Alcoholic Releases Grief
Dancing for Joy 1
A man came to me after wrecking his car while driving under the influence of alcohol. He barely escaped death and as a result of his accident he received his second DUI and admitted that he had a drinking problem and needed help. I took time to collect some background information from him and learned that he had lost his father at an early age which led to some depression and anger and then in his teenage years he began drinking excessively. Other losses and traumas led to more negative feelings and intensified his drinking problems.
After gaining this background information I explained the dynamics of addiction to him telling him that many people experiment with alcohol or drugs at some time in their life but most people do not like feeling high or drunk and they never develop an addiction. However, when an individual does like being high or drunk it is always due to some underlying painful emotions that they want to numb which makes the high or numb feeling feel really good.
This man understood this principle and nodded in agreement that he had some strong emotional pain that led him to begin abusing alcohol and agreed that it is very difficult to stop abusing it when he still has unresolved emotional pain from his past. I explained to him how the Lord can take away his emotional pain through prayer and he became excited and stated that he was raised in a Baptist church and he was excited to learn that the Lord could set him free from his grief and anger.
The next day I met with him and we talked about his father whom he lost at age 12. I asked him what he missed about his father and we made a list of about 16 things he missed. I then led him in a prayer to give these losses to the Lord and asked the Lord to take his grief and sadness from him and carry it for him. After we prayed I asked him to think about his father and tell me how he felt. He told me he felt nothing so I instructed him to think about his father again and try to stir up any negative feelings. He tried but said he felt nothing but calmness.
I asked him what he thought about that. He suddenly became animated and smiled and said, "This would be a great ministry to get involved in. I feel like getting up and dancing" he said with a big smile. I shared with him about the "Set Free" meetings we hold every Friday evening at 7:00 pm at the LBA office.
His reaction reminded me of the lame man whom Peter healed in Acts 8 who began "walking and leaping and praising God" after he was healed. When you experience the Lord's healing after being in bondage for so many years you can't help but get excited about Jesus.
Morphine Addict Set Free
Addicts Wife Amazed 2
An addicted man I saw followed the advice I gave him at our first session and was able to resolve feelings of grief for the loss of several relatives. He reported that after praying the first time he began feeling much better and lost his craving for his drugs. The following week when I asked him how he was doing he said with a smile, "It keeps getting better and better!" He said that he was sleeping better, his marriage was better, his children were doing better, and he began spending time playing with them. He even did a house repair that had been needed for some time and he let go of some anger toward some of his relatives. He summarized his progress by saying, "It's kind of scary how well I'm doing."
I asked him what his wife thought about his changes. He told me that she was skeptical and said, "I just don't see how two sessions can change you so quickly." He smiled and affirmed that he was feeling much better and was no longer struggling with urges to use drugs.
Then we prayed about his anger toward his brother who had been extremely abusive to him when they were growing up. He gave his anger to the Lord and then afterwards he said that he felt even better and no longer felt any anger toward his brother.
I asked him if I had previously mentioned my book to him and I had not. He said that he would like a copy of the book so I walked with him to the parking lot to get a book for him out of my car. I handed the book to him and he looked at it, holding it with both hands with a big smile on his face and said, "Thank you." His smile was so glowing as he walked away looking at his book that I became overwhelmed with joy. Just seeing that look on his face and the joy in his countenance I began to cry with joy at the Lord's goodness and power.
Each time I see this it feels me with excitement and the joy of the Spirit.
The more I see the goodness of the Lord the more excited I become about Him! He is the "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace." "My cup runneth over! Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
One of the more severe cases 3
A young man came to one of our first Set Free meetings and sat quietly as he heard testimonies of how the Lord can set you free from anger, grief, and addiction. He attended the meeting to fulfill a requirement by the local drug court but he admitted later that he was still using drugs at the time and he didn't believe what he heard. He was soon returned to jail and he spoke to me in the jail while I was doing my weekly visit and I told him again about how he could be set free from his anger, grief, and addiction.
When he got out of jail he came to see me in my office and he shared his violent history.
He said he was raised by his grandmother who was very loving to him and spoiled him, and by his uncle who was good to him but was violent with others in the presence of this man. At age 12 he had never used drugs or been in a fight but when his grandmother became very ill he worried about her a lot and began using marijuana at age 12. Then at age 13 his uncle was sent to prison for murder and this loss was traumatic to him. When he was 15 years old his grandmother died and he felt that she had been over medicated by her medical providers and became very angry at the hospital and at God. In his rage he began beating up others and got into 90 fights over an 8 year period. His anger increased as he lost 13 more friends and relatives over the next 14 years and began abusing drugs regularly to numb his pain and began going in and out of prison and jails. He said to me, "I'm one of the more severe cases."
