Addiction…I Understand the Struggle.

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I am definitely taking a raw plunge on this blog. I have gently touched on the subject of addiction many times but I think straightforwardness is in order because there  are so many vices, so little time and so many lives being wrecked.

This is from Larry Crabb’s book, Connecting. “God declares that there is no goodness in sex outside the boundaries of a loving relationship with a lifelong mate. When we believe Him and therefore are inclined to do what He says, obedience yields a joy that supports us in what ever frustration may exist. ”

Do you agree with that? I know that I have been spared pain and destruction when I have hidden myself in” the loving marriage relationship”, even when it has been a down right unloving relationship and even when it called for separation.

He goes on to write; “A man (or woman) has a difficult day of meetings and retires early to his hotel room. One press of the button (or call that call or that sext) and pornography will fill the screen.  He calls his wife, gets some work done, and then goes to sleep…never presses the button. The next day, meetings go well, that evening the urges come back, he yields.”

“What ever the complexity might be, it is clear that we are a strange mixture of good and bad urges and they can have a life of their own. With God’s Spirit we can love as Jesus did, but we can also sin like the devil..indwelling sin is a lifelong problem-indwelling goodness is a life long reality awaiting release.” (All wrapped up of course in Romans 7&8 )

“His personal problem is sex addiction. That man senses a voice that yearns to be filled but lacks the sense to realize that he longs for LOVE, not pleasure.” And that is where the wreckage happens. I know, I have experienced it first hand.

Is God’s love enough? That has been my question. That has been my adventure. That has been my pursuit. Can His love surpass anything this world or anyone else has to offer me? Can His love be so tangible and intimate that any other would pale? Is He that interested in my well being and future? Or is what seems a justifiable and reliable provision of pleasure/center of life/lust/control/addiction really soul satisfaction?

In the midst of my addiction behavior I could say; “I can live with out_______, I cannot live without God”- Even though nothing in my flesh wanted to let the addiction go. It is so easy to feel isolated when you are struggling or failing. I would look for anything on the internet that might help relate to me, a Christian woman caught in addictive behaviors. I did find an extremely helpful prayer that seemed to understand the snare and all of the anguish I had been caught in. But more times than not, most Christian articles related to addictions or failures left me feeling more demonized as the guilty party.  I needed to know there was a light at the end of the tunnel, that people had not only come out the other side, but that they were Alive!, Thriving! and were loved and used by God again! I want to be a light like that to someone who is where I have been!

You have to understand that I believe Jesus delivers!! That all power belongs to Him! That nothing is too difficult for Him! That He came to set the captive free, and had when I first came to Him, so why was I in bondage again? I had to understand why I would allow myself to come to such a low place and risk loosing my whole life as I knew it. During the search for that answer, I learned so much about myself and God.

These are the things and people He has used to reveal who I really am in Him and His love toward me. If you are caught in addiction, and really want freedom and health, these are the resources I highly recommend. First, Friends who see the greatness in you. I tightened my circle of friends and unfortunately had to cut off some really significant relationships that couldn’t be that for me (my husband being my best friend  and support  even while dealing with his own issues.) Any of Larry Crabb’s books…I think I have read and re read them all. Henry Cloud’s Changes that Heal and Robert McGee’s Search for Significance.  I had two amazing Licensed Marriage Family Therapists (which are the only  type of counselors that I recommend) who I still reach out to. Through a set of supernatural sequences, I got a hold of The Adulterous Christian Woman; The Lies that got me there, truths that brought me back by Lyndell Holtz, who has become one of my dearest friends since, and continues to be a radiant light ahead of me.  I also immersed myself in watching You Tube videos by Malcom Smith and Sylvia Pearce who’s life mission is to help Christians understand who they really are in Christ.

If I could have left my life and gone some where to figure it all out, I probably would have. But God has been so good to me to send me help while living my day to day life out and I believe He has given me grit and perseverance in the process.  Like I said before, I want to be a compassionate light leading some one else who is navigating their way out of the pit of addiction…I understand the struggle.

 

 

Friends in Time

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Each Day I find, miracles in my life, gifts so great they could only be yours

Friends in time, changes kind, strength from your loving hand

I’m on my way, bearing the new man.

Lord, Here’s my life, heal my heart, heal my soul.

Lord, Here’s my life, as I seek you, make me whole,

Here’s my life, Oh Lord, make me whole.

This is my friend that I met while I was at school for Aromatherapy. God brought us together through our love of holistic health! Her husband and her were with in three hours of our home and we were able to to meet up half way and spend an evening together! I really thought the chances of ever seeing her again were slim to none!

