Special Episode: Encouraging and Comforting One Another | WORLD
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Special Episode: Encouraging and Comforting One Another


WORLD Radio - Special Episode: Encouraging and Comforting One Another

A roundtable discussion with two Christian counselors and Emily Whitten


EMILY WHITTEN: In John chapter 13, Jesus gives His disciples a new command: “as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” But what does it mean to love our brothers and sisters in Christ? That’s a huge question, but at least part of that calling includes counseling one another.

In this April 2021 roundtable with authors Justin Holcomb and Sissy Goff, we don’t use the word counseling to refer to a profession with degrees and complicated techniques. That’s an important but different topic for another time. In this roundtable, we talk about counselors in terms of everyday moms, dads, siblings, teachers, pastors, and others who show God’s love by listening, encouraging, and advising those who are hurting.

And it’s easy to see many in the body of Christ are hurting today. For instance, before the pandemic, Sissy Goff says that 1 in 4 elementary age kids struggled with anxiety. Post-pandemic, some studies show that jumped to 1 in 3. As a licensed counselor for more than 30 years at Daystar Counseling Ministries in Nashville, Goff has met with many Christian families wrestling with that reality. That led to her most recent book, Brave: A Teen Girl’s Guide to Beating Worry and Anxiety.

Justin Holcomb has spent much of his time as an Anglican minister in Florida counseling those with sexual abuse in their past. His experiences led him and his wife, Lindsey, also a counselor, to write Rid of My Disgrace, a resource for sexual abuse survivors and those who counsel them. In 2015, they also published the picture book, God Made All of Me, to help families prevent sexual abuse of kids and address abuse in godly ways when it does happen.

Whatever challenges you face, I hope our conversation will inspire and equip you to be a better counselor in your local church body—and ultimately, to love those around you more like Christ.

With that in mind, let’s jump in!

WHITTEN: I'll just say, for me, um, that that role does not come naturally. I feel like learning to become a counselor has really been, it's come through my parenting journey. I began to see how running away isn't the answer. God can call you into other people's suffering, and He can use that. And so I want to hear what that journey was like for you and how you think about that. I know that, Justin, you pointed out you're not technically a professional counselor, but I'm really thinking generally, how you became a person who goes to the fire, instead of running away from it. So Sissy, why don't you start?

GOFF: Woah, that's a great question. Wow. As you're saying that, I think, “Do I really do that?” I think I probably do that more professionally than personally. And a lot of ways, the older I get, the more I run, maybe, or just want peace is probably a better way to say it. But I think, I mean, I feel like it was probably just something that God put inside of me a long, long time ago before I even realized it was there. And I think just that inclination to want to help other people.

And from really early on in my journey, my family, we didn't talk a lot about faith when I was growing up. We went to an Episcopal Church, and I went some but it just was not very integral to who I was—to our family life. And so I went to a very charismatic summer camp, much to my parents dismay. They didn't realize it at the time that it was. And anyway, it just changed everything for me and from I think, from the point that I met Christ being connected in deeper ways and having a sense of purpose, felt like, just transformational for me. But like you said, I don't think I even decided at some point, I'm going to be a professional counselor, because they didn't even have them. When I mean, I was growing up in the 70s. The only one I had ever seen—that says a lot about me—was Marlena on Days of Our Lives. So, I mean, I didn't know anybody in counseling.

I remember three people—this is so terrible about the 80s and early 90s—but I remember, I was in a sorority in college and three girls disappeared from my sorority for a semester, came back. No one ever even talked about where they went, what was going on. And I feel sure they were struggling emotionally in some way. And they went to stay home for a semester—went to get treatment—but we didn't even acknowledge it. And so I think I didn't have even probably words around what it looked like to move towards, not only the fire, but a calling until God just directed step by step by step.

WHITTEN: How did you how did you move to that Justin?

