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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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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Why I Finally Decided To Love Myself

Why I Finally Decided To Love Myself

"For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, since we are members of his body." Ephesians 5:29-30 CSB

If someone in your life is struggling with addiction or mental illness, it is hard on the whole family. It sneaks into our lives taking captive everything that is precious to us. It steals our peace. Anxiety takes its place. Joy is lost. Hope is replaced with a desolate spirit.

We wear out and give up. Worry about our loved one consumes us. For me, it took a toll on my body, my mind, and my emotions. I felt nauseated 24/7, and sleep was next to impossible. My thoughts were harried and unfocused, except for one thought, fixing my broken son.

Emotionally, I had a short fuse and became fearful and untrusting. My spiritual life took a huge hit. I spent my days crying out to God in desperation. "Heal my son. Rescue him!"

My self-worth was virtually non-existent. I lived with a constant feeling of shame. I put on a good show, but deep down inside I believed I was somehow to blame for my child's addiction.

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Living Satisfied

Living Satisfied

“Let them give thanks to the Lord for his faithful love and his wondrous works for all humanity. For he has satisfied the thirsty and filled the hungry with good things.” Psalms‬ ‭107:8-9‬ ‭CSB‬‬

The Satisfied Life

Are you living a satisfied life?

A satisfied life is a life settled and at peace.

When we love someone struggling with addiction or any other stronghold, someone who is lost and hurting, we just want them better.

“Be whole, loved one, and I will be satisfied.”

After all, they are responsible for our happiness, right? But people and places and things cannot satisfy us.

Our restless minds long for the peace only a satisfied soul can offer. I was not satisfied. I wanted things to change. Not just to change, but to be better. Instead, my life was filled with longing. My list of “if onlys” had become a mile long.

If only my son was healed. If only he was safe and well.  If only he was working and productive. If only he would love and serve the Lord. If only he was free from mental illness. If only there was calm from the storm.

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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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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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