Archives for posts with tag: addictions


In the Spring, my mother-in-law gave me a beautiful mandevilla plant. It’s been growing beautifully and is filling up the trellis behind it. But one day, I noticed that a vine had reached the top of the trellis. And there was nothing close for it to cling to. Day after day, it grew in the same direction…seemingly reaching for something to cling to. It grew and grew and was just floating in the air, apparently searching for a landing spot.


So, me and my rescuing self decided that I’d go ahead and help that little plant find a support, something to cling to. I gently took the tender shoot and led it back to the trellis. I thought it was no big deal and that the vine would go on growing, and twist and twirl itself around the trellis.  I was wrong.

Within a few days, the shoot was turning brown, and soon, part of the vine fell off all together.  Where was the point of decay?  Seemed to be right where me and my well-meaning self moved that vine. I was pretty shocked because when I had moved it, it was done slowly and easily and seemed to place no stress whatsoever on the plant. But obviously it had. It wasn’t ready to cling. Not to what I had chosen. And me choosing what and where to cling to for that plant wasn’t helpful. It was damaging. It was forced…and the mandevilla plant would have no part of that. Instead of helping, I hurt it.

(Case in point. See the healthy shoot on the left?  It’s doing just fine without me. And the one on the right..far right kind of whitish looking shoot…it’s still recovering from my ‘helping’.)

So here’s the thing. We’re made to cling. We are. Like mandevilla vines searching for a trellis, we are made with hearts and minds and bodies that yearn for connection. And sometimes the people, ideas, or things we cling to make us stronger, wiser, and more productive. And sometimes the people, ideas, or things we cling to make us weaker, stupid-er,  and ill-equipped. And we, the cling-ers get to choose. But you don’t get to choose what another person clings to. Nope. They’ve gotta choose that for themselves.

As a mom, as a wife, as a friend, there have been so many times when I thought I knew what (or Who) might be best for my loved one to cling to. And no matter how well-intentioned my thoughts or desires were, interventions that force issues could be more damaging than helpful. ( Note: I so know interventions can help lay things on the table, and persuade, and bring things to light, but bottom line, a cling-er chooses what it clings or does not cling to.)    Kind of like with my mandevilla.

Like a mandevilla vine that is not yet ready to cling, sometimes folks need time on their own to decide when and to what to cling to. We can know something is so good and right and true and ‘gently bend’ their little shoots of a son or friend or husband toward the trellis of truth. But if that plant isn’t ready, it won’t cling. Might have to be floating in clouds of in between for awhile.  So often, well-meaning folks can ‘arrange’ (force) connections that aren’t healthy. Seems to me that timing is important.  It also seems to me that willingness is important.

So now, lesson learned, with regards to the mandevilla at least! There are three shoots flying in the wind above the trellis, and I’m not intervening. The mandevilla is on its own. I’m pretty sure it’ll find its way. And I’m believing that for some of those in my life as well. Gonna pray, encourage, and ensure some supports are available….and then wait. Am often amazed at how well things work out when I pray and get out of the way.  With mandevilla plants, and with people.


Am believing there’s a Sovereign Hand of grace that knows a bit more and has more power than I do. For me. For you. For those we love.


Blessings ~



“My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word…”

Psalm 119:25


I’ve been making bird feeders again.  “For today” feeders is what I like to call them.  And here’s why…  In the past year, the phrase “for today” has become one of my favorite, favorite phrases. I’ve always appreciated the saying of “One Day At a Time. This quickly became, “one moment at a time” when I was a young mom to more little ones than my arms could hold.  (Our third son was born when our oldest was 2…and by the time our oldest was 8 years old, well, he had 5 younger siblings…no twins…just a little visual for ya to see the necessity of the MOMENT thing.) There were so many needs for the moment. I needed grace for the minutes.  I loved the phrase, “grace for the moment” and repeated that to my heart too many times to count. And there was, grace, that is…and miracle of miracles, we survived and even had our sweet familial blips of total thriving. Thankful for all of it.

