I say NO to grey and YES to PINK!
Happy early Valentine’s Day – may your days be filled with those people who prefer PINK over grey.
I say NO to grey and YES to PINK!
Happy early Valentine’s Day – may your days be filled with those people who prefer PINK over grey.
I watched a special last night on Oprah Prime. The topic was substance addition, prescription drug usage and street heroin. I had no idea that heroin addiction has doubled in the last 5 years! The statistics are alarming. Drug addiction doesn’t look like it used to. Addicts can look like your next door neighbor, the clerk at the store, a middle aged homemaker, a nurse at a hospital. Sometimes it starts with a medical procedure and prescription pain relievers and then when that is no longer affordable or available (depending upon insurance and refills) there can be problems. One alternative: Buying drugs on the street where they are cheap and available.
There is a problem in our community with addition – all kinds, from alcohol to meth. It is so sad to see what it does to families. The addiction takes over – nothing is more important. All common sense and reasoning goes out the window. Simple things like grocery shopping and paying rent become second only to the drug of choice.
What I found interesting in all the stories told from last nights episode was this: All have an emptiness that needs to be filled. Some expressed that it is a spiritual emptiness. And by “spiritual” they don’t necessarily mean a relationship with God (although I believe that is what would help the addiction problem) but an emotional/relationship emptiness and void that needs filling.
We often enjoy watching Hoarders and have remarked that all these people with this condition of “hoarding” seem to also have an emptiness or void that they try to fill through shopping and accumulations of “things”. It is a very real and growing problem in our world today. And every one of them – almost without exception, had something traumatic happen to them at a young or impressionable age. Sometimes it was even something later, like the death of a child or loved one – a financial reversal or loss of job. Whatever the reason, there are common elements to addiction and disorders such as hoarding.
Self loathing, hatred, feelings of helplessness and unworthiness are also a common theme. Last night in the interview, Russell Brand confessed to his years of struggle with drug addiction. Now more than 10 years sober – he says every day is still a struggle. As he explained how the drugs – particularly heroin makes you feel – it is no wonder that it can pull people in and set them up to fail. It is an unending cycle of dependency and abuse. He has seen many senseless deaths of friends caught in the trap of addiction and understands all too well how it happens. But I was struck most by his comment, “There was a voice in my head that wanted me dead” That made me sit up and take notice. Do I believe that voice is demonic in nature? Yes. Absolutely. It’s just like Satan.
” The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10
Crazy scary stuff! But it also makes sense. People lose themselves in the feeling that takes over their lives and nothing else matters. It is a form of suicide, just like anorexia. A self loathing of immense proportions. And I recognize that this is evil and demonic. Satan wants us all dead. That’s his agenda, and he’s not good at hiding it.
This makes me very sad.
As a Christian I can see another side to addiction. I can see life, health, purpose, prosperity of the soul, forgiveness, common sense, kindness, honesty, giving, graciousness and most of all…love.
Christianity is not just a crutch – like so many out there looking for something to fill that empty void. Christ is the filling. The freedom He gives us is not just a temporary “fix” – it is a way of living. It lasts. It endures. It lengthens life and relationships. Not just in this lifetime – but the next one too. It does not rob. It gives. When we don’t have to just depend on ourselves for “things” to fix us or fulfill us, but instead can give ourselves over to a loving God who not only created us – but has a plan for us – it changes things. It takes the pressure off. Gives purpose. Gives life, a clear and sober mind, health of body and most of all – fills the void inside. Because He loves us – it doesn’t matter what others may have done to us – His plan and purpose for us is always healthy, always reassuring and always builds us up rather than tearing us down. When we are full of love from Him – we are free to love others and give to others out of that love. It is a release from the prison that others find themselves in.
Those of us who find ourselves free from addiction are very fortunate. But being fortunate does not give license to be judgmental or critical to those who are. Instead of looking at people with addictions as weak, stupid, or even hardened criminals – we need to look on them with compassion and the love of Christ. As a Christian this can be the hardest thing of all. The “I’m OK – you’re NOT OK” seems to fit most of us with a healthy lifestyle. The “how stupid” or “what a weak person” comments are never far from our thoughts. If only “they” were just like me. If only they had real resolve and will power they wouldn’t be in this fix or lifestyle. We say these senseless things without having any idea the journey others are on.
Dear Jesus – soften our hearts to accept others with their addictions and problems – just as they are. Help us to see them as you see them – broken but wonderful creations loved by you. Help us live in such a way that those that are bound by things here on earth will see YOU in US. And by seeing YOU – they will want what you offer – hope, freedom, peace, forgiveness, love, acceptance, purpose and health. Help us live in such a way that you are attractive. That You would be a real solution to a huge unsolvable way of life. I pray that the inner void would be filled by something that will last – a relationship with you. And that I would be aware and take an active part in bringing about real change. This is my prayer. Help us. Humble us. Teach us. Break our hearts. Amen.
Today I heard a beautiful rendition of Leonard Cohen’s song “Hallelujah”. The lyrics had been changed to reflect a more “Christian” version.
I have always been a little troubled by the original lyrics by Leonard Cohen. They are a little provocative and edgy – which I guess was the point of why he wrote them. But for someone like me who was raised in the church, there was always something missing from them, much as I liked the music.
As I reflect on Easter weekend, the death and resurrection of our Lord, it is with a certain somber sweetness. There never are enough adequate words each year as we celebrate new life in Christ. For this reason, music has always been an outlet of expression. Songs like “Hosanna”, “Agnus Dei” and “The Wonderful Cross” sung by Michael W. Smith have special meaning. A meaning that takes me back several years when the staff of our church went to a late night premier of “The Passion of the Christ”. It was the following morning in the shower when I was listening to “The Wonderful Cross” that I could not stop sobbing because the meaning was so poignantly clear.