It brought to mind the words of the song that I wrote many years before. Friends in time. I have been so blessed to know so many incredible people, so diverse, so loving, so kind, strong, opinionated, and courageous……always in my heart, even if we do not get to see each other for years.

We all need each other don’t we? And all of my friends make up parts of who I am. I have learned from them all, even (and probably especially) the ones who may have parted my company. Iron sharpens iron and love never truly fades away.

It was actually surreal that I could hold her and see her and talk- which both of us couples did for hours! Listening to each other’s journeys over the last few years and we have both been on some unexpected, adventurous journeys!! Growing in faith and trust, and looking to the future with expectation. I re count it today, and I am very thankful for the opportunity to see each other. ❤

 

 

 

Remember to Keep Going!

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If you have been reading my blog, you know I have been on a personal journey the last few years. Through that time, my husband and I were separated and every thing in the fabric of my life seemed to be pulling apart.

The way we parented, or did not parent our youngest, autistic, son together, was a definite strain on our marriage. You have these imperfections in marriage and parenting, but you can slough them off easier, I think, with “typical” children. But these inconsistencies will glare in the face of a special needs child and cause you to grow together or apart.

So, as we came to the bottom of everything we thought we had, and I personally was in the lowest place a person could be- I relinquished control. I told God, if He cared about me, and about this Holy Union He named Marriage, He was going to have to make something out of broken pieces. It has been a painful process, dying to self usually is! For if we are going to make something beautiful out of broken, it has to be sorted out, cleaned out, rebuilt and it won’t happen with resistance.

In the process, I approach my children differently. I am approaching my special needs son slower. I am more conscious of my being just a “vessel”, and I can pour out love to him, or frustration. I am in his life (and everyone’s for that matter) to pour out love, power and a sound mind. This is a work of The Holy Spirit- I do not have this kind of supernatural-ness!

Last night he asked me to pray for him and read the Bible to him, he was troubled in his mind. I was so blessed that he would even ask me to do that! At one point, he started kissing my hand, I asked him why he was doing that and he said; “your awesome”. Taken aback, I asked, “why?” He said; “because you are trying to help me!” How beautiful, how simple, how divine.

I was reminded of my friend buying me this Keep Going mug and how I would use it every morning and read it’s truth. When you  bottom out in life, it is not the time to quit and give up! It is the time to ask for supernatural help and run with endurance. There are Always second, third, tenth, hundredth chances. God NEVER gives up on you! Even if others do, and they will, you are there to be awesome for some one else. Keep Going- I am right here with you cheering you on!!

What Are You Thinking?

 

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Thinking: we all do it. Some of us are better at hiding it than others, but no matter who you are, the things you think about will affect all of your life choices. We have amazing minds, and I don’t think we can be reminded enough of the benefits of renewing our minds.

I have written a lot of blog posts on this idea over the last year. The following is what I wrote one morning on my Facebook page. Although the focus is on shame, it ultimately goes back to what we think about ourselves:

According to the book Unashamed by Christine Caine, shame-based thinking says, ” I am not ________ enough” (Thin enough, smart enough, victorious enough, successful enough, Christian enough, a good enough parent, a good enough spouse, etc.). But those are constant lies that many of us have believed. It isn’t what God says about us. It isn’t the truth. In Genesis 2:25, “Adam and his wife were naked and they knew no shame.” That was what God created. Jesus took shame on the cross, and His Blood will wash away all of our shame if we let Him work in our lives. Run to Him! He ALWAYS wants to bring wholeness and healing to His children no matter what you have done or where you have been. He loves you so much that He died on a cross for your sin. You ( and I ) are no shock to Him! If you walk around continually defeated, feeling like you are missing the mark, remind yourself of what He says about you. You are completely forgiven, fully pleasing, totally accepted, and complete in Him! He is the one you are living for, so His approval is the only one that matters. He is love. Let Him free you of your shame so you can be the person He created you to be. ❤

Do you walk around continually defeated? Do you question everything about yourself and all the decisions you make? Consider taking time to question what lies you are believing about yourself. It cannot happen overnight, and it cannot happen when you are rushed. But as you take quiet time and reflection and begin to ask yourself hard questions, you can be free from these untruths that have been holding you back in life.

Here are five essential oils that can help clear the mind as well:

  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Juniper Berry
  • Peppermint
  • Sage or Clary Sage

As an aromatherapist, I regularly use and carry all five. I am here on this journey with you! You are not alone and you are loved!

Are you interested in trying these five mind-balancing oils? Have you experienced the power of renewing your mind and thought patterns? We want to hear from you today!