So that was then. Fast forward 20 some years and I still so hold on to the grace for the moment phrase and truth. But in the past year ‘for today’ has had deeper meaning for me. A year ago this month, my family had the privilege of four of us spending a week together at a center in Georgia.  Willingway works with those with alcohol and drug addictions.  I am the wife and mom of two people I adore who struggle in this area. Big struggle.  Big consequences. Big fears. Big losses.  I could lose a lifetime worrying, wringing my hands, planning for things that never even occur. Or bemoaning and becoming bitter over things that have.  But it’s a battle in which the victories and the losses come by the choices in the now,  the momentary choices  today. That’s something that I’m learning…and a little visual helped it sink it further.

In one of  our morning sessions at Willingway, a woman named Hope led our family group.  She reminded me so much of what my 22 year old Hope might be in 20 years. Both Hopes are unashamedly feisty, determined, compassionate, beautiful, and bold.  Hope, the counselor, gave a great little picture that I don’t think I’ll ever forget.  She was talking about the need to live in the now. (For the full effect of this, I ask that you do try to visualize it, as it adds a dimension to the story, ha!) She stood up, and said this:  ” If we keep one foot in the past, worrying over regrets of what we did or didn’t do…” (and with this, she stepped her left foot to the far left…), “and then, add to that, that we worry about all the the things in the future that could or couldn’t happen tomorrow, next week, or in the years to come…” (and with that, she slid her right foot to the  far right and squatted a bit…), “then ALL we do is crap* all over today.”

Yep.  But she didn’t say “crap”.  And we laughed…and I teared up through my laughter because I so got it. I literally could’ve cried buckets at that moment because the realization of what she was saying was like a lightbulb to my heart. Yes.  We can lose today so easily. Especially when loved ones are struggling. Especially when we are struggling. I mean, we’d have to be crazy not to be consumed with worry over what has been or what will be, right…? Not necessarily… Because worry just makes things worse.  We so miss the moments in the now when we’ve got one foot in the past or one foot in the future…or both. Worry of what was or what will be eats up, consumes, the now. Life can get pretty full when we’re doing well, but when we add the chaos that addictions and wrong thinking to the whole mix (along with the dominoes that follow..), well, moments, days, weeks, years…can be eaten up in fear, worry, and a focus on loss…


So, when I came home from the week in Georgia, I thought a lot about what Hope has said and so aptly demonstrated. I prayed and thanked God for today so many times. I thanked him for the big and the little and the hard and the good and the in between and tried to trust for today, for the moment.  It was Spring time and the birds were flitting and flying around..and added a whole new dimension to the lesson I so needed to live. I remembered what Jesus said about provision…and to consider… consider the birds of the air…  Consider…look at, think on. The verse says, “Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?”  Matthew 6:26.

I thought about daily need, daily seed, provision for today. Even in the midst of a lot of struggles through the years, I’ve seen God’s hand of provision more times than I can count… I’m so aware that He can open doors that we never even knew were there. He can provide in ways we never imagined, and He can bring people into our lives at just the right time who we’ve never even met.  So…that’s when I started making bird feeders…not that have seed for a week or a month or a season, but food for today.   At night or in the morning, out goes a handful of seed…


and then…they come…

the quiet and serene…


…the sassy…



they come two by two..

…and they come in all kinds of weather….

and when they come, they remind me that for today, I have what I need. For today, I can do what I need to do one step at a time. For today, I am thankful. I love how Jesus spoke to worry and said (still in Matthew 6) and said, “Let today’s own troubles be sufficient for today.” Yeah, there’s usually plenty to handle for today. And the great thing is, that it sure is a lot easier to handle when I’m not trying to conquer the past and the future at the same time.

