My wife, for as long as I can remember, has wanted really nice pots and pans. When we bought our new home, she finally got them. These babies are nice! She got the Rachael Ray’s with the bright orange handles. One thing I did not know about nice pots and pans was, when you get them, you also get every matching accessory known to mankind. We got the rack that you hang them from, professional chef style, from the ceiling. We also got the matching cool little kitchen “gadgets”. Next for me was the kicker. We got a big orange garbage bowl. For those who don’t know what a garbage bowl is, like I did not know, it is a matching bowl you set on the counter that you put your trash into as you cook. This can include can lids, egg shells, or that annoying part on ALL fresh fruits and vegetables you don’t eat. I have cooked for many years with my own garbage bowl…I called it a garbage can but, whatever, to each his own. This concept really got my mind turning. We each have our own personal garbage bowl. It is where we place our personal trash, mistakes, resentments, hurts, habits, hang ups, shame, guilt, or anything else that weighs us down. We carry this bowl around trying to empty it ourselves, only to have it filled up again. My bowl always seemed to keep getting filled up with the same old trash. It was that over and over again insanity of my choices that kept that bowl full. Here is the good news. Jesus gives us a garbage bowl also. He allows us to place our trash into the bowl of forgiveness. The price He paid on the cross covers all of our personal garbage bowls. His grace is sufficient for each and every one of us (2 Corinthians 12:9). I know it gets heavy carrying a full garbage bowl around. Lord know I did it for a lot of years. We do not have to wait until that bowl is heavy and overflowing. We do not have to wait until tomorrow or church service next Sunday to empty our bowl. Empty your bowl right now. Lay your garbage bowl at the foot of the cross. Surrender it all to the One who gave it all. This is what He longs for. A personal relationship with each of us exactly where we are right not! Today is the day I will empty my garbage bowl and ask for forgiveness. Today is the day I will lay it at the foot of the cross. Today is the day I will recover!
First of all Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms! I have to tell you it is by far one of the greatest blessings I have received. If you are a mom I am sure you will agree. I can remember the days of praying for my daughter: 1) that we could get pregnant and 2) that we would have a healthy little person. God answered my prayers.
I can remember the flood of love that entered my heart when she was born. I knew without hesitation I would jump in front of a moving semi for her. As I watch my daughter grow my heart is filled with so much joy and love. It’s been said you don’t really know what love is until you have a child. With that love comes (for me anyway) a great deal of doubt and worry. In her early years I questioned everything. I would cry when someone other than my husband wanted to hold her because I feared her catching something and getting sick. I’m just going to put it out there, that I was literally “One Of Those Moms”.
As my daughter grows and my relationship with Christ grows I am getting better. Today I realize that my daughter though I love her dearly, is not truly mine she is His. Scripture tells us that children are a gift from the Lord (Psalm 127 3:5). As a Christian mom, I have come to realize how precious this gift is and how great my responsibility to her and to my Lord is.
God commands many things from mothers. Proverbs 22:6 tells us to train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. My daughter is great at many things, she does well at school, is thriving in gymnastics, but my number one priority as her mom is to help nurture that relationship between her and her Heavenly Father.
Sometimes being a mother is very difficult, especially in this culture we live in. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard “but my friends all do it” or “other kids my age have a cell phone” (this is the big thing in my house right now). If I had to guess many of you have heard the saying that parenting doesn’t come with a how to manual. Unfortunately I bought into that for the first few years of my child’s life. Today I know better. There is no better guide than the bible. My daughter is now at the age where she is very curious and asks a lot of questions. I love when I can grab the bible and answer those questions biblically.
I could quote many more verses from the bible on motherhood but the bottom line is if you are a mom, you are blessed in a mighty way. I thank my Heavenly Father for allowing me to be a mother. I pray all the moms out there have a wonderfully blessed day. Remember God loves you as he has entrusted you with his most precious gift.
