Faith in the fire: When you love an addict (Part 2)

alone-with-his-thoughts_free_stock_photos_picjumbo_HNCK9089-1570x1047Continued from Part 1

The next thing I knew, Gordon wasn’t the focus in the room – I was. They were quickly and efficiently hoisting me up onto a gurney and wheeling me out into the hallway where they left me to come to my senses. I lay there in a stupor of sadness and madness. I was devastated that this was my drunk and bloody son in the other room. And I was mad at myself for being too weak to stay the course with him. Even if I got up off the bed, they weren’t going to let me back in there. Now I just had to sit and listen to howling and not be able to hold my son’s hand. I had to be alone with the feelings of embarrassment that I was the mother who couldn’t save her son from addiction, let alone stay on her feet in the presence of his wreckage. I didn’t know much at that time about being the parent of an addict, so I lay there in a pool of my own guilt while my son was being stitched up in the next room.

After we checked out, I brought Gordon home. He had not been living with us when this accident occurred. A few months after his 18th birthday in the middle of his senior year of high school, Gordon moved out of our house to live with friends – who I assumed were doing and selling drugs. But we could no longer corral or control him. His behavior in our home had become intolerable and we had to think of the welfare of the four children who still lived with us and needed a semi-normal life. Gordon was breaking out every night, and had reached the age of emancipation, so we had no choice but to let him move out.

But on this night after the accident, I brought Gordon back to our house and planned to put him to bed and deal with him in the morning. After we arrived home, Gordon turned to me in the car and flatly told me that he hated me. He told me that he would never want to become a Christian because I was the worst person he knew and if I was a Christian then the whole thing was a joke.

Again, I didn’t have any training in dealing with addicts at that time, and I hadn’t been to any support group meetings or read any literature. So hearing those words that night, after all that I had gone through because of his addiction, cut me like a knife. I didn’t know whether to hit him in his stitched up eye or burst into tears.

So I did nothing. I got out of the car, opened his door, and helped him into the house and up the stairs into his old room. I put him to bed and shut the door. I didn’t say a word.

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Flight of the Monarch: Guest Blog Post

Below is a blog written by my friend, Jamie Sasien. I know you’ll be blessed. I look forward to hosting other guest bloggers on my site so stay tuned!

As a homeschooling mom of three children I’m always learning.  My girls and I have been studying insects and when we got to the butterflies we watched some videos on the Monarch.  Did you know that a Monarch butterfly will travel from the north of America and Canada all the way to Southern California or the middle of Mexico each fall?  This is known as the flight of the Monarch.  It got me thinking to my original reason for wanting to write years ago.  God gave me this idea that we as parents are on a journey in raising our children to take the next step of their life.  Our children may not go through a full metamorphosis like the butterfly, but it sometimes feels like it.

So as I was thinking about the butterfly, it got me thinking of our lives with kids.  Butterfly’s mate while in Mexico and then the females in spring begin their long journey back north, where they lay their eggs.  They know that they need to lay their eggs specifically on milkweed, as this is what the baby caterpillars will eat once they are born.  Like our little ones, the first thing they need is food.  Remember those late nights nursing and making sure our little ones had plenty to eat.  Our babies don’t grow as quickly as these small caterpillars but like the caterpillar in this stage, all they do is eat and sleep.

Caterpillar

Photo by Yoal Desurmont on Unsplash

The next stage is the pupa stage.  This is the time when they undergo huge transformations.  For us this stage begins in the pre-k years and continues through the teen years.  These years our children are going through the most transformation.  These can be the hardest of years and the most enjoyable. Then one day they begin to emerge, they begin to crawl out of those years.  They first need to dry their wings before they can take their first flight.  I think of this as a time usually when they are beginning to drive and get their first job.

Monarch Butterfly.jpg

Photo by Sean Stratton on Unsplash

What happens last is the most amazing step.  The steps when we let them go.  We let them fly.  They may not go 2,000 miles away, but it may seem like it when you drop them off to school or send them away to boot camp.  This is what we have been planning for, preparing them for, molding them into.  Thankfully our process isn’t as short as the butterfly, but it feels as if it was just yesterday that we left one stage and entered the next.  I’m not sure what stage of parenting you are in, but God is in all of it.  He has told us this was his plan when he said, “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

God knows that our job is to prepare them for where they are going.  Each stage is a step in letting go.  We let go with everything we do with our children.

