9. August 2022

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Empathy…the Art of Caring Deeply for Another

--Placing another person in your heart above yourself.

Friends, most of us never took a class in school entitled EMPATHY 101. I have been mentoring married and engaged couples for 35 years and with my wife, Barbara, for 28 years. Marriages, families, and homes need Spirit-led Empathy. Here is what we have trained couples to do. Please pray and ask God for wisdom, grace, and humility.

Agree to doing a listening / sharing exercise where you and your mate (or fiancé) take turns sharing: 

1. Your greatest need. 

2. Your greatest joy.

3. Your worst fear.

4. What communicates love, worth, and value to you. 

5. What makes you laugh the most. 

6. Two qualities about the other person's character that you deeply admire. 

7. One action or attitude that I could start doing that would comfort, encourage, or bring warmth, hope, and joy to you.

NOTE: The emphasis is not so much on the verbal sharing but on the Empathic Listening. -no interruptions, no disagreements, no devaluing. If possible, hold hands (for couples).

If you really want to bless, and receiving a blessing, take time to say the 4 MAGIC WORDS: "Please tell me more." ... and then continue listening. 

If you really want to ensure that your mate has truly been heard and valued, SUMMARIZE what he or she just told you. 

Something like ... "Mary, I want to make sure I understand you fully... Is it true that your greatest need right now is _________?" -- and then be humble enough to ask Mary, "How accurate was my summary of what you had shared with me? I want to get it right, so I learn to hear you fully with unconditional love."

-- also Note, this may be helpful in modeling empathy with your teen or adult child as well. 

If you feel you need the assistance of a 3rd party to help you and your mate, please prayerfully connect with a Bible-honoring pastor, counselor, or close, trusted friend(s).

For additional help...


Learn about the Spirit Filled Life:  https://www.cru.org/us/en/train-and-grow/spiritual-growth/the-spirit-filled-life.html

Please send comments to: [email protected]

Remember...Everything on this website www.marriageanchors.com is free. We serve over 1300 churches and missions in 80 countries. Please share this resource.

God bless you!

Jim and Barbara Grunseth, Cru

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26. May 2022

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Envoy Part 9

Let Us Choose the Narrow Path

It will not be easy; the battle is real. At least for me, it is natural to want to defend myself and run as far away from that horrible cross as possible! Yet if I choose the unnatural and deny myself, what then? What if I choose the narrow path (the ancient paths) and accept things that are unfair?

“Thus says the Lord: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls….”    Jeremiah 6:16

What if I choose to give thanks and trust God no matter what? (1Thessalonians 5:16-18) I am going to choose to believe that I will see God’s best outcome from my situation. That is what happened to the Lord Jesus. He is our example.

“In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation."  1 Peter 5:10 NLT

I wish we did not fight so hard against the cross, I wish we were a people who naturally just submitted and rejoiced but there is something that comes over all of us when pain hits unrelentingly or when injustice is served meal after meal. We humans begin to sweat, grumble, cry for justice, and beg for reprieve. We want relief!

We grow fragile fault lines that if stepped upon easily cave in and crumble.

We look to God to fix it and if He does not, we often become upset, even resentful. We will either leave the cross behind and forsake God or we will decide to stay and give thanks no matter what.

Do we trust His will, that He's heard our prayers and that He will do what is best? Do we believe when it really counts that He can turn this ash into beauty or work all things including this cross for our good?

Do we love Him, the Lord Jesus? Will we stand true and firm in the face of difficult trials or unfair situations? We will choose to trust God through the shadowy valley or on the shore of the great sea and see the salvation of the Lord? This takes humility, surrender, and faithful courage like the kind Moses had before the Red Sea parted or like young David had standing with his rock and his sling before the giant Goliath.

Will you stand with me and see our deliverance by our Mighty King Jesus? Others might criticize or mock you. You might think God should have punished or at least humbled these unkind people a long time ago but to your chagrin, He has not. Of course, you do not know what is really going on in the hearts of others.

The key is to keep your heart from bitterness and your eyes on the Father even when He does not reveal His plan in all of this.

Love suffers long.

