I have a confession to make

I have never read through the Bible in a systematic way. Until now. Since January 1, I’ve been using the M’Cheyne Bible reading plan…and it works!

When you read bits and pieces of the Bible, it’s difficult to get a sense of the big picture. God seems angry, vengeful and impudent. What do all these separate stories, kings and kingdoms have to do with the Gospel? But there is something unique about reading the entire Bible. Everything begins to fit together into one cohesive whole.

What amazes me is the sovereignty and omnipotence of God. Evil rulers like Pharoah and Nebuchadnezzar and Pilate are mere pawns in his hands to accomplish His purposes throughout history. Evil spirits bow down to His sovereignty and obey His commands as when He used them to torment King Saul and to cause Judas to betray His beloved Son, Jesus. It was all under His control. Not a moment has gone by that evil has had free reign!

The other amazing thing that I see in this big picture is the love of God and the incredible lengths to which He goes to bring people to Himself.

The Lord will not abandon His people on account of His great name, because the Lord has been pleased to make you a people for Himself. (I Samuel 12:22)

Throughout history, God has literally moved heaven and earth to make a people for Himself, who will honor Him as Lord of all. He is utterly committed to this purpose.

In my therapy practice, I work with people who have been deeply damaged by wicked people. I see the devastating effects of being sinned against, and the deep holes we get ourselves into because of our own sin and determination to fix things our own way. It’s hard to understand why some of us have to experience so much darkness. I think the answer is in understanding what God’s bigger purpose is in our lives. How has He used this darkness to bring us to Him? How has He stripped away the wrong ideas we’ve had about our sovereign and loving God? Some of these questions won’t have answers in this lifetime.

Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! (Romans 11:33)

So what is the relevance to your life today? The relevance to you is that God is highly invested in you. He brings adversity; He uses sinful people; He has a bigger plan than you can likely see right now. He knows the most wonderful thing for you is to know Him and trust Him and walk with Him and know that He is God. And through this, He is pleased. Through this He is glorified.

To access the M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan:


OR, check out the page on this blog site: Bible Reading Plan

Posted in biblical counseling, christian counseling, therapy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Letter to Self

(Courtesy of Brennan Manning)

Good morning, impostor. Surely you are surprised by the cordial greeting… Let me begin by admitting that I have been unreasonable, ungrateful, and unbalanced in my appraisal of you. (Of course, you are aware, puff of smoke, that in addressing you, I am talking to myself. You are not some isolated, impersonal entity living on an asteroid but a real part of me.)

I come to you today not with a rod in hand but with an olive branch. When I was a little shaver and first knew that no one was there for me, you intervened and showed me where to hide…

At that moment in time, you were invaluable. Without your intervention I would have been overwhelmed by dread and paralyzed by fear. You were there for me and played a crucial, protective role in my development. Thank you.

When I was four years old, you taught me how to build a cottage. Remember the game? I would crawl under the covers from the head of the bed to the footrest and pull the sheets, blanket, and pillow over me–actually believing that no on could find me. I felt safe. I’m still amazed at how effectively it worked. My mind would think happy thoughts, and I would spontaneously smile and start to laugh under the covers. We built that cottage together because the world we inhabited was not a friendly place.

But in the construction process you taught me how to hide my real self from everyone and initiated a lifelong process of concealment, containment, and withdrawal. But then your malevolent side appeared and you started lying to me. “Brennan,” you whispered, “if you persist in this follow of being yourself, your few long-suffering friends will hit the bricks, leaving you all alone. Stuff your feelings, shut down your memories, withhold your opinions, and develop social graces so you’ll fit in wherever you are.”

And so, the elaborate game of pretense and deception began. Because it worked I raised no objection. As the years rolled by, you-I got strokes from a variety of sources. We were elated and concluded the game must go on.

But you needed someone to bridle you and rein you in. I had neither the perception nor the courage to tame you, so you continued to rumble like Sherman through Atlanta, gathering momentum along the way. Your appetite for attention and affirmation became insatiable. I never confronted you with the lie because I was deceived myself.

The bottom line, my pampered playmate, is that you are both needy and selfish. You need care, love, and a safe dwelling place… my gift is to take you where, unknowingly, you have longed to be–into the presence of Jesus. Your days of running riot are history. From now on, you slow down, slow very down.

In His presence, I notice that you have already begun to shrink. Wanna know somethin’ little guy? You’re much more attractive that way. I am nicknaming you “Pee-Wee.” Naturally, you are not going to roll over suddenly and die. I know you will get disgruntled at times and start to act out, but the longer you spend time in the presence of Jesus, the more accustomed you grow to His face, the less adulation you will need because you will have discovered for yourself that He is Enough. And in the Presence, you will delight in the discovery of what it means to live by grace and not by performance.

Your friend,                                                                                                                                   Brennan

From: Abba’s Child, Manning, Brennan (1994). Colorado Springs: NavPress.

Posted in biblical counseling, christian counseling, therapy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Biblical Wisdom = Good Therapy

Earlier this week, John Piper tweeted:

“Thanksgiving is the dethroning of a god and turning it into a gift.”

