THE TWELVE LIFE RECOVERY GIFTS :: ABUNDANCE

REACHING HURTING WOMEN MINISTRIES OFFERS FOUR THEMES FOR CONTEMPLATION EVERY MONTH OF THE YEAR.
EACH OF THE POWER-PACKED THEMES ARE A 12-MONTH STUDY SERIES ASSIGNED TO A SPECIFIC FRIDAY OF EVERY MONTH BEGINNING IN JANUARY. IN MONTHS WITH FIVE FRIDAYS I’LL BE REVIEWING TOUCHING INSPIRATIONAL MUSIC. COME ALONG. LET’S LEARN SOME NEW THINGS TOGETHER!
For my addiction recovery work this year I’m going through The Twelve Gifts of Life Recovery by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. On the third Friday of each month in 2021 I will be sharing the blessings God brings us to honor our choices and encourage our recovery journey.
This is the sixth post in the series. Today we are learning about the gift of abundance.

When we have a scarcity mindset we cling to our possessions and our toxic relationships….The gift of abundance leads us to lives filled with new and fulfilling opportunities that we may never have dreamed of or thought possible.”   ~ The Twelve Gifts of Life Recovery

Actively living in our addiction we had a scarcity mind-set. We were always making sure we didn’t run out of our drug of choice. We were living guarded lives that robbed us of much joy and pleasure.

The thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect—life in its fullness until you overflow! ~ John 10:10

When we give our lives over to Jesus Christ and begin the life recovery journey, the gift of abundance begins to emerge. Instead of having a fear-based scarcity mind-set that is focused on losing what we have, we begin to have a grateful heart attitude and appreciate what we do have.

Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you. ~ Ephesians 3:20

As we work our life recovery steps, especially Steps 4 (Looking Within), 9 (Making Amends) and 10 (Daily Inventory), we mustn’t focus on what we’ve lost.  Instead we can reframe every past mistake and every current problem into an opportunity for something new and good to come about in our life.

“As we learn how much God loves us, we will become confident that He is able to do far more in and through us than we could ever imagine! We can bank our recovery on this truth!” ~ The Life Recovery Bible

As we stay obedient to God and faithful to the life recovery journey we begin to see God’s promised gift of abundance displayed in our daily lives. Soon we will have an abundance of peace, harmony, time, energy, money and health in ways some of us have never seen in our lifetime

Contemplate how the gift of abundance is showing up in your life as you enjoy this beautiful song by Jesus Culture. Be blessed… Tamara

THE TWELVE LIFE RECOVERY GIFTS :: SECURITY

REACHING HURTING WOMEN MINISTRIES OFFERS FOUR THEMES FOR CONTEMPLATION EVERY MONTH OF THE YEAR.
EACH OF THE POWER-PACKED THEMES ARE A 12-MONTH STUDY SERIES ASSIGNED TO A SPECIFIC FRIDAY OF EVERY MONTH BEGINNING IN JANUARY. IN MONTHS WITH FIVE FRIDAYS I’LL BE REVIEWING TOUCHING INSPIRATIONAL MUSIC. COME ALONG. LET’S LEARN SOME NEW THINGS TOGETHER!
For my addiction recovery work this year I’m going through The Twelve Gifts of Life Recovery by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. On the third Friday of each month in 2021 I will be sharing the blessings God brings us to honor our choices and encourage our recovery journey. This is the fifth post in the series. Today we are learning about the gift of security. 

Those of us on the life recovery journey can tell many stories of close calls we had while actively living in our addiction. For most of us there was no risk too great that could keep us from the next high we were seeking.

Sometimes a tragedy is required to shake us out of our addictive life fog. For me, God stepped in and put me in a physical time-out. Ironically, jail was the beginning of freedom from that dark lifestyle which was leading me to a quick death. It was confined in those gray cement block walls behind iron doors where I slowly began my walk back to God. This was the first in a long series of steps I had to take that would lead me to one of the most important gifts in the life of recovery: Security.

security: The state of being free from danger or threat; feeling safe, stable and free from fear or anxiety.

When I was living full blown in my addiction I was my own worst enemy. My insatiable desire to escape from reality became life threatening to me, my marriage and my family. Before God can begin a work in us, sometimes He has to save us from ourselves.

