Welcome! I hope you enjoy reading my blog, and I invite you to share your responses with other readers. Comments that use abusive or vulgar language will be removed. Otherwise, you are free to agree or disagree. May God richly bless you today and always! ~ Dr. Susan
|Posted by mercycounseling on June 17, 2018 at 9:05 AM||comments (0)|
Most people understand the importance of changing the oil in their automobiles. Friction in an internal combustion engine results in debris accumulating in the oil, and, if not changed regularly, this debris can build up to such a point that damage—even destruction—to the engine may result. The oil filter’s job is to remove the dirt from the circulating oil, but eventually the filter clogs and becomes useless. That dirt has no way to escape except when the dirty oil filter and oil are removed from the vehicle.
The human body is also an internal-combustion engine with millions of metabolic transactions taking place every second of every day that we live. In the human body, our liver and kidneys are the primary organs most responsible for breaking down the accumulated “dirt”—the waste products of metabolism—so that the skin, lungs, and colon can remove those wastes from our body. When any of these organs becomes weakened, wastes are not removed efficiently, and our body becomes toxic and sick.
The human body is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (according to Psalm 139) to heal itself, given the proper care and nutrients; and it is quite resilient. So resilient, in fact, that it can withstand years of abuse before breaking down. But just like that auto engine whose dirty oil is allowed to clog up and destroy the engine, our bodies too eventually can be damaged and even destroyed by our own ignorant or willful neglect of its needs.
If you are noticing that you don’t feel as good as you used to, don’t have the energy, don’t sleep as well, have frequent colds, aches, and pains, are experiencing depression and anxiety, or frequent digestive upsets, you probably need the human equivalent of an oil change. That means assessing and correcting your overall diet and lifestyle and providing your body with what it needs to clear away the toxic wastes that have likely accumulated over time.
The goal of Natural Health Practice is to help you provide the kind of natural support your body needs to function at its best, so that the “gunk” in your system doesn’t foul up the works, and so that oxygen and nutrients will freely flow to every cell, and every cell will be able to produce life-giving energy and offload its waste byproducts efficiently.
If you think you need an “oil change,” contact Dr. Haberkorn for a natural health assessment at (240) 520-2713. Your body, spirit, and soul will thank you.
|Posted by mercycounseling on June 10, 2018 at 11:10 AM||comments (0)|
Cholesterol-lowering medications (statins) are fraught with unwanted and dangerous side-effects. One of the worst is this: while these drugs are touted to safeguard heart health by lowering serum cholesterol levels, the opposite is actually true. One of the primary problems with these drugs is that they interfere with Coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ10) metabolism. Why is this important? HMG CoA reductase, the enzyme that produces cholesterol, is also the enzyme that produces CoQ10, which is an essential nutrient for the production of energy and is found in highest levels in the mitochondria of heart muscle cells. Decreasing levels of CoQ10 are associated with cardiovascular disease. Hence, statin drugs may be implicated in the development or worsening of heart disease. Additionally, statin drugs cause liver and kidney disease.
Natural substances that support healthy cholesterol ratios in the blood include B Complex supplements, onion and garlic, vitamin E, CoQ10, selenium, vitamin C, grapeseed extract, and pine bark extract. Increasing essential fatty acids (EPA/DHA) and eliminating trans fats is also essential. Increasing both soluble and insoluble fiber helps to sequester excess dietary fat for elimination.
Give your heart and liver some love today and get off those statin drugs!
|Posted by mercycounseling on June 9, 2018 at 2:55 PM||comments (0)|
A husband sits across from me as we discuss the stressors in his life that have contributed to his need for counseling. He tells me that he worries about money a lot, even though he has a significant salary. It seems his wife refuses to contribute any of her salary toward their mutual expenses. She believes it is biblically mandated that the husband provide for the family, leaving her free to spend “her” money on whatever she wishes. I ask if they have ever discussed a budget, and he tells me he can’t bring it up because she gets mad.
A husband refuses to add his wife to his bank account. She is a homemaker and feels humiliated that she is not given the dignity of making even the simplest financial decisions so that she can manage the household.
A wife looks at me aghast when I suggest that she and her husband can overcome their financial difficulties by combining their resources and formulating a budget, which would include an allowance for each of them to spend as they choose. She doesn’t want him to have access to “her” money, because her former husband left her in a financial crisis.
They both hide their spending from one another, because they don't want to be told what to do.
These are just examples of what I’m seeing as a burgeoning development in marital discord. More and more couples are avoiding discussing financial matters or, if they do, they take up defensive postures that lead to more and more discord and resentment. To them, it’s easier just to not talk about it.
