A Love Letter to God

I’m a big proponent of letter writing—for healing, for building relationship, for encouragement, for love, and for getting in touch with one’s heart.  I’ve shared several sample letters to family here or on my publisher’s blog like A Letter to My MomA Letter on Leaving the Nest, or most recently Keeping Our Loved Ones’ Memories Alive.

This post involves a different slant to the letter writing therapeutic tool that I recommend.  It is for our spiritual growth.

letter to godA Delicate Balancing Act in Recovery

In a women’s recovery group that I co-lead, an assignment was recently given to write a thank you letter to God.  The Step Study group was at the mid-point in the 4th Step, where we “make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”

As you can imagine Step 4 is a painful process.  We are unearthing and writing down the ugly things we’ve done or what’s been done to us in the past.  Scary, yet freeing stuff—and not for the faint of heart—which is why we do it in the structured community of a Step Study group.

The thank you letter to God was assigned to help participant’s look beyond the pain of the past and to see the good side—to assist in balancing the good with the bad.  I was so touched by one woman’s letter that I asked for her permission to share it with my readers.

It is really poetic.  So please read it slowly, like a poem, and let the words gently stir your heart.

A Love Letter to God

“Dear Beyond-belief loving and merciful Lover of my soul,

Words cannot express the magnitude of the blessings you have heaped upon me—and that doesn’t even account for the blessings for which I am oblivious about.  I am left in awe!

Me, a worm, with my ugly sin and unworthiness—yet You purchased me with the blood of Your only begotten Son—so that I may be a daughter of the King of the Universe, to live where the streets are made of gold, the gates are pearly, and precious stones abound.  And I even have a crown, a special name, which is engraved in the palm of Your hand and You rejoice over me with singing…

How can it be that lowly me would be accepted as an heir in Your kingdom?

Truly, eternity is not long enough to thank you for the perfect plan of salvation, the undeserving grace, mercy, love and forgiveness.

Forever in the care of Your loving and gentle arms,
Me”

Lovely, isn’t it?  Where do words like this—words of deep gratitude and awe—come from?  Truly they were Holy Spirit inspired.

Thankful in all Circumstances

In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, we are commanded to “give thanks in all circumstances.”  It is not an easy thing to do.  We have to choose to do it despite how we feel.  It is taking our act of faith to a higher level, and thereby allowing God to work more freely in our lives.

1-thessalonians-5-18

When was the last time you thanked God for the blessings in your life?

When was the last time you thanked Him for the simple pleasures?

For the miracles?

Or for the hardships? (Especially the hardships?)

You don’t have to be in a recovery program (like Celebrate Recovery) or working through the 12 Steps to exercise your will to be thankful in all circumstances.

Take some quiet time today or one day this week to let the Holy Spirit move you to write a love letter to God.  You’ll be amazed by the gifted writer that is hiding inside your soul.

Thank you Ruth for letting me share your letter.  May it inspire others to see the love of our Heavenly Father in their lives.

On Mission for God, Part 3 ~ Not Standing Alone

I just returned from the 3-day Celebrate Recovery (CR) Summit at Saddleback Church in Southern California.  The worship songs are still running through my brain.  I am totally fired up and excited to move forward in serving in this ministry.  I venture to guess that there isn’t a single person out of the 3,400 attendees who doesn’t feel similarly.  The Summit is like CR on steroids with thousands of people who all want to bring or advance this ministry of hope and healing at their churches.

CR Summit 138

On the Saddleback campus

International Mission Focus

This was my third trip to the Summit in my ten years of recovery.  My previous two trips were with leader teams from two different churches.  This time I traveled alone, representing Pine Lake Covenant Church (PLCC), where I now serve as a CR leader.  I was sent as an envoy for the international mission I am leading to Spain in the fall.

My focus for this Summit was to meet other CR leaders who run this program in foreign countries and learn as much as possible about their unique obstacles and cultural differences.  Although I’m an introvert by nature, for this 3-day Summit, I was a woman on a mission with a razor sharp focus–meet international leaders.