HOLCOMB: I think I like Sissy said, I love the question. I think there's a few things. One is clearly gifting by God, where I think God has given certain people regardless of their personality, the ability and desire to kind of feel the world and its pain and pain points—empathy. I think there's a gifting of that. That's one. And then I think there is a wiring. It's kind of a personality, like my wife is highly a helper, a run into the fire type of thing. And it's funny because usually people kind of run to the fire, they realize they don't even think about being people that run to the fire, they kind of just do it.

What seems to motivate it for me, the first thing that came to mind when you ask the question, is that life is filled with suffering. And this is because of sin. So it's my understanding of how robust and painful the effects of sin are. There's sickness, there's death, there's betrayal, there's gossip, there's abuse. There's all these different things. And the verse that comes to mind on that is Genesis 6:5, “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” So that's intensity—great on the earth, that's inward—thoughts of our heart, pervasiveness—only constancy all the time, and that's in my heart and in other people's hearts. And then we're doing that together. And that causes a lot of friction, pain, suffering. And that's what Jesus is doing is undoing sin and its effects by his life, death, resurrection, ascension, coming. The person and work of Jesus is addressing that. And so I think that's the biggest one is the intensity of sin, but also the even more intense, overwhelming, extravagant hope that we have in the personal work of Jesus Christ.

WHITTEN: Did you find your verse, Sissy?

GOFF: Yes, it's, that's 1 John 3:18-20 in the Message. It says—and this is, by the way, a verse that I use all the time with kids when I'm counseling—but it's, “My dear children, let's not just talk about love. Let's practice real love. This is the only way we'll know we're living truly, living in God's reality. It's also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there's something to it.” I love that. It is the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there's something to it. “For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.” But I think it's kind of like God just dovetailed who I was and my calling into that. And it makes such a difference for me still and feels like a very anchoring verse.

WHITTEN: Well, I love that. And it seems like, especially with what you were saying, Justin, counseling just kind of flows out of the reality of who we are and who God is.

GOFF: And who the world is that you spoke so eloquently to.

HOLCOMB: You know, I haven't gone to a lot of counseling. But I've been on the receiving end of loving care and support. And I've had great pastors, great family. So when you're on the receiving end, as a recipient of when God uses ordinary people to be agents of his work of healing, and you receive that, you kind of...it's not foreign to you anymore. You kind of know what that would look like.

WHITTEN: Right! That's very true. Did you want to say something, Sissy?

GOFF: Well, yeah, as you're saying that, you know, one of Larry Crabb is very influential in my life. He said that if the body of Christ was being who the body of Christ is called to be, we wouldn't need counselors anyway. Which is, I mean, I love what you're saying in that, Justin. It's like, if we all ran to the fire in the way that were called to love, I think it would take away such so much of the need of professional stepping in. Although obviously, I'm grateful for professionals, to get to be somebody doing that. But yeah, I mean, I think being the recipient of that kind of love changes us.

WHITTEN: Yeah. We've talked about why we ought to do it. Where does our desire to be that person come from? But what about people who either aren't equipped or maybe their personality makes it hard for them to be that counselor? They have some sort of like blockages that are keeping them from getting to where they need to be—to be the counselor that their kids need or that their family members need. What do you say to parents who maybe aren't getting it, or they feel like, they kind of have this idea that I know I need to be a counselor, I need to learn, but I just don't even know where to start? And I'm just, it's just easier for me not to bother.

GOFF: Well, I'd probably have two things that I would say, and then Justin, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it, too. But I mean, first, I would say, I never feel equipped. So often I sit in counseling sessions and think, I don't know what to say to you. I have no idea how to help you in this moment. And I pray like crazy. And sometimes it's not even that I'm just in the moment, like, literally saying the words, but I think there's just this dependence that hopefully translates to prayer. And I, more than anything, follow my gut. And I think the older I get, the stronger I get in certain messages, and one of them is, I think I just want parents to trust their gut. Know that God did not choose the children that he gave you on accident, ever.