Yeah, I can learn a thing or two from birds. And I am …learning that is. (Side note) As I’m writing this, the two mourning doves are on the deck, one in the feeder, and one underneath. They really seem to have this “for today thing down…always together, never in too big of a hurry, (unless I get up to take a photo of them, then they’ll fly and coo in a heartbeat!)  And I’ll spare them. But here’s a photo of them taken this morning.   Yeah, they seem to have the for today thing down. DSCN2976.jpg

Maybe one day, I will as well. But I’m not going to worry about that, right?  Because for today, for today, …there’s provision and grace for today.



(“For Today” feeders can be purchased at Gifted:Local Artisan Gift Shop and Supply or can be ordered via pm on Facebook )  I love doing special orders with a theme. Am happy to mail them as well.

Blessings for today ~


P.S. Gotta share a favorite song here…Live It Well <3.

“Live It Well” by Switchfoot

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Matthew 6: 25-34


I don’t usually repost things I’ve written, but last night and today have been thinking on this poem so much….and the concept….that sometimes answered prayer comes as gentle rain and sometimes it comes as a violent storm.  I’m aware of so many praying for loved ones, and just wanted to share this with hopes to encourage some of you all to not fear the “storms”…because sometimes that’s exactly what it takes for change…the very change we’re praying for might just in the midst of or as a result of a storm.

Anyway, it’s totally raining buckets here… and it’s on my heart, so here goes…  Let it rain ❤

…like water…

I wish that a gently falling rain

Could quietly wash away your pain

And leave a newness and relief

A renewal, deep sense of peace

Wish that as water rinses clean

You’d just be washed and yes, redeemed

Wish that a gently falling rain

Was merely all that it would take

But how this pain seeps deep within

And takes root, this hold, this sin

It lingers, grows, and goes beyond

The surface, and takes hold, a  hold so strong

So maybe more than gentle rain

We need a storm to unleash this pain

To loose the dirt settled deep within

to loose the chains held strong, this sin

So I attempt to not fear the storms

And the churning that may come

For to be washed and clean and whole

Is worth the trials to be endured

We dip our feet in, dip our toes

But we need immersion of our souls

So fear not, friend, immersion brings

A welling up of life, a spring

Within the soul, within the mind

Within the heart that longs to find

A peace so deep, a grace so real

A Presence of the God who draws near

For like water to the soul

Oh how God’s love will cleanse and know

the one who seeks to know His grace

The one who seeks the Lord’s face

For like water in wells so deep

The love of God is ours to keep

To wash our souls from head to toe

Like gentle rains or storms that blow

For like water to our souls

The love of Christ plants seeds

of Hope

For those with pain too deep to know,

May the love of Christ be

like water to their  souls.

Psalm 51

“…wash me and I will be whiter than snow…”

Photo taken at the Broad River Greenway, Boiling Springs, North Carolina

Blessings ~



So, in recent weeks, I have heard reference to a story multiple times. It’s a story in the Bible of a man who had been sick for a long time.  I’m not certain of the infirmity, but according to scripture, he had been waiting to be healed for close to 4 decades.  Yep, almost 40 years of waiting.  So Jesus comes along and asks him a very obvious question. This is how John 5:1-5 tells the story…After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”

I bet there were some raised eye brows and then maybe some snickers then. Of course he wants to get well, right?  I mean, of COURSE!  But Jesus asks.  And Jesus is good at cutting through all the layers of facade to the heart of the issue.  He merely turns the most obvious assumption (that this man indeed does want to get well) into a question which encourages the man to take ownership of the issue.  And what does the man say? It’s pretty comical actually. He starts the blame game a bit. John 5: 6 states,   The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”    Observation number one…we need each other.  He could’ve asked for help.  Observation number two, he blames his not being able to get in the water on having others stepping in before him. If it were his child he were concerned about or a family member, would he have pushed through with everything in his power to ensure that they’d get in the pool.  Did he advocate for himself and his ‘becoming well’ with that same passionate whatever-it-takes motivation?