I attended the session on International Mission Strategy and a late night connection event with international leaders or others going on short-term CR missions abroad.  I hung out daily at the international tent meeting representatives from other countries.  On my last day at the Summit, I had a one-on-one meeting with the new director of International CR, Jana O’Guin.

Other Summit Activities

I am grateful that this wasn’t my first time to the Summit.  I knew the lay of the land:  my way around the Saddleback campus, my way around Orange County, the 3-day schedule of events, and the line-up of speakers.  Even with all of that though, the information never felt stale or boring.  It was all inspiring and encouraging with multiple sessions of daily worship, powerful testimonies of redemption, and a chance to laugh at ourselves through the biblical wisdom and wit of The Skit Guys, like “God’s Chisel.”  All of this time and money was a great investment in advancing God’s Kingdom abroad.

My favorite times were the few times I got to unwind a bit with some CR leaders over dinner.  One night it was with a group from a local CR that I met on my flight to California.  One of those leaders is also going on a mission next month to China.  My last night in California, I had a relaxing dinner with a friend who moved to California shortly after we met in CR at PLCC last year.  These recovery-related conversations served up good food for thought and were a welcome time of fellowship.

While at the Summit I also took time to meet with my favorite authors:  Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.  I have been a big fan of their work since I first read “Boundaries” and “How People Grow” early on in my recovery journey.  We’ve met several times over the years.  (They’ve spoken at every Summit for the last 18 years.)  I could easily write a post just about each of their presentations.

I Don’t Stand Alone

My biggest takeaway from the Summit was that I am not alone in my Call to bring CR into another country.  Jana has been on over 25 mission trips into places like South Africa and Rwanda.  CR materials have been translated into 28 languages.

When I first started to tell other international CR leaders about my short-term mission to Spain, they eagerly suggested connecting my missionary partners in France and Spain with them.  These international CR leaders are pioneers in Christian recovery across the globe.  They have persevered over the years to break ground in their native country.  Often times they had to fund the translation and publishing of the CR materials in their native language as well.  Now it is Spain’s turn.

This is not an easy task.  It is not a ‘parachute’ ministry.  It will take follow-up trips to Spain by me, my missionary partner from France, or others who are experienced in CR and called to share this Good News abroad.  I’m grateful that I’m not alone; and I’m grateful that the path has been blazoned before us.  We’ll do our part; the rest is up to God.

CR International Map

Countries where Celebrate Recovery is established, developing, and has been introduced.

Mission update

This week I got approval from Timberlake Church, Redmond, WA to fully fund the start-up materials for several Spanish churches and for the seminar this fall.  That was welcome news on this joint church partnership with PLCC.

Only 6 more weeks!

Only 6 more weeks!

I’ll be leaving in six weeks, and the mission is not fully funded yet.  Won’t you please consider giving to this mission of hope and healing—not just for Spain, but to share the message in France as well?  Click here to donate online or fill out my contact form to support the cause through prayer.

If you live locally, I’m inviting you to hear me speak on Monday, August 18, 7 PM at Pine Lake Covenant Church in Sammamish, WA.  I’ll be casting the vision for the mission and sharing more about CR International endeavors and my Call to Spain.  Hope to see you there.

Qualified or Called, Part 1 ~ Learning to Serve

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NIV)

This verse first caught my attention early on in my recovery journey. It was the catalyst that I embraced when I started leading women’s support groups. God revealed to me in the short time that I was in recovery that he wanted to use my pain and my healing to come alongside others to encourage and support them on their journeys to wholeness.

Unqualified to qualifiedStepping up to Serve

The first group I facilitated was a Boundaries group. (It wasn’t the popular book by Drs. Cloud and Townsend. That came later in my teaching ministry.) My church was starting a recovery program with multiple groups being led with different curriculum. I was hungry for recovery and eager to share how God had redeemed my pain. However, I felt sorely unqualified to lead in this kind of setting. The ministry leader shared something with the leaders that has stuck with me ever since. He said, “You just have to be well enough.”

