Fear … Is It Holding You Back?


Fight your fears and you’ll be in battle forever; face your fears and you’ll be free forever. — Lucas Jonkman

Everything you want is on the other side of fear. — Jack Canfield

We stopped checking for monsters under the bed when we realized they were inside of us. — Charles Darwin

Fear is only temporary. Regret lasts forever!

Fear is the brain’s way of saying that there is something important for you to overcome. — Rachel Huber

What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Fear is a powerful thing. Depending upon how we view it, it can paralyze us or spur us on to greater things.

I have a dear friend who is terrified of intimacy in relationships. He wasn’t always this way. He met a girl once whom he fell head-over-heels in love with, so much so that it scared him. He had been in love before but never to such a degree that he felt out of control, and it was that lack of emotional control he couldn’t handle. The relationship lasted for about four years, until the girl finally got tired of his shenanigans of pulling away and saying they needed to see other people. She decided that could go on forever and decided it was time to let go.

Now, 25 years later, the girl is back. She contacted my friend, whom she never stopped loving, in an attempt to restore the relationship they could have had if both of them hadn’t messed it up so badly. He wants nothing to do with her, not because he doesn’t still love her, but because he went through hell the first time he lost her and doesn’t want to experience that feeling again. He also doesn’t want to go back to having no control over his emotions.  The thought terrifies him.

I find their whole situation so sad. They both care deeply for each other, but he is so paralyzed by his fear that he won’t even communicate with the girl anymore. Think of what they are both missing out on … perhaps the greatest joy either one of them has ever known.

My problem is public speaking. The thought of getting up in front of people and speaking brings back fresh memories of 7th-grade speech class, when my voice shook so uncontrollably that everyone watching me was embarrassed for me. They were probably just as uncomfortable watching me as I was standing up there in front of them. My fear of public speaking is unfortunate, especially because I’m fairly certain my future dream job will require me to have this skill. I’ve spent my whole life avoiding it, but it’s time to stop running. It’s time to turn around and face this thing once and for all.

I’ve gone back to grad school after 30 years. I absolutely love it! The problem is, I have to do a YouTube interview with a classmate where we each take turns pretending to be a journalist and a PR professional discussing a crisis situation. Doesn’t sound too bad, unless you have an extreme aversion to being on camera. My first thought was, “I’ve got to drop this class.” I immediately rejected that idea because, as I said, I love the class.  My second thought was, “I’m going to contact the professor and tell her I’ll take an F on this assignment.” Unfortunately, that idea seems pretty stupid even to me. I finally came to the conclusion that as much as I hate the thought of actually doing this assignment, I want to get past the brick wall my fear has succeeded in putting in front of me for so many years.  It’s time to break through that wall. I may not like the process, and it may hurt; but I am doing this thing.  It’s time.

How about you? Is fear holding you back from something you want more than anything? What are you going to do about it? I would encourage you to not let it define you. Get help. Move past your fear. Your greatest accomplishment/love relationship/purpose may be on the other side. Don’t miss out! As Joyce Meyer says a friend of hers once said to her, “Why don’t you do it afraid?”

You’ve got this. Get going! 🙂
Lori Lynn

Dear LORD … when we are too afraid to follow through on your best for us, give us a nudge. Help us to visualize what is there on the other side of our fear and to want it so badly that we’re willing to do whatever it takes to make it a reality. Give us the courage to knock down our brick walls of fear knowing that You are there with us every step of the way. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

 

 

 

When God Doesn’t Make Sense


This post was originally published in 2012.  However, since our Lenten service last night focused on Abraham sacrificing his son and the corresponding sacrificial Lamb of God in the New Testament, I thought it was appropriate to post it again…

Blessings to you this Lenten season,
Lori Lynn

After all this, God tested Abraham.  God said, “Abraham!”

“Yes?” answered Abraham.  “I’m listening.”

