An Addicts Confession

This is written from the perspective of an addict who knows there is freedom in Jesus but has yet to experience for herself. Freedom in Jesus sounds so wonderful and simple, yet people that have tried to help her fail to realize something … she is an addict and an addict falls hard to the thing she is addicted to.
An addict is a tortured soul who knows the truth but feeds off lies (eventually confusing them for truth). If an addict stays too long here, they become unrecognizable. You see, addiction isn’t just to drugs, alcohol, and sex. Addiction is the very thing the enemy uses to torture your soul, question God’s goodness, and ultimately destroy you (your testimony, heart, all the good work God has done in you).
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” John 10:10

 

My body is driven by you.

My mind is consumed by you.

My life is encompassed by you.

My soul is tortured by you.

Yet,

You are not my King.

You are not who I committed to serve.

You are not sovereign.

Yet,

You are who feeds me (day in, day out).

You are who I get drunk on.

You are my addiction.

Fear.

Shame.

 

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Written By: Maria Bowersock

Remembering 2016

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”
Colossians 3:23

 

June 2016: Writing publicly begins. It all started with this piece from Her View From Home.

July 2016: In addition to Her View From Home, I began writing for Lift Up Your Day.

August 2016: I started the first vlog series: Is God Good?

September 2016: the first writing submission was published by Nikki Cook!

October-November 2016: Reflections on Grief writing series

December 2016: 

Spoke at MOMs on Is God Good & if he is, are these terrible things we experience somehow good for us?

the last writing of the year & one where I discovered enjoyment for a new kind of creativity. 

 

NEW WRITINGS COMING 2017

Unspoken Broken (when godly women do ungodly things) and Courage to Conquer Fear

Her Holy Night

Disclaimer: Creativity is a gift from God. Imagination and wonder are a part of creativity. In this piece, I am drawing out my imagination and wonder. I have read the birth of Jesus in the Gospels, located in the Bible, and using my own imagination and questions of what it might have been like for Mary. This is not an accurate account as I am not Mary and can only draw from my own experiences as a mother. This is also not meant to replace anything that is in God’s Word. Simply put, this piece was written by a simple woman who loves Jesus, enjoys being creative, and making God’s Word real to me. I’m inviting you into my creative imagination and thinking. 
**images are property of Brittnee Burns Photography and the author uses them as a visual example of the birth process not a replacement of true life events of Mary and Jesus  (simply put, I am not suggesting I am Mary and my son is Jesus. You never know what bases you have to cover now-a-days folks).

 

The birth pains of you. 

img_8912Her sweat, tears, wails as her body begs you to come out. Did all reality of you being King of the World leave her as she suffers from the horrendous pain of birthing you? We read of
your birth, Lord, and always remember you came with the purpose to save but Her … she was the one who carried you, felt you move, kick, cause her discomfort as you grew. You were coming to be the King of the World but did her heart know it fully yet or was tonight, for her, the overwhelming joy of the birth of her son? To us, she is the woman who delivered the Savior of the World. I wonder if, to her, tonight she was just your mom.

The sound of your first cries.

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Those first cries bring such relief  because they signify life. You are here! She finds her body limp in relief; relief of the pain being over and your life trumpeted in with the sound of your baby cries. As a mother does, she reaches for her son to touch, to hold, to know. She is tired but she uses any strength left to lift her arms, reach for you, and cradle your tiny body in her arms.


Tiny hands and toes. 

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Her eyes fall on your tiny body for the first time. Did her heart stop for a second? This is her first child, her first and only son. Was her heart overwhelmed with the emotions of this moment? Did her words flow out of her heart: “I love you.” Did she feel what most parents feel the moment they meet their child: a desire to do right by them, protect them, love them well. Was it in this moment she was met with the reality that she was carrying the Savior? Oh but wait, she is interrupted in her thoughts as she sees his flickering eyes open…

Eyes awake for the first time. 

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Their eyes meet. Her heart must have skipped a beat now. Does she introduce herself?

“Hello. I’m mom and you are Jesus, my son. You have been in my belly for 9 months and now this is your home. I hope you like it here. I hope you love me like I love you.”

