Thoughts on Grief in Recovery

Craig Boden

‘Thoughts on Grief in Recovery: grieving the relationship with sexual sin that was so familiar.’

Perhaps you have grieved over the death of a family member or close friend. The time following a death is very painful and full of all sorts of emotions. Usually there is closure. There is a body’ people send flowers and bring food. Some may sit and talk with you as you reminisce the fond times you spent together. Some may laugh at the stories and some may cry with you. There is a funeral’ a gathering of loved ones who grieve their own relationship to the one who was lost. There is the burial, the cemetery, a stone marking the life span of the one who is now gone from your life. Born’died’ The recovery from your loss does not end at the cemetery. It continues for a long time.

We all grieve in different ways. The depth and pain of our grief correlates with the level of attachment to the one we lost. The death of a neighbor down the street or someone at the office will not have the impact as the death of a parent, spouse or child. The extent of your grief over the loss of a pet is determined by the relationship you have with the pet. The closer you are to the one you lost, the greater the pain and work of the grief you bare.

Have you considered the fact that someone does not have to die to initiate grief? We face loses daily. As I look into the mirror, I am reminded of the loss of my youth. The grey hair and wrinkles in my face are tell-tell signs that youth has passed. Not to mention the aches and pains that accompany the aging process. We may grieve the loss of health, the loss of a job, the loss of our home to fire. We may grieve the loss of friendships due to a move. There are ‘good’ losses that are grieved, like the loss of a child to college, to marriage or a job in another town or state. These are what we raised our children for and are to be celebrated but when the time comes, we grieve the fact that they won’t be coming home for dinner and they no longer live in our home. They now turn to their spouse for their encouragement, help, conversation, and affection instead of dad. 

When we face such losses we expect to find empathy, support, understanding, encouragement, comfort, and hope. We expect people to understand or at least accept our emotional out-burst or anger which is our protest against what has been taken from us. But what support, understanding, comfort, and empathy do we receive from the loss of one of our closest companions? The one who has consoled us when we have been rejected? The one who understood when we were tired and just needed release from the pressures of life? The one who provided companionship when we were lonely? The one who filled our appetite when we were hungry? The one who would always calm our anger, no matter how obnoxiously we showed it to the world or how deeply we buried it inside? This is the friend that was most trusted and would be there for us to comfort and console. This friend always satisfied our burning desire. This friend, you know, the one who is written about in Proverbs 7: 15ff.

‘I have come out to meet you, to seek your presence earnestly, and I have found you. I have spread my couch with coverings, with colored linens of Egypt. I have sprinkled my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us drink our fill of love until morning; Let us delight ourselves with caresses” ‘With her many persuasions she entices him; with her flattering lips she seduces him.’

Our ‘friend,’ the one we have turned to in times of need has been there to meet us, to comfort, seduce and entice us. But something has happened to the relationship with that ‘friend.’ This is the ‘friend’ that represents your sexual acting out. It is your illicit sexual partner, whether she is internet pornography, chat room, phone sex, prostitutes, massage parlors, one night stands, bar pick-ups, or a sexual relationship that has developed over time. And you have made a decision to end it. Whether it was you’re your choice or whether the choice was forced upon you by ‘getting caught.’ Hopefully you realized that the above passage from Scripture did not end there. There was more as we pick up in verse 23:

Suddenly he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as one in fetters to the discipline of a fool, until an arrow pierces through his liver;
As a bird hastens to the snare, so he does not know that it will cost him his life.’

If you have ended the relationship that has been so much a part of your life, you will grieve the loss as you would a death. A major part of your life has been amputated and you grieve. It helps to understand the stages of grief in order to identify what you need to do to work through your grief.

*Dr. H. Norman Wright lists the stages of grief as follows:

Loss

Shock

Numbness

Denial

Emotional Outbursts

Anger

Fear

Searching’s

Disorganization

Panic

Guilt

Loneliness

Isolation

Depression

Re-Entry Troubles

New Relationships

New Strengths

New Patterns
Hope

Affirmation

Helping Others
Loss
‘ Adjustment

As you think about the stages in light of the loss of your sexual sin, your trusted companion through thick and thin could look like this:


Shock
‘ sin exposed. Out of our shock and disbelief we want to minimize the loss. Lies are often employed to try to cover the shame of the exposure.


Numbness
‘ A loss of feeling. Breathing has all but stopped and is very shallow.
Denial ‘ This is only temporary. I can still maintain my secret life. This is not a permanent loss. Here we are leaving the door unlocked for future opportunities to act out.