When I saw him for the first session we prayed about his loss of his grandmother who was very loving to him and sent him to church. We made a list of 17 things he missed about her and then we prayed and he gave these losses to the Lord and asked Him to carry them for him. He said he felt peaceful and calm after we finished praying. When I saw him again two weeks later he was smiling and he told me that he was doing much better and he was not mad at God anymore. He said that he had prayed on his own about the loss of his uncle who was murdered after he was released from prison, and he said he didn't feel angry anymore. He had planned to kill the man who killed him but the Lord took away his anger. He told me that he was praying a lot now and he said, "prayer makes me feel better than drugs ever did" and people were complimenting him on his changed attitude.
He has been out of jail one month now and said he has been able to pass his mandatory drug tests and has not even thought about drugs. When he told the judge that he was coming to see me for counseling the judge accepted that because he is impressed with what he has heard about me.
We talked about how amazing it is to be set free so quickly from grief and anger and how wonderful the Lord is to set people free like this. He agreed and said that he carried this grief for 14 years before he finally gave it to the Lord. He didn't think it would work but now he is convinced that it does and is seeking God and sharing his excitement with others. I asked him, "Do you understand now why I am so excited about this?" He nodded and said that he does.
This man still has many other losses to resolve but he knows how to give them to the Lord so that he is completely set free from the many other losses he has had in his life.
Pray for this ministry that many other addicts like this man will find freedom and join us in spreading this good news throughout our county so that the Lord will set all the addicts free in our county. Our God is an awesome God!!!
Loss of Daughter leads to Alcoholism 4
I saw a man recently for a number of sessions after he was referred to me for his alcohol problem. Initially, he denied that he had a drinking problem but he admitted that he had some anger and unresolved grief issues so we talked and prayed about these. He was well-known in his community and it was known by most people that he had begun drinking after having experienced the tragic loss of his mother and then his daughter. His daughter died on Father's Day in 2005 in a motor vehicle accident and at that time he began drinking heavily and his wife left him.
We prayed together and after miraculously releasing his anger and grief he found a new peace and he has been free of all urges and desires to drink and he began going to church again. He told me recently that he was able to go to his daughter's gravesite and mow around her burial plot without any tears or heavy sadness. Since he has been sober and experiencing peace in his life his workload has increased and he has been offerred other jobs because others can tell that he is doing well and not drinking.
He told me that his parents were very religious and faithful Christians and when his mother died, his father quit going to church. This man still works with his father and sees him every day and one day his father asked him where he was going when he was preparing to come see me again. He told his father that he was going to see his counselor and his father asked him how that was going. He said, "It's going well. We pray together and he has helped me to get rid of my grief and anger over the loss of mom and my daughter."
His father said, "You sure do act different. I can see a lot of difference in you." He said to his father, "Yeah. You know it might do you a lot of good to go to church again and begin praying again. He invited his father to go with him to church and to the next Set Free meeting on Friday evenings. This man smiled a big smile at me and said, "It's a good feeling that I have now. I can sleep now and rest in peace. If the Lord takes me home some night I am ready to go be with him." What a joy it is to see changed lives like this, and to see one more person set free from grief, anger, and addiction!
Alcoholic Loses Urges 5
A few years ago I ministered to a woman who had lost her only son. During his teenage years he struggled with depression and low self-esteem and began using marijuana to feel better. Eventually he began to use stronger drugs and after high school he developed a strong addiction that led to legal problems in his life until he finally entered into an inpatient treatment programs. While in the treatment program he got saved and his mother was thrilled with his new-found faith. When he was released he began going to church and reading his Bible faithfully. After five years, however, he began to struggle with depression again and eventually began to have urges to use drugs until one evening he called the local police and told them his address and said that he was going to kill himself. A police officer was nearby and rushed to his house and tried to talk him out of his suicidal desires, but the young man stood on his porch in front of the officer and shot himself fatally in the head.
This is a sad story that points out the important truth that salvation does not necessarily remove drug addictions and emotional struggles, but we need to help believers to be set free from their negative emotions so that they will be free from the urges to use drugs.
I recently saw another man who completed the same treatment program and when I saw him he told me that he had gotten saved and was feeling good so I saw no reason to talk with him about being set free. I saw him again two weeks later and asked him if he had used any alcohol. He initially said he had a six-pack then he admitted it was a 30-pack and he was struggling with drinking due to his depression. I learned that he lost his father at age 14 when his parents divorced, he lost his mother at age 28 when she died, and he lost a pet that led to more depression. We talked about the loss of his father after the divorce and made up a list of everything he missed about him, then we prayed and asked the Lord to carry it for him. After praying he stated that he felt peaceful and calm while thinking about his father. I encouraged him to pray about the loss of his mother and his pet on his own.
