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RubyMARCH2017


Accountability

Enfolded in God’s Arms (Book Review)

 
Hi, friends!
 
One of the things I try to do on this site is to let you know of resources that have helped me and could help you in your walk with God–and with others.
 
Enfolded in God’s Arms by Lisa Aré Wulf is one of the books I think you should look into, especially if you feel stuck in life.
 
lisawulfbookcover
 
Enfolded in God’s Arms is a 40-day devotional for people who need healing in their lives. Isn’t that all of us? 🙂
 
Each of Lisa’s reflections include:

  • Scripture verse
  • Devotional entry
  • Questions to ponder
  • Prayer
  • Journal space

 
The delicate flowers on the cover set the tone for the book. The fragile vase is a hint at the approach Lisa uses throughout the book. From the beginning, Lisa calms the reader’s fear of digging deeper into their hurts. In the middle of each entry, she includes a section titled “Be Still for a Silent Moment with God.” I appreciated this section because it reminded me not to keep reading without listening to what God was speaking to my heart. Instead, I stopped and reflected on what I was reading and how it applied to me.
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Enfolded in God’s Arms helps readers start the process of introspection, which leads to healing. It’s a great book for those who “are experts at putting on a good face.” Lisa uses a tender approach. I’ve never heard her voice, but I felt like I could hear her encouraging me.
 
Although Lisa sprinkles personal examples throughout the book, I wanted more of them! I wanted to know how she handled her struggles specifically. In my opinion, sharing more of her experiences would have helped the reader to dig even deeper. It’s a personal preference that does not detract from the book in any way.
 
I recommend Enfolded in God’s Arms by Lisa Aré Wulf for anyone who experiences struggles they “can’t seem to shake.” Anyone who is starting in recovery circles, including 12-step programs, would benefit from Lisa’s book. It is non-threatening, yet challenging and transforming. It would be ideal for a small accountability group. It also makes a sweet gift to those who need a long embrace.
 
 
To learn more about Lisa, visit her Web site.
 
To purchase a copy of Enfolded in God’s Arms, click on the Amazon logo below.
 
amazon
 
 
Come alongside…. How can you benefit from Lisa’s book? In which areas of your life do you need to get unstuck? Which parts of yourself have masks? Post your comment in the box below that says, “Leave a Reply.” Remember, you can comment anonymously.
 
 

Relapse Ain’t Got Nothin’ on My Recovery Group

 
Hi, friends!
 
RelapsenothinrevLet’s talk recovery. More specifically, relapse.
 
We see it over and over again on the news, mainly with celebrities whose relapse into addictions and unhealthy behaviors results in death. Singer Whitney Houston comes to mind. Just this week, actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died after being clean more than two decades. He relapsed last year.
 
This isn’t just about celebrities. We see relapse more and more in the lives of those around us—family, friends, acquaintances, even people at church. We might be the ones in relapse.
 

I’ve relapsed.

 
This past year has been incredibly difficult for me: Emotional stress, financial issues, and tense relationships. Like others in recovery, I’ve had a hard time not falling back into old habits when I face triggers. I’ve had some missteps–even skidding back to square one in several areas. I’ll be honest: I wasn’t practicing what I wrote two years ago about preventing and reversing relapse:
 

  • Reflect
  • Expose your triggers and plan your escape strategies
  • Look up and re-learn scripture passages
  • Activate your accountability partners
  • Pray, pray, pray
  • Share your story
  • Evaluate regularly

 
(You can find more detailed explanations about each of these tips in part one and part two from 2012.)
 
One thing has been important for me to step back onto–and stay on–my recovery path:
 
 

I started attending weekly recovery group meetings again.

 
 
Recovery groups aren’t just for people who struggle with drugs or alcohol. Recovery groups are for people who struggle with anger, codependency, food addictions, workaholism, pornography addictions, fear and worry, trust, and so much more. People like me and possibly you.
 