And I wonder…I wonder if he had actually become somewhat comfortable with his infirmity.  That is to say that  I wonder if his scars, his infirmity, his lack of ‘being well’ became such a part of his identity that he had lost the drive that would make him scoot with abandonment to the pools with the desire to be healed. I wonder if he forgot what it was like to desire to live without the affliction.  Sometimes, when things are not within our reach, it just hurts too much to desire it, to hope.  A hope deferred truly does make the heart sick.  We wait, to no avail, and then we stop expecting, hoping, wishing, and become stuck in the place where we are. Or, we realize that it’s “easier” (short-term), to just stay stuck…because it takes a heck of a lot of effort to move from complacency to becoming well.

I recently had the honor of being around a number of people who struggle with alcohol and various addictions.  They had all gotten to the place where they were tired of sitting at that pool’s edge living with their battles and most said, “YES”, I want to get well. They said “yes to working hard, sweating through, and overcoming the challenges they were facing as much as it depends on them. Some had had friends, or legal ramifications,  literally drop them in that pool of water, that is to say, the desire for them to get well was owned by someone else. These were the ones  that seemed half-hearted in the attempts.  But the ones who knew how life had gotten so out of control that truly said, “YES”, I want to get well…those seemed to be the ones who were hungry, passionate, striving for something more.

A loved one of mine was in their midst.  He kept saying that after the number of weeks he was there, he could do this on his own.  He could muster up the energy and courage to fight the battle on his own.  And I was terrified.  Because, although he had taken steps and had the desire to get well, the “well” that he wanted was very shallow…for it takes time to deal and heal and develop patterns that reach to the core of who we are and heal from within.  I know God can heal in a heartbeat, but I also know that there are scars that come along with almost any affliction/sin/sickness… some visible scars, some so deep that we don’t even know how much they effect our daily lives. And I wanted more for him.  So much more.  I didn’t want the toe dipped in the water and a short – term heal, I longed for him to have that total immersion, that total commitment to being truly ‘well’.

So here’s the thing.  He said yes.  He mustered up the courage to say that there was a big need that he couldn’t handle on his own.  He  said yes to the fact that it wasn’t a quick fix, but would take time, energy and a lifestyle change. He said yes to the commitment to courageously seek change, to seek to be well not just for the short term but for a life time.  He said yes.  And all I kept thinking was that he’s alive again. ALIVE.  And he knows and I know that when you’re alive, you feel things.  Good things. Bad things.  You’re not numb, anesthetized to it all, you feel…  Complacency can feel like comfort, but looks more numb.  Risking, living, breathing, changing, all costs.  It hurts. And there are times in our lives when we are so aware of that. Taking risks, growing, sets us up for rejection.  But it also sets us up for a possibility to truly make an impact, to share, to lose, to gain, to LIVE and ultimately to live the life that God created us to live.  He knows the plans He has for us.  It is ours to walk in them, …or not.

Well, I say all this to say, that I’m thinking there are areas in my life where I’m a little too content to sit by the pool.  There are areas in my life where I’ve been passively “waiting”, when I need to be actively scooting toward the waters of change.  I love how Jesus can change, redeem, renew things in a heartbeat, but often, the first steps begins with our acknowledgement not only of our infirmity/sin/habits, but of our desire to be well.  He will do what we can’t if we will offer Him what we can. I love that so much.  God loves us…so much.  He doesn’t want us stuck, comfortably numb waiting for what He has already offered.  He calls us to a life of risk, of adventure, of passion, not a life of waiting by the pool.  Life is short.  Life is also a gift…not just to us, but to those around us.  We impact.  If our lives are spent blaming others for why we aren’t this or that, we may be missing out on so much.  LIke the man by the pool, we can rationalize why we are still stuck in this or that area of our lives, but we need to ask ourselves, do we want to get well?  Excuses can so be rationalize and laughed at and made light of.  But excuses keep us stuck.

