The Tapestry Blog

  • Communicating in Marriage: Thinking, Feeling, Needing, Wanting Part 2

    Today we are continuing our conversation with Stace and Daniel on marriage communication.  In particular, we are going to dig further into the importance of sharing your Wants and Needs in your marriage. While practical, I think that today’s show has substantial spiritual and relational signficance as well.  

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  • Communicating In Marriage: Thinking, Feeling, Needing, Wanting

    Today, Stace Huff and Daniel Peeks are here to talk about communication in marriage.  More specifically, we are going to dig a little deeper into Stace’s material on Thinking, Feeling, Needing and Wanting.  Stace uses this model to structure a complaint in a marriage, but I think its a good framework for communication in general.  So, today we’ll dig a little deeper into the significance of this framework and, along the way, hope to give you a little help communicating your thoughts and feelings in your marriage.  

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  • Communicating In Marriage: Thinking, Feeling, Needing, Wanting

    Today, Stace Huff and Daniel Peeks are here to talk about communication in marriage.  More specifically, we are going to dig a little deeper into Stace’s material on Thinking, Feeling, Needing and Wanting.  Stace uses this model to structure a complaint in a marriage, but I think its a good framework for communication in general.  So, today we’ll dig a little deeper into the significance of this framework and, along the way, hope to give you a little help communicating your thoughts and feelings in your marriage.  

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  • Addiction and Suffering

    Today we are continuing our conversation with Daniel Peeks about Addiction and Suffering.  In this podcast, Daniel is going to lead us further into the significance of suffering and its power to facilitate growth in our lives.  He’ll offer some important spiritual direction as he challenges all of us - whether we identify ourselves as addicts or not - to move out of our petty coping vices and into a greater dependence on Christ . 

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  • We're All Addicts

    Today we are talking with Daniel Peeks and Sarah Collier about Addiction and Suffering.  Daniel has some key insights into the scriptures and, in particular, I love the way that he brings a biblical understanding of suffering into his work with addiction.  In today’s show, he’s going to show us how we are all prone to using addiction to avoid suffering and growth.  Even if you don’t consider yourself an addict, I am confident  that you will find today’s show helpful.

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  • What's Do I Do With This Teenager!?!?

    Now that you know what’s going on in your teenager's brain (see Danielle's earlier blog:  "What’s Going On With My Teenager?), the question remains what do I do about it?  How can I support my teen's development - even when it drives me crazy - and help set them up for spiritual transformation and personal growth?

    Risk Taking

    Your teen needs age appropriate and productive ways of engaging in new experiences.  Preparing your teen for experiences instead of restricting your teen from experiences is key. This requires being ahead of the curve. Looking into the future a bit and having conversations about what is coming up next sets parents up to be proactive instead of reactive. The more you can “act out” upcoming experiences in a genuine way and propose situations that may occur while allowing your teen to respond honestly the better. They won’t be caught off guard when temptations arise- they will be prepared and know who to call if they get themselves in trouble. 

    Spiritually, it is important to realize that biblical Christianity is anything but safe. The father of our faith Abraham was instructed to leave his home and go to a place he did not know. God asked him to trust by being willing to sacrifice his own son Isacc. Esther went before the King and petitioned on behalf of the Hebrew people. Rahab left a cord for the spies. The Israelites crossed the Red Sea. The disciples left their known profession as fishermen to follow Jesus. The rich young ruler was commanded to sell everything he owned. After Jesus left, the disciples went all over the world proclaiming the good news and most were martyred for him. Knowing these stories, teaching these stories, and modeling obedience by taking the risks God is instructing you to take is vital for your teen. Their brain is telling them to take risks because they will have to in order follow all of Christ’s commands. 