The longer I have lived, the more I am lulled to sleep by repetition, rhetoric and yes, even the same Bible verses over and over again. But when music is added to the equation, something special happens for me. I want things to be fresh and new and I look for ways to have that happen in my own life.
Recently we have become a part of a local church body. Youth and seniors. New and old. Depth of experience and fresh uncharted territory. All in an attempt to forge forward and yet have things remain the same to find a different and yet a new way to tell the story. Over and over again. It’s all about the empty cross, the empty grave and the resurrection. Nothing much else matters. Not style or tradition, not repetition or change. People come and go – but the message remains constant. This is what the church is about. We don’t just “do” church. We live it and find that personal place where change happens deep within.
But if you, like me – find yourself reflecting in the same manner as previous years – find songs like the ones I mentioned above and watch the video I have posted below. This is fresh and new. Same story and message. Different lyrics and music. All in an effort to challenge, and change us from the inside out. May we never be lulled to sleep and take for granted the wonder, the miracle of new birth and everlasting life that was bought with a very high price.
Happy Resurrection to all of you!
Lyrics belong to Kelly Mooney. Her story and the song are below:
I love the story behind these lyrics. Amy’s grandmother passed away in 1988 and left her some money. Instead of paying off debt she decided to invest in fruit trees to remember her grandmother. It took years to see the fruit on those trees – and in those years many things had changed in her life as well. And that’s called life. The good, the bad and the ugly. I can relate – sometimes it’s better not to know. Great song!
Enjoy and God Bless
I have posted this video before – but I ran across it again today and it seems fitting. I love how real Cindy is – how appropriate her lyrics and how cute she is even when she misses some of the words – it doesn’t even throw her off!
This is for all my friends struggling and recovering from cancer – all those who have lost someone they love – and for all those who like me are searching for answers to unanswered questions of life. My prayer is that you will realize that the love of God is deep and wide – big enough for all these questions, problems, sickness and even death. And that you may know that you are not alone.
I came across this very special song by Christopher Cross. His word pictures are thought provoking, simple and identifiable. He writes about real life, real stories, and by observing life around him.
This song is about a “November” in a couple’s life. The time when love is at the eleventh hour and before the final curtain. Is it a heartache so deep it cannot be repaired? The lyrics do not say for sure. Is it a season of reflection and renewal? Maybe. A couple who have lost their way? Yes – I think so. An older couple dealing with illness or loss? Maybe. Sadness and pain seems to always be associated with rain, cold and dark. November. But is it the end? I hope not.
This is dedicated to all of you out there who are hopeless romantics. Who refuse to give up. Who are fighters. Who choose to see this time in their marriage and their life as a November. And like all Novembers – it will pass. The sun will come out again. Things will warm up. Spring is just around the corner for you.
Here is this wonderful song – Enjoy!
Writer(s): Robert Alvah Meurer, Christopher C. Cross
Tomorrow you turn 22. I remember this day so well, 22 years ago today. A beautiful sunny crisp October day in Northern California, much like the day here in Seattle. A day like any other. The day before my life changed forever.
It’s funny how the seasons come and go – yet some things stay constant and perfectly formed in our memory. Sometimes those moments that drastically change who we are forever are more clear to us than things that happened yesterday.
According to Dr. Phil, you can trace who you’ve become in this life to three types of external factors: 10 defining moments, seven critical choices, and five pivotal people. But first it’s important to understand the following terms:
Ten Defining Moments: In every person’s life, there have been moments, both positive and negative, that have defined and redefined who you are. Those events entered your consciousness with such power that they changed the very core of who and what you thought you were. A part of you was changed by those events, and caused you to define yourself, to some degree by your experience of that event.
Seven Critical Choices: There are a surprisingly small number of choices that rise to the level of life-changing ones. Critical choices are those that have changed your life, positively or negatively, and are major factors in determining who and what you will become. They are the choices that have affected your life up to today, and have set you on a path.
Five Pivotal People: These are the people who have left indelible impressions on your concept of self, and therefore, the life you live. They may be family members, friends or co-workers, and their influences can be either positive or negative. They are people who can determine whether you live consistently with your authentic self, or instead live a counterfeit life controlled by a fictional self that has crowded out who you really are.
As I reflect over those 10 defining moments of my own life – getting married and having each of my babies certainly ranks up there with the most important and most life changing. No matter how old I am, or where life’s journey takes me – I am forever changed by the birth of Ashlee and you. You are part of those seven critical choices and definitely one of my five pivotal people.
And so Shawn – it is with very sweet and sentimental memories that I remember today, the day before you.
You made your entrance on October 5th, 1991 at 8:26 pm. You filled up an entire room – even back then. You were laid back, shy, sweet, calm and peaceful. As you grew you developed a slow and steady manner and a great ability to make and keep friends. Your sense of humor has sustained you even in the tough times of relationships and finding your own way. Your deep faith in God continues to guide you and be your compass. You are one of the things that forever changed me.
I could not have dreamed you up in a million years. Shawn means “gift of God” and you were that for me. It was a privilege to be your Mom and I am proud of who you are and all that I know you are still becoming. It is in the letting go that we truly find. And I have always known that you were on loan and that you would need to find your own way. I’m so glad you are learning all those tough things while realizing your family loves and supports you in the background. You are learning to rely on God’s help and have deepened your faith in those things that are really lasting and important. Money, fame and even friends will come and go. Love, family and faith in God lasts forever. And I pray every day for that special young woman who will change your life forever.
Until you have finally found your stride and your place stay strong and firm in your faith. You are loved and thought about each and every day. You are special and have a special purpose. Don’t give up, never lose heart – for a part of the end result is the journey you’re on right now. And these times will be what you look back on as one of your defining moments.
I love you…Happy 22nd!
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