Will you remember that as others ignore you, avoid the same grocery isle that you are on, or spread malicious gossip about you, the Lord prizes and cherishes you. He loves you unconditionally! It does not matter what others think. You have an audience of One. That is all that matters.

Let me invite you to walk the narrow, ancient path of brokenness, humility, and purity. You may find yourself walking alone. That is Ok. You are never alone. The Spirit of Jesus is with you all the way.

No matter the cross, give thanks. The Lord has handpicked this for you. He can work with your submission and thanksgiving. It is like sunshine and rain on a freshly seeded field.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.”  1Peter 5:6

Further reading written by my Dad, Jim Grunseth… go to: Choose the Narrow Path | Marriage Anchors

By Anne Borgen

Hey, check out my website, "envoy" with this link: https://annechristineborge.wixsite.com/envoy

 All Scripture references are from the ESV unless otherwise noted.

Any messages for Jim and Barbara Grunseth, email us at: [email protected]

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24. May 2022

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Envoy Part 8

Traversing The Mine Field of Relationships

God needs me to trust Him with each person in my life, loyal or not. He wants me to show steadfast lovingkindness and forgiveness to even those who bruise my soul and who do not seek my best interest.

Here is where I must state a truth:

Loving and forgiving someone does not mean you have to trust them. Love is unconditional. Trust is earned.

If someone has betrayed or grievously harmed you, you must forgive them. Trust will take time. For some people, trust will never be reestablished. This is sad but true. If someone attacks you, your family, or your home, you can forgive but you may have to have them arrested, jailed, and have a restraining order in place: Tough love. You are never to tolerate physical or sexual abuse.

God needs me to trust that He will remove difficult, shame based, and judgmental people if it is in my best interest. We have a tough time thinking pain and suffering are good for us.

How can emotional bleeding, pain or wounding be a good thing? I do not have any answer to that other than to offer another question: How was Jesus’ suffering and dying on the Cross eternally good for those who believe? God has mysterious ways about Him we cannot understand.

He turns ashes into beauty, water into wine, and death into resurrection. He can turn your suffering into your being able to comfort another who suffers.

Jesus desires to turn our emotional and spiritual wounds into something more. I have this hunch that we need to follow our Master’s example. We are to surrender fully to Him as He guides our lives. Elizabeth Elliot once said that to glorify God we must accept the lot He has given us.

Again, this does not mean we are to be a doormat or a slave to someone’s beatings or other criminal abuse. On the contrary, if, say, a husband hits his wife, the wife should call 911 and have him jailed for a night or two. He will learn the hard way: Tough Love.

We must be willing to suffer for His Name’s sake. If holding up and defending Jesus and His Word, leads to death or imprisonment, so be it!

“If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.” 

                                                                                                                             2Corinthians 1:6

“For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.”  Hebrews 10:36

For further reading from my dad, Jim Grunseth: Hope in the Hidden Places | Marriage Anchors

By Anne Borgen

Hey, check out my website, "envoy" with this link: https://annechristineborge.wixsite.com/envoy

 All Scripture references are from the ESV unless otherwise noted.

Any messages for Jim and Barbara Grunseth, email us at: [email protected]

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23. May 2022

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Envoy Part 7

Give Thanks No Matter the Cross 

“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”  Galatians 6:14 NIV

God has designed and ordained our lives from conception to earthly departure. There are many who do not yet grasp that He is the Designer of our difficult trials we each face. What He wills for my life will be different from yours. He either sends or allows challenges to, first, draw us to Christ and second, to forge Christlike character in us.

I experience pain when my life derails by either poor choices or by His sovereign will. Sometimes, God will bring difficult people in my life. Who has not had a bad boss, a shaming teacher, or a betraying friend? How about that family member that just does not like you or the ground you walk on? These out-of-joint relationships hurt and sometimes the consequences seem not in our favor.      

Other times, illness, injury, or an accident take me from the path I was on and push me to another….one that I would never request. Someone once said, “Life isn’t fair.”

God knows how upset I get when He does not answer prayers or lead the way I think He should. His timing and answers are not according to Anne’s desires or plan! Ouch!

Paul, in Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

I know God loves me, unworthy sinner that I am. The verse above has two questions for me:   1) Do I love God in return? 2) Am I called according to His purpose?

