No Addict wants to Be an Addict!

My son did not wake up one morning and say to himself, ” I think I will be an addict….”

Addiction is like a disease and no one decides to have a disease.

There are three common screams that rise up from the gut of someone caught by addiction:

I am scared.

I just want to be Normal!

Why Me?

Put those lines in any order, no one comes before the other.

I know, because my son, who died this past May from an accidental multi-drug intoxication overdose told me so.

“Why Me”

are words that vocalize the dumbfounded frustration – this wasn’t suppose to happen to me!  I am a good person.  I tried to live a good life.  I have plans and this wasn’t one of them!  My son was a dedicated athlete, co-captain of the football and wrestling teams;

“He was a good kid, a good role model for kids in school,” Edward Wyzik, the Belchertown High School football coach, said. 

His actions demonstrated character qualities that mattered and affected the people around him in a positive way; so I even scream, as the mom, why him!

“I just want to be normal!”

are words that my son cried out in fits of exasperation – Why did God make me this way? he cried.  Plagued with a predisposition genetically, he’d been caught by the beast of addiction in his attempts to self medicate a weary soul that just wanted to feel better and to feel normal.  Anxiety and depression complicated and added to his daily burden. This fight to “be normal & feel normal” propelled him to seek out the drugs that calmed him, gave him rest, escape, and allowed him to feel normal for a few hours.  His use of drugs helped him to cope with life, at first reasonably perhaps, as an occasional marijuana high, but the predisposition enticed him on to harder drugs for better relief of his inner turmoil.

“I am scared”

are some of the last words my son spoke from his heart – weeping, he relayed this emotion to a friend just a few days before he died.  Addicts have broken brains and are a people in need of help.  They are not dumb.  I believe, that this admission of emotion was the first time he was truly acknowledging the severity of his disease and the hold it had over him, and he was scared.

He was scared because NO ADDICT WANTS TO BE AN ADDICT. 

Unfortunately, in my sons state of fear he made poor choices in part due to the chemical brain changes that come with addiction, and I am convinced, he attempted to escape the fear of full relapse and tried to ease his painful predicament by trying a new drug – something he told me “he would never do“… heroin; cheaper and quicker than his usual drugs of choice.  The power of the disease of addiction is often more than the suffering person can handle and they are thrust into doing things they really don’t want to do, but are compelled to do, because of the deceptive power of drugs and the physiological marks of the disease.

These are things people need to know. Addicts are crying out; they want to be normal and they are afraid.

As a culture, we need to erase the stigma that says addicts are low-life’s with nothing good to offer society. We, as a culture need to remember that these people are someone’s son or daughter, 

they are people who had eyes and heart for a future, often times they are some of the gentlest souls in their peer groups because they are able to empathize with others who struggled in life.  They are individuals created by our heavenly Father who are worthy to be helped and loved with a love that does not judge, but seeks to fight the disease of addiction alongside them.

A line taken from the ShatterProof website, based out of New York:

“When a person with substance use disorder has internalized the negative stigma of the disease, it directly damages that person’s chances of recovery.4″

Final message today:

Get  rid of your preconceived misunderstandings about this disease of addiction and see the one addicted, as a person in need of encouragement, care, and love and do something that will speak to them and possibly reach their brokenness and give them the lift they may need to seek out recovery and stay in recovery.

We cannot fix and cure addiction for our loved ones, but we can certainly do better as a culture to give every good opportunity and HOPE for a healed & sober future for those who suffer with this brain disease called addiction.

 

Which came first? The Chicken or the egg?

Which came first? The Chicken or the egg?

A classic, arguable question that can be easily answered if one looks to the Word.  On the fifth day, God created “every winged bird according to its kind.” Genesis 1:21b. So, there you have it – he did not create all the eggs to hatch, but he created the winged bird first.

Who should reach out first when an offense has been made?

A tough question, but also easily answered if one looks to the Word.  Since the days following creation, God has been offended throughout history.  Yet, in love, He reached out with his Son, Jesus; John 3:16 explains – “For God so loved the world, that he gave His only Son…” – Why? So that all the offenders, of God the Father, could be forgiven and given the ability to go to heaven and have eternal life.  John 3:17 tells us what Jesus was NOT given for: with grace, “God did not send his Son into to the world to condemn the world, but to save the world.

God reached out first and that’s what we ought to do also…in love and in grace.

