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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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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Living Fearlessly by Faith

Living Fearlessly by Faith

"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews‬ ‭11:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I have always wanted to walk in faith, to live in faith, to be a woman of faith. It hasn't always been easy.

Anyone whose loved one struggles with addiction or behaves recklessly has felt fear, even terror, at times. We understand the feeling all too well. We are scared to death when the phone rings at an unexpected hour. Our heart sinks at every unannounced knock at the door. We lay awake imagining the worse-case scenarios.

Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

Even if you are not living with the chaos of addiction in your family, fear can take you hostage for so many reasons. Marriage problems, financial burdens, the state of our world, and so many other concerns fight to take up real estate in our minds.

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The Day Addiction Knocked At Our Door

The Day Addiction Knocked At Our Door

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 NIV

I will never forget the day addiction knocked at our door for the first time. It came in quietly, unannounced. We were the typical (if there is such a thing), All-American family. What did we have to worry about?

There's A Storm A-Brewin'

Being from the Midwest, I spent my summers there growing up. Tornadoes were normal during that time of year. There was usually a calm before the storm and then the clouds would start to move in. As the tornado approached, sirens would alert us that it was time to seek shelter. Because we were prepared for these storms, if we heeded the warning, we could get to safety and wait it out.

When I grew up, got married and started to raise our children, it was easy to believe that because we built our house on a firm foundation and its walls out of brick and mortar, our family would be able to withstand the tornado-force winds that the enemy blew upon it.

Instead, I felt like one of the Three Little Pigs in the classic children's story. You know the one who built his house out of straw? All the Big Bad Wolf had to do was to huff and puff, and that house blew right down! All it was good for was kindle for the fireplace.

What had I missed? I thought we were prepared for any storm that might beat against our house and against our children. What I quickly learned was that while we had prepared for the big storms, the ones with all the harsh winds and loud bells and whistles, in reality, we were not as well prepared as I thought.

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When Hope Hurts

When Hope Hurts

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick...” Proverbs 13:12a NIV

I often make the snarky comment, “If I knew how selfish I was, I never would have had children”.

Now, in my defense, I think I’ve come to realize that there are times when motherhood really hurts. Nothing, and I mean nothing, could have prepared me for the highs and lows of being a mother.

In reality, a mother's love was meant to hurt. A love this deep bears the weight of all our hopes and dreams. It carries with it the risk of a broken heart.

I have come to find in all my years of mothering that hope comes in two distinct packages.

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How To Stop Fixating on Fixing

How To Stop Fixating on Fixing

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians‬ ‭3:1-2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The Oxford Dictionary gives the definition for fixating as: "to cause (someone) to acquire an obsessive attachment to someone or something." Synonyms are: obsessed with, preoccupied with, obsessed about, focused on, gripped by, engrossed in, fanatical about, hooked on.

Fix-It People

I am one of those "fix-it" kind of people. I am also an over-thinker. Okay, I'm a control freak. Hey, before you judge us control freaks as all bad, remember that we are the ones that keep the order in the family. We put balance into what could be complete chaos. But like any personality strength, there is also some weakness.

As the mom of children who struggled with addiction, mental health issues, and one on the Autism Spectrum, fixing (or should I say saving) them became an obsession. I would wake up thinking and praying about how to help them.

Truth be told, I actually got very little sleep most nights as I ruminated over the countless things that could go wrong and probably would go wrong if I didn't intervene.

If you're anything like me, you might also have an over-weighted sense of responsibility to get your loved ones out of their present messes. You may even struggle with self-blame, as I have, which can hold you hostage in fixation mode.

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Letting Go of Our Addicted Children

Letting Go of Our Addicted Children

"Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.” Luke‬ ‭15:11-13 NIV‬

I have never been comfortable with the idea of letting go of my children for any reason; addiction is no exception. Even though they are adults and making grown-up decisions for their lives, the advice to let them go and allow them to hit their rock bottom shakes me to the core.

Ask any mother the hardest decision they've had to make regarding their struggling child. They will most often say it was the "letting go". The same holds true for wives, sisters, and grandmothers. It's in our nature to cling, to hold on tightly.

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Sweet Embrace

Sweet Embrace

“So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” Luke‬ ‭15:20 NIV

There is nothing like the sweetness of an embrace. It is especially sweet when the years and miles have separated you from that special someone for far too long.

The story of the prodigal son has been close to my heart over the last twelve years as both of my sons chose to go their own way and rebel and, as a result, struggled with addiction.

The young man in this story was given every opportunity to have a good life but thought his way was better, so off he ran to enjoy a life of partying and squandering everything his father had worked hard to give him.

Sounds familiar, huh?

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Put On God's Designer Labels

Put On God's Designer Labels

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment…rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4 NIV

As we look at labels, we see the power they possess. Labels can hurt, or they can heal. They can help us succeed, or they can aid in our failures. They have the power to shape how we see ourselves. They can change us from the inside out. Labels permeate our souls.

Think back to the moment when certain man-made labels stuck to you. Did they build you up, or did they tear you down? Did they give you hope or leave you feeling hopeless? Did you believe you could do anything, or were you convinced there was no point in trying because you would fail anyway?

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