I Saw You. You Are Beautiful.

Compassion squeezed me until the tears spilled out. The room was a small space filled with big pain. Palpable pain. I was eye to eye with you, my target audience. You – who quietly read my blog while your loved one sleeps “it” off in the other room. You – who nod in understanding when a chord of truth resonates with your story. You – who carry on with your calling, despite the ache in your souls as you long for your loved ones to be free. I saw YOU last weekend. You simultaneously broke my heart and made me proud.

Heather Kopp, in her memoir Sober Mercies: How Love Caught Up With A Christian Drunk, boldly claims, “…people bond more deeply over shared brokenness than they do over shared beliefs.Cross As we rubbed shoulders together, I understood what she meant. Your “game faces” melted under fluorescent lights as I shared my story. A silent, silken thread of shared brokenness wove its way through the room, making us soul sisters, regardless of our differences.

I’m thankful for you, for you represent every woman I write and speak to: every woman whose heart is heavy with the burden of someone else’s addiction. I knew you were out there, holding your heads up while your hearts break, serving others, as your own lives seem to unravel at the seams.

I’m proud of you… for being brave enough to attend a breakout session with an elephant in the room. You didn’t ignore it. You didn’t deny its presence. You swallowed your pride and spit out the seeds of denial so they could no longer take root in your lives. You embraced the pain and allowed your facades to crack as I held the mirror for Jesus as He turned your eyes toward the truth that you are not alone in your suffering. He is right there with you in every ounce of disappointment as you pour yourselves out for someone who cannot love you as they love themselves (because self-love is something addicted people have very little of). You wept as you allowed my story to penetrate your private hells and give you some survival tools and some hope.

Thank you for allowing me into your suffering. Thank you for the hugs at the door and the encouraging words of affirmation. Thank you for putting flesh on the souls of the women I’ve written my memoir for. I loved being able to share my heart with you. I loved connecting with you. I love you. As Kathryn Stockett wrote in, The Help, “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” And you is beautiful!Hibiscus

I read Ann Voskamp’s blog post today. It’s entitled, “When You Feel Wounded By Your Own.” She says, “It is the wounded ones who make us heal.” I agree with her. When we share our wounds, our sorrows, our suffering, something healing happens. Healing takes place in community. Seeds of hope are sown in community. Sorrow is divided in safe, healing communities like Celebrate Recovery or Al-Anon. Please find one. Or, create one. Allow God the space in your busy life to finish the good work He has begun in you.

“He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign LORD will wipe away all tears. He will remove forever all insults and mockery against his land and people. The LORD has spoken!” (Isaiah 25:8, NLT)

(Find Ann’s entire post here: http://www.aholyexperience.com/2015/03/when-you-feel-wounded-by-your-own/ )

Stepping Out of Denial (Series #1 of 5)

In two weeks, our 12 Step group will begin again at Step 1. This time around, I’m praying for God to continue to peel the layers of the onion that is my life. May I invite you to take a peek at Step 1 with me?

Step 1: “We admitted we were powerless over our compulsions, obsessions    and addictions, and that our lives had become unmanageable.”

Are we so busy controlling the lives of everyone around us that we forget there are areas of our own lives that are unmanageable? It’s time to come out of the dark. Time to take Step 1. Time to face the truth about ourselves.

 Here’s a short list of symptoms in our lives that there is possibly something deeper going on. We often look at the symptoms and stop right there, never getting to the root of the problem. Do you see yourself or someone you love anywhere on this list?

  • Shame-filled
  • Addicted
  • Depressed
  • Angry
  • Exhibiting poor self-esteem
  • Feeling powerless
  • Dealing with unexplained physical issues/illness
  • Battling suicidal thoughts or behaviors
  • Continually dealing with damaged relationships
  • Having a tendency to isolate

If you see yourself here, you are not alone. Many of us get stuck in a cycles like this. It’s like a roller coaster ride that never ends. We feel like throwing up. Life is no longer fun. We scream, but no one seems to care.

The first key to getting off the ride is coming out of denial. There are many ways to deny the truth about our issues. Denial is basically refusing to acknowledge that a problem exists, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary.

One way we do this is by intellectualizing. The creators of The Door of Hope program  (http://www.careforcelifekeys.org/pages.asp?id=53) define intellectualizing like this:

Intellectualizing – “When recalling the abuse, denying that the abuse had any emotional effect on them. We can think about it, talk about it, analyze it – but never take a step forward in the healing process. We can think we have dealt with it, but all we have done is thought about it.”

Consider this an official invitation to come out of denial today. We can prayerfully ask God for insight as to why we behave in certain unhealthy ways. He will reveal the root to us. Only then can He begin to truly heal.

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” 1 John 5:14 (NIV)

Step 1 Meme

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Father in heaven, please open my eyes today. Show me the areas of my life where I am in need of Your healing touch. Reveal the truth about why I behave the way I behave and feel the way I feel. Please forgive me for intellectualizing my pain. I am ready to allow You to heal me. I choose to trust You. In the name of Jesus, Amen.