And so I think the second would be that I really think every parent needs a couple of trusted people that can be on your team helping you figure out what is blocking you, and how do you get there to kind of be free to be who God made you to be with your kids? And hopefully there are people, like Justin was talking about in the church, different folks that are in your life that can step in. And if not, I think that's when we pay someone. Justin, what do you think?

HOLCOMB: I love it. I love it. Well, going back to something earlier Sissy said, what she just ended with there. I like the team approach. In my denomination, a minister can't meet with someone about an issue more than three times without referring them to someone else. But building a team. I mean, my wife and I have each other. We also have a developmental psychologist for children that our daughters have met with just because we wanted them to have someone who could ask them questions and be part of the team. And they have a relationship with this woman. Or, “Hey, you want to go see Dr. So-and-so?” And they're like, “Yeah, I think it'd be good to talk this one out with another person who's objective.”

But when I think about your original question about . . . what about people that have like a blockage or not a natural impulse? There's really two things. I'll start with the bad news—we're called to. And so what I think helps that, here the language of calling, of stewardship, is the empathy side of this. This is a great opportunity.

And I know this from my personal experience. I know the word unconditional because of my mom and dad. I grew up in Florida hearing, “I love you unconditionally. I love you unconditionally.” I didn't even know what the word meant. I knew it was good, because it sounded like air conditioning. In Florida, it's hot. So I was like, I don't know. And so finally, I was like, “Dad, I'm like, what is this word you're talking about?” “Oh, it means I love you no matter what.” I was like, “Oh, that's true. Because I just did some bad stuff and you forgave me.” And so experiencing that . . . but that opportunity, being able to experience it, and then seeing people . . . Again, it's not a silver bullet. It doesn't take care of it. It's not, you know, there's no guarantee. You could do it all right and things still go sideways. But for the most part, people who are loved well, that's a pretty good influence for children as they develop and grow and think about themselves. There’s security that's built in, there’s safety, there's exploration, there's boldness, there's confidence, a lot of things that empathetic patient parenting does.

WHITTEN: You both mentioned empathy. And Sissy, I was interested in you talking about your experience. When you are counseling someone, you have a sense of dependence on God. And I think that that was something that really was missing for me as a young mom. And even before I had kids, when I would talk to other people, I was just afraid. I was just always afraid of saying the wrong thing. And so, you know, when it came to parenting, there were many times where I didn't know the answer. And I didn't know what to tell my kids and there was just a lot. And so I think for me, growing in that area and being able to let go of some of that fear, because I'll always have fear. But being able to understand that God is sufficient in these conversations. And just like you're saying, that there's a dependence. So what is our heart orientation as we begin that process?

GOFF: I think sometimes the panic comes from pressure of feeling like, I've got to have the right answer. I've got to know how to help them fix it. And I find the more I talk to people, the more that what they really want is just to be heard and seen in that moment. And any of us can do that with no training. And I think just reminding ourselves, that that's what people need is somebody who's listening and hearing them, and cheering them on. You know, I mean, I feel like that's the majority of what I do. Yes, there's some super practical things that I pull out two, during the day as I counsel people. But I think if we could separate from that, I don't know what I'm going to say, I'm not going to have the right thing to say. You know, I think about even times of grief, it's the same thing. Like I'm going to say the wrong thing. I'm going to make them think about it and maybe they're not, or I don't know how to help. And really what help is, is listening with empathy.

I mean, even those silly, like, reflecting back statements. I always think about that with marriage counseling 101, even when I'm talking to parents. It sounds so silly to say, “What I hear you saying is . . . .” And then when someone does it for you, it is so powerful. And so just that we're sitting, listening, saying, “Sounds really hard. I can't imagine what that's like. And I think you're doing amazing,” as they're saying those things. I think that's all we have to do most of the time. And so, not feeling like we have to have an answer, be the answer, because we don't know. But we can listen and provide empathy and point ’em back to Christ. Because He does know and He is the answer.

WHITTEN: Justin?