Emotional Outburst ‘ May come in arguments with spouse or others. These outburst are a flood of emotions from sorrow, anxiety, sadness, rage, vindictiveness, betrayal, helplessness, rejection, abandonment, envy, woe, depression, panic, dismay, apathy, anguish, resentment, inadequacy. As Dr. Wright explains these emotions are like a tangled ball of emotions.


Anger
‘ A protest to the unfairness of the loss. This anger may come in arguments with your spouse or others. Or it could be internalized and suppressed in a form of resentment toward others, a seething within the heart.


Fear
‘ How will I cope without my friend who satisfies my cravings for my lust?


Searching’s
‘ Maybe there is a hidden magazine or perhaps I could just do some internet surfing and maybe something would pop up ‘unexpectedly.’
 Disorganization ‘ In the past life was well organized. It had to be to hide the secret life. Now it is exposed and life is in chaos.

Panic ‘ How will I cope? What will the future bring? Will I loose my family? Friends? Job? More questions than answers.


Guilt
‘ that says ‘I did something bad.’ To Shame that says ‘I am bad.’


Loneliness
‘ The times you normally would have acted out sexually now you face the reality of feeling really alone. This is one of the triggers that leads to acting out.
 Isolation ‘ pulling away from relationships. Again isolation provides opportunity to relapse.

Depression ‘ Inward focusing on the shame and guilt that underline your feelings of unworthiness.

Re-Entry Troubles ‘ Learning about the true intimacy that you have been substituting with false intimacy for years. True intimacy is about knowing and being known without the secrecy and masks. It is about acceptance of self and others, as well as responsibility.


New Relationships
‘ Learning to have accountability with guys who you can have an openness of heart. A heart that holds no secret compartments. Learning to laugh with other men and building true friendships.


New Strengths
‘ Investing in new hobbies and activities with others.


New Patterns
‘ May involve going to bed together with your spouse instead of staying up waiting for opportunities to indulge with the old ‘friend.’ New Patterns may involve deeper levels of communication. Family togetherness without TV.


Hope
‘ Life can be good without the old ‘friend.’ The confirmation that you can live without this influence in my life.


Affirmation
‘ A sense of wholeness. A sense that the addiction can be managed.


Helping Others
‘ By being real and transparent with other men you will lead and have influence in the lives of other men as a role model.

What makes the grief work most difficult in the loss of the sexual acting out is that most of the time, at least in the early stages, you may be grieving alone and without empathy from your family and friends. This grief work is necessary and the pain is reality. Ignoring these deep emotional needs will become a set up for relapse into the old patterns of life. By processing the stages of grief you will find peace and healing. Experiencing the true intimacy with your wife is far greater than the quick substitute of the false intimacy with the ‘old friendship’ you have chosen to let die.

Meeting with a counselor to identify the losses and help process the grief and recovery is not only recommended but is essential.

If you have not already attended Every Man\’s Battle we encourage you to do so.
After you have attended Every Man\’s Battle we encourage you to attend our New Life Weekend with your spouse.

Cortisol, Belly Fat and Stress Busters

Brenda Allison

The latest buzz is about the dietary supplements that purportedly
suppress cortisol, a natural steroid hormone released in response to
stress. It is believed this rise in cortisol causes us to gain weight.
In effect stress is making us fat.

Dr. James Felicetta, an endocrinologist and chief medical officer at Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Phoenix, says, ‘Beware.’ Even though the market is flooded with over-the-counter cortisol blockers that supposedly control cortisol levels aiding weight loss and blocking belly fat, Dr. Felicetta cautions us. He says cortisol blockers are based on pseudo-science because no medical trials have been conducted on these supplements.

But what about stress and fat? In my opinion the idea that you get fat because of stress does hold out physiologically, in one respect. Some people eat in response to stress. So if you are one of those people, not unlike myself, we need to find some stress busters. So what are they? According to Susan Felt, there are five bad habits that must be recognized to overcome the habitually stressed lifestyle. These are accompanied by red flags:
1)
Feeling Scattered, 2) Overreacting, 3) Paralysis, 4) Powerlessness, and 5) Numbness.

Let’s look at what life coaches, psychologists and God [the supreme authority] have to say about the cause of these culprits and how one might break the habit behind them.

