December 2020 Newsletter
Rising Above the Current Chaos
Many of us are struggling to rise above the chaos of the day. At Friends of the Family, we have been trying to remind ourselves that none of 2020 has been a surprise to God. His plans and purposes have not been altered.
“God, grant me the grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
courage to change the things that should be changed,
and wisdom to distinguish one from the other.”
Nearly a century ago, Reinhold Niebuhr offered this prayer, an early version of the now famous “Serenity Prayer.” It holds basic truths that can challenge and encourage us today:
Much of what happens is outside our control.
Most of our worries are about things that we cannot control or change. This brings anxiety, fear, discouragement, and hopelessness.
When we fully trust God with all that is beyond our control, His grace can bring us a peace that doesn’t make sense in the circumstances. We can rise above the stresses and uncertainties – free from fear and anxiety.
Can you let go of something you can’t control today — and entrust it to God?
We can control some things.
Sometimes we can solve problems by taking action. But when that is not possible, we can control our own thoughts, attitudes and behaviors. We can always choose how we respond to people and circumstances around us.
As we learn to manage ourselves better, our ability to influence others increases as well! And God can grant us the courage we need to change.
How might God want you to grow today so you can make a positive difference in your world?
Its important to keep clear which is which.
One key to “rising above” trials and tribulations is to ask ourselves “Is this something I can change?” If not, give it to God and let it go.
When we let ourselves get caught up in all that we cannot control, there are negative impacts on our mental, emotional, relational and spiritual health.
So, it is critical to figure out what is ours to carry and what is God’s. Fortunately, God promises to grant wisdom to those who ask. And as He does, we can better choose what to focus on and what to do.
For what do you need God’s wisdom today?
God wants to help us rise above the current chaos, trust fully in Him, grow into everything He created us to be, and do all He calls us to do. And He’s still in the business of granting the grace, courage and wisdom we need. We just need to ask….
As the pandemic lingers on and weariness grows, encouraging one another becomes increasingly important and meaningful. But what does that look like when we all have been thrust into the same strange and uncertain times, but people are looking to you for answers?
Thanks to your support of Friends of the Family, our Executive Director has recently had opportunity to explore that question with several groups of pastors and ministry leaders.
Leaders from the Evangelical Church’s Pacific Conference initially invited him to share at some denominational meetings in early November. The talk addressed “Principles for Caring for Self & Others.”
He has since encouraged pastors and ministry leaders from the Transform Lebanon and Philomath Pastors groups. And more opportunities have already been scheduled with area churches and ministry teams in the New Year!
Supporting faith leaders so they can continue to serve and lead others in healthy ways is another area that you and Friends of the Family impact our communities for the better.
Your Unexpected Reach in Uncertain Times
Because of you, and some special funding from the Ralph Hull Foundation and the Rotary Club of Greater Corvallis, couples are being prepared for the life-changing transition of becoming first-time parents.
This summer was our second Bringing Baby Home workshop. We are excited to report that, despite some apprehensions of how this 12-hour program would translate to an online experience, the response was overwhelmingly positive. Participants included 14 couples from seven states — from Oregon to New York!
The couples loved the classroom exercises that helped put what they had learned into practice. They reported using “soft startups” to help resolve big issues in their marriage. One couple, married for 10 years, told us they learned a better way to walk through conflict. Now that is encouraging!
Your impact through this program reaches into the next generation. Participating parents are given tools to lay a stronger foundation for their growing family.
“We have learned amazing tools to help build up our marriage and friendship while providing a supportive, loving, and engaging relationship with our future children.” — Libbie S.
You are helping build healthy relationships and healthy homes.
More Counselors to Meet Increasing Needs
Thanks to supporters like you, Friends of the Family’s counseling team is serving more people and is able to meet more needs than last year. In these times of increased mental health need, our master’s level counseling interns have not only helped their clients, they have also been an encouragement to the staff!
Already, they have navigated some difficult situations, including managing their caseloads entirely on Telehealth. The interns see up to ten clients each week (individuals and couples) and participate in weekly seminars and supervision.
In our faith-based setting, they have successfully applied a range of clinical theories to help clients meet their goals, including Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Gottman Method Couples Therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy, and Restoration Therapy. They have also had opportunities to integrate their own faith in their work and to provide spiritual resources for clients.