Does she tell him about her encounter with the angel and how he came into this world or does she just stare, stare at the beautiful boy that she finally can see and hold after 9 long month and hours of labor? Tonight was she just mom holding her baby boy for the first time; a holy night?

The virgin will be with child and will birth to a son and they will call him Immanuel – which means, “God with us.”
Matthew 1:24

“Because I started to face my pain, the Lord was able to bring healing.”

“Because I started to face my pain, the Lord was able to bring healing.”

It took me years to know how to handle the hardships of grief during the holidays. I was reminded recently of the verse from Psalms 147 that says that God mends the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. This resonated deep within me. Every holiday season, it almost seems like I have this wound that has started to heal but once I start going towards these seasons, the wound starts to re-open. When someone is in pain from a deep wound, it’s hard to get their mind off the pain. Your focus is only on that hurt. Your brain makes it a number one priority. And that is how it felt for me for so long.

I can really only say that once I started seeing Jesus in my healing instead of seeing only myself, was I really able to get through a holiday without that wound re-opening. He really started to bind up my wounds, therefore He was mending my broken heart. My blood started pumping towards His heart. His blood started circulating through my body, healing my wounds. I started to become one with Him.

I try to make it a priority to see my family as much as I can during the holiday seasons, even though we are placed throughout the world. That’s where I find my joy, in the love of Jesus and in the love of those who have loved me unconditionally. I’m not afraid to go toward these seasons anymore. I’m not afraid of the grief I still face. It’s so much better to go towards the grief than to run away from it. I ran away from the wounds for quite some time. Because I started to face my pain, the Lord was able to bring healing.

However hard this upcoming holiday season may be for you, don’t run away from your hurt. Use your boxing gloves and fight. Fight for the joy that this holiday season can bring for you. But also fight for the grief you are in. It’s okay to be in it. It’s okay to have wounds. But don’t stop putting ointment on it. That ointment is Jesus. Memorize his Word in your heart so that His blood can also run through your veins. I promise it will heal you. Maybe not in your time or my time but it will happen.

As I was praying on how to end this, I was reminded of this verse. I really feel that God wants to speak Isaiah 61:3 as a promise over all of you who are reading this with a heart full of pain and hurt. Jesus cares so deeply for you that He spoke to me to give this to you. How caring is that? So please read it. Get by yourself, take all of your worries and busyness out of your mind from the day and soak it in.

Isaiah 61:3 (NIV)

“…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”

About Audra: Hey y’all! My name is Audra Arnold. I’m a wife to my husband, a lover of all things birds and a nanny to three adorable boys (I love my job). Most of all, I’m a daughter of Jesus. If you would like to continue to follow my story or would like to get in contact with me, feel free to add any of my media links that are listed below. Thanks for taking the time to read my post!

Stay Connected with Her:
Instagram:  _audruh
E-mail:   audey4@gmail.com

“The thing is a change in perspective has the potential to change everything.”

“The thing is a change in perspective has the potential to change everything.”

surviving-holidays-laura-gThis year will be my fourth year celebrating the holidays since my Mom passed unexpectedly and quickly from cancer. I am not an expert on grief by any means, but I have discovered some helpful ways to make the holiday season still be one that I can fully celebrate in spite of the deep loss of my Mom not being a part of it. I am writing this in the hopes that what I’ve learned will be of some use to someone else that has suffered deep loss.

I would say this is THE most important and helpful tip I could give anyone regarding grief especially as a special day approaches.
As the anticipated day approaches, (whether it’s a holiday, an anniversary, birthday or any other big day that the loss may seem greater) allow yourself to grieve, don’t wait and hold it all in, in an attempt to “save” it for that special day.
Personally, I have learned that if I allow myself to be taken under the waves of grief as they roll in, I am able to resurface and experience peace again more quickly than if I try to control it by holding back and waiting for a convenient time. Another MAJOR benefit to this practice as special days approach is that by the time the special day becomes the present day, you’ve already grieved in such a way leading up to it, that the actual day becomes less sorrowful and more a day that can be truly celebrated.

I know that this may be a hard thing to practice, as it is a natural desire for our flesh to run away from what causes us pain. If this is you, take heart, my friend, may you find comfort from Jesus’ promise in Matthew 11:28 “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Did you notice that it doesn’t say, “Wait before you come to me”? No, it simply says “Come”. It has been my experience that when I come to him raw with honesty about my internal state of being, he meets me right then, where I am, and he gives me exactly what I need. REST.

