Get OFF the Roller Coaster!

You know what I can’t do anymore? Ride roller coasters. They make me sick. I get dizzy, my head hurts and my entire day is ruined. I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older or because my body has changed or what. But one thing is for sure, I don’t ride them anymore. I learned that I don’t like the way they make me feel or how they impact my life. So I quit.

Being in a relationship with an addict, is a lot like riding a rollercoaster. A rollercoaster of emotion, that you ride all day – every day.

They take us up and then they take us down. They take us side to side and for loops. And then just when you think the ride is over and it’s time to get off, they hit the reverse button and you do it all again, but this time backwards!

Loving an addict can be nauseating! Up and down, side to side, head over heels craziness can really suck the life right out of you.

I’m sure as many of you moms and dads read this your heads are nodding as fast as the Dwight Schrute bobblehead doll from The Office. You fully admit this is the way it is, yet for so many of us we can seem to avoid taking this ride.

We tell ourselves, we won’t do it any longer. We say NO MORE! I’m not getting back on that ride. I’m tired of being dizzy, exhausted, depressed and sick to my stomach! Yet so often we find ourselves back in line handing our ticket over to the carney and watching as he lowers the bar onto our laps and quietly whispers, “Hold on, this may hurt a little.”

Learning to stop getting on this ride is a HUGE step in the recovery process for all parents and spouses of addicts. Your ability to stop riding the emotional rollercoaster that their addiction produces is the first step towards finding your peace again. It also just may be the shove that finally pushes your addict to truly see their need to ask for help.

You see, each time you get back on that roller coaster with them. Submitting to their requests for money, buying into their grandiose stories of victimization or allowing them back into your home. You’re showing them that no matter how many loop to loops their rollercoaster has on it, you’re not getting off. You’re always gonna be there to hold the barf bag…

It’s time to get off and stay off.

It’s time to show them what a firm boundary looks like.

It’s time to start taking care of yourself and let them deal with the consequences of their actions.

I know it’s easier said than done. I get it. And if that’s the way you feel, then this week just start small. When he or she tries to pull you into their emotional craziness. Just take a deep breathe and say no.

No, I can’t help you today.

No, I can’t give you any more money.

No, I’m done bailing you out.

No, I will not let you back into my home.

No, I will not get back on this roller coaster with you.

When you stop taking your seat on their roller coaster of life, you start shutting down all the options that have supported their addiction. The longer and more effectively you can do this, the closer your addict gets to that pivotal point in their life when recovery becomes the best option.

For more help on learning how to get off the proverbial roller coaster that is loving an addict, pick up my book: Finding Hope, a Field Guide for Families Affected By Addiction.

Who’s the Imposter?

From time to time, we ALL push for those around us to view us in a more favorable light. We portray one person at home, one person at work, one person at church and yet another on Facebook or Twitter. So, who are we really? Which person that we portray is our true self? Which one is the imposter?  And ultimately who do we really want to be?

I love documentaries (most opiate addicts do) and recently I watched a great one. It’s called “The Imposter” and it chronicles the story of a young man from Spain who claims to a grieving Texas family that he is their 16-year-old son who has been missing for 3 years. This young man fools the family and the country for a period of time. It’s crazy! But it worked, for a bit. He looked and sounded just like the missing boy, yet he wasn’t. He was a fake, a con, a fraud.

Addicts and alcoholics do this all the time. We take on the persona of someone we are not in order to get something want. The young man in this documentary was no different. He desperately needed attention and was willing to do whatever it took to get it.

What parents and spouses of addicts must realize is that while those you love are using and drinking, they are playing the role of the imposter. They are not themselves. They are not the little boy or little girl you raised. They are not the person you married. They are an imposter. 

As the movie depicts, sometimes imposters are hard to identify. This is especially difficult with addicts. Why? Because as an addict our job 100% of the time is to get YOU to believe the lie that we are living. That’s our focus, motivation and drive. Because if we can get you to believe that we are still the person you loved or raised, then you will give us what we want. 

The following six I’s are taken from a recovery based lecture called “the Big I” and will help YOU see through the imposter that has taken over your loved one. These six defensive mechanisms are used by addicts and alcoholics to hide their true identity, to protect themselves and to boost their self-worth. What actually ends up happening is that the defenses cover up a lack of self-worth.

In short, what we think will help us, hurts us. What we think is protecting us, is rendering us vulnerable for attack.