#1 FEELING SCATTERED

Ever felt this way? The cause is guess what? Stress. It’s about having too much to do. What do we normally do when we have too much to do? I know what I do; I go faster, work harder, and stress more. In effect when I feel scattered, I do more of what is causing me to feel this way. Pretty ineffective habit, isn’t it? This bad habit only leads to feeling more scattered, forgetful, and can lead to burnout. We know about ruminating about the past and fretting about the future. We know we need to stay in the present. So how does one break the habit? George Cappannelli, author of the book, Authenticity, says frequently, sitting still is the best antidote. ‘When we are lost in the woods, our first reaction is to go faster,’ Cappannelli writes. The idea of sitting still sounds a lot like what the Creator of the universe writes in the 14th chapter, 14th verse, of the book Exodus, ‘the LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Again in the 46th Psalm, David writes, ‘Be still, and know that I am God.’ Hmmm? Maybe I should give it a try; what do you think?

#2 OVERREACTING

What is the cause of this little beauty? The cause is anger; feeling overwhelmed. Too true, huh? And how does one break the habit? Rant. Rant? Yes, schedule a rant and rave session says life coach, Silver Rose. With a friend or alone, but set an egg timer. The amount of time isn’t as important as setting a limit. Once the timer rings, the rant is over. Rose says, ‘get it out with the prior agreement that you’re done and you’re not going to talk about it anymore.’ Okay, sounds tough, but with a little practice, doable. What do you think? Even the Bible gives us permission to be angry, but I never realized it said to set a limit on the amount of time! Look at this verse. ‘Be angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath,’ Ephesians 4:26. Got to be done by sundown. Truly it would be my inner victim who wants to lament for days. Okay, I’m sold on this stress buster!

#3 PARALYSIS

Oooh, I hate this one, don’t you? The cause is fear or facing something you don’t want to do. Yikes. Dread with a capital D. Okay, so how do we break the habit of this major stress inducer. Rose tells of her childhood experience of school-night insomnia when she was 8. ‘I was terrified about what was going to happen to me the next day when my teacher found out I hadn’t done my homework,’ she says. To cope she would sneak into the bathroom and fret. ‘Never once did it occur to me to sneak into the bathroom and do my homework,’ Rose says. The best thing to do when you’re paralyzed is to do what’s in front of you, she says. ‘Action cancels fear every time.’ Even Ralph Waldo Emerson had this one figured out. He said, ‘Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.’ Have you ever experienced this? Doing the thing I dread turns out to be easier than the dread I’ve put myself through. The Bible tells us, ‘fear not’, about 175 times. I think God knows that’s a tough one for us. We just got to find a way to push through and do that thing we fear. As the Nike ad says, ‘Just Do It!’

#4 POWERLESSNESS

Okay, what is this one about? The cause is lack of self-trust, motivation, and self-confidence or [here's that word again] fear. This can be fear of failure, rejection, loss of job, status or approval. How do we break the habit? Life coach, Janet VanWinkle says call someone for perspective. You may feel powerless to say no to what others want you to do. Instead of saying, ‘No,’ try, ‘Not now.’ It puts you back in control of what you can control.

#5 NUMBNESS

The cause is loss of purpose, and [here's my least favorite emotion], feeling overwhelmed, over committed with no creative outlet. So if we are going to break the habit, we are going to have to find our purpose in life. If you’ve not already read it, I highly recommend getting a copy of Rick Warren’s book, and reading, ‘The Purpose Driven Life’. It’s a forty-day read. We need to realize that having meaning and purpose gives us a sense of dignity and pride, which renews the mind and heart. God has a plan and purpose for our lives; it’s up to us to find out what it is. Life is too rich and full to spend it being numb or worse yet numbing our feelings with food.

So there you have it. Let’s you and I pick one of these stress busters and start out slow. We can stop being habitually stressed. It takes recognizing the red flags, understanding the cause and then breaking the habit. Cortisol, belly fat, stress, let the debate continue. When it’s all decided, you and I will have consumed less food because we’ll have less stress driving us to eat.


Preparing Your Son for Every Man's Battle

Kent Ernsting

I was smitten from my first sight of him. The first time I held my newborn son in my hands the tears began to well up in my eyes. A deep sense of love enveloped me when I looked into his amazing eyes. I loved that little guy with everything within me. I thanked God for him and I pledged him back to God from that moment. I was struck with the tremendous stewardship responsibility that I now had, to raise him to become a godly young man. I knew that I could not complete that task without God’s help and the help of many others along the way.