“We know marriages that have survived infidelity, several times over. But money is a HUGE issue,” say Jenny and Rufus Triplett, relationship experts and authors of Surviving Marriage Tips. “We have a chapter that states ‘Discuss Money or it Will Disgust You.’ This is true. When spending habits are not the same nor are saving and the way bills get paid, it causes disagreements that can turn into loud arguments that can turn into fights and deep resentment. Money is a big marriage dissolver.”
Marriage is supposed to be a partnership where “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24) This becoming one flesh goes way beyond the sexual union! Both the husband and wife are to submit to one another out of reverence for God (Ephesians 5:20-21). There is a complementary equality that is to take place within the marriage bond. Husband and wife cannot become one flesh if they are at odds over money issues or have any other unresolved issues. Biblical proof of this comes from this simple question found in Amos 3:3, “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” The logical conclusion is that if a couple is not in agreement, then they cannot walk together; hence, they cannot be one flesh, and the marriage is ruptured.
One obvious solution is for a husband and wife to have an open and honest discussion about their financial resources and responsibilities and to come to agreement on how, when, why, and how much money will be spent. For this to be successful, however, there must be total financial transparency, whether resources are combined or not. In addition, I believe it is critical for both partners to have the dignity of a personal allowance so that they can make small purchases without the consent of their spouse. How much this allowance should be must be subject to mutual agreement of what is realistic, given the overall budget picture. As part of this procedure, it should be agreed that neither husband nor wife will spend above a certain dollar figure over their allowance without first discussing with each other. The outworking of this arrangement will be to enhance feelings of trust and mutual respect.
Proverbs 31 gives a stellar example of what being one flesh really means in financial matters. The chapter is best known for the passage on “the virtuous wife,” which has much to say about the mutual trust and respect between a husband and wife, including the handling of finances, if you carefully read between the lines. It tells us that her husband safely trusts in her, and he will not suffer loss, because she does him good and not evil all the days of her life (vv. 11-12). He, in turn, honors his wife with the freedom to make financial decisions and implement plans for the benefit of their family. She does some of this from the proceeds of her own work (vv. 16-18, 24). There is harmony in their household. The husband has a good reputation and is able to go about his business without worry (v.23); and the wife does the same, receiving praise for her steadfastness, skill, and character (vv. 23, 28-29, 31). Such harmony, trust, and mutual respect can only come from open communication, mutual consideration and submission, and absolute transparency.
If your marriage is suffering because you and your spouse do not meet regularly to discuss financial matters, hide spending from each other, or manipulate one another with threats or actual withdrawing or withholding financial support, you need to decide if your marriage is important to you at all. Financial discord is a leading cause of divorce, but you can save your marriage through honest and open communication that leads to full agreement and financial transparency.
For help with this and other sources of marital discord, please contact Dr. Haberkorn at (240) 520-2713. In-person and online counseling sessions are available.
|Posted by mercycounseling on June 7, 2018 at 4:50 PM||comments (0)|
In the quest to improve your health, diet is your first line of defense. According to Dicken Weatherby, N.D., the thirteen foundations of health, in priority order, are:
1. Proper diet
2. Adequate sleep
3. Proper stress management
4. Optimal digestion, absorption, and utilization of nutrients
5. Adequate elimination
6. Optimal tissue minerals
7. Balanced essential fatty acids
8. Proper blood sugar regulation
9. Optimal hydration
10. Adequate vitamin levels
11. Balanced adrenals, thyroid and sex hormones
12. Good cardiovascular health
13. Balanced kidney, bladder, and immune systems
(Source: Dicken Weatherby, N.D., Signs and Symptoms Analysis from a Functional Perspective, p. 6. Bear Mountain Publishing, Jacksonville, OR, 2004.)
Your diet is everything you eat and drink every day. Unfortunately, the word “diet” has come to be associated with weight loss efforts; and for many people this is a very negative association. Proper diet, however, is the foundation to all good health—it is a point of beginning. It is preventative and restorative.
Every one of the thirteen foundations listed above is important to optimal health. However, in following Dr. Weatherby’s hierarchy of foundations, it does little good to try to relieve dysfunctions of any of the following twelve foundations unless you also attend to establishing a proper diet. This is because the body heals in very clear patterns. The nutrients you provide through your diet determine just how well or sick your body will be. Nutritional imbalances are the most frequent culprits in our struggle to achieve good health, and they are the underlying cause of the most common degenerative diseases: diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. That is why diet is of first importance on the hierarchy of foundations.
possible to improve or even clear dysfunctions in other body systems by correcting the diet first. When that has been accomplished, then you will be ready to move to the next phase in your wellness journey.
