Seven Reasons to Hope- a free ebook for you

Join our subscriber list and get your FREE copy of Seven Reasons to Hope
HEY! I finally finished a book! And to celebrate me actually finishing a book and Dave’s 10th anniversary of freedom, we are giving it away FREE to everyone who subscribes this month.

Join our subscriber list and get your FREE copy of Seven Reasons to Hope

HEY! I finally finished a book! And to celebrate me actually finishing a book and Dave’s 10th anniversary of freedom, we are giving it away FREE to everyone who subscribes this month.

It’s not just a bookmark. Nope. It’s a 59-page ebook.

I know… I’m so excited to share it with you!

This quick read includes seven short chapters, hope-filled quotes, a prayer for you, some questions for reflection, and more.

Please send me Seven Reasons to Hope

Why I wrote Seven Reasons to Hope

More than 2 million people in our country struggle with prescription drug addiction. Chances are, you feel the pain of it — or of some kind of addiction — right in your own family.

I was moved to write Seven Reasons to Hope by the heartache of hopelessness that clings mercilessly to addiction. It grabs onto both the one who is struggling, and the one who watches helplessly as addiction consumes someone they love.

But I absolutely believe that whatever the addiction is, it doesn’t have to be the end of the story. It wasn’t for Dave, and it wasn’t for the dozens of people I’ve interviewed over the years of writing for nonprofits who came out of addiction.

We need stories that give us hope

In every story is that someone held tight to hope that this wasn’t the end for them. A grandma, a parent, a wife — someone never gave up praying and believing. If that’s you, you know it’s a hard place to be. You are the reason I wrote this book. And if you’re struggling with addiction yourself, there’s hope here for you, too.

Here are a few excerpts:

When someone you love makes poor and destructive choices over and over until it becomes the pattern of their life, you run out of energy and patience to deal with them. It’s painful to let yourself stay positive only to be hit hard by disappointment again and again. You begin to really feel foolish and instinctively— even rightfully — you decide to protect yourself from devastating disappointment. It eases the pain to just accept they’ll never change….

*****

The trouble is, we’ve come to believe letting go of pills and alcohol has different rules from letting go of our own stuff. We believe breaking free from addiction and becoming a responsible adult should happen all at once – or at least within a reasonable amount of time….

*****

Dave and I are still together because when everything came crashing down and he hit rock bottom, and he was faced with the choice to either get clean or lose his family, he was willing to do it. And not just the hard work of getting sober, the humbling work of rebuilding his entire life from the ground up. And he wasn’t just willing, but committed to do it.

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There’s more to come…

While I was writing this little book, I realized I love the format so much more than blogging. I’ve been hoarding words for way too long, and it’s time to let them out there where they can maybe do some good.

And so, although I’m continuing to pursue traditional publishing for some other books, I have a series of little books like Seven Reasons to Hope to release this year online. If you’d like to know when they’re coming out, or if you just want to support my writing dreams (thanks mom & dad!) just click  on this big red button…

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We promise not to take advantage of our access to your inbox and will only send things we believe you’ll appreciate as an Enduring & After reader.

That means: addiction & recovery resources and encouragement for people who are struggling with addiction, love someone who’s struggling, or want to be a part of the solution for the epidemic invading our communities and devastating people’s lives.

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Thank you so much for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

the importance of cheerleaders

I’ve got enough negative words in my own head about myself. I don’t need more. You don’t need more. We’re stuck in an ugly, losing game sometimes. Heckled by our own hearts.

photo cred: College of San Mateo Library
photo cred: College of San Mateo Library

I was in Ceres, California last Monday when I heard Glenn Frey had passed away. And the mental collision was so real.

I did two years of high school in that town. And one of those years, I tried out for cheerleading.

We had to do a yell routine, of course, and I was astonishingly not good at that part. But I was even worse at the dance routine — which was “The Heat is On” sung by Glenn Frey. It’s been 30 years, but I can still dance the first sets of beats.

These moves have provided endless entertainment for my family and a few select friends over the years. I’m sure I remember them so well because it is the only dance routine I ever learned… Our cheerleaders at Ceres High School were awesome dancers. And I was an awesome, rhythmless, regular Baptist.

(Oh, BTW, my sincere apologies to the friends I would have loved to see in California, but it was a whirlwind one-day visit for my Grandma’s 90th birthday. Go Grandma!!! *insert pom pom shake here*)

I always wanted to be a cheerleader. I love, love, love synchronization. Whether it’s dance moves, or coordinating colors, or plot lines. It’s all so lovely to watch. Movement, staging, timing = favorite things.

When I think about why cheerleading was so hard for me (high school was not my first attempt to make the squad), I can acknowledge now that, in addition to being terribly uncoordinated, I’ve always been too self-conscious. There’s a certain amount of just going for it that a person needs in order to cheer well.

But, I’m getting pretty decent at cheering from the sidelines these days — as long as I keep it under a certain decibel. My yell is weird. And sort of screamy. The voice comes out not at all what I imagine it to be in my head. Something about watching my babies do stuff out there just makes me lose my self-consciousness and yell out their names. Which they just LOVE!

As much as they may hate it in the moment, they will remember mom (and dad) shouting praises from the sidelines for the rest of their lives.

Because praise, encouragement, cheer… everyone needs this. Everyone.

In fact, nothing simultaneously makes me angry and breaks my heart more than hearing parents yell from the sidelines in angry, disgusted tones at their kids.  I’ve been at games where I wanted to tell some parents to GO HOME. I cannot imagine listening to anything more discouraging than your voice. Your baby has run 18 miles today in the blazing sun. Give him a break!

All of us need cheerleaders. We do. Especially at critical points of life when discouragement clings to you, sucks you in, and threatens to drown you like quicksand.