We are now into the grilling season and I for one am excited. I absolutely love grilling out, being with family and friends, enjoying the beautiful God-given day, and of course…the smells. There is a unique smell to grilling. This smell will be different based on the rubs, marinades, gas/charcoal method, type/cut of meat, and the “love” that is put into the act of grilling. As I was grilling a few weeks ago, I realized how similar our recoveries are to grilling. Some of us are a gas method and others are a charcoal method. Some of us are like a Cajun rub, others a hickory smoke, and yet others a rich and thick BBQ sauce. Like the cook out…we are different. Some of us need more 12 Step study, others more fellowship/time with a mentor or sponsor, some more meetings in a week…you get the point. However, like grilling, there are some common denominators. All grilling needs heat and we all need a relationship and time with God. All grilling requires some sort of food to cook and we all require our spiritual food (God’s Word). Just like a good cook puts love into the menu, God puts and pours His love into us. This is never-ending, unfailing, all perfect love. He does not care if we have been through a fire or flame up like a grill, or if we are a little charred around the edges. He wants us just the way we are. He is seeking a relationship with each and every one us right now. Are you ready to take the cook out to the next level? Are you ready to put the extra work in (like grilling, for a good result) to be all you can be for God? I know I am!
Today is the day I will be all I can be for God. Today is the day I will recover!
So much of my life, before coming to the Lord, was surrounded by insanity that I could not imagine a life complete with sanity. Insanity has been defined as “doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result each time”. My addiction and compulsive behaviors kept me locked into a life of insanity. It was my continued failed attempts at controlling my life and the lives of those around me that kept me sick. It was my thinking that I could bring restoration to my life and do so under my own power, that kept me in the circle of insanity. Sanity has been defined as “wholeness of mind; making decisions based on the truth”. Jesus is the One who offers the truth, the power, the way, and the life. Jesus alone can restore us to sanity. Whose strength are you relying on? We need to depend on His strength. Psalm 46:1 tells us: God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear. Relying on our own power, our own strength is what got us into the conditions we are in. Choosing to allow my life to finally run on God’s power has turned out to be my greatest strength. We also cannot look at other people who are in our life the same way as before and expect them to be different as well. Romans 15:7 says: Accept one another, then, for the glory of God, as Christ has accepted you. I know I need to remember to pray and ask God to give me the courage to change the things I can and to accept the things I cannot change. The hope of a new life is freedom…a freedom many of us have been desperately seeking for a very long time. 2 Corinthians 5:17 reminds us that when someone becomes a Christian he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same any more. A new life has begun! Jesus Christ loves us just the way we are! While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). The penalty for our sins was paid in full by Jesus on the cross. We do not need to fix ourselves before we come to Him. God is faithful. No matter what comes our way, with God, we can handle it. 1 Corinthians 10:13: And He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out”. He cares for those who trust in him.” God can and WILL restore us to sanity.
Today is the day I will ask the Lord to reveal to me areas in my life that are stuck in the pattern of insanity. Today is the day I will surrender my life to Him and ask for Him to restore my life to sanity. Today is the day I will recover!
I absolutely love the movie Black Hawk Down and the passion of them not leaving their friends behind. It is the United States Army Ranger oath: “I will never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy”. Can you imagine what this world would be like if we all took a moment and made sure we were not leaving anybody behind? I had a chance to see the circus with my family a month ago and saw something amazing in the elephants. When they came out they had a leader, and from there to the last elephant, locked trunk to tail. Every time they went into motion they repeated this. I thought, this is funny they are so big, why would they do this? It is so no one gets left behind. What if we would follow our leader, Jesus, and then lock hand in hand? It would be pretty hard to leave someone behind when you are holding onto them. I do not think that it is an all the time intentional leaving people behind sort of thing, but rather we get so caught up in a busy life we forget to just look over our shoulder and make sure “the team” is right there with us. Most of the time it takes a major event for us to respond and make sure someone is not being left behind…ie: divorce, cancer, addictions, etc. Why do we wait for this? Can’t we be proactive instead of reactive? Let’s make this an everyday mission. Look at the Book of Ruth. She did not leave her mother-in-law even with the approval to do so. Ruth said in chapter 1 verses 16-17: “Do not urge me to leave you or turn from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.” That is a pretty serious committment to not leaving someone behind. Ruth said DEATH…that is a real deal not leaving you behind word. How many of us would go to that lengths for our fellow person. Here are some great verses to go by as we focus on leaving no one behind:
Romans 12:13 Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Romans 12:16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Romans 12:8 If it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. Romans 15:7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
My Pastor reminded me last night about the man who was at the well for 38 years. He was left behind for a very long time. People passed everyday and did not reach out a hand for their fallen brother. Lets not let that be us! Let’s start today by making sure we leave no person behind at the well! Today is the day I will not let my brothers and sisters fall and be left behind. Today is the day I will recover!