That was a relief to me. I didn’t have to have it all figured out. I didn’t need to perform. I needed to lead from my brokenness and my vulnerability.* That didn’t make it easy, but it helped me to let go of my pride and let God work in me in this new role with my church. You see I was, and am, a fairly capable person when it comes to project management, running large meetings, and such in the business world. However, putting myself on the front line of emotional and spiritual endeavors was totally foreign to me. And that was what God wanted. 

2 Cor. 12:9Believing you are Well Enough

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV) That is not what Satan wants—for you to serve in ministry. He is an expert at trying to get us to believe we are not good enough, smart enough, or worthy enough to serve the Lord. Don’t believe him! God wants to use you!

In time I stepped into bigger ministry roles at my church, not because I felt qualified, but because I felt called by God, or in some cases was asked. I often jumped in quickly, not realizing what I was getting myself into. Each time God was stretching me outside of my comfort zone—to coordinate a women’s retreat, speak at a women’s event, and to train the leaders that launched my church’s Celebrate Recovery ministry. Through it all, I was often reminded of a phrase I’d heard in ministry circles: “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.”

Answering my Next Call

Over the last few months, I’ve been preparing for God’s next call on my life. In preparation for that, I worked on a re-write of my recovery testimony. If you don’t know what that is, check out this post, What is a CR Testimony?, on the Celebrate Recovery website where I serve. Suffice it to say, it is not a small matter; and it is not a salvation testimony.

Answering the call

As I wrote it, God revealed to me the weavings and points of intersection where He was putting the people, circumstances and events in place to lead to this very time in my life. It’s been pretty profound, and has grown my faith in even bigger ways. There is so much I could write about this, but one chain of events stands out with such clarity to illustrate the way God works, and how perfect His timing is. I’ll save that for Part 2 of this series.

I’d love to hear from others who have stepped up into ministry leadership. Did you feel called? Do you presently feel qualified? How was God preparing you to serve Him?

*A great book I recommend about this leadership posture is Leading with a Limp, by Dan Allender.

This post is listed on Christian Mommy Blogger/Fellowship Fridays and Missional Women/Faith Filled Friday.

Practicing an Attitude of Gratitude

Is the glass half empty or half full?  That rhetorical question is commonly asked to determine if you are an optimist or a pessimist.  If you responded that the glass is half empty, some would say you are a pessimist.  If you answered that the glass is half full, common opinion would indicate that you are an optimist.

Half empty or half full?

Half empty or half full?

In either case, I bring this question up in light of the Thanksgiving holiday when Americans proclaim what they are thankful for—generally around a family feast.

You don’t need to reserve your gratitude for an annual date on the calendar.  For those of us who live our lives around the 12-Steps and Recovery Principles, gratitude is a way of life.  However, it is not something we generally felt when we entered recovery.

Developing an Attitude of Gratitude

Most people start recovery far from being grateful for the situation they find themselves in.  They may walk through the door of their first meeting because they are desperate for answers to the circumstances they are experiencing in their lives.  Or maybe they are at a bottom, like I was.  Whatever the reason, gratefulness probably isn’t on the list of character traits that friends would say they have–or at least not near the top.

I was a pessimist for most of my adult life—until I entered into the recovery process.  Now at times it is hard to keep me quiet about my gratitude for recovery (specifically Celebrate Recovery), and what the Lord has done in me and through me.

Gratitude heartYou don’t have to be in a recovery program to develop an attitude of gratitude.  The change doesn’t happen overnight.  It is a process that builds inside of us, as we consciously choose to change our thinking.  (The lesson on gratitude is taught as part of Step 11—We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and power to carry that out.)

Start small.  Take baby steps.  God will slowly give you glimpses into people, events, and things He has placed in your life that you can be grateful for.

