My Truth

Worry Does Not Change Outcome…

I took this picture outside my office window after a late afternoon storm. I love how the light changes from one area to another. Some darker than others and some with such bright light as sun peeks out from behind the clouds.

Rainbows represent God’s promise. His promise to be with us when we are afraid during a storm and that storms end.

I seem to have been overcome by worry here lately. Which reminded me that I struggle with codependency and that codependency is about control.

Trying to:

  • Control a situation.
  • Control what others know and think about a situation.
  • Control the outcome of a situation.
  • Control my pain.
  • Control others pain.
  • Control being out of control.
  • Control of owning all of situation, when it’s not all mine.
  • Control wanting to make amends when I’m I don’t even know what I’m sorry for doing or not doing.

It wasn’t until yesterday when a friend was facing a health crisis, that I said things to her that I needed to hear for myself.

I sent to her, remember:

  • God is in control.
  • God goes before and with you.
  • God knows the outcome.
  • Breathe.
  • You are so loved.
  • Worry does not change outcome.

Isaiah 41:10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you! Don’t be frightened, for I am your God. I strengthen you – yes, I help you – yes I uphold you with my saving right hand.

So here I am at 2 am, ready to lift this situation I have found myself in with someone I love very much. God is in control, God is making a way, Thy will not my will, I just need to breathe and remember that I am loved even with this current struggle. And worry does not change outcome…..if I’m worried about or not, what’s going to happen is going to happen without my intervention.

I’ll have to look up the verse but someplace in the Bible it says….in my weakness, He is strong.

After all, am I really that powerful…..no no I’m not but He is.

My journey continues…

My Truth

Personal Boundaries…

According to Wikipedia ‘personal boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards them and how they will respond when someone passes those limits.’

Codependency and lack of boundaries are in my experience good friends.

I may have had some boundaries in the past but allowed others to catapult over them and did nothing about it. Or I would move the boundary because I was not able, often because of fear, to even have consequences and then have to stick to them.

But I have learned how boundaries keeps me safe and ‘in my lane’.

3 years go, I had to learn how to set strong boundaries while I was afraid.

The man I was dating was on an out of control drinking binge. He was living down the street in a house of other active addicts. No water. No power. The owner of the house was in jail. While I was trying to save the man I loved, I put myself in danger. I witnessed terrible things and I was afraid.

When I reached my tolerance level (finally), I asked him to leave me alone in person, by phone and by text. I yelled, I screamed. And then unknowingly, I set my first boundary by stopping my behavior. I didn’t go to the house, I didn’t answer his calls and I didn’t text him back. It was hard but necessary.

And then it escalated.

I received 100’s and 100’s of text messages from 3 phones he had access to. At all hours of the day and night. I called the police and asked for help. Sadly there was nothing they could do…..yet. And the yet is what scared me the most. I called my best friend and told her that this is what lifetime movies are made of and I was afraid.

He came to my house at 5 am drunk and pounded on my front door. I called the police and got paperwork for trespassing for next time he comes. Next time, great.

More texts and calls. And I didn’t answer any of them. But it was still escalating.

He entered my home while I was a work. My son was home and called me. I called the police and drove home. I arrived just minutes after the police did. Apparently he had fallen on the walk to my house and had blood all over his face and hands. (And my fence and back door) I went and was issued an emergency protective order. But they couldn’t find him.

So now I had to wait for the PO to be served to him. And he would leave me alone and this would all stop.

More texts and calls and then they stopped. He then texted me and I had him violated and he went to jail. Then he called me from jail. 32 times. Another violation. He spent 31 days in jail and I was issued a 2 year protective order. Then he stood by my mail box and street corner for weeks after. But that didn’t violate my order. It was terrifying. I remember thinking about how this makes women go crazy and I would end up hurting him from the mental games and end up in jail. Thankfully that didn’t happen and he finally went away.

All this to say, this was the start of me giving myself permission to put down the fear, shame and feeling responsible .and understand the importance of creating personal boundaries.

So let’s talk about boundaries for a minute.

We need boundaries in all aspects of our life. Family. Work. Hobbies. Money. Time. I have found that having them actually makes my life easier. Allowing me to say no to some things that are not healthy for me in turn it allows me to say yes to more things that fill me up.