Three weeks later he came to see me again and he said that he had not thought about the loss of his father any more and he felt no more sadness about it. I asked also about the loss of his mother and pet and he told me that he had prayed about it on his own and he felt much better. When I tried to stir up feelings of sadness he showed no signs of any remaining grief. He had done this on his own by using the same process I had used with him in the previous session: 1) Being completely honest about what he missed about them, and 2) Praying and asking the Lord to take his pain and carry it for him. He stated that he had gone three weeks without using any alcohol which he attributed to our last session. I asked him if had had any urges to use alcohol and he said he had a couple of times when he was upset but said that it was not strong.
This is the discipleship process that many new believers need to experience so that they are not only saved but set free from their underlying negative feelings that can lead them to relapse or to fall into sin. Praise God that He does indeed set captives free through prayer. What a privilege we have to carry everything to God in prayer!
Cross Dresser Set Free 6
I am constantly amazed to meet people who are Christians who have serious problems that they cannot overcome. One of my prayer partners and I have been praying with a man about a cross-dressing problem that has baffled doctors and psychiatrists for over 40 years. At age 5 he began dressing in women's clothing and at age 9 his parents took him to a psychiatrist who gave him repeated shock treatments to try to get rid of this impulse. Eventually the doctor told him that he would never change and they needed to raise him like a girl, so they did. He was saved as a teenager but the behavior continued and he hid it from his Christian friends but he continued going to various counselors over the years to try to stop this compulsive behavior.
While in his 20s he married a Christian woman and had three children with her but the behavior continued in secret. His wife became so distressed about it that she tried to shame him into stopping and even told his children about his behavior, leading one of them to become very disrespectful to him. He began to live in separate quarters so that he could be away from his wife's frequent criticism and negativity. She came to one of my Set Free conferences and admitted that she had a lot of anger toward him. In our counseling session he denied having any emotions but I have learned that whenever there is a compulsive behavior there is always an underlying emotion that is driving the behavior so we began working on one emotion at a time.
The first emotion we dealt with was his feelings of anger toward his wife so we made up a list of the reasons for his anger at her and he gave his anger to the Lord. Then we prayed about some anger he had toward a brother-in-law and he made a list of his resentments toward this man and gave them to the Lord. In another session we prayed about some strong feelings of grief at losing his college dreams and some anger toward God. In our last session we prayed about some anger and resentment he had toward his parents. He reported feeling better after releasing these emotions but he continued to cross-dress whenever he was angry or frustrated. However, he said that he was amazed to see what strong emotions he had from his childhood that he had been suppressing and he saw that this prayer process was working, so he felt some hope and he was no longer angry at God.
One day he was feeling frustrated and called a man to ventilate about his feelings and this man prayed with him and led him to confess his attitude to the Lord and asked for forgiveness. He felt an "incredible, empty sadness" but felt he got his heart right with God. His impulses to cross dress stop completely at that time. He said that he continued to do "a lot of repenting" during that week and he told his wife that he wants to move back in with her. This may take some time, however, due to the resentments she has had toward him for so many years due to him totally disregarding her for so long. The following Sunday he went forward in church to testify publicly that he was rededicating his life to the Lord. He reports that he has had no impulses to dress in women's clothing since that last prayer.
What an amazing testimony of God's grace and healing power. Jesus can do for us what no psychologist, psychiatrist, doctor or medication can do! He can set us free from our negative emotions and give us peace, which changes our lives completely. What an awesome God we have who loves to set captives free!
Child Grieves over Loss of Pet 7
A woman who attended one of my workshops in Nashville wrote me the following letter last week:
"I still use these simple tools with my children. I recently learned that my 13 yr old daughter has been silently carrying great sadness for her hamster that died this past Christmas. Every time she thought of her hamster or talked about her, her eyes watered with tears. The other night I asked her if she wanted to get rid of the sad feelings around her hamster. She agreed that she did. We made a list of many things she missed about her hamster. I led her in a prayer and she shared all the things on the list that she missed about her hamster with the Lord. She then asked the Lord to carry them for her because she is so tired of carrying them and asked Him to replace those sad feelings with His Peace. After the prayer, I asked her what she felt she said, "nothing." Then I asked her to try and stir up the feelings by remembering one of the things we listed that she missed about her hamster that just seconds ago brought her to tears. She thought of what we listed and the only emotion she had was laughter! She said that suddenly, the whole thing seemed silly!
I asked her what she thought about this, that she has been carrying around this hidden sadness for 5 months, and now, in 3 minutes, it was completely gone. This stirred up such a hunger in her for Jesus that she wanted to immediately do MORE. She has been on a recent journey in recognizing that ''the Truth will set you Free'' and this just confirmed all that He has personally been teaching her. She then talked about some false guilt and shame she realized she was carrying and wanted me to lead her in prayer about that and help her give it to Him. It was getting late and we decided to revisit these particular feelings at a later time. I'm now so excited to show her this booklet on your website regarding guilt and shame....the EXACT thing we are about to give to Him. God orchestrated your email at just the right time. His timing is always Perfect. These emails are HUGE. They truly are making a tremendous difference in furthering His Kingdom and spreading the news about His amazing gift of Living in Freedom.