I’ve been reading “For the Love” by Jen Hatmaker and in one chapter she puts on her old cheerleader voice to tell her readers some things. I needed to read this pep talk and maybe you do, too.

Here’s what she said that just lifted me right out of my pajamas, into the shower to ponder, and back into my bathrobe (keepin it real here) to write this post:

We will cheer each other on, refusing to speak doubt into our gifts. When you are scared, I will declare, ‘You can do this.’ When you whisper a dream, I’ll holler through a bullhorn that you are brave and wonderful and important! When I am beaten down, you will remind me that I am an approved worker with no shame….Let’s do this. Let’s fulfill the good work we’ve been commissioned to. Silence any voice that whispers ‘not enough’ and stand in truth as an approved worker. You are. Jesus made you so. If God surveyed the cross and declared it finished, then it wasn’t sufficient for everyone but you. If Jesus covered it all, then He covered it all….If you need to deal, then deal…Forgive, release, acknowledge, confront, feel the feelings, let something go, believe the truth, whatever you need to do. Then dust your hands off and get ready to go….This really is your one wild and precious life. You matter so much. You are writing a good story for your children. Your community and church need you, your neighbors and family need you, God adores you and Jesus is obsessed with you. Here we are, your community of women running this race together, proud of you, moved by you.

-Jen Hatmaker, For the Love

I need people in my life who cheer for me. My husband, my kids, relatives — they do an amazing job at this. And oh how I love my dear friends who speak even the smallest words of encouragement to me. Friends who believe I can. And should.

I’ve got enough negative words in my own head about myself. I don’t need more. You don’t need more. We’re stuck in an ugly, losing game sometimes. Heckled by our own hearts.

Maybe you feel beaten down and discouraged, too. Maybe you don’t have cheerleaders in your life, or your cheerleaders are fighting their own battles. Maybe you need to do what I’m going to do and Stuart Smalley that quote from Jen Hatmaker right onto your bathroom mirror and “silence any voice that whispers ‘not enough’ and stand in truth as an approved worker.”

And if you’re dealing with a husband, wife, child who is struggling with addiction (or anything else for that matter) take some time to think about your role in their life.

Are you the voice on the sidelines (maybe you need to get back to the sidelines) calling out every wrong move, every failed attempt when they’re fighting to get on their feet? Or do you cheer them on toward victory?

Cheering on someone you love through recovery takes selflessness and patience. We have to set aside our uncertainties, insecurities, fears and allow hope to fill us and give us grace and encouraging words. And pray for wisdom. Lots and lots of wisdom.

I suppose the same is true for any relationship, really.

Encouragement revives.

* * * * *

Who in your life needs your words of encouragement? A child, a spouse, a pastor, a friend?

Sometimes, you just need to go for it.

But maybe not with pom poms.

…encourage one another and build each other up…

1 Thessalonians 5:11

 

 

 

 

when you don’t know what to do, try love

Determination only gets so far in the day in day out.
And romantic stubbornness turns cold.

“A friend of ours, Hugh Bishop of Mirfield, says in one of his books:
‘Love is not an emotion. It is a policy.’
Those words have often helped me when all my feelings were unlovely.”
— Madeleine L’Engle, A Circle of Quiet

There were other reasons I stayed through addiction:

  • Sheer stubbornness and pride. We were not going to fail.
  • I wasn’t going to let some future woman reap the benefit of my struggles. I suppose that’s jealousy.
  • If anyone was going to leave, it was going to be him. I would not be the bad guy.

Not exactly pure motives.

But determination only gets so far in the day in day out. And romantic stubbornness turns cold.

It’s in the hard places of weighing stay or go, of what’s best for me, best for the kids, of even what’s best for him, of what is faith and what is fear . . . of listening, hard . . .of straining to hear the voice of God more than anything, of pleading for the heavens to open and send down a Gabriel to say: Rise and take your children to California, stay there for two years until David gets his act together.

But answers were not delivered to me by angel, by fleece, by burning bush.

A decade ago, there wasn’t much out in the world to tell you what to do when you have a spouse who was a non-abusive, high-functioning, repentant-when-caught, migraine suffering, prescription drug addict . . . chronic pain complicates things.

I needed words.

We had made a sacred vow: for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, for better or worse, so help me God . . .

. . . I wonder how many nights I sat up late, unable to sleep, praying to God, begging Him to speak words to me. Just wanting to do the right thing. The thing that would make it all turn out for good.

But my responses to Dave were harsh and angry more often than not — justifiably, much of the time . . . But rage accomplished nothing. Except to produce more pain.

Now and then, there were good days. Arms around our children, reading stories, playing games, digging gardens. Soothed by routine, lulled by exhaustion. Encouraged to persevere just because four children (who were not completely oblivious to their mother’s broken heart) needed me to do so.

So, I turned to the only place where I knew I could find God’s voice.

And I found words . . . forgive, compassion, mercy, grace, restore . . .

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. — I John 4:11

This sort of love — a love that is not so propelled by what’s best for me — is not a thing that is do-able in our own strength . . . but it is the mark of Christ on our life. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples. (John 13:35)

* * * * *

I have never been very good at this love.

But in the end, I think it won. In spite of me, in spite of my failings. Because this love is a plan. Every word an action. Something to do: believe, hope, endure . . . And when I finally, mostly quit trying to fix Dave and began to at least really try to love him way God loves me, everything changed. And answers came. Hard ones. The leading out of bondage is not pleasant. And even when it begins, you don’t really know it’s begun because it began just that way in so many times past. You know only waiting, watching, praying. Minutes. Hours. Weeks. Months. Years.

And so, this love begins with a word for waiting . . .

Love is patient . . .
I Corinthians 13:4

* * * * *