Working the Steps: Step One

We admitted we were powerless over our dependencies–that our life had become unmanageable.

In October 2004, in a last ditch effort to deal with my addiction, my husband, Bill, asked me to go with him to a couples seminar. Dr. Doug Weiss from Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs was to be speaking on his book Intimacy ~ A 100 Day Guide to Lasting Relationships.

Reluctantly I agreed.

With my defenses up, I was nervous, but the small group of couples was friendly and inviting. Dr.Weiss spoke from his heart about how he had grown up with a sex addict for a mom. Because of her addiction he was shuffled back and forth from her home to foster homes. Through his mother’s bad influence Dr.Weiss became addicted to sex and pornography at a very young age.

Transparent and real, Dr.Weiss seemed to understand the pain I had. As I listened, I realized for the first time he was talking about me. I was just like his mom.

I was a sex addict.

When Bill and I returned for the Saturday morning session I was anxious to tell Dr.Weiss I wanted to go to Colorado for a 3-Day Intensive Counseling Session. I left the seminar scared but hopeful because I knew help was available.

After all the sex, drugs, alcohol, running away, therapy, medication and jail time; I was finally able to see the truth of my own addiction.

It was a miracle. It was the beginning of my recovery.

The first step is always the hardest. It can be scary and humiliating to admit powerlessness, especially for someone who likes to be in control. And all addicts think they have everything under control.

We must come to a realization that not only are we powerless over our addiction, but over ourselves as sinners. We can’t do anything without the healing power of Jesus Christ.

I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. No matter which way I turn, I can’t make myself do right. I want to, but I can’t… Oh what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. ~ Romans 7:15; 18; 24-25 NLT

You may want to pray something like this…
 Denial has kept me from seeing how powerless I am and how unmanageable my life has become. Today, I ask for help to deal with my addiction / co-dependency.  

Declarations not Resolutions!

This time of year there’s a lot of talk about New Year’s Resolutions. Some people take them seriously–others not so much. 

With the traditional resolution route we are depending on our own discipline and will power to make changes occur. By speaking declarations based on God’s Word we are depending on His power and strength to bring the needed changes about.

For several years I’ve been speaking the declarations listed below and have seen marvelous changes take place as a result.

Start today! Speak the creative power of God’s Word over your life and you too will see incredible changes before you know it!

Declare Your Blessings!

  • I declare I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and I have a clear direction for my life.
  • I declare I am blessed with creativity, courage, ability and abundance.
  • I declare I am blessed with a strong will, with self-control and self-discipline.
  • I declare I am blessed with a great family, good friends, with good health, with faith, favor and fulfillment.
  • I declare I am blessed with success, with supernatural strength, with promotion, and divine protection.
  • I declare I am blessed with an obedient heart and with a positive outlook on life.
  • I declare any curse that’s ever been spoken over me, any negative evil word that’s ever come against me is broken right now.
  • I declare I am blessed in the city; I’m blessed in the country. I’m blessed when I go in and when I come out.
  • I declare everything I put my hands to will prosper and succeed.
  • I declare I AM BLESSED in Jesus’ name!***

***Excerpt from Joel Osteen’s Hope for Today Bible

Lust :: Warning

Lust is our warning that danger is ahead.

In today’s media-driven, pornography-accepting world, you don’t hear much about lust. Most people won’t admit they do it, much less admit they have a problem with it.

When I was an active sex addict lust ruled my life. It didn’t matter what sparked it… once the idea or image was in my mind, the game was on. And sure as the sun comes up, trouble was ahead. It might not show up today or even tomorrow, but it was coming.

 …don’t think you’ve preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed. Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. ~ Matthew 5:28 MSG

Some will argue that it’s alright to break God’s rules as long as no one gets hurt. But the truth is, someone always gets hurt. God doesn’t have rules to keep us from having a good time, but to help us not destroy our lives. Just like a loving parent puts boundaries on a young child for their safety; God’s rules are for our protection.

Take it from someone who knows from experience… Lust is dangerous! From a generational perspective, the lust my father gave in to when I was a child had serious effects on me that I still deal with today. Lust was at the foundation of many bad things that happened in my marriage and my family.

We must beware when attracted to another person we aren’t married to. If given in to, our desires may lead us somewhere we don’t want to go. Lust is a warning sign from God. To stay strong, we must immediately ask God to change our desires before we are drawn into sin.  

So anyone who thinks they are standing strong should be careful that they don’t fall. The only temptations that you have are the same temptations that all people have. But you can trust God. He will not let you be tempted more than you can bear. But when you are tempted, God will also give you a way to escape that temptation. Then you will be able to endure it. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 ERV

Stay Strong by The Newsboys…

Working the Steps: Step 12

December… the perfect month to focus on Step 12:

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

We are all recovering from something: hurts, habits or hang-ups. And if we’re recovering, that means someone helped us overcome our problem. And if it was Christ, we must tell others.