Now he’s 14 years old, stands 5’8′ tall, and he’s strong enough to fold me into a pretzel. He routinely aces me on the tennis court. He’s a fullback on his freshman soccer team and he feels responsible for every ball that an opponent gets past him and into the net. He’s smart and brave and he wants to show others that he has what it takes to be a man. I will probably not know if I have successfully completed my task of parenting him until he is in his thirties. The indicator will be whether or not he is living a God -honoring life and rearing godly children.

I don’t know about you, but the challenge of shepherding my son through his young adult years with purity as the goal has been a daunting one for me. How can I talk to him about purity when my own sexuality has been complicated? I have had to deal with my own issues on the subject. We all know intuitively that we need to be the one talking to our kids about sex, but how do we do it?

I am an imperfect parent, but I want to pass along some tips and strategies that I have learned from others and have used with my son.

The first is the principle that RELATIONSHIPS COME FIRST. As long as I keep the relationship that I have with my son strong, then he will be willing to receive guidance and coaching from me. As Josh McDowell says, RULES WITHOUT RELATIONSHIP LEADS TO REBELLION.

I look for ways to spend time with him. Relationship growth occurs when we do things together like going to his games, working together on projects, playing pool with him, and taking him camping with me. It helps me to relate to my son and for my son to relate to me. Relationships are what life is all about.

I want him to know deeply and intimately how to connect with another person in a life-long committed relationship. I want him to experience it first in our father/son relationship. Eventually he will transfer that into a relationship with his wife.

Sex education is really not so much a matter of providing information as it is a matter of deliberate character formation. The first messages are the most potent; it is far more powerful to form a child’s view of sexuality from scratch than it is to correct the distortions the child will pick up in the world. This is a concept that I picked up from a very helpful book by Stanton and Brenna Jones, entitled How & When to Tell Your Kids About Sex. In fact, it was their book that gave me what I needed to know and say to my son when we had our first ‘key talk’ in a local restaurant. After I finished my explanation he asked, ‘Dad, do you eat that green stuff?’ as he pointed to the parsley on my plate.

I took my son camping for a weekend before he entered junior high school. Together we listened to the ‘Preparing for Adolescence’ tapes by James Dobson and we talked about the content of the tapes. Between disc golf and fishing we discussed what would be happening to him in the coming years.

We spent a weekend at a sexual abstinence until marriage conference interacting with various speakers, presentations and youth events. We went to a Promise Keeper rally for youth where the message of purity was presented through music, worship, extreme sports, speakers, and multimedia.

I take him to church regularly and help him plug in with youth groups and their events. Now he is attending Young Life where the message of purity will be reinforced. I want him to know about redemption when he stumbles and about the love of his creator sustaining him throughout his life.

Look for opportunities that will challenge both you and your son such as rock climbing, rappelling, or canoeing. Bathe your son and his future wife in prayer. Let’s talk about how it turns out when our sons are in their thirties.

Please see Preparing Your Son for Every Man\’s Battle.

Sweat Can Be Perfect Medicine

Brenda Allison


“Millions of Americans suffer, to some extent, from a psychological disorder,” according to Kent Pegg, personal trainer and fitness center owner.  Ten to 25 percent of women and five to twelve perecnt of men suffer from, the most common mood disorder, depression. 

Even though therapy from psychologists and psychiatrists and medications have been used to treat this disorder for years, today exercise is increasingly being included in the treatment plans. Why? Because numerous studies have been showing the benefits of exercise.

Exercise improves mood, increases self-esteem and provides a general feeling of well being for everyone, BUT ESPECIALLY FOR THOSE WITH PSYCHOLOGICAL DISORDERS.

Want to fix what ails you, along with improving your energy level? Consider making exercise a part of your life. It will increase your stamina, strength and endurance. Any exercise is good, so if you haven’t been working out regularly, start slowly. Walking and light gym workouts are a good place to start.

Want to look and feel younger? Push back the calendar by investing 40 minutes a day in aerobic exercise. Personal coach, Dr. Aaron Hemsley defines aerobic exercise as any activity that gets your heart rate up to 120 beats per minute and keeps it there for at least 20 minutes. In other words, aerobic exercise is whatever makes you sweat.

Would you rather have a quick fix? Here’s an interesting factoid. Did you know liposuction makes you skinnier, but not healthier? According to the latest study in the New England Journal of medicine, Mother Nature will not be tricked. In this study, obese women who dropped up to 23 pounds of belly fat by way of liposuction did not appear to lower their risk of diabetes or heart disease, both of which are fat related.

