Healing

What is "Normal?"

Normal is a setting on the dryer.

We're obsessed with labels. Democrat, Republican, liberal, conservative, Christian, atheist—it seems that we're intent on placing ourselves in neat little boxes and pretending that everyone in a particular box is identical.

The big problem with labels is that they obscure ideas and individuals. Then we demonize, bash, and attack the label, and forget that behind the generalized, standardized label stands a real person.

I encounter labels a lot as a wheelchair user. Handicapped, disabled, physically challenged—what should people call me? Personally, I prefer "Rich."

Had a Slip? Is Your Recovery Failing?

"I will love them freely." Hosea 14:4

This is a condensed version of the glorious message of salvation which was delivered to us in Christ Jesus our Redeemer. It hinges upon the word "freely." This is the glorious, the suitable, the divine way by which love streams from heaven to earth, a spontaneous love flowing to those who neither deserved it, purchased it, nor sought it. It is, indeed, the only way in which God can love us as we are.

The text is a death-blow to all sorts of conditions: "I will love them freely." Now, if there were any fitness necessary in us, then he would not love us freely, at least, this would be a mitigation and a drawback to the freeness of it. But it stands, "I will love you freely."

We complain, "Lord, my heart is so hard."
"I will love you freely."

"But I do not feel my need of Christ as I would like."
""I will not love you because you feel your need; I will love you freely."

"But I do not feel that softening of spirit which I desire."

Are You Stuck in a Hole?

Imagine you're running a marathon. You're monitoring the situation, carefully maintaining a reasonable pace based on ability and training. You've prepared your body and mind for the race; you know the signs that tell you to run faster or slower, when to drink or eat.

You expect the unavoidable ebbs and flows of mental and physical energy. Hills and headwinds will increase difficulty in some places; sunshine and tailwinds will provide a few easy, enjoyable stretches. You're eager to confront exhilaration and trial as fundamental elements of the competition.

You also know about "the wall," that point where you'll be tested nearly beyond your ability. You anticipate that burning muscles and aching lungs will challenge desire and discipline. You expect the urge to give up, to stop and allow the pain to subside. The lure of immediate relief will entice you to cast aside goals and dreams, surrendering the satisfaction of the finish line in return for an end to the struggle.

Then, without any warning, you fall into a hole.

The publicized course didn't mention this complication. You didn't train for it, couldn't see it coming, didn't prepare survival supplies or pack climbing equipment. There's no cell phone reception in the hole.

You try everything you know to escape from the hole on your own, but

Mother's Day, Not Measuring Day

What's your reaction to this image? Can you relate? Did you and your mother actually participate in this activity together, treating it as a bonding thing, a game, a competition or a means of "self-improvement?"

Mother's Day. It is devoted to the remembrance and celebration of our mothers, those people who first loved us. And, perhaps, even, in the name of that love, diet and weight measurement were a part of that.

With my mom, I believe it was. She battled with her weight her entire life, certainly as long as I've known her. I discuss it in my book. Years later, I see how it wasn't intentionally done to harm me.

But, nevertheless, that focus on body image, weight and thinness did. It's not just my experience, not perhaps, not just yours, either. Studies have, indeed, shown its impact: I can relate.

"…The study, published this week in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, found that when a teen-age girl develops an eating disorder 'the mother-daughter relationship appears to contribute significantly.'

Kathleen M. Pike and Judith Rodin, who wrote the study, say they concluded this after comparing the test results of girls with eating disorders with those of girls who did not.

'It appears that some of the mother's own dieting and eating behavior and especially her

God Based Marriage Counseling

Do it yourself marriage counseling with God in the forefront is exceptional counsel because it really works! You just need to learn how to work it. Let me ask you a question. What are you now basing your marriage on? Where are you going now for the answers you may need to resolve your marital upheavals? The answer is most likely friends, family, pastors, books, ebooks, etc, or for very few of you, mainstream marriage counseling. Am I right?

We have to know WHO WE ARE before we can choose the right kind of counseling and marital guidance.

Why is this happening to me?

A friend of mine who is experiencing some painful family issues has repeatedly asked herself the "why" questions.

Why is this happening to me?

Why am I being treated like this?

Why is my loved one acting in such an ugly manner?

She has been blindsided by a situation and a relationship she never dreamed was possible, rife with betrayal, deception and slander. This was once a close, bonded relationship, one filled with unconditional love and trust.

So, the events over the last few years were a definite shock.

Clueless or Purposeful Recovery?

As we bump along in life, we often misunderstand things, especially concerning our recovery. I recently caught a cartoon which captures that reality.

In it, we see Jesus and His disciples on a fishing boat. One disciple is in a festive mood, complete with some castanet shaking. This prompts another disciple's response...

"You idiot. He said cast the nets."

Does this spotlight, once again, our human cluelessness?

Perhaps, rather, it taps into the purposeful recovery-from-addiction meaning in our lives, should we choose to embrace it.

Let's take a gander at the fishy verses...

Do You Fear Positive Thinking?

Oh, my friend, it's not what they take away from you that counts.
It's what you do with what you have left. ~Hubert Humphrey

Do you ever fear positive thinking? I do.

Of all the fears that might haunt us, why in the world would we fear a positive attitude?

Immediately following my accident, I wanted desperately to believe in the possibility of recovery. I knew that a good attitude would help me tackle the hard work ahead. But somehow I couldn't find the courage to maintain a consistent positive approach.

Success Is... Grace

And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace." John 1:16

As someone recovering from disordered image, food and weight issues, I've long wrestled with the perfection issue. There was a mandate, both self-imposed and emanating from others, to be perfect in behavior, achievement and appearance.

However, this last goal was the most frustrating and demoralizing.

As a child, I was overweight, inheriting my mother's own negative body image perceptions. Later, throughout adolescence, I was bullied, teased and rejected.

And then, adding insult to injury, I felt I could never win when it came to my dad and his expectations.

Finding It Hard to Forgive?

And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
Matthew 6:12

How many times do we pray this portion of what is commonly called "The Lord's Prayer" and yet fail to consider what we're asking? It is a petition, a request of God to forgive us - in the same manner and proportion in which we forgive others. Are you okay with that? Are you comfortable with receiving God's forgiveness to the same extent that you give it to others?

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