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The struggle with addiction can bring the strongest to their knees. Love for our addict can takes us where we never wanted to go. ASK is a documentary that speaks from the heart with unprotected honesty. Hear from people who have lost themselves to addiction and the ones who follow them into the darkness as they share their stories of weakness, longing, despair and the path that led them to freedom. Addicts tell us what they were feeling and thinking when they took their first steps into losing control of their lives. Family members tell of the mistakes they made trying to rescue the ones they love. ASK gives a powerful view into the mind of an addicted person. Where did their choices take them? How did they get into the maze of addiction and is there really a way out? Watch this film to find the answers they discovered as they interviewed over 50 people, who openly reveal their experiences and bravely shine the light of understanding into the murky waters of addiction.

Belinda~

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When Springs Run Dry

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I remember the time when I was taking medication to help me through a difficult emotional trauma. I was taken aback when I stood in church during worship and felt nothing. No emotion at all.

Normally, for me worship was amazing. I could feel the love of God resting heavily around me. My heart danced in His presence. But that day. Nothing. Empty. No feeling.

In that moment, I had a conversation with myself. I knew that God deserved my worship and praise. I realized that my feelings weren’t necessary in order for me to worship God. I could worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.

So I did. I worshiped Him because He was God, not because it made me feel good. It was a sacrifice of praise to my God. After a time, I was able to discontinue the medication and now I have my ability to worship with my emotions.

The lesson I learned during that desert time helped me grow deeper in my knowledge of God and mature in my walk with Him.

Lately I’ve been having a similar experience. I feel the joy lift off of my heart and I see the world in its darkness. I see the God of the Old Testament in His Holiness and jealousy and demand for perfection. I experience the fear of the Lord.

I believe that God wants me to grow up into the fullness of Christ, weaning me away from constant dependence on good feelings. Maybe He is leading me into spiritual maturity and training me to stand no matter what I feel.

My faith is not dependent upon feelings, but on God’s unchanging nature and the Great love poured out for me through His Son, Jesus. Thankfully, His word is full of promise for us. “In His presence, the fullness of Joy” “Pleasures at His right hand forever” “The joy of the Lord is my strength”

When I was a teenager, I memorized this poem:

“I thank Thee, Lord

for pilgrim days,

when desert streams were dry.

When first I knew

what depths of need

Thy love could satisfy.”

It is in the desert that I learn of my need for Him and for that I will always love the desert.

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Took a vacation to the Grand Canyon last week. I had such a great time. I couldn’t stop smiling. The beauty and grandeur of it all took my breath away. The power of the wind coming up over the canyon was pure joy. The temperatures were between 59 and 82 degrees F. I couldn’t have been happier.  My husband, my two youngest children, my daughter-in-law and one of my granddaughters traveled with me. In a car, in a train, in buses…in hotel rooms, truck stops and restaurants we were together. We walked up to a volcano, down into an ice cave. We took photos at the edge of steep cliffs, sat on petrified trees and peered down into a meteor crater.

While Jerry drove, I read aloud from one of the books that I am reading, “Boundaries” by John Townsend and Henry Cloud. They were explaining what a boundary was by comparing it to our body’s boundary of skin. Like skin, our emotional boundaries protect us from harmful things while letting in what we need to live.  That visual stuck with me during our trip. When one of my family members had an emotional moment, I began to feel the anxiety rise in me. The picture of my skin came to mind and I stopped. My emotions stop at my own skin. Those feelings aren’t mine. I was able to let her have her feelings without letting it get “under my skin”.

My ability to stay within my own boundaries freed me to fully live in the moment during all of the beautiful encounters with God’s creation.  When I struggled with emotions of my own, I was able to keep them where they belonged. Me and the Holy Spirit took a moment and I was able to move forward without anyone else knowing about it. Some people might already know how to do this but for me it is a revelation. I am thankful for the wisdom. God uses visual aids all throughout the Bible to help us grasp the meaning of His Word. He is so creative. He formed the mountains, carved out the valleys and He mapped out every fiber of my being.

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Acceptance, approval, attention. That’s the desire in my heart. I see it spring up in the most embarrassing places. I think that I’ve outrun it only to walk right into the middle of those feelings.

When someone gives me a compliment. My heart sings. If that someone is a strong male leader, that approval rings a bell heard by the little girl who is still waiting for her father to notice her.

I know that I have this weak spot. For years I have hidden myself and the abilities God has given me. It is easy to be humble when you aren’t doing anything.

The difficult task is doing what God has gifted me to do while walking in truth about my struggle with desiring the approval of man. I like knowing that someone sees me and thinks that I’m okay.

Today I listened to Watermark’s Sunday sermon on Facebook, while walking at the track! I identified the desire that trips me up; I named it aloud. I acknowledged my weakness and asked God, my Father, to fill me with the knowledge of His acceptance of me. No man or woman will ever be enough to satisfy my desire. God alone has what I need.