What kind of picture would humanity be in if God waited for the offenders (us) to reach out to him before he gave his only Son to die?  I know God would still be waiting, because we are naturally a stubborn people, and there would be no hope in this life. But no, and thank God, He did not wait.  HE LOVED US FIRST is what 1 John 4:19 tells us. Not because we deserved it, but because God is mercy.

“We love, because he first loved us.”

There you have it – We, who have been offended, must reach out first in love and in grace and offer continual love and mercy to the one who maybe doesn’t deserve it.

In this action, HOPE will prevail and relationships will be healed, as our broken humanity is healed through the blood & sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  May this New Year be a year of healing broken relationships:  between you and God, and between you and others, in love, grace, and mercy.

New Year Resolution: in HIS face!

 

CORAM  DEO

This is what I aim to stand on as far as a New Year resolution for 2018.

CORAM DEO = in the face of God; meaning ….. whatever I do,

  ….. whatever I say,

is in the face of God – done before Him in full view.

If I claim this one Latin phrase, all the change and goodness that I may desire for my life this coming New Year will then come forth.  If I consider every action & every word spoken is done with Jesus standing right before me, seeing and listening, cuz He is…omniscient and all… there is nowhere I can hide where He is not already there… then I hope that my choices of actions and words will be sifted out and carefully considered before I reveal them.

In essence – my goal is to please the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

In this, I will hope to love as I have been loved, accept as I have been accepted, forgive as I have been forgiven, and get ready to be filled with the JOY & HOPE that will spring up!

Like Robin William’s once stood up proclaiming, Sieze the day!

 I stand up and say: CORAM DEO!

Will you join me?

I wish for each of you, a God Blessed New Year 2018 ahead!

 

 

I Seem to Have an Elephant Sitting on My Chest

 

I seem to have an elephant sitting on my chest – or so that’s what it feels like in my brain when I try to think what to say or write these days.

It has been months since I posted on this blog.

Does it even matter, I ask myself.

What do I have to say that hasn’t already been said?

Truth is: N O T H I N G.

Honestly, I began this venture of blogging because I wrote a book.  Forty-nine years of living and raising children and fighting the good fight, and then, I stayed up late for three months and wrote a book, and it was published three months later.  Not the usual progression, yet this is the way God paved the way for me and so, I had this book and I needed a platform (i.e. a place to connect with readers) to sell my book. Thus this site was born. I wrote, I sold some books and now, five years later,  I stumble around in my melancholy mind for words, like the proverbial writer who stares at the blank paper on a typewriter.

And, I mostly give my books away as an offering of help, from one to another.

Is this what God intended when he paved the way for me to be published?

The thing is, I am a bit of a hypocrite. My brain knows and imparts right information and advice, yet sometimes, I do not even live my own words. I have even been known to tell myself, Sheryl, you should read your own book; read your own blog; listen to your own lecture; take your own advice!

The problem is, that I forget; we forget. We are a forgetful people.

The word LOVE / the message of LOVE appears in the Bible between 300 to 500 times, depending on which version you read. I think God  knows for certain that we are a forgetful people; and so, He brings up topics over and over in different ways so that the message is eventually and hopefully heard.

And so, I fail.

Don’t we all?

I have forgotten that I am me, created by my heavenly Father, and loved.

Maybe what I have to say isn’t new.

Maybe posting on my blog doesn’t really mater.

But,

What matters is, that I share the Truth and Love of Jesus in whatever venue is available to me.

What venue has God has opened for you?

Join me in pushing that elephant off!

Stop staring at the proverbial blank page of life and opportunity before you and speak, share, and love others around you by proclaiming the Name of Jesus and His LOVE.

Dear reader, 

You are loved – today and always by a most loving and merciful Father.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3

 

 

 

 

 

WORD – Part 5: Expect Two Things

As I said, my WORD for 2017 is: LIFE.

Living my WORD, is not easy.  It’s a bit like being a mother.

As a mother, I know that I am loved by my husband and children, and I certainly do “being love” 24/7, even when it doesn’t appear that way. Once a baby comes out of a mother’s womb, there is little room for the “I”… and forgiveness is a constant flowing gift, both sought after, and offered,

because mothers deal with a lot of messes.

So, what of the “E” in LIFE?

“E” is for Expect.

Expect two things.

ONE: Expect to stumble. 

We will be unlovable.

We will not want to love others.

We will be selfish.

We will hold grudges.

Right? This is realistic because we are perfectly imperfect humans. WE WILL STUMBLE as we live LIFE out.

