Compass Point: Forgiveness

What’s in My Suitcase?

I have this roll around bag I carry with me every day to work. In it, I carry my journal, extra pens, a small laptop, and anything else I think I might need for the day. I decided to get a bag that had rollers because the one I carried over my shoulder grew too heavy for me. I wish I could do the same for the other baggage I have carried with me over the years.

The other suitcase I carry with me has no handle. It resides within the chambers of my heart and the confines of my soul. It has years of control, co-dependency, self-blame, regret, sadness, grief, and pain within it. As I face Step Four of my recovery journey, I know there is more in that piece of luggage. I know there are things I haven’t admitted to yet. I know there are probably even things I am not aware of. But I know this is an important step in the recovery from my past.

These issues I have carried with me are common for people like me. I haven’t always known this to be true. Working diligently on making a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself showed me this. Reading Psalm 139:23-24 guides me toward God’s loving arms to reveal the truth about me.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

I ask God to search and know my heart. I ask him to

Tapping into the Unknown

Part 1 Breaking Habits | Part 2 Tapping into the Unknown | Part 3 Breaking Habits and Sin | Part 4 God’s Love | Part 5 Scary Secrets | Part 6 Are You Ready?

The unknown can be a scary place. We might ask God to guide us through the maze…

God, I’m not even sure if you exist, but I know I want to be free from of this habit. My motives are selfish and not totally pure, and I might be blind to other things in my life that also need changing, but I ask You to open my eyes to who you are, and to my need of you. Come close to me. Open my mind as I continue in my life, and give me the courage to do what I should do.

It’s not hard to imagine that anyone could break habits if they had didn’t have the supernatural power of God flowing through them. Its also hard to believe that we have the ability, right now, to tap into this power, but our beliefs prevent us from doing so. One of our biggest stumbling blocks is to think that we are so contaminated, or that God is too Holly for us to relate too. The fact is – we are, but we must develop a belief, deep within that God has paid the "cleaning bill" for us when He gave up his life on the cross.

The Valley Called Decision

One day a man walked into his place of worship and to his surprise the devil was at the altar weeping bitterly. When the man asked him, “Hey, what’s wrong with you?” His reply was, “Everyone blames me for everything!”

This fictional story serves to remind us how easy it is to point fingers. We, like water, seek out the easiest course to follow. You see, it’s so much more convenient to blame everyone rather than to look deep into ourselves. Not until I began to honestly take inventory of my own personal life, was I able to admit to myself that I was in dire need of a total spiritual and emotional make-over.

It’s a humbling experience for anyone to look into the mirror and say, “I have met the enemy and the enemy is me!”

But, like a master sailor uses the contrary wind to get him to safe harbor, we too can use our imperfections as a driving force to relearn and refocus on our true self and mission on earth. Be comforted in knowing that because of Gods amazing grace, He is able to draw a straight line using a crooked stick.

If we will fearlessly open up the chapters of our past, I think we will be surprised to see that many of our hell-on-earth experiences have been caused by the inability to make right decisions. Never forget, we are the very ones who chose alcohol and/or drugs as a solution to life’s problems. (Some may say, “Alcohol, drugs? That’s not my problem!” That may be true, but take a good look into the cup from which you drink, is it filled with fear, pride, unforgiveness, greed or guilt?) If your answer is yes, then we welcome you to join us as we seek for the solution.

The 3rd step in the big book of A.A. reads “We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”

The word decision means: The act of making up one’s mind. When a person lacks this ability they are likened to a double minded (doubting, hesitating) man who is unstable in all his ways (James 1:8 paraphrased). One never builds a mansion on a unstable foundation, much less will a marriage built on sand (unstable people) survive the storms of life.

But wait! There is a better way. For He who has all POWER says to us,

“For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

But for us to enjoy the fruit of this better way we must pass through the Valley called DECISION.

Many of us have missed out on excellent opportunities in life, due to the inability to make up our own mind. You see, when we doubted and hesitated, another came and snatched up all that was dear to us. In the twinkling of an eye, family, friends, careers and even our own self respect was gone.

Playing Hide and Seek with God?

