Climbing the Mountain of Enabling (a mountain that will never be scaled)

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When not in check,

I will:

                Pick up your shoes

                                Carry your pack

                                                Lie to your boss

                                                                Do your homework

                                                                                Remove rocks from your path

And strip you of the joy of saying…

                “I did it myself!”

(excerpt from “The Enabler” written by Angelyn Miller, MA)

 

When I first started this blog, one of my chief reasons was that I had searched high and low on a variety of subjects that I was working on in my personal life.  I had been disappointed to find that in Christian circles there was very little practical help for people who had certain problems.

The subjects that I am referring to were hard things such as “how an adult woman should deal with alcoholism or drug addiction within her family in a Godly manner”?  “How does one who is/was a victim of domestic violence and child abuse recover from the horrors and learn to live a healthy, peaceful Christian life?”  “How does one deal with depression?” “ What is depression and what are the roots of it?”  “And what about the big no, no that no one would talk about but that had infiltrated a large percentage of Christian realms…addiction to Pornography?”  “What about divorce, recovery from divorce, blended families?” (not the fairy tale versions of how it “should” be, but the realities of blending a family with the reality of still having crazy ex-spouses to deal with.)

Life is hard and, honestly, the “American” version of church is failing!  Not just a little, but Big Time!  Some of you may not like what I am saying, but it is the truth.

True, there are some mega churches who are starting to effectively tackle some of the above issues, but honestly when you look at them, who is in leadership?  Mostly, those who are in leadership are the so-called “perfect ones” who although we all have flaws in our lives, have been able to hide theirs enough in order climb the power ladders.  We “peons” who have lived imperfect lives and made mistakes that cannot be so easily covered up make up more than 50% of every church in America but we take our marching orders from the “perfect” leaders.

Back to my original goal for this blog…  It was to share experience, strength and hope on a number of tough subjects that in my research, and in my opinion the Church had let me down with when I was looking for Godly advice.  I thank God, that He made me an intelligent woman with an understanding that not all advice given in the name of “God” is of God and that I can take “secular” advice and apply it to my life in a Godly manner.

Something that I have found is that most of the “secular” advice, when dissected, can be applied to a Godly lifestyle, although there is some that cannot be.

The next subject that I am going to be talking about on this blog and I will be talking about it for the next few posts is enabling.

Do you know what enabling is?  Well, enabling in the psychological sense is defined in 2 different ways; one as a positive aspect of psychological recovery and, two in a negative sense when played out as a role of behavior in a “codependent” relationship.

Here is a definition of enabling that I agree with, found in Wikipedia:

In a negative sense, enabling is…used to describe dysfunctional behavior approaches that are intended to help resolve a specific problem but in fact may perpetuate or exacerbate the problem. A common theme of enabling in this…sense is that third parties take responsibility, blame, or make accommodations for a person’s harmful conduct (often with the best of intentions, or from fear or insecurity which inhibits action). The practical effect is that the person himself or herself does not have to do so, and is shielded from awareness of the harm it may do, and the need or pressure to change. Enabling in this sense is a major environmental cause of addiction.

A common example of enabling can be observed in the relationship between the alcoholic/addict and a codependent spouse/parent/step parent. The spouse/parent/step parent who attempts to shield the addict from the negative consequences of their behavior by calling in sick to work for them, making excuses that prevent others from holding them accountable, and generally cleaning up the mess that occurs in the wake of their impaired judgment.  In reality, what the spouse/parent/step parent is doing may be hurting, not helping. Enabling can tend to prevent psychological growth in the person being enabled, and can contribute to negative symptoms in the enabler.

I have been guilty of enabling, I hate to admit it.  It is embarrassing, almost shameful toenabling me to make the confession.  It has been a long journey that brought me to the place of understanding that I had been an enabler.  There are many reasons, I believe, as to why I fell into this behavior, but still, cut and dried, it was enabling and very unhealthy behavior on my part.

As I write about this I will speak about some of the things that I have done to enable.

The greatest gift that was given to me by some who I was the guiltiest of enabling, was an excruciating 2+ years break in relationship with them that was initiated by them.  That period of time was in many ways the most difficult period of my life and in many other ways was the most enlightening period of my life.

Now that the break has ended, I have been and will continue to be very careful in the relationships because I do not ever want to play the enabling role that I did in them, again.