Once I found support with my 12 step group and a counselor, I gained some self awareness of what I am willing to and not willing to put up with in my life. Looking at situations in my life and identify area’s that cause hurt or upset or even where I’m spending time that is not for my greater good. And how to better contain those things.

This is what some of my boundaries look like:

  • separating myself from a friend or group of friends
  • not commenting on a social media on a sensitive topic
  • choosing to end and walk away from an argument gracefully
  • telling someone that I will not discuss something with them
  • telling someone that I will not tolerate behaviors and if they choose to continue, I will ______
  • being careful what and who I share information or feelings with
  • being careful who I spend time with
  • spending time doing healthy activities

Having boundaries I gained value and do not compromise my opinions. I have started to be able to make and reach personal goals which has been difficult to even create a goal in the past. I have learned how to say no and to accept no from others. I have become a better communicator. And I know to get advise from healthy friends.

You can share with someone a boundary, but you don’t always have to. Simply changing your behavior to match the boundary is enough.

Starting small and giving yourself grace is super important. It all takes time to learn how to do this after a life time of not. You build on success. It takes support, courage and practice.

My journey continues…

My Truth

Learn to accept an apology…you are never going to get!

I am a self proclaimed nerd. I am one of those people who really enjoys court shows. I have watched Judge Judy basically since it started and before that I watched The People’s Court. And to be completely transparent, I used to even TiVo them when I had cable. And now I watch them on You Tube….I know there is a group for that. =]

I know they are not really ‘real’ and I know the show pays the verdict. But I am fascinated by human behavior and this for me is just some good ol’ people watching.

The case today on Judge Faith was a divorced couple with a 3 year old child. They have taken each other to court 22 times in the last 2 years. Now come on, there is a TON of hurts happening there that is resulting in resentments and prolonged pain.

Judge Faith said the most beautiful thing to them and it made me pause and be so grateful for recovery and the program that I work, everyday. Because I know firsthand what she was talking about.

She said ‘Revenge is for the weak. Do you understand that? Revenge is for the weak. It takes a strong person to forgive and I am telling you right now, your life will be a lot easier because you both feel like you have been wronged. Your life will be a lot easier, if you learn to accept the apology you are never going to get.’

Amen amen amen! Jumping up and down amen!

There is this amazing thing that happens in recovery. It starts with step 1 but then somewhere during the 4th and 5th steps it happens. Only those who are ready and strong to get real and do the work, benefit from this amazing gift.

Something written on your heart, written on your very soul is healed and you experience this sense of peace. You own your part and identify there’s. This incredible what almost feels like a super human ability to accept an apology that you are never going to get.

If you have done your 4th and 5th step, you know what I’m talking about and if you are not there yet, please know that there is hope to heal old hurts of the past. Something that changed you to your core, with the strength that can only be with God’s hand, once again is changed and healed.

Your life will be a lot easier, if you learn to accept the apology you are never going to get.

My journey to serenity continues…

My Truth

When someone shows you who they are, believe them!

A while back I worked for a bank and worked in the business loan department. I remember people asking why we pull personal credit reports for a business loan. Well the answer is simple, how someone handles their personal finances is also how they handle their business finances. People don’t change their core habits based on business or personal. And if they do, it’s short lived.

I share that because I was watching a You Tube video last night and heard someone say ‘when someone shows you who they are, believe them’. It’s kinda like the credit report thing.

Gosh I wish I applied this with a few people in my past.

Have you ever made excuses for someone’s bad behavior? I sure have. Have you had someone do something many times and you made excuses over and over. Yep, done that too.

If I had paused with the second or even third time or how about the 10th time and I made a different decision rather than making an excuse, I wonder how things would have been different. But….

Please don’t get me wrong, people can change. I’ve seen it first hand. People at their bottom. Life was a hot mess. And they are now a completely different person because they have done the work that comes with recovery.

But stay with me.

That is who they were at that time. And that is who I was at that time too.

He continued to drink, when he told me he wouldn’t. And I continued to make excuses, in hopes that this was the time. And if I walked away too soon, I would 1. Cause him to drink because I didn’t believe in him enough and 2. I would miss his recovery back to who he used to be.

Really now, did I have that type of control? Sounds ridiculous just saying it out loud. Heck no, I didn’t have any control. But my codependent thinking made me think I did.

So I stayed a little too long because I thought that was loving hm. As things spun more out of control And my heart got hurt. So did my wallet. And my other relationships.