Thank you so much. I will continue to uplift you all up in prayer as you continue spreading this exciting news that Jesus is Alive and patiently waiting to set captives FREE!
Alcoholic Finds Peace 8
I visited some friends in Wichita, Kansas over the weekend of Sept. 22-23 and had a chance to meet with a man who was struggling with alcoholism. He told me that his father was an alcoholic who physically and emotionally abused him and his mother and that he had begun drinking at 11 years of age and that he had two previous marriages that were destroyed by his drinking. He said that he had been saved two years earlier but he continued to struggle with his drinking and it was causing serious problems in his marriage.
He repeatedly told me how much he loved his father but that he was very hurt and angry at him because he verbally and physically abused his mother in front of the children, he favored this man's younger brother, he called him stupid, he was never able to please him, and he eventually left this man's mother for another woman.
I explained to him that alcohol abuse occurs when individuals have some emotional pain such as grief, anger, or feelings of shame in their lives that lead them to drink as a way of numbing the pain. The only way to be free of those urges to drink was to get rid of the underlying pain. I shared with this man how the Lord can set us free from our emotional pain through prayer and he was willing and eager to pray to release his anger toward his father.
We made a list of 14 reasons for his anger and then I led him in a prayer, telling the Lord why he was angry and asking Him to take his anger from him and replace it with peace. This man wept during this prayer but gave his anger to the Lord. When we finished praying he said that he felt sad that his father never told him that he loved him, and that he never had a close relationship with his father like he desired. We prayed and told the Lord why he was sad and gave these feelings to the Lord. I then prayed and asked the Lord what He wanted this man to know.
"I love you; surrender and come back to me" were the words that came to his mind. "How does that make you feel?" I asked. "It feels great!" he said. "I've always known the Lord would never leave me. The Lord loves me." "How do you feel now?" I asked. He said, "I feel good; no more feelings of sadness. My dad is getting old; I hope he gives his heart to Jesus."
What a change that suddenly occured in this man after he gave his anger to the Lord. He smiled and thanked me for spending time with him and was full of joy as we left.
He later texted me and said, "This is Robert. Once again thank you so much for your time. I feel much better. I know this was God sent. Didn't know I had that much pain inside. This is the start of a healing process. God bless you." Five days later I texted him and asked him how he was doing and he texted back, "I feel better. The urge to drink is almost gone. Thank you." I encouraged him to continue praying about his losses so that he can receive complete healing and I referred him to two men for further assistance.
It thrills me to see how the Lord gave him such relief from one short prayer session! The Lord is awesome; He loves to set captives free. The world needs to hear this message. Please help me to spread it everywhere!
Homicidal Young Man Becomes Role Model 9
A young man came for counseling due to feelings of depression. He stated that he had been angry for several years, had developed an addiction to pornography, and was so depressed that he had suicidal thoughts. He came from a good family but had been traumatized by witnessing a sexual act as a very young child and then developed an obsession with pornography after discovering some pornography. He also had several significant losses in his childhood that were very painful to him and he became angry at some relatives for fighting and arguing all the time while he was visiting them. Shortly before coming to see me, he did something that he was ashamed about which led him to have suicidal thoughts.
I met with this young man and explained how he could be set free from his grief, anger, and feelings of shame through prayer. He was receptive and said that he would like to get rid of these feelings.
We began with his losses. We made a list of what he missed about these people then prayed and told the Lord what he missed about them and asked the Lord to carry them for him. He reported afterwards that he felt peaceful and calm and he was receptive to meeting again and doing some more praying. The second time I met him he was looking much better and had no more suicidal thoughts. We talked about his anger toward his relatives and made a list of what they did that made him angry at them. Then we prayed and asked the Lord to take his anger from him and carry it for him and he immediately felt relief. He said that his anger toward them was gone. The next time we met he talked about his feelings of shame for witnessing a sexual act when he was a very young child. We prayed about his belief that he was dirty, bad, and shameful for watching and asked the Lord what he wanted this young man to know. "You were just a child; I love you" was the response he received, and his feelings of shame immediately left.
The next time I saw this young man he looked good, he said that he had no more depression or anger, and he no longer had any obsession to pornography. He was doing great!
I saw him again a month or two later and he was still doing great! His coach told him that he was a "role model to his
teammates" and he was excited about his life. We discussed how the Lord had set him free from his grief, anger, and pornography addiction through prayer and he was eager to share these prayer principles with his teammates and friends. After just five prayer sessions he was set free from all those negative emotions and behaviors that were destroying him. What an awesome God we have who sets captives free!!
Only Surviving Graduate from Treatment Program
Set Free from Alcoholism 10
After completing an inpatient treatment a woman was seen for outpatient treatment who was struggling with strong urges to drink again. Over a period of five weeks she prayed with me about five losses and two people she had been angry at from her past and she had received healing for these. However, she admitted that she had been having some urges to drink again in spite of having resolved these losses and feelings of anger. From my prayer needs list I saw that she still had not prayed about her anger toward her husband, her anger toward her mother, and some grief over the loss of a child she had miscarried.