Are you using one of the following defenses as a shield to keep everyone out? To enable you to continue to live as someone you are not?

1. Immaturity – We deal with problems by pouting complaining, throwing temper tantrums

2. Inferior – we act like a macho man/woman. We use external efforts to prove we are superior

3. Inadequacy – We have a fear of being less than, so we reject other people’s ideas. An all or nothing attitude that we must be the best

4. Insecurity – We feel anxious, unsafe. We think no one cares or understands. We need constant reassurance that we are important

5. Impulsivity – We don’t think, we just rush into everything. I want what I want, when I want it… is our motto. We desire our needs to be met now.

6. Insensitivity – We appear to not care for others. We do as we please rebelling against parents, school, the law, our boss or our spouse. Our feelings get hurt very easily.

Do any of these fit your loved one? I am sure they do. Hopefully they will you to spot the imposter.

 

Break Out of the Shells

I don’t know how the phrase “walking on eggshells” came about. I don’t know what it means, exactly, or what historical thing it’s referencing. What I do know is this: I hear it a lot, especially from moms and dads, spouses, siblings, and other friends and family members of addicts.

I will meet with an addict’s loved ones during the early stages of recovery, and inevitably one of them will say, “I just feel like I have to walk on eggshells around them.” What they mean—and what you’ve probably meant if you’ve said the same thing—is that you’re worried. You are living with the constant fear that anything you say or do could be taken the wrong way, and then they’ll be out the door and headed for relapse.

It makes sense. After all, they weren’t the most emotionally stable, rational person while they were using! They’ve trained you not to believe in their behavior, and they’ve trained you really well.

So what can you do?

First of all, realize that their sobriety is their responsibility, not yours.

One of the things they’re learning is to take ownership of their decisions, which is something they hadn’t done in the past (and why they were so irrational and moody). It’s new to them, so it’s going to be a little jarring and, just like a toddler does more falling down than walking at first, it’s going to take them awhile to get used to it.

That’s okay! You still can be kind and caring without littering your life with eggshells.

The other thing you definitely need in your life is a positive support group around you. You need to connect with other people who either have gone or who are going through the same ordeal as you, and who can provide encouragement to you through this time. And an extra bonus feature: you get to support them, too! It’s a win-win!

Just like addicts need other addicts to lean on and to say, “I understand; I’ve been there,” you too need other family members, spouses, siblings, or parents to say the same thing. You won’t believe the tremendous emotional and physical benefits you’ll get from regular interactions with other family members like yourself. I cannot encourage you enough to find a program and stick with it. Don’t let anything stop you from doing this. Not pride, or fear, or telling yourself you don’t really need it. None of that.

You need a support group. Join one! And there’s no better time then right now! It’s the start of a new year, filled with NEW promises and NEW hopes. So today, make a resolution to find a support group and get plugged in!

If you live in the OKC area I would personally like to invite you to join the parents/spouse support groups I host called “Finding Hope”.  In fact, we have a group meeting tonight and you can come as my guest!

Click here to see the times & locations of the Finding Hope classes in OKC.

Hope is Alive!

The Elusive Rock Bottom

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard someone in the recovery community say, “Well they just haven’t hit rock bottom yet.” And every time I hear that, I always think to myself, What does “rock bottom” look like anyway?

Is it getting caught?

Is it prison time?

Homelessness?

Losing your family?

Do you have to be dirty, nasty, and smelly to hit rock bottom? Is there a place called rock bottom that people are actually hitting?

Well let me tell you, after working with hundreds of addicts the past few years I can confidently say… I have no idea what rock bottom is.

I really don’t! I have no clue. I have found no way to identify whether someone has hit rock bottom or not. There is no glaring marker or checklist or brightly flashing indicator that can precisely qualify a person for rock-bottom status.

What I have found is this: rock bottom is different for everyone. And if that is the case, then why are we trying to guess when a person has or hasn’t hit it?

I think we tend to have a somewhat romanticized view of what rock bottom looks like, based on the way movies, books, and television shows have portrayed spiraling descents into degradation. We expect rock-bottom to look something like getting busted by the cops, or turning tricks in the parking lot behind a grungy motel, or wasting away on a grimy couch in a trash-piled living room that is covered in pizza boxes, rat droppings, and a dingy haze.

But that’s not at all how my rock bottom looked. Not for a second.