But had I not been there, I wouldn’t be here.

Last week, I heard from an old friend. Someone I thought I could have been in a relationship with one day. And with just a few test messages, he showed me who he is. And you know what I did? I believed him. And I asked him not to contact me again. (Now I wish I could say that I was that nice or graceful about it but I’m not sure I was.)

The point is, that I did it. I didn’t make an excuse. He showed me who he is……and I believed him. And I walked away.

Recovery in action! Love small victories!

Feeling grateful tonight for all I have learned in the past few years and most of all, Grateful to God for leading me to Celebrate Recovery so that I can develop a relationship with Him and gain the understanding of why my life was in a ditch and help me get out of it.

My journey to serenity continues….

My Truth

What someone else thinks of me, is none of my business….

I heard this saying very early in my recovery walk. What someone else thinks of me, is none of my business. Clearly it stuck with me. And bubbled back up to the surface recently.

In the beginning, this saying was comforting because I felt judged. I felt like people looked at me and said I can’t believe what she put her family through. But that wasn’t really true in most cases.

Most of the time it was me, making it up. Knowing all I’ve done and the shame it burdened me with. I felt that shame and figured people could see it. Like it was written across my forehead.

But it wasn’t, it was written across the slate of my soul.

But what I found in recovery rooms was grace not judgment. And what I found each time a shared a little bit more of myself was genuine care not disgust. And what I discovered with my sponsor was after knowing all I shared with her, she loved me anyway.

Now I won’t lie, there was that other end of most….which is just a few. They were judgmental. They knew parts of the story and said I was a terrible person. And one even wrote me a letter which included, wouldn’t your parents be disappointed. That right there is guilt and shame. And no one is going guilt and shame me into being someone who I am not. This type of reaction is unwanted, unnecessary, unkind and unhealthy.

I’ve been reminded this week that what someone else thinks of me is none of my business. And all I need to do is keep my focus on God and my deeper understanding of codependency and continue to grow into the person God made me to be.

I am exactly where I was meant to be. Today, in this moment. Mistakes and all. Flaws and all.

So here’s a little something about me. I march to my own drum, always have. Don’t mind marching alone but prefer with a drum line! I think snap chat is fun and silly. And you never know what color my hair might be next time I see you. So here is a few of my favorite snap chat pics

Because Of the work Ive done and continue to do, in the 12 steps God has been rewriting what’s on my soul.,

I’m just going to keep being me.

My journey to serenity continues…

My Truth

It’s not ____’s problem, until it becomes _____’s problem, before then there is…

It’s not ____’s problem, until it becomes ____’s problem, before then there is NOTHING YOU CAN DO!

Have you ever loved an addict? Or even have addictive behaviors yourself?

Many things come to mind that I have said out loud:

• Where is your bottom?

• When is enough?

• Will you stop for me?

• If he loves me, he will stop

• I can soften his fall and he will stop

• I’ll just pretend it’s not happening

But the hard truth is, until the person gets to the point that they have had enough and they want to try something different and only until that happens there is nothing you can do. And trying to do something will only hurt you and them.

Addiction is selfish. It’s all consuming. It is deceptive. Addiction lies.

Addiction may temporarily pause feelings. It may temporarily makes you feel better (but does it). Addiction might even give you comfort. But it lies.

Addiction hurts people. Addiction hurts families. Addiction changes the addict. Addiction ends lives. Addiction lies.

As someone who has loved an addict (several in fact), I hurt myself and the addict when I tried to help when they couldn’t answer yes to the following questions:

• Have you had enough?

• Are you willing to try a new way of living?

So until they can answer those questions YES, there is nothing you can do. Except, to create boundaries around that person to protect yourself and them.

Boundaries are hard but necessary.

I’ll write about boundaries next time, tonight I just wanted to give a voice to the part of me (and maybe you too) that it’s not your fault and you can’t fix someone else’s addiction no matter how much you want to. But there is NOTHING YOU CAN DO for them.

My journey continues…

My Truth

The Giving Tree…a story of codependency.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is one of my all time favorite books from my childhood.

Funny now that I’ve learned so much about codependency that my favorite childhood book is about a selfless over-giver and very willing selfish taker.

I didn’t even make that connection until not long ago I googled codependency T-shirt’s and shirts with the Giving Tree book cover showed up in my search. I’ve had this on my heart to write about ever since.

