Our Ministry To Couples

Chen-Mosebrook Wedding Liz & Bridesmaids

Liz & Dave’s wedding. Sharon was a bridesmaid.

My beloved spoke and said to me,

“Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me.”

–Song of Solomon 2:10

 

 

Tim & Tiffany - together at the rehearsal

Tim & Tiffany – together at the rehearsal

Dear Friends,

We have been blessed to be part of five weddings over the past twelve months!  There are too many joys to list, but here are some highlights:

  • having the couples over to our home for premarital counseling sessions after our kids are in bed, sharing & praying together, often late into the night
  • discussing: what is God’s purpose for marriage, anyway?

    Dan & Rachel with our five-year-old Braedon, who served as the dashing ring bearer.

    Dan & Rachel with our five-year-old Braedon, who served as the dashing ring bearer.

  • getting one-on-one time with both the bride & groom, to get to know them more deeply and care for them individually
  • premarital counseling is a great way to remember how much God has matured our own marriage, and weddings are a great time reminder of God’s covenant love!
  • watching the love grow between our children and these couples.  Braedon was twice a ring bearer, and Carissa was asked to greet guests at one of the weddings.
  • and finally, watching Bryan pronounce them “husband & wife!”
Bryan with Mike & Youna, just after pronouncing them husband & wife

Bryan with Mike & Youna, just after pronouncing them husband & wife

The verse above is the one Bryan had engraved on the inside of my wedding band nearly 17 years ago (by grace!)  As we recount God’s many blessings to us, I are reminded His gifts are rarely for us alone, but intended to also be a blessing to others.

Hopefully the photos capture just a hint of the great joy we’ve had in being involved in ministering as a family to these younger couples.  I love hosting brunch Bible studies in our home, meeting up with the individual women on campus by text, email or in person, as I’m able — as well as mentoring couples.

 

Sharon and Patricia

Sharon and Patricia

Steve and Bryan

Steve and Bryan

I feel like the blessings are all mine – but I know that’s not true! I trust God is also blessing YOU richly for your partnership in these things.  None of it would be possible without your support.  We remain deeply grateful.

    Yours in Christ,

    Sharon

Please join us in the following praises and prayers:

  • Praise God for the privilege of being involved in the lives of young couples. Pray that God sends more our way!
  • Praise God for the Grace Prescriptions course we’re using in our bible study brunches.  Students are learning to share their faith with peers and patients in their everyday, secular contexts.  One student decided to pray with patients just two days after our first session!
  • Praise God for a great Graduating Student Roundtable, where our students interacted with practicing professionals about issues they’ll soon face upon graduation.
  • Praise God for a medical student who came to Christ at an Easter service!  God used the witness of the Christian community, and getting hit by a bus (he’s alright now), to lead him to faith.
  • Pray for our campuses as leadership transitions are taking place.  Pray for us as we assist them through the transition.
  • Pray for us as we spend more time developing our ministry team.  There are so many opportunities that we need more laborers to take advantage of all that God is doing!
  • Pray for the many personal interactions with students God is giving us in person, over the phone, email and, increasingly, via texting.

 

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How & Why To Take A Spiritual History

If you’re a Christian healthcare provider, chances are you’re already committed to treating the whole person.  Of taking a holistic approach to quality patient care.

Recently, we’ve been going through CMDA’s all-new Grace Rx curriculum in our bible study brunches.  Last week we discussed how and why to take a spiritual history. Initially I had planned on sharing the various options for spiritual assessments with those who came, but figured others could benefit, too, so I’m putting it up here.

To give credit where it’s due, Dr Walt Larimore and Bill Peel put Grace Rx together, so I’m largely just passing along what they cover in Module 5 of their course.

Why We Should Take A Spiritual History

There are 5 main things we can learn by taking a spiritual assessment:

  1. a patient’s religious background
  2. the role that religious/spiritual backgrounds play (if any) in how they cope with illness and distress
  3. convictions that may affect, or interfere with, how we treat them clinically
  4. determining whether/not the patient is involved in a spiritual community, and, whether/not that community is supportive
  5. any spiritual needs that they may have

Evidence-Based Reasons To Take A Spiritual History

A large body of evidence suggests that taking a spiritual assessment/history is beneficial.

Here are 5 evidence-based to perform one:

  1. patient desire – about 70% of the American population views religious commitment as a central life factor, especially when dealing with illness.  Most patients want professionals to inquire about beliefs important to them.
  2. patient benefit – of studies reporting relationships between spirituality and mental and/or physical health, about 70% report positive relationships.  22% report mixed/no results, while 9% report a negative one.
  3. identification of risk factors – an inverse relationship exists between faith and morbidity and mortality.  For example, patients who ‘felt alienated from or unloved by God or attributed their illnesses to the devil were associated with a 16% to 28% increase in risk of dying during the two-year follow-up period’.
  4. may enhance healthcare – empirical literature from epidemiological and clinical studies that explore the relationship between religious factors and mental/physical health suggest that religious commitment helps prevent, improves coping with, and, facilitates recovery from illness.
  5. considered a standard of care – an increasing number of healthcare organizations are calling for greater attention to be given to spiritual issues as patients are treated and assessed.

Spiritual Assessment Instruments

Taking a spiritual assessment doesn’t have to take a lot of time, or, seem weird.  They can be delivered quickly, and, in concert with other questions designed to assess a patient’s overall health.

In addition, you don’t have to choose one instrument and stick to it rigidly.  You can use whatever questions work well for you, and, help you help your patients.

  1. Open Invite.
  2. FICA Spiritual History.
  3. HOPE Spiritual History.
  4. SPIRITual History.
  5. CSI-MEMO Spiritual History.
  6. ACP/ASIM Spiritual History.
  7. Larson Spiritual History (slide 69).
  8. GOD Questions (slide 70).  This is the one covered in the Grace Rx curriculum.

As I wrapped up this segment of the post, I stumbled upon Dr Larimore’s presentation at the 2013 Global Missions Health Conference.  This contains each one of the spiritual assessments mentioned above and may be the easiest way to access them in one place.

To Keep In Mind

When spiritual needs surface, remember to:

  • listen compassionately – regardless of where a patient is coming from
  • respect and clarify – always respect any beliefs that come up and seek to clarify as necessary
  • document – your spiritual assessment and a patient’s openness to it; the information may be helpful in future discussions

It Takes Courage

Even though a great deal of organizations (many of them secular) encourage spiritual assessments, pressures to avoid the topic and keep patient encounters brief make it hard in practice.  In addition, our own insecurities and (frankly) selfishness pose barriers, too.

Our commitment to treating the whole person, as Jesus did, can help us to press on past the barriers and include a spiritual assessment.  Doing this allows us to see where a patient is in their spiritual journey and join them – and God – in it.