 

Choosing Forgiveness

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I’ve been understanding forgiveness on a whole new level over the last year. I’ve dealt with asking for forgiveness, forgiving myself, forgiving others and not being forgiven. One thing I completely agree with James McDonald on: “Christians need to be masters at forgiveness.” This is a challenging thought, but it’s true. And whether you’re a Christian or not, you know forgiveness changes your life and allows things to move in a healthy way that would be impossible otherwise.

The biggest challenge and help to me has been to understand that, “I am completely forgiven and fully pleasing to God. I am totally accepted, deeply loved and absolutely complete in Christ” (Robert McGee, The Search for Significance).

With God’s help in believing this is true, I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength! I want to be rebuilt and energized in that truth, so I can do everything I was created to do in this life and not waste one more second in unbelief.

I want to encourage you that this is possible! You can change your life, your patterns, your habits, your hangups, and your failures. You can take that mustard seed of faith and it can grow into a flourishing tree!

I completely relate to King David when he said, “I would have lost heart unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of The Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13). Forgiveness is not an easy road, and the battle is mostly in the mind. But unless I believe (without seeing) that forgiveness produces good fruit and leads to a more abundant life, I will give in to hopelessness and despair. I have been there many times, and it does not bear anything good! Not for me or any one else around me.

So, I am encouraging myself even as I write this, and hope I encourage you today!I encourage you to check your heart, investigate the things that weigh you down, and ask yourself if there is an area in your life (or that situation you can’t let go of) in which you really haven’t forgiven a person, or even God. Don’t let this day pass without getting it out in the open, confessing it, and receiving forgiveness for it. Don’t carry it around another minute, day, or year. This is precisely the Reconciliation Jesus Christ provided to us through the cross and what we can meditate on further through this Resurrection weekend. The books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John can greatly aid us on this journey of forgiveness<3

 

It Took Nine Years to Go to a Restaurant!

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Our youngest son is autistic. When my mother-in-law was alive, her love language to us was taking us out to eat at a restaurant, and I would be so torn.

On one hand, I had four children and helped care for her, so it seemed like a wonderful idea to not have to cook one meal out of the thousands I had prepared over many years of marriage and motherhood! But taking along extra “special” food for my “special” son who had a “special” diet, along with the struggle of trying to combat his behavior the entire time, wasn’t worth the stress I felt. These are one of the many struggles those who care for a special needs child face.

It is so easy to feel entitled. “I deserve a dinner out without our son knocking over his hundredth glass of water and exasperating everyone at the table, dammit! I deserve to relax with a night off!”

After all, I’m not a masochist. I mean, Jesus retreated often and prayed! I need my rest. Oh buddy do I need my rest! But I also chose to receive my children and raise them to the best of my ability, and it is my responsibility to take care of them. However, if I keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result, I will drive myself crazy!

So I decided I wouldn’t do that anymore with him. At some point you have to pull back and ask yourself what is best for everyone involved. I would hate myself for how stressed I was, how stressed I acted, and especially how I treated the rest of my family because of my stress. It was a lose-lose situation. I would leave the house loading my stress trigger, hoping this time he wouldn’t do a, b, and c. Then I would be totally rigid and on edge while we were out, then beat myself up for several days afterward because I felt like a failure… again.

It was not until our son started going to a vestibular therapy that was a bit of a drive from our home that I started rewarding him with a dinner out, if he did well at therapy and behaved while we were there. We have left many restaurants before, and I’ve gotten our food to go more than once. But this restaurant we chose had gluten-free items, which was a real treat! He started understanding that it was worth it to him to behave so he could have a special date with mom and eat his own gluten free favorites. He was nine years old, and I was like, wow! we can do this sometimes!

Since then, we have had some horrible experiences as a family. We have left restaurants as a family. But with every day that passes, these things are farther and farther behind us. Living with autism or behavioral issues is often like constantly looking in the rear-view mirror and seeing what road you have covered. It never feels like you have arrived at your destination; you just have to remember where you started and throw yourself a little party that you are not still “back there!”

As we left our family therapy session today, I was considering these things. We went out to eat, no glasses were spilled, no major behavior issues were exhibited, and we even enjoyed a few laughs together.

Happy dance!<3

 

Who Gets Over a Love Like This?

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I’ve been vulnerable.

I’ve entered temptation.

I’ve been caught in an iron snare.

I’ve been tormented and been refused.

I’ve been naked.

I’ve taken bullets and I’ve been rejected.

And there was a Man who stepped in.

My intimate Lover,

The One who I ran away from.

He has taken my guilt and shame.

He has stood in between me and the pointing fingers.

He knew what I was caught in and had compassion.

He told me all of my brokenness and all of my shame,

My guilt and my lack,

Is being  made into something beautiful and abundant.

…I am starting to believe Him.

Who gets over a love like this?

 

(thoughts collected after reading Ann Voskamp’s book; The Broken Way.)