This is a recap of the story from my memory while I work through my own understanding of its meaning in reference to codependency. And my love for this story.

The story starts off very playful and both the tree and the boy benefit from their relationship. Swing from my branches. Sit in my shade. Eat apples. Gather my leaves and play king of the forest. Good times for sure. The boy even carves ‘Me + T’ in the bark. And the tree was happy.

Then things start to change. The boy is growing up and climbing trees and swings from branches is no longer that cool. Girls and money are much cooler. The boys brings a girl to hang out under the tree and carves ‘Me + Y L’ into the tree. Ouch, that’s got to hurt.

And the boy asked the tree for money. But she’s a tree and contrary to popular belief, money doesn’t grow on trees.

But then she solves his problem by suggesting that he take her apples and sell them in the city and he will have money and be happy. So he does. And the tree was happy. Check- Problem solved.

The boy comes back. The tree is so happy to see him. Come play in my branches she says. He’s too old for that. And now the boys needs a house. Again the tree solves his problem for him by suggesting he cuts off her branches and builds a house. And he does. And the tree was happy. Another problem solved. (He will love me for sure now)

Now really, this is a problem, when you start to put yourself at risk to help someone else AND you pretend to be happy about it. But I digress, let’s get back to the story.

Now the boy stays away for a long time. And comes back and wants to get away from life. The tree once again solves his problem by suggesting he cuts down her trunk and makes a boat and can sail far far away. And he does. And the tree is happy, but not really.

She gave the boy everything she had to give at her expense. Deep Sigh. I have felt like the tree before.

Now the boy stayed away for a long long time. And the tree is now just a stump. The boy came back when he was old man and the tree tells him she has nothing left to give. He says, I just need a place to sit and rest. Well an old stump is a good place to sit and rest she says.

And the story ends with the boy, sitting on the stump resting and you can still just see Me + T on the stump. And the words, and the tree was happy.

Wowzers, I had no idea that this is really what the story was about. This isn’t unconditional love. Or a beautiful example of giving without expecting anything in return. In fact it’s a terrible example of what relationships of any kind look like.

What it is is a fantastic example of a codependent relationship. A giver and a taker. And everyone knows a selfish taker loves an over giver!

At first the relationship seems healthy to both people. Mutual. A partnership. But then she starts solving his problems from him, sometimes before he even asks. She just dives in with the solution. The solution is at her expense. But this is what she knows. It’s how to show someone you love them. She wants to feel love, like it was in the beginning. And he just takes and takes and takes. Until there is nothing left to give.

Even the end kinda makes me mad because she is happy to still, after giving him everything, give him a place to sit and rest. I hope there are fire ants in there…..no no I’m kidding I’m kidding.

And did you catch this, the fact that the tree always calls him boy through out the entire story. Her actions prevented him from growing from his experiences and he remained a boy.

Drop the mic.

My journey continues….

I took this picture of my son several years ago. Completely his idea to get THIS book and go outside to sit and read on the stump in our front yard.

My Truth

Changing how I pray and watching for answers from unexpected places…

Ever felt like prayers are not answered? Ever wondered if prayers are even heard? Ever wonder why it’s taking so long for prayers to be answered?

My experience has been that prayers are answered in God’s PERFECT timing. Never early. Never Late. But I have also learned recently that maybe just maybe I’m asking for the wrong thing and I’m approaching this prayer thing all wrong.

It occurred to me that maybe by me praying for something specific, I am trying to control the outcome of something. That would then mean that I’m not really trusting God and his plan for me. Why am I feeding Him the answers. He knows. He know every hair on my head, every misstep I’m going to make, why am I telling Him how I want something to be resolved.

Sooooo, I’ve changed how I pray. There’s a lot more prayers like…..God you know the situation and what is best for everyone involved, thy will be done. Or even that Carrie Underwood song Jesus take the wheel comes to mind.

This has taken me out of it. And when I started to do this, I have felt lighter, not so heavy hearted. And amazingly, things have started to happen. Things that were bothering me, are still happening but not bothering me at all anymore.

I’m reminded of this story…..not sure where it’s from but some wise story teller shared this….

A fellow was stuck on his rooftop in a flood. He was praying to God for help. Soon a man in a rowboat came by and the fellow shouted to the man on the roof, “Jump in, I can save you.”