Isaiah 54:10 “Thought he mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” It does my heart much good to remember that He has compassion on me, he hears my cries, and no matter what happens, his love for me is unfailing!
Typically the holiday season is one filled with traditions which makes it extra hard when one that you shared those traditions with is no longer present to take part with you.
The solution I have found for this is to do things differently than you normally would have. This enables you to be creative and to spend time thinking of new ways to make this time of year special with those that you still have to celebrate with, all the while it makes it not feel quite as big of a deal that the person you’re missing isn’t there because you’re doing things that they weren’t ever a part of. For instance, if you normally would gather on Christmas Eve and have a formal dinner, try meeting in a more casual setting and having an appetizer/dessert and game night. A personal example for me, we would normally all gather at my Mom’s on Christmas for brunch. This gave us time with our immediate families in the morning to open presents. Now that my Mom is gone, I have found much joy in planning some sort of special breakfast/brunch to surprise my kids with on Christmas morning instead of rushing off to my Mom’s house. I also carry on a tradition my Mom started when I was younger and I wrap a few “family presents” (games) to put under the tree. This way we have some family activities to fill our time on Christmas Day, and it feels fun to honor a tradition she started. I find Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4 especially encouraging whenever a change is hard. “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven (v 1)…A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a tie to dance (v 4).” I cry and grieve as Christmas approaches, and I laugh and dance on Christmas Day.

Staying busy by focusing on others through the holiday season helps me to get my focus off of my loss and myself, and back to Christ and his command to love and serve others. Be creative and look for ways to serve in secret. If you have kids this is a great way to teach them that this life is not about us, it’s about bringing glory to God’s name. A tradition I started with my kids after my Mom died is baking cookies and homemade bread to take to all of the neighbors on my street, along with a Christmas card that shares about Jesus’ birth. Phil 1:27 says, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” –even in grief.
As the very first Christmas I had without my Mom approached, I remember having the realization that every day without her was hard, which begged the question, “Why should that particular day be any harder?” Even as I write that question I can hear in my head all of the arguments one could make against it. The thing is a change in perspective has the potential to change everything. Sure, one could have the perspective that a certain day will be harder, but does it have to be that way? Or can we change our perspective, and decide that it doesn’t have to be? Let me give you an example, one of the hardest things about not having my Mom here anymore is being able to call her to share with her the funny, exciting, or hard things that are happening with my kids. Another big one is not being able to discuss the hardships of my own life as she was very wise and knew me so well. These are some of the everyday losses that feel excruciating and are no less painful than not being able to spend Christmas or any other holiday with her. In my experience, deciding that the loss doesn’t have to feel any worse on a holiday than any other day has proven to make it not so bad on the actual holiday or anniversary. I suggest trying it!

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is –his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Romans 12:2

Lastly, remembering 1 Thessalonians 4:13,14 “Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.” My Mom loved and followed Jesus faithfully, thus I have the assurance that she is in Heaven.
One of the things that help get me through Christmas and birthdays is remembering her love for Him, and her desire to be with Him in Heaven one day. I allow myself to imagine what it is like for her in Heaven on Christmas. Is there an amazing birthday celebration, or is every day a celebration? I picture what her face used to look like when He would move her in some way, I wonder if she has that look on her face all of the time now. Remembering that when she was here on Earth there was no place she would’ve rather been than in His presence, helps me to rejoice that she is there because I love her, instead of focusing on what it’s like for me to not have her here.

“Let us come before him with Thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.” (vs 6) “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.

Psalm 95:1, 6

It is my hope for all that have experienced loss to know that the Lord is good, and His love endures forever.

Laura

 

About Laura: My name is Laura, and I’m a daughter of the One True King. I’m a warrior in training for His Kingdom. I’m a sinner redeemed by Jesus. The only good you will find in me comes from Him, Jesus in me. Without Him, I’m just a mess… I’m also a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend.  My passion is to inspire women to desire change, to go, do, and be, the beautiful and powerful warrior daughters God created them to be.
Stay Connected: lauragthr@yahoo.com