    Ideas:

    • Encourage them to try out for the thing they have never done before
    • Introduce them to a culture other than your own
    • Plan a trip to a theme park
    • Be invested in their ideas and interests and do what you can to facilitate experiences around those things
    • Share the risk-taking stories of the Bible
    • Take some risks for Christ yourself

    Social Activity

    Your teen needs social connections especially peer relationships. I know it can feel strange that they seem not to want you anymore. The thing is that most teenagers do want Mommy and Daddy they just want them in a different way. Teens can feel tricky because one moment they want independence and the next minute they won’t be satisfied until they have your full attention. The truth is they want both, and it is good for them to have both. Being able to have friendships, relationships, and experiences outside of you while still being able to have you and other adults’ support, guidance, and discipline is healthy. 

    Spiritually, Christianity is a communal faith. The top two commands are to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself. We are instructed to confess our sins to one another so we may be healed. We are to encourage and build one another up, and also we are commanded to go to one another and resolve conflicts before heading to the altar to pray. Your teen’s brain is telling them that relationships are vital to a healthy life because spiritually God has designed us not just for relationship with him but others. Your teen is expanding beyond you because God has a plan for them to be used greatly in His body- the church and to minister who he is to the world. 

    Ideas:

    • Have your teen’s friends over and get to know them
    • Find and encourage positive social activities your teen enjoys (clubs, sports, church, etc.)
    • Encourage connection to extended family members and your friends
    • Educate teen on social media/technology and talk about what is appropriate for your family 
    • Model confessing sin (as appropriate)
    • Model encouragement

    Emotions Running Wild

    Your teen needs to be allowed to feel. Emotions are not the bad guy- the urges and impulses that turn into destructive behavior are. The more emotions are allowed to be expressed healthily and talked about honestly the better. Being able to name the emotion helps to tame it. Look up a list of emotion words and print it out- increase your vocabulary and help your child to do so as well. When your teen knows that all their emotions are welcome, they will be less likely to hide things from you and engage in unhealthy behaviors. 


    I have heard numerous times in my life that people do not believe in God because they have never felt him. What if the emotional time your teen is going through is an invitation from their creator to feel God and to know that he feels all their pain, sadness, happiness, and joy? Have you ever read through the Psalms? David was an emotional rollercoaster. He was able to write freely and commune with God deeply because he knew the acceptance and forgiveness of the Father. It is only when we are in touch with our emotional experience, that we can feel God. Your teen's emotions are an opportunity for connection with God and others. 

    Ideas: 

    • Increase you and your teen’s emotional vocabulary 
    • Don’t force them to talk
    • Be open to the midnight conversations your teen wants to have with you
    • Have family dinners with your teen and have a ritual to discuss highlights and hardships of everyone’s day with the family
    • Set clear expectations of what the teen is to contribute to the family
    • Have a weekly flow so that your teen generally knows what is expected of them each day
    • Read through the Psalms 
    • Pray as a family where you express your emotions to God
    • Remember the Gospel that Jesus bore all of our pain

    Novel and Contradictory Perspectives and Ideas

    Your teen needs to be able to express themselves. For example, that crazy dream about moving cross country with no money- doesn’t need to be shut down immediately but engaged with curiosity. Indulge your teen. If they are serious, you then have an opportunity to engage in a positive conversation about all the sides of what it would really take to do so. When your child pushes back against the way you want them to do something, listen. You may hear something that makes sense, or it may be complete nonsense. If it is nonsense let them know you hear what they are saying, they are welcome to do things their way when they move out and pay their bills, but for today they are still in your house, and that you still carry responsibility for them, therefore, you have the final say. 

    In Genesis, God created humanity with dominion over the world. God created the animals, yet he gave Adam the freedom to name them however he saw fit. God gave humanity dominion over every living thing. God created us to walk in responsibility and creativity for how we take care of things on earth. The emergence of new ideas in your teen is preparing your teen spiritually to be able to take care of all God has given them and is going to give them in the future. It is important for them to have the opportunity to explore what works for them and at the same time honors God. Your teen’s ideas could very well be pointing to how God desires to use them now and in the future. 