So, when my loved one said, “YES” to taking the short term hard road for the long term gain, I rejoiced.  He was choosing to grow.  He was choosing to LIVE.  And each step, each day, each “yes” he says in his life, is like a little green shoot on a vast tree.  It comes quietly, and appears so small, so tender at first, but over time, the leaves grow and cover a vast tree.  One step plus one step plus one step leads to a journey of growth.  And he is being an incredible example to me of being courageous to say I don’t want to be ‘stuck’ here anymore.  And as I watch the process unfold, I am aware that it truly is a process. Like so many good things, it takes time.

And that brings me back to the photo, to the visual that encourages me so much.  See that little teeny tiny shoot of a green leaf?  It’s just one little leaf.  But one plus one plus one plus one equals an infinite number.  Pretty soon the leaves will just cover the tree.  What will draw out those little leaves?  Sunlight. The sunlight beckons the little leaf on out…and provides nutrients to allow for that little leaf to grow and join other little leaves that end up covering a tree.The love of Christ is so like that.  The warmth, the light, the truth of Christ just beckons us onward, to be enveloped and embraced by the wonder of being loved. And when we know we’re loved so deeply, so totally, in such an all consuming way, it makes us want to grow, to leave beyond the sin, the complacency, the habits, and flourish. It makes us want to scoot with abandonment to the pool and say ‘yes’, I want to be well. I want to be WELL.  And then….then we can say, ‘it IS well, it IS well with our souls’…  Thanks be to God for the love that fills and moves and motivates and heals to depths we don’t even know are there.  May we forever be aware of the love of God that urges us to leave behind the complacency and not only say ‘yes’ to being well, but be willing to scoot and  jump into the pools with abandonment.  I can’t help but think that like a loving Father waiting in the pool for his child to jump in the water, God is waiting with arms wide open for those who trust in Him.  Here’s to little steps and big leaps.



“…His loving kindness leads me to repentance.”

 Romans 2:4


Shattered Faith 2
So, a few minutes ago I was rushing again….rushing again to knock some things off my ever-growing to-do list.  One of them was to clean out the car which had accumulated some tools and books and my favorite coffee cup. So, as I was grabbing eVERy item, I thought I had better make two trips, but then nixed that thinking that I could ‘handle’ it.

Well, I couldn’t ‘handle’ it, and the handle of what has recently become my oh-so-favorite coffee cup slipped from my full hands and shattered on the driveway.

Instantly, I saw the analogy….”shattered Faith”.  You see, this favorite mug had the word “Faith” written on it in beautiful script multiple times.  Throughout my days it had been a reminder to me of the fact that Faith is an integral part of my day, my thoughts, my life. And there it lay shattered.  Such an analogy for how difficult circumstances can lead us to drop it all and have our faith be shattered.

But I picked up the pieces and will not fall apart over a little thing like a mug.  But it made me pause and think of how easily it is to become so fragmented in our faith when our days are broken up with endless to-do lists and rushing through. So, I put down the to-do list and sat.  I sat and thought and got refocused.  My heartbeat slowed and the urgency of all the stuff to get done waned, and I thought of the verse that has carried me through so many times.

Psalm 37:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God. ” I so know by experience that I can be still in my heart in the midst of endless chores and tasks and busy-ness.   But, this past week, that peace hasn’t characterized me at all.  I’m a bit drained and tired, and am grieving the loss of some substantial ‘brokeness’ in my family.  In the midst of that, I’ve tried to push through to keep up with all of the stuff.

Well, that shattered mug that fell to the ground thankfully brought me back to earth. I’m so thankful for the gentle and sometimes not-so-gentle reminders that God gives us.  I pray for the eyes to see them and the heart to believe in the One who calls me to a Faith that is not in what I see or understand, but in Him who called me to walk in a relationship with Him.  He is good.  And maybe brokenness is sometimes needed in our lives to remind us that the Unseen is so much more real in our lives than the stuff we hold onto.