He said, “Take your dear son Isaac whom you love and go to the land of Moriah.  Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I’ll point out to you.”  –Genesis 22:1-2 (The Message)

Don’t you wonder sometimes what went through Abraham’s mind from the moment he first heard God make this command until the time he followed through in obedience?  We read it and think, “Abraham knew God.  He was a giant of the faith.  He didn’t struggle.  He just did what God told him to do.”  But as I ponder this passage and think of the incredibly difficult decision I am faced with in my life right now, I can’t help but wonder, “What really happened in that white space between the end of verse 2 and the beginning of verse 3?”  It’s the instructions written in invisible ink in that white space I could use right about now.  The ones that tell me how to get from  point A (listening) to point B (obedience).

I have found over the past few years (more than a few actually), that I have become quite adept at second guessing what I think God may be telling me.  I can believe I hear very clearly God telling me one thing; but over the course of a few days, I have completely tied myself in knots wondering if I heard right.  And then begins the tug of war… “Did God really tell me that, or is that the devil trying to trip me up?  I am certain God told me that, but it just doesn’t make any sense.  I could see how God could use that (and work good from it), but it doesn’t seem like it goes according to what I know from His Word.  No, that CAN’T be God.”  Then I find myself right back at the starting point, continuing to stay stuck in a rut of indecision, paralyzed by insecurity and doubt.

Isn’t it interesting how God gave Abraham three days to think about things after he decided to obey God.  Three long days to travel to Moriah.  Three excruciating days to torment himself with thoughts of what God was telling him to do.  Unlike Peter, who took his eyes off Jesus and began to quickly sink amidst the crashing waves on the Sea of Galilee, Abraham continued steadfast on the path God was calling him to follow.  He did not waiver in his obedience.  He remained calm amidst the storm of his emotions.  He kept his [spiritual] eyes on God and kept his [spiritual] ears tuned to the radio frequency of God’s voice.  If we did the same, how much different would our lives be?

I often think of the analogy of the clenched fist.  If we are desperately holding onto something we can’t bear to part with, how can we expect God to bless us with anything?  Our hand will be too tightly clenched to receive the blessing.  In order to receive something, we have to let go… either by holding out our hands, open, with palms up, or by reaching out with an open hand to grasp onto the hand of God and go with Him to the place He can’t wait to show us.  Then, and only then, can God give us something that we may find is a much greater joy than we could ever have imagined.

I’m going to challenge you in something.  Over the next month, pay close attention to what God is telling you.  Listen to the message He puts deep within your heart.  Pray about it, asking God to reveal His truth regarding the particulars of whatever it is He is telling you.  Now here’s the kicker… FOLLOW THROUGH on what He is telling you.  I’d love to hear how He has blessed you through your obedience.

Walking in faith,

Lori Lynn

Dear LORD… just as You blessed Abraham through his acts of obedience, we pray that You would bless us.  May we be willing to unclench our fists and let go of those things that are hindering us from receiving the best that You want to give us.  Through this letting-go process, we pray that You would use our obedience to bless others as well; and through it all, may You be glorified.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

 

She Used To Be Mine


My friend, Gina, sent me the link to Sara Bareilles’ song below.  It is such a beautiful representation of (and expresses better than I ever could myself) the feelings I’ve battled for so long … the sense of being broken, lonely most of the time, not recognizing who I’ve become, longing (in part) for who I used to be, and the desire to give it all back for a chance to start over and rewrite the ending for the girl I used to be.

Life is messy, isn’t it.  It doesn’t always (in fact, rarely does) go the way we’d hoped.  The good news is, there is always something to be learned along the way; and where you are now doesn’t mean that’s where you have to stay.

Past is a LessonI had such awesome plans and high hopes when I graduated from high school.  I intended to join the Foreign Service, travel the world, and become a foreign diplomat.  My life now in no way resembles that previously imagined life, but I’ve learned a lot along the way.

For starters, I’ve learned that it’s not always WHAT you know so much as WHO you know.  It’s not so much a matter of how many”book smarts” you have as it is how well have you developed your people skills?  (I know some people who are incredibly intelligent but do not have an ounce of common sense or know the first thing about getting along with others.)  I’ve learned that life isn’t about acquiring things or making more money; it’s about making a difference in the lives of those around you.  It’s about contributing to society and making the world a better place.

