Tag Archives: recovery

12 Days of Christmas… Finding Your Christmas Joy in the Midst of Recovery.

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Joy

12 Days of Christmas my true love gave to me…stop right there.  As I walked through my mall during the Christmas Holidays of 2012, the last thing I wanted to hear was what my true love gave to me. That Christmas I received gifts of post traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks, anxiety, thoughts of suicide, mis-trust, doubt, fear, and endless statements scrolling through my head all starting with “what if”.  Christmas time is not supposed to be like that!

Christmas–the happiest time of year.  Christmas is when all about the world, in the world should be right.  Christmas, the time of year when all about our lives, in our lives should be right, right?  We want the Norman Rockwell picture of life.  Unfortunately, we know we live in a fallen and sin filled world where all is not right and our lives are far from perfect.

So…at Christmas, if all is not right, if your life is not perfect, where do you find your joy?

What if it’s even more than not having the perfect life?  What if you are in the midst of a storm with waves of doubt, anxiety, fear and panic toppling over you?  How do you even begin to keep your head above the water and find joy at Christmastime?

I know where you are.  For the woman or man looking for their missing joy and are reading my simple words, know that you are not alone, I have been there and you can find joy!

Dear friend in the remaining words here I’m gong to try to give you my best tips in finding your Christmas joy in the midst of recovery. Here are 12 tips that are my “12 Days of Christmas” gifts to you.  I hope they will help you find joy in the midst of your storm and find true never ending joy through relationship with Jesus Christ!

1.  A Partridge in a Pear Tree:

Remember that your true love should be the Lord first. Jesus does not fail you.

Deuteronomy 31:8 says,

“The Lord is the one who will go before you.  He will be with you;  he will not leave you or forsake you.  Do not be afraid or discouraged.

2.  Two Turtle Doves:

Find comfort in the word of God, seek his word for guidance and direction.

Psalm 119:105

“Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.”

3.  Three French Hens:

Faith, Hope & Love.  Have faith your heavenly father will see you through the storm.  Have hope that with each day you will discover more and more joy.  Love like you have never loved before and not the outer man but the inner soul, the very part of you that your heavenly father looks at.  We have to love like Jesus.

1 Corinthians 13:13

“Now these three remain:  faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love”.

4.  Four Calling Birds:

Try not to question the past, although this seems about near impossible at times!  I found even pulling out old Christmas ornaments could quickly send me into a tearful fit as I questioned was any of our previous years of marriage real? Were these memories really what I thought they were? Was it all fake?  Focus on what God has given you right now.  Cling to this verse… we did!  Thank him that he has brought you this far and believe that he can make all things NEW!

Isaiah 43:18-19

18 “Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.

5.  Five Golden Rings:

Remember that we all have sinned.  Begin forgiving.  Try to forgive the best you can and ask Jesus to help you the rest of the way.  You have to start somewhere and besides Jesus will not forgive your sins if you can’t forgive.  Sister, brother, I don’t want to take that risk!

Psalm 32:1 says, “Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.”

6.  Six geese a laying:

Layout plans.  Make plans to make new memories this year.  Seize the moment, it is the Holiday’s so we might as well take part!  If you have family or children close by take new pictures in new places and maybe even start some new Christmas traditions.

7.  Seven Swans a Swimming:

Don’t just swim.  Dive in deep.  Really submerge yourself with the distractions of the season and allow the Holiday to take your mind off other things even if for a minute it could be just the escape you need.

Take time to remember why we celebrate Christmas.  We celebrate Christmas to remember that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ came to earth, to walk this earth, to struggle and go through every temptation we could ever imagine and then travel a grueling road to the cross where he died for you and me forgiving us of all our sins–a gift of redemption.  Remember why we celebrate.

8.  Eight Maids of Milking:

Stop and think, remember your calls as a daughter and son of Christ.  Matthew 5:3-4 says, ““Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Remember our goal as a Christian Daughter or Son is to show Christ’s love, even for the sorry excuse of a sailor that threw us out in the middle of our storm.  Verse 7 of Matthew 5 says, “The merciful are blessed for they will be shown mercy”.