The Benefits of Gratitude

Here are just some of the benefits of developing an attitude of gratitude (based on an acrostic for the word gratitude):

G-ets us out of our heads
R-eminds us of His gifts to us
A-djusts our attitude in a positive direction
T-ransforming power
I-ntegrates God’s love in our hearts
T-hankful despite our circumstances
U-tilizes our gifts for His Kingdom
D-raws others to us
E-ternal perspective
 

So it doesn’t matter if you identify yourself as a pessimist or an optimist, you can become a genuinely grateful person when you start to practice an attitude of gratitude.

I am grateful forPracticing What I Preach

In light of that, I’d like to say that I am thankful for the followers and readers of my blog, and for each purchase of my book.  I am grateful to be able to share my writing and trust that God is using it to inspire others.

I am grateful for this season of my life—the highs and the lows.  I am grateful for my family and my circle of friends who encourage and support me.  They lift me up at times when I can’t.  I am very grateful for my Spanish family and their generous hospitality to me.  I am forever grateful to my heavenly Father, who got my attention eleven years ago, brought me to my knees, redeemed my pain, and blessed me in ways I never dreamed possible.

I hope and pray this Thanksgiving will be the first day of an ongoing commitment to develop an attitude of gratitude in your life.  You can start now by posting what you are grateful for in the comments below.  Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving

Going Down Memory Lane

As we sat at a Seattle waterfront restaurant watching the rain, clouds and sun fight for control of the views out the window, I marveled at the thought of the 19 years that had passed between my friend and me.  We didn’t look 19 years older, but the age of our children was reality enough to ensure we were not dreaming.

A blustery day on the Seattle waterfront

A blustery day on the Seattle waterfront

Two Peas in a Pod

Mildred and I met when I re-entered the workforce one year after the birth of my first child.  We have a very strange history together.

Our work history intersects at three different employers.  I was her supervisor at two of those employers.  At one point in time, I held a former position of hers and then later she held a former position of mine.  That speaks volumes in itself.  It is a testament to her character and her work ethic.

Nineteen years later, she has a nice retirement nest egg from her employer waiting for her; and I am just now finding my career niche—my writing.  Unlike most writers I know, I don’t have a day job to fall back on.   Some might say it is a luxurious lifestyle.  For me, it is part of my self-care program.

Mildred was eager to hear all about my upcoming trip to Spain.  As if to confirm why she was such a good employee—and how very like-minded we are—she immediately suggested having my story translated into Spanish.   I agreed and told her that I negotiated the foreign rights to my story with my publisher and that Pedro had already translated the manuscript.

Does time really heal all wounds?

Does time really heal all wounds?

Wounds of the Past

We caught up on talk about our kids and our parents—being in the sandwich generation.  We naturally ended up talking about work.  Many of my former colleagues and employees had retired or moved on to other organizations.  A few remained.

As we talked about work, the memories and people’s names started to drift back to my short-term memory—people she had even long since forgotten about.   Some of my memories were of painful events, like my demotion.  Except for one brief moment, I experienced no emotional pain in discussing it though.

They say that time heals all wounds.  I’m not sure who that ‘they’ is, but that is not something you’d ever hear in recovery circles.  If you don’t look at the painful wounds of the past, you bury them alive.  They will leak out in unhealthy ways when you least expect them—like in outbursts of anger, or can lead to physical symptoms like ulcers, etc.

In my case, I worked through my character defects that brought me to my knees at the hands of my boss.  I’m grateful for it, as it pointed me down the road to recovery, and eventually to Celebrate Recovery, a Christian 12-step program.

Memory LaneMoving Forward

Going down memory lane is a healthy practice—not for self-condemnation or holding on to resentments—but for healing.  The one painful memory that surfaced helped me to realize that I still have one last thing to clear up—an amends of sorts.

Even as Mildred and I reconnected we touched on the same thread between us—making sure we understood each other and to not take advantage of our friendship.  Her words served to encourage me, and likewise mine for her.

Another luncheon is over.  Another friendship is rekindled.  Another day is done.  All because of the connection my story is making in people’s hearts.

Maybe I do lead a life of luxury.  It’s not the kind of physical luxury or success that pays the bills.  It is the luxury of friendship.  That’s the best kind of riches to have.

