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June 12, 2012
In this issue:
  • Article:  When is Enough, Enough?
  • Coaching Coaching spots available
  • Leslie Answers Your Questions:

    Is God Really Good?

  • What's New?  AACC Webinar on domestic violence and emotional abuse airing tonight
  • Book Give Away: 
  • Win Lost and Found by Ginny Yttrup plus previous contest winners listed

When is Enough, Enough?


Walking through the store recently, I heard a young girl (about nine years old) whining loudly. She was following her mom with big crocodile tears flowing down her face. "Mom, I want it. Why won't you buy it? Mom, pleeeease!"


As the mom ignored the youngster, her pleas escalated. Now sobbing, her daughter howled, "Mom, I want it. I WANT IT NOW."


The mother valiantly tried not to lose her temper. Finally she turned to her daughter and said in a very firm voice, "Stop it. You are not getting it. You did not behave."


My heart sank. Although this mother may have been correct in not rewarding her daughter's misbehavior with a special treat from the store, she missed a larger opportunity to teach her child an important truth.


We live in a culture of "I want more" and believe "If I had more, I would be happier." Even as adults we've bought into this lie. Who hasn't said to themselves, "If only I had more ___________, then I'd be happy."


If only you had more money, more time, a bigger house, a different spouse, a newer car, then you'd feel happier? Right? Not really. That kind of happiness only lasts for as long as it takes to start dreaming of the next thing you want.


This little girl in the shopping mall is growing up in a culture of entitlement where we not only want more, we think we NEED more and we deserve more. Every television commercial reminds us that we deserve more because we're worth it.


Entitlement thinking enlarges the self as we become more and more self-centered and self-absorbed, but it diminishes the spirit and poisons the soul. Instead of feeling happy and grateful for what we have, we feel gypped and grumble and complain because we are not getting more of what we think we need and deserve. More isn't better because more never satisfies. More just fuels our desire for more.


So how do we break free from the mindset of more? The apostle Paul tells us that if we want to grow we must retrain our mind to think in new ways. (Romans 12:2). We have to realize that the world's way of thinking is not only incorrect, it leads to death.


Paul shares with us a secret that he learned that helped him reject the tyranny of more. He learned how to be content in every situation (Philippians 4:11).


We too can learn to be content, but it takes some discipline. Here are two practices you can begin and teach your children in order to learn contentment.


1.  Gratitude: The Bible says, "It is good to give thanks to the Lord (Psalm 92:1). Gratitude counters our entitlement mindset and helps us appreciate the things we do have. On the way home from the store, this mom could have invited her daughter to think of five things she is thankful for. As she turned her attention toward her blessings, her daughter's grumbling attitude may have changed.


Even when it's hard to see the good in a particular situation, God calls us to give thanks in all things (not necessarily for all things) (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Mom might have been tempted to grumble internally about her daughter's misbehavior and immaturity, but retraining her own mind would have reminded her instead to give thanks. Although aggravating, that teachable moment was a gift from God to help her and her daughter see things in a new way. They don't need more in order to be happy.


2.  Turn to Praise and Worship: When our entitlement mindset looms large, consciously turn your heart away from more and turn it toward God in praise. Praise thanks God for who he is and what he has given us. As we faithfully practice praising and thanking God, we learn to trust his character and his plan for our life even when we don't understand or like it.


The apostle Paul learned these lessons while sitting in a prison cell. Often it is in the hardest places where we are most teachable. Today when you are tempted to grumble and complain or just want more, stop; tell yourself "enough already" and turn your heart and mind toward all that you have and all God has done. See what a difference this small shift makes in your mood.



P.S. I want to warmly welcome ALL new subscribers who have joined our community since last month!  You are going to love the resources available to help you grow.  I'm thrilled to have you here!


P.P.S.  Don't keep this to yourself!  Forward this newsletter to your friends and colleagues or send them to so they can register for themselves. 




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If you'd like to invite Leslie to speak at one of your events, please contact us at 1-877-837-7931








Join my AACC Webinar on Breaking the Silence: Treatment Strategies for Emotional and Physical Abuse airing live tonight (Tuesday, 6/12) at 6pm.  There is a nominal fee of $10 for non-members.


Click below for more information or to register:


AACC Webinar


Lost and Found

by Ginny Yttrup


It appears Jenna Bouvier is losing everything: beauty, family, and wealth. When her controlling and emotionally abusive mother-in-law accuses Jenna of an affair with her spiritual director and threatens to expose them, Jenna also risks losing her reputation as a woman of faith. Will she capitulate to her mother-in-law's wishes again or fight for what she holds dear? As Jenna loses her life, will she find it?

Moving between San Francisco and the Napa Valley, Jenna and Andee form an unlikely relationship that leads them to a crossroad. They can follow familiar inclinations, or risk it all and walk in faith.