    Ideas: 

    • Be willing to listen to the message behind their pushback 
    • Affirm with what you agree with 
    • Be open to changing some things
    • Respectfully disagree 
    • Be clear about what is still required in your home 
    • Encourage them to come up with ideas on how to accomplish daily tasks
    • Encourage them to dream about how they can make a difference in the world

    Risk taking, socializing, intense emotions and coming up with new ideas are all beautiful things about adolescence. Although its not always easy, if you're able to be flexible, stay connected and try some new things during this season, you can help your teen make the most of the exciting neurological and personal changes happening for them.   

  • What Do I Do With My Teenager?!?

    In today's podcast we are continuing our previous conversation with Stace Huff and Danielle O’Neil about adolescence.   In our last podcast, we talked about 4 key insights into the change which adolescents are experiencing.  In today’s show we are going to build on that conversation by offering some practical strategies and ideas to help parents during this exciting albeit challenging time of rapid growth and change.  

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  • What's Going On With My Teenager!?!?

    If you’re the parent of a teen or a tween, I think that you’ll find today’s show helpful.  There’s a common misconception that adolescence is an inherently stormy and tumultuous time in the home.  However, if you can recognize the changes going on during those teenage years, it doesn’t have to be that way.  In fact, it can really be an exciting period of transition if you can understand that an adolescent’s mind is changing rapidly as it prepares them for the upcoming independence of young adulthood.  

    What's Going On WIth My Teenager?!

  • What's Going On With My Teenager!?!?

    I say teenager- you say hormones. There’s only one problem. While hormones do increase during adolescence, they are not the primary source of your teenager’s madness. 

    Changes in your teen’s behavior is actually a sign that their brain is undergoing a transformation. This brain change is significant biologically and behaviorally. The brain processes of myelination, the thickening of the corpus collusom, synaptic pruning, heightening of the amygdala, increase in dopamine are transforming your teen’s mind from the spongey brain of childhood that absorbs everything into an efficient machine that quickly and efficiently navigates the adult world.

    Their brain changes are also significant spiritually. The mind is the soil of spiritual transformation. It is the place from which the fruit of accurately discerning God’s will arises. It is the one area of our being that God does not take full responsibility to put something new in us. 

    Let me explain, when we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that Christ is Lord God does the work of putting a new heart and spirit within us. The mind however is different. We are instructed to be transformed not by having our minds replaced but having our minds renewed. Christ’s blood gave us the mind of Christ, yet we are the ones who continually have to put it on. We are commanded to do the work of thinking on whatever is pure, noble, worthwhile, and worthy of praise.

    Biologically your adolescents mind is primed for transformation behaviorally and spiritually. Yet, as with anything that is under a growth and transformation process there is plenty of room for things to go awry.

    Let’s take a look at what’s going on in your teen’s brain, how it can affect their behavior for good or for bad, and the spiritual opportunity it presents:  

    1. Risk-taking 

    Brain: When your child hits adolescence there is an increase in the activity of neural circuits utilizing dopamine- the feel-good chemical. When a teen does something exciting, their brains release more dopamine than an adult brain does. 

    Downside: The downside to this brain change is that teens sometimes begin to engage in risk-taking that overemphasizes the thrill and downplays potential danger. Your teenager can focus only on the positive of the behavior while failing to notice the downside. 

    Upside: The good news is what may be manifesting as risky behavior is actually a desire for something new, challenging, and rewarding. When this brain change is honed in a positive way, your teen can be empowered to live life with a sense of fascination rather than boredom. 

    Spiritual Opportunity: Your teen’s brain is telling them to do risky things. Why not channel the risk taking towards spiritual growth? Biblical Christian faith is anything but safe. Remember Abraham who left everything for a land he did not know? Take the time to get to know your teen’s desires and align it with a risk that serves the kingdom. For example they are longing to go to new place and meet people different from them- head to downtown Atlanta and serve the homeless. Your teen is dying to travel the world- great! Encourage them to raise money for the missions trip. In Christ we are free to have fun, take risks, and serve him in the most wildly creative/risky ways possible. 

    2. Not being able to get enough of friends.

    Brain: During adolescence, your child’s brain is strengthening its neural connections. The sponge brain of childhood that absorbs everything is being transformed into a machine that organizes information efficiently. The fancy words for this are synaptic pruning where the brain is pruning away information they do not need. The other process is myelination where the brain is sealing the information they do use. The biological organization of the brain is reinforced relationally through friendships, discussions, and experiences.