So, here are a few questions that may help you figure out if you are enabling someone:

1) Do you avoid potential problems by trying to keep the peace? Do you do whatever you can to avoid conflict because doing so will solve problems?

2) Are you in denial about your loved one being addicted? Do you think his or her drug or alcohol use is just a phase and isn’t anything to be concerned about?

3) Do you have a hard time expressing your feelings? Do you keep all your emotions inside?

4) Do you minimize the situation? Do you think the problem will get better later?

5) Do you lecture, blame or criticize the chemically dependent person?

6) Do you take over the responsibilities of the addicted person? Do you cover for and pick up his or her slack to minimize the negative consequences? Do you repeatedly come to the rescue — bailing him or her out of jail, out of financial problems or other tight spots?

7) Do you try to protect your addicted loved one from pain?

8) Do you treat him or her like a child? Do you enjoy taking care of your loved one and feel superior when you do? Do you still financially support him or her, even though he or she is an adult?

9) Do you try to control the dependent person?

10) Are you good at just enduring? Do you often think, this too shall pass?

11) Do you believe in waiting? That God will take care of this?

enabling312) Do you give him or her one more chance, then another and yet another?

13) Do you join him or her in the dangerous behavior, even when you know he or she has a problem?

(These questions were taken from dr.phil.com.)

If you answered yes to even one of these questions, you may have a problem with enabling!  There is help for you, the first step to understanding your part in enabling is admitting that you are enabling to yourself within your own heart!

Love and blessings to you!

Godspeed,

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Do you remember the first Thursday of April, 2013?

2914Today is Thursday, April 03, 2014. Do you remember what you were doing exactly one year ago at this time? Do you remember what you were doing 27 years ago on this day? I do!

One year ago, it was a sunny, cold day in Colorado Springs and Mr. Joe and I stepped out of our little world and into a brand new huge world of healing and freedom that we had never known existed!   We had taken about a week to drive from what already was the beginning of a hot and humid summer in Texas and by faith, we had made a commitment to one of the world’s largest “mission agencies”, sight unseen, to attend a 5 month training school in order to be a part of their worldwide operation.

The two years before that we had been through some of the roughest waters of life that we had ever experienced. God had been in the process of healing us from childhood wounds that were still gaping open after both of us living 50+ years of life and 20+ years as Christ followers.

Yes, I remember this day way well, 1 year ago. The first Thursday in April and I was scared to death. Mr. Joe was also scared, although he was acting courageous for my sake. We walked in the door and saw smiling faces and we were thinking that at any moment we would be rejected. That we would be told we did not have what it took to “Know God and Make Him Known” in the world and then discreetly escorted out of the back door.

Family members, whom we loved dearly had estranged themselves from us and it had been that way for a few years. There had been many lies told, many jokes made at our expense, many attacks on our character, some people who did not have any idea as to what was really going on had taken sides. Even though we knew that it was a test that God had not orchestrated but allowed, it had broken us. Our hearts had been ripped open in those places of rejection that had never truly healed.

I had based my whole life and identity on the children whom I had brought into this world and I no longer knew who I was or if I had the strength to seek God for what His purpose was for me for the rest of my life. Honestly, being a mom was the only thing that I had ever known and I was to afraid too love, trust or commit to anyone or anything again.

If the estrangement had not happened, if the lies had not been told, if the rejection had not taken place, I wonder and secretly know in my heart that I would not have made the radical decisions that I made and acted upon 1 year ago. God showed Mr. Joe and I how strong we really were and more than that He showed us who we would and could be with His assistance.

After the five months, our lives and hearts were changed radically. We had spent 3 intense months, searching our hearts and souls. Laying it all down for God. And then we had gone to Central Asia and fallen in love with the people in that culture. Our lives were forever changed. We went back to Texas and packed up and/or sold our belongings. I chronicled the journey in this blog, through photos and in journals.   We made a radical change by committing to partner with this Mission Agency and let God have His way with the rest of our lives. After the commitment was made, reconciliation start slowly taking place with the family that had elected to divide themselves from us.

Now we are here (in Colorado Springs) and God is having His way with us.

It always helps me to look back and remember where I come from and right now I am reflecting on where I came from 56 years ago, 37 years ago, 27 years ago, 17 years ago, 1 year ago…

I ran across this poem on Pinterest and everytime a read it, it speaks to my heart. The author is “e.h.” I have no idea who this is although I have tried to research. If you know for sure who it is, please let me know!