‘So, it’s not how much fat you remove BUT how you remove the fat that is really important,’ said the study’s leading author, Dr. Samuel Klein at Washington University in St. Louis. ‘We have to go back to the same old traditional recommendation to lose weight and be more physically active.’
We need to link eating and exercise in our minds.

The American Council on Exercise advises if we are going to eat today, we need to exercise.

‘The truth is everyone is looking for that magic answer’the perfect diet or the perfect pill,’ says Judi Sheppard Missett, the founder of dance-based fitness phenomenon, Jazzercise. ‘The magic answer is consistency. Music happens to be a great catalyst. Find something fun, and keep doing it on a regular basis.’

Is your life too busy to exercise an hour everyday? Then break it up. Take a walk in the morning, climb the stairs in your office building during lunch, and play soccer or swim with your kids that night. When you start seeing results, you’ll miraculously find time.

Is motivation keeping you from changing your lifestyle to include a better diet and regular exercise? It might be helpful to know people change for three reasons. They: 1) feel the heat, 2) see the light or 3) feel the strength of others. The three things that MAKE people change is when they:

HURT enough they have to, 
LEARN enough they need to, or
RECEIVE enough they want to.

It is our belief at Lose it for Life that if you’ve come to us it’s because you’ve already hurt enough. You know you need to change your lifestyle. You already feel the heat of too much weight gain.

We want to be a support to you as you see the light of how change can be permanent through the many learning opportunities the LIFL website and conference.

Our hope is you feel the strength of others through the online community, and receive the support you need through the LIFL counselors where you live, so that you want to permanently change your lifestyle to include a healthy diet and regular exercise. Join us for a live chat soon and let us know how you are doing. We’d love to hear from you.

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


For more help, please see our Lose it for Life resources and join us at our next New Life Weekend.


Thoughts on Joy in Recovery

Mark Verkler

“Short is the joy that guilty pleasure brings.”
‘ Euripides (484 BC – 406 BC)

“Joy is not a substitute for sex, sex is very often a substitute for joy.”
‘ C.S. Lewis (1898 – 1963)

ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTES!
We find in Galations 5:22, that Joy is the second fruit of the spirit. It is high on the list of ‘fruit’ that clearly comes from heaven, through the Holy Spirit and to us.

Let’s look at the definition of Joy:

The passion or emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good; pleasurable feelings or emotions caused by success, good fortune, and the like, or by a rational prospect of possessing what we love or desire; gladness; exhilaration of spirits; delight.

Joy is a delight of the mind, from the consideration of the present or assured approaching possession of a good.” ‘ John Locke (1632 – 1704)

Look at a significant part of joy’meditation, consideration, and expectation of future good. This is at the heart of Joy. Not simply a delight that is happening now’though I may rejoice about the present’but, significantly, the prospect and expectation of future good. To overcome the temptation of today, and to enjoy today, I must focus on: the joy that will come tomorrow by saying no to that sin; the joy that will come from all the good that God has for me today and in the future.

We find in Hebrews the power and need for joy for endurance and overcoming. Of Jesus we read ‘Who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame.’ Hebrews 12:2

What are some of the good things that will ‘come tomorrow’ if I say no to sin today? Some things we find from scripture are: reward in heaven, good reputation, clear conscience, peace that comes from not having the fear of being caught.

Another vital part of Joy in Recovery is about coming to the end of my own strength and coming to the beginning of God’s strength. As long as I focus only on what I can do, arrange or manipulate, I can have no lasting joy. When I come to the end of my strength I am at the beginning of God’s.

In 1 Corinthians 12:9 the Lord told Paul that ‘My grace (God’s) is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore I (Paul) will rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may overshadow me.’

I think it seems strange on the surface to consider that I would ‘glory’ in my weakness. However, as I look closer at this I realize that the ‘glory’ is not about me, but about my absolute need for the Lord’s strength and power. As I embrace and acknowledge my weakness I naturally begin to look for strength and power from another source. As the power of Christ ‘overshadows’ me, I begin to find the joy that I could not find while looking to my own strength or my own prospects for the future.

And in James 1:2 we find that James exhorts us to ‘count it joy’ when we fall into temptations. He tells us the trying of our faith works patience. This prospect of giving thanks or rejoicing with temptations seems difficult if not impossible. We must do this by faith and not according to our emotions. The joy seems to be about the good that it will bring to me as I overcome in the strength of the Lord and about the God who is sovereign over all my life and circumstances. I can count that joy.