    Downside: Teens that become isolated and only surround themselves with other teens have increased risk behavior, total rejection of adults, and the ability to take life-endangering risks.

    Upside: The drive for social connection can lead to a network of meaningful support in your teen’s life. When your teen is connected to both peers and adults, they will develop a rich and meaningful perspective of life. 

    Spiritual Opportunity: Christianity stands apart from the pop-spirituality of the day in that it is communal. Relationship with Christ is to love one another and to be connected to his body. Your teen’s craving for social relationships is an invitation for them to dive deep into community  with other believers. Their insatiable need for relationship is an opportunity to open themselves up the perspective and wisdom of others around them. 

    3. Emotions running wild

    Brain:  The lower brain or limbic system of your adolescent the seat of their emotion is more activated than it ever will be. Highly intense emotions that bypass reasoning helps your teen to move out of your comfortable home into the world. 

    Downside: Your teen’s emotions end up ruling everyone in the household. Their moodiness, impulsivity, and reactivity keep them from homework, friendships, and family responsibilities. 

    Upside: When a teen’s emotional intensity is directed in a positive direction they can experience joy in their daily lives. They can revitalize the family with passion and energy. They move into the world with passion, not fear. 

    Spiritual Opportunity: Have you ever read through the Psalms? David was an emotional rollercoaster. He brought all of his emotions to the Lord without shame because he knew he was accepted and loved by the Father. Spiritually your teen has an opportunity to connect with God emotionally like never before. Encourage them to bring their sadness, fear, joy, and silliness before the Father. He delights and wants to be apart of it all. Encourage your teen to study the heart and emotions of God. They are a beautiful reminder of the freedom, joy, and emotional vibrancy God desires for us to walk in. 

    4. Coming up with new ideas

    Brain:  The front part of your teen’s brain or their prefrontal cortex is growing. This growth is shifting their thinking from concrete literal interpretations they had in childhood to complex meaning and ability to think about situations abstractly. 

    Downside:  Your teen is pushing against your ideas and coming up with their own. This leads to frustration and inability to get them to do what you want them to do.  The thing is when your teen does not find meaning and is unable to express their ideas it can lead to an identity crisis, vulnerability to peer pressure, and a lack of direction or purpose. 

    Upside: If your teen holds onto the ability to think in new ways (while still respecting you and other authority of course), it will prevent them from getting in ruts later on in their adult life. The ability to think about a situation from multiple sides makes for good problem solvers and people who push society forward. 

    Spiritual Opportunity: Your teen is now at a place where they can begin to think critically about scripture. Allow them to ask questions, do research, and think about what the word of God means for their daily life. Your teen’s new innovative ideas could lead to a powerful way of ministering Christ to the world. Allow them to dream big- the dreams and wild ideas of their adolescence may be the calling God is planting in their heart for adulthood. 

    If your teen is behaving in these ways, congratulations, they are normal!  The downsides to these behaviors are scary for sure, and that’s why even with their growing independence and constantly shifting moods- your teen still needs you. Cultivate the upsides, recognize the spiritual opportunities, and look for part II What do I do with my teenager?

    -written by Danielle O'Neil

    Reference: 

    Siegel, D.J. Brainstorm: The purpose and power of the teenage brain. New York, NY: Penguin Random House. 

  • Recovering from Infidelity - Part 4

    Today Daniel Peeks joins us for the fourth installment of a 6 Part series on infidelity.   In today’s show, we continue our conversation about the restoration process as we address some critical steps for facilitating healing.  Because that injured spouse is in post traumatic distress, the focus of that healing is predominantly directed toward them.  Often, as a couple struggles toward reconciliation, they are both so raw - albeit with differing emotions and reactions - that a predictable self-perpetuating and highly destructive pattern can get triggered.  In today’s show, we want to articulate that pattern as we also offer a path out of it and toward the healing needed. 

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