Change

Change turns out to be the most consistent thing in the last five years of my life. In those five trips around the sun I have become a wife, a 1st time mommy, and then a mommy of two. I’ve lived in 2 countries, 5 cities, and 7 homes. This season of my life has been marked by big changes.

There is a book in the Bible, Ecclesiastes, that tells us, “For everything there is a season, a time, place, and purpose underneath the sun.” And that should be reassuring—right? Good or bad, change is supposed to be coming—soon. And while we wait for the next shift in our world, we are supposed to be content.

I’d love to think that I gracefully sail upon the waves of change, but those waves often get so big they blot out my perspective upon what I know to be true: who I am, and how I want to live. So many times my type A personality, coupled with a variety pack of OCD nervous ticks seems to be my personal recipe to keep me from drowning in what can seem like the stormy, lonely sea of change. And there are points where it seems like I’ll always be pulled and tossed upon this treacherous sea with no sight of land, all the while craving glassy waters, calm breezes, and rhythm. And yet, my heart still craves the adventure brought to me by the big waves of constant uncertainty. And thus—the tension I live between.

Being a follower of Jesus means I am constantly moving – ever attuned to His movements. Wanting to be so close to His footsteps that the dust from His steps covers me. And then at the same time, I am learning to abide in Him—to be still. That lingering in Him, with myself, and with others is the remedy for my restless heart.
It was early this year that we felt God was calling us out of Texas and into our home, although we had no clue where that ‘home’ would be. We dreamt of a life of space and wilderness for our family. We dreamt that we would be entangled in a community that we could do life with. We yearned for a church where we could both use our gifts to partner alongside others to love God with everything we had and to love others the same.

And so, here I am, in another monumental transition, having moved across the country, to a new church, and to a new community. And instead of gearing up for a battle with a to-do list of epic propositions, my heart is resting. Because, my friends, I have the confidence that we are home. I have peace and assurance that this season of my life will be marked by abiding. Abiding with new friends on back porches and around dinner tables. Abiding during playtime with my children and in sharing a cup of coffee with my husband. Here in Reno. Here at Grace. Here with you.

Jesus made a way for me, like He does for you. He doesn’t want your heart to be engulfed by seas of torment – He wants for you to live into the promise that He has plans to prosper you, not to harm you, to give a hope and a future. A home in Him where your soul can abide and find rest.

Addiction and the Capstone Celebration

Friday night I went to a Capstone Celebration for people in recovery. This is kind of like a graduation from treatment, but they don’t call it that because addiction never really lets you graduate…you just reach milestones of learning tools to live beyond it. I saw a couple dozen beautiful people who struggle hard with addiction but have taken steps to turn their lives around. They had received inpatient treatment and outpatient treatment and reached a sobriety milestone. Two of those people were young women from the Jane Aubrey House.

One of those girls, Amanda, is pregnant.

It made me think how far addiction’s reach is. And more importantly, how far recovery’s reach is. Amanda found hope at the Jane Aubrey House, that hope extends to her parents, her siblings, her friends and beyond…to her unborn child, and her future children.

This stirs me deep inside. To know that what I gave to, what this church is doing, is reaching so far. God is changing the direction of lives for eternity. Thank God for the Jane Aubrey House. Thank God for hope. Thank God for the way He brings us in, and uses us for His glory.

Five Things You May Not Know About Celebrate Recovery

Passionate people come hungry to learn. Passionate people are contagious. Their faith can’t help but overflow as they pour out what God is pouring into them. They are purpose driven. Passionate people thrive on seeing other people thrive. Passionate people are absolutely magnetic.

I visited Celebrate Recovery (CR) for the first time last week and I can tell you that you can’t help but be drawn to the people and the movement that is happening there. Though I was familiar with many aspects of the program, there were parts that honestly surprised me. The parts that you can only see for yourself.. firsthand.. rather than hearing about them. Here’s a quick bird’s eye view:

1) Honesty in struggle connects people quickly.

It is often the case that people think that if others knew what they had done or what they’re currently doing, they wouldn’t be able to handle it. Maybe they’d be judged? Maybe they’d be told they’re not welcome in a “Christ-centered” program?! This is a place created specifically so that those who take the first step to come are met with an atmosphere of acceptance and encouragement. We can’t fix you, but we know who can. Scoot on in next to me and let’s do this together. The connection is tangible and the sense of belonging is instant.

2) It is both Christ-centered and a safe place to come as you are spiritually.

I did not get the impression whatsoever that anyone was going to take a holier-than-though stance with anyone else. Everybody is rowing in the same boat of admitting their struggles and also admitting they are works in progress. This is a biblically-centered program so Jesus will be present in the conversation, the teaching, the testimonies and the steps. However, Jesus will also be present in the people who love you where you are, instead of casting stones to condemn you if you’re still figuring out where you are spiritually.

3) It is just as much for the family member’s support, as it is for the ones struggling with hurts, habits or hang-ups.

Many of you may be familiar with AA and Al-Anon. One is for the one struggling and the latter for the people affected. I am encouraged to see that CR is for everyone. I think someone whose spouse is in a dark place would be helped by going even if their mate wasn’t open to it yet or ever. What you find when you walk through the doors is that we could all benefit from CR as we all have our issues. We all struggle with being defined by things done to us or choices we made along the way. Knowing that we cannot save or fix our loved ones, sometimes getting in a place of healing ourselves and taking the first step could be what eventually leads them to walk through the door alongside us.

4) Recovering physically (such as quitting drinking) is a goal, but not the ultimate goal.

Though there is a great mood of celebration as chips are given out for everything from 24 hours to decades of having recovered physically, it is clear that everyone’s recovery is without definitive end. Spiritually and emotionally there are phases of recovery that continue for years after the last drop of alcohol is drunk or the last day of depression is felt. We can’t forget that people are coming to find hope for so much more than addiction. Anger, sexual integrity, depression etc. No matter what it is, we are not suddenly “out of the woods” because a behavior is no longer present.

5) While the thought you enter with at first may be, “I’m not sure I’m ready for anyone to know about this.” The thought you leave with is often, “I’m not sure why I didn’t do this sooner!”

There is a great verse in Romans that says: “that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith” (Romans 1:12). When you enter a space where people are being set free from bondage, where people are opening up their hearts and their lives to each other, where they can begin to see God’s power and promises overtake the lies they’ve been believing…you just can’t help but want to go back for seconds. Load my life up with some of that!

In conclusion, I just want to say that I’m glad I visited. It was time well spent. Whether it be Celebrate Recovery or the HopeFirst initiative that is raising money to purchase recovery homes throughout Washoe County to help people with addictions find hope and healing, I am excited that our church has looked at our community and decided to punch addiction in the throat.