If I showed you my teardrops,

Would you collect them like rain,

Store them in jars,

That are labelled with “Pain”,

Would you follow their tracks,

From my eyes down my cheeks,

As they write all the stories,

I’m too scared to speak,

Would you stop them with kisses,

Bring their flow to a halt,

As you teach me that pain,

Isn’t always my fault.

Would you hold my face gently,

As you dry both my eyes,

And whisper the words,

“You’re too precious to cry”,

If I showed you my teardrops,

Would you show me your own,

And learn though we’re lonely,

We’re never alone.

~e.h.

The greatest lesson that I have learned during these last 3 years is that I am never alone, He is always with me, He has always been with me! I have no idea what the purpose of this poem was but it speaks to me loudly and clearly of who God has been and still is to me.

Remember, you are never alone!

Now… 27 years ago today, I gave birth to my youngest son in the afternoon. It was a Fridayteddy bear afternoon. My 10 lb. 5 oz. baby boy came into this world and changed my world forever. Ups and downs, backs and forths and everything in between, I wouldn’t trade him for anything and he still rocks my world. He was a big ole teddy bear and still is! His favorite stuffed animal was a big ole teddy bear, too, lovingly named by him, Mr. Bear. Love you G.K.M.!!!! No matter where life takes us or how far apart we may be I will ALWAYS believe in you!  I could not have written this 1 year ago but I can write it now with no fear of someone getting insulted or angry at me.  I don’t care anymore, I have the right, you are my son and there is no one else on this earth who can say that!

Love and blessings to you!

Godspeed,

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Letting go and dancing a swirly twirly God dance with Him

swirly twirly3Have you ever loved something or someone so much that you could not bring yourself to let go of it or them?

How about yourself? Have you ever found that you loved yourself and the power that you have over your own outcome so much that you could not let go of that need for control?

Letting go is hard, there is no doubt about it. Especially if you are like me and at a very early age, your trust was broken by people who were given the power to care for you properly and they did not care for you properly.

In cases like this, it is very hard to give complete control over to a God who we see as having had the power to make sure that we were cared for properly and in our eyes chose to allow bad things to happen to us.

Does this make sense?

I can only speak from my personal experience, so here goes! Because of my childhood there was a time when I could trust no one. Sometimes it is hard to remember that time, now, because God has done a miraculous work in me and has slowly brought me around to being able to trust Him. It has taken a long time. I still don’t trust people fully, not even my own husband, but I can look at things that happen and even when I can’t put all of my trust in other people, I can look to God and say, “I do trust you and whatever happens or does not happen I trust that you have and had a perfect plan for this situation from the very beginning!”

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”  Romans 8:28

I also don’t understand, completely, the laws that govern heaven and how they affect earth, meaning that when bad things happened to me or to those whom I love, or anyone for that matter… even if God did not want them to happen and was crying out to the instigators to “Stop!” why some of them still happened.

As a very dear person who counseled with me a few years ago pointed out. We don’t know what atrocities that God has protected us from, either.

The bad things that have happened are things that I have to trust God about and lean on His promises for strength. One verse that I cling to is Romans 8:28. The faith that He has built in me and the knowing that His Word is true is what gets me through the moments of doubt.

I still have situations that I am desperate for God to move in, most of them are involving family members and, yes, I would love to jump in there and try to fix it all myself in my imperfect humanness. If God is telling me to allow Him to fix these things and He is not directing me to jump in and fix them on my own, well, I have to trust that He does know best. Sometimes I think that my feeble efforts would just be a temporary bandaid on what God wants to fix perfectly. I don’t see the full picture…

In thinking about one particular situation in my family that I have struggled with for the last few years, God has been showing me some things about letting go and occasionally when it comes to mind very strongly and tries to pull me down into that pit of worry and wanting to get in the middle of it by trying to do my own fixing, He gets my attention once again.

For me, it is all about letting go and giving Him the power to do the complete, perfect swirly twirly2work. If I try to get in the middle of it without His “permission” then my futile attempts at “fixing” can slow down what He is wanting to do.

I jotted down some thoughts a few days ago about letting go. First of all here is an excerpt from “Jesus Calling”, when I read it, I felt like it had been written with my needs and desires in mind on March 24…

“This is a time in your life when you must learn to let go: of loved ones, of possessions, of control. In order to let go of something that is precious to you, you need to rest in My Presence, where you are complete. Take time to bask in the Light of My Love. As you relax more and more, your grasping hand gradually opens up. Releasing your prized possession into My care.