For the most part, I looked relatively normal at my rock bottom. I had a good job, I made great money, I went to church, I had a pretty girlfriend, I lived in a decent house, and I drove a nice car. Those are relatively material signs, but if you didn’t know me, you would have no clue I was simultaneously a full-fledged, 50-pill-a-day drug addict. I was a fairly high-functioning addict who, from the world’s point of view, was nowhere near rock bottom.

So how can you tell?

An addict’s rock bottom can be about as camouflaged as a Duck Dynasty cast member on Saturday morning during duck season. They are impossible to find, and none look the same. So instead of using that as some type of crutch or justification to accept unacceptable behavior, you can use it as a catalyst to intervene early and often.

Because the truth is: we loved ones can force a rock bottom. It is possible. We can say “enough is enough”. We can take away privileges, money, and freedom. We can force treatment, change the locks, and turn off the phone. We can fire someone, cut them out of the family business, ban them from our facility, or look at them right in the eyes and tell them that today is the day something changes.

You see, all of the instances I just listed are actually true examples of situations I dealt with in just one single week of ministry.

Families all across the country are constantly faced with these dilemmas, and those same families are learning to rise to the challenge.

When do we force the rock bottom? How do we really help? It’s terribly difficult to know, but to help an addict find their rock bottom, you can start by doing any of the things I just listed—and sticking to them.

And yes, I know that sometimes we do these things and nothing changes.

And yes, I know that sometimes we do these things and people still let us down.

And yes, I know that sometimes we do these things and people still die.

I know because all of those these things also happened during that same week.

And it sucks. It hurt me. I cried and got angry over it.

But at least the parents tried everything they could to save their son. They forced rock bottom roughly a year ago and the son made it to treatment. He had a shot. He found some hope.

For whatever reason it didn’t work. He didn’t make it. But instead of waiting on the elusive rock bottom they chose to act. They chose to step in and elevate rock bottom to give their son one last chance.

If you’re telling yourself you should wait to intervene until your loved one hits rock bottom, I urge you to stop. You have a say in defining rock bottom. So why not here? Why not now?

There’s nowhere to go but up.

For more help on parenting an addict or what to do after a loved-one has found “rock bottom” pick up my new book, Finding Hope.

 

My Parents Should Have…

Occasionally at the Finding Hope Support Group classes I lead, we bring in a group of recovering addicts to tell their stories. The audience response to these guys and gals always blows me away. As much as I think parents and loved ones of addicts need to be educated to the disease of addiction, taught firmly about the perils of enabling or assisted in boundary setting sessions, it’s listening to the stories of addicts that seems to help them “find’ the most hope.

I think naturally we as humans learn most from the trials and successes of others. So today, I’ve provided a couple interviews from some addicts I know, in hopes of helping you learn more about what works and what doesn’t.

Interviews with an addict: The Enabled Manipulator

How did your parents or spouse enable your further in your addiction?

My parents and girlfriend, whom I had spent the most time with and in communication with during my using, enabled me in several ways.

How did you use your parents enabling against them? How would you manipulate them?

With my parents, it was very easy to ask for financial help, because they rarely saw me in person and didn’t know of my using after my first rehab. After turning down their offer of going to sober living after my first rehab, my parents basically set me out on my own. I went to live with my girlfriend’s sister as a makeshift sober living house where the “rules” would be the same as any other sober living home. Her sister and husband had no clue what a sober living house was, so getting away with the old habits was far too easy.

My parents agreed to pay for my “rent” at the house, so all I needed to pay for was food. I quickly began to establish connections in the area to begin selling drugs again to be able to pay for my own supply of drugs. Because this was all done through cash transactions, my parents again had no idea what I was up to. Daily I would be in contact with my parents and sober living guardians to reassure them that I was fine and remaining sober.

As my “six months of sobriety” came closer, I began to lose control of my game of lies. My brain was not where it had been before, and I found myself struggling to get through each day.

I knew that my constant manipulation was going to backfire on me soon. I was tired of lying and not being able to remember which lie I had told to which person. Eventually, the inevitable caught up with me and I got caught in my lies. I lost a job I loved, relationships I cherished, and the trust of every person I had considered close to me.

If I could go back to the day I went into my first rehab for help, I would do things differently.

First of all, I would have listened to the people trying to help, instead of manipulating myself, and then others, into what I wanted.

For parents, enabling can come in many forms, but you cannot let your child or loved one do the things he or she says will help them. In most cases they are wrong, even if they think they are right.