Loving God in return means I will seek Him with passion and thirst for His presence in His Word, the Bible. It means I will desire to obey Him even though I stumble and fail at times. It means I will trust Him, and love and forgive other wretched sinners like myself. I am learning I can only do this as I fully surrender my heart, my will, and my whole life to Him by faith throughout the day.

If you humbly ask Him to help you to love Him, He will, and you will be called according to His purpose!

Loving Jesus means I want to spend time with Him, walk with Him, and practice His presence moment by moment, hour by hour. He will never leave me nor forsake me! Because of what He did for me on that Cross, I want to avail all of me to Him for His glory.

When I ponder all this, I find the strength to give thanks for the little crosses the Lord asks me to bear for His glory. Would you consider joining me in choosing to give thanks even if you do not feel thankful for your present cross?

Regardless, I want you to know that even though I do not know you personally, if you are hurting, my heart hurts with you. I will pray for you.

“Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.”  2Corinthians 1:7

“This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.”  Psalm 119:50

“who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”  2Corinthians 1:4

For further reading: A Chance To Die | Marriage Anchors

By Anne Borgen

Hey, check out my website, "envoy" with this link: https://annechristineborge.wixsite.com/envoy

 All Scripture references are from the ESV unless otherwise noted.

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4. May 2022

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envoy Part 6

Trust Him

 ‘And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”’  Matthew 26:39 NASB

Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was honest with His Father about the hardship of His path. He considered the people in it, the pain, and the difficulty of the process. He clearly desired another way. His gut-wrenching language? Prayer. His ultimate response? Obedience.

Jesus, God and man in one, knew of the sheer terror and hellish loss He was about to endure. He knew His Heavenly Father had the power to do anything. Yet, the issue here was not the Father’s power but the humility and submission of the Son. The battle was won here in the Garden of Gethsemane. The serpent’s head was crushed here by Jesus as He surrendered to His Father’s will on our behalf. (Genesis 3:15)

The Lord Jesus showed great valor in choosing the unthinkable. Choosing His Father’s will meant choosing death, judgment, and abandonment…all that we deserved. Even though He sweat drops like blood, His loving faith never faltered. God, the Father, knew from eternity past that this was the “Will” that must be done. ‘Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”’ Matthew 26:42

Do we pray believing that God could or would move heaven and earth for us?

Do we love and entrust ourselves to Him through total surrender so that even though it may cost us everything, we desire His will above ours?

Trust Jesus with the pain, the path, and the people in it. Trust Him with the process too. Jesus was and is our example of absolute surrender in the Garden and on the Cross. I am not saying it is easy. I battle against this. I often find myself wanting God’s will and plan to go my way. I do not think I am alone here.

 I want certain prayers answered certain ways. In fact, just recently, I spent months pleading with God for justice in a certain situation and He sent me a dream where very clearly, He showed me His desire was for me to show mercy (withhold judgment or discipline from someone who deserves it).

I will never forget waking up at 2 A. M. confused and bewildered. I blurted out to Him "Mercy? Really?", upon which I was immediately humbled. You see, friends, who can understand the mind of God? His thoughts are not like ours. His ways are much higher. Many nights I beg Him for healing of the sickness I am enduring. Every one of those nights He gently meets me with this precious sense that the ailment is a gift to me somehow. 

God is doing things in our lives that we cannot fully understand. Be rest assured we do not have to understand it. We must trust, surrender, and obey.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust Him. 

By Anne Borgen

Hey, check out my website, "envoy" with this link: https://annechristineborge.wixsite.com/envoy


All Scripture references are from the ESV unless otherwise noted.

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5. April 2022


envoy  Part 5

Night Watches

Have you ever cried out to the Lord with such earnestness of soul that it can go on throughout an entire night? 

I found my soul searching and crying out for God this way. I would cry out with all that I had, and He would answer me in the night.

"Things are a mess God. I have failed."

Immediately I would hear Him say, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." -Romans 8:1. I moved to my next woe, "It's a mess God." and He said, "I'll clean it up. I make all things new." -Revelation 21:5. … but then I wailed, "It is all too much!" to which He said, "take one day at a time." -Matthew 6:34.