You can feel secure, even in the midst of cataclysmic changes, through awareness of My continual Presence. The One who never leaves you is the same One who never changes: I am the same yesterday, today, and forever.   As you release more and more things into My care, remember that I never let go of your hand. Herein lies your security, which no one and no circumstance can take from you.”

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

“For I hold you by your right hand—
    I, the Lord your God.
And I say to you,
    ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.”  Isaiah 41:13

I meditated on this all day after I had read it and I knew that it was time to give it all over to Him, no matter how it hurt my heart to admit to myself that there is nothing that I can do ever to make this thing that I have been holding on to get fixed more perfectly than God can and will.

swirly twirlyI was praying and felt the urge to lift my closed hands up to God with the thought of the person who I have had such a hard time letting go of being in my closed hands…when I lifted my closed hands up, I turned them palm up with my eyes closed. I opened my hands and gave a little boost to the little person who was in them. In my mind’s eye, the person floated up to heaven where God was standing and waiting. As the person passed into heaven, she landed with a little bounce on her feet and lifted up her arms to God. God took her by the hands and started slowly dancing and twirling around and around with her. She was just as happy and focused on Him as she could be.

A peace came over me and I understood that isn’t this where I ultimately want this young one to be? With God and dancing His dance with Him? Waltzing and twirling and swirling just like a little girl does when she imagines that she is a princess ballerina in a swirly, twirly dress? Yes, it definitely is where I would rather that she be instead of with me in my bungling efforts trying to create an earthly counterfeit of what God wants to truly give.

And honestly, this is where I would rather be, too.  Dancing the God dance with my beloved.

I am His beloved and He is mine. He is my beloved and I am His.

I am my lover’s,
    and he claims me as his own.” Song of Solomon 7:10

This is a matter, once again, of me putting my faith in His promises that He alone can fulfill!

May you find that swirly, twirly dance in your own relationship with your Beloved!

Love and Blessings,

Godspeed,

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What I did (this time) when I felt like giving up….

3232I have been working through some things over the last few weeks.  Current things.

First of all, about 3 weeks ago I finally faced the fact that I was really “burnt out”.  I had been trying to do too much.  I had taken on more than what I could handle and was getting frustrated and exhausted.   I had gotten to that point in a very short amount of time.

Second thing is that I was so busy doing things and fulfilling responsibilities that I had taken on that I no longer had the time or energy to do the things that God had recently shown me were “life-giving” to my soul.

Life-giving activities-(my definition)-the things, or activities that feed my spirit and soul, the things that I do that make me smile and relax, the things that give me peace.  The things that I do that I get lost in.  The things that I do where I can hear God’s voice, loud and clear!  The two things that are the most life-giving to me at this point in my life are blogging and creating tangible art (i.e.-painting).

So back to my story, I realized that I needed to make some changes.  The only way that I knew to make changes were to start cutting non-life-giving activities out of my life.

Honestly, I was ready to throw in the towel…because of my dilemma, I was ready to break323 a 2 year commitment that I had made and signed.  Why?  Because it had been my mode operandi all of my life…when things got too hard to handle, I turned in the opposite direction and walked away, making sure to burn my bridge behind me so that I would never have to face the people I had let down again, while justifying my actions to myself.

Thank God, that His faithfulness has brought me so far, He has brought me over a hurdle in the great race of life.  Instead of renting a U-haul and pulling it up to my back door in the middle of the night, loading up and disappearing forever, I started talking.  I started telling some people who I trusted what I was experiencing and what I thought that the solution should be.  They disagreed with me and helped me come up with a better solution.

Now, I am happier and my life is easier.  Instead of doing the work of 1 ½ people every week, not having a weekend and feeling unappreciated and a little taken advantage of, I am feeling appreciated and rested by the end of every weekend as well as recharged and ready to take on whatever is in front of me.  I am now able to do the work of 1 person in 1 week and take my weekends so that I can be at my very best when the new week begins…

I have gotten to a place where I see life as just being too short to waste whatever amounts of precious time the God has given me on this earth doing certain things that are sucking the life out of me.

Stress is not something that I handle very well, at all!  And I don’t think I would have recognized that I needed to make some changes if I had not been through the incredible growth that I have experienced over the last few years!