  • We let go when we wean from nursing.
  • We let go so they can take that first step.
  • We let go when they sleep through the night.
  • We let go when we send them to school.
  • We let go when they begin to read on their own.
  • We let go when they can make their own breakfast, lunch or dinner.
  • We let go when they can do their own laundry.
  • We let go when they begin to drive.
  • We let go…… (You fill in the blank.)

Now you:

  • What steps have you taken in letting go?
  • Have you even noticed your letting them go each step of the way?
  • How are you training your children?
  • What example are you giving them?
  • What steps do you need God’s help in?
  • Are you praying over them during these steps?

You are taking these steps each day, week, year in letting your babies fly.  Your babies are to take their journey, to begin their life.  However, you have a job now at the stage you are in.  It doesn’t matter what mistakes you have made in the past.  You can begin again fresh today.  Remember, “With God, all things are possible.” Your part is in training your children, molding them, praying for them.  They may buck and balk along the way, but what you have done, raising them in the Lord, will come to pass.  Trust the Lord.  Trust the process.  God will never let you down, especially when it comes to your children, His children.

My prayer for you:

May God encourage you today.  Know God is pleased with you and He will guide you in raising your children. I pray that God would give you wisdom and knowledge in raising your children.  I pray that He would love them through you and that your children would come to know the Lord because of your teaching and example.  May God bless you in this journey and may you enjoy the process. I pray you will have God’s perfect peace letting your children fly into the plans He has for them.  Amen

About the author of this post:  Jamie Sasien is a homeschooling mom of three ages 13, 12, and 8.  She is also married to her best friend of 16 years.  She writes on a blog: One Day to the Next, where she shares about her love of parenting, marriage, and Jesus. 

What a mess! Can God do anything with this??

What a mess!!Messy room with girl in it

Sometimes it’s easy to look at our life and wonder “Can God do anything with this?” We look at all of our faults and question if there is any way that He will ever be able to truly change the mess inside. But the good news is He already has done something about the mess! The word of God tells us that we are redeemed and restored to glory – that old things have passed away and all things have become new.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

But the enemy will lie to us so consistently and so believably pointing out our flaws and our failures that our consciousness of who we are in Christ becomes deadened and our focus on the lies becomes acute.

What is the solution for this? I believe that thanksgiving plays a major role in keeping God at the center of our focus and not placing weight on the wrong things. Do we have flaws?  Yes, we do. Do we have failures? Yes, we do. But believe it or not, those things do not define us. God has clothed us in the righteousness of Christ and he sees us as perfectly redeemed and restored. He doesn’t see us that way as in seeing us through a hopeful vision of who we may become someday. He sees us that way NOW.

Galatians 3:27
For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

 

Romans 13:14

Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

So why do we continue to struggle with the old man? Why is it so easy to see ourselves as defeated, as a bad person, as a failure?

It’s because we have lost our vision of the truth. But thanksgiving will put the truth back in the center of our focus. It will put the miraculous work that God has done in us and for us on Center Stage. We can’t afford to lose the awareness of God’s presence for one moment or we will succumb to the pressures of this life and to a worldview of ourselves and our limitations.

We serve a God who is unlimited and who calls us to live an unlimited life of adventure and holiness, so a small-minded view of ourselves will hinder God’s plan.

  • Do you wake up excited for a new day? Do you rise in the morning with an awareness of God and a feeling of intimacy with him?
  • Or do you wake up feeling already defeated, hemmed-in by your life, by your obligations and by your poor self-esteem?
  • Do you see other people’s successes and envy them because you feel you will never have success of your own?
  • Do you see goodness in other people and feel condemned by it because you wonder if God is disappointed in you?

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that God adores us and loves us the way he does when we are so busy comparing ourselves to other people. But He does love us each uniquely. He created us and he loves who he created. It is unhealthy to focus more on the problems in our lives and in ourselves than on the goodness of God. Thanksgiving turns our perspective around changing our thinking from focusing on the negative and on our failures to focusing on the work of God.

Now you:

  • Do you want to wake up with a positive attitude about the day and about your life?
  • Do you want to stay aware of the goodness of God throughout the day.

Thankfulness is the key to keeping God at the center of our focus.  We can set a reminder on our phone or place sticky notes around our house to remind us to be thankful.  We can teach our children the difference between being thankful for what they have and complaining about what they don’t have.

