focus on ways to love people and whenever possible, tell them about Jesus.  I don’t know what your solution is.  What I do know is that we all have a purpose to fulfill in this life on earth and I desire with all my being to fulfill the purpose God created me for.  I want people to know HIM and I want people to experience his goodness.  I want our community to get back to a place where talking about God is NOT politically incorrect and binding together in unity for the common good of others is what we are focused on.  I know it takes work.  I know it takes effort and I know it takes resources but I hope with all my heart that we have not become too complacent that we aren’t willing to slow down and spend our time on the things that are going to matter in eternity.  God said, If you love me, keep my commandments.  Love the Lord God with all thy heart, and love they neighbor as thyself.”    

If this resonates with you, please take some time and evaluate the area’s you might be complacent in your life.  What can you do to become engaged again?  

Kathy Looper, MA MFTi

Kathy Looper, MA MFTi
Marriage & Family Therapist