3233My life and the maintaining of the giftings that God has given to me are too important to Him and me for me to neglect anymore.  I went for many years, pushing them down, saying that I would do them someday and that “someday” never seemed to get here.

What is the moral of this story?  Don’t make tough decisions on your own!  Talk to people you trust and who are likeminded, don’t internalize, work through it, sometimes the solutions are very obvious.  Don’t allow the “sin” of pride to be your ally.  Be transparent, admit your weaknesses and frustrations.  If you’re ready to make a pretty radical decision that could rock someone else’s world anyway, open up, talk about it before you do!

Love and blessings to you!

Godspeed,

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the measure of a man

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Some may think it is rather cryptic to be thinking of these things, but…

Being on the cusp of the final season of my life I think about them,

Drawing in on the final chapters, the second half of the book and, yes, these years come to all of us.

I think about what I will be leaving behind,

I think about and question what, if anything have I advanced in during the course of my life.

I wonder if I will leave anything behind,

I wonder just what measuring stick will I be measured by…

and then I hear the song “the measure of a man” and understand that it all boils down to the basics…

the thing that I have struggled with for my entire life…

the thing that my God story keeps circling back to…

“Did you learn to love?”

…it was never about my ministry

…or how established or secure I was…

But, did I learn to love?

Did I learn to love those who abused me?

Did I learn to love those who did not treat my favorites as the precious gifts that they were?

Did I learn to love those who esteemed themselves higher than I?

Did I learn to love the “least of these”?  (The ones who no one saw if I loved or not.)

Did I learn to love those who lied about me in order to make themselves look good?

Did I learn to love those who stole the hearts of my most precious treasures from me?

Did I learn to love?

When it was all said and done?

Did I learn how to love?

did I learn, did I learn, did I learn

yes I learned, yes I learned, yes I learned

But did I learn to love??

Did I really learn to love??

When I go to my grave people will quickly forget the style of my hair.

In a few generations they won’t remember the color of my eyes.

What will live on will be the legacy, passed down through future generations…

Will it be a legacy of hate?

Will it be a legacy of drug and alcohol addictions?

Will it be resentment, rejection, anger, fear?

Or…will it be love?

Will it be love connected by the scarlet thread of His blood threading itself through each generation?

Did I learn to love?

1 John 4:8 “But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

Love and blessings to you,

Godspeed,

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Breaking my heart for what breaks His…

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I asked Him to break my heart for what breaks His and…

told Him that everything I am was for His kingdom’s cause…

Then my heart started breaking and the pain was so excruciating that I could hardly stand…

I wanted it to stop,

I was desperate for it to stop,

I wanted to go back to a time when my heart was not breaking…

if there ever was a time like that.

But then,

He reminded me…

of what I had asked Him.

And I knew…

what my heart is breaking for is what is also breaking His heart…

Father to the fatherless, defender of widows—
    this is God, whose dwelling is holy.
God places the lonely in families;
    he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.
But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

Psalm 68:5-6

Dearest Father in heaven…I ask you, beg you to move in this situation…

Love and blessings,

Godspeed,

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Whiter than snow…

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Wash me with your tears…

Wash me in your blood

Until I am whiter than snow.

Can anything be whiter than snow?

You can wash me whiter than snow!

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He was my first love,

I had secretly wanted someone who would die for me…

But who would be so strong that when He offered His life and laid it down that death would not overtake Him and He would still be here for me?

I had always watched for the knight in shining armor riding in on His white steed and rescuing me from the demons that chased me, the shadows that haunted me.

And He came and rescued me…

A manly man,

A perfect man,

A man with a tattoo,

It is on His thigh and it says “King of kings and Lord of lords”

I am His beloved and He is mine,

Always, Always!

I have laid my heart open,

not ripped

not sliced

not cut

not shattered

But I have opened it, laid it open…

To be washed…

washed by His blood

The heart I have laid open is full of my own life blood,

Being washed by His blood until this heart is whiter than snow.

The miracles of God, the things of God, the ways of God…

…not the ways of man, not the ways of me…

Washing this heart of mine once full of the darkness of sin with His blood and the out come is

…whiter than white

…whiter than snow

…whiter than  the whitest white

…whiter than the purest snow

He was my first love…

He loved me first…

He loved me perfectly…

and He loves me…

Love and blessings,

Godspeed,

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