Moving Part 2

boxes-2120367_1920There are so many things that I want to write about, but the fact that we are moving seems to be looming large. When we first decided to start looking we didn’t think that it would almost become a run away train.

It all began as a whim of mine looking at some homes that were being built about 20 minutes from where we live. Right now we live in a 1300 square foot house which we have been in for 17 years. Our boys have always shared a room and our home is a bit closed off. When we bought the house we never thought we would be here 17 years later, but here we are. When we truly examined moving out of the town we lived in it made sense. We have a little bit of debt we could wipe out with the equity, we could get a little larger home and the boys could have their own rooms. Most homes today have open floor plans so we could quite possibly have friends over for dinner. So we forged ahead.

We thought we were prayerfully moving ahead with each step, but so many road blocks appeared it seemed that it would never come to fruition. Our house sold almost immediately, but then came the inspection. The inspector was really nit picky and we wound up having to fix a problem that didn’t really exist and one that did. In the meantime because the buyer drug her feet we lost two other houses that we had put bids in on. So we came down to the wire and we finally settled on a house, but oh boy! The seller of our new home didn’t disclose a seriously potential issue until after we had seen the sellers disclosure form. When we told our realtor that it wasn’t acceptable the seller then came back with all sorts of paperwork, inspections and apologies saying no deception was intended. This was a problem for us because the sellers had also played a game with us about the price of the home wanting far more than the home was worth or other specs in the area were selling for. Everything eventually worked out in the end, but now we are trying to figure out how to move out of our house and into a new house in a months time, settle on the same day and have my husband work 12 hour days along with my inability to lift heavy things. I knw that it will all come together, but this journey has been anything, but easy.

I have learned through all this that I still have the ability to react instead of respond. That just because you think you are praying in His will, you may not be, and the big one that Satan really is looking to take you out any way that he can.

Apparently I have to pond the scripture Philippians 4:6-7, “ Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds through Christ Jesus.” and remember to do Phil. 4:8-9, “.”

 

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Revisiting Addiction

myburdenislight.pngI came across an article written addressed to “The Girl Asking Us to Stop Calling Your Drug Addiction A Disease“. The essence of the article was for this girl to stop asking for this and that the author was going to “educate” people on how addiction is in fact a disease.  Mostly, according to the author, because it is incredibly offensive to call addiction a choice not a disease.

My first reaction was, “Oh no let’s not offend the addict! Heaven forbid we should offend them to the point of anger and quite possibly some personal introspection. No we wouldn’t want to do that!” It’s this kind of pussyfooting around that has gotten us to the point where we have an “epidemic” of heroin use, thousands of people with multiple rehab stays and a generation that thinks that drug use is just part of their growing up. The author who is female serves up excuse after excuse for addicts stating that they cannot control themselves and would not choose this life therefore it’s a disease excuse as many others have, ineffectively in my opinion.

Her first volley to try to destroy the argument that addiction is a choice is to quote the National Institute of Drug Abuse stating that drug addiction is, “a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.” So let me get this straight, I have to actively seek drugs out and then ingest them to have this disease? Uh huh, ok. It goes on to state that, “It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain—they change its structure and how it works. ” Hmmm, so I am putting something deliberately in my body and altering my brain chemistry, yet it’s a brain disease? Did NIDA even pay attention to what they were saying?  No child of two comes down with alcoholism or a 4-year-old suddenly is addicted to heroin. Yet those same children can come be found to have cancer, diabetes, MS and the list goes on. In fact I am offended by those who would lump addiction in with these documented diseases that truly were not a choice.

The next few lines in the article speaks about becoming tolerant of your drug of choice so you need more of it to get the same high and it is “seemingly impossible to break the habit.” Now I am not sure if the author was aware of her choice of words, but she demolishes her own argument with the word “habit”. Habit is defined as “an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary.” A behavior pattern? So you don’t necessarily have this behavior pattern till you CHOOSE it. “Almost involuntary”, we have all heard the saying that almost does not count unless it’s horse shoes or hand grenades. Almost implies that it can be done if one CHOOSES.

I agree with her next supposition that no one wakes up one day and says, “I am going to become an addict” and yes, there are several factors that come into play to create an atmosphere to become an addict, but then she again obliterates her own argument by saying that there has been speculation by psychologists and medical professionals that alcoholism runs in families. I agree with the part of the statement that it can run in families, but the likelihood that it happens in families is because that children grow up to see their parent, sister, brother, aunt, uncle and so on having a glass, or two, or three at dinner, of wine and deciding that it’s acceptable behavior and taking it a bit farther. There is no alcoholism gene, no one is born with Captain Morgan stamped on a gene in their system that creates alcoholism from birth. In that same paragraph the author then goes on to say that, some may find that drinking is a way for them to cope with other issues, such as stress or struggling with mental illness. She’s right, most addicts are looking for an escape from the problems in their world and drugs or alcohol make those problems seem very small or they go away all together. However, a person comes down off their high and the problems are still there which in turn makes the want for escape even more pressing and they indulge in even more of whatever. This is exactly where God comes in if many would just let Him, 1 Corinthians 10:13, “13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” We are all tempted, we all have had many moments of wanting to escape, but the only true escape is in Him.