The stranded fellow shouted back, “No, it’s OK, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me.”

So the rowboat went on.

Then a motorboat came by. “The fellow in the motorboat shouted, “Jump in, I can save you.”

To this the stranded man said, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.” So the motorboat went on.

Then a helicopter came by and the pilot shouted down, “Grab this rope and I will lift you to safety.” To this the stranded man again replied, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.”

So the helicopter reluctantly flew away.

Soon the water rose above the rooftop and the man drowned. He went to Heaven. He finally got his chance to discuss this whole situation with God, at which point he exclaimed, “I had faith in you but you didn’t save me, you let me drown. I don’t understand why!”

To this God replied, “I sent you a rowboat and a motorboat and a helicopter, what more did you expect?”

This story illustrates that sometime the answer is not what we expect. It’s not a big party. It’s doesn’t have a sign to say this is it. That sometimes it’s a rowboat, when we thought a yacht was coming. Or it’s a motorboat when we expected a cruise ship. Or it’s a helicopter when we wanted a jet plane. Or sometimes it is the rowboat when we thought no one cared. Or sometimes it is the motorboat when we thought no one noticed and sometimes it is the helicopter when we though we were not deserving.

Answers come in unexpected places. A text from a friend. A work client saying something nice. The point of view from a kid, if you just listen.

In the serenity prayer it says….accepting hardships as a pathway to peace. And C S Lewis said ‘hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny’

Will there be hardships? I guarantee there will be. And will I end up where I think I will? Probably not. But where you will end up is better then you ever imagined.

My journey to serenity continues….

My Truth

Guilt and Shame…

Something happened last month that still surprises me when I think about it because I reacted to it differently than I ever had before. It was in that moment that I realized that I can recover from codependency behaviors and break this cycle that I have lived most of my life.

In the past, this person knew all the right buttons to push and knew exactly what to say to bring me to my knees and ‘win’ a disagreement. This person thrives on disagreements and tends to like to use big words to show me he is smarter than I am.

I have little contact with this person anymore but we do need to communicate at times.

We had a meeting scheduled and the night before the meeting, I was hammered with text messages about several things out of my control and frankly out of his control too. These messages included bringing up old situations which had long resolved themselves but not in the way he wanted. As well as why didn’t I notice this or why wasn’t I paying attention to that. And then THE ONE CARD that has always worked in the past was thrown at me.

And my reply….. You will not guilt and shame me into an argument with you.

And the messages stopped.

The meeting happened but before the meeting the same questions were asked and I said, this is not the time or place. If you’d like to meet for coffee, I’ll be happy to talk about it.

And after the meeting, it started again. And I said again….You will not guilt and shame me into an argument with you. I’m not trying to guilt or shame you he said….really I said and gave him examples of all the things he said or asked my those two days by text or in person. Those aren’t trying to guilt or shame me?

Tools I have learned because of recovery and not only learned but have put into practice are amazing.

The tit for tat and keeping score that worked for so long to get me to say or do what he wanted, no longer works. And taking a new approach from listening and love and support, works so much better for everyone involved.

One of my hangups is not being heard. Especially with this person. He has run me over time and time again because that is how we related to each other. But when I listened for what’s really going on and pointed it out. It has changed everything for me.

Arguing with someone not in recovery is hard because their version of the truth is clouded by their addiction. And it’s not just drugs or alcohol. It could be gambling or having to be right or perfect. It could even be Anger. Whatever it is, I don’t have to continue to react the way I always had. I can tell my truth and end the argument and pray that one day he will be get past his habits and hangups too.

I never learned a healthy way to disagree. Until I worked my 12 step program. I never knew how to be heard. Until I worked my 12 step program. I didn’t know a better way……until now.

12 step has changed my life for the good. And working a Christian based 12 step reminds me that all things work together for my greater good.

My journey to serenity continues….

My Truth

The Greatest Showman…

I know it’s been a while since I have written. Life sometimes gets in the way and while there has been things I’ve wanted to write about, my tank has just been empty.

This post my opinion and observations from the movie The Greatest Showman. And while I love a good musical, my thought is they could have easily pulled this off not being a musical. But the soundtrack is great and I adore the song This is Me.