Make them do the harder things instead of going easy on them, because the harder things will enable more growth. More accountability and communication will further the addict’s sobriety, too.

I felt alone early on in my sobriety and wished I had more people considering my own feelings and ambitions. I wish I had been pushed harder to achieve the things I wanted instead of being let loose to figure out life on my own.

 

Interviews with an Addict: The Parent-Playing CPA

How did your parents further your addiction?

My parents felt guilty about their divorce and other things that had happened in my life, and out of that guilt they always gave me money or allowed me to take money I should not have been given, as well as making excuses for my behavior and not adhering to consequences.

How did you use your parents enabling against them? How would you manipulate them?

I would take anything I wanted by saying I needed it, or by acting like school was wearing on me and that I deserved it because I was working so hard at school and doing well.

How did your parents enabling prolong your addiction?

My parents enabling me allowed my addiction to go on for about 2 more years than it should have.

Did your parents ever try to put down boundaries? Were they successful?

Not really until towards the end. I went to Paris with my mom and brother, and I was on Xanax the entire trip; I was not easy to work with, and was very defiant. When we got back, my mom was very disappointed in me, but she never really cut me off from money or from allowing me to come to the house or anything like that.

What could your parents have done differently that might have helped your find sobriety sooner?

My parents should have cut me off from all money as soon as they realized how bad I was, and should not have bailed me out of jail, nor paid for my expensive lawyer when I got my second DUI.

I think part of the reason they didn’t do anything about [my problem] was that I was still doing so well in school, and they wanted me to finish school more than they wanted me to go to rehab.

Looking back on it, I don’t know if they made the right decision or not, because I do not know if I would have gone back to school after I went to rehab or not. On the other hand, if I had taken a break and gotten sober before I finished, I might have gotten a better job when I graduated, and been ready to take the CPA exam.

All I know is, things have worked out the way God wanted them to, and I am where I am today because my parents didn’t give up on me. The last bit of money they spent on me was to send me to rehab, and when I went in they told me that this was the only rehab that they would pay for.

This time it worked.

 

For more interview with other addicts pick up my new book, Finding Hope.

Are You Codependent? Find out.

 

Oftentimes, people will enable an addict because they’re codependent on them. Codependency is a word that gets thrown around a lot in recovery circles, and some people are certain they’re codependent when they aren’t, while others are certain they aren’t codependent when they actually would make a terrific textbook example.

So how can you know whether you’re codependent? You can start by answering the following ten questions:

  • Do you seem to attract needy and dependent people and wonder why that always seems to happen to you?
  • Do you find it easier to be more concerned about other people than about yourself?
  • Do you find it difficult to hear and accept criticism, even when it’s given lovingly?
  • Do you need or seek approval from those around you?
  • Do you feel guilty when you can’t help someone that you feel responsible for, like you just aren’t up to the task?
  • Would you rather give in to the will of others than defend yourself and stand up for what you believe in or demand what you want?
  • Would you stay in a difficult relationship or situation because you’d rather deal with the pain there than change?
  • Do you ever feel resentment for people when you help them?
  • Do you have an undefinable feeling that life is cheating you?
  • Do you have physical, stress-related symptoms like difficulty sleeping, stomach problems, tension in your back or neck, or headaches?

If you answered yes to most of those questions, you may be codependent. And if you’re codependent, you’re probably enabling.

So how can you know if your caring has turned to codependency?

Here are the eight most common characteristics of codependency; see if any of these sound like you.

 Responsible

Codependent people feel responsible for others, but in a much more hyper, over-the-top way than your garden-variety responsibility. The codependent person takes so much responsibility that their own emotional well being rises and falls on the behavior of the person they’re trying to be responsible for.

Emotionally Confused

Codependent people have a very difficult time knowing how they feel. Ask them an emotion they might be feeling, and they likely will not be able even to identify it, let alone express it in a healthy way.

Afraid

Though they may not realize it at the surface level of their brain, codependent people are deeply afraid of being alone. This fear of abandonment leads them to dig in and stick with relationships that are hurting them, simply to avoid the isolation and pain that comes from being by themselves.

Perfectionistic

Codependent people tend to be perfectionists, holding up unrealistic expectations as a measurement tool for just about everything. But don’t feel bad—they can be just as hard on themselves as they are on everyone else.