The author wraps up her article by stating that she wants to stigma of “oh poor me” attitudes to be done with for everyone that addiction has touched. The she goes on to assume that if addiction is a choice and we believe that we would be as heartless to tell a parent whose son or daughter died from an overdose , “well they chose it.” As a Christian woman, heck even as a human I would NEVER say that to a person who has lost a loved one, no matter the circumstances. THAT offends ME!

Her final thoughts are that we need to stop criticizing, bashing, and shame addicts, we should love and support them. I agree wholeheartedly with loving and supporting them, however that does not mean that we let their addiction become ours, or that we are ok with their sin much like we would not be ok if a person were committing adultery or murder or any other sin.

Addiction has been given a pass as a disease and rehabs that medically treat this “disease” haven’t worked so far. This is proven out by the fact that success rates are based on a person remaining indefinitely in a program. If the CDC is reporting that 91 Americans per day die of a heroin overdose, then please tell me what is working in the way that we approach this “disease” because I can’t find it?

Instead of giving addicts another way to justify their addictions, we need to point them to the only ONE who will fill the hole they are so desperately working to stuff with alcohol or drugs. Jesus is our sufficiency. We place so much on ourselves that isn’t ours to carry and then we try to stifle the noise when Jesus told us in Matthew 11:28-30, “28 Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Alcohol and drugs have never given anyone rest, it’s never been a light load to carry, and until we stop excusing the behavior and taking an honest approach to this the load will get heavier and the burden unbearable.

So to the author of the article I hope that I have instilled in you that we most certainly need to love on and support addicts, and point them onto the road of true recovery, but writing them a blank check to explain their addiction isn’t working, but there IS another way.

 

Biblically Incorrect

bible-1960635_1920I am sure you have heard the term Politically Correct and I also sure that you know to counter that is to be Biblically correct, but do you really understand being Biblically incorrect?

To illustrate what I mean I am going to take the scenario of a business person who refuses to bake a cake, take photos, create flower displays etc. for a gay wedding. Now unless you have been living under a rock it has been hard to miss the media attention that many of these cases have been getting; to the bakers in Oregon who lost everything to the one in Colorado whose case is to be heard in the United States Supreme Court. I won’t get into the laws that are at stake here or a discussion on discrimination ( I don’t have that kind of patience), but I feel it’s important to address the Biblical issues that non-believers and believers alike have raised.

The gentleman from Colorado was on a morning TV program with his lawyer and one of the people one the panel thought she was going to bring the hammer down on this by first stating she was raised in the church and then attempting to quote pieces of scripture to make her point. Her arguments were as Christians we are not supposed to judge, and love your neighbor and it’s not our place to judge because God will ultimately judge them. If you want my hackles to be raised that argument is definitely one to make. The way it is couched makes sin ok. Jesus never said not to judge sin, but He does say in John 7:24 to judge righteously, “24 Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.

There are other types of judgment that we, as humans, can get wrapped up in such as hypocritical judgment in which Matthew 7:5 cautions against, “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Self righteous judgment is talked about in James 4:6, “But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” But Jesus never forbade us to judge sin in fact Paul counsels Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2 to be ready to preach the word and to be ready to point out sin, “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.”

Paul continues in the book of 2 Timothy to tell Timothy that he is going to encounter those who will corrupt the gospel with false teaching or what I call Biblical incorrectness, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” Those who will pull out pieces of scripture with no context to make their point and believe that they have come up with a mic drop moment. It’s even being done by those who were “raised in the church” because we have become a soft weak society that wants to turn a blind eye to sin because it’s easier. Good gravy we can’t point out someone else’s sin, because to do that would mean we would have to examine our own hearts and ask forgiveness for our sins. Who wants to do that? It might be uncomfortable, we might need to apologize or set aside our own egos. 

I think that some of the reasons that this kind of attitude exists is because it is uncomfortable to point out sin even in the gentlest of ways. It has been said that holding aloft the standard of righteousness naturally defines unrighteousness and draws the slings and arrows of those who choose sin over godliness. We most assuredly need to be gentle and discreet when we approach another, to rebuke, reprove, or exhort and as Paul says use great patience, however, be prepared to duck the slings and arrows and do not ever leave your shield of faith, let alone the full armor of God, at home because being Biblically correct means you are going to take a few shots.

Premeditated Resentment

IMG_9578_tonemappedWell, I certainly had a pity party the other day, didn’t I? I won’t apologize for it because sometimes it’s cathartic to do an emotional “vomit” as it were to get the toxins out. I’m still not a really happy camper today, but it’s bit better.

I took a good look at Mark 11:25-26, “25 Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. 26 [But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.”]” and I realized that I was holding some things against God. My trials aren’t any worse or any better than anyone else’s, but for me, they seem to not let up very often and I was and to some extent still am, holding them against God. I know that God didn’t create them, we live in a fallen world and Satan roams around it like a roaring lion waiting to see who he can take out. My unhappiness with the way things tend to go make me ripe for the picking, therefore the pity parties begin.