In Nehemiah 8:10 we find the exhortation that ‘the joy of the Lord is your strength.’ I pray that the Joy of the Lord will be your strength and my strength today and from this day on.

“The joy of a spirit is the measure of its power.” ‘ Ninon de Lenclos (1620 – 1705)

Diet gets Healthier as People Age

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) –
Contrary to popular opinion,
adults do eat more healthily
than they did as children.

Newcastle University researchers looked at the diets of 200 children aged 11 and 12, then again 20 years later.

They found as adults, they ate around twice the amount of fruit and vegetables and less fat and sugar as they had as children.

But the study, in Appetite, found some saw barriers, such as a perceived lack of time, to healthy eating.

This group often believed fruit and vegetables needed time for preparation and cooking and were more likely to have smaller intakes in fruit and vegetables.

‘Messages getting through’

In addition to perceptions of the time available to prepare food, participants said parents, partners and children could affect their attitudes to their diet.

So those who saw their parents’ influence as positive consumed more fruit and vegetables as adolescents.

Whether partners were seen as positive or negative depended largely on gender.

A third of people – mainly men – felt their partners had a positive influence on their diet, 10 percent – mainly women – said their partners’ influence was negative.

Amelia Lake, a registered dietician and Newcastle University researcher, who led the research said the findings suggested that general healthy eating messages – such as the five a day message on fruit and vegetables – were getting through to most people.

She added: “Work from this study has shown that children who were high fruit and vegetable consumers maintain this intake into their early thirties.

“This reaffirms the importance of the National Fruit in Schools Scheme, where children are being encouraged to eat fruit.

“We also need to examine the availability of healthy food in venues such the workplace and in shops. Despite all the healthy eating messages that abound, it’s still easier to go to a local shop and buy a chocolate bar rather than a piece of fruit.”

But she said they also needed to be more carefully targeted to reach individuals who believe their lifestyle still prevents them from eating well.

“A lot depends on people’s individual coping mechanisms and attitude to life.

“A lack of time is not necessarily the reason for people not attempting to eat healthily.

“Some working adults are inspired to make a healthy meal in the evenings, while somebody with the same amount of time on their hands would feel under pressure and be inclined to send out for a takeaway.”

Ms Lake added: “These results suggest that the diet is really up to the individual and their personality, and that general health messages are not necessarily enough when a variety of factors are working to prevent people from eating healthily.”

For more help on healthy living see Lose it For Life.

Re-building the Bridge Called Trust

Pastor Ed Grant

The old covered walking bridge across the Delaware River had stood for as long as anyone could remember. It connected the town of Portland, Pennsylvania with Columbia, New Jersey. During the spring one year ice flows combined with a large amount of rain and the swollen river washed away part of the bridge and weakened what remained.

Trust between people is like a bridge built from both sides of a river. When it is built with care and careful planning it will be durable, capable of weathering the storms of life. Occasionally it will need repair and certainly will require periodic maintenance, but individuals feel safe to put a great deal of emotional weight on the bridge: keeping one’s promises is expected; sensitive secrets divulged are carefully protected; personal flaws and weaknesses are accepted.

Happy is the person who has one or two close relationships! Building the bridge called trust is costly, risky and requires a substantial time investment, but the rewards are truly fulfilling.

What happens, though, when a large section of the trust-bridge has been washed away through betrayal, deception or a litany of broken promises? The ache and bitterness of soul can be almost unbearable. King David wrote about the agony caused by a friend’s betrayal: ‘If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the house of God.‘ (Psalm 55:12-14).

Is it possible to re-build the trust-bridge? How can we be sure that it won’t be washed out again?

Because we are all fallen human beings the potential for getting hurt again is always a possibility. Only Jesus, the friend of sinners, Who loved us while we were still His enemies, is worthy of our complete emotional trust. His nail scarred hands continually reach out to us, inviting us into His loving embrace. Having said this, however, God does intend for us to take the risk to restore broken relationships and to establish new ones. The trust-bridge must be re-built from both sides. Whether it is a marriage, a parent child relationship, or a friendship, the following principles apply to re-building trust.

For the wounded:

1. Those wounded need to take an emotional inventory: what happened; what has resulted from the person’s action; in what ways can I still trust him/her and in what ways is it unwise to trust?

2. The wounded desperately need God’s healing hand and His protection against the root of bitterness that frequently spring up from a wound. Healing may take a long time, depending on the damage done to the trust-bridge.

3. Trust and forgiveness are not the same . Forgiveness may be given long before trust is re-established. Those who have breached trust must demonstrate their trustworthiness over a period of time.