Repetitive

Those who are codependent will often find themselves repeating relationships with other dependent people, whether those people deal with alcohol or drug addiction, or to more socially acceptable addictions like food and work.

Reactive

Rather than acting on their own behalf—because that might be too risky (and remember, they don’t know how they feel)—codependent people are reactive. They react to situations, they react to other people, they react to just about anything, because being reactive makes more sense than being proactive.

Condescending

The codependent person can sometimes adequately be described as “a hot mess”, because in the midst of their perfectionistic and reactive tendencies, they also often feel like a failure. But this is a deep sense of failure that works its way into their entire being, creating a low sense of self-worth and leading them to a great, yet unspoken, sense of condescension toward themselves.

Depressed

Lastly, the codependent person also often struggles with depression, and not the put-a-smile-on-it kind, but the long-lasting, medically diagnosable kind of depression that leads down many dark roads.

Now, just to be clear, you don’t have to be codependent in order to enable your loved ones—I would say neither of my parents really fit into the codependency box, but they managed to enable me rather well (which is something they’ll admit, right alongside the fact that they didn’t know what they were doing, and were just trying to do the best that their uninformed selves could do).

Nevertheless, if these aspects of codependency ring true to you, then you might be enabling your loved one as well. That can be a very, very difficult truth to accept, and believe me—I understand if you’re having difficulty with it. I know you love your son or daughter, your spouse, your parent, your family member—I know you want the best for them and want to help them in any way you can.

But I also know that enabling them is the opposite of help.

If you need help understanding more about codependency and enabling behaviors and you live near the OKC area I want to strongly encourage you to visit one of Hope is Alive Ministries support groups called Finding Hope. You will be welcome there, you will be encouraged there and you will begin to learn how to find a healthy relationship with the addict in your life. And once you get healthy, your loved-one will eventually find health as well.

click here to see a list of classes: www.FindingHope.Today.

Check back next week, when we interview a few addicts and allow them to offer up their experience on living with co-dependency / enabling partners. You can also stop by Amazon and pick up my new book Finding Hope, where you will find lots of interviews, perspectives and advice for living with, raising or loving an addict.

 

Are You Helping or Enabling?

When I was in high school, I had very little in the way of moral grounding, something I’m not proud of but which is key for understanding the way I acted in the story I’m about to tell you.

This story takes place during my senior year, when I was all the way gone into the party scene.

It was during this time that I dated a lot, and as my senior year wound down, I found myself dating two different girls, possibly at the same time, and both of them older than me. They’d both gone to my high school and had the very same English teacher that I had: Mrs. Diem. But the similarities don’t stop there: they’d also written their senior papers on the same topic: Charlemagne, the famous king of the early Middle Ages.

I knew I was going to have to write my senior paper eventually, and by now you can maybe guess where this story is headed. I managed to use my silver tongue to acquire the electronic versions of both my girlfriends’ senior papers on Charlemagne and then literally copied and pasted different parts of them into one document, and turned it in as an attempt to pass off as my own.

I handed that paper in with about a month left in the school year, and it wasn’t long until my mom received a fairly irate phone call from Mrs. Diem, delivering the news that she was going to fail me in senior English—rendering me unable to graduate—unless I had a new paper to turn in. On the following Monday.

It was a Tuesday.

I had to turn around a brand new, fully cited, 20-30 page research paper, and I had less than a week to do it. And if I didn’t do it, I wouldn’t graduate.

I actually panicked. Not because I wanted the grade, but because I wanted to be done with school.

But you know who panicked even more? My dear mother.

She knew me, and what I was capable of at that time in my life. She knew that, if it were up to me and my efforts, that paper wouldn’t even get close to done. She also wanted me to graduate on time, so she decided to help me.

By “help,” I mean “write every word of my senior English paper for me.”

Literally. Every word. I didn’t even type in my name.

To this day, I have vivid memories of seeing her upstairs in the office of our home in Pryor, Oklahoma where I grew up, hard at work at the computer doing research and writing my paper for me.

I’ll admit it: I felt slightly guilty about it at the time, but not enough to run up there and relieve her of the duty. If she wanted to help me, I was going to let her.

Besides, that meant I could go out and party with my friends.

She finished it, I turned it in, and guess what: I got a pretty decent grade on it! Good enough to walk across the stage at my graduation and get that diploma that my mom had earned for me.

God bless her, she was doing the best she knew to do at the time, and I don’t fault her for it one bit.