I made a lot of progress when I was attending group, so I didn’t see the need to keep going once I was “better.” Now I remember why it’s important to attend my recovery group regularly. I have people who hold me accountable. They don’t judge me, criticize me, or look at me any differently when I make a bad choice. They listen, understand, and love me no matter what. My recovery group keeps me from relapsing. They are my family.
 
 
Attending weekly also helps me to live consistently, my word for this year.
 
 
I don’t know why I ever stopped attending. 😉
 
 
LastRecoveryGrouprev
 
 
Today, I encourage you: If you’re struggling to stay on your recovery path–or if you’re already on an unhealthy and destructive path, find a recovery group in your area. Celebrate Recovery is a great place to get connected. You’ll meet with others who will walk with you, encourage you, and love you.
 
 

Two people are better than one. They can help each other in everything they do. Suppose someone falls down. Then his friend can help him up. But suppose the man who falls down doesn’t have anyone to help him up. Then feel sorry for him! Or suppose two people lie down together. Then they’ll keep warm. But how can one person keep warm alone? One person could be overpowered. But two people can stand up for themselves. And a rope made out of three cords isn’t easily broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)
 

 
 
Don’t go it alone. Relapse ain’t got nothin’ on recovery groups!*
 
 
Come alongside… Are you staying on track in your recovery? Have you taken steps back? What can you do to get back on the right path? Share with us in the comments below. Remember, you can comment anonymously.
 
 
 
*Note: I don’t mean to minimize addiction by saying it’s easy to recover by solely attending recovery groups. Other resources and treatments might be necessary to address recovery. Recovery groups are just one component to address recovery, relapse, and addictive behaviors.


Related Products

 
 

Life’s Healing Choices Revised and Updated: Freedom from Your Hurts, Hang-ups, and Habits (Kindle Edition)


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10 Benefits of Friends

 

BenefitFriendrev

So I was thinking about my friends and how much I cherish each one of them. Though I love them and thank God for them, I haven’t spent much time with them lately. It’s so easy for me to stay indoors, not talk to anyone, and be a loner. To be and have a friend takes time, effort, and risks. But, oh, the benefits! Here are ten:

 

 

Encouragement

So cheer each other up with the hope you have. Build each other up. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

 

Let us not give up meeting together. Some are in the habit of doing this. Instead, let us cheer each other up with words of hope. Let us do it all the more as you see the day coming when Christ will return. (Hebrews 10:25)

 
 
 

Help

So Joshua fought against the Amalekites, just as Moses had ordered. Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held his hands up, the Israelites were winning. But every time he lowered his hands, the Amalekites began to win. When Moses’ arms got tired, Aaron and Hur got a stone and put it under him. Then he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up. Aaron was on one side, and Hur was on the other. Moses’ hands remained steady until sunset. So Joshua destroyed the Amalekite army with swords. (Exodus 17:10-13)

 

Suppose someone falls down. Then his friend can help him up. But suppose the man who falls down doesn’t have anyone to help him up. Then feel sorry for him! (Ecclesiastes 4:10)

 
 
 

Teammate

Two people are better than one. They can help each other in everything they do. (Ecclesiastes 4:9)

 
 
 

Compassion

Or suppose two people lie down together. Then they’ll keep warm. But how can one person keep warm alone? (Ecclesiastes 4:11)

 
 
 

Fight for and defend each other

One person could be overpowered. But two people can stand up for themselves. And a rope made out of three cords isn’t easily broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

 
 
 

Unconditional Love

A friend loves at all times. He is there to help when trouble comes. (Proverbs 17:17)

 
 
 

Loyalty

Don’t desert your friend or your father’s friend. And don’t go to your family when trouble strikes you. A neighbor nearby is better than a family member far away. (Proverbs 27:10)
 

Saul told his son Jonathan and all of the attendants to kill David. But Jonathan liked David very much. So Jonathan warned him, “My father Saul is looking for a chance to kill you. Be very careful tomorrow morning. Find a place to hide and stay there. My father and I will come and stand in the field where you are hiding. I’ll speak to him about you. Then I’ll tell you what I find out.” (1 Samuel 19:1-3)

 
 
 