I will admit, my prayers just tend to sound like question and answer periods between me and God. I absolutely would rather have a root canal than to pray publicly, because I don’t know how to vocally construct a prayer that inspires, mine sound more like all I am doing is perspiring. One thing I have never done is the bargaining prayer…..ok, I did once when I was very young and my mom and dad so wanted another child. I promised to be really good if He would allow my parents to adopt a little brother or sister, but unfortunately, that was not to be. That’s when I learned that bargaining with God doesn’t work.  In 1 John 5:14 it tells us, “14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” I think the disconnect comes from that part where it says He hears us, it doesn’t mean He grants us whatever we want. I get that I really do…wait for it…..BUT I don’t think I have seen it in my life as often as it may have appeared.

I’m still laboring through all of this. I can’t say that it will all be smoothed out by tomorrow, but I am satisfied with being a work in progress.

Psalm4:1
Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer

Count It All Joy?

girl-1149933_1920I lost my joy yesterday. There is just no other way to put it.  I think I can honestly say that I have been having a crisis of faith. I keep wondering where He is in all this.

In James 1:2-4 it says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Yeah, I am having a hard time counting it all joy. I know there are those who have suffered harder trials than I and I can honestly say I don’t know how they endure it, but welcome to my pity party for just a bit. 

When my husband and I got married just one month after, he was in a bad auto accident that left us without a car, and a no fault judgement, which meant we still had to pay for a car that did not exist. Five months later I lost my job and at that time I was making a bit more than my husband who was working two jobs. We had no other option, but to move in with my parents. Don’t get me wrong I love my parents dearly, but I was 26 newly married, living with my parents and again had a curfew. We managed to pay off most of our debt (even when my husband also lost his higher paying job) and moved into a lovely one bedroom apartment 7 months later after two career changes.

Normally in a marriage, the topic of children comes up. It did for us too, but in my youth I had been very ill and I wasn’t sure that I could have children nor would the illness come back preventing me from raising them, so we decided that children were not really in our future. Two months later I got pregnant with twins. Go ahead and giggle most people do at this point………..ok laughter time over because the last 13 weeks of my pregnancy I was put on bedrest, once again living with my parents because my husbands hours at his new job prevented him from taking care of me at any time.

My wonderfully made children were born at 36 weeks to the day, however they both have a form of autism, which had us deciding that I would stay home full time. My two boys are some of the most caring, loving, aggravating, frustrating, God loving men that I know.

We then got slammed with one of the worst trials we have faced, my husband became addicted to alcohol and then threw in some drugs for good measure. I won’t go into the gory details, but we separated, I filed for divorce (let’s just leave it at I had biblical grounds) and we were apart for a year. My husband got clean and sober and we did reunite, but then my health took a bad turn.

I was born with a spine disorder and unfortunately I had a very bad car accident that exacerbated it tremendously to the point that I needed surgery. I am now the proud owner of 4 screws, two rods and three cadaver discs. That made working outside of the house impossible for me at a time when my children were grown enough and I could have rejoined the working world to help with the household finances.

A few years later and I was diagnosed with diabetes. It didn’t stop there either, in the space of 4 months I had 3 surgeries; a DNC, my gallbladder and appendix removed and shoulder surgery.

It had seemed to us that maybe a change was needed again, so we thought that moving out of the house we have been in for 17 years would be a good way to get a fresh start. Purging all the old and simply cleaning things up might air out the crud that had us down. We prayed before each step, we tried to obey when doors seemed to close and things appeared to be moving along. Then we got steam rolled yesterday and we are lost. Details aren’t necessary, but things have gone wrong and we are not sure what will happen. We thought we were being obedient, we thought we were asking in faith without doubts (James 1:6), yet here we are.

I know trials are part of life and there are lessons to be learned. Faith is stretched and tried when the trials come, but mine seems to be flimsy at best now. I know in my head that when a door shuts He isn’t preventing us from good things and He may well have something so much better, but my heart can’t seem to get on board this time.

Has your heart ever forgotten to listen to your head? I thought I had concurred that particular affliction. I guess I need more work.

 

Less Than

person-2254439_1920ZOIKS! I know I know I have neglected this blog and I have felt quite guilty about it. Ok well maybe only a little guilty as this has been an extremely long week. Along with moving this is also the week of VBS at our church and I am involved in the drama that is used to point the kids towards Christ and help them receive the gospel message.

I have also been struggling this week with feeling “less than”.  Some of it is outside influenced and some of it is self induced. Growing up I was never wholly “good enough” Each endeavor could have been better. An “A” on a paper could have been an “A+”, a base hit in softball could have been a double and so on. It has made me extremely sensitive when it seems as if what I have accomplished is “less than”.

It’s hard to overcome feelings of being not good enough and even more so when others create an atmosphere that helps fuel that feeling. This week at VBS it becomes a stronger sensitivity for me and I have to be so vigilant to not fall into the trap that Satan has laid out for me.

In 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 it says, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” I have to hang my hat there so that I can face the feelings and try to overcome. Pray for me!

Yes Lord