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There are many who say the full expression of our emotions remains the only safe way to ensure our own emotional and mental well-being. Take, for example, the following case:

The situation: Mom and Dad had divorced. Their sixth grade daughter longed to see her Daddy. When she did, he was inattentive and distant.

The problem: Unable to help with the depression experienced after visits with Dad, Mom asked the school counselor to “talk” with her daughter. The counselor asked the little girl all the typical questions, “How do you feel,” etc. After discovering her feelings, the counselor asked “What do you feel like doing about it?” The little girl was reluctant to say what she wanted to do about the problem. So the counselor encouraged her to respond.

Finally, this sad and precious child said, “ I want to kick him and punch him in the stomach! I just want to tell him that I hate him. I want to call him names!”

“Like what?” the counselor asked.

“Like bleep and bleep and bleep bleep!”

“Good, that’s good,” the counselor said.

And so the conversation continued. In the end, the little girl was encouraged to tell her father just how she felt. She heard from this person in authority that to do less would only cause her pain to remain buried. Sooner or later the pain would eat her up.

During Daddy’s next visit, she told him just what she felt. All the pain, all the frustration — in all of its vulgarity — poured out. Like acid it boiled over and burned not only dad, but the little girl and the relationship as well. Nothing was gained. Almost everything was lost.

Now where would Mom look for help? She turned to the pastor of a small church. After describing the whole situation, she whispered “Can you help us? Please, I’m begging you. Can you help my little girl? Can you help me?”

Slowly, the pastor opened the Bible and read, ”Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Then he added, “No I cannot. I cannot help you, but Jesus can. Would you like his help?”

It took time, yet the girl and her mother began to heal. Healing started because they met Christ and began to solve their problems his way. They learned that exploring their feelings should mean more than simply identifying them and acting them out. Instead of allowing emotions to rule, they began to control their emotions through the power of Christ’s love.

Ricki Lee Brooks

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