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April 24, 2012
In this issue:
  • Article:  Is God Good?
  • Coaching:  There are a few coaching spots open
  • Leslie Answers Your Questions:

    My sister borrowed money and hasn't paid it back.  Help!

  • What's New?  Picture of my Granddaughters
  • Book Give Away:  Why Can't He Be More Like Me? by Poppy Smith
Is God Good?
Under Your Wings

There was a time in my life when I didn't believe God was good. Like Jeremiah, in Lamentations 3, I accused him of being deceptive, capricious and unloving. I thought he was going to give me one of the deepest desires of my heart, and then suddenly it was snatched away. My heart fell into a deep pit, and it took a long time to climb back out.


How about you? Have you ever doubted the goodness of God?


We sing it, we say it, we know it, but truth be told, much of the time we don't really believe it. Most of us would acknowledge that we struggle trusting in God's goodness during times of suffering. But it's equally important to grasp that many times we don't trust and obey God simply because we think we know better and want to be in charge of our own lives. Eve doubted God's goodness even in the midst of paradise.


Things in life are not always what they initially appear to be. What looks good to us often turns out to be bad, and what feels bad to us can turn out to be good. As a child, I loved eating candy. It definitely tasted much better than meat or vegetables or even french fries and fruit. I ate so much candy my teeth decayed.


Going to the dentist felt bad, so I never wanted to go nor would I have chosen to. Thankfully my father saw beyond my foolishness and made me eat healthier and get my teeth fixed. It was good. Now that I'm grown up, I can see that, but at the time, I didn't understand. I just thought my father was being mean.


In the same way, many times we can look back over the worst of times and see that they were also some of the best times of God's goodness toward us. We see his provisions or experience his presence in deeper ways. From the vantage of history, we see that what we thought was bad, God used for good. In the Old Testament, Joseph was able to keep his peace and hope alive in the mist of circumstantial hardship because he knew that God's purposes were always good (Genesis 50:20).


King David trusted in the goodness of God so completely that when God gave him a choice of what consequence he wanted for his sin, David told God to pick whatever he deemed best (2 Samuel 24:10-14).


Jesus knows this world is full of temptations, trials and hardships. Throughout the four Gospels, Jesus repeatedly tells people that he is telling them the truth, that God knows best what we need. Yet what they heard from Jesus was so different than their own way of thinking and believing that for many, it wasn't easy to recognize it as truth even when they wanted to.


The father whose son was demon possessed begged Jesus, "I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief" (Mark 9:24 NLT). Belief and unbelief isn't either/or, it's both/and. We believe and we doubt. But the more we believe, the more we can trust. Richard Rohr says, "The opposite of faith isn't doubt, it's anxiety."


What did Jesus tell those who asked what they must do to do the work of God? He said the work of God is to believe (John 6:28-29). Once we believe, trust follows.


To help you get started, slowly meditate on this verse, word by word: "O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for you help" (Psalm 86:4,5 NLT).


In closing, take a few moments to ask yourself and answer the following questions:


How have you struggled believing God's goodness?


Where do you not believe him?


How does your unbelief cause anxiety, guilt, or other happiness-robbers in your life?


How would you live differently if you believed with all of your heart that God is good?


Dear Lord, help my friends believe you in good times and in hard times. Help them trust that you are always good even when they don't understand or it feels bad. Give them eyes to see that you are full of love and eager to forgive all their sins, all the time. Amen.





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  Amaya and Leila

I thought you'd enjoy seeing a picture of my two sweet granddaughters. 


 Why Can't He Be More Like Me?


by Poppy Smith


Poppy Smith offers you hope in this upbeat, empathetic, and biblically grounded book. Why Can't He Be More Like Me? will help you better understand areas of conflict in your marriage as you consider your different backgrounds, expectations, needs, and reactions on a variety of topics from communication styles to finances and sex.


Just email your name to

by Friday, April 27th for a chance to win one of two copies!


Congratulations to Theresa J. from Madison, Alabama and Carol P. from Wartrace, Tennessee who were the two winners of Georgia Shaffer's book Taking Out Your Emotional Trash!




For more information on Leslie's coaching program, please click below.