So many of us come into recovery without a glimpse of hope. We may have been beaten down emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. We had probably been told lies so long that they became a reality. Anyone ever hear: He’s always been like that, she can never change, or there is no hope for them. Today is the day we WILL stop believing the lying tongue of the serpent. There IS hope…hope for recovery and a new life with better days and a bright future. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Jesus tells us, “My grace is enough for you: for where there is weakness, my power is shown the more completely.” We have the power to change. Philippians 4:13 confirms it: “For I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power.” Hope is openness to change. I was afraid to change, even though my past was painful. We may come to resist change because of our fear of the unknown, or, in our dark hour, we think we don’t deserve anything better. Here’s the real deal: Hope opens doors where despair closes them! So believe in hope and EXPECT change! Philippians 1:6 tells us: “I am sure that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in His grace until His task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns.” Real hope comes from the blood of Jesus in the power of the cross. Romans 10:9: “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” This hope is eternal and this hope is promised. Turn your will and life over to Christ. Invite Him into your heart. Stop fighting and surrender today…walk in a TRUE HOPE!
Today is the day I will have hope. Today is the day I will recover!
I had lunch with my dear friend Kyle http://www.kylesrandom.com/ yesterday. He asked me about a gentlemen he had me do a follow-up call with. It got me thinking that I had called but had failed to re-call for additional follow-up. I called that guy today and personally invited him to our Celebrate Recovery ministry on Monday night to hear Pastor Chris Stephens http://www.drchrisstephens.com/blog/ speak. This guy was blown away by the fact I would take time and think of him again. So when does our outreach come to an end? I know it is hard to check on everyone we come in contact with, at all different functions, with all different circumstances, all the time. But, what if we just took a few minutes each day and sent someone a quick email/letter or grabbed the phone and asked how they were doing? This little 5-10 minute task can have such an impact on a person. Can you guys imagine the impact it would have in our workplaces, churches, communities, and beyond? I know that I enjoy when someone checks on me. I for one am glad that Jesus’ outreach did not come to an early end! I am glad He did not just minister (outreach) to a couple of people on the road somewhere and say “that’s good enough”. Jesus gave us a perfect example for pressing on and how we are to reach out to people. In the time we take to have a soda or cup of coffee we can invest in someone’s life. These investments may have eternal consequences! Just some random thoughts…
Today is the day I will be intentional about outreach. Today is the day I will recover!
Who cares to admit complete defeat? If we are honest, not many of us like to do so. Every natural instinct cries out against it. A lot of us are taught early on in life that admitting something like being powerless or surrendering is an act of failure, being a coward, or defeat. This is the furthest thing from the truth. Some of our greatest victories and freedoms can come from admissions like these. Here are some things we need to do as we become open to admitting we are powerless:
We need to stop denying the pain: When we become open to the pain we are experiencing it can turn into a great motivator. The pain we experience in recovery is no different from the pain we get with a cut. We get a cut; we then recognize the pain associated with it, and then we start a healing process with peroxide or a band-aid. Pain requires an action toward healing! It is in our best interest to stop playing God: I do not know about any of you but I make a terrible god. My will and best thinking got me into the messes I was. We are either going to serve God or self. We can’t do both! Matthew 6:24 says, “No one can be a slave to two masters; he will hate one and love the other; he will be loyal to one and despise the other.” One of the most common things we play god at is controlling our lives and the lives of those around us. If I focus on my wife’s life I do not have to look at the “stuff” in my own….just ask her, I have hers all figured out. By surrendering control, we gain a far greater power.