9.  Nine Ladies Dancing:

Claim your joy.  Speak it.  Proclaim it.  Expect it! Why? Expect it because your God is Able!

Ephesians 3:20-21New International Version (NIV)

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

10.  Ten Lord’s a Leaping:

It is Christmas time and you have to know you are not the only one hurting.  Find the hurting, leap into someone else’s hurt and see if you can be a blessing in the middle of their storm.  Nothing brings joy like being used by the father, your Lord and Savior. The word says that what you do for the least you have done for him!

11.  Eleven Pipers Piping:

Think about his faithfulness!   Ask Jesus to provide.  Ask him to comfort you, lean in and press into your heavenly father like never before.  Psalm 94:19 says, “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”

12.  Twelve Drummer’s Drumming:

There is not just one beat of a drum there are multiple, repeated, continuous beats going on and on and on.  Know and remember, rest in that there will be more Christmas times, more Holidays and although this one might feel like the hardest one and most hurtful one in your entire life, you get a re-do, you get another, God loves you and that it will be different next time!

Additionally, as each of us get this opportunity every year to celebrate this time of year, let’s remember the storm and struggle that Jesus went though on earth.  He came to earth and we celebrate this, but his life was not easy.  Jesus came here and experienced every temptation that we have yet was perfect.  He achieved perfection yet the plan for his life was to eventually die on the cross for your and my sins so that we could have eternal life beyond this old stormy world.  There is joy in the Lord my friend, find your joy in him.

James 1:2-4

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Trust ultimately in God. Find your joy in him.  Trust that he has a plan and purpose during this hard “Christmas season” of life.  Find true joy in him.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas.

 

“Your Seat — Where do you sit?”

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Bench Seat

Remember in elementary, middle school, high-school or college even?  Where you sat was a big deal! Life began for us with lots of assigned seating, however as we became older we were allowed to choose our seat more often than not. Where we sat would often determine how our day would go, how fun lunch would be, sometimes how included we felt, or even what we thought of ourselves.

I recently as an adult realized that where I’ve chosen to sit right now in life has been inferior and is inferior to where others would have chosen for me to sit — to the point I found myself defending it.

You know even the disciples wanted to choose seats. In Mathew 20 James and John were doing anything they could to both sit on his right and left. They even got their mom to ask!   Mathew 23 shows us that the scribes and the Pharisees loved their seats – their front seats in the synagogues.

Seats are impactful. The front row seats at the movies, plays, and concerts are all sometimes chosen to be favorites. The seat at the end of a board room table often is the power seat, and the seat to the right of that one, is often another power play for the one that chooses that seat. You can even make a statement by choosing a back seat.

We learn about how to choose our seats early in life. Somewhere down the road, our chosen seats take on much more meaning than a friendly gesture. Our chosen seats in life distinguish us from others, can show differences in opinion, or display who or what we believe in.

Recently, I tried to share with someone that my seat was different than theirs, that it was a brand new seat and that my seat was coming from a different place in life.  I shared that my seat was where it was because of my personal struggles and because I had been rescued. Don’t we all have different seats?

We all have different seats, all walking different walks, all have different hurts and struggles. All traveling a different road, in a different seat, on a different bus however; all having the chance to be driven by one GREAT GOD if we allow him too.

It’s hard. It’s hard to have enough Faith and Trust in the one true God and to not worry about your seat any more–giving ourselves totally to the Lord.  It is hard to give the past up, take the new seat that he has for us, living life unencumbered by what others think and with all our focus on our heavenly father.  I want a new seat with pure abandonment of the world, diving in and fully submerged in Him for his kingdom.