For a natural health assessment of your foundations of health, contact Dr. Susan Haberkorn at (240) 520-2713.
|Posted by mercycounseling on June 5, 2018 at 11:55 AM||comments (0)|
If only being a parent were easy (sigh), but of course it isn't much of the time. This topic always makes me think of Proverbs 22:6, which says, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." This presupposes that there is only one way to parent your child, but you know as well as I do that this scripture is a summary of all the complex situations inherent in child-rearing.
Christian parents naturally want to raise their children in a way pleasing to God. A search of the internet will yield thousands of resources to help you with every aspect of parenting, and I'm sure you will find many that appeal to you along with advice that you may wish to try. However, there is a snare that may trip you up: The resources--even Christian resources-- that appeal to you may not be the ones that will yield effective results when raising your child. Why? Because you and your child likely have an assortment of very different fundamental traits that guide your perceptions of yourselves and the world around you and which inevitably are revealed in the things you say and do.
I'm speaking of temperament, an inborn, God-given set of traits that are the observable manifestations of our most fundamental inner human needs--our needs for inclusion, control, and affection. The Bible makes it clear that God created each of us, and He endowed us at conception with a specific set of temperament traits through which we will attempt to meet those needs. Reading in Psalm 139, we clearly see that not only did God create us, He knew us even before we were born. Verses 13-16 state it this way:
For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed, and in your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. (NKJV)
The "inward parts" God created include the mind, will, and emotions (the soul); and these are the inward parts where temperament is revealed.
Understanding your own temperament and that of your child will provide you with the "secret" weapon to unlock the causal relationships between the expression of your needs as a parent and your child's expression of his or her own needs in response to you and your instructions. Temperament counseling will teach you the "why" behind yours and your child's behavior and how to meet the inborn temperament needs of both of you within the parent-child relationship.
Any child with an age-appropriate reading ability from age 7 and up can be given a temperament assessment, with you, as the parent, the recipient of those results. Through temperament counseling, you can learn how to apply your secret weapon for more effective parenting as you "train up your child in the way he should go."
Intrigued? Please contact Dr. Haberkorn at Mercy Christian Counseling Ministries for more information and/or an appointment at (240) 520-2713.
|Posted by mercycounseling on June 1, 2018 at 2:15 PM||comments (0)|
by Susan Haberkorn, D.PSc.
You may have wondered, What is a natural health practitioner, anyway? The natural health practitioner may be a licensed or unlicensed health professional. She is someone who helps guide her clients to make choices based on the underlying needs of the body, soul, and spirit—choices on a hierarchy of continuous care from most natural/least invasive all the way up to referral for conventional medical interventions.
Unlicensed natural health practitioners operate legally as educators. They are not authorized to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease, because those words are reserved for those associated with the American Medical Association and licensed by state medical licensing boards. This doesn’t mean, however, that consultation with a natural health practitioner is without tangible benefits. You may be wary of the pharmaceutical and surgical leanings of western medicine and the constraints of insurance policies. You may desire an alternative, natural approach to your health questions. Consulting with an unlicensed natural health practitioner may provide you with the self-empowerment you are looking for to take charge of your wellness goals.
Here are some of the many aspects of wellness your natural health professional can provide, but this is by no means exhaustive:
• Helping you identify and remove factors that may be disturbing your wellbeing. For example: eliminating sources of toxicity; improving your attitude and emotional state; and inspiring you to choose a healthier lifestyle.
• Helping you identify and evaluate healthy lifestyle and environmental factors that, if not met, may be blocking you from achieving optimal wellness. For example: your spiritual life; self-assessment; your relationship to the larger universe; fresh air; exposure to nature; clean water; sunlight; diet, nutrition, digestion, and elimination; unadulterated food; rest; exercise; socio-economic factors; culture; stress; trauma; influence of your medical history; physical and emotional stressors and trauma; toxic and harmful substances; addictions; loving and being loved; meaningful work; stages of life; and community. (Source: The Clinician’s Handbook of Natural Medicine, 3rd Ed. by Joseph E. Pizzorno, Michael T. Murray, and Herb Joiner-Bey. St. Louis: Elsevier Inc., 2016)
The professional natural health practitioner, as counselor, will have your well-being as her over-arching commitment and concern; and she will never make you feel powerless through coercive fear tactics. Unlike the typical 8-minute facetime with medical doctors, your visits with your natural health practitioner will allow all the time you need to ask questions and understand the concepts presented. You will remain in the driver’s seat, and your decisions concerning the path you choose will continue to be yours.
