Calming Our Fear Saturday, Feb 11 2012 

Fear is usually present in the lives of adult children. We are afraid of rejection, abandonment, abuse and deprivation; we might even develop an array of phobias. We may have a fear of failure based on having been told repeatedly that we will never amount to anything. This fear stopped many of us from believing that the future held any promise.

Others avoid success because they feel a need to live up to unrealistic expectations. We may resist accepting responsibilities that we believe are beyond our ability.

Our concerns can be faced and subdued as we experience God’s perfect love for us. In Christ, there is no fear of rejection, abandonment, failure, or the future. As the child within us is nurtured by the Holy Spirit’s loving and gentle touch, our misgivings can be dispelled. We are children of God, so we do not need to be afraid. He is always with us, guiding and protecting us. Rather than fear God, we can respect and rely on his presence in our lives.

Our reverence for God can gradually overshadow our fears from the past and give us hope for the future. Then we can say with David, “The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?”

Prayer: Ease my fears, Lord, and help me to trust and rest in you.

-Ron Ross- excerpt taken from Psalms 27,  NIV Recovery Devotional Bible

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Learning to wait Tuesday, Nov 29 2011 

The people who are most successful at living and loving are those who can learn to wait successfully. Not many people enjoy waiting or learning patience. Yet waiting can be a powerful tool that will help us accomplish much good.

We cannot always have what we want when we want it. For different reasons, what we want to do, have, be, or accomplish is not available to us now. But there are things we could not do or have today, no matter what, that we can have in the future. Today, we would make ourselves crazy trying to accomplish what will come naturally and with ease later.

We can trust that all is on schedule. Waiting time is not wasted time. Something is being worked out – in us, in someone else, in the universe.

We don’t have to put our life on hold while we wait. We can direct our attention elsewhere; we can practice acceptance and gratitude in the interim, we can trust that we do have a life to live while we are waiting – then we go about living it.

Deal with your frustration and impatience, but learn how to wait. The old saying, “You can’t always get what you want” isn’t entirely true. Often in life, we can get what we want – especially the desires of our heart – if we can learn to wait.

Prayer: God, I am willing to learn the art of patience. If I am feeling powerless because I want something to happen and I am not in control of the timing, help me to trust you and learn to wait.

-Melody Beattie- excerpt taken from 2 Peter 3:8-9  NIV Recovery Devotional Bible

Gratitude Monday, Oct 10 2011 

Say thank you, until you mean it. Thank God for everyone and everything sent your way.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. It turns problems into gifts, failures into successes, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. It can turn an existence into a real life, and disconnected situations into important and beneficial lessons. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

Gratitude make things right.

Gratitude turns negative energy into positive energy. There is no situation or circumstance so small or large that it is not susceptible to gratitude’s power. We can start with who we are and what we have today, apply gratitude, then let it work its magic.

Say thank you, until you mean it. If you say it long enough, you will believe it.

Prayer: God, help me to shine the transforming light of gratitude on all the circumstances of my life.

-Melody Beattie- excerpt taken from 1 Thessalonians 1:2  NIV Recovery Devotional Bible

The Gift of Grace Friday, Sep 16 2011 

If I could, I would take charge of my life and make it turn out just right. I can’t. I have tried and failed repeatedly.

Fully functional people are organized, disciplined and able to get what they want out of life. Organization is out of the question for me; the very idea of discipline makes me feel guilty. I have broken virtually every resolution I ever made. And as for getting what I want out of life, what I want most is love, and love comes only as a gift. All I can “do” is be willingly, actively open to receiving the gift.

I know love is a gift because I have experienced more love in my life than I could ever have deserved or earned. I cannot take credit for any of it. It is all grace. I have no doubt that a loving presence has abided with me over the years, mysteriously weaving love’s presence through my aspirations and failures.

Still, I cannot shake the feeling that I should have done it all by myself. Some tight, addicted voice inside me keeps saying, “You should be on top of things, in control; it is a cop-out to depend on grace.” The voice is old and empty; I know it is not from my living heart. But it is powerful. For every failure in my life, I feel either guilt or shame, and sometimes both. And it is all right.

It is better than all right, for it has been more my failures than my successes that have opened me to love. When I find myself being overconcerned with efficiency, I turn my attention to the mysterious, amazing grace that has seen me through all my dysfunctions. Sometimes I turn there because I need help. Sometimes I turn in gratitude. But mostly, my turning toward grace is a simple, wordless act of love.

Prayer: God, help me to loosen my compulsive grip on myself, and teach me to receive your grace.

-Gerald G. May- excerpt taken from Galations 2:20-21  NIV Recovery Devotional Bible

Our great guide Thursday, Jun 2 2011 

How like children we are. In all our great plan-making, God is the one who guides our steps. As children hold tightly to Daddy’s fingers when they learn to walk, so are we learning to see how God gently but firmly guides us. Our plan may have been to cross a dangerous place, but our wise parent led us around it. Our weak, unstable baby steps were supported by the loving and strong hand of our parent.

Recovery is much like that. We see the destination and we begin the journey, and in our ignorance and innocence we think we know best how to arrive there. Behind it all is the Father of recovery, who is patiently directing us, opening this door, closing that avenue. When we realize this, we find it easier to relax when obstacles block our way. We know that God is in charge, and we can wait for the next move.

When children grow stronger and their steps are no longer unsure, they may excitedly run ahead before they are ready. When this happens to us in recovery, it’s like turning onto a dead-end street; before long we’ll have to stop and backtrack. Allowing God to direct is always the easier, more direct route that ensures our growth.

Prayer: Lord, direct my path and help me depend on your guidance.