HOLCOMB: I want to completely just highlight the role of being listened to and believed, depending on what it is. If it's someone who's just, they're suffering, not from like an abuse, but sickness or whatever is going on. There's just, listening to them. There's not something where you have to believe them. But especially people who've been abused, listening and believing them. They've asked abuse survivors, what was—they gave, like, 10 different things that people have done. And they said, what was the most helpful thing? You know, was it the counseling? Was it this? Was it this? They said being listened to and believed was number one by far.

And that's really encouraging. Because the question is, well what about those who don't have the right words in the moment? Well, that's a daunting moment. Some people are gifted with experience and wisdom and a way with words and communicating at the right time with a cadence, there's a whole thing happening in there. And that's a wisdom thing. But imagine if someone doesn't feel like they have that. Now, I think you can grow on that. But there's other roles. There's, I've seen very supportive spouses who don't talk very much as they're not sure how to connect the dots on the good news about Jesus Christ to the bad news of what their experience, but they love that person. And they're going to go—I remember one husband, we were meeting together as the two of them. And I was doing some more of the talking and listening with the spouse, the wife, and I would say something. He goes, “Oh, I love that! I love that!” And so just his exclamation. All he did was point to something and say, “I like that.”

But what it did was it said that's important to me. It's not always sitting around preaching about the good news of Jesus Christ. That's part of it. It's also not whining about sex. It’s serving them. It's not making that person feel like paying for counseling is a nuisance. It's being patient. Like, there's a lot of other things that are agents of healing. So I want that person who might be feeling like, I feel like a failure. I don't have a counseling thing. I don't run to the fire. I mean, God's gonna use you and probably has used you in so many other ways in that person's life.

And so I got one role. I’m the talking and listening person. There's other roles that are there. So I love telling people when they go, “Man, what what do we do with parenting and abuse survivors? Like, what am I supposed to say?” Well, the good news is, you don't have to say very much, because they're happy that they're actually being listened to and believed. And you're sharing, you are sharing the load with them just by hearing of the darkness they've experienced and the burden they're carrying.

The other one is just saying you're sorry. Like, I am sorry this happened to you. I'm sorry you're going through that. And I've watched people kind of be shocked by saying, this is really basic stuff that's very powerful. Reminds me of a, there's a book years ago, Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. And he has the story of Navy SEALs who are trying to get some people who are prisoners who are locked away in some dark place. And the Navy SEALs kick in the door with their guns, and they find the people who are there in the prison, like, “Okay, we're here to save you to come on out.” Well, they've been so brutalized for a few weeks or months by other people that they just cowered. The people who were there to help scared them, and they just cowered together even more. And one really smart soldier, took off his helmet, laid down his gun, took off his armor, and huddled—going right back to what SIssy said—huddled next to them, put his back up against them, made eye contact, and said, “We're really here to help you. But we can't carry you all out, will you follow us?” And because of the getting—they knew none of the guards who were harming them would have done this. This is an act of vulnerability. We're in. And they got out and followed. Like, that to me sounds like what parenting and being a kind of a counselor to other people and serving them would look like—is something like that.

Last is going back to the blockage thing or maybe I'm not that person. You know, Luke 11, Jesus says that, you know, you being evil not to give good gifts to your parents, your kids. You being evil know how to give good gifts to your children. How much more does your heavenly Father know how to give good gifts to His children? And that gift is the Holy Spirit. It says the gift is the Holy Spirit. It's not a general gift. It's the Holy Spirit. You know, ask, seek, and knock. And so, ask for the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom to talk or not talk, insight.

And so I think, if you think about this, you know, Person A is talking to Person B. There's a dialogue happening there. I'm praying, and hopefully God's talking to me from Scripture, and hopefully that other person is praying and listening. So there's a lot of conversations that are going on. And there's been a few times where I've said, “God, I'm not saying this right? Will you somehow bring like, take something I'm saying or bring something to mind. And this person I'm talking to?” As one of my friends in seminary said a long time ago, when I stop praying, the coincidences stop happening. I'm not sure how God's sovereignty and human agency works together. But God seems to like prayer, and I'm gonna keep on doing it. When I stopped praying, the coincidences are happening. And He's faithful because He cares more about this than we do. He cares about their healing way more than they do or we do, and that's good place to be.