This fall Sherry Doggett and Dave Jackson successfully facilitated a 9-week small group for married couples that was very well received. They used RelateStrong material developed by folks at Pepperdine University and Fuller Theological Seminary.
Katie McAlister has prepared a talk to equip young moms to manage stress to present at a local church. She will also be co-facilitating a group for single parents in the upcoming year.
In January 2021 we look forward to welcoming a new counseling intern, Nikki Truscelli, from Arizona State University. She has just completed her Ph.D. in communication and is now completing her master’s degree in counseling.
We are grateful for God’s work in developing competent and compassionate counselors. Please pray with us that He will continue to bring clients to our (virtual) door so that they might receive the help they need. There are a few immediate openings if you know anyone who may benefit from this service.
Thanks to your contributions, Friends of the Family is able to provide quality counseling for as low as $30 per session. Help us spread the word! Please mention us to those in need.
Strengthening Marriages in the Community
Community-oriented and education-minded. Great descriptors of The Third Option (TTO)!
Driven by a love for people and a desire to see marriages grow into all they can be, TTO is Friends of the Family’s on-going marriage education and support group. Sustained for over ten years by an amazing team of volunteer leaders, it touches dozens of couples every year.
For now, our two locations for live gatherings in the mid-valley have become one – a virtual one – on Wednesdays. A silver lining to this forced “pivot” is that some who would be unable to attend in person are now able to.
One such couple lives locally, but have a little one that they are now able to attend to without disrupting others (mute can be a wonderful thing!). A few others live in other states, but attend Friends of the Family’s fun, relaxed TTO-Zoom group as a way of investing in their marriages.
If you could experience this program first-hand, you might be surprised by its impact on lives and relationships. The sense of community among group members and the nurturing environment created is quite extraordinary. And it is only because of your support that we can bring such resources to our community. Find out how to attend the next session here.
Preparing for Marriage
Many recent weddings have been dramatically impacted by Covid-19, but believe it or not, people are still falling in love and want to get married!
Thanks to you, Friends of the Family is still here to help couples have the best chance possible for a healthy and successful marriage. We offer two options to prepare couples:
Workshop Option: Join a few other couples at a one-time workshop that covers 10 topics paramount to a couple’s health. An online assessment helps us customize the workshop and three personalized sessions with one of our trained counselors.
Individual Option: Meet with one of our trained counselors for 8-10 personalized counseling sessions. An online assessment helps us address areas that will prepare you for a healthy marriage.
If you or someone you know is thinking about marriage in the next year, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-757-1761 to find out about future workshop and counseling options. Currently all appointments are virtual.
Let’s Pray Together
You care about marriages, families and relationships. What do you do with that burden you sometimes feel for your loved ones to find God’s hope, help and healing? For them to experience forgiveness, reconciliation and restoration? Let’s take it to the Lord in prayer together!
Every Wednesday morning at 9:30am, Friends of the Family hosts an online prayer meeting focused around building healthy relationships and healthy homes in our community. We’d love to have you join us! Contact us to get the link.
When You Give…
Good News! When you choose to give to Friends of the Family – through your finances, time and prayers – you become an integral part of the team, bringing hope, help and healing to marriages and families. You help transform lives and mend relationships!
If you have not already partnered with Friends of the Family, this year-end would be a great time! Please consider ways to get involved here.
For any of you thinking about tax deductions, we want to make sure you are informed of the special CARES Act tax deduction for cash, check or credit card donations, up to $300, made by December 31 to qualifying charities like Friends of the Family Ministries. You can learn more here.
From the Director…
Hello Friend of the Family!
“Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thess. 5:11).
As the year comes to a close, I pray this newsletter encourages you. Through your generous investments in this ministry, there is much to rejoice about! God has encouraged countless individuals and built up numerous relationships.
When the Lord launched this ministry in 1994, He already knew the craziness we all would face in 2020. And He has Friends of the Family strategically positioned to play a unique role in the upcoming recovery process!
As marriages and families experience pandemic repercussions, our relationship education classes and events will be a beacon of hope, help and encouragement. And our team of professional counselors, led by Dr. Renee del Rio, is poised to help bring healing to clients facing mental, emotional, relational and spiritual health issues.
You are having a lasting impact on the lives and relationships of real people! Thank you for partnering with us in this life-giving ministry.
May the Lord abundantly bless and encourage you and your family this Christmas season!