I searched hurriedly to find just the right hiding place. Breathless I hid silently behind the shower curtain in my parents shower. A giggle slipped from my mouth and I quickly cupped my hand to keep it quiet. I could barely hear my friend counting… 6… 7…8 …9… 10! Ready or not, here I come! My heart raced for fear I would be found.

I’m sure you remember the exhilaration and suspense of playing hide and seek with your friends. Now that I am older, I no longer play this childhood game with my friends or anyone else—or do I?

Your New Identity in Christ

There I was, sitting in the green room of the Oprah Winfrey television show, waiting for my turn to share with the world how my new identity had transformed me from the inside out. I stood in front of the floor-to-ceiling mirror startled by my own image. The mirror reflected an image of a tall, slender black woman with shiny, wavy hair that sparkled like dew drops on a crisp autumn morning. The chestnut eyes beamed with vibrant life. The air was filled with deep love, passion, and hope. I didn’t recognize “me.”

As I crawled out of bed the next morning, just out of curiosity, I checked in the mirror. I now saw what I had seen hundreds of times before: an under-tall—5 feet, two inches and shrinking to be exact—Caucasian, over forty-nine and holding, work-in-progress lady.

Perhaps it was just a dream that seemed so real to me. Ten years later I still remember the precise details of my “Oprah adventure.”

Confused and baffled by my identity, I wondered: Who am I anyway?

The Trigger of Grief

In the work of recovery, we address the danger of triggers. Its very word itself suggests the power to cause us harm:

“Something that precipitates a particular event or situation; To set off; initiate; To fire or explode.”


On one August morning of 2003, I encounter such a trigger. The phone rang. My dad was dead.

My grief, for the next year and a half, was an alarming, unexpected reality. And each subsequent “anniversary” proves equally tricky also. Both defy what I thought I would – or should – be experiencing.

After all, coming from an abusive childhood, I didn’t think the loss of this pain-inflicting parent would register as significantly as it did.

Let it All Go: Hurts, Anger, Resentment, Frustration

…that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.Romans 10:9


Some days I am just tired. Some days I have a difficult time with letting go and giving my worries to God. Some days I have the full confidence I can let God be God and other days I want to wrestle control back into my grip. Do you ever feel this way?

The Mother-Daughter Tug-of-War

It’s been said the mother-daughter relationship is the most complicated dynamic around. Therefore, most of us can see why eating disorder behaviors often arise within these relationships. The influential modeling of mother on daughter impacts her beauty values.

But the issue goes beyond just appearance; the enmeshment creates a tug of war for control and autonomy.

“I wish to be all that I am created to be…”

For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. Colossians 1:16


Day six of this eating disorder awareness week focuses on the dangle carrot of our potential. This wish seems to be the unspoken, secret, lurking wish, just below the surface of our more tangible physically manifested options.

Yet, make no mistake about it, this wish is potent; it longs to be fulfilled – and it goes beyond the physical appearance.

It speaks to our purpose and our unchanging value.

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made… Psalm 139:14

And, sadly, it often befuddles us with anxiety and fear, stating the lie, “We will never achieve it; it will never happen.”

All the more reason why we need to own our part of being a good steward of our lives.

Notice I did not say a “perfect” or an “all-knowing” steward. There is much to learn; mistakes and flaws are a part of that education.

For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church. Because we are members of his body. Ephesians 5:29-30

Nevertheless,

Self-Esteem: “I wish I looked like…”

“I wish I looked like…”

For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. James 3:16

In day two of this national eating disorder awareness week, we turn our attention to appearance. Indeed, wishing, coveting and image are right there in our lives. The outside world displays some aspirational form of aesthetically pleasing and powerful messages; beauty,
especially within the definition of a rigid, thin beauty, becomes its dominant depiction.

This hierarchy of human value, intensified with its dangled promises of untold perfection, happiness and a problem-free existence, can often find us is a position to covet, to envy and to further exemplify less than positive character attributes in the process.

A sound heart is the life of the flesh:
but envy the rottenness of the bones.
Proverbs 14:30

And it stems from a place of fear: we fear we are inadequate as is. Scripture, however, negates that concept…