We first prayed about her anger toward her husband and she made a list of fifteen resentments she had toward him. She told the Lord what she resented about her husband and then asked the Lord to take her anger from her, and then she said that she felt calm and had no more anger toward him. Next we prayed about her anger toward her mother and made a list of sixteen resentments she had toward her. After telling the Lord her resentments and giving them to the Lord she stated that she had no more anger toward her mother.
I then asked her about her miscarriage as a teenager. She said that she was angry at herself, which I translated to mean she had feelings of shame. She said that she was angry at herself because she had been on birth control pills for eight years and was not taking care of her body, so when she had the miscarriage she felt it was her fault. I helped her identify her belief which was "I'm a bad person for mistreating my body and I deserve to be punished." I prayed and asked the Lord what He wanted her to know about this belief, then I told her to be quiet and let me know if any thoughts came into her mind. She said, "I am forgiven and I have been given a new start. I made bad choices but I'm not a bad person and I do not deserve to be punished." I asked her if these thoughts felt true and she said they did. She said that she felt calm, neutral and no longer felt shameful, even when thinking about her miscarriage. She was very happy and left the session smiling and feeling much lighter, having released her anger and feelings of shame.
A week later she said she was doing "good" and was "happy" and she had no more feelings of anger toward her mother or husband and she had no feelings of shame about her miscarriage. In addition, she said "my desire for alcohol is gone" and she said that every single person who had gone through treatment with her six months earlier had relapsed. Although it will take time for her prove that she is permanently free, she has never before felt such freedom and peace. She said, "I feel good and I wish everyone could feel this way!" We discussed the reason for her sobriety and success; it is because she was able to get rid of the underlying feelings of grief, anger, and shame that led her to want to drink.
When alcoholics and drug addicts get rid of their emotional pain it is easy to stay clean and sober, and only the Lord can take away those feelings. Now she wants to join us and to share her victory with the others who went through treatment with her and to help them find overcome their negative feelings and addiction through the Lord!
Set Free from Consuming Anger 11
(This story contributed by a ministry supporter in Nashville, Tn)
I never cease to be amazed at watching the Lord transform people from a place of heavy burden to complete FREEDOM! Yesterday I talked with a lady who had been holding onto anger for her ex-husband for 3 1/2 years. It was consuming her and effecting the way she was functioning in her life at work and home. Each time she saw him she felt disgust. She said she was tired of feeling this way and was open and willing to bring her anger before the Lord through prayer. With tears she made a list of 23 reasons she was angry toward her ex-husband. I led her in a prayer naming each reason for her anger before the Lord. She then expressed to the Lord how she was tired of carrying these angry feelings and wanted Him to carry them for her and replace them with His Peace. We waited in silence for no more than 3 seconds. Then she spoke, "Its gone." I said, "Now wait a minute. I want you to think back and tell me what you feel when you think of him being self-centered." She said, "Its HIS problem," and she started laughing. Then we both started laughing. I asked her what she thought about how she currently felt compared to how she felt only a few seconds earlier. She responded with "I honestly cannot make it come back!".
She contacted me later that afternoon to share how the "true test came" when he brought their children to her house after school. He was 20 minutes late. When he showed up at her front door... for the first time she felt no feelings of anger whatsoever; and when he made an excuse about why he was late she genuinely responded without hesitation, "Its ok. That happens to us all sometimes." She shared that normally his excuses would have deeply angered her! She cannot get over how different and at Peace she feels! She has had many sessions with counselors on and off for over 3 years, but never felt "free" from her disgust for her ex-husband. This woman was set free from anger in one prayer session. I'm so passionate in sharing with people how the world cannot give such a gift. Only Jesus can. Nicole Mann
It Really does Work! 12
I met with an attractive young woman who was struggling with a drug addiction and with intense anger. She told me that she wanted help to quit smoking marijuana and drinking, and she asked for help with her anger and depression. I explained to her how we can be set free from grief, which is the primary cause of depression, and from anger. I thought she was going to resist my faith-based recommendations but instead, she looked at me without flinching and said, "I'm ok with it; I attend church and I have been baptized twice. I am a Christian." It amazes me to see how may Christians there are who struggle with addictions, depression, and anger and who have never seen any evidence of God's power in their life or in the life of other Christians.
We talked about her anger and grief and she identified 9 people toward whom she was angry and 3 major losses she had experienced. Her strongest anger was toward her biological mother who did not raise her but who criticized the way her parents raised this young woman. The young woman resented that her mother abused drugs so badly that her grandparents had to raise her, she resented that drugs were more important to her mother than she was. Her mother emotionally abused and manipulated others, she was selfish, was jealous of her daughter's relationship with her parents, and treated her parents badly in spite of all that they had done for her. This young woman also resented her mother for telling her that she wasn't smart enough to do things, for expecting her to be more adult than herself, and for telling her that she was just like herself. We made a list of 18 resentments she had toward her mother and then we prayed and told the Lord what she resented about her mother, and asked the Lord to take this anger from her and carry it for her.
