The Cure for Anxiety

The Cure for Anxiety

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” Psalm‬ ‭94:19 NIV‬ ‭

An Anxious World

Anxiety is a very real emotion for most of us at one time or another.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, "Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year." ADAA

Anxiety is very real. According to the Webster’s Dictionary, anxiety is described as "a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about something with an uncertain outcome." It can lead to apprehension, excessive uneasiness, and panic attacks.

When your child, spouse, or loved one struggles with addiction, anxiety becomes our constant unwanted companion. Worry is part of everyday life. We obsess about our loved one's safety and the dangers of their risky behavior to the expense of our own sanity.

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A Deeper Grief

A Deeper Grief

“and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah‬ ‭61:3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

A Deeper Kind of Grief

The words kept playing over again in my mind. What do they mean for me and for you?

I have heard many say lately, "I am just so sad. I am tired of being sad."

No cliches or positive affirmations or even promises to pray can lift this burden, this spirit of heaviness that has settled like a cold, damp fog over their hearts and minds.

When a spirit of heaviness comes upon us, we feel alone and isolated. This is between us and God. We have wandered into unchartered territory and this different kind of grief is our only companion.

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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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Living in Color

Living in Color

“‘Don’t call me Naomi,’ she told them. ‘Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.’” Ruth‬ ‭1:20-21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Empty: having nothing inside; without meaning or purpose, hollow.

When Naomi cried out these words to her daughter-in-law, Ruth, she believed them. She had lost her husband and both of her sons. She had no one to provide for her or look out for her. She felt she no longer had meaning or purpose.

As moms and family of loved ones who are lost in their addictions, we are also tempted to cry out these words.

Mothers cry because they have lost their children and everything they had dreamed their lives would look like. They live each moment wondering if they will receive that knock at the door. For some, their children have been lost due to death. In either case, grief is a stark reality. Emptiness is so very real.

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A Father To The Fatherless

A Father To The Fatherless

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing...” Psalm‬ ‭68:5-6a

“I want to be their father.” The Lord spoke these words to my heart this morning. “I want them to know me. Instead, they run from me, reject me.”

I feel the longing in God’s heart for his children. He grieves for his lost ones.

“They are searching for me, but they can’t find me. They are looking for me in the wrong places.” They are looking for love in all the wrong places, as the song goes.

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Awaiting His Return

Awaiting His Return

And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!”  Revelation‬ ‭21:1-5 NLT‬‬

Homecoming

It’s easy to want to give up. To throw in the towel. We have all said at one point or another, “I just want to go home and be with the Lord. This world is too hard, to painful.”

Let’s face it. Many of you reading this, like me, are the loved one someone struggling with addiction.  Addiction...it scrapes our ears like glass tearing at our skin. It’s hard to find hope when all we see and hear is the enemy telling us that he or she will never be free. Even if it is not addiction, watching our loved one struggle because of poor choices is heartbreaking.

Now add to it the other trials life throws at us, illness, divorce, job loss or pressures, financial crisis, loss of loved ones, and it makes sense that we long to go home.

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Do Not Fear

Do Not Fear

“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah‬ ‭41:13‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The other night I woke up and felt a formidable presence with its hands around my throat. Accusing and intimidating, it reminded me it was not going anywhere, nor was it through with me yet. In fact in it own words, it was only “heating up”.

It was overwhelming, to say the least. It is not very often that I can say I have come in direct contact with a dark spiritual presence. But, I knew beyond any doubt that I was not dreaming.

In the Presence of Our Enemies

I have felt that presence before. You know, the one that tries to convince you that God has abandoned you and that you are all alone in your trials. I wasn't afraid, but I was overwhelmed with a feeling of loneliness and isolation.

Was I really alone? Had God forgotten me?

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Songs of Praise

Songs of Praise

"People cry out when they are oppressed. They groan beneath the power of the mighty. Yet they don’t ask, ‘Where is God my Creator, the one who gives songs in the night?" ‭‭Job‬ ‭35:9-10NLT‬‬

How often I come to God crying and moaning. I'm in full blown panic and hurry in and pray a quick "God, please help me!" I cry and groan and plead.

In those moments I forget to simply enjoy the sweet presence of my Lord. I fail to move beyond my anguish and seek Him and Him alone.

The beauty of His face, the Holiness of His temple, the solitude and peace of His presence...they all await me if I seek Him.

As I choose to seek the Problem Solver instead of the solution to my problem, my heart is filled with songs of praise and worship.

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What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do - Part 2 of 3

What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do - Part 2 of 3

When crisis hits, it is hard to know what to do when we don't know what to do. Sometimes we lack the experience or expertise to handle the battle we are facing.  If this crisis concerns our hurting or lost loved ones, it can really throw us into a state of panic and confusion.

We learned in 2 Chronicle 20 that the enemies of Judah had formed a vast army to attack them. King Jehoshaphat feared for his people and declared that they all would collectively fast and pray. He remembered the faithfulness to his people and encouraged them to look to God for their deliverance.

Remember God's Faithfulness

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What To Do When You Don't Know What To Do - Part 1 of 3

What To Do When You Don't Know What To Do - Part  1 of 3

"Our God, will you not judge them. For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” 2 Chronicles‬ ‭20:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

This thing called Addiction had me duped for a long time. I have to admit even after growing up in an alcoholic home, I was caught off guard on more than one occasion by my sons' addictions and their resulting behaviors.

Having previously gone through it with one son, I still found myself standing with egg on my face as his brother's behavior became even more unpredictable. Nothing could prepare me for the lies, the manipulation, and the desperation that became a necessary part of his survival as he struggled to satisfy the insatiable appetite brought on by his cravings.

2 Chronicles chapter 20 became an anchor for me during those years of struggling to understand how to fight for my sons, while I tried to learn to surrender the false sense of control I had in their lives.

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