If you have not seen it, I’d highly recommend that you do. This post will likely have some spoilers so you can choose if you keep reading or not. #spoileralert

I go to a Christian based 12 step group. It’s for anyone with hurts, hang ups or habits that they want to change. And how The Greatest Showman told PT Barnum’s story is a perfect example of someone with hurts who could benefit from this 12 step program, like the one I attend. I love seeing recovery in unexpected places!

PT Barnum was born the son of a tailor. Poor. And treated that way from the wealthy clients his father worked for. Seems he was around 14 when his father died and from what the movie shows PT survived by selling newspapers and stealing food from time to time. (This would have been around 1826)

As PT has several types of jobs as a young man. And in 1834 he embarked in an entertainment career.

Now in the beginning it was difficult to get people to buy into his ‘freak show’ but he was a showman and played on people’s natural curiosity.

Hiring ‘freaks’ was very strange at that time. Some would say cruel to make money off them. As said in the movie, when PT was talking to a little person, they will laugh at me. PT replied kid they are laughing anyway so you may as well get paid for it.

It was interesting to be reminded that PT gave the people in his show a purpose. Which then became a home. And a community. A family. And as one of the characters said, you love us and many of us grew up with even our mothers not loving us.

Now I said that PT is a perfect example of someone having a hurt that recovery can help heal and this is what I meant by that. PT was treated badly by people of wealth. He carried this need to be liked by the wealthy from his childhood. And as his show grew in popularity, he wanted to draw the wealthy to his shows as well but they were not interested in him or his show.

So he’s focus changed and he hired a theatre producer to join him with the purpose of showing him how to get the wealthy to his shows.

He was able to get an invitation to England and perform for Queen Victoria. This opened doors to other royalty and an European tour. Where he met Jenny Lind, a Swedish Nightingale, at the height of her popularity.

He hired her to tour in the US and she gave 93 concerts. Now the movie tells one story of why they stopped working together and I could not confirm that story so will just leave it that they made each other a lot of money and went their separate ways.

The movie depicts that while the Jenny Lind success was happening and PT was finally feeling liked by the wealthy, things back home were falling apart a bit. As his attention was really focused on the wrong things.

PT wife asks his why it’s so important to him to be loved by the wealthy? To what end? Don’t you see the people here, close to you love you and that’s what matters?

Things fall apart, his wife leaves him, the museum is burned down and Jenny Lind quits. He has nothing. It’s his rock bottom.

He ends up returning to his roots and starts over. And rebuilds the life he has with those who loved him most.

I just can’t help but see how this need from childhood, carried through to adulthood, impacted how PT behaved in trying to fill that need. It’s exactly like any addiction or poor behavior.

Had helped me look at myself again and understand just a little bit more about my own codependent behaviors.

In what ways have I used a need that I have and filling it either all the wrong things or tried so hard to fill it and then realized it wasn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

Have there been times that I used relationships in an unhealthy way? Have I used food to fill a need that didn’t require food? Have I ever used alcohol to fill a need even if it was temporary? Have I used helping others, as a way to avoid my own issues? You betcha I have. But not so much anymore, and that feels amazing!

Thanks for reading….my journey to serenity continues….

My Truth

What Does Recovery Look Like…

Everyone has heard WWJD What Would Jesus Do. It’s a ‘filter’ that some people use decide how to handle something or like a barometer to see how your decision measures up to the ultimate good decision maker.

Addictive behaviors are often centered around feelings, either a way to cope with feelings or a way to avoid feelings. For example, I don’t to feel hurt, (Not sure who does but stay with me) so when I feel hurt, I turn to enter your vice of choice here, to no longer feel that way or I’m not going to allow myself to hurt so I turn to my vice here.

While working a program, I started to use the WDRLL filter. Never heard of it? Well that’s because I just made it up. The What Does Recovery Look Like Filter has helped me navigate some situation.

Recently one of my sons got a card from an estranged family member. One would have hoped it said an encouraging word or just I’m here for you. Something positive. But it didn’t. Instead, it was selfish and guilty driven.

At first I wanted to blast this person directly and then indirectly on social media. I was fired up and feeling hurt. Hurt that someone would treat my son this way, hurt that they don’t get how hurtful their words are to a teenager and hurt that can’t control any of it.

But I took a deep breath.

And I took that hurt and looked at the situation using my newly defined WDRLL What Does Recovery Look Like filter and I used it as a teachable moment.

