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.

 

 

And The Results Are In… (drum roll, please;-)

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Remember a few months ago when I posted about detoxing after my doctor found out that my liver really wasn’t working well? Well, I have been on that diet ever since, giving up coffee, taking it back up a few times, not eating dairy, sugar, or most grains and watching my fruit intake.

I followed up with that same doctor this week and he said that I was doing amazing!He said; “congratulations, you just added 5 years to your life”! I have lost 16 pounds so far, and many of my labs have done a 180 degree turn! My body is starting to heal it self!! My iron levels are not in the range they need to be, and the same is true for my thyroid, but we are in the “tweaking stage”, as he called it, and as I continue, the results will improve!!

I am so thankful for that great news and I definitely feel the healthiest I have been in my whole life- despite having a ways to go! I do not have the sugar cravings, and I am much more even keeled with my adrenals being supported with supplements. I sleep great and have a lot more energy and stamina. Any inflammation I had is completely gone and my mind is clearer. I desire to stay on this diet the rest of my life, having the indulgences for special occasions.

Essential Oils have definitely helped with stress. I have such an amazing Aroma wafting through my home because of what I do, and I am thankful for the supportive roll they play in strengthening my immune system. I personally like to blend Frankincense and Lavender in some Avocado oil and use as a moisturizer. It is calming and fortifying and smells pretty delicious!

So, if you want to re boot your health, I definitely recommend a fast. Getting sugar out of your diet, in all forms, is the biggest health shift you can make! It will change your life! Your not alone, I am right here with you on the health journey and I want to hear from you today!

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!!

Do The Next Thing

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This pic was taken on the bike trail in our area. I have been purposely appreciating “the weeds” in my yard or along the side of the road. They are “weeds” because someone has called them “weeds” and told us that they are to be pulled out, not picked, and not looked at as a thing of beauty. But they are lovely- faithfully growing there at the edge of the trail, under the sun light as I ride my bike and move forward.

Yesterday at church, our pastor reminded us to continue to be faithful in everyday things. When you feel you have failed,  don’t know what to do next or you feel you are not where you are supposed to be, simply do the next thing and be faithful in it. If you have a job, show up, be faithful when no one is watching. If you are married, be love to your spouse. If you are a parent, be present and involved in your child’s life. If you are none of the above, get up and move and “bloom where you are planted”! Be beauty to yourself and to others.

In The Broken Way, Ann Voskamp says, “When nothing feels simple, simply do the next thing.” Sometimes life can be overwhelming. Reduce it, do the next thing, take the next step-be faithful in the small things. And look for the beauty and growth in the “weeds”.

Speaking of “weeds”, many of the wonderful properties we glean from our Infused Oils come from garden variety “weeds”!! Red Clover, Creeping Charlie, Yarrow, for example, all have amazing health properties.  I blend many of my Essential Oils into infused oils for added health benefits. I have taken local classes to identify helpful “weeds” that grow in our region. Does this interest you? Buy a book on the subject, or check out classes at your local parks! Learn, grow, flourish….simply do the next thing 🙂

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.)

 

 

Some Through The Waters

 

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The Red Sea was before them and the mountains were to the side, an army with the finest weaponry behind, purposed to destroy the multitude in front of them and there was no where to go except up!

Have you every been there? I have many times and even now, I am still there. I am thankful for it though. I have been foolish many times before trying to find relief horizontally, I have taken what I thought was an easier way only to find out I was miles away from the path. When I start feeling that pressure, I look up! “God, what do you want me to do? You are the only One who can meet my needs and desires and has my best interest in mind. I do not know how to walk on water, and I can not swim in these roaring waves, what is the way  you want to lead me through that I am unable to see with my human eyes?”

I wouldn’t change any thing I have ever learned from these times. They are precious, they are a gift from Him to mold and conform me into His image.

Helichrysum is the perfect Essential Oil companion for times like these! Healing to trauma inside and outside of the body, emotionally balancing, great for cuts and wounds. If you are really “living” in this life, you are bound to get a few of those!! I am right here with you walking the road  (or water;-)less traveled ❤

God Leads His Dear Children Along/ Travis Cotrell

My Search For Significance 2

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I told you last week I wanted to do a series on my journey through the last year. Last year at this time I had come clean with  a gigantic failure. Now my failure was noticeable to others. We all have failures, but they are not all noticeable to others. My  husband  and I had many failures that lead up to my “huge” failure and they mostly went unnoticed to others but were destroying my wholeness, our marriage and our family.

Noticeable failure, I have found, can bring enormous amounts of guilt and shame. The shame wants to suffocate you. It wants to keep you in a bondage not unlike the one you just came out of. It took an amazing amount of mental assent to the truth, like non-stop 24/7 self- talk, filling my mind with the truth. I took about 3 months off, as much as I could, just to fill my mind with the truth. Any little rejection from any person would throw me right back into a pit, so I was very self-guarded and did not go out very often. I was acutely aware that I couldn’t stay in that place of hiding, so I was cautious but I also needed to be safe in the loving arms of Jesus to be restored.

Christine Caine said; “shame always wants to re capture you at the point (where you still see baggage dragging) and wants to take you hostage.” I wrote that quote along with now hundreds of quotes and scripture onto art paper and started “postering” our home with them. I would walk around and read them out loud! I was most literally “Not conforming  to this world  but being transformed by the renewing of my mind.” Romans 12:2

I do not know how a person could get out of destructive habits any other way. I do not know how you could mix “a little bit of truth” in with a world that is swallowing it up faster than you can take it in and be transformed. I think that is why it says; “do not conform to the world.” All those “little failures” I spoke of earlier, were seemingly small. Ever so slightly, I was getting loose with my boundaries. They did not start as big leaps into uncharted territory. Mary Kassian says “it comes by creeps, not leaps” and that is So very true! Conforming to the world, it’s desires, it’s pleasure…the “I deserve it” mentality wraps itself around you and the tune turns up the volume in your mind until you are singing along. Breaking these habits takes radical, violent action- it will not happen passively.

I spent another 3-6 months testing the waters of the outside world with my new legs and a growing inner strength. That would only come after significant time reading the Bible, praying and singing. I have taken up the guitar in the last few years and it has been a comfort to me as well as a positive challenge. As I said in my last blog I would repeat these truths; “Julia, you are deeply loved, completely forgiven, totally accepted and fully pleasing to God.” (Search for Significance). One day, after a dear friend read John 8 to me, it was as if I was there with Jesus and He was saying to me, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more- I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” Jesus, the savior of the world, told me “neither do I condemn you.”, I couldn’t have a higher authority than that and I continue to keep my eyes completely focused on Him.

I am personally aware how our destructive behaviors can really damage others and I have lamented over these. I first had to walk along side my husband ,who I have hurt the most and who has had supernatural love toward me, so I have seen the pain I have caused first hand. I am not minimizing this aspect of failure at all, but when it comes down to it, all that a person can do is ask for forgiveness and pray fervently that God uses it all for good. I am unable to be responsible for how other people choose to respond but I do hold it close and pray every day for reconciliation in every relationship.

If we keep listening to shame in our failures, no matter “how big or how small”, they will remind us how long we have been carrying them and tell us “you will never be rid of this.” But God wants us to be FREE, He came to set us free from this world and to live with Him and have life more abundantly. He is cheering us on and giving us the strength to “run the race with endurance.” Hebrews 12:1

Believing this is all true, is radical! I have been on this journey and I want to encourage you on yours. My hope is that I reach a light to those struggling in a similar situation and walk the path with you so you are not alone. ❤