Leslie Vernick Coaching Programs



Apr 26-28  Wonderful Counselor Conference, Flower Mound, TX




Jun 12 AACC Webinar training


Jun 19 Focus on the Family Radio Interview and staff training


Jun 23 Generations Women's Event, Solid Rock Church, Portland, Oregon

We were blessed by the truths that she presented so clearly. Throughout the weekend and since that time, our staff has received numerous comments on how helpful, practical, powerful, and timely Leslie's messages were to them. Leslie was able to share deep truths of God's Word regarding how to live a life that pleases God in the midst of difficult circumstances and relationships in a way that people could understand and relate to.


Carla Smith
Emmanuel Baptist Church
Johnstown, PA  

Leslie Welcomes

Your Questions:


Leslie wants to help you grow in your personal and relational effectiveness.  Send your questions about dealing with difficult people, stress, or relationship issues to:


Then, visit Leslie's Blog as she posts her responses to one question per week.


Note:  Due to the volume of questions that Leslie receives, she is unable to respond to every question.



If you'd like to invite Leslie to speak at one of your events, please contact us at








My sister borrowed money and hasn't paid it back.  Help!

Question:  Several years ago, my sister borrowed a significant amount of money from me to start a new business. She didn't want me to tell the rest of our family, and I honored her request. Now, several years later, she has yet to repay me the loan. She has made one payment, but after that, nothing. I am angry and hurt. Do you think it would be violating our agreement if I told our family members about my loan and her non payment in order to get their support? I don't want to ruin my relationship with my sister.


Answer:  First, let me tell you that it was very kind of you to loan your sister the money to start her business. However, most people who give financial advice regarding loans to family members strongly recommend an explicit, legally written, repayment agreement so that this kind of sticky issue does not split families apart.


I can't tell you what to do about this, but let me give you some things to think about as you make your decision. You seem to value your relationship with your sister and want it to continue. Therefore, going to other family members before having a heart to heart talk with your sister about your feelings would be counterproductive.


Start by asking yourself whether there is a reason why she has not repaid you yet. Could it be that her business isn't doing well or has failed, and she just doesn't have the money? Or perhaps she assumes you don't need the money right now since you haven't asked her for it. Maybe she is using her extra money for other things she needs either personally or for her business growth.


On the other hand, she may be taking advantage of your kindness and, as I've said before, there is a high price in being too nice. So now is the time to sit down with your sister and have a "speak up" dialogue. You start this conversation by owning your problem and then sharing your feelings.*


For example, you might say something like:


"I'm having a hard time talking with you about something that has been on my mind. I love you, and our relationship is very important to me. You know I would help you in any way I could. Several years back you borrowed a substantial amount of money from me. I thought you agreed to pay it back in regular monthly payments. Yet, I have only received one payment in the last 4 years. I'm feeling hurt and confused. Can you explain what's going on?"


Your sister will probably feel defensive, so stay calm and say this in as neutral a voice tone as possible. When done, stop talking and let her explain. You want answers, not to start a family war. Her response regarding your feelings and desire for repayment will determine your next step. Your sister may say things that help you understand a bigger dilemma she faces and why repayment at this time isn't possible. Or, she might promise to start repaying the loan, at which point you will have to decide whether to put her promise into writing or not. On the other hand, if she makes lame excuses, dismisses your feelings or refuses to repay the loan, then you will have to choose whether to press this matter further with family members.


However, let me just add two additional cautions. I'm not a lawyer, but without anything in writing, it's your word against hers as to whether this was a gift or a loan. Trying to extract a debt from someone who does not want to pay it back is difficult. Without legal documentation, it is close to impossible. You'll have to decide whether it's worth letting the entire family know of your sister's behavior. What will that cost?


Second, if your sister shows no concern for your feelings, then perhaps you are trying too hard to maintain a relationship with someone who doesn't care about you and is not honest. If so, you may choose to minister to your sister as Jesus calls us to love one another, even our enemies, but don't think for a minute you have what it takes to share a close friendship together. That doesn't mean you cannot participate together in family gatherings, however you would interact with her more as a superficial acquaintance rather than a close friend.


More information on having "speak up" dialogues can be found in my book The Emotionally Destructive Relationship.