In his heart a man plans his course,

but the LORD determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9

-Barbara Stephens- excerpt taken from Proverbs 16:9  NIV Recovery Devotional Bible

On the side of truth Wednesday, Jun 1 2011 

For many years a professor started his first class by putting two figures on a blackboard:

4

2

“What’s the solution?”  he would ask. A student would say six. Another would say two, but the teacher would ignore them. Finally several would call out eight, and he would shake his head. The professor would then say, “All of you failed to ask the key question. What is the problem? Unless you know what the problem is, you cannot possibly find the answer.” Without a plus sign, a minus sign, a multiplication or division sign, the numbers cannot be computed.

Our life in recovery is exactly the same. We need to spend most of our time defining our problems and taking stock of our situation. That’s why we make and take our inventories – so we can discover what’s really going on, so we can be “on the side of truth.” Until we know what’s happening and what we need to know, we are stymied.

Problems are usually more complicated than we realize. Life and recovery are complex. As H.L. Mencken said, “For every human problem there is a solution that is simple, neat and wrong.” We never know all we need to know. Self-discovery is an adventure into an ongoing mystery. God is our problem and our solution, and there is nothing simple and neat with him. But he is always on the side of truth.

Prayer: Keep me humble, Lord. Don’t let me get too proud and cocky. Help me to listen to your voice of truth, and may I always keep on learning.

-A. Philip Parham- excerpt taken from John 18:37  NIV Recovery Devotional Bible

Always within reach Sunday, May 29 2011 

Two ancient sayings remind us of the power of an aching heart. One is an inscription found on sundials: “Without the shadow – nothing.” The other is from an unknown author:

” The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears.”

Nothing is more familiar to the recovering Christian than sorrow and grief. The knowldege of repeated failure, of continual mistakes, of past broken promises – all are a heavy load of mournful shame and sorrow. Yet our grief is not to be given permanent stature; our tears are to be cleansing showers, not an endless flood.

Mother Teresa had a comforting bookmark with this inscription to help heal her grief:

Let nothing disturb thee;

Let nothing dismay thee;

All things pass;

God never changes.

Patience attains

All that it strives for.

He who has God

Finds he lacks nothing.

God alone suffices.

God is the anchor that always holds, the solid foundation that never weakens, the companion who never leaves us. Our Lord, Jesus, knows the agony of the broken heart. He knows our pain, and when we hold his hand, he understands and holds us safe and heals our hurt. His hand is always within reach. All we have to do is grasp it.

Prayer: Dear Christ, I know your open hand is always stretched out to mine. Help me to clasp your open hand, especially in times of sorrow.

-A. Philip Parham- excerpt taken from John 16:20-22  NIV Recovery Devotional Bible

Giving back what you’ve received Friday, May 27 2011 

The more you grow spiritually, the more you will want to serve others in ways that enhance their spirituality. Service may mean a commitment to worshiping in a way that fits your own beliefs. You may want to go back to your old church and religious denomination. If you return, you will have a new outlook and greater awareness. If your preference is a church that emphasizes the liturgy and sacraments, you can participate in the commemoration of the mighty acts of God as you understand God. You can exprerience yourself as part of the past and part of a living tradition.

Service also means caring for others and giving back what you’ve received. The Twelfth Step urges us to carry our spirtual awakening to others who suffer the “toxic shame” of a dysfuntional background. All of us who have come out of hiding need to bring the light to others. Carrying the message is done by modeling, not by moralizing. It is done by those who “walk the walk as they talk the talk.” This means that there are no gurus. There are only those who have walked a little further down the path.

Service and love for others flow directly from service and love for ourselves. I love the motto of the Dominican priests: “To hand on to others what you yourself have contemplated.” We truly cannot give what we haven’t got. We cannot teach our children self-valuing if we continue to be shame-based.

Service is a true mark and fruit of spiritual growth.

Prayer: As I grow in my recovery and my faith, Lord, help me to give to others out of the riches you’ve given me.

-John Bradshaw- excerpt taken from John 13:12-17  NIV Recovery Devotional Bible

The need to grieve Friday, May 20 2011 

At the beginning of a class in college, a professor asked about a missing student. He was told that the absent student’s mother had just died. When the professor asked for a show of hands of those who had lost a parent, several hands went up. “You students please write notes of comfort,” the professor said. “You know what it’s all about.” Loss must be experienced in order to be shared, and it must be shared in order to be healed.

A little boy made a special Christmas ornament for his parents. On the way out of school with his gift, he dropped it and it shattered on the pavement. He immediately screamed with grief at his loss. His father rushed to his side and said, “Hush, Son, be quiet. It’s all right. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter.” But his mother, more acquainted with such deep moments, took the sobbing boy in her arms and said, “Oh, it does matter, it matters a great deal.” And she wept for her son’s loss, adding her tears to his.

Grief is a profound part of recovery and new life. Tears of regret, remorse and despair water the roots of love and of life itself. To deny and avoid the hurt and pain of life’s losses is to negate life’s importance. To fail to cry is to fail to live.

Prayer: Jesus, as you grieved over your friend Lazarus, allow my tears of grief to flow as well – for my own losses and those of others.

-A.Philip Parham- excerpt taken from John 11:32-36  NIV Recovery Devotional Bible

What God really wants for us Thursday, May 19 2011 

Each day, ask God what God wants us to do today; then ask God to help. A simple request, but so profound and far-reaching it can take us anywhere we need to go.

Listen: All that we want, all that we need, all the answers, all the help, all the good, all the love, all the healing, all the wisdom, all the fulfillment of desire is embodied in this simple request. We need say no more than thank you.

This Plan God has made for us is not one of deprivation. It is one of fullness, joy and abundance.

Walk into it. See for yourself.

Prayer: Show me what you want me to do today, God, and then help me do it.

-Melody Beattie- excerpt taken from John 10:10  NIV Recovery Devotional Bible

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