Sacrifice

Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David. He also gave him his military clothes. He even gave him his sword, his bow and his belt. (1 Samuel 18:4)
 
 
 

Prayer partners

Again, here is what I tell you. Suppose two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for. My Father in heaven will do it for you. Where two or three people meet together in my name, I am there with them. (Matthew 18:19-20)

 

They all came together regularly to pray. The women joined them too. So did Jesus’ mother Mary and his brothers. (Acts 1:14)

 
 
 

Sharing life together

The believers studied what the apostles taught. They shared life together. They broke bread and ate together. And they prayed. (Acts 2:42)

 
 
 
After reading this, I missing some of my friends even more. I think I’ll give them a call. How about you?

 
 
 

Come alongside… Which one of these benefits resonates with you most? Which one are you needing most right now? What can you do about it? Which friend can you reach out to and how? Would you share any other benefits of being and having friends? Would you consider passing this blog post to your family and friends?

 


 
 

7 Ways to Prevent–and Reverse–Relapse (Part 2 of 2)

In last week’s post, I introduced three of the seven ways we can prevent—and reverse—relapse in our recovery journeys.

 

 

7 Ways to Prevent and Reverse Relapse

Let’s recap…
 

 

R is for Reflect.

E is for Expose your triggers and plan your escape strategies.

L is for Look up and re-learn scripture passages.

 

 

I hope you’re already putting those into practice. I know I am!

 

 

 

Today, we’ll complete the acronym “RELAPSE” with the letters A, P, S, and E.

 

 

Here goes…

 

4. Activate your accountability partners

Our enemy wants us to stay silent and pretend all is okay. He wants us to keep our struggles to ourselves. Remember: Silence comes with a cost.

 

When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable, and I groaned all day long. (Psalm 32:3)

 

Silence pains us physically, emotionally, mentally, relationally, and spiritually.

 

It’s better to have a partner than go it alone…. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble…. A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

 

Accountability partners who struggle with similar issues can empathize with us, they can share what has worked for them, and they keep us on track with our recovery. They are there for us when we’re tempted to give in. Most importantly, they can pray for us.

 

If you haven’t talked to your accountability partner in a while, give him/her a call and catch up. If you don’t have an accountability partner, pray. Ask God to place someone on your heart and to lead you to the right person—someone of the same sex whom you can trust and share your struggles and victories—big and small.

 

 

5. Pray, pray, pray

We can do all of the above, and if we don’t pray to our Higher Power Jesus Christ, then we are still relying on our own power to get us through. Willpower will only get us so far. But listen to what prayer can do:

 

The Holy Spirit helps us when we are weak. We don’t know what we should pray for. But the Spirit himself prays for us. He prays with groans too deep for words. (Romans 8:26)

 

“You will not succeed by your own power or strength. You can’t force these things. They only come about through my Spirit,” says the God-of-the-Angel-Armies. (Zechariah 4:6)

 

Preventing—and reversing—relapse isn’t only a physical battle. It’s a spiritual battle for our daily freedom and, in many instances, our very lives. Spiritual battles require spiritual weapons—weapons that only come from praying and spending time with God.

 

We do live in the world, but we do not fight in the same way the world fights. We fight with weapons that are different from those the world uses. Our weapons have power from God that can destroy the enemy’s strong places. (2 Corinthians 10:3-4)

 

We can destroy those strong places—those habits we keep gravitating toward—when we capture every sinful thought with our prayers and make them give up and obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

 

 

6. Share your story

What is your recovery story so far? Have you shared it? We can prevent relapse—and reverse it—when we share what God has done in our lives. It grows our faith, gives us hope to keep going, and increases the faith of those around us.

 

Many times, the best opportunities to share our stories come when we serve others—when we step outside of our own situations and focus on how we can help those who are also struggling. Each time we share our story with others, we take one more step to freedom and we help others to do the same.