When I was homeschooling my children in the 90’s we had The 21 Rules of This House by Gregg Harris on our refrigerator. (still do by the way) One of my favorites is Rule #11: When we have something nice to share, we share it.

What better gift to give someone who’s hurting than your story out of bondage into freedom! 

This Christmas season, give hope to someone; take an opportunity to share what God has done in your life. I believe people are more receptive to The Good News this time of year than any other. 

For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, and wrong… slaves to passions and pleasures of all kinds… But when the kindness and love of God our Savior was revealed, he saved us… God poured out the Holy Spirit abundantly on us through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that by his grace we might be put right with God and come into possession of the eternal life we hope for. This is a true saying. ~Titus 3:3-8

Photo Courtesy 123RF Stock Photo

Truth or Consequences

What is driving your life?

                     

                                         
There’s no doubt we can get our circumstances in a pickle by making bad choices. Often we allow our lives to be driven by the consequences of those mistakes.
 
I made a host of bad choices that kept my life in a mess for many years. Even though I had turned my life back over to God and was living a sober lifestyle, I still had to suffer many consequences of my past actions.

We must make the choice to live according to the Truth of God’s Word rather than be in the pit of consequence despair.

Therefore since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. he was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. ~ Hebrews 12:1-3

As the author of Hebrews tells us, Jesus faced consequences of sin, albeit not His, but ours. Yet as He suffered, He focused on the prize ahead. So we should not look back with regret at the things that have brought us to this place of painful consequences. But rather see the truth that these consequences are making us stronger for the race ahead…

Working the Steps: Step 11

In preparation for Thanksgiving it’s appropriate that we focus on Step 11:


We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will and the power to carry it out.

Many of us struggle with the holiday season; fighting through memories of bad choices that have left us alone, even estranged from loved ones. It is in these times that Step 11 can be most helpful.

Seeking God through prayer and meditation on His Word we will find the strength to press on…

Know Your Enemy

To live a victorious life we must know our enemy and understand our personal weaknesses.

Military leaders study the strategies of their enemy as they prepare to defeat them. Sports coaches watch recordings of the opposing team to learn their strengths and weaknesses. We, too, must know our enemy and where he is going to try and defeat us.

Most of us who are followers of Christ know who our enemy is. But often we are unprepared for his attacks because we don’t understand our own personal weaknesses.

It helps to spend time reflecting on life to see where we failed and how the enemy got the best of us in the past. Then, with God’s help, as we recognize theses areas of weakness we can guard from future attacks.

Photo courtesy 123RF Stock Photos

Fill Me Up God

If you, like me, have been running on empty, join me as I soak in God’s presence…

Stop what you’re doing. Read the lyrics, click on the music video below, lay down on the floor and together let’s allow God to fill us up…

You provide the fire
I’ll provide the sacrifice
You provide the Spirit
I will open up inside

Fill me up, God
Fill me up, God
Fill me up, God
Fill me up

Love of God…overflow
Permeate…all my soul

Photo Courtesy of 123RF Stock Photos

Running on Empty

This blog ministry is dedicated to reaching women who are hurting in some way.

I’m struggling to find words that will minister to you because I’m in need myself.

These last two months have been incredibly busy for our family and business. All good, but none the less, I pushed myself past physical, mental and emotional exhaustion to complete spiritual emptiness.

Instead of sharing lame words of encouragement I will ask for your prayers.

Photo Courtesy of 123RF Stock Photos

Working the Steps: Step 10

As a part of my morning devotions I focus on a particular step as it relates to the month on the calendar.

October is Step 10…

 Continued to take personal inventory and, when we were wrong, promptly admitted it. 

Anyone who has planted a garden knows the work required to keep it healthy. We must remove rocks and weeds, nourish the soil, plant the seeds, water them and then guard them from bugs.  Most gardens once belonged to the weeds first before we began planting other flowers or vegetation. And those weeds want their space back and are willing to fight for it. Continuous care is needed to keep the garden free of weeds that will take over if allowed.

The life of recovery is much like that garden. Our lives were once ruled by weeds, our addictive habits and unhealthy behaviors. But Praise God, He has planted a new garden in our life. He pulled all the weeds and instead has planted some beautiful things in their place. He has used the 12 Steps as tools and has showed us how to do things differently. But we mustn’t let our guard down. As long as we live, we will have the weeds, our past behaviors, trying to creep back in. That is why Step 10 is critical. We must be diligent and continually take personal inventory to see if we have allowed any old habits to sneak back into our lives.*

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:12

*Excerpts taken from The Twelve Steps for Christians.

Photo courtesy of 123RF Stock Photos