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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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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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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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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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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