When we finished I asked the Lord if there was anything that He wanted her to know. "They were never my burdens to carry," she said. "Well, how do you feel now when you think about your mother?" I asked. "Relieved. I just remember the good times we used to have when I was really young. I feel calm and peaceful in my heart." I asked her what she thought about this and she said, "It really does work!"
The Lord took her anger toward her mother and replaced it with forgiveness and peace and as she continues to pray the Lord will set her free from all her anger and grief, and her depression and drug abuse will stop. "The Lord is able to do exceedingly abundantly, beyond all that we ask or think" (Eph. 3:20) and that includes carrying our grief and anger, and setting us free from depression and addiction!
Inmate Releases Grief and Anger 13
Most inmates are full of feelings of grief, anger, and shame which lead them to get involved in addictions and in illegal activities in order to feel better. I saw a young woman who had not gotten into any legal trouble until at age 18 she lost her father, and then within a year she lost her grandmother and grandfather and she began abusing drugs. I spoke to a group of female inmates about depression and when I asked if anyone had some grief they would like to release, this young woman threw her hand up immediately and volunteered to let me pray with her in front of the group.
I explained that the first step in overcoming grief is to be completely honest about her feelings and what she missed about her father. She said that she missed her father's smile and laughter, hearing him tell her that he loved her, and working with him on his truck. She missed doing things with him like driving around together, eating out, talking, and bowling. She missed his personality, his friendliness, his sense of humor, his support and protectiveness, and she even missed the clothes he wore and the way he smelled. We made a list of 30 things she missed about her father then I asked her if she would be willing to tell the Lord these things and ask Him to take them from her.
I led this young woman in a prayer in which she asked the Lord to take her grief and sadness and carry it for her.
Then I asked her how she felt and she said she felt no sadness or grief but she felt some anger toward her mother who blamed her for her father's death. She said that her mother was never there when needed, she always blamed her for her problems, she didn't love this woman, she thought only about herself, and she hangs onto the past. We made a list of seven resentments toward her mother, then she prayed and asked the Lord to take her anger from her. After her prayer I asked her how she felt toward her mother and she said, "I feel sorry for her." She said that she had no more anger toward her mother or sadness toward her father. She felt peaceful and calm.
When people feel strong feelings of grief or anger, like this young woman, they are prone to get into trouble doing things to feel better, like drinking or using drugs. But when the Lord heals them of these feelings their urges to use drugs and alcohol go away and they are able to stay out of trouble. The Lord loves to heal our broken hearts and set us free and He will gladly do this when we learn to be honest with Him and to give Him all our griefs and resentments.
I Feel Really, Really Good! 14
A woman came to see me for help with her depression and drinking. Five years earlier her husband died in a car wreck and this led her to begin using drugs, drinking, and getting involved with an abusive man and she lost her job and her home. Several years later she received a DUI and went through a treatment program but she continued to struggle with depression. Then her handicapped brother died several months ago to compound her depression and sadness.
I explained to her how to release grief and sadness by making a list of the things she missed about her brother and then giving it to God in prayer.
She was very agreeable with this idea and with prayer so we began talking about her brother and making a list. She was very close to her brother and took care of him due to his disabilities and she missed how he always asked for her and worried about her. She missed his distinctive laughter, his happy nature, his sweet smile, and him always being there with her. She said she missed watching him play with her baby daughter, swinging her on the swing set, and going out on their porch and talking with the neighbors. She missed his excitement at watching his favorite TV shows, his love and affection, going for walks with him, and hearing him tell her how beautiful she was, telling her "goodbye" when she left their home, and telling her that he loved her. This woman laughed and cried as she talked about her brother and listed 36 things that she missed about him.
Then I led her in a prayer and she told the Lord all these things and asked Him to take her sadness and grief and carry it for her. I prayed and asked the Lord if there was anything that He wanted her to know, and she said, "He's happy. He's okay. My husband is with him every day." I asked her to think about her brother and tell me how she felt. She said, "I can see his beautiful smile now. He's with all his friends who went before him. He's not sick or hurting. I see nothing but happiness and joy. I asked her how she felt now and she was beaming with joy and said, "I feel really, really good! No grief and no elephant on my chest. My heart was torn in two but now my chest is calm. I feel serene and peaceful; I really, really feel peaceful."