But while she thought she was helping me, she was actually enabling me.

What Is Enabling?

You cross the line from helping to enabling when you start to shield your addicted loved one from the full consequences of their behavior. My Charlemagne story, while funny, is a perfect example of this.

I should not have graduated. I had slacked off the entire school year, and did not deserve the diploma I got. I was the one who turned in the original plagiarized paper, so I was the one who should’ve had to stay up late for a week, desperately working to create something that would get me a passing grade.

But that’s not what happened. My mom—who is a lovely, lovely person who honestly thought she was doing the right thing—stepped in front of that no-graduate bullet and took it for me.

You can probably understand why. The reason we call these people “loved ones” is because we love them! We want to care for them and meet their needs, but the fact of the matter is: addicts are irrational, and in the throes of a disease that renders them uncaring. When you see them begin to stop caring for themselves, or for the world around them, you do the logical, human, empathetic thing and try to export your caring on to them.

The problem is: that doesn’t work.

Instead, you wind up trying to control your loved one’s behavior, which is always going to be a bad idea.

I know this sounds counterintuitive, because the things you want to do—assist, encourage, fix, protect, support, nurse, serve, accommodate—are all good things.

These are the kinds of things that good spouses do. They’re the kinds of things that good parents do. They’re the kinds of things that good family members do.

But when it comes to the addict, these good things become poison and the exact things that will keep everyone unhealthy.

When you enable, you prevent your addicted loved one from suffering any harmful consequences for their behavior—and if they don’t suffer any consequences, they have no reason to change. Your help becomes something they can depend upon, therefore enabling them to continue living the lie that their disease is feeding them.

Do you see? Is this making sense to you? Are you feeling liberated yet? Is the unbearable weight of making yourself responsible for someone else’s behavior lifting off your shoulders?

I hope so.

 

Check back next week, when I list several signs that you are enabling your loved one…. or feel free to stop by Amazon and pick up my new book Finding Hope. (all this stuff is in there)

The best thing a parent can do….

My good friend Floyd works down at Rob’s Ranch and I’ve heard him tell parents of addicts this about hundred times.

“The best thing my mom ever did for me was leave me in jail.”

Yea, pretty interesting thought huh? Especially to those reading this with children caught up in the grips of addiction. If that’s you, you probably wondered if you should have followed Floyd’s moms lead and done the same thing a time or two.

What Ms. Carter did saved her son’s life. But it wasn’t an easy decision, allowing kids to reap the consequences of their decisions is never easy.

But it’s often the best thing you can do.

A few days ago my eleven year old son asked me with tears in his eyes if he could quit his football team. He wasn’t getting to play and some of the kids had been giving him a hard time. He stared right into my eyes and begged me to quit. “Please dad!” he pleaded. In that moment I wanted to ease my son’s pain, to let him off the hook and give him a quick way to find relief. It seemed like the right decision, after all he was hurting.

But it wasn’t. It was the convenient decision. But it was NOT the right decision.

I could have let him walk off the field and instantly relieved the hurt and embarrassment he was feeling, but it would have only done so temporarily. Instead all I would have done is bail him out, set him up to be a quitter the rest of his life or worse yet, potentially crippled his ability to work through pain. I’m so glad I didn’t. Today he went back to practice and the character in his heart grew stronger, even if he didn’t realize it.

Bailing out our kids is a natural reaction. It makes sense sometimes. It’s simple, feels safe and is a quick fix. But it also carries with it a weight, a weight of enabling, that grows heavier and heavier as our kids turned to adults. And when you begin to enable your children, you begin to walk a fine line that typically doesn’t end well. I speak with families on a weekly basis, many of whom look me in the eyes and say, “I know I’ve enabled him, I know I’ve bailed him out one to many times.” Each time I hear this it scares me to death because this is a recipe for years of pain, guilt and treatment.

I get it; no one wants to watch their kids suffer. I’m sure Ms. Carter hated to see her son suffer, but her patience produced a man of character, endurance and hope. Sometimes the best thing a parent can do is just let go and let God do what only HE can do.

We celebrate in seasons of suffering because we know that when we suffer we develop endurance, which shapes our characters. When our characters are refined, we learn what it means to hope and anticipate God’s goodness. 5 And hope will never fail to satisfy our deepest need because the Holy Spirit that was given to us has flooded our hearts with God’s love. Romans 5:3-5 The Voice


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