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The Hope Center
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"When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said, 'Do you really want to be made well'" (John 5:6)?
In 1997 I wanted to be made well. I'd made several poor life choices, and the consequences had gained frightening momentum. Dizzy from the merry-go-round of dysfunction, I wanted off. But I was afraid. I was afraid because I was in love. Never mind that "Mr. Right" was drug addicted, and I was fiercely codependent. (Someone once said the horns in his head fit the holes in mine.) Fair enough.
Godly love moves mountains. Our "love" was a destructive vortex of unhealed wounds mixed with terrific fun. There were times I half expected to find my car in a tree after we'd spent the day together. We were SO in love. Other times this thing we called love buckled my knees and left me sifting through the rubble in search of my heart.
He'd manage to put a little clean time together; bond with my children, only to disappear on another drug run. Meanwhile, I cried day and night. Wildly anxious over his whereabouts, I robbed my children of an emotionally stable environment. I longed to jump off the merry-go-round, but I feared jumping without him. So, round and round we went.
Did I really want to heal? I believed I did. My pain was real. My tears authentic. I wanted to be a better mother to my two sons. But truth is, I didn't want to take the necessary steps for lasting change without a guarantee that the relationship would survive. He wasn't willing to give up drugs. I wasn't willing to surrender the relationship to God. Hmm . . . did I really want to be made well?
I believe Jesus asked the crippled man if he wanted to heal, not to challenge the desire itself, but rather his resolve to do something different. Something that required a change in the signature rhythms of how he survived from one day to the next. And past that, the outcome.
The man was not merely isolated by the pool of water. He saw others as stronger than himself--a relational dynamic he'd participated in for years. Oftentimes we hesitate to be made well because there's no promise that the people we love will love us back if we heal. It only takes one person to change the dynamic of a relationship. Change is frightening because it calls us to die to our attachment to a desired outcome.
We've all heard the expression "water seeks its own level." Healthy people are not attractive to unhealthy people. And so fear sets in. We fear our drug-addicted loved one will choose to remain addicted and end the relationship. Often times, this leads to our own regression. Yep, we sabotage the progress we've made for fear of being alone.
This closing statement is for you to ponder in the loving presence of God. If you can identify with it, more will be revealed. What you do with what God reveals is up to you.
P.S. You can do it!! God does not ask us to stop loving a person who is drug-addicted. He asks us to love others as we love ourselves.
You are not alone,
Published on Tuesday, July 23, 2019 @ 10:27 AM CDT
I once saw a cartoon of a woman lying on a sofa in a psychiatrist's office. The caption read: How can I relax when this couch would look so much better in the other corner?
For many years when ancient pain awakened I'd lull it back to sleep with activity. Imagine, God seeks to heal an old wound--a wound that if left unhealed is likely to destroy the relationships I hold dear. And so the Divine beckons. He allows a painful memory to surface.
Tears swell beneath a watery surface so calm it looks like glass. "Deep calls unto deep" (Psalm 42). Meanwhile, an under current of inadequacy circles my feet, and I fear being swept away. I'm compelled to draw near. But wait, I have things to do! And with that thought, I resolve to cry and feel in God's care after I've mopped the floor. Within twenty minutes, my mind has successfully hijacked my senses with the smell of lemon pine-sol and a job well done.
I add a check mark to my to-do list though nothing meaningful has been accomplished. My heart longs for so much more . . .
A Prayer for So Much More:
God of all comfort, I ask for comfort. When the tide comes in and painful memories arise, the pain is so intense that I find it hard to breathe. Forgive me for all the times I unknowingly deny your outstretched arms and kick against the natural flow of your plans for me. Fine-tune my ears to hear your voice and unite my heart to rely upon you. Direct my steps, and help me to recognize the ordinary moments you use to accomplish extraordinary works within my heart.
"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:11-13).
Published on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 @ 6:30 PM CDT