Natural health professionals offer you alternatives you won’t find in doctors’ offices. In my practice at Mercy Christian Counseling Ministries, I use both subjective and objective evaluation criteria to help you find your path to optimal wellness.
If you are ready to be empowered, call a natural health professional today.
Susan Haberkorn holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Pastoral Counseling from Colorado Theological Seminary, and an advanced certificate in Natural Health Studies from New Eden School of Natural Health and Herbal Studies. She is currently enrolled in the doctoral program in Natural Health Practices at New Eden School of Natural Health and Herbal Studies.
|Posted by mercycounseling on May 31, 2018 at 1:20 PM||comments (0)|
I frequently counsel individuals who express an inability to forgive themselves or others. Typically, I hear them say, “I can’t forgive (them or myself).” Yet God’s Word is full of the commandment to forgive. In the King James translation of the Holy Bible, I made note of the following number of occurrences of the various forms of the word forgive (see Strong’s Concordance):
Total mentions: 120
Clearly the topic of forgiving is an important concept from God, and the topic is fairly evenly distributed between Old and New Testament. Here is a sampling of the definitions given for various Greek (G) and Hebrew (H) words translated to some form of forgive:
863-G-to send forth-forgive
3722-H-cancel, pardon, purge, reconcile
5375-H-carry away, ease, forgive, pardon, spare
5483-G-pardon, freely give
5545-H-forgive, pardon, spare
While we may cast about to find an appropriate meaning of the word “forgive” for ourselves, the scriptures provide a rich enlargement of our understanding, especially in the idea of “carrying away,” “pardon,” “send forth,“ “purge,” and “spare.” Those are the words that describe what forgiving looks like in action.
At the heart of the phrase, “I can’t forgive” is a lie that people tell themselves. The lie attempts to cover up the truth, which is “I won’t.” You see, we humans never lose our God-given free will; we always have a choice regarding the action we will take.
Here’s another lie people tell themselves about forgiving, “I just feel….” To forgive or not does not come from a feeling. As a matter of will, it is a function of the mind that leads to action.
When Jesus’ disciples asked him to tell them how to pray, He included this verse in what we call the Lord’s Prayer: “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” Jesus is telling us to ask God to forgive our debts (trespasses, sins) in the same way we forgive others. (Matthew 6:12) The implication is that if we do not forgive, we will not be forgiven by God. This is further borne up in Matthew 6:15 and Mark 11:26. But wait, the born-again believer will say, All our sins are forgiven and will not be counted against us. That also is true, yet Paul exhorts us not to use the grace of God as a foil for the liberty to continue sinning. The entire first chapter of Romans argues against continuing in sin after receiving the grace of salvation. Summarizing the whole text, Paul declares:
“15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6:15-16)
So why is it so hard to forgive?
Because the world tells us we have “rights,” and we want those who wrong us to pay. In this way we set ourselves up as prosecutor, judge, and jury to decide the charges, verdict, punishment, and restitution required. In doing so we usurp the role God reserves for Himself alone. Here are some scriptures to support this contention:
Romans 12:19: Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
Matthew 7:2: For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
Finding your way to forgiving requires you to give up your right to judge against the one who wronged you. This goes against every fleshly desire, but it is not a fleshly issue. Forgiving is a spiritual gift given in obedience to the will of God.
When you forgive the one who wronged you, their wrongdoing no longer has a hold on you. So let God do the judging—it is His job. Then you can rest in His peace.
|Posted by mercycounseling on May 30, 2018 at 8:45 AM||comments (0)|
Once again the bogus assertion that Jesus was married and fathered children has been raised, this time by BibleStudyTools.com, not because the writer believes it to be true, but to try to tell us why, if true, it doesn't really matter. The author goes on to repeat that, if Jesus were a husband and father, he would have been a good one. When you speculate the "what ifs" that stem from a lie, you still have a lie, and a bunch of lies! It makes no difference "what if;" the assertion itself is fallacious.
The author recounts the story of how, in 2012, "when an eminent Harvard University scholar and historian of early Christianity named Karen L. King presented at a conference in Rome a scrap of papyrus. The postage stamp-size relic was said to be 1,300 years old and bore the words, in the ancient Coptic language, 'Jesus said to them, My wife.' The fragment came from an anonymous collector," (as reported in the Chicago Tribune).
This "postage-stamp sized relic" has been called by some, "The Gospel of Jesus' Wife." We're talking about six words on a scrap of papyrus that was purportedly written some 600 years after the last of the canonical Gospels. The scrap and the words are completely free of any context, and offer no real evidence of anything. But humans love to find "evidence" to prove their preconceived notions rather than trusting the Word of God. Proponents of the idea have latched on to the totally fictional idea that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and had children with her. (This fiction is told in the book "The Davinci Code," and must I remind you, that book is entirely a work of fiction!