We all experience times of testing, which is normal for every human being. But God will be faithful to you. He will screen and filter the severity, nature, and timing of every test or trial you face so that you can bear it. And each test is an opportunity to trust him more, for along with every trial God has provided for you a way of escape that will bring you out of it victoriously. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:13

The life recovery gift of security isn’t pain free or easy. It won’t be without temptation or trials. But one thing for certain… we are safer with God now than we ever were any day without Him.

“The purpose of trials is to teach us things, to keep us focused on our recovery, and to help us grow stronger in our faith.” ~ The Twelve Gifts of Life Recovery

If you’re walking the wide road that leads to death and destruction, I pray you will take a few minutes right now and ask God to save you from yourself. Don’t let another day go by. He isn’t far away. He loves you more that you know. You can trust Him. His ways are loving. In His arms you are forever safe.

Be blessed with this beautifully touching song by Victory Worship.

 

THE TWELVE LIFE RECOVERY GIFTS :: CLARITY

REACHING HURTING WOMEN MINISTRIES OFFERS FOUR THEMES FOR CONTEMPLATION EVERY MONTH OF THE YEAR.
EACH OF THE POWER-PACKED THEMES ARE A 12-MONTH STUDY SERIES ASSIGNED TO A SPECIFIC FRIDAY OF EVERY MONTH BEGINNING IN JANUARY. IN MONTHS WITH FIVE FRIDAYS I’LL BE REVIEWING TOUCHING INSPIRATIONAL MUSIC. COME ALONG. LET’S LEARN SOME NEW THINGS TOGETHER!
For my addiction recovery work this year I’m going through The Twelve Gifts of Life Recovery by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. On the third Friday of each month in 2021 I will be sharing the blessings God brings us to honor our choices and encourage our recovery journey. This is the fourth post in the series. Today we are learning about the gift of clarity.

“The gift of clarity could be defined as the absence of denial–even the absence of a need for denial. Instead, there is a transparency, even purity, in how we present ourselves and see ourselves.” ~ The Twelve Gifts of Life Recovery

When we are actively struggling with our addiction or compulsions we are living in denial or a false sense of reality. Usually we think of denial as a way to fool others. But really denial is designed to distort our thinking so that we won’t confront the problem at hand. Only after the Light of Christ shines His love and healing grace on our lives can we have any hope of coming to the transforming clarity that recovery gifts to us.

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:12

In recent days I’ve been in put in a position where my commitment to sobriety was tested. Thank God I passed those tests.  And I not only passed them, but I came away from each situation with a stronger resolve than ever that there is absolutely no turning back!

Everything I have worked for during these past 16+ years of life recovery is not worth a few minutes to try to satiate a temporal, insatiable physical desire. Thank God for His gift of clarity that continues to help me stay focused on the truth of what is important in my life, not only for me, but for my family.

“When we are actively in recovery, we receive the gift of seeing things with clarity, and the truth comes back into focus.” ~ The Twelve Gifts of Life Recovery

Contemplate the gift of clarity in your life with this beautify song by For All Seasons. Remember if your life isn’t good, God’s not finished with it yet!

THE TWELVE LIFE RECOVERY GIFTS :: POWER

REACHING HURTING WOMEN MINISTRIES OFFERS FOUR THEMES FOR CONTEMPLATION EVERY MONTH OF THE YEAR.
EACH OF THE POWER-PACKED THEMES ARE A 12-MONTH STUDY SERIES ASSIGNED TO A SPECIFIC FRIDAY OF EVERY MONTH BEGINNING IN JANUARY. IN MONTHS WITH FIVE FRIDAYS I’LL BE REVIEWING TOUCHING INSPIRATIONAL MUSIC. COME ALONG. LET’S LEARN SOME NEW THINGS TOGETHER!
For my addiction recovery work this year I’m going through The Twelve Gifts of Life Recovery by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. On the third Friday of each month in 2021 I will be sharing the blessings God brings us to honor our choices and encourage our recovery journey. This is the second column in this series. Today we are learning about the gift of Power.

We admitted we were powerless over our problems and that our lives had become unmanageable. ~ STEP 1

I know that nothing good lives in me… I want to do what is right, but I can’t. ~ Romans 7:18

We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. ~ Step 2

God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. ~ Philippians 2:13

The gift of power comes when we recognize and admit that we truly are powerless over our dependencies. In a sense that admitting brings relief because we realize it’s not our power that will keep us from falling into temptation, strengthen our walk or find our freedom.