Do you embrace opportunities to go down memory lane or avoid it like the plague?  I hope you’ll embrace it and free yourself from the pain of the past.

“You Complete Me” or Do You?

The title of this blog post was taken from a quote in the 1996 movie “Jerry Maguire”.  It is in the final scene of the movie when the main character in the movie, Jerry Maguire, played by Tom Cruise, returns to his estranged wife Dorothy, played by Renée Zellweger, and tells her that she completes him.  For all the women readers out there, let’s just breathe a big sigh as we silently think to ourselves, “if only my husband felt that way”.

Wedding ringsI was in my mid-thirties at the time this movie came out and although I was already married for over ten years, I was still naive enough to think that kind of love was possible.  It’s not that that kind of love isn’t really possible.  It’s that we shouldn’t expect our spouses to complete us.  Yet that is the message that we are constantly bombarded with in the entertainment industry.  It is all over our television sets, in the theaters and in the fantasy romance novels that women can get wrapped up in.  In fact, it is fed to our children at an early age in Disney fairy tales as well.  No wonder women expect to live happily ever after when they walk down the aisle on their wedding day.

Complement, Not Complete

We are meant to complement our spouses, not complete them.  We are each to be made whole through our relationship with Christ and partner with our spouses in creating a Godly marriage.  When we expect our husbands to complete us, we are setting ourselves up for huge resentments and unmet expectations.  It is an enormous burden to place on them.  They are only human.  It is enmeshment and co-dependency at its worst.  Without the communication tools to deal with that, we end up living in misery.  I know because I lived in that place for many years.

I’ve been working on my own healing and recovery for the past nine years.  It was in a variety of spiritual and emotional healing classes and reading books like “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend that I first started to realize this and put the pieces together in my life.  It’s been a very painful process to come to terms with my own character defects and emptiness that I had in my heart.  I had to learn to turn to God to fill that hole and connect with other women who, for the most part, had also put their husbands on a pedestal and expected them to meet all of their needs.   It is epidemic in society.  I would venture to guess that unmet expectations are probably one of the leading causes of divorce.  But it doesn’t have to end that way.

There is Hope for Your Marriage

My husband and I just returned from a marriage workshop in California held by New Life Ministries.  New Life is also responsible for airing “New Life Live”, America’s #1 Christian call-in counseling ministry, hosted by Steve Arterburn.  It is a ministry that I whole-heartedly support, list on my website and use as a resource in groups that I lead.New Life Ministries

This weekend did not disappoint as I saw God show up in amazing ways and heard many testimonies of life transformation.  For me, this weekend was a wonderful opportunity to really connect at a deep level—not just with my husband, but with the other couples in our group sessions.  We left refreshed, hopeful for the future and more equipped and willing to bring healing and restoration into our marriage.

I cannot recommend New Life highly enough.  Whether your marriage needs a tune-up or a full-blown resuscitation, I encourage you to contact New Life Ministries at 1-800-NEW-LIFE to get it back on track.  You’ll be glad you did.

Suffering in the Body | By Kim Amrine | Guest Post

About 2½ years ago, a light bulb came on for me.  I was re-reading Dr. Cloud and Townsend’s book, “How People Grow.” Dr. Cloud posed a question to a group of experienced pastors, “If you had to arm your parishioners with protection from sin, how would you do it?  What do you think is the best armor you could wear?”  They had many ideas, but ultimately he pointed them to 1 Peter 4:1:  “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourself also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.”(NIV)

 Caught in the Cycle

“Oh,” I said to myself, “this isn’t going to be pretty.”  I had been in relapse in my food addiction for a year or two, after some good abstinence for a few years.  I had just completed a one year healing/recovery group and learned what mother’s and father’s roles are, and what they should provide for their children.  I had stepped out of denial and started the grief process over the holes of parenting that were in my family of origin, including being the child of two alcoholic parents.