The Psalmist knew this well and encourages us:“…though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.” Psalm 37:24

so…TWO: Expect to be upheld.

Upheld conjures up a cradle image to me, cupped hands holding a soggy baby bird that fell from the safety of the nest due to the storm.

That is what the LORD does for us. And we can expect this loving care from him: to be held with gentleness.

This WORD: LIFE seems to have gone full circle…

You are loved.

Be love to others.

Get rid of the “I” and give dangerously.

Be forgiven and forgive others.

Expect, to stumble and expect to be upheld…and loved….round and round we go in this WORD: LIFE!

Love is the thread through it all.

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There is always a song of Hope to be sung!

Have you read my published song of HOPE?

Towdah, A Cancer Survivor’s Song of Hope is available on Amazon, just click on this title. Towdah, addresses key issues universally prominent in any kind of trial, even though this is a telling of my journey through cancer.

Happy New Year 2017

WORD – Part 4: The “F” Word

And now the “F” word:

not four letters, but eleven.

Forgiveness.

***

LIFE.

Loved.

And being love.

“I”, giving dangerously.

and now, Forgiveness.

Receiving it, is freedom.  Offering it, fills up that life to the full.

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Forgiveness is like a pry bar, it looses the nails of guilt & shame.

Forgiveness is like a salve, it soothes the wounds.

Forgiveness is like duct tape, it binds the broken back together.

Forgiveness is like a key, it opens the door to healing.

Have you been forgiven and felt the gift of freedom deep inside your soul?

If you acknowledge the Christ as your Savior, you no doubt understand this freedom gift.  When asked, Jesus gives forgiveness both readily and abundantly; free of charge to us.  He has already paid for the price of forgiveness with his life.

Yes, receiving it, is freedom.

Offering it to others is the rest of the story.  Jesus even said that we are required to forgive others, for if we do not, we cannot receive forgiveness from him.

Why is that?

The freedom gift is not one we can keep to ourselves, it is meant to be a shared gift; once we have experienced it, we must freely share it with others.

I think perhaps, it is an example of giving dangerously.

How often should we offer forgiveness?

This exact question was presented to Jesus in the scriptures.

His answer? Forgive a lot…more than we would find easy or comfortable.

Moral of the story? Throw down the stones and hug. Hug and offer forgiveness when someone has wronged you. In this way, you will be healing to another

and to yourself, equally.

In the offering of forgiveness, you gain life to the full!

 

 

WORD – Part 2: The Ultimate Whipping Boy

 

I have the ultimate whipping boy.

Do you have a whipping boy?

Do you know what one is?

It is one who takes the whipping punishment for another, as is poignantly shown in the children’s classic story The Whipping Boy.  All childish things aside… figuratively speaking, I am not lying, I do have the ultimate whipping boy, and so do you; He took a whipping and a beating and he submitted even to death for me…and for you.

WHY did He do that?

I will explain by giving meaning to the “L” in the WORD: LIFE…

L = LOVE.

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But God demonstrates his own love for us

in this: While we were still sinners,

Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Friend, do you know you are loved that much?

The first step in having that “life to the full” is acknowledging that you are loved so very much, that Christ died for you.

Friend, YOU are LOVED.

Do you feel it?  Do you know it?  Will you accept it?

When you accept His love – there is but one thing for you to do: LOVE OTHERS in the same way as Christ loves you.

L = LOVE.

When it’s neat and easy – love.  When it’s messy and difficult – love.

When the gifts are used or exchanged and decorations packed up for another year to wait in the attic… when

winter cold is set in and we move on with the routine of the days.

Remember, L = LOVE in LIFE.

Being loved, and being love, fills your life to the full!

 

Two responses to the Big Bang

Ever experienced the BIG BANG in your life?

You know, the explosion of events that takes you totally by surprise – the kind of thing that changes your life in an instant and threatens the comfort of everything held to the routine of daily living?

For me, it was the pronouncement in a doctor’s office that I had cancer.  For you, maybe the same — or something different — an accident, a sudden death, another kind of disease…?  No matter which BIG BANG changed your life in an instant, I believe we all go through similar universal stages of experience.

The first stage I experienced seemed to have 2 steps.

First: SHOCK.

The kind that makes your jaw drop, renders you speechless, and causes you to drop what you are holding, or fall back against a wall, or collapse all together.

“I couldn’t even be sure if I was still breathing. In fact, I am sure I was not. I was frozen – suspended as if above all concept of time.”  (Towdah p. 5)

That was my initial response. And it is a normal first reaction for all of us.