Andee Bell has found exactly what she wanted: fame, fortune, and respect. There's also a special man in her life-Jenna's brother. Despite her success, a secret quells Andee's contentment. As memories torment, will she find peace in a relationship with God, or will she sabotage herself while also taking down the only person she cares about? As Andee finds her life, will she lose it? 


Just email your name to

by June 15thfor a chance to win one of two copies!


Congratulations to Kris P. of Portland, OR and Verna of Millersville, MD who were the two winners of Leslie's book Lord, I Just Want to Be Happy.




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


Leslie Vernick Coaching Programs





Jun 12 AACC Webinar on domestic violence and emotional abuse


Jun 19 Focus on the Family Radio Interview and staff training


Jun 23 Generations Women's Event, Solid Rock Church, Portland, Oregon (open to the public)




Sep 6-8 Faithlife Women's Conference, Dallas, Texas


Sep 27-29 AACC Conference, Brandon, MO




Oct 12-14 Agape Total Life Center, British Virgin Islands


Oct 19-21 Ladie's Bible Conference, America's Keswick, Whiting, NJ


Thank you for your clean, straight forward communication and teaching style and for sharing illustrations with some personal vignettes of your own life.

We who attended the retreat are inspired about what we learned; and now face the challenging work of change, taking the information you shared, employing it and stepping into transformation.

Renee Hessler
Calvary Chapel of Central Bucks

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.



Is God Really Good?

Question:   My father just died a long and painful death, and last year my husband of 30 years walked out on me. I'm struggling as a Christian to believe that God is good when it feels like he doesn't care and he doesn't help. How can I get through this period of doubt?


Answer:   Let me begin by telling you I'm very sorry for your losses. This is not an easy question for theologians to answer, let alone counselors. Entire books are written about it, so let me just leave you with a few things to think and pray about.


First, it's tempting to think that we only struggle with the question of God's goodness when things go wrong in our lives. But Eve doubted God's goodness even in the midst of Paradise. There was no suffering to tempt Eve to doubt God's character, and yet still she decided not to submit to God's truth or trust his goodness when she ate the forbidden fruit. Don't beat yourself up. Honest people acknowledge that they often struggle to believe God's goodness toward them while they are hurting.


Second, goodness is a moral question not a scientific one. Who gets to define what is good? When we judge God as not good, we make our own view of things the highest authority. But what makes my judgment any truer than the next person's? What if what I define as good, someone else sees as bad? Is there any absolute authority that teaches us how to view things or is everything seen through the eyes of our own perspective?


In his book, Systematic Theology, Dr. Wayne Grudem, wrote "The goodness of God means that God is the final standard of good, and all that God is and does is worthy of approval." But it's not our approval that defines what good is, it is God's approval. The Scriptures define and declare that God is good and that what he does is good. (For example see Psalm 100:5, Psalm 106:1, Psalm 34:8; Psalm 119:68, Psalm 86:5, and Naham 1:7.) Jesus also affirmed God's goodness when he told the rich young ruler "no one is good except God alone." (Mark 10:18)


One of the things that helped me personally come to terms with God's goodness during a painful loss in my own life was when I read these words, "God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all" (1 John 1:5 NLT). The apostle John declares that this is the message he heard from Jesus and that he is writing these things so that we might have joy (1 John 1:4). The psalmist said, "For you are not a God who delights in wickedness, evil may not dwell with you" (Psalm 5:4).


In my anger and pain, I was not only blaming God for doing bad things, I was accusing God of being evil. As I pondered John's words about God's character, I was forced to decide whose truth was true. If God is incapable of darkness, then God is incapable of evil. He is all good all the time. If that was true, then there had to be another reason God allowed my personal pain and suffering. There is a mystery to the Almighty that we cannot expect to grasp with our finite minds. Perhaps I would never know his purposes this side of eternity but would I trust that God knew and that he was indeed good?


In the book Faith and Culture Devotional, John Eldridge refers to two main themes woven throughout scripture "a major theme of hope, love, and life triumphant, and a minor theme of suffering, sorrow, and loss." He says when people focus only on the major theme of scripture; we can sound insensitive and glib about the real hardships of those who hurt, promising them that God will work all things for good and that they can have victory in Jesus. He says, "The Christianity that talks only about hope, joy, and overcoming would be hollow, syrupy and shallow.


On the other hand, he cautions us that in modern culture's quest for authenticity and transparency, the church has majored in the minor theme of brokenness and suffering. Although refreshingly honest and necessary, if that is all there is, where is our hope? Where is the abundant life that Jesus promises? Where is the resurrection, the redemption, the restoration and reconciliation themes of scripture? Eldridge concludes, "We must be honest about the minor theme, but we must keep it the minor theme."


Remember, often when we look back through what we thought were the worst of times, God used them for great good. In the Old Testament story of Joseph, he was able to keep his joy, peace and hope alive in the midst of circumstantial hardship because he believed and trusted that God's purposes were always good (Genesis 50:20).


Proverbs reminds us, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Don't lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight. (Prov. 3:5,6).


I hope that helps. Your struggle is common to us all.