Sink or Swim

Sink or Swim

“I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me.” Psalms‬ ‭69:2‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Swim at Your Own Risk

“Congratulations. It’s benign. No cancer.”

I took the news with a certainty that the doctor must have read the results incorrectly. How could I have dodged another bullet? I was convinced my luck had run out, the well of positive outcomes for my health concerns had run dry, and that this time God believed I was ready to tackle the “Big One.”

Four times I have been told it might be cancer, not just might be, but more than likely was. Four times I’ve felt the relief of finding out I was cancer-free. Four times I’ve felt like someone took at sledgehammer to my body and brain as I processed the aftermath of the sea of emotions I had experienced.

At the risk of sounding ungrateful, I feel the need to put into words the emotional toll these events have had on me. Besides the cancer scares, I have also had a blood clot in my lung with many months of follow-tests and visits to specialists to rule out malignancy as a possible cause. Thankfully, I am still here, unlike so many others who did not receive such good news. Still, I cannot say that I have come through these scares unscathed. That’s simply not the case.

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Accepting God's Plans

Accepting God's Plans

Esther 4:14 ESV “…..And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Why?

When you have a loved one who is struggling with addiction or mental illness, you can’t help but wonder why am I in this situation? I don’t have the skills to handle this or to help them! Why me?

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The Ripple Effect

The Ripple Effect

"He leads me beside the still waters." Psalms 23:2

"A ripple effect is a situation in which, like ripples expand across the water when an object is dropped into it, an effect from an initial state can be followed outwards incrementally." - Wikipedia

You Can’t Stop Mother Nature

Have you ever thought about the ripple effect a crisis like addiction brings into the family? Throw a rock into a lake and watch the ripple effect in action. No matter how calm the water, even the tiniest pebble causes movement. When a bomb drops, we race to try and control its collateral damage, but it is impossible because the ripple effect is already in motion.

Every action has a reaction. Our addicted children become the epicenter of our homes, and their behavior dictates how everyone else in the family will react. It dictates how friends and acquaintances will react. It can even effect our jobs and our health because there is always a reaction to their action, unless we choose to stop it. The truth is that no one can make us react a certain way.

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A Spacious Place

A Spacious Place

“When hard pressed, I cried to the LORD; he brought me into a spacious place.” Psalm 118:5 NIV

“I can’t breathe! Get me out of here!”

I have to admit that I am claustrophobic. I don't do well in tight places. Whether it's cramped elevators or tight MRI imaging booths, even being squeezed too hard or for too long, you’ll find me scrambling for the nearest escape.

Trying to talk myself out of it is pointless as the “all to familiar” signs that a full blown panic attack is imminent begin to take my body and mind hostage. My heart pounds in my chest and my breaths becoming deeper and more frequent as my brain starts shouting, “Get yourself out of here!" Hyperventilation is inevitable if I don't keep reciting over and over again, "Keep it together! Keep it together!"

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She Can Laugh At Days To Come

She Can Laugh At Days To Come

"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come."   Proverbs 31:25 NIV

Happy Fourth of July!

Another holiday is coming up quickly. I find the Fourth of July to be one holiday I do not look forward to. I don't dread it, but I certainly do not anticipate its arrival either…

For families with struggling children or loved ones, the holidays can be difficult to get through, especially if our loved one will not be joining us this year. This may be either by their choice or our decision, but regardless of why they are not here, we wish they were. We do our best to embrace those who are present and make cherished memories without them. (Not an easy task, I might add.)

For those daring enough to invite their prodigal home for the holidays, it brings with it the stress of wondering if they can get through just one holiday without an argument or family drama. I honor you, brave ones.

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God’s Grace For Our Loved Ones

God’s Grace For Our Loved Ones

When we look back on our lives, most of us can recall that defining moment when God spoke into our hearts His calling. We heard and responded with, "Yes, Lord, I will follow You."

That decision may have been made fairly recently for some and in childhood for others. Perhaps, the Lord spoke into your heart as a teenager and you have followed Him ever since.