Second: INDIGNATION.

That’s a big word for – IT IS NOT FAIR!

“…heaving great spasmodic breaths, gasping for air in my voiceless cries….I was weeping and gnashing my teeth as I drooled and bit my pillowcase in the silent darkness of the night, when no one else was awake.” (Towdah p 13)

And I wailed, Why me LORD? Why Me!

I mean – really?  Who ever expects to have the Big Bang explode on them! Right?

It isn’t fair.  OR ….is it?

What is fair anyway?

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Yes, shock and indignation are quite normal human responses because we are forgetful.  We forget that we are not in control; God is.  We live our lives planning the next day and the next day to be as we want, assuming nothing will go awry, prideful because we believe we are in charge.  That is why we are caught unaware when the Big Bang explodes in our face.  Yes, we forget that God is bigger than any Bang – big or small; that God is in charge.  He knows all and still loves us; He always has.

Friend, are you experiencing shock or indignation, crying out that it is not fair in reaction to something in your life right now?

Take comfort and know, that Jesus loves you right now and He will keep loving you right through this difficulty.

I know.

I have been there.

Follow me to my next post and I will answer that question, “What is fair anyway?” 

 

 

God’s Plan = Trump is President

Bold, yet true.

God’s Plan = Trump is President.

…and, if Clinton had won the election, the same could’ve been said.

God was, is, and will always be, in control of all things. The outcome of this election did not surprise Him. Nothing surprises Him.

In fact, He allowed Trump to win.

And because God is in control over all rulers and authorities, take comfort in knowing, that Trump can do nothing that God does not allow.

Our government can do nothing that God does not allow.

Just look at the conversation between Jesus and Pilate.  Likewise, Trump cannot bring this country down, or make it great again,

unless God gives the “go-ahead!”

So do not fear.

Now is the time to trust in God.

Now is the time to keep on praying for our Nation.

Friends, it begins with us. We need to get right with God in our own lives, and love others.

We need to do God’s will ourselves...

And what is that?

Rejoice. Pray. Give Thanks.

We need to obey God ourselves

This morning, a FB friend posted a question, steeped with some frustration, wondering:

“what to say to the passionate, idealistic, and thoughtful young women in my classroom this morning.”

And I said:

“Say: God is in Control and He loves us.”

Because that’s the bottom line.

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God loves us & He will work it all out for our best.

Here’s the real question today: “Do you love Jesus?”

For most reading my words here today, I believe the answer is yes.  To you, I just speak in truth, as Paul did,

to remind us of the focus of our hearts – cuz we are a people that forget.

To you, dear reader, who may not have considered Jesus before, I encourage you to consider.

Consider the Truth.

Jesus loves you.

Will you love Him back?

 

 

Do These 3 Things to be Freed

Trembling, I thought I just might pass out.  “Focus, and breathe…” I repeated to myself as I stared into space grasping at any small sense of control; My life is off-track, like a derailed train; How can I get back on track?

Anxiety. Worry. Fear.  

Do you know what I am talking about?

Paralyzed, yet frantically running inside.

In these moments, the quickest calming solution comes in the form of a hug.  When my husband wraps his arms around me and holds me, I am warmed and comforted. I am safe.  His heart beating next to mine, aligns mine with his,  generally slowing my breath to a manageable rhythm and I can relax. Anxiety, worry, and fear are arrested, the reckless train comes to a halt.

If my imperfect husband can arrest my anxiety, worry, and fear…

how much more can Jesus DRIVE IT OUT!

  He conquers it – past, present, and future

with His perfect Love.

Do you believed that you are loved by Jesus?  Are you willing to believe in His power and trust Him to take care of everything in  your life — fall into His arms and let Him hug you and carry you.  Get so close to Him that you can feel His heartbeat – His presence  – and be still; know, He is God and in control.  Align yourself with the living God, get your breath in sync with His. Only He has the power to lift up that train and set it right on the tracks again.

His Word says that if we believe on Him, love Him and obey Him, we are completed by His love and

it is in that perfect Love, anxiety, worry, and fear are driven out!

Friend, be encouraged! There IS hope; Hope that lies in the power of God’s love for us. In Christ, you can stand free of anxiety, worry, and fear; the train is on  the track and nothing will prevent the journey from it’s mission.

Do these 3 things to be freed: Believe. Love. Obey.

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1 John 2:5 & 1 John 4:18