GOFF: Good reminder.

WHITTEN: I've never heard anybody talk about different roles like that. There's not one particular personality that God can use, but it really goes back to the idea of the body. That we need each other. Yeah, and that's so true. Like, when I was when, when our family went through, we went through a time of really deep darkness and pain and spiritual warfare. There was this woman that God put in our church. And she had come, she had been a missionary in Brazil and Mexico. And she was used to going to the fire. That's what she did. And she came to us, and she would just sit down, and she would hold my hand and pray with me. A lot of the time, she would send me emails, and they would have Bible verses in them. And it was just, God just used it. So it kind of helped me learn to trust God in situations where you don't know what to say, that He will come through. And even if you say the wrong thing, He can still use it, which is amazing.

Um, okay, so I'm lecturing y’all now. But I do think that the idea of the body is really helpful. Because I think that those people were just, they were cold water on my parched throat. It was so refreshing. There's so much talk in the gospels about Jesus seeing the people around him, and how can we, you know, how can we be a church that is seeing people and what it's going through? And taking the time to slow down and ask questions and really think about what they're saying, and think about what life must be like for them?

GOFF: So as you're talking, I'm a little I go practical a lot. Part of what blocks us and why I think we really don't see each other sometimes is just from a really practical sense, I think we don't have any margin. And I feel like I have been the chief of that. Leading up to the pandemic, I've been terrible about it. And that is something I realized, because I think when I don't have any margin, I have less room, not just for the things that I feel like might be important in life, but I have way less room for people and less room to be curious about people. And so the two things that I think about immediately are one, that we got to slow down. And we've got to simplify life to some degree where it makes room to see people and engage with people in deeper places. And two, just that we need to be curious. You know, again, everything we're saying—we don't have to have the right answers. We don't have to know exactly how to move into people's life in a significant way.

Justin, when you were talking about Donald Miller, that the quote that I have hung on to the most from Blue Like Jazz, which I read and loved was, “Nobody will listen to you unless they sense that you like them.” And so, you know, moving toward people with a sense of curiosity and that you like them, that you care about what it is. I mean, I feel like, if in my personal life, if I could create more space for people and move toward them with a sense that I like them and I'm curious about them, I think I would see people profoundly more. I do it because it's my job during the day. But then I mean, honestly, I keep laughing about how I get more introverted, the longer I counsel. But I run home and I don't want to see anybody so much of the time. But I think it's partly because I don't have enough margin. And so the interplay of those things feels important for me, and I think probably for a lot of us, are in similar spaces with that.

WHITTEN: We've talked about why people should move toward those who are suffering. How they do that in the sense of, like, being dependent. We do it dependent on the Lord. We do it without fear because we know that we don't have to have all the answers. But once we do that and once we move to people, it gets complicated. What I'm asking is, I'm asking y'all to shift and think now, once you get in a relationship with somebody, and you are trying to help them, you're trying to meet their needs, and you—like, if you're a parent and you notice that your kid is struggling with his body image, Justin. You know, or you find out that your child's been sexually abused. And you immediately know it's okay. God will be with me in this conversation. But I also need to learn some things. I have got to understand more about why my child is feeling anxious. I need to find a counselor or someone who knows more about that either through a book, or through actually finding a counselor, or maybe it is somebody at my church, but I've got to find somebody who knows more about this particular temptation and trial that we're walking through. What do I need to do? How can I find out about that?