My sons and I had a conversation. We talked about how he felt. We talked about responding or not and what would be gained in responding in a healthy way to an unhealthy person and we talked about what do we do with these feelings. It truly was a teachable moment.

One of the best things as a result of me being in recovery from codependency, is I’m teaching my family recovery too, so that maybe they don’t choose enter your vice of choice here but choose a healthy way to cope.

My journey to serenity continues….

My Truth

Who Does God Says I Am???

Ever since I wrote my last post, A Fork In The Road, there has been one line repeating in my head. Nudging me to write more about it. Look that up, go deeper there.

“Living out who God says I am.”

So who DOES God say that I am??? Well I looked it up and this is what I found.

  • He doesn’t see me as less worthly because I am blessed
  • I am loved because I am His daughter.
  • He doesn’t see me as inferior because I am chosen
  • He doesn’t see me as a sinner because I am forgiven
  • He doesn’t see me as hurting because I am favored
  • I am not alone because He sends other to join my journey with me.
  • He doesn’t see me as rejected because I am accepted
  • He doesn’t see me as flawed because I am made in God’s image
  • He doesn’t see me as lonely because I am His child
  • He doesn’t see me as a loser because in Him I am victorious
  • He doesn’t see me as weak because I am strengthened by Him
  • He doesn’t see me as damaged because I am healed
  • I am new because I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ
  • He doesn’t see the chains that hold me back because I am delivered
  • He doesn’t see me as ransomed because I am set free
  • I am redeemed because His son died for me.
  • He doesn’t see me as broken because I am complete
  • I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made
  • And I am a masterpiece

The Bible is the one book that the author loves the reader. And if these words I found are a representation of WHO GOD SAYS I AM…..I need to read this list everyday to remind myself that no matter what others say, no matter what others may think of me…..this is my truth of who I am.

My journey continues…

My Truth

A fork in the road

I taught the lesson on Grace last night at my Celebrate Recovery meeting. I heard this story on a podcast for the same lesson and adapted it for the group. And I’d like to share it with you. 

There is this girl that went on a journey. She goes walking on a path, trying her best to be a good person. Life was hard sometimes but over all life is good.

And then she comes to a fork in the road. And she had to make a choice.

One way is clear and easily passable.


The other road seems to be less traveled and on the surface looks hard. She has to decide which way to go.

There is a sign that says This Way to Please God and the other sign says This Way to Trust God. Hmmm, she thinks, well I want to make God happy so I’m going to continue on the path to please God.
 

 She starts walking down that road, and she comes a house with a sign on the door that says ‘striving to be all that God wants me to be’ YES!, I made it. That sounds pretty good. So she goes inside. And all the people there were happy and welcome her and say ‘it’s go good to see you’. And then they go off to do other things. ‘Hmmm, I’m not sure how this works so I’ll just watch what they are doing.’

After the first how are you doing, they are not really engaging with her. Some disappeared for a little while and then came back. She notices the happy exterior, smiling when looked at but when no one is looking, they were not smiling. She looks a little closer and then she notices that everyone has masks on. What she is seeing isn’t really who they are but the idea that they have to do to please God.

So many times I have followed that thinking and I strive to be everything that God wants me to be.

I have gotten caught up because my basic belief system is that I am not loveable and that I am not enough. So I must perform for people to love me and I must perform for God to love me. And so I do. I try to please people and make people like me. And I try to please God.

We live in space where everything has rules and checking off boxes. I try to live by the do’s and don’ts. But I find myself falling short.

I had rules at home growing up. Like, you have to be home when the Church bells ring. Or Did anyone else have Hewho for dinner? Well Hewho in my house was he who is hungry fixes it themselves and cleans up after. And there unspoken rules too. Like not talking about certain things. 

Rules at school. As someone who had learning disabilities, I learned to keep up by cheating. And I was good at it because I never got caught. But I was falling short.

Rules at work. I have always worked in places that I help create processes and create rules on how to handle situations. But I make mistakes and I fall short.

Rules with friendships. Helping to fix problems. Trying to meet everyone’s needs and pleasing them. I have fallen short there too by getting overly involved.

And then there is God’s rules, of going to church and following the 10 commandments. Maybe if I prayed enough, God would be pleased. Maybe if I checking off boxes of His law, God will be pleased. But all of these things come down to me performing well enough, how good I could be as a person. Me striving to be all that God wants me to be.