I imagined the approval of man to be the apple in Satan’s hand held out to me in the garden, I have a choice. Like Esau, I have a choice. God has so much more for me. I will keep walking past what the world has to offer me. God sees me. His Spirit is right here abiding in me. Why would I ever make the trade for the approval of a mere human when the God of Creation is calling me by name?

 

Enough is not Enough

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I’ve gotten it all wrong. I thought that if I “loved” them enough, accepted them, held them close enough that I could make them okay enough, loved enough, self-confident enough to then be able to make the choices that lead to life and righteousness, but I am wrong.

Proverbs 29:19 tells me that mere words will not cause change. Understanding truth will not cause them to respond rightly.

Galatians 6:7 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”

God has already thought all of this through. He has chosen the best and most effective way to turn wayward hearts back to Himself.  It is His kindness that leads us to repentance. He knows our hearts and the strength of our will. He has set in place laws that lead us to freedom. The law of reaping and sowing. As sure as the sun rising each morning every person will reap the consequences of their choices.

I cannot sow on behalf of my child. I cannot stand in the way of the reaping.  My kindness does not lead to repentance. My kindness is fear wrapped in the promise of happiness.

I give the reward first expecting to see the change in behavior after. My desire to protect my child drives me to coddle, promise goodness, bribe, give, violate my boundaries to try to love that wild donkey into the corral. But my kindness cannot change the rebellion born in his heart.

I can wrap him in the fabric of my best intentions but he will not be changed. He cannot change himself. I cannot change him. Only God’s way leads to a new heart–a righteous choice.

I have been standing in the way of God’s perfect path designed to bring my prodigal to repentance. I will humble myself beneath God’s mighty hand and step out of the way. Reap what you sow, my child. Let consequences drive you to God’s heart.

The Myth of Motherhood

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We are learning to see the Cinderella misconception and the fairy tale false idea of a human that is able to come to our rescue in shining armor and love us into our happy ending…but today I see another deadly myth: Motherhood. There were supposed to be truths at work here. If I loved my children enough and gave them enough, sacrificed enough for them…they would be okay. They would be happy and they would love me and appreciate me.

Being a mother was my role. I have wanted to be a mother for as long as I can remember.  I gave birth to them and my job was to raise them, protect them, teach them…get them over the finish line in life.

But, in reality, just as no one in shining or rusty armor can heal my heart or satisfy my hunger for love and attention; likewise, I cannot  carry my children over the finish line in life. That’s not how it works. Believe me…I’ve tried. Six times.  What do they say? “work your fingers to the bone, what do you get?  boney fingers!” After years of sleepless nights and endless sacrificing I realize that my helping was hurtful.  My kind of love caused damage and created weakness in my children.

I gave birth to them. check

I fed and nurtured them. check

I loved them. check

I fell short of perfection. check and double check

I damaged them in some significant ways. check

 

But here are some truths that I have learned:

  1. I was never meant to be responsible for their choices.
  2. motherhood is NOT synonymous with Savior
  3. They don’t owe me anything.
  4. They are not my life.
  5. Motherhood is what I did, not who I am.
  6. I am more than a mother.
  7. My calling is broader than motherhood.
  8. Motherhood does not define me.
  9. My identity is in Christ Jesus.
  10. My children belong to God.
  11. I am not connected to  their failures or successes. I don’t get the credit for their success nor the blame for their failure.
  12. I am not their hero. Jesus is the only hero in this story.

I can throw off the guilt and shame, cut the cord, break the chains, breathe.

Letting go and stepping away doesn’t mean that I don’t love them. Allowing God to stand in His place in their lives instead of me is true love.

So I will  “Trust in the Lord with all my heart, lean not on my own understanding. In all my ways submit to Him and He will make my paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6  That’s a real thing.

Casting all my cares on Him, for He cares for me. and for my children.

 

Page by Page

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You can’t have me.

No.

Nope.

No way.

I am fearfully, tearfully, cheerfully made.

Formed by God in a woman’s womb.

Created by the coming together of two souls–one flesh.

God spoke life over me.

Breathed His breath in me.

Brought me forth upon this earth

in His truth,

in His time.

He was there when I was drawn out of the darkness.

Out of the waters He delivered me.

Into the light.

Into  a world more harsh and less forgiving.

Bumps and bruises,

loud and cold–

helpless, I came.

Dependent, I lay.

Needy, I cried.

And You, God heard my voice.

You God knew every day before me.

The ins and outs,

the ups and downs.

Nothing surprised you.

You walked beside me.

I was blind, I couldn’t see what You could see.

I had to live only in the very moment I was in.

But you could see me walk in victory

in the very places where I laid bare,

broken to the core.

You could see me standing filled with strength and glory

You never left me.

You walked with me

while I wrote the story of my life

page by page…

you wrote with me.

You wrote of freedom and victory.

I walked in hell–you wrote of heaven.

Your words were written over mine as I lived them.

The past has passed

and it cannot have me.

You have written your life on mine.

I will keep moving until I reach the edge

of the final page

that you have created for me.

There I’ll find you right beside me.

You will draw me out once more

into a greater light–into forever more

eternal life.