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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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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Always A Daddy's Girl by Lanie Graham

Always A Daddy's Girl by Lanie Graham

Growing up I was always a daddy's girl. I am the youngest of 3 girls. My dad always says, he loves all his daughters the same, but we have a special bond. When I found out my dad was an alcoholic, I was shocked! You can read the full story of how I found out here.

I knew he had been going through a rough time for a few years, but my mom always chocked it up to depression and work stress. I had no idea the real reason....addiction.

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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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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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The Image of Christ In Us

The Image of Christ In Us

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” ‭‭James‬ ‭1:23-24‬ ‭NIV‬‬

It’s easy to forget who we are.

We get up every morning and get ready for our day, but who is that woman looking back at us? Who is that man?

Through all the chaos and pain addiction brought into our family, I lost myself somewhere along the way. I became confused and lost my confidence. I lost my identity.

I used to “feel” close to Jesus. I knew his voice and direction. Addiction in our family changed that. It tested my faith like nothing else before ever had.

I felt alone in the silence of God, waiting to hear him speak. The chaos in my mind twisted every word so that his voice was drowned out by a dull roar.

It reminds me of attending a party in an over-crowded house, much too small for all the guests. With music blaring, each person shouts over the next in an attempt to be heard, to no avail. All they can do is read each other’s lips and leave with a headache.

So, it was with reading the word of God. I would see the words on the page, but they were blurry and illegible. Like steam on a bathroom mirror after a hot shower, I couldn’t see my own image. I couldn't see God's image.

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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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Lord of My Heart

Lord of My Heart

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” ‭Matthew‬ ‭6:33‬ ‭NIV

This morning the Lord woke me up with a thought.

“Do you want Me or do you want Me to fix your problems?”

“Well, Lord, I want both.”

“If you want both, you have to realize that you have this all backwards,” He reminded me.

“Lord, what is that supposed to mean? I love You. I praise You.”Gulp. I guess I do wake up with my kid and his problems and the weight of the world sitting on my shoulders.

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