God has given me a chance to go back and rewrite my ending for the young girl I used to be.  I hope I’ve learned enough along the way to make better choices from this point going forward, and  I hope He continues to bring people into my life who will challenge me to grow in ways I never thought possible.

19157-Move-ForwardYes, life can be hard at times and not go at all the way we had initially planned; but it can be a wonderful life if we take the focus off of our circumstances and past mistakes and put it instead on reigniting the fire that used to burn in our hearts when hopes and dreams and wishes and moonbeams shined in our eyes for all to see.  There’s a beautiful life filled with possibilities out there waiting for you.  Go capture it!  I’ll be cheering for you …

Lori Lynn

Dancing In His Arms …


I am not a good dancer; so when I knew I’d have to dance at my wedding, I was extremely nervous.  I have no recollection of dancing with my husband, but I do distinctly remember dancing with two of my uncles.  (My grandmother loved to dance, and it was she who taught my uncles how to dance.  She would put on waltz music and teach her boys smooth moves in the kitchen after the evening meal.)  When I was dancing with them, I didn’t need to worry about my inability; they wrapped me firmly in their arms, guided me across the dance floor, and allowed me to relax and enjoy myself.  It was a pleasure (and an honor) dancing with each of them.

Today, two of the devotions I read pertained to dancing and singing and praising God. One of them encouraged me to put on my dancing shoes, allow the LORD to play a song for my soul, and feel myself move to the beat of His heart.*  I imagined myself in the arms of God, feeling the same sense of security I felt in my uncles’ arms while dancing at my wedding … safe, warm, and loved.  The second devotion confirmed that feeling:

As you relax in My everlasting arms, sense how safe and secure you are.**

Jack Vettriano

Jack Vettriano

My quiet time with the LORD got me thinking … I want to spend more time dancing.  I want to spend more time wrapped in the everlasting arms of my heavenly Father, forgetting my inabilities (my insecurities, whatever I lack), relaxing in His strength, allowing Him to guide me along this dance floor of life.  I want to be in His will, hearing His song, moving to the beat of His heart.  I can’t think of a more comfortable place to be.

Start the music, Abba, and sweep me off my feet!

Lacing up my dancing shoes,
Lori Lynn

* Shepherd, S. R. (2008). Dance With Me, His Princess Bride: Love Letters from Your Prince, p. 19. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell.

** Young, S. (2009). WorshipJesus Lives, p. 14. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

When Love Hurts


It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone, an hour to like someone, and a day to love someone, but it takes a lifetime to forget someone. — Anonymous

The love that lasts the longest is the love that is never returned. — William Somerset Maugham

I have spent the majority of the past 25 years trying to forget someone I loved very much.  It hasn’t worked.  I married (and tried to love) someone else, continued on with life, and really just “existed” through much of that time.  I spent many hours wondering what was wrong with me that I couldn’t forget “him”.  Many people have survived loving someone they had to say “goodbye” too without really wanting to, and they seemed to survive just fine.  Why couldn’t I do the same?

Here’s what I’ve learned:

  1. We can’t always choose whom our hearts are drawn to.

There is a physiological response going on that we may have no control over.  Our hearts are drawn to certain people.  If these people bring joy to our lives, give us a sense of being valued and appreciated, and/or elicit favorable memories, we may have a more difficult time letting them go.  When an event occurs in our life that creates a chasm in the relationship, it can be devastating.  If communication breaks down to the point of little to no response, the devastation can often be magnified.  Human nature is such that we want (need) to know what is causing the rift.  WHY won’t this person respond?  What have I done to warrant a lack of response?  How can I rectify the situation?  When there continues to be a lack of response to our questions, the wondering becomes unbearable. Apparently there is such a thing as lovesickness (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lovesickness). Who knew?

This is where valuable lesson #2 comes in …

  1. We CAN control our thoughts.

It may be difficult to comprehend sometimes, but it is possible.  Sometimes the worst enemy we encounter in life is located right smack dab in the territory between our two ears:  our mind.  There is a fascinating world being explored out there pertaining to neuroplasticity and neurogenesis.  We can formulate new thought patterns.  We can form new neuronal pathways in our minds.  We can change our thinking.