4. Talking with a close friend, a pastor or a counselor can provide insight and a different perspective. Don’t go through it by yourself!

5. Ask God for wisdom and discernment to help you determine the sincerity of the person’s sorrow over the offense, the desire to make restitution, and the efforts to change.

For those who have broken trust.

Solomon wrote, ‘Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for.’ (Prov. 16:6a). Love is the consideration shown for the injured; faithfulness is demonstrated by consistent change of behavior . Fleshed out it looks like this:

1. There are no quick fixes for the pain caused, nor are there any shortcuts to getting back to the way things were before. A great deal of patience and humility is needed to hear the other’s pain, often many times.

2. Accept responsibility for your actions without blaming others or explaining them away. Attempts to explain minimize the offense and show the wounded loved one you ‘don’t get it.’

3. Accept the consequences of your actions, including the emotional distance, and make restitution when possible.

4. Be accountable for your actions without becoming defensive.

5. Ask God to give you a view your sin from His perspective and to allow you to grasp the severity of the wound you caused.

6. Pray regularly for God’s healing touch upon the person and for sensitivity to their needs.

God said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone.”

The wonderful benefits that spring from trusting relationships is worth the risk of potential heartache. God can heal heartache, but He won’t fill the lonely void within when we refuse to build trust-bridges with others, especially with His people.

Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things!

Becky Brown

We all love a before and after picture! We love to see what changes
have taken place in someone’s life. There are so many television shows
on right now that are all about makeovers, everything from ‘What not to
wear,’ to ‘Extreme Home Makeover.’ We watch the transformation occur in
30 short minutes! Wouldn’t it be great if it happened that way in real
life!

I have seen spiritual transformation, ‘makeovers,’ occur in people and it is the ultimate success story! A childhood friend who was into a lifestyle of destruction gave his life to Christ, and became a pastor. I didn’t recognized him because of the changes he had made in his life had also affected his appearance! He used to be this big and burly, kind of scary guy, who wanted everyone to be intimidated by him. It usually worked! His ‘after’ appearance was one of gentleness, kindheartedness, and loving. He ministers to the ‘big and burly’ people in his community and many have come to know Christ!

Many of us are working on the physical changes we would like to see occur. We want the ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures to be dramatically different! We look at other’s success and think they have some special power to do the changes that seem so overwhelming to us. If you were to talk to any one of them, they would tell you that they are just an ordinary person. No special cure or magic trick, just working a plan of action each day!

A woman who recently lost 60 pounds remarked that it has been a journey of many small steps. Many of her friends say she is extraordinary! She would tell you a different story! Another friend who lost 35 pounds was repeatedly asked ‘how did you do it?’ and she replied, ‘It doesn’t matter what I did, it’s what you need to do.’

How true!

In any area of our lives, spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional, we each have the ability to have a makeover story! What extraordinary thing waits in your future? We are all ordinary people, but when we allow God to enter our lives, we have extraordinary possibilities! ‘Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ Romans 12:2.

Share your ‘before and after’ with someone. Give God the glory for what He has done! It will be great to hear all the success stories!

Need some help getting to your “after” picture? Please join us at our next New Life Weekend where you’ll learn the steps to transformation.


Weight-Loss and The

Jennifer Cecil

I was sitting in my favorite fast-food restaurant with my six year-old son, Zachary. He was struggling to open the milk container that came in his happy meal. Overcome with empathy, I offered to help. He said, ‘No, Mom, I will do it.’ He then announced, ‘O.K., No more Mr. nice-guy. I am not giving up!’ Boy was I impressed! Talk about a warrior spirit; the will to persevere, to overcome all obstacles. Zach mastered the milk carton. My prayer is that he will confront the roadblocks that lie ahead of him in this life with the same zeal and confidence.

Last month we talked about appropriating a ‘warrior spirit’ in the area of weight loss. This means refusing to give up even in seasons of defeat, failure, and delay. We must embrace the fact that God is working in us during those seasons even if we are gaining or maintaining our weight. You see, we have many things to learn about our Lord and ourselves during those ‘wilderness’ seasons. When the children of Israel wandered in wilderness, God wanted to show them what was in their own souls (Deuteronomy 8:2). It was a time appointed by God. He required two things from His children.

