GUEST POST: New Year: New Pain, New Hope-Next Step

The Christmas season unites the family, and that’s one GOOD button.

With the closing of the old year and the opening of the new year, the December celebrations will hopefully leave us with rich and positive memories. Yet sometimes it’s all family togetherness again leaving us with frustration or a new burdensome burden.

Maybe you’re enjoying some positive holiday afterglow. That’s good – soak it up. Family is one of the greatest joys because good relationships can reflect God’s preference. At the same time, we are not in Heaven and so relationship stress, “growth opportunities” and abusive situations have to be dealt with.

Something we noticed in Focus on the Family’s Counseling Department by nearly 1,500 counseling consultations we complete each month is this: New and confusing issues arise for mothers, fathers, sons, daughters and spouses in December. We may smile for parties, but with January and February coming, the delayed effects of these difficult facts or new holiday revelations are starting to unfold. The first two months of the year are the time when the number of our counseling calls usually increases.

Details vary, but common threads are available for post-holiday burdened hearts. Here are some of the themes we’ve seen and the nature of the personalized input we offer in response.

Addiction. A loved one seems unable to stop the cycle. The chaos continues to change over and over again. The pain is real for family members and the addicted person.

If your loved one is in such a cycle, what can you do to make you healthiest version yourself – with strong and loving boundaries? Focus your energy there; it’s the best thing to do, and it gives your loved one their best chance to wake up to the consequences of addiction before it’s all too late. With proper help, their recovery is possible, even if difficult.

Bad marriage. Where is the first love and friendship? The affair or dabbling in the realm of virtual betrayal through pornography probably left his mark. Yet even the lowest minimum of a marriage can go up somewhere hope again. The only individual you control, is you.

Reaching out for help even if your spouse isn’t-changing your responses through good self-care, essential self-esteem, and yes, even the sacrificial love of the spouse isn’t yours ’ want ‘now, important starting areas for potential change.

Child Abuse. There are no excuses that are good enough if physical harm, patterns of verbal abuse or misuse of power degrade or control another person.

Clearly and frankly stated: Be careful, get the support needed to stop evil in its paths, and seek out advice and empowerment required by STAY safe. Only then is the potential for true repentance and relationship healing possible. Ending this cycle is very important. guest

Conflicts between parent and adult child. Raising children is difficult. Adolescence is hard. But launch on MATURITY (or see young adults become rebellious or boomerang back home) can sometimes be more difficult.

Whether in the role of parent or adult child, what can be done to hand over control, or offer honor despite a misunderstood appearance? Deliberately creating a new posture in your relational strains can be key to starting a new cycle of mutual respect and, ultimately, positive influence.

Sadness and mental health challenges. Unfortunately, loss, and sometimes even biochemical challenges in the brain leads to a variety of symptoms. It can feel like a dead-end road with despair rooted. What can be done to cope? What is the way forward?

Social isolation, refusal of medical help, or quitting after the first attempt at counseling are never answers. Community, connection to a healthy and full of grace church, and always remaining a good professional Christian counselor through a guided journey of healing everything matters.

With many of these difficult things we hear, there is no “easy answer” or quick fix. But there may be some possible steps that can help change the course.

And, even under the circumstances not possible or do not change, finding peace and stability in Christian faith and the hope of the Bible is truly satisfying.

There is nothing broken within us that Jesus cannot give it goodness and peace. Finally, the Savior we just celebrated at Christmas is the healer and center of all as we are adjust, LEARN, deal and seek healing.

If we can tell you about Him, and about your joys or your challenges in the new year, we will be honored and humbled to do so.

Call us at 1-855-771-HELP (or visit ). This is what our Focus ministry counselors do every day – and we do love do this because we really value sharing Jesus ’care for you and seeking His wisdom with you.

The new year is with us all. There may be new pains as well as new hopes after the holidays. Family and life are like that you probably have two these feelings are involved.

Accepting that reality and living outside the extreme boundaries of demanding “all that is good” or expecting “all that is bad” from life and those around us is flexible and strong thinking necessary for starting a good new year. Now, with your pains as well as your hopes, take your next best step.

Geremy F. Keeton, M.MFT, LMFT – Sr. Director / Focus of Family Counseling Services Dept

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