I check off the boxes and following the rules. I try to live by the do’s and don’ts in all parts of my life. But I find myself falling short.

No matter how well I preformed, I was standing in a room of good intentions. I was standing in a room that I would always let God down. I would let others down and I would let myself down. Because I cannot live up to perfection. I’m tired of failing and I just can’t keep this mask on.

Hmmmmm, what did the sign say back at the fork in the road? Oh yeah, This Way to Trust God. So I’m going back to the fork in the road and take that road. I’m don’t really know what this means but I am going to go down this path of trusting God.

I start going down this new path. It’s less traveled and there are roots to trip on and overgrown brush in the way but i continue. And I start to feel like I don’t have to white knuckle life anymore because I am just trusting God and trusting His word that all things work together for my greater good.

I travel down the road and come to clearing and I find a new house. The sign on the door that reads “Living out who God says I am.” WOW. So I go in that house. And I am again greeted with people. They are not hiding. Some are smiling and some aren’t. But you can see there is genuine joy in their heart. Even in their sorrow, or pain or current trial, their heart is full of love and joy.

And then she realizes she is in the room of GRACE. They didn’t care if I followed the rule or checked off all the boxes. They cared that I just trusted God on my journey. It didn’t matter how good or bad I was.

This journey takes humility. The humility of taking off that mask. To show the world who we really are. 

That is what it takes to get into this room of grace. We have already 

  • stepped out of denial
  • realizing we have a mask on
  • we have surrendered
  •  made a fearless inventory 
  • we confess that inventory 
  • we made a list of persons we harmed 
  • we made a list of those to forgiven who have harmed us.

And now we are in the room of grace.

Now let’s look at the word GRACE.

G is for God’s Gift. Grace is Gods freely given gift. You can’t buy it, and you don’t get it by check off boxes.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Cor 12:9

We do this every time we introduce ourselves. Hi I’m Mary grateful believer in Jesus Christ and I struggle with codependency. I gladly now boast about my weaknesses.

In the past I preformed for God to love me and today I have a relationship with Him. He gave me strength to make amends and offer forgiveness.

The R in grace is for Received by faith.

No matter how hard we work, we cannot earn our way into heaven. Only by professing our faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior can we experience His grace and have eternal life.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not for yourselves, it is a gift of God not by works so that no one can boast.

Romans 5:2 Through whom we have gained access by faith into the grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope for the glory of God.

 I kinda love that word boast. So the bible is pretty clear on those couple of passages. Don’t boast about what you are doing but rather boast about our weakness and hope.

The A in grace is for: We are Accepted by God’s love. God loved you and me while we were still sinning.

Romans 5:8 God demonstrates his own love for us in this. While we were still sinners Christ died for us.

Ephesians 2:5 reminds us that though we are spiritually dead because of the things we did against God, he gave us new life with Christ. You have been saved by God’s grace.

I don’t know about you but I know that there have been times that I didn’t feel that  I deserve God’s love But here is the good news, HE accepts me in spite of myself. He sees all my failures and loves me anyway. And the same is for you as well.

The C in grace is Christ paid the price.

Jesus died on the cross so that all our sins are forgiven. He paid the price. Over 2000 year ago, He died for me. For sins that had not even made yet but He knew I would. He sacrificed Himself for us so that we may be with Him forever. Jesus paid the price and separated us from our sins as far as the east is from the west.

When we accept Jesus dying on the cross we are made a new creation. We can rely on Gods strength and power to enable us to forgive those who have hurt us. We can set aside our selfishness and speak the truth in love. We focus only on our part in making aments or offering our forgiveness.

Ephesians 1:7 In Christ we are set free by the blood of his death, and so we have forgiveness of sins. How rich is God’s grace.

The final letter in grace is E. God’s grace is an Everlasting gift.

Once you accept that Jesus Christ is your lord and savior, God’s grace is forever.

2 Thessalonians 2:16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father encourage you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say. God loved us and through his grace he gave us a good hope and encouragement that continues forever.

 I’d like to close with some final thoughts. That no matter what step you are on. No matter where you are tonight. Know that God loves you. Choose the path of Trusting God that leads you to “Living out who God says you are” and know that you are standing in the room of grace. That you do not have to check off boxes or perform for his love. Just trust him. Know that in your weakness, He is strong.

Thank you for letting me share. 

My journey to serenity continues…