GOFF: Like we've talked about so much, you need other voices you need, you need kind of a team of people, as Justin talked about that you have, you know, somebody from a medical standpoint, somebody from an academic standpoint, somebody from an emotional standpoint, somebody from a spiritual standpoint that can speak truth into the life of your family. And that is helping you find your own sense of footing and your own voice, and in who God's called you to be and what it looks like for you to run into the fire. And so, and that involves helping you set up healthy boundaries and practical things in terms of what that looks like, and even boundaries around your family. How can you be outwardly focused, but also have enough margin and space at home?

And so I mean, I've written parenting books, and some I've done by myself on anxiety, primarily, and then some with my co-workers and friends, David Thomas and Melissa Trevathan. And you know, I think that's so much of what we're wanting to do. There's that, I have a sister who has a two-year-old son, and, you know, there were all these great apps and great books for the first couple of years in a child's life. Literally, I mean, I remember this app that was like, they have all these leaps and month by month, what you can expect. It's kind of like What to Expect When You're Expecting. And then they grow out of the app, and then parents panic, like what in the world am I supposed to do? And so I think that that's probably where our, I hope our literature steps in to be able to say, you know, here's some practical things along the way based on what we're seeing in kids right now. Because it's entirely different in 2021, and even outside of the pandemic, than it was in 2020. And certainly in 2001, you know. Things are just changing and so much. And so you do need people in your life in that space.

And then my hope is they find a lot of grace and find their own voice in the process. Because I think that feels like such a theme of what we're talking about. You're just never going to have all the answers. There is no right way to do this at all. But God gave you what you need. He's equipped you, and he's put a team of people around you if you can find them and lean into them.

WHITTEN: So I'm looking at Brave. My daughter read that. And she read it in like an hour and a half. She's like, “It's a counselor in a book.” So tell me one tip or one practical thing that would help families in that situation? What is the role of this?

GOFF: So I was very concerned a year and a half ago about the level of anxiety among elementary aged kids. I mean, it was one in four at the time, with girls twice as likely. And then the pandemic started. And very quickly, I became really concerned about adolescents. Because not only were they anxious—and the statistics jumped to one in three—but they were isolated. And adolescents come to life in the presence of each other. And so there was this loneliness that was creating, I think, the anxiety really to spill over into depression. And now as we know, the suicide rates are going up, suicidality is going up all of that. And so, I just got really worried about teenagers as I was sitting at my house on Zoom calls, talking to them all day long.

And so I think the intent was for kids who couldn't necessarily get to counseling for them to have exactly what . . . I mean, that makes me so happy that your daughter would say that, because that's what I wanted it to be like, I wanted her to feel like she was walking into the Daystar house, had somebody that she felt comfortable with, and it felt like a safe space. And the little girls book, Braver, Stronger, Smarter, I hope his parents will read it with their kids, and they can practice all these things. But adolescence, you know, your voice gets so much quieter as a parent. And you suggest things and they say, “Whatever, I'm not doing that.” And so, I think I was wanting to be exactly what I do every day in my office, just an outside voice that maybe they would hear a little bit differently.

And, you know, it's, I hope that it's filled with a lot of practical tools they can do immediately if they are dealing with anxiety. And so in the midst of giving them all these practical tools, I would hope that kids would shut that book feeling like I can do it. Like God loves me, I broke down Proverbs 31. In terms of this, like, let's really talk about what this woman looked like, because I think we can't necessarily attach right now to the idea of she went down to the city gates and was selling her wares. You know, that doesn't mean a lot. But she was like, she was amazing. She was an entrepreneur. She was doing it all in this really profoundly, just cool way.

And so even helping them understand their capability of doing that, that that's who God's called them to be. Whatever that looks like for them. I think, my hope is that it gives them practical tools and really empowers them to believe they're capable. And not only that, but they're deeply, deeply loved. And so I think that's my hope. That we're treating anxiety from a really symptomatic standpoint and helping in the practical, but from the roots in the sense of—I think kids so often don't believe they're capable, and so wanting them to get to the truth of the message of who God's uniquely designed them to be.

WHITTEN: Um-hm. So Justin, I want to look to you. Tell me about how this, your book can be a tool. Yeah, just start there.