Not only is this biblical wisdom, but very effective from a therapist’s point of view. Stay tuned for more on this awesome concept…

Posted in biblical counseling, christian counseling, therapy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Nature of Endurance

We all live in an “instant” society. Instant breakfast… microwaved dinners. If email is too slow, just IM or text. Most of us wouldn’t be able to tolerate the slow speed of a dial-up Internet connection any more (if you even remember those days!). 3G is too slow for all we want to do on our smart phones—we need 4G. If the speed limit is 75, most of us will be going 79. Chances are, if this blog is too long, you won’t read it! We’re all in a big hurry.

In contrast to going through life in a hurry, God talks about endurance.

             “You have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” Hebrews 10:36.

Webster¹ uses the example of a marathon runner having endurance. It defines endurance as:

             “the ability to withstand hardship or adversity; especially: the ability to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity.”

The point is time. God is in no hurry. His perspective is eternal, and I believe He wants our perspective to become eternal as well. Often He accomplishes His purposes through the difficult things that seem to go on and on.

When we trust God day after day, when nothing seems to change; when we learn through hardship that He is faithful and can be trusted, we are doing the will of God. And what is this promise Hebrews says we receive? A deeper, richer, more vibrant, more real relationship with the God of all eternity.

So I challenge you today, to slow down, to let God speak to you, to listen, to trust, and to endure. God is in this with you for the long haul.

¹ 7/22/13 http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Changing Perspectives

I am always amazed when I read my Bible, how different God’s perspective is from ours. The things that God values are not our natural values. We value comfort, peace and happiness. God values the things that discomfort, distress and suffering accomplishes in us.

Now, I’m a Marriage and Family Therapist. People come to me for help with the many difficulties in their lives they can’t seem to fix. And I believe God can use therapy to bring hope and healing to our hearts and our relationships. Many people ask me, “Doesn’t God want me to have a good marriage, obedient children and a balanced budget?” I believe God does want these blessings for us, but He has something far greater in mind for us than these earthly blessings.

The New Testament repeatedly emphasizes the concepts of suffering, trials and testing. Who in their right mind would want to suffer? Not me! I want only the good things God has to offer. But if we are satisfied with these earthly blessings, it’s very possible we will miss out on the very essence of God’s blessings!

Paul certainly didn’t want to suffer either, and yet suffering was exactly what God used to allow Paul to experience intimacy with Him. In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 Paul tells us he was tormented by a “thorn in the flesh.” Wikipedia¹ defines thorn in the flesh as “a colloquialism used to describe a chronic infirmity, annoyance, or trouble in one’s life.” We don’t know what kind of chronic trouble it was, but we do know that Paul asked God three times to remove it. But God didn’t.

In what circumstances have you found yourself that you wanted out? Maybe you’ve prayed and prayed that God would intervene. Heaven is silent. I know the feeling! It’s hard to understand where God is. Why would He allow some chronic problem to go on and on and on and on? Doesn’t He care?

What God does want to change is our perspective. He wants to separate us from our craving for comfort and peace and a trouble-free life, and bring us to a place that we desire to know Him in a deeper way regardless of our circumstances.  God said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you.” In other words, God wanted Paul to know that, no matter how difficult things get, or how long they go on, He is enough.

Not only is God enough, but it is actually through the very difficulties that seem so overwhelming at times, that He shows His strength in our lives. It is only in coming face to face with our own weaknesses, our own inability to fix things (even through prayer!) that we can, not just know, but truly experience intimacy with God. That is what God values. That is what He knows will really bring us peace.

Paul experienced a change in perspective. From a desire to be free of his suffering, he came to embrace something greater. When he was finally able to turn loose of his desire for comfort, God came in like a flood, sweeping over him with grace and peace and strength.

So what is your perspective right now? What have you asked God to change over and over and over again to the point of discouragement? Do you need a change in perspective? Do you need to experience God’s grace and peace and strength more than you need a stress-free life? It’s a wonderful trade-off!

What was Paul’s response? “BRING IT ON! If this is what it takes for me to know more of God’s grace and strength and to experience Him in a more real way, give it to me!”

¹ 7/20/13 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorn_in_the_flesh

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to my blog!

Let me start by telling you a little about myself. My name is Brooke Seager, and I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist in Wichita, Kansas. The foundation of my therapy practice is my personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. So to start out, let me share one of the best explanations of the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that I’ve ever heard:

“The gospel is the good news, that at the cost of his Son’s life, God has done                       everything necessary to enthrall us with what will make us eternally and                     ever-increasingly happy—namely, himself.” (John Piper)

Now that the foundation has been laid, let me share with you some other important things that inform my practice.

1)     The sovereignty of God. I believe God has a unique plan for each one of our lives and that He uses absolutely everything in our lives to accomplish his purpose in and through each one of us. That means He even uses other people’s sins against us to accomplish that! How amazing is that!

2)     The goodness of God. Everything he allows in our lives (even the bad stuff!) is because of his own inherent goodness and lovingkindness.

3)     The wisdom of God. God uses many influences to accomplish his purpose in our lives. I believe he uses people, including therapists, in much the same way that he uses physicians for the healing of our bodies.

4)     We were created to bring reflect his glory, not our own. When we get that right, everything else seems to fall into place!

Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantel of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord that He may be glorified. (This is a prophecy about what Jesus Christ came to earth to do, and to continue this work through His Spirit)

These are hard-learned lessons over a lifetime of asking hard questions of God. I’m a seeker, wanting to understand who God is and how He works. I hope to share some of these hard-learned lessons with you. Stay tuned…

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment