Lost In Dispair I
(This is a model, not the real person)
was raised in a non-traditional, but legalistic, church. There were many rules, and my family followed all of them. During my younger years, I was the model child. I wanted to be “good” and tried to do all the right things, as that seemed to be the way to get acceptance. For the most part, life was fun and full of laughter. We did a lot of things together as a family—hiking, biking and playing games. Yes, life was grand, and in my mind, all was well with the world! Then, when I was about eight years old, I started having a really hard time in school. I went to a lot of different doctors to find out what was wrong. They determined there was no hope for me. They said I’d never learn to read or write except to a minimal degree, and I’d be better off being put in a home. Fortunately, my parents chose not to do that! After more research, it was discovered that I needed an operation on my eyes to correct the problems. I’m so grateful my parents didn’t follow the advice of the first doctors. After the operation, my grades improved, as well as, the quality of my life. While things were on the upswing for me, my parents started having some big issues with each other! My siblings and I overheard them talking about a woman we didn’t know. However, her name kept coming up every time they’d have an argument.
by “Sue Berry”
My younger sisters cried a lot, and I guess because I was older, I’d try to shield them from all the yelling. Through those years I became very protective of my siblings, and I’d stand up to my parents when their arguing got out of hand. I don’t know where that strength came from, but because I was so adamant, it seemed to help them get their act together—at least for a time. Our religious practices were beginning to seem like a joke! I found that most all of our “so called” rules were just for “show,” not truly out of a heart of belief in God. Hearing the teachings of our denomination, and “seeing” the lifestyle of the members not jiving, caused me confusion to say the least. So that made it very easy for me to fall away when I hit my teen years. And oh my, did I ever fall away — and hard! My flesh ruled! Even though my peers and I were in a religious school, we found ways to hide our mischief. For a long time no one seemed the wiser. My girlfriends and I would make out with the boys in empty classrooms, behind buildings or in parked cars. We’d all learned how to hide, and managed quite well to behave properly around the teachers and school staff. About this same time, my mother left our home to stay at an in-house program for a
while. My sisters and I were never told why. This was especially painful for my youngest sister, and she grieved badly over the loss of our family unit. During that time, on one of his tirades, my dad made it plain he wanted a divorce. I remember my youngest sister started crying hysterically, so I took her to my room, and held her while she sobbed her heart out. When my dad came in, I told him, “You will never yell like that around her again. Do you understand?!” I don’t recall how long Mom was in the group home, but I do remember one visit where she told us Dad wanted to go through with the divorce, but she didn’t want to. The girls’ cried in my mother’s arms while I stood off to the side. I guess you could say I was in denial. She was finally released, and returned home, but things were never quite the same! In the middle of my teen years, my father got a job offer in another state. That was a big change for all of us. Moving from our hometown was traumatic! It was the only home we’d ever known. Leaving our church family, school and all our friends was very scary. Plus without the security of parents who loved each other, made the move all that much more difficult. My dad started drinking and bringing porn magazines home. It’s like he was on a destructive path—and nothing and no one was going to stop him. That was around the time I began experimenting with promiscuity. Unfortunately one of my sisters followed my example. My mom was beside herself in knowing how to handle us, as well as, the issues with my father. Everything in her life seemed to be crashing down around her. She wore despair like a cloak.
After graduating from high school, I went on to the local community college for several years, earning a business degree. I met my future husband, “Jim” in a bar, and within a very short time became pregnant. Both his parents and mine were concerned when we told them our news. However, they ended up giving their support to our decision to marry and raise our child. After a year and a half, I gave birth to our second little one. Both are the loves of my life! “Jim” and I had a rocky beginning, but I was to discover it would become much more rocky before long! I found out that my husband was addicted to pornography, but not only that, he’d allowed himself to be drawn into affairs with a number of women. I was devastated! I found receipts for alcohol and strip clubs. It got worse, but I don’t need to go into all that. Needless to say, I lost all faith in “Jim.” I wanted my marriage to work, but clearly that would never happen without rebuilding trust. When I heard about Faith Family Ministries, I knew without a doubt I needed what they had to offer. My life was a mess! Sure, I knew “Jim” had to face his “demons,” but at this point, I had to find a way to help myself. The pain and confusion was eating me alive and getting past it was at the top of my bucket list! When I arrived at FFM, I was in so much bondage — physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. That bondage caused me a lot of grief! Toni very patiently helped me process through all my “stuff,” and as I dealt with it, piece by piece, the Lord performed a miracle in my heart! He exchanged all my hurt and pain for His peace and joy! My hope was restored, and I knew I’d truly never be the same! There is no way I could ever express my gratitude for all the Lord did in me!