GOFF: Well, before you start, I want to give a plug and say that when we teach parenting seminars across the country, Justin's and his wife's books are some of the books we talk about the most. They just, and I mean, I think I talk about them weekly in my counseling office, Justin. And so I'm so grateful for your voice and the truth that you share with families. So, thank you.

WHITTEN: How do you, what do you say about them? How do you use them?

GOFF: I basically say every parent in the world should have a copy of God Made All of Me and I don't say the other one, because I haven't gotten to read it yet. So I'm hoping to get one of those copies soon. But so far, that is a book that I really do think every parent should have, because I don't think we know how to have conversations with kids about what it looks like to protect their bodies. And it's this great resource to lead them to not only equip parents to have the conversation, but to really address the issues kids need to hear most.

HOLCOMB: Well, thank you very much. Those are encouraging and fulfilling. . . That book, God Made All of Me, just sold 100,000 copies. And the idea that there's 100,000 families going around having this conversation. Man, I saw that, that's what you work hard for is something like that. And that segues right into what, following up, I want to say something about what Sissy said in her book—about, this is for the kids to do—is that's about agency. And this is important. OK, and going back to the boundary question is, you know, it's not avoiding, it's not escaping. Now, it's a little bit of exposure. So one of my roles is just to create more anxiety of my children's lives by exposing them to—I'm kidding. But it's agency and saying things like, “Hey, I need you to care about this more than I care about it,” in a nice way, But we want to get you to the point where you're taking the lead, you’re, and having healthy communication, and all these kinds of things.

But what we're trying to do in the books, there's really two things with the children's books. We're trying to have the conversation in front of the parents. So the parents get to be with their children and watch the conversation. So literally, I mean, God Made All of Me is a weird concept for a book. The entire story is a family having the conversation about tricky people and sexual abuse prevention. That's all it is. It's, “Hey, let's read this book. Let's watch this family have this conversation.” And so there's a little bit of distance which makes it easier.

So we say all the difficult stuff about proper names for body parts, and appropriate touch and inappropriate touch, tricky people. We do all of that. That way, the parents can kind of take that tool and take that conversation and do whatever they would do with it. However they do that in their families at the dinner table. Is it in the car? Is it at bedtime? When do they have those conversations?

The other books for survivors. It's Rid of My Disgrace and Is it My Fault? What we're trying to do there is weird. We are trying to do the communication of hope and healing because of Jesus Christ. And we're just we're doing, we're saying the message. And the goal is for people just to sit there, sit in it, receive it, ponder it go at whatever speed. And the other goal is for the support people to hear, this is how this is what it looks like. This is what it sounds like. This is how you talk about this. This is how you talk about practical stuff. This is how you talk about , this is how you connect the dots between the bad news of the effects of sin and the good news of the person and work of Jesus Christ.

WHITTEN: Great. Well, thank you all for doing that. Thank you for writing these books. And I want to give you, I want to put the mic in front of your face one last time. I’ll give you, like, one minute to summarize. What would be your summary statement of everything we've talked about? What do I need to know to grow and to be a good counselor? Sissy, what would you say?

GOFF: My summary statement doesn't take a minute. It would be, “Be curious. Listen. Like them. And trust that God's leading your gut.”

WHITTEN: Awesome. Justin?

HOLCOMB: Yep, you have been a recipient of God's good, caring, gracious love, both directly by God, and indirectly by God through other people, and reflect on being a recipient of that care because that's what will fill you being an agent of that patient care for others for hope and healing.

WHITTEN: Thank y’all so much for talking with me today. I really appreciate it.

HOLCOMB: Thanks for facilitating the conversation and inviting us to this. This is wonderful. And thank you, Sissy, for your kind words. It’s an honor to meet you.

GOFF: Well, both of y'all too. I feel the same way. Very thankful. It's been fun to get to talk.

WHITTEN: Alright, well, God bless. Y'all have a great day. Blessings to you. Thanks, everybody.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.


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