I was attending 12-step recovery meetings regularly, journaling, reaching out to others over the phone, and none of it was working.  A friend and mentor reminded me, “You are in the process of insanity—doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. Matthew 16:24 TNIV

Embracing the Pain

My relapse into food addiction and my internal pain brought me back into the therapeutic process, this time with a very seasoned and astute therapist.  It was here that I realized the only way to healing was to go through the pain.  I couldn’t minimize it, avoid it, rationalize it, or medicate it away using food.  These defenses were no longer working for me.

 The last 2 years I have been grieving a myriad of losses, deaths if you will—loss of my childhood, loss of the parents I thought I had, but didn’t, loss of many positive experiences in my marriage, loss of physical health and loss of internal peace because of my past.  I have denied, protested in anger, and cried until I thought the tears would never end. I know there are still more to come.

Letting Christ Transform Your Pain into Healing

Why do I bother doing this?  Because as one of my pastors recently said, “If we don’t let Christ transform our pain, we will transmit it.”  If I don’t enter into the healing process, my pain will either be turned inward – food addiction, depression – or transmitted and turned outward, projecting my unprocessed feelings onto those I love and care for.  My heart’s desire is to leave a positive legacy to those who enter my life and sphere of influence.

Jesus never promised an easy walk.  “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NKJV) Out of death and dying comes resurrection and life.  I count on Jesus and the cross he bore, (and the cross that I am bearing now) to bring me through to a resurrected life.  I know that as I continue to grieve the losses of my childhood, that there will be new life on the other side.  And I don’t mean in heaven; I mean a resurrected life here on earth.

I have already experienced some of the fruit of this process of recovery and in my faith journey.  I am just going a little deeper now.  The Lord will redeem my losses, “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.” Joel 2:25 (TNIV) There will be redemption on the other side of my season of grief.  He is faithful and I can count on it.

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Kim & Ardis

Kim & Ardis

Kim Amrine is a grateful Believer who is passionate about healing and recovery.  She serves as Ministry Leader of Celebrate Recovery at Pine Lake Covenant Church in Sammamish, Washington, where she has led a number of groups.   Her other passions are being a wife of 37 years to Jerry, mom to two adult children, and working as a physical therapist.

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Note from Ardis ~ I’ve been blessed to walk alongside Kim and witness her courageous journey of spiritual and emotional healing.  She is a true model of vulnerability and taking the risks required to break free from past hurts, habits and hang-ups.

Thank you Kim for sharing your story of perseverance.  I hope her story encourages you or someone you know to walk through the pain, to the other side, and turn healing into hope.

Naughty or Nice in the New Year?

 As the year comes to a close and I start to think about 2013, I have been pondering what I need to change in my life.  The question that keeps coming to mind is have I been “naughty or nice” this past year.

Naughty or Nice?I had a good Christmas with my immediate family and friends.  2012 was an amazing year which fast-tracked me into the publishing industry.  There is no room for complaining.  All of this points to being “nice”.  (There are times I certainly don’t think I deserved it.)

However, my body is telling me otherwise.  It is fatigued.  It is sore.  My mind is mush.  I am emotionally and physically spent.  I can’t seem to bounce back like I thought I would.  I have been “naughty”—to my body—and it won’t cooperate with me.  A quick review of the past year brings the whys glaringly into my face.

A Busy Year

In January, I took on the role of trainer on the launch team of my church’s Celebrate Recovery ministry.  A few weeks later, my manuscript was accepted.  I continued in my ministry role despite significant obstacles for much of the year.  I also stepped down from my part-time responsibilities at my husband’s business.

I worked with the publisher to edit and market the book.  I launched my website, created my own marketing materials for the book and held an Open House in the fall.  In November, I devoted my time to NaNoWriMo and writing six chapters and over 30,000 words on my memoir.  On top of all this, I dealt with the passing of my father, the start of menopause and the search for answers to my son’s academic struggles in school.