 

Faith comes from listening to this message of good news — the Good News about Christ. (Romans 10:17)

 

They overcame because the Lamb gave his life’s blood for them [and] by giving witness about Jesus to others. (Revelation 12:11)

 

 

7. Evaluate regularly

I would love to say that if we do these things, we will never misstep, dear ones. But the reality is that we will make mistakes. The key to preventing—and reversing—relapse is to continue in our recovery marathon and to be intentional about evaluating our progress on a routine basis.

 

Ask God to reveal the habits that have snuck in and taken up residence in the hidden places of your heart and mind. Ask Him to show you the things in your life that He doesn’t like—and to help you live in the way that is always right (Psalm 139:23-24).

 

Remember: We started this marathon. Let’s finish it!

 

Strip down, start running–and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed–that exhilarating finish in and with God–he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! (Hebrews 12:1-3)

 

 

Come alongside…What steps can you take today to prevent—or reverse—relapse?

 

Accountability… Who Needs It?

My heart hurts, I have a knot in my throat, and I want to cry.

 

I’ve just learned that a dear friend–one I haven’t talked to in a long time–is now leading a self-destructive lifestyle.

 

My heart hurts for her. I never would have imagined this. I saw a picture of her today and she looked…totally different from what I remember.

 

 

I know she is responsible–as are each of us–for our actions, but I’ve got to wonder… Where where her friends–myself included, her family, her pastor? Did anyone talk to her about the road she was headed? Did anyone even bother to ask her what was wrong? Even more, did she seek out help? Did she feel safe enough to say she was hurting? Did she…?

 

Dear one, I don’t know the answers to any of those questions. But it certainly reminds me of experiences in my life when I was hurting. Divorce. Depression. Trauma. Illness. Did anyone approach me and ask what was wrong? Did anyone say, “I’ve noticed you are having a difficult time. Do you want to talk about it?” Did my pastors counsel and encourage me? Even more, did I seek out help? Did I feel safe enough to say I was hurting? Did I take down my mask of seeming perfection and share my struggles with trusted friends? Did I…?

 

Some of these answers might be, “Yes.” Others might be, “No.” And yet others might be, “Kinda.”

 

Regardless, silence prolongs pain–mine, my friend’s and yours.

 

“When I kept things to myself, I felt weak deep inside me. I moaned all day long” (Psalm 32:3).

 

 

I know it can be awkward to approach someone about their personal struggles, but wouldn’t we want the same?

 

“Dear brothers and sisters, if another Christian is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path” (Galatians 6:1).

 

 

Dear ones, we are not meant to fight our battles alone.

 

“A friend loves you all the time, and a brother helps in time of trouble” (Proverbs 17:17).

 

“Two people are better than one, because they get more done by working together. If one falls down, the other can help him up. But it is bad for the person who is alone and falls, because no one is there to help. If two lie down together, they will be warm, but a person alone will not be warm. An enemy might defeat one person, but two people together can defend themselves; a rope that is woven of three strings is hard to break” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

 

 

If you are hurting, reach out to someone–a friend, family member, coworker, pastor, or a counselor.

 

If you see someone hurting, reach out. Please come alongside them. Please love them. A hurting person is just that–a real person, someone’s son or daughter, someone’s husband or wife, someone’s friend–God’s creation.

 

None of us is exempt from suffering. None of us is exempt from temptation. None of us is exempt from falling (1 Corinthians 10:12).

 

Accountability… Who needs it? We all do.

 

Come alongside… Are you hurting? What steps can you take to reach out? Do you know someone who is hurting? How can you reach out to them? Will you forward this post to them? Will you love them?


 

Music to Encourage You to Open Up

 

Affiliate Disclosure

Daphne Tarango is a participant in affiliate programs with Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, DaySpring, Church Source, Hazelden, Life is Good, Positive Promotions, BloomThat, CesarsWay, Christian Strong (via Conversant and ShareASale). These advertising services are designed to provide a means for sites like DaphneWrites.com to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to said merchants. Some images and articles may contain links to products on merchant sites. Should you choose to make purchases through those links, please understand that I will receive a small commission. Please do not feel like you need to use these links to make any purchases. The links are only for your convenience. Thank you.

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