“As we cease striving and begin to acknowledge in prayer the gift of God’s power in our lives, we experience growth in our recovery.” THE TWELVE GIFTS OF LIFE RECOVERY

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. ~ 2 Timothy 1:7

Sure we have a responsibility to make wise choices with regards to friends, media input, behaviors and environment to avoid potential trigger points. But ultimately, it is the gift of God’s power that will give us the ability to say no to the temptation triggers.

So beware if you think it could never happen to you, lest your pride becomes your downfall. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:12

The minute we think we’ve got this recovery life all figured out and can withstand temptations, that’s when we have stepped out onto the slippery slope that will most assuredly lead to a relapse. The gift of power must be protected! Our life recovery journey must be guarded at all cost.

By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. ~ 2 Peter 1:3

In time God’s gift of power will flow over into other areas as this life recovery journey becomes stronger. Soon we have more confidence to help others in their recovery walk as well. God’s power gift keeps working in and through all we do.

Meditate on the lyrics below and then take a few minutes to soak in the music video by Elevation Worship. Blessings… Tamara

“My weakness is hidden within your glory. Jesus my strength is in you The odds are against me . But you are for me Jesus. My strength is in you.”

THE TWELVE LIFE RECOVERY GIFTS :: HOPE

REACHING HURTING WOMEN MINISTRIES OFFERS FOUR THEMES FOR CONTEMPLATION EVERY MONTH OF THE YEAR.
EACH OF THE POWER-PACKED THEMES ARE A 12-MONTH STUDY SERIES ASSIGNED TO A SPECIFIC FRIDAY OF EVERY MONTH BEGINNING IN JANUARY. IN MONTHS WITH FIVE FRIDAYS I’LL BE REVIEWING TOUCHING INSPIRATIONAL MUSIC. COME ALONG. LET’S LEARN SOME NEW THINGS TOGETHER!
On the third Friday of each month in 2021 we’re studying the Life Recovery Gifts. We’ll learn about the blessings God brings us to honor our choices and encourage our journey through the Twelve Steps of Life Recovery. This is the first column in the Life Recovery Gifts series.

For my recovery work this year I’m going through The Twelve Gifts of Life Recovery by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Each month of 2021 I will be discussing what I have learned on my journey. Today we are learning about the gift of Hope.

HOPE: desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment; believing that something good will happen.

Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with his super-abundance until you radiate with hope! ~ Romans 15:13

“The gift of hope is the motivation for our continuing on the same track when something is painful or difficult.” ~ The Twelve Gifts of Life Recovery

For those of us on the Life Recovery journey, it’s important that we stay connected to a support group and/or an accountability partner. If we don’t and then try to do life under our own power, our lives quickly become unmanageable and we set ourselves up for relapse.

We admitted that we were powerless over our problems–that our lives had become unmanageable.  ~ Step One (The Twelve Steps of Life Recovery)

When we stay close to our support system, be it a Bible study group or an accountability partner, we draw hope and courage to continue our journey. The  gift of hope is shared between each member as it inspires everyone to not give up.

Hope is a gift because it is something that is beyond our human power and abilities. It comes through God’s power which is founded in our relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

The gift of hope gives us motivation to press on when temptations arise, times become difficult and we don’t see anything happening in the natural.

Reach out to God today. Let Him put His super on your natural. Ask Him to fill you with His strength and transforming power that will give you the hope to carry you through!

Prayerfully listen to this classic hymn sung by David Crowder and Tauren Wells. You will be blessed!

TAKING AS CHRIST DID

In The Serenity Prayer column each month we’re studying this well-known prayer phrase by phrase and applying it to our life today. These columns will be published the first Friday of each month in 2019.

 

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace. Taking as Christ did this sinful world as it is…

 

Taking as Christ did. In this passage of The Serenity Prayer we are asked to take our world as Jesus Christ did. We’re to surrender to God’s will in and for our life. We are to accept the things we cannot change and see that our hardships can be the pathway to Peace if we will accept them with the right heart attitude.

Walk in courage. As we walk in courage, not fear or resentment, God will give us the needed wisdom to make right decisions and to carry the burdens we are to bear. One day at a time, maybe even one moment at a time, we may have to endure hurtful people and difficult situations.