a modern day malady
lot of research has been done over the last several years concerning ADHD. And there are differing opinions as to how this malady should be treated. Drugs arenâ€™t the only way to help a person diagnosed with this disorder, which used to be called ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). It is now referred to as ADHD (Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder). The latter term describes both symptoms with differing emphasis on the aspect of attention deficit or hyperactivityâ€”or sometimes both. What is traditionally meant by ADHD is that a person has difficulty focusing or sitting still for any length of time. While most physicians will use a drug to jump-start the therapeutic process, without behavioral changes this treatment rarely solves the problem. It is important to note that there are natural substances that have proven to be effective in some cases where the issue involves synaptic connections in the brain. These natural substances aid in the pro-
duction of serotonin which in turn gives the brain the capability of connecting necessary functionality between cells. These are not a cure for ADHD, but they can help in the connectivity necessary for the long-term process of modifying behavior. Recognizing the need for change is only the first step in accomplishing the modifications necessary to achieve a stable lifestyle. Itâ€™s interesting to note that those with ADHD tend to be creative and have above average intelligence. However, they also tend to be forgetful, impulsive, disorganized and have racing thoughts. Living with someone who has this disorder and recognizes their need for help, can still be challenging since changes to behavior take both time and a great deal of effort. As you work through the different aspects of your particular version of ADHD (for there are many), be patient with yourself and with those who sincerely desire to help you achieve balance in your life.
Out of the Heart you going through a difficult time Arightre now? If so, you might want to check
out the words you’ve been speaking. Scripture says, “But no man can tame the tongue.” (James 3:8a). Sometimes we get cranky, judgmental and have a critical attitude when trials come our way, or when we simply disagree with another’s choices. However, the tongue is not our problem. No, it just reveals our real problem—a bitter heart! We read in Matthew 12:34, “For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Let me share an illustration from my life. A number of years ago friends of ours moved to another state, and as we were traveling through their area, we stopped by for a visit. Their new home was lovely, and they were gracious hosts. But I couldn’t help wondering why they needed such opulence. As we were heading back home, I remarked to Bill that “perhaps a better use of their wealth would be to invest in the kingdom.” We talked about this for some time, and I could feel myself bristle just thinking about it!
After a couple of days I began to sense a cloud of heaviness over me. This was unusual, so I thought maybe I was coming down with a bug or something. I couldn’t distinguish if it was emotional or physical, but at any rate, it wasn’t pleasant. I rested off and on the next several days, but with little to no relief. The heaviness just hung on! Bill and I prayed together, and I totally expected to get better. But that’s not what happened! Finally he asked if I knew of any area where I might’ve sinned. And my first thought was, “No.” But as I sought the Lord, He brought our friends’ names to mind. I instantly knew I had judged them. What a blessing to know that when we ask the Father to search our hearts, He always answers. We just need to ask! I repented of my judgment and immediately felt the cloud lift. That’s been a number of years ago now. But because the Lord taught me early in my Christian walk about judging, I’m quick to “see it” and repent. Keeping our hearts pure so that we only speak words of encouragement is both a privilege and a responsibility. And it brings much joy to others, as well as, to the heart of our heavenly Father!
The Winning Edge W
e’ve just come through the Winter Olympics. There were both great victories and great defeats. You and I have victories and defeats that occur in our daily lives as well. They have the potential to encourage or discourage us. What makes the difference between winning and losing, between being victorious and going down in defeat? Three factors make a winner — vision, preparation and execution. These same principles apply in daily living just as they do in athletics. First, of course, we need a vision of winning, of being the very best we can possibly be. Second, we must prepare ourselves through exercise, practice, and more of the same. Third, we must do what we have envisioned and trained ourselves to accomplish. How does this apply to our spiritual life? Can we see a parallel to this in Scripture? In Romans 8:37, Paul used a word, one he may well have coined himself, because it’s only used once in the entire New Testament, “hoopernikaho.” Strong’s Concordance says the word means “to vanquish beyond, i.e. gain a decisive victory.” The English translation of this word is “more than conquerors.” We are winners, and not just winners by the skin of our teeth, but winners decisively! We all need to have a vision of what winning looks like for our individual lives. Ask yourself what you want to achieve in the next two years. Fix that goal in your mind. You need a clear vision of what it looks like. Now, what are the steps you need to take in order to accomplish this? It is essential to write down your plans for achieving your goal. Ask yourself, what am I willing to do in order to reach my destination. The next step is to prepare yourself. That will take planning, seeing the necessary steps and exercising or strengthening your potential. You’ll then
be ready when the opportunity opens up for you to move ever closer to your goal. God will often bring circumstances and situations into your life that will make you stronger and wiser in preparation for your next step. And then, you have to take that next step. Is this going to be easy? No! Often the next step will be one of the hardest things you will ever have to do. BUT, and here is the best part, God has told us we are winners, we are victors, we are conquerors — yes, we are even “more than conquerors!” The second part of that Greek word mentioned earlier is “nikaho.” It comes from the root word “nike.” Most of us are familiar with this word from the shoes, shirts, and Michael Jordan advertisements. That word means “to subdue” as in “conquer, overcome, prevail, get the victory.” The Lord has told us that no matter what comes our way — “tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, or sword” — nothing can separate us from His love (Rom. 8:35). And in spite of all of these, we are “hoopernikaho” — more than conquerors! So let me encourage you that no matter what you may be going through, you are merely going through it. You are not going to be stuck “there” forever. It is a training ground — preparing you for the victory that lies ahead. The victory that is part of your vision for the future — those plans you are writing as you look forward. Know that you can achieve those goals with diligence, perseverance, hard work and faith that the Lord has called you to go where His vision has shown you. Now you have a framework for your vision. You have written down what is required for you to be where you want to be. So, take that next step and do it. You can, because you now have the “Winning Edge!”
Life In Christ - March