Grief

What Do You Think Jesus Wants You to Do?Premium Content

"My Yoke Is Easy."

What do you think Jesus wants you to do?

I'm not thinking of specific choices like whether to have pizza or turkey for lunch (I don't think He cares). But in terms of overall life choices and directions, what do you think He wants? There are probably a lot of answers to that question, but I'm thinking of one right now that I'll bet nobody else mentioned.

I think He wants me to quit. (It's okay if you're surprised.)

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

The scripture above is one of the most well-known passages in the bible. It's a source of comfort to folks who are buried under the weight of illness, despair, and impossible expectations. But it's even more comforting when we understand the historical context.

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Asking for Support: Getting the Help You Need - Part 2Premium Content

by Dale & Juanita Ryan | see: Part 1

We resist getting help

In spite of the abundance of God's love and grace and the many ways in which love and grace are available to us, we do not easily reach out for the help we need. Even when we have acknowledged our need for help, we may find ourselves hesitating, finding excuses, resisting. Resistance to getting help is often the result of a mixture of fear and despair and shame.

Fear

It can be frightening to get help. In the process we feel vulnerable and exposed. Jim's Dad had made cutting remarks about him all his life. Jim was so accustomed to hearing that he was lazy and stupid and irresponsible that every time he shared in his support group, he expected to hear these same hurtful comments in response. Even though people didn't respond this way, Jim imagined that everyone must be privately thinking these things about him. As a result, he would sometimes begin to share only to freeze with fear and find himself unable to talk.

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Asking for Support: Getting the Help You Need - Part 1Premium Content

by Dale & Juanita Ryan
See: Part 2 | Part 3

The God of the Bible is a God who saves and heals. The Bible is clear about this: He will deliver the needy who cry out, he will rescue them from oppression and violence. Psalm 72: 12,14) When we see our need, acknowledge our inability to save ourselves, and cry out, God delivers us. God rescues us from oppression and violence. Whether it is the oppression and violence of our compulsions and addictions or the oppression and violence of abuse and neglect, God delivers us and heals us. God is powerful enough and loving enough to deliver us from all of the oppression and violence we face.

This is the good news proclaimed in Scripture. And it is the basis for our hope on the recovery journey. We cannot save ourselves. Or heal ourselves. But God can. And God will.

Sound simple? It turns out to be anything but simple. There are several reasons for this. First, we find it hard to believe that God is

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The Emotional Dimension of Recovery, Part 2Premium Content

Part 1

How do feelings affect the addict in the early stages of recovery?

This second installment on the role of emotion the recovery process will focus on the first 30-90 days of sobriety. The truth is, most addicts return to drugs and drinking when sobriety becomes too stressful for them. Therefore, teach them to deal with their feelings in a healthy manner greatly improves their chances of achieving long-term sobriety.

A. The physiological impact on emotions.

    The first few days without drugs and alcohol are characterized by disjointed thinking and emotional upheaval. Newly sober people tend to be very anxious and uptight. This is due, in a large part , to the fact that alcohol and drug use have caused their bodies to be depleted of many important neurochemicals, like endorphines, that contribute to a normal state of well-being. Crack and cocaine users especially, experience anxiety, abnormal fears and difficulty sleeping. They can be short tempered and they have short attention spans.

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The Emotional Dimension of Recovery, Part 1Premium Content

Part Two

A Christian friend once told me, "Well, why even talk about feelings, because you can't trust them anyway. The Bible says, Have faith and don't trust your feelings." Well, that's not really a healthy attitude at all, because feelings are real. Denial is all of these repressed and stuffed emotions, and part of sobriety and getting better means that all of a sudden all of the pain that has been pushed down. And anger, and everything else that has been there, is going to start rising to the surface, and these people will start feeling depression and loneliness and fear. And we need to be prepared to hear those things and to respond to them in a supportive, kind way. It doesn't mean that -- and some of those feelings are not accurate at all, but still need to be respected and accepted. It has to be there.

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Christmas Prayers & BlessingsPremium Content

Here is a series of Christmas prayers and blessings. Included are prayers for a season of grief, sorrow or loss and for those who struggle at this special time of year.

Christmas Dinner Prayer

In the peace of this season our spirits are joyful:
With the beasts and angels,
the shepherds and stars,
with Mary and Joseph we sing God's praise.
By your coming may the hungry be filled with good things,
and may our table and home be blessed.
Bless us O Lord, and these Thy gifts,
which we are about to receive from Thy bounty
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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How Do I Say Good-Bye?Premium Content

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you. Isaiah 43:2 NIV84

The tears ran down my cheeks in never-ending rivers, as congestion choked off my breathing and and rage threatened to overwhelm me. "Why can't I just be calm?" I cried out to Jesus!

I thought I had peace in my heart about my impending Mom's death before she was gone, but now that it had become a reality and the Lord had called her Home, there seemed to be no end to the waves of anxiety, depression, rage, despair, agitation, frustration, and every other emotion but calm that seemed to be rushing at me. I could not understand why, with so much faith in God, and knowing that I had not wanted my beloved mother to suffer, I was so angry now. Then my pastor called to ask me how I was doing, and I honestly shared with him the truth. He prayed that I would allow the Holy Spirit to comfort me in my grieving, and that I would find the acceptance of the Truth that my mother is now in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. That is when it hit me: I was angry at God because I wanted Mom to stop suffering, but I had wanted her to stop suffering here! The Lord had not done things my way, and so I was not accepting her death. And because I was in denial, the rage I was experiencing was preventing me from entering into the loving arms of my Saviour to surrender my emotions to Him. Without that surrender, I could not find peace.

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Emotions & Recovery: Grief Premium Content

A.Addicts are both victims and victimizers.
Anyone who is addicted to drugs and alcohol leaves behind them a trail of destruction. This could include everything from harm done to loved ones – both physically and emotionally, as well as violence and criminal activity of all sorts in which many become involved. On the other hand, we need to recognize that the majority of addicts have, themselves, grown up in painful, dysfunctional families. In homes where one or both of the adults are out of control because of addiction or other life-consuming problem, they we subjected to a daily diet of physical and emotional trauma.

Effective rescue mission recovery programs recognize the importance of helping addicts to repent of their sin and become responsible the wrong they have done. Steps 4 & 5 used with Steps 8 & 9 are practical guides for helping recovery addicts to gain a clear conscience and to take the extra step of restoring broken relationships and acknowledging to other the hurt they have caused them. This is dealing with the "victimizer."

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Prayer for the Grieving, Broken Hearts, Those in Despair

Abba, so many hearts are breaking out there. So many hearts are saddened, grieving and mourning. There are some in despair, some who have lost all hope. They are broken and they don't understand what You are doing in their lives. They need Your touch so badly. Please hold them close to You. Please hug them in such a way that they can feel it. Please comfort them and reassure them in their hour of great need.

The Sun Seemed Quite Blocked

The sun seemed quite blocked
By cloud of unknowing,
In anguish I'm locked
Miles apart from God's glowing,
In sorrow I sit
Adrift and decaying,
I turn on the spit,
I'm split, God's filleting.

If tincture of time
Could evict my inversion,
I'd wait for sublime
And unblemished conversion,
But something inside,
Unsettled, is gnawing,
Where visions collide
An insistence is pawing.

Alert to the call
I rotate an ear,
From under the pall
A snippet I hear,
The tiniest clue,
No more than a tinkling,
Light as the dew,
A fairy dust sprinkling.

God in His subtle,
Mysterious way,
Had deigned a rebuttal

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