 Jeremiah 29: 11-13
“11 For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the LORD’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

My seat has to be one of hope, faith, trust, belief… it has too. I have to have that seat in my marriage, family and in my church. I have to take that seat. It’s the only way. It’s the only survivor mechanism that will work for me and my walk. It’s the only way I’ll continue to experience true healing. It’s what my God wants for me.

Mercy me sings a song, “You are I am”:
You’re the One who conquers giants.
You’re the One who calls out kings.
You shut the mouth of lions.
You tell the dead to breathe.
You’re the one who walks through fire.
You take the orphan’s hand.
You are the One Messiah.
You are I Am.
I’ve been the one, Held down in chains.
Beneath the weight, Of all my shame.
I’ve been the one, To believe,
That where I am, You cannot reach.
And now I live, with the Spirit inside.
The same one, The very same one,
Who brought the Son, Back to life.
Hallelujah, He lives in me.
Hallelujah, He lives in me
You’re the One who conquers giants.
You’re the One who calls out kings.
You shut the mouth of lions.
You tell the dead to breathe.
You’re the one who walks through fire.
You take the orphan’s hand.
You are the One Messiah.
You are I Am.

I don’t know about you but this is where I want to sit.
• I want to sit knowing that I serve a God that can conquer the giant of a failing marriage.
• I want to sit in a seat serving the God that can shut the mouth of a lion ridden by lies.
• I want to serve a God that tells those dead to sexual addictions, drug addictions, or any other addictions to rise up my child and breathe life through him.
• I want a God that can work with our denial, apathy and so much more, yet still love us like no one else can and then use us.
• I want a seat that believes that he can bring life to a dead church.
• I want the seat that is closest to my God because he rescued me from a dead walk, a dead marriage and from physically wanting die.
• I want a seat, of real forgiveness, letting go and letting God.

How do I–how do you find a seat like this? Through true relationship with him every day. Through rising in the morning (no matter what) and clothing in the full armor, getting in his word, being in prayer and unashamedly proclaiming his glory. This is everything I want… to be seated with him now and in eternity.

Where are you sitting? Where do you want to sit? Do you want to stay where you are or do you want a new seat?  Even in the hardest most hurtful, frustrating, circumstances when there seams to be no light at the end of the tunnel, he has a new seat for you!

Dear heavenly father,
I lift my hands to you for who you are and for loving us no matter where are seat has been or is. I thank you that you want us seated with you in eternity and love us so much that you died on a cross so many thousands of years ago so that we could be forgiven.  Father, help us to unashamedly choose the new seat and improved seat that you have for us. Father, help us share your love and proclaim your name so that others will see your glory.
Lord, help us not look back on past seats but only to the future and hope that you have in store for us. Thank you for our new seats that you have made ready for us.
I love you Jesus, thank you for being my hope and stay, thank you for loving me. Amen.

“I am New” by Jason Gray
Now I won’t deny
The worst you could say about me
But I’m not defined by mistakes that I’ve made
Because God says of me
I am not who I was
I’m being remade
I am new
I am chosen and holy and I’m dearly loved
I am new
Who I thought I was
And who I thought I had to be
I had to give them both up
Cause neither were willing
To ever believe
I am not who I was
I’m being remade
I am new
I am chosen and holy and I’m dearly loved
I am new
I am new
Too long have I lived in the shadow of shame
Believing that there was no way I could change
But the one who is making everything new
Doesn’t see me the way that I do
He doesn’t see me the way that I do
I am not who I was
I’m being remade
I am new
I am chosen and holy and I’m dearly loved
I am new
I am new
I am not who I was
I’m being remade
I am new
Dead to the old man, I’m coming alive
I am new
I am new
(Repeat 2)
Forgiven, beloved
Hidden in Christ
Made in the image of the Giver of Life
Righteous and holy, reborn and remade
Accepted and worthy
This is our new name
This is who we are now…

His Grand Rescue Plan

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CR 13 Los Guido scenery

A Grand Rescue Plan 2500 Miles Away:

My husband, my daughter and I recently returned for a second time from a third world country where we spent a week ministering to others in hope that we could help the missionary and his team earn the right to share the Gospel. 