Look to Christ. We can look to Christ Who Scripture says, never trusted himself to man because He knew their fallen state. He took His assignment and for the joy that was to come, endure even the worst death a person could die — crucifixion on a Roman cross.

Follow Jesus’ example. As Christians we are to follow in Jesus’s footsteps, being willing to sacrifice our lives for Him. Our sacrifice may not mean physical torture or death like millions experience every day around the world. But every time we sacrifice our selfish desires, accepting the path put before us, we can know that God sees our heart and efforts and will honor them with His grace to make it through.

Surrender. When Jesus accepted His assignment and came to earth in human form, He demonstrated the ultimate act of surrender and love. He surrendered His authority and power for a time so that He could live as we do. He wanted to experience the temptations, pain and suffering that humanity does. It is here His sacrifice takes on its full meaning of hope. When Jesus took our suffering He cleared our pathway to a direct relationship for us to have with the Father through the Holy Spirit.

Jesus’ surrendering and taking the world as it is allows us to surrender and receive God’s amazing grace and love.

Prayerfully listen to this powerful worship song by Hillsong. Contemplate taking on the heart attitude of Christ, surrendering all selfish desires… lay them at His feet and He will draw you near.

SERENITY

In The Serenity Prayer column each month we are dissecting this well-known prayer phrase by phrase and applying it to our life today. These posts will be published the first Friday of each month in 2019.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…

serenity:  a state or quality of being serene, calm, tranquil, peaceful; having an inner calm in the midst of the ups and downs of life; involves learning to be content with the things in our life that can’t be changed. (Serenity’s opposite is agitation.)

Human beings aren’t naturally serene creatures. We don’t have to be taught agitation. It seems to come with the inner selfishness which is built into our nature. I certainly lean more towards agitation with most things in life. That’s why we need God’s help!

Our lack of peace is directly related to our thought life, worry and ingratitude. The Apostle Paul teaches this in his letter to the Phillipians:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Now brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worth of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.              ~ Phillipians 4:6-9

It’s to us to decide what we’re going to think about. No one can control our thoughts but us. When we look for good we will usually find it. The opposite is also true.

Stressing over situations and people that we can’t change only makes more stress. If we can settle into life as it is, finding a way to be content, we can trust God will work all the good and bad for our good.

Let’s lean into God and put Paul’s teaching into practice. Then the peace of Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, will put a guard over our hearts and minds, and ultimately our life.

Take a few minutes to contemplate Christ’s peace with this beautiful worship song by Bethel Music.

Befriend Your Empty Spaces

We all have empty spaces in our lives. Maybe you’ve been waiting a long time for a life companion or maybe you’ve removed a bad behavior and are now left with a nagging empty spot with cravings to boot. Whatever your empty space looks like chances are you have more than one to deal with.

My personal empty space is connected to many things that have been removed from my life in the last year… Job loss has forced a move to another city to live with a family member while we get back on our feet… loss of home, car, finances; possessions; freedoms and privacy; our only grand children have moved to eastern Europe; my two elderly dogs went to heaven; health challenges that require a new very restricted food plan; not to mention trying to stay sober while living in a home that isn’t. Lots of empty spaces that could be filled with complaining, anger, resentment, and depression.

Last Fall I read Addiction and Grace: Love and Spirituality in the Healing of Addiction by Gerald G. May. This book has been a life changer for me. Since reading it I haven’t looked at God’s grace in the same way. My favorite quote comes from the last paragraph:

The specific struggles we undergo with our addictions are reflections of a blessed pain. To be deprived of a simple object of attachment is to taste the deep, holy deprivation of our souls. To struggle to transcend any idol is to touch the sacred hunger God has given us.

May tells us to make friends with the empty space and its pain, because that pain is God’s grace reaching out to us. You may have heard that empty space called a God-shaped vacuum a term coined many years ago by Blaise Pascal. We’re always trying to fill that empty space with anything BUT God!

With our EGO in charge we’re always Edging God Out fueling life with temporary worldly fixes. A food diet run on the empty calories of foods that either are sugar or turn to sugar, won’t lead to a healthy body. In the same way, trying to fuel our spiritual life on the empty things of this world will lead to an unsatisfied spirit that longs for more.