So, I was careless with holding on to the handle.  But I pray that I will hold unswervingly…without wavering to the One who holds on to me and is faithful.  This world is not all there is.  But our relationship with Him?   Our Faith? That’s eternally worth holding onto with a steady heart and both hands.

Hebrews 10:23 says, Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful”.  He is faithful.   Amen.  In the midst of all that we face in our lives, He remains faithful.




The three of us stood in the parking lot.  The fog that we had seen as we traveled up the mountain was now the mist that clung to us.   But the chill in the air was the last thing on our minds. As the two of them talked, my mind drifted as I looked down at their shoes.  Father and son. Jeans.  Brown leather shoes. Hands in pockets.  Looking eye to eye and talking about what was to come.   For both men were dealing with alcoholism (yep, there I said it), and in a few minutes, one of them would set foot in the rehabilitation center.  One of them had already crossed that line years ago, and ironically is the one straddling the line in the photo. Ironic, because it has not been a perfect walk of freedom and staying across that line, but it is worlds from where he was before he first stepped foot in the treatment center. The other was resolved, determined, and quiet as he made a commitment to move forward and inch towards crossing the line into sobriety.

And me?  Me in my jeans and my black suede clogs standing there with two men that I adore and love whose struggles have weighed on my family and been so destructive in their lives and mine?  Me?  Me who has always been on this side of the line and never struggled with alcoholism, but who knows completely of the fact that I stand there on the same ground as them, a sinner saved only by the grace of God? Me, who knows that except for the grace of God, there go I? Me who sees them for the men of heart they are but who longs for them to be freed from the chains that have kept them from living the lives that they could so live?  Well, my mind that drifted into the fog earlier soon became very focused as we walked toward the doors which so many addicts have walked through.

I prayed, hugged, and encouraged my son to give it everything he has so that he finds his way.  Give it EVERYthing.  Bare what you have held for so long. Don’t look to the left or right, for this is about your freedom, no one else’s. Don’t be afraid that your words will shame us with your thoughts or the dark stuff of life.Only exposing the darkness brings it into light and casts it away.  Me?  I encouraged him to  be laid bare and know that we stand on the same ground and we all need freedom from the sin that so devours the heart which God longs to free. Lay it bare.  Lay it there and then leave it behind. Right now is a time to deal.  Then will come the time to heal.  And then?  Then, I pray that he will see that he has his own shoes to fill and own path to walk.           And I just can’t wait to see where they take him.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.

Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”  

Galatians 5:1

P.S.  Just want to add that I’m sharing this because I know that there are many who deal with this behind closed doors.  And it’s lonely there.  We need to collectively pray for each other and our kids. For freedom, for direction, for filling the void in their lives with the good things and not things that are self-destructive.That whole “:God-shaped void thing?  Yep, they’ll fill  it with something.  Pray they fill it with Him. There’s a generation out there struggling with so many issues.  It is not our place to lay our children’s secrets bare.  My son has already owned and acknowledged and allowed his struggle to be public…he’s in a place where he so knows he needs help.  And so I can share.  As a mom, wife, who is trying to impact my world in some tiny way with sharing , I am choosing to get beyond the stigma of this and that and live in the freedom that Christ has called me to. I’m trying to bring things into the Light in my own life and pray that sharing might help someone else to not bear the load alone  Funny how walking together can make the journey a whole lot easier.  So to my sisters out there?  Well, just wanted to share a little bit of where these shoes have been so that if you’re going through it, you won’t have to walk alone. Blessings, Heather


On Being Laid Bare



Peeling Back…


Laying Bare…

it’s fine for a birch tree…

but oh, so hard to see in

those we love.

But there’s a season for exposure

of the hidden things which eat from the inside out.

May we be people who embrace and love well

(which may involve covering, or may involve more painful exposure)

when those in our care are in the painful process

of dealing with things they need to let go.

