November 2012, A Letter from June on ‘Who are you thankful for?’
Have you ever wondered why healing, recovery, and growth rarely occur outside the context of … relationships? If so, consider this: God is relational, and He has made us relational … in His image. We are hurt through relationships, but we are also healed through them!
By God’s divine design, emotional healing requires exposure to godly, loving people—people speaking truth into our lives and extending the grace they, themselves, have received. The wisest people are well aware that our progress is more than likely to be “two steps forward and one step back.” In truth, caring relationships extend God’s own tender heart and hands into our lives.
Personally, I don’t know where I would be without those who, over the years, have come alongside me and patiently mentored me … coached me … loved me. People like Nadine, Ed, Barbara, Sue, Randy, Eleanor, Ray … and my own precious mother, now with the Lord.
And talk about gracious! While answering my questions … holding me accountable … cheering my victories … and confronting my errors, never once did they exhibit a spirit of arrogance or pride. Instead, their loving encouragement was “… pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere,” much like “a mother taking care of her own children.”
As Thanksgiving approaches, it’s only natural to find ourselves praising God for the rich relationships that have graced our lives. And this month, through our Thankful Hearts program, there’s a memorable way to acknowledge these dear ones.
When you join me in blessing your mentors and “life coaches” with a gift in their honor to Hope For The Heart, we’ll send them a note letting them know of your thoughtful gesture.
While Thanksgiving brings a special time to thank God for the relationships that have meant the most in our lives, I am fully aware that it can also be a time of relational challenges. Family members—often separated by distance and busy schedules throughout the year—come together for the holidays and, in the process, unhealed wounds are reopened … unresolved grievances unearthed … unprocessed pain revisited.
I can’t think of a time of year that people need more help with relational issues than the holiday season. And that is why I am pleased to let you know that a powerful, practical source of help has arrived. It’s our brand new book, How to Deal with Difficult Relationships. (I’m tucking a bookmark into this letter that shares a little about this new book.)
The book is filled with practical, step-by-step help to confront the difficult people in your life … to bring balance to unbalanced relationships … to respond when others refuse to change … to experience the freedom of forgiveness—even if reconciliation isn’t possible. In these pages, I can serve as your personal life coach, helping you:
- Make your relationship a priority over your need to be right.
“The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?” (1 Corinthians 6:7 NIV).
- Demonstrate willingness to understand the other person’s perspective, change where necessary, and heal relational tension.
“Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11 ESV).
- Listen, even if you disagree, to the other person’s opinion—giving yourself time to consider what they say before you respond.
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19 NIV).
- Respond with humility by committing your reputation to God and asking Him to help you improve your relationships.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Peter 5:6 NIV).
- Consider those who confront you as being a gift from God.
“Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses” (Proverbs 27:6 NIV).
- Consider your confronter’s position without being defensive or combative. Confrontation can help us draw closer to God, become more loving, and grow closer to our confronter.
“Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy” (Proverbs 29:1 NIV).
Romans 12:18 (NIV) instructs us: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” The “if” reminds us that bridging difficult relationships requires two willing people working toward the common goal of conflict resolution. We can’t control another person’s heart response. But we can surrender our difficult relationships to God and allow Him to change whatever needs to be changed … in us!
This holiday season, I invite you to join me in thanking God for relationships—those that bring us joy and those that challenge us. Regardless, we can know that relationships give us an opportunity to grow, learn, forgive, serve, and share.
And for those whose life-changing legacy has lovingly encouraged you to stretch toward your God-given potential, please know that your Thankful Hearts tribute gift will help us reach out to countless others who need hope for their hearts so desperately … especially now.
With a Thankful Heart … for you,
P.S. Whether it’s a parent, teacher, spouse, coach, Sunday school teacher, pastor, friend, or counselor … anyone whose loving investment in your life has made an indelible mark and an unforgettable difference, why not let them know with a special tribute? Express your Thankful Heart with a gift to Hope or go to www.HopeForTheHeart.org/ThankfulHearts. And please, mark your calendar for our next Biblical Counseling Institute on Mentoring and Life Coaching, November 13 and 17. See our website www.HopeForTheHeart.org/bci for information and to register.
If you’re on Facebook, I invite you to connect with me at www.Facebook.com/June.Hunt.Hope. And if you’re not, take it from me: You’re never too old to start! See you there!