All through Scripture we ‘re taught to empty ourselves of worldly desires and fill that empty space with God. When St. Paul was given his “thorn-in-the-flesh” he asked God three times to remove it. God’s reply was, “My grace is sufficient for you.”

Whether our empty space is from putting down an addiction/behavior or because something/someone was removed from our life involuntarily, we are still dealing with an empty space. God’s grace gives us the power to endure, to press through, to be obedient, to lean on Him when we have the cravings or the loneliness hits.

Why not allow God’s grace to fill that empty space? Life will be much better when we do.

“My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9

 

Image credit 123RFPhoto

Playing with Fire

Temptations are tricky. They sneak up on you when you least expect it. You’re going along, thinking you’ve got it all together and then…

WHAM!

A big fat temptation hits you!

Well, that’s not exactly true. We may be going along alright, but somehow, we’ve let an old thought or pattern creep back in. We become complacent or simply lazy with our boundaries.

Either way, it’s very dangerous.

In October my daily 12 Step devotional focuses on Step 10

We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

So far the readings have hit home. Hard!

Check out these samples:

Dealing with Anger: Deal with short-term anger before it turns into long-term destruction.

Preventing Relapse: Only God’s Word will help us continue in recovery and avoid the devastation of relapse.

Dangerous Pride: Even the pride we feel in recovery can set us up for temptation and relapse.

Spiritual Exercises: Continued inventory will keep us spiritual fit and strong in the face of temptation.

Personal Boundaries: Honest inventories help us maintain boundaries important to recovery.

Positive Thoughts: What we keep in our mind and heart determines what we do and say.

Perseverance: We cannot win the race for recovery by going just part of the way.

No Shortcuts: On our journey toward recovery, shortcuts are only stepping stones to a relapse.

Daily Recovery: We will always be tempted by our old lives; but we need not always fall prey to them.

Needless to say, I’ve been doing some serious reflecting.

I don’t know about you, but an enticing temptation is not worth what it could cost me; all the ground I’ve gained in my marriage and my family, not to mention my health and my very life. More than anything, I don’t want to compromise the testimony I have today.

It’s time to reassess boundaries. Put back up the concrete barriers that can protect my heart, mind and soul.

Make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. – Romans 13:14

 

10-11-10

The Road to Recovery

IN THE ROAD TO RECOVERY COLUMN WE ARE WORKING THE EIGHT PRINCIPLES OF CELEBRATE RECOVERY THAT ARE BASED ON THE BEATITUDES, ALONG WITH THE TRADITIONAL 12 STEPS OF RECOVERY AS THEY ALIGN WITH THE YEARLY CALENDAR.

 

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

 

Step 10: We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

 

Principle 7 (Celebrate Recovery): Reserve a daily time with God for self-examination, Bible reading, and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will. 

 
 
In Step 10 and Principle 7 we will begin to put into practice all the steps and principles we have learned thus far. We are beginning to live in reality vs. denial, we have made our amends and now we desire to grow in our relationships with God and others.
 
Principle 7 nicely complements Step 10. Taking our daily time with God for self-examination helps us prepare for our personal inventory. 
 
Something I learned about a couple of years ago was The Examen. The Examen is an ancient practice in the Church that helps us see God’s hand at work in our whole life experience. It is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day where we can detect God’s presence and discern his direction for our life. 

Here is how I like to work The Daily Examen:

1: Ask God to bring to your awareness the moment today for which you are most grateful.

  • If you could relive one moment, which one would it be?
  • When were you most able to give and receive love today?
  • Ask yourself what was said and done in that moment that made it so good.
  • Breathe in the gratitude you felt and receive life again from that moment.

2: Ask God to bring to your awareness the moment today for which you are least grateful.

  • When were you least able to give and receive love?
  •  Ask yourself what was said and done in that moment that made it so difficult.
  • Relive the feelings without trying to change or fix it in any way.
  • Take deep breaths and let God’s love fill you just as you are.

3: Give thanks for what you have experienced. If possible, share these two moments with a friend. 

 

The Examen is a different way of taking daily inventory, but I like how it combines my prayer time with God and a daily reflection. There are many ways to work The Examen I hope you will look into it further and consider trying it. I think you’ll find it a sweet time with God as you look back over your day.

Enjoy this brief video that will walk us through The Examen. If you can’t see the video screen below click here .

 

10.02.13