We’ve supported a girl there with school uniforms for the last three years and this time we had the opportunity to purchase some food staples and hand deliver them to her and her family in her village. How exciting, in my mind I thought what next?  We’re already supporting her so that she can go to school, we provide presents during the holiday’s and in-between, and now we are able to provide a month’s grocery’s and leave more money behind for more.  I quickly realized that I was concentrating on what we were doing, what I could do—not what God could do.

After further discussion with the missionary, my husband and I realized that we were not her rescuers.  Unfortunately as refugees in this country, the likelihood of her even making it to high-school or out of the circumstances she was born into was not going to happen.

The missionary reminded us the reason for being there and doing the things we do, he does and his ministry team did was to earn the right to share the gospel, to be a conduit, and to be used by Jesus and the Holy Spirit so that she can have a relationship with Christ herself – to be rescued by him – to receive VICTORY! 

God can rescue Aimee and he can rescue us.  I love the thought that my Creator of the universe wants a personal relationship with each of us.

Relationship, it’s a big word.  Relationship is not just something that is; it’s something that is built.  I never had a true relationship with the Lord.  I realized last fall that I had lived my entire life working out my salvation, being a good person, but never building a true relationship, meaning no dialogue between myself and my heavenly father, my savior, the one who has rescued me, the one that provides eternal VICTORY!

A Grand Rescue Plan at Home:

“What I have done, is wake up every morning and cry out to God for help to be the wife that he wants me to be.”

I was reminded Sunday in a friend’s sermon all about the Victory that we can find in Jesus.  If you’re a southern girl like me and have ever graced the door of a Southern Baptist country church, you might have heard these words. 

“I heard an old, old story,
How a Savior came from glory,
How He gave His life on Calvary
To save a wretch like me;
I heard about His groaning,
Of His precious blood’s atoning,
Then I repented of my sins
And won the victory.”

Sound familiar to anyone?                                                                                          

My friend asked the questions, “Do we live in the mire of the pain or do we allow God to move us to a place of Victory?  Victory is a common theme in our Savior’s life but do we truly believe it?”

My goal should be to allow Jesus to take my scars and do something very different with them, different from what I could ever imagine.  We all have scars, lost jobs, hurt relationships, deaths, infidelity, addictions and so many more.

Do we truly give it to the Lord; do we truly ask him to take this hurt, this pain and turn it into what he wants?  Our goal has to be to allow Jesus to take our scars and do something very different than we could ever imagine.

He reminded us, “What if there is a reason for having this scar, a reason for why God allowed this thing to happen in your life”?

The beautiful ending to our stories is that Jesus can bring victory amidst of the pain.  I don’t know about you but despite the hurt in my life over the almost last 11 months I claim victory, VICTORY IN JESUS.

“No, in all these things we are more than victorious
through Him who loved us.”  (Romans 8:37)

I love that no matter what our little girl Aimee has encountered, they can; we can go forward from that.  No matter what has happened in their life or ours we can go forward with Christ with personal relationship and have VICTORY!  He has a grand rescue plan for each of us.

If you are overwhelmed by pain and hurt, know that Jesus wants to overshadow you  in his love.  I’m not saying the road is easy.  It has been the hardest thing to do.  To wake up every morning and say today I’m going to be an encouraging, supportive, loving wife to a recovering sex addict would be inaccurate.  What I have tried to do is wake up every morning and cry out to God for help to be the wife that he —that God — wants me to be.

“Now I know that the Lord gives victory to His anointed;
He will answer him from His holy heaven
with mighty victories from[a] His right hand.”  (Psalm 20:6)

 “Dear Lord, take my scars and turn them into what you want them to be.  Please continue to give us strength to seek your face and will daily.  Please use me and my husband.  Please bring beauty from the ashes.  Thank you that you’ve always had a grand rescue plan in mind and that through you we have VICTORY,  Amen.”