I Am Not Invincible

What I tend to forget, because I hide it so well, is that I also have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) and fibromyalgia (FMS).  I’ve had them for years and am pretty good at keeping it a bay, if I listen to my body and take precautions.  (I went on medical leave from my job five years ago due to an environmental exposure and haven’t worked full-time since.)

With the physical drain comes mental fatigue and hence, my writing is also suffering.  I don’t want this blog to become my random thoughts on my life.  I want it to be a place of inspiration and transformation.  But in order to model vulnerability, I also need to acknowledge this bump in the road.

What Now?

I haven’t lost sight of who is in control of my life or that I have free will in it.  I know He is going to use this to help me refine my character and look to Him for answers on how He wants to use me.

Self Care Reminder2013 has so much potential for me with my trip to Spain and hopefully a side trip to speak in Paris.  Those are things I never dreamed possible.  For me to do them I need to re-evaluate my lifestyle, return to my spiritual and recovery disciplines and invest in some self-care.  I know God will reveal to me what is most important and He will transform my heart to accept His will in all this.  I am a grateful Believer and a recovering workaholic who struggles with pace of life.  (I needed that reminder.)

What about you?  Have you been naughty or nice this past year?  Which will you choose in 2013?  What are you going to do to change and move forward?

Time for a Power Lunch

Yesterday I had what I can only term a “Power Lunch” with a friend whom I haven’t connected with for a few years. Our “Power Lunch” wasn’t the kind of lunch where high stakes corporate mergers are born. It was the kind of meeting where life transformation is discussed, tears are shed and dreams are shared. It lasted over four hours!

My friend and I have run into each other at women’s retreats and commit to connecting for some one-on-one time, but for whatever reason, we didn’t get a date on the calendar. As the date for this commitment approached last week, my anxiety seemed to rise on how I was going to get everything done. And this commitment came close to being cancelled. Thankfully that didn’t happen.

Waiting for a table at the restaurant seemed to take forever. When the time came to seat us, my friend asked for a table in a quiet area (away from the group of noisy kids just seated). I knew this was going to be some good quality time. After we ordered lunch, we fell into a natural routine of sharing what God was doing in our lives. It was like we never parted.

Power lunch

Our relationship goes back to the first day I walked into a Celebrate Recovery meeting, eight years ago this week. I was drawn to her warmth, vulnerability and sense of humor. She made a lasting favorable impression on me. I’m sure she was one of the influencing factors that helped me to overcome my uneasiness and skepticism on whether to return to those first meetings.

What is interesting is that on the surface, we didn’t seem to have anything in common. Our recovery issues were very different. But since my work addiction landed me in recovery, I attended the breakout group for addictive behaviors. I met some very interesting people—whom I still consider friends. They were some of the core women who started my accountability and support team. And they were just what I needed to foster my relationship with God.

That was a very difficult time in my life. I was learning to let down the wall around my heart and let people see the real me. It was risky, but worth the effort as I started to feel loved and accepted for who I was and not what I did. It was where my love for God moved from my head to my heart.

Eight years later, my friend and I both marveled at what God has done in our lives and how He is using us in our spheres of influence. I won’t soon forget her words of exhortation and grace as we parted company. They were a life-giving gift and confirmation of the transformation that God has done in me this past year.

I am incredibly grateful to God for this season of growth. And yesterday I was reminded how blessed I am for the life-giving relationships I’ve sowed along the way.

When was the last time you had a “Power Lunch” and who was it with? Who has God placed on your heart to connect with lately? What is stopping you?

  • WELCOME to my site!

    I'm an author, writer, speaker, mentor & mom. I've struggled to find my voice all my life as I lived in the shadows of a mother with mental illness. Thankfully that was not the legacy that she handed down to me. It took a lot of recovery and deep healing work to rise above it.

    I am thankful to God for Making Me Bold in the process. Now I use my writing and speaking voice to help others on their journey to turn healing into hope.

  • Returning to Spain

    Arrival on Spanish SoilApril 29th, 2018
    Vamos a España!
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    © Ardis A. Nelson and MakingMeBold, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ardis A. Nelson and MakingMeBold with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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