I asked this woman if she had any negative feelings and she told me that she felt some guilt and shame for not going to the hospital with him before he died. She was very tired and exhausted at the time but she felt that she failed him and let him down because he begged her to go with him. I recognized that these were feelings of shame that were based in lies she believed so I prayed, "Lord, what do you want her to know about this belief that she is bad and failed because she didn't go to the hospital with her brother?" She told me that the following thoughts came to her mind: "No, you didn't let him down. He's smiling down on me and telling me that he's fine and he doesn't hold that against me." I asked her, again, how she felt now. She said, "I know he's ok; he's ok. He forgives me and he doesn't hold that against me." Her feelings of guilt and shame were completely gone.
"So, how do you feel?" I inquired again. "I can breathe now. Something keeps making me smile" she said. She left the session beaming with joy. The Lord took her deep sadness and grief over the loss of her brother and replaced it with peace and joy. What a joy it is to see people go from pain and sorrow to peace and serenity as they learn to cast all their cares upon Him!
Saved but not Set Free 15
A man told me that he received Jesus as his Savior at age 8 while he was in Bible school and he was confident of his salvation. He said he was very close to his mother who was very loving but his father was hard on him and criticized him a lot and verbally abused him. School was difficult for him and he got into trouble, disobeyed, and was paddled a lot. At age 10 his sister died and this was traumatic for him, then when he entered middle school he began drinking and using marijuana. He dropped out of high school at age 16 but remained home with his parents until his mother died when he was 20 years old, which was also traumatic for him.
He got married at age 21 and had two children but he drank heavily and was abusive to his wife so she left him after 14 years and took their two children with her. He admitted that his drinking and abuse led her to leave him but he was heart-broken when he lost his marriage and his children.
This man said that he completed inpatient alcohol treatment four times and then he completed a one-year Christian residential program, but three months after discharging he began drinking again and living on the streets. He was full of anger, grief, and shame and I met with him and explained how he could be set free from these feelings and be freed from his addiction as well.
I asked him which of his losses or traumas was the most difficult for him. He said that the loss of his children was most difficult; he had not seen them for 15 years, and he felt a lot of shame and sadness about this. He told me how he missed hearing them call him "daddy" and telling him that they loved him. He missed holding them, playing with them, taking them to parks and picnics, and teaching them to ride their bikes. He missed seeing them over the holidays and on their birthdays, and he missed watching TV with them and watching them grow up. After identifying 12 things he missed about his children he prayed and asked the Lord to take his grief from him and carry it for him. After the prayer he said "they are taken care of" and "He (God) has them." He told me that he still missed them but he felt peaceful, now.
I asked him if he had any other negative feelings about his children now and he said that he felt guilty and shameful about being a poor father. He said that he had already asked the Lord for forgiveness but he still felt shameful, so I prayed for him and asked the Lord what He wanted this man to know about his belief that he was bad and shameful for not being a good father. I told him to be quiet and tell me if any thoughts came into his mind. He said, "He has forgiven me. He loves me. They will be okay." All of these thoughts felt true to him and he said that he no longer felt any shame or guilt because he knew he was forgiven. He said that he felt peace in his heart and he felt love for his ex-wife and his children.
He had been through four inpatient treatment programs and a one-year Christian residential program but he had never resolved these deep feelings of grief, sadness, or shame before. I asked him what he thought about this and he replied, "It's pretty remarkable!"
This man has some more losses and anger to resolve but he is on his way to being set free from his addiction. I have repeatedly seen that when addicts release their feelings of grief, anger, and shame that they feel good and lose their urges for drugs and alcohol. Even though I believe this man was genuinely saved as a child he was never set free, and these negative feelings have kept him in bondage for 40 years to alcohol and drugs. But praise be to God that He is able to set the captives free from these emotions so that they enjoy His perfect peace and walk in obedience to Him!
Seven-Year-Old Set Free 16
A woman brought her seven-year-old son to me for help with some grief. He was a cute kid and I talked with him to build rapport and to try to help him relax before talking about anything serious. I asked him how old he was, where he went to school, did he like his teachers, and if he was married. He laughed and we had fun talking for a few minutes then I asked his mother why she brought him to me. She told me that his grandfather died a month ago.
I asked him if he missed his grandpa, and he nodded and began to pucker up, on the verge of crying. “It’s ok to cry,” I reassured him. “Do you know who Jesus is?” I asked. He nodded and I told him, “Did you know Jesus cried? One time he cried when one of his closest friends died. So, it’s okay to cry when someone dies; it’s normal.” He nodded to indicate his understanding then I asked him if he would like to get rid of his sadness about losing his grandpa if he could. He nodded again and I explained that there were two things he needed to do. First, he needed to be honest and talk about what he missed about his grandpa, and then he needed to say a prayer and ask God to take his sadness from him.