Maybe your life was one of rebellion and heartache as you attempted to outrun the grace of God, thinking your plan was better. It took you a while to admit you needed Him or to believe you were somehow worthy of his love after the life you lived.

Whatever the case, here we all are today. We meet here because we have one thing in common; we have children or loved ones who are running from His grace.

No, make that two things in common. We meet here because we all believe God's grace will make a way for them to come out of the darkness that holds them captive. It will make a way back to His light.

Chosen by God

Before we were born, God chose us. Before our family members were born, He chose them. Our husbands, our children, our parents, our sisters and brothers, our grandparents, He chose each of them and called them to Himself.

As a child I was called, while still in my mother's womb. Each of us was called before birth to become a child of God. We did absolutely nothing to earn His favor, but we were precious to Him. He wanted relationship with us. He called us by name.

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From Haughty to Humble

From Haughty to Humble

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” ‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬ 

Is it possible that we think of ourselves more highly than we should? 

As I watched the previews for newly released movies about families dealing with addiction, I recognize the faces of parents desperate to save their children. Panicked mothers and fathers, played by larger-than-life Hollywood actors, go to the most extreme measures to rescue them, often to the detriment of their own health and the well-being of the rest of the family. Some of these portrayals, while heroic, send the message that if parents say the right words and take the right actions, they can somehow save their self-destructive children and live happily ever after.

If Only It Were That Easy.

Our children become addicted to drugs or alcohol for a variety of reasons. A few may say that childhood abuse or trauma and trying to mask the pain eventually led to them taking drugs. Some did so because of growing up under strict rules they ultimately rebelled against. However, that seems to be the minority. I have literally spoken with hundreds of parents and adult children who battled addiction, and for the most part, the message is the same. “It was not my parent’s fault. They were great parents. They loved me and taught me right from wrong.”

Without fail, I also hear parents take credit for the success of their children with statements like, “We raised them right,” as though parents whose kids failed to succeed or worse yet, failed, hadn’t read the manual. Parents are so invested in their adult children’s success and failure that many fall into the categories of helicopter-parents, drone-parents, or the newest one, snowplow-parents. The line between the parent and their adult child seems to have become blurred. It’s as though we are looking at one being, not two separate individuals.

While it is imperative that while they are young children and teenagers, it is our role to nurture and guide them as they grow into adulthood, there comes a time when we have to put these lessons we have taught them to the test. They are adults now, whether we see them that way or not.

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Living With Rejection

Living With Rejection

“He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.” Isaiah 53:3 NIV

Rejection’s Pain

Growing up in an alcoholic home, I developed a coping mechanism for dealing with rejection. Since acceptance seemed to be based on my performance, I would simply aim for perfection, thus ensuring the acceptance of others. Well, that was easier said than done.

The need for acceptance and fear of rejection kept me from taking chances. It made for very small dreams, for the risk of failure was not one I was willing to take. I needed the assurance that if I stepped out, I would succeed.

I gave up on ice skating, gymnastics, piano, cheerleading, foreign languages, college, all because I felt like a failure as I was forced to work harder to accomplish a tenth of what came to others naturally. I stayed in the area of my comfort zone, those things I could be successful at with little or no effort. And that worked for a while, until it didn't.

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Unfailing Strength

Unfailing Strength

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at a proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galations 6:9

Worn Out

Life can be exhausting. It has a way of zapping our strength.

Physically, mentally, and emotionally.

When we are dealing with beyond normal stressors like family drama, financial worries, or career woes, we often wake up feeling more exhausted than before we went to bed.

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Why I Did Away With Tough Love

Why I Did Away With Tough Love

“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs‬ ‭22:6‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

I’ve raised three kids, two sons and a daughter. I did so with the mindset that consequences were the way to change negative behavior. So, if my kids were rebellious or behaved badly, they received a consequence like loss of privileges, restriction, or even a spanking. (No guilt!! Remember, this is a judgment-free site).

That coupled with a whole lot of “mom-told-you-so’s” and “you should have known betters” and my work here was done.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my children very much. I prayed for them and cared for them and took them to do lots of fun things. Heck, I even spoiled them! And it all seemed to be working, until it didn’t anymore.

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