I was with a mother last night who had her daughter with her.  The daughter is around 10 or 11 years old.  When they were leaving the cafe where we were meeting, the daughter started to complain that the mom hadn’t bought her a cookie.  The mom calmly stopped her by lifting up her finger and said, “That’s complaining.  That’s not being thankful.  How about being thankful for the wonderful salad with chicken and tomatoes that mom bought you? How about being thankful for your family and for your blessings, like swimming lessons?” The daughter proceeded to try to voice her complaint but the mom stopped her again and said, “If you want to complain, you’re not going to do it front of me. You’re blessed and you need to say ‘Thank you’ to me, not gripe and complain.” The daughter, seeing that her complaining wasn’t getting her what she wanted relented and said, “Thank you for dinner.”  I thought that was such a great lesson.  Instead of telling her daughter that she didn’t want to hear the griping, the mother focused on the fact that being thankful should be her attitude and she helped her daughter by focusing her thoughts on things to be grateful for.

Let’s parent ourselves well and stop that little griping child inside from voicing complaint after complaint.  Let’s put a finger to our mouth and stop ourselves from being unthankful, rather reminding ourselves of things that we can be grateful for! Amen!!

 

The New Tapestry: Grieving in God

tapestry-3I realize that many of my blog readers may not know a lot about me personally. For instance, you may not know that almost 20 years ago my husband of 13 years decided that he didn’t want to be married to me anymore.  We had made a lot of mistakes throughout our marriage, but this last stroke was his.  Never in my wildest nightmares did I ever imagine that I would end up a single mother with four children under the age or 12.

Just last night I pulled out some of my old journals. Not knowing what year the journal was from that I was grabbing, I opened the pages and was immediately transported back 18 years to those days as a single mother negotiating the pain and fear of post-divorce life.  I thought I would share one of those journal entries as I feel that I captured the emotions of grief, whether it be from divorce, death or any circumstance that brings a permanent end to a chapter in our lives. You can see how I processed the grief by bringing it to the Lord.  When grief hits our lives, we want so badly for the sadness and uncertainty to be over. But we have to go through the process or we won’t come through to the other side whole.

As I was reading my journal, I was overwhelmed with gratitude and awe at how beautifully and completely the Lord brought me though the hardest time of my life up to that point. The Lord is faithful and He is mighty.  If you are in a season of grief, don’t go it alone.  Call upon the Lord and He will comfort and counsel you as no one else can!

March 29th, 1999

Lord God, my loving Father, I offer up to You the unraveled cords of my life. I was working on such a lovely tapestry – bright and vibrant – and now it is all gone and I’ve had to start a new one.  But I still have all these kinked up strings lying around from the first one. Some of them I know I will need to incorporate in to new tapestry, but which ones? Will You come and clean up this mess with me? I can’t stop working on the new tapestry, but the mess and memories from the former one, now unraveled, keep me unfocused.  I want to move on and throw myself wholeheartedly into my new course, but this jumble of chaotic colors about my feet keeps tripping my up.  Jesus, help me to cut away the cords that are binding me. Show me how to gently roll up the threads of the former tapestry and put them away.  Guide my fingers to choose the proper yarn for this new tapestry and reveal to me how this new venture is a gift from You. I will offer to You my pain, my uncertainty, my shaken trust, my fears, my discomforts.  Only You can take those colors and make something rich and eternal.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Psalm 51: 17

Now you:

Are you experiencing grief right now?  Are you struggling with depression, fear, loneliness or sadness? Are you struggling to see how you can get past this loss and how your life will ever have joy again?

You are not alone.  I have been there and so have many others.  I can attest that crying out to Jesus in those dark hours are what brought me through the pain and shame of the loss of my marriage.

  • Find peace in the Word: In Psalms you will find Scriptures that will bring tremendous comfort.  I also encourage you to find a Bible reading plan specifically for grief.  YouVersion, the Bible app, has many great Bible reading plans on every topic.  YouVersion Bible App
  • Don’t isolate: Don’t go it alone. Even though you may be tempted to isolate because it’s hard to socialize when you are so sad, it’s imperative that you get out and be around positive people.  Does your church have a small group that focuses on grief?  Are there other Bible studies that you can attend to get out of the house and be around people?
  • Keep a Gratitude Journal: When we’re grieving, it’s easy to see the loss because it’s the glaring hole that won’t seem to go away.  But the best thing to do with a hole is to fill it.  While nothing will replace the person or the relationship we have lost, God has an amazing way of creating new and beautiful things out of the ashes of our lives.  But we need to be aware of the beauty or it will pass us by and we will only see the loss.

I am praying for you, my dear friend.  You will make it through this season. But how well and how quickly you make it through depends on where you turn for healing.  Please turn to Jesus, who knows you inside and out and heals every wound and every broken place. God bless.

I am thinking of putting together a devotional from my journals from the time that I was a single mom.  Let me know if you think that would be a blessing to people.  God bless, cecily