First He desired for them to  learn how to depend on and wait for Him. They became impatient when Moses went to the top of Mt. Sinai to bring back the Ten Commandments. They told themselves that he would never be back, and consequently, fell away from their devotion to God. The second lesson that God wanted to teach the children of Israel was to not give up, to keep pressing on, and moving forward until they reached the Promised Land. Unfortunately, only two of the original travelers (Joshua and Caleb) made it into Canaan. The other soldiers said that they couldn’t make it into the Promised Land because of the ‘giants in the land,’ the overwhelming obstacles. God did not honor such small thinking. His pleasure was with the two who declared, ‘We will go in and overtake the land.’ Period. No ifs, ands, or buts. They were determined. They knew that it was their destiny to cross over and that God was with them. They acknowledged the existence of the obstacles, but knew that with God’s strength, they would defeat all the opposition.

Do we have that same level of confidence in our God?
Do we believe that it is His desire for us to be victorious in our struggle with weight?
If so, will He make Himself available to help us?

The application here is that we change our confession from ‘I will never lose weight because________________’
(‘I’ve been fat all my life,’ ‘everyone in my family is fat,’ ‘I have a thyroid condition,’ ‘I’ve messed up my metabolism thru constant dieting’ etc., etc.) to I will become right-weighted NO MATTER WHAT!

I believe that God responds to that fighter spirit inside of us. He can trust us to know that we will do our part. We will exhaust all options. We will not quit just because it is difficult. The Bible tells us that ‘seven times a righteous man stumbles, but each time he gets up again’ (Proverbs 24:16).
I do not care how much you weigh. I do not care how long you have been overweight or how many failures you have had. It makes no difference. You will succeed, some way some how as you find the exact equation that works for you as you tenaciously hang onto His promises. God is a rewarder of those who DILIGENTLY seek Him!’ (Hebrews 11:6).

Do you want to display this “warrior spirit” but need help? Please join us at our next New Life Weekend.

Eat More Whole Grains, Exercise More

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) –
Not any bread will do,
a panel of doctors and scientists
told the government recently
in issuing its final recommendations
about what advice should go into
the federal food pyramid.

People should eat at least three one-ounce servings of whole grains each day, preferably in place of refined grains, or white bread, the proposals for the five-year update of the government’s nutrition advice say.

The advisers and the government want Americans to balance the calories they get from food with the calories they burn in physical activity. But with almost two-thirds of Americans overweight or obese, officials realize they have an uphill fight.

“We have to have a good behavior change implementation to address this serious problem of obesity and overweight,” said Eric Hentges, executive director of the Agriculture Department’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, which will use the guidelines as it revamps the pyramid.

The committee also called for Americans to control their weight by being physically active. And the recommendations could keep people very busy. To prevent weight gain, many people should do up to 60 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous activity, and those who have lost weight and want to keep it off may have to do up to 90 minutes, the report said.

Unlike the current guidelines, issued in 2000, the new recommendations do not specifically tell people to be moderate in their use of added sugars, such as regular sodas. Sugar provides energy, the report noted. But the scientists and doctors are not letting Americans off the hook. They say people still have to be careful in their intake as a way to keep their weight under control.

The recommendations go to federal officials who will prepare reports for the secretaries of Agriculture and of Health and Human Services, who must approve the findings before they can be issued. Officials expect the final nutrition report, and an updated version of the food pyramid, to come out early next year.

On whole grains, the panel said people should eat more as a way to get more fiber. Fiber has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes, the report said.

However, the panel still allowed room for refined grains.

“This is an issue of balance,” Hentges said. “We are kind of out of balance now. We need more fiber. It’s getting a balance of enriched grains and whole grains.”

The advisers also introduced a new concept for the guidelines — discretionary calories.

Those are calories needed just for energy, after people have eaten foods rich in nutrients and thereby met their requirements for vitamins, minerals and other necessities for health. Discretionary calories could be considered treats calories, because they don’t have to be from nutrient-rich foods.

Discretionary calories are the reward for living right. And Americans who are overweight or obese don’t have discretionary calories, Hentges said. “They used them up a long time ago,” he said. To get them back, they will have to burn more calories by being more active, he said.

The panel called on people to:

  • Consume a variety of foods within and among the basic food groups while staying within energy needs.
  • Control calorie intake to manage body weight.
  • Be physically active each day.
  • Increase daily intake of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and nonfat or lowfat milk and milk products.
  • Choose carbohydrates wisely for good health.
  • Choose and prepare foods with little salt.
  • If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation.
  • Keep food safe to eat.

  • Do you want to live healthy but need some help?  Join us at our next New Life Weekend.

    Tour Israel with Steve Arterburn and New Life Ministries