I pleaded, "But to be Home with you would be so much easier!” He said, "It is not your time yet.” -Job 14:5 and "… I know the plans I have for you, ‘declares the Lord,’ plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." -Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

The Lord has an answer in the night watches for those gut-wrenching pleas we sometimes dare to cry out. Sometimes my soul cries out from the depths…there are no words. He understands.

He sees the purpose of our pain and suffering. -2 Timothy 1:8; 2 Timothy 3. He plans our time on earth and the way through it with His governance and help. Sometimes He is a quiet listener. Other times He answers me in the darkest of nights when it feels like I am the only one awake on earth.

He never slumbers.

He sees you tossing and turning. If you listen closely, you will hear His Word soothe you for He gives rest to those He loves. Psalm 127:2. He knows you are weak, inconsistent, and in great need of a Helper. He is here for you right now.

“My eyes are awake before the watches of the night,

That I may meditate on your promise.” -Psalm 119:148 ESV

By Anne Borgen

Hey, check out my website, "envoy" with this link: https://annechristineborge.wixsite.com/envoy


If you want to learn more about our Helper, the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Jesus), click below:


All Scripture references are from the ESV unless otherwise noted.

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29. March 2022

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envoy Part 4

God is with you.

v10 "… He's here! The man who appeared to me the other day!”  v16 “The angel of the Lord replied, ‘even though you detain me, I will not eat any of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, offer it to the Lord. (Manoah did not realize that it was the Angel of the Lord.)’”

Judges 13:10, 16

It has been a month of medicine changes causing tumultuous adjustments and turmoil for me and my family. For any of you suffering with various illnesses from cancer, Parkinson's, diabetes, depression, Bi-Polar Disorder, OCD, and many others, you understand how necessary medicine is and what a blessed gift it is. You also understand that there are difficult downsides as well.

Balancing chemical components and getting the right med combination for your unique body and brain stem is like trying to steer a sick ship on a stormy sea. This is no easy task for the attending physician, the patient, and the patient’s family. All must be brave and patient participants. All must be on the same team. For me it had been a month of med alterations with difficulties trying to find solutions to set the sail on a calm sea. This will not happen overnight. It may take weeks or even months. In some cases, it may take years.

On a particularly stormy day of medication upheavals, I asked the Lord where He was. He led me directly to Judges chapter 13. I did not realize He was there with me through it all. He was helping me through the pain and confusion. He was and is my Strength.

In verse 19, We find this Angel of the Lord had told Manoah’s wife, barren for many years, that she will bear a son named Samson. He must live out the Nazarite Vow. He will “… begin to deliver (disobedient, doing evil) Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.” verse 5cKJV

“And the Angel of the Lord said to him (Manoah, the husband and soon to be father of Samson)‘Why Do You Ask My Name, seeing it is wonderful?’” Judges 13:18 NKJV [Note: The Angel of the Lord shows Himself to be Jesus, in taking the name wonderful. Read Isaiah 9:6 [1]

Further proof to Manoah and his wife that this was God (the pre-incarnate Jesus) is that in verse 20, this “Angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar!” You see, up until late in this marvelous scene, the future parents of Samson did not know that God was really with them.

By faith[2], certainly not my feelings, and because God led me to this passage in Judges, I realized that my Savior, Redeemer, Lord, and Comforter was with me through my misery, my doubts, and my pain. He was with me even in my failures which were many.

My friend, if you have called or even cried out in desperation for Jesus to save and deliver you, I am convinced He is with you in your storm, in your sick bed, or in your trouble and He will help you. You may not recognize Him at first. Manoah and his wife sure did not. But rest assured He is with you! “…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (“Matthew 28:20b”) Matthew 28:20b NKJV

[1]David Guzik Commentary https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/guzik_david/StudyGuide2017-Jdg/Jdg-13.cfm?a=224001

2Definition of Faith: Choosing to live as though the Bible is true, regardless of circumstances, emotions, or cultural trends. (destined for security – of the 4 book ‘destined’ series, Life Builders, Cru 2003, 2011, 2013.)


By Anne Borgen

If you would like the clear and true Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, click here: https://marriageanchors.com/2012/05/18/your-anchor-dont-leave-port-without-him/

Hey, check out my website, "envoy" with this link: https://annechristineborge.wixsite.com/envoy


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