For a good blog on control check out this one from this amazingly hot woman I know: https://chadjfunk.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/control-let-go-and-let-god/
Here is where the journey of growth and change begins. We need to start admitting our powerlessness: When we first look at this it can be scary. Here are some good questions to ask yourself to see if you a truly ready: Have I really had enough? Have I hit my rock bottom or has the rock bottom come up and hit me? Can I control my issue in any form? What incidents have occurred as a result of my problem that I didn’t want to have happen? Do I honestly believe with all my being that I have a problem? If you can answer yes to any of these it is time to stop fighting and turn your life and will over to God. Jesus knew how difficult this is. He told us in Matthew 19:26, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible”.Along with admitting our powerlessness the 12 Step model suggests we start admitting that our lives have become unmanageable: Some us felt our lives had become unmanageable because we felt out of control emotionally, spiritually, mentally, or even physically. Or we began to feel guilty about our hurt, habit, or hang-up. Some of us have lost everything-our homes, our families, our jobs, and our self-respect. Some of us have never learned to function as human beings at all. Some of us have even come close to death. Whatever our individual circumstances, our lives have been ran by obsessive and compulsive behaviors, and the end result has been unmanageability.
The power to change only comes from God’s grace. We do have some footwork to put in however. We need to make sure we are working on our personal relationship with God. We need to make sure we are getting involved in community. We need to make sure we have an accountability team, sponsor, or mentor. We also need to start being honest. My sponsor will often tell me that I need to put my big boy pants on and start to walk through some of these things. Are you ready to admit you are powerless and that your life is unmanageable?
Today is the day I will admit I am powerless and stop relying on my own strength…Today is the day I will recover
Control. What comes to mind when you see this word? Maybe you are thinking about your controlling parents or your significant other controlling who you have as friends. Reality tells us that at some point in all of our lives control is something we try to have or obtain. For me years ago, I tried to control my husband and his addiction. Yes I know this sounds absolutely crazy but it really happened and it was one of the worst times of my life. My need to control was controlling me.
For those of us in recovery we have to learn to give up control. Rather we are recovering from addiction, co-dependence, anger issues, whatever it may be control has no place in our lives. As I mentioned reality tells us we will try to control at some point, but hopefully reality makes it clear to us we actually control nothing. Your and my best attempts at controlling got us to where we are today.
If we aren’t careful control can lead to a lot of problems in our lives. Relationships can suffer and even be destroyed or we may become ill. For me my need to control resulted in obsessive worrying and anxiety. Praise God in recovery I learned an age-old saying “Let go and let God”. It is hard to do and I, as many of you are, am a work in progress. However, today I pray every day knowing I’m not in control. And because I serve an awesome God I don’t have to worry. Philippians 4:6-7 tells us, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”.
I know control can be a hard thing to give up, especially when we have spent years trying to master how to control others and our surroundings. The bible says we all fall short of the glory of God, but give it a try. When we finally let go of our need to control we will find peace. In time it will get easier.
Today I’m going to do my best to not be in control. I’m going to get out-of-the-way and cast my anxieties on Him because he cares Peter 5:7. Today I am going to let go and Let God are you?
