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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The Healer of Our Brokenness

The Healer of Our Brokenness

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3 NIV

‬Wounds hurt. We don’t like pain. We are anxious to be healed. We hope that the resulting scar will be minimal, unnoticeable. It might be. It all depends on how deep the injury is and how well it heals.

I have worked in the field of plastic surgery and dermatology for over twenty years. In our office we have seen all types of injuries. From the clean-cut of a surgeon's scalpel to the jagged tear of a dog bite or deep incision made to remove a cancerous growth, wounds come in all shapes and sizes.

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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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How To Stop Fixating on Fixing

How To Stop Fixating on Fixing

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians‬ ‭3:1-2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The Oxford Dictionary gives the definition for fixating as: "to cause (someone) to acquire an obsessive attachment to someone or something." Synonyms are: obsessed with, preoccupied with, obsessed about, focused on, gripped by, engrossed in, fanatical about, hooked on.

Fix-It People

I am one of those "fix-it" kind of people. I am also an over-thinker. Okay, I'm a control freak. Hey, before you judge us control freaks as all bad, remember that we are the ones that keep the order in the family. We put balance into what could be complete chaos. But like any personality strength, there is also some weakness.

As the mom of children who struggled with addiction, mental health issues, and one on the Autism Spectrum, fixing (or should I say saving) them became an obsession. I would wake up thinking and praying about how to help them.

Truth be told, I actually got very little sleep most nights as I ruminated over the countless things that could go wrong and probably would go wrong if I didn't intervene.

If you're anything like me, you might also have an over-weighted sense of responsibility to get your loved ones out of their present messes. You may even struggle with self-blame, as I have, which can hold you hostage in fixation mode.

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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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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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