Sink or Swim

Sink or Swim

“I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me.” Psalms‬ ‭69:2‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Swim at Your Own Risk

“Congratulations. It’s benign. No cancer.”

I took the news with a certainty that the doctor must have read the results incorrectly. How could I have dodged another bullet? I was convinced my luck had run out, the well of positive outcomes for my health concerns had run dry, and that this time God believed I was ready to tackle the “Big One.”

Four times I have been told it might be cancer, not just might be, but more than likely was. Four times I’ve felt the relief of finding out I was cancer-free. Four times I’ve felt like someone took at sledgehammer to my body and brain as I processed the aftermath of the sea of emotions I had experienced.

At the risk of sounding ungrateful, I feel the need to put into words the emotional toll these events have had on me. Besides the cancer scares, I have also had a blood clot in my lung with many months of follow-tests and visits to specialists to rule out malignancy as a possible cause. Thankfully, I am still here, unlike so many others who did not receive such good news. Still, I cannot say that I have come through these scares unscathed. That’s simply not the case.

Read More

The Ripple Effect

The Ripple Effect

"He leads me beside the still waters." Psalms 23:2

"A ripple effect is a situation in which, like ripples expand across the water when an object is dropped into it, an effect from an initial state can be followed outwards incrementally." - Wikipedia

You Can’t Stop Mother Nature

Have you ever thought about the ripple effect a crisis like addiction brings into the family? Throw a rock into a lake and watch the ripple effect in action. No matter how calm the water, even the tiniest pebble causes movement. When a bomb drops, we race to try and control its collateral damage, but it is impossible because the ripple effect is already in motion.

Every action has a reaction. Our addicted children become the epicenter of our homes, and their behavior dictates how everyone else in the family will react. It dictates how friends and acquaintances will react. It can even effect our jobs and our health because there is always a reaction to their action, unless we choose to stop it. The truth is that no one can make us react a certain way.

Read More

A Spacious Place

A Spacious Place

“When hard pressed, I cried to the LORD; he brought me into a spacious place.” Psalm 118:5 NIV

“I can’t breathe! Get me out of here!”

I have to admit that I am claustrophobic. I don't do well in tight places. Whether it's cramped elevators or tight MRI imaging booths, even being squeezed too hard or for too long, you’ll find me scrambling for the nearest escape.

Trying to talk myself out of it is pointless as the “all to familiar” signs that a full blown panic attack is imminent begin to take my body and mind hostage. My heart pounds in my chest and my breaths becoming deeper and more frequent as my brain starts shouting, “Get yourself out of here!" Hyperventilation is inevitable if I don't keep reciting over and over again, "Keep it together! Keep it together!"

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More