We (meaning my amazing wife and so very helpful father) have been doing a lot of painting in our new home. I spent a few years during my high school days in the paint department at a local hardware store. The one thing that I noticed is there are a ton of different methods, styles, and approaches to painting. Some people like to trim everything out first and then do the walls. Others like to tackle the walls and finish with the trimming. Some like rollers, others brushes, and some people like the sprayer. A few techniques include going vertical while some do horizontal. I learned it is best to make “X’s” and then infill it. Some just slap it on in a wild animal kingdom fashion. The process of painting is so very similar to our program of recovery. Just like painting is made up basic components (applicator, paint, tape, drop cloths) are recoveries are made up of similar components. These will hopefully include: time with God, prayer and meditation, reading the Bible and other growth books, a sponsor/mentor, and some time in community discussing recovery and growth (to name a few). Just like the different painters tackle the projects in different fashions so must the people in recovery tackle our programs in different fashions. The “tools” are the same but the approach may be different. What works for me may not work for you and vice versa. Don’t model your recovery program identically to someone elses. Find what works for you. Take suggestions from others and give these suggestions a try. Keep what works and discard the rest. No two recoveries are identical and thus no two recovery programs will be identical. The most important thing is to constantly work on developing a healthy program and work a program. How are you going to improve your recovery programtoday? What next steps are you going to take to grow in your recovery?
Today I will put in the footwork for my recovery!
For a lot of years I was a plumber/pipefitter working on very large commercial projects. This required me to work in extreme weather conditions, sometimes in a dangerous spot, and most of the time meant some real physical labor. I would say I was in pretty good shape. It would not be much for me to work outdoors on a blistering August day and come home and do some yard work or be out in subzero temperatures in December and then shovel the snow. Three years ago I moved out of the field and into an office position. I had not given it much thought until yesterday. Yesterday I had a rude awakening. I came home from work and went to work on a small landscaping project beside the garage. I spent two hours doing a little digging, raking, and grading in order to put some rock down. I woke up today and felt like I had been ran over by a 747. I had become like my surroundings. I became soft sitting at a desk all day and not doing any physical labor. We turn into what we are around. The same holds true in our recoveries. If we continue to hang out with the old playmates in the old playgrounds we should expect to have the same outcomes. Thus, being like our surroundings. Someone struggling with gambling should not hang out at the casino, nor a person who struggles with a food addiction hang around the buffet, or a drug addict be at the dope house. W e WILL be our surroundings. When we replace those “bad” surroundings with “good” surroundings our conditions will change and our recoveries will become an amazing adventure. When our surroundings start to include church, a Bible study, a small group with accountability, a sponsor/mentor we can expect to become a new person. Put down the old playmates and start working on that relationship with your heavenly Father. This is where we will find true acceptance and true love. In order to start moving in a positive direction towards good surroundings we MUST turn away from the old surroundings.
What surroundings are you going to become today? As for me, I am going to seek good people in good places. I am going to find a safe place to share honestly with someone I can trust. I am going to seek my Father’s face and strive to have a mind like Christ. Today my surroundings will be good! Today is the day I am going to recover!
Denial is defined as an assertion that something said, believed, alleged, etc., is false. How many of us have been in denial about a certain area, relationship, struggle, or pain in our life at one time or another? If you did not say “Me” right now, you should really pay close attention to the following because you might be in denial right now. In order for us to receive the healing we need from a trouble area we must first be able to admit that there is indeed a trouble area. This is not always easy as we may see that old acquaintance of pride or fear. Oh no, what will people think if they know that such in such is going on in my life OR I am afraid of the consequences of stepping out of denial. In God’s Word there is an incredible promise to each and every one of us…”Know the truth and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32). Please note that Jesus did not tell us the truth might or possibly could set us free, He said and promised it WOULD set us free. What is a good first step to this? Find your accountability partner and tell them exactly what is going on. You see, we cannot receive sound help or insight when we only share with them part of the story. Get raw, get real, and get honest. In Ephesians 4:25 it says to “stop lying to each other; tell the truth, for we are parts of each other and when we lie to each other we are hurting ourselves.” This is so so comforting when you find someone you can share intimately with and step out of denial and when the smoke clears all they do is give you a big hug and tell you that they love you. WOW! Even the Apostle Paul tells us in Philippians that he had regrets from the past. I think he would have liked to deny some of his choices or actions but he said “No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.”