 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

Hebrews 4:13

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

I John 1:9


Tangled Wood

Sometimes when

what lies beneath comes to the surface

it looks like a tangled mess

but then again,

the observing eye gains a better understanding

of how things truly are, not just how they appear

when it’s brought to the surface

no matter how messy it may be

the observing eye

can often find beauty

even in a tangled mess

It’s all about the eye of the beholder

feet stuck in mud

I know he feels like he’s stuck.

And honestly, he is.

There are No apparent options, only consequences of his actions, his choices. And the walls feel like they are closing in on him. And the mire of his existence seems to be getting deeper, and thicker like mud that is slowly hardening to cement.
And then, he will be stuck forever. That is the fear that is fast becoming the reality.

I am on the outside looking in, crying out that there is hope. There is a way to become unstuck.

I throw him a lifeline, and he refuses it. When he finally reaches for it, those who are designated to help are swallowed up in rules. The bureaucracy of this world majors on minutiae and turns him away. THEY TURN HIM AWAY. This young man then drops the lifeline that he had, finally, after years of sinking, reached for.

I search for other modes of loosening the fast-hardening cement, but find no answers. I despair and feel stuck with him.

I cry out to the God of Psalm 40, the God who rescues from the pit. And I wait.

We are waiting. Stuck, not knowing whether to move to the left or the right, for like quicksand, the earth seems to swallow us up deeper with each wrong choice made. Fear of making a wrong move brings on a paralysis of body, mind, and spirit.

Psalm 40 is my only solace along with the unwavering belief that this is not the end of the story. That the God of Psalm 40 will somehow show up and show us a way through and out.

He is the lifter of my head. He is my comfort. He is the One who can Deliver from the depths of despair.

But I know that there are some steps that this 21 year old must make alone, for parts of this process are for a journey of one. And the liquid poison which he turns to for solace in his despair only intensifies his cloudiness of mind and drains him of his will and ability to fight.

Praying that this man whose name means “God is my salvation” will do as the Psalmist does in the beginning of the Psalm and cry out to God, and that God will not delay. And that as I painfully watch the process, I will know when to speak and when to be silent, when to act with swift resolution and when to be still. I refuse to believe that he will be stuck forever. I absolutely refuse. I refuse and I fill my heart with the Truth that has been passed down through the ages. It is a prayer that so many have cried out for deliverance to the God who will deliver. And now, they are free.

With every ounce of my being I will cry out and seek a way out, and remind him that he is worth fighting for. That he is not abandoned, and that he must dig deep to fight. Praying that he will find the will to fight and the hope to see that there is a way out, for his life indeed is a gift. It is an amazing gift worth fighting for. His life was an incredible gift to me, an incredible life-changing gift.

I am his mother.

So here’s the thing. Being stuck cannot be the end of the story. It just cannot. For he was made to live and breathe and contribute. And I will cry out on his behalf until I see him free and on Solid Ground. I will pray that he find the will to cry out and believe that one day, like the Psalmist, my son will say  with passion and conviction…

“1 I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him.
4 Blessed is the one
who trusts in the Lord,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.
5 Many, Lord my God,
are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
they would be too many to declare.
6 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire—
but my ears you have opened
burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.
7 Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—
it is written about me in the scroll.
8 I desire to do your will, my God;
your law is within my heart.”
9 I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly;
I do not seal my lips, Lord,
as you know.
10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help.
I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness
from the great assembly.
11 Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord;
may your love and faithfulness always protect me.
12 For troubles without number surround me;
my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
and my heart fails within me.
13 Be pleased to save me, Lord;
come quickly, Lord, to help me.
14 May all who want to take my life
be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin
be turned back in disgrace.
15 May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!”
be appalled at their own shame.
16 But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
“The Lord is great!”
17 But as for me, I am poor and needy;
may the Lord think of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
you are my God, do not delay.”

Psalm 40, New International Version

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