This is a problem I have seriously struggled with for some time.  Events in my life over the past three decades have taught me learned behaviors that need to be changed.  The metamorphosis in my thinking was gradual, so gradual I didn’t realize it was happening.  Not until I moved back to the part of the country where I grew up (after having been away for 15 years), did it start to become noticeable.  I could never understand where my children came up with some of the ideas they had about my likes and dislikes until I was able to step back and see that I really hadn’t given them an opportunity to know me at all … not the real me.  The person they saw was not who I was, it was who I became.  Sounds weird, right?  However, if you’ve lived it, you know exactly what I am saying.

After wondering why I have spent the greater part of a decade feeling so extremely alone, it finally dawned on me that I was no longer allowing people to get close.  I had shut down.  I had sheltered myself from love … from giving it and from receiving it … to the point that I was no longer projecting outwardly what I (thought) I was feeling inside.  I was coming across very negatively on the outside.

My feelings of rejection weren’t coming from other people; they were coming from inside my head. I had convinced myself that I had become incapable of loving and, therefore, (in my mind) I was incapable of being loved. The interesting thing about that thought process is that the more you feel incapable of being loved, the more you isolate yourself and become self-absorbed.

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  1. We CAN choose to respond differently.

My saving grace has come in the answer to prayer. I asked God to send me a friend, and He sent me someone who is helping me to see the kind, warm, caring person I used to be … the one who disappeared many years ago, the one who has been buried under a mound of abandonment, guilt, and shame. I am learning, through my interactions with this angel from God that I am not as awful a person as I thought I was. I’m okay … quirky at times, but okay. I am worth loving. I am worth spending time with. I am worth getting to know. And those feelings have generated a rebirth within me that make me want to reach out and get to know others and let them get to know me … the REAL me, not the one they think they currently know. As I become more comfortable in my own (new) skin, I will once again let my humor shine through. I won’t care so much what people think of me, for I will find that as long as I like myself, others will like me too (and, if they don’t, they weren’t meant to be in my life anyway).

I no longer want to be a people pleaser. I want to be a God pleaser. I want to fulfill my purpose. I want to make a difference in the world. I want to matter. I want to succeed at something. I want to continue to learn new things. In order to do that, I am going to spend more time with my Father. I am going to speak affirmations over myself that remind me Whose I am and how much I am loved. I am going to be grateful for the new friends He brings into my life, and I am going to be a light to others who feel the pain of being rejected and alone.

As we say goodbye to 2015 and embark on a new year, let’s let some old mindsets go. Let’s embrace who we really are and use it to create wonder and beauty in the world around us. The future is looking brighter!

Let your light shine …

Lori Lynn

 

 

 

 

Life Lesson #7: Don’t Quit


Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny. — C. S. Lewis

I know so many people who are struggling … people close to my heart and some not so close.  I’ve noticed, from my own experience, that what exacerbates the problem is looking around at others and thinking, “Why me?”

I’m not sure when I adopted the notion that life is supposed to be problem free, but it obviously crept into my psyche somewhere along the line.  Maybe it’s from all of the books I lost myself in when I was growing up, or perhaps it’s the movies I escape into when I want to remove myself from the cold, hard realities of life.  Somehow in the process my mind skipped over the hardships and only remembered the happy endings.

I know what it’s like to feel hopeless, frustrated, all alone.  I know what it’s like to feel that no one cares, that no one understands.  It’s hard to get out of the rut.  It’s hard to think differently when everything you know is screaming, “Failure!”  It’s hard to get past the voices of Doom and Gloom whispering in your ears.  Spending time with Harry Potter or Frodo relieves my momentary fear and paralysis and makes me think that I, too, can overcome my current struggle.

I recently sent the daughter of a dear friend of mine a poem called “Don’t Quit”.  You can find it here.  I decided it might be a good thing to send my own children, who are facing some tough realities of their own (aka how to afford college when they can’t take out student loans without a parent’s cosignature).