Are you going to hide in the cave and wear the ugly mask of denial, or are you going to step out and claim the freedom given to us by Jesus on the Cross? Today I am going to walk in victory and freedom under an open heaven!
In my quiet time I was reflecting on a couple of choices I made in the last 30 days. Both of these choices involved sledding. The first time I thought about taking the family sledding and having a day out in the snow. The choice I made was to do something else, that at the time, seemed to take priority or have more importance. It might have been to clean out the garage, work on homework, or clean up the house. My point is I cannot remember what was more important or took a higher priority than a day sledding with family. The next time an opportunity arose to go sledding I took full advantage of it. I am sure I had things that “needed” to get done and probably did not get done and today, I do not remember what they were. And guess what…life went on and it was truly alright. I do remember the smiles and laughter of a little 8-year-old girl, and my mother sliding down the hill stopping with her head bouncing off the ground, and I do remember crashing into the tree. My family has those memories because I made a choice to do a “little” thing. I missed an opportunity to give a man a jump-start when I left work for a minute to run to the store for a soda. See, I had to get back to do something “big”. What was that you ask? I do not remember. A “little” choice gone that I will not get back. That moment I could have been the hands and feet of Jesus, or planted a seed, or just put a smile of someone’s face. That “little” choice could have had eternal consequences.
Are we going to make wrong choices in life? Absolutely. Are we going to miss those “little” things? Yes we are. My prayer is that we start to see those “little” things more and more. I pray that the scales are removed off our eyes so we can see clearer. I pray that our ears are open to hear the “little” choices we need to make that our Father desires for us to make. In one day, or two weeks, or three months, or four years we will not remember what we thought was so big we missed that something “little”. What choice our you going to make today that will seem “little” but have a HUGE impact on a person, on your family, on His Kingdom, or give you a memory you can cherish forever.
Since my passion is recovery I feel it only fitting to look at this first. What is recovery? In a minute we will look at what recovery is but first let us look at a bigger picture. I think when people hear the word recovery it is automatically linked to addictions regarding drugs and alcohol. While this is true it is also looking at all of the hurts, habits, and hang ups we face in life. These can include a loss of a job, a prodigal child, cancer, relationship issues, a compulsive need to control, co-dependency, and many others. This is that old recovery cliché of life on life’s terms. We all face struggles, pains, hurts, let downs, and all sorts of other things that cause us to be uncomfortable in life. These will be the so-called “addictions” we hear about. It is not what are we going to do if these things come but what are we going to do when these things come. I don’t know about you but I am going to recover. Recovery is how we look at those “addictions” and more importantly how we deal with and work through them. Recovery is putting our big boy and big girl pants on and suiting up for the game of life. There are many programs and suggestions on recovery. I do not think the important factor is what route we go as long as we go a route. And if that route does not work we do not give up but rather try another route. Here are a few things that work for me:
- A relationship with a loving and forgiving God
- A support team of people close to me who I can be honest with and share openly about what I am going through and what I am feeling. This also gives me accountability
- A recovery/growth plan. This is my road map of how I am going to get from point A to point B. This gives me something to aim for and helps in tracking my progress
Lets face it. Life can be hard and seem unfair at times. I do not want to sit back and let life defeat me but rather claim the victory given to me by the Blood of Jesus. Recovery is not always easy but I would rather struggle trying than struggle harder in not trying. Today is the day I will recover!
Well here it is. Trying something very new and very unfamiliar. I type with two fingers and a thumb on a good day. When I was preparing my growth plan for this year God let me know that this was part of His plan for 2011. I love God, love my amazing family, and am passionate about helping people connect with God and others in community. I also love the journey of recovery. I feel that is what He wants me to use this for. This will be my best attempt to share my experience, strength, and hope with you guys. It is by His grace that I am saved and free from the chains of active addiction.
More will be revealed!