I asked him what he missed about his grandpa. He quickly responded and said he missed sitting on his lap, he missed his hugs, and playing pretend games with him. He also missed playing catch with him, watching TV with him (especially Garfield), going to McDonalds with him, playing hide-and-seek, and riding on the lawn mower with him. He was very cooperative and quickly identified 15 things he missed about his grandpa. Then I led him in a prayer and he repeated each item after me, bravely holding back his tears, and he asked Jesus to take his grief and carry it for him. I asked him how he felt now; he said, “I feel kind of sad. I’m glad he’s in a better place. I feel a little happy.”
“What makes you feel sad?” I asked the boy. “He went away; he’s not here, and seeing him in the hospital” he replied. I asked him if he would like to give those sad feelings to Jesus also, and he nodded, so I led him in another prayer and he gave his sad feelings to the Lord. I asked the Lord if there was anything he wanted this boy to know. “He’s in a better place,” he said. How does that make you feel?” I asked. “I feel happy about him. I just feel happy I got to do all that stuff with him.”
He told me that he no longer felt sad; he was just happy that he got to spend time with his grandpa and that he is in a better place. His mother smiled and thanked me for praying with him and helping him, but no one felt happier than me, to see a sweet child like this be set free of such sadness and to hear from Jesus like this boy did.
A Life-Transforming Pledge 17
A man came for help with his depression and anger after his wife divorced him. He had come for counseling previously but did not want to talk about his feelings. This time he came under court order and he said he truly wanted help. He seemed sincere but just had a hard time talking about his feelings and he preferred to suppress his emotions.
He told me that he was going to church and that the people in his church were fighting over some “petty things” which he said bothers him about churches. I asked him what would solve this problem in churches and then explained that if everyone lived according to Eph. 4:26 and refused to “let the sun go down” on their anger, that there would be no petty fighting in churches. He agreed and then I used this to point out his need to release his anger toward 8 people from his past. He said that he was willing to do this.
We started with his Ex-wife who had recently divorced him. He admitted that it upset him that she divorced him without talking to him first about her feelings about their marriage. It also bothered him that she had a restraining order placed on him for a year and he was only allowed to speak to her father, but he would not answer his texts. He agreed to give his anger to the Lord but he did not want to pray out loud; he agreed to pray silently and to nod his head when he was ready to move on. I led him in a prayer and he repeated it silently, as tears immediately began flowing down his cheeks. He asked the Lord to take his anger and carry it for him, and when he was finished, he said his anger was gone, but he still missed her.
We then made a list of 14 things he missed about her. He said that he missed everything about her, but especially her sweetness, her love and affection, her smile and laughter, spending time with her, shopping, eating out, and watching movies together. I led him in a second prayer and he repeated it silently after me. Once again, tears began flowing down his cheeks as we prayed and he told the Lord the 17 things he missed about his Ex. When we were finished I asked him how he felt toward her and he said he felt a lot better. He smiled and said that he still missed her but the grief and sadness were not so heavy.
I told him to just make another list of what he still misses about her and give it to the Lord.
We talked about how the Eph. 4:26 principle is a life-transforming principle that would change his life if he would use it to resolve all his anger, and the same principle would transform his church and all the marriages in the church. This principle means that we first resolve all the anger in our past, and then we release any new anger at the end of each day. This simple principle would revolutionize individuals, marriages, churches, and our entire society if each Christian made a pledge to live by it each day of our lives. Make this pledge today and watch what happens in your life: “Do not let the sun go down on your anger; and do not give the devil an opportunity” (Ephesians 4:26-27).
Young Alcoholic Finds Peace 18
A young man came for help with his addiction. He admitted that he had been drinking since age 15 and had received three DWIs and was still drinking daily. His wife was in a substance abuse program with their daughter and he missed them greatly and was depressed about their absence, which made him sad and led him to drink excessively. We talked about his background to identify any earlier losses or sources of anger and he admitted that the loss of his favorite aunt at age 10 was very traumatic to him, as well as the loss of two girlfriends in his teenage years. Now that his wife and daughter were separated from him he felt intense sadness and grief over their separation from him.
I shared with this young man how he could find relief from his grief and sadness through prayer, and he was very receptive, stating that he was a "religious" person and was interested in trying this prayer-based approach.
I asked him what he missed about his wife and daughter and he told me that he missed having them with him, seeing them together, interacting with them, and traveling with them. He said he missed their love and affection, their voices, noises, laughter, and smiles, and he missed seeing his daughter's excitement and watching her grow and mature each day. He identified 20 things he missed about his wife and daughter and then he told the Lord these things he missed and asked Him to take his grief and sadness from him.
After the prayer, I asked him how he felt as he thought about them. He said that he felt good and he smiled and said he was no longer sad or tearful about them even though he still missed them. He also said that he had prayed on his way to our appointment that the Lord would give him help from our counseling session, and he was glad he had come to me. His grief and sadness were gone and he felt peaceful and was excited that he had learned how to pray about his emotions. He already believed in prayer but he had never been taught how to pray about his emotions. Now he can begin to pray about the other sources of his anger and depression and as he does so, he will be set free from his addiction to alcohol.