The Bible Study Tools article doesn't even address the obvious error of claiming a new gospel; the author just tries to tell us why, if true, it's no reason for alarm. That is Satan's way, my friend, to try to cause us to believe a lie by appealing to our emotions through a gentle softening of the facts. He is quite sly. So be careful what you believe!
If Jesus had been married, would God not have told us about it in His Word? He didn't, because it didn't happen. I suggest to you that the Son of God would not have taken a human wife, because that was not His mission. Throughout the Bible, the mission of Jesus was "to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10) and "because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me" (John 5:30).
Here is the focus of God's will--the focus for which Jesus gave His life: "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)
"The truth shall make you free" is a very popular quote, usually taken out of context. In context, it reads like this:
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32)
IF you abide (continue to believe) in His Word (the Holy Bible), THEN you are really His disciples. And ONLY THEN will you know the truth that will set you free.
Steer clear of the Devil's lies.
|Posted by mercycounseling on May 28, 2018 at 9:00 AM||comments (0)|
Have you ever been described as "driven?" Or have you ever felt driven to behave in a certain way? For example, some people seem to be driven to achieve, some seem to be driven to flee conflict. Some are driven to be alone, while others are driven to seek social interaction. Have you ever wondered why this is?
There are many factors that influence the behaivor of an individual, including all the experiences of life, how they were brought up, and concepts incorporated as values. Yet no one is born as a blank slate. There is something evident in every baby born that shows there is a first cause of human behavior. Is it genetic?
That first cause has never been correlated with any specific biological gene or set of genes, nor proven to be hereditary.
The first cause of human behavior is temperament, given at conception by Almighty God. We are born with it because God determined in His infinite knowledge the type of person we should be, according to His will, and for the purpose of finding our perfect place in His kingdom.
For several millenia, researchers have sought to understand human temperament; and many systems of thought have sought to associate certain behaviors with certain temperaments, with some success. However, we now know that two people may seem to be driven to the same behavior, but the underlying motivations are different for each; thus, their temperaments are not the same, even if they behave very much alike in certain areas. It was not until Drs. Richard and Phyllis Arno perfected what is known as the Arno Profile System that there has been a systematic way to capture and analyze the underlying drivers of human behavior--that is, to explain not only the "what" but also the "why" behind the way people perceive themselves, others, and the world around them, how this affects their behavior, and what temperament "type" they were born with.
The information gained through temperament analysis can help you understand yourself at your core in ways you may never have recognized before. An understanding of your inborn temperament has the power to transform you and is second only to the transforming power of salvation by Jesus Christ. Both are within your reach.
Mercy Christian Counseling Ministries provides Temperament Analysis and counseling to equip you with this life-changing knowledge. In-person and online appointments are available. Call Dr. Susan at 240-520-2713.
|Posted by mercycounseling on April 7, 2018 at 9:35 AM||comments (0)|
EASTER IS OVER, SO NOW WHAT?
The Easter baskets are back in storage, DVDs back on the shelf. The chocolates and marshmallow peeps and egg hunts once again a memory, along with hams and family traditions. Photographs have been admired and shared. People turn from the hype of Easter and focus on the Next Big Event. Even the churches quickly change vestments looking forward to the next Sacred Season.
The day that Easter is supposed to commemorate is the greatest day in all of human history: Resurrection Day--the day that Jesus Christ rose from the dead to reconcile sinful humankind to their Holy God.
So why is it that when the modern Eastern celebration hoopla dies down, nothing has changed? Because change cannot come from without; it must come from within.
It must come from within, because this is where God operates to bring about lasting, healing change. He does this by the work of the Holy Spirit, whose purpose is:
To “convict the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8 ). It is by the working of the Holy Spirit that we feel the weight of our wrongdoings and realize that the only way to be free is to repent and confess our sins to God through faith in Jesus Christ.
To save us “through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5). When we repent and ask Jesus to be our Savior, in that very moment we are regenerated into a new being and our names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. We gain eternal life.
To live in us. “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16). The spirit of God literally takes up residence within us, to be our helper.
To give us the power and ability to serve Christ. “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8 ).
For the saved (born again) person, Easter, or more accurately, the Resurrection, should be lived out on a daily basis through the power of the Holy Spirit living within us.
For the unsaved, Easter, Resurrection Day, should be a clarion call to self-examination and the realization that life without God is nothing but a terrible weight of vanity.
The Lord Jesus Christ did not live, suffer, die, and rise again for nothing.
He did it for us.
He calls now.
“Now what” depends on your response.