Here’s the thing, though… I’ve learned throughout all of this that there is one thing you can bank on.  Satan desires nothing more than to drag us down, to lose our focus, to make us feel intimidated/inferior/not good enough.  Drown his voice out.  He is full of smoke and hot air!

Don’t waste your energy looking at the people around you.  They are not running YOUR race.  YOU are.  They have their own obstacles to overcome.  Focus on your race.  Stay grounded.  Other people don’t matter in the big huge scheme of things.  What matters is you and God … that’s it.  His plans for your life.  The purpose He created you for.

Keep the faith…

Lori Lynn

Father … when life gets just too darn hard to bear, help us to remember that struggle is preparation for something down the road.  It is strengthening us and building our spiritual muscle.  You have a plan for each of us.  We may not see it fully; but if we continue to trust in You, it will eventually become known, sometimes in the most surprising way.  Keep us strong.  In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.

Life Lesson #4: Go With the Pain


Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape. –Charles Dickens

Pain is never permanent. –Teresa of Avila

When I was nervously anticipating the birth of my first child a little over 17 years ago, a wonderful woman (Karen) from my church gave me some advice that helped me through each of my deliveries with little to no pain medication.  By the time I gave birth to my third child, the delivery room nurse told my husband, “you would never know she is about to deliver a baby.  She doesn’t look like she’s in labor at all.”  What was the secret?  Go with the pain.

Karen told me when I was in labor to imagine how a turtleneck stretches when we put it on over our head.  She said to think about labor and delivery the same way.  She said, “The pain of childbirth has a purpose, so don’t fight it.  Go with the pain.  By going with the pain, your body is able to do what it needs to do through the birthing process.  Fighting the pain only serves to make us tense which, in turn, makes the pain worse.” So, I went into my first delivery room armed with relaxation music and a bunch of other things I had read about that could help assuage my apprehension, only to toss it all aside as I focused on breathing in on the count of four, breathing out on the count of four, and remembering what Karen said.  I was so focused on the numbers in my head and the visualization of the turtleneck stretching over my head (enabling me to go with the pain instead of fighting it), that labor and delivery was probably the easiest part of having children.  (I find raising them much more difficult!)

I recently mentioned this piece of advice… going with the pain… to a counselor friend of mine, as I was explaining some of the junk I’m working through.  She wisely advised me not to give up… to use that same advice in my life now.  Don’t give up working through the emotions and the pain that surface as introspection, prayer, and discussion bring difficult events to the surface.  Go with the pain, for it has a purpose.  Healing comes on the other side.

Some days are better than others.  For example, I just finished reading a wonderful set of books by Francine Rivers (Her Mother’s Hope and Her Daughter’s Dream), which made me sob and weep more often than not.  It brought to the forefront so many emotions… of love lost, relationships gone awry, insecurity, not measuring up, miscommunication, etc.   Her Mother’s Hope reminded me of all of the ambitious dreams I had when I was young and all of the places I was able to travel in Europe.  It took me back to a time of adventure, excitement, and unending promise.  As I continued to read, memories surfaced of intense love and passion… the joy of having met my soul mate, the impact of knowing I had encountered someone who had changed my life forever… the worry associated with raising children and how I don’t want to mess up.   Along with the memories came moments of pain.

My instinct, more often than not, is to run away from the pain… to stop the memories… to wish away what was; but some of those same memories contain immense joy and love, and I want to remember those things more than anything else.  It is in those memories that I realize I am capable of loving.  It is those memories that remind me I was at one time deeply loved by another for simply being me.  I didn’t have to give until there was nothing left in me, nor did I have to pretend to be something I wasn’t; I was loved for the simplicity of being myself.

I’m not sure how life became so complicated as the years have passed, but I do know this: I want to be healed, so I am going to once again go with the pain… this time to birth a new Lori Lynn.  It may be a messy process, but I am hoping the end result will be well worth it.

In the arms of Jehovah-Rapha,

Lori Lynn

Dear Lord… I so often want to fight the pain.  I’m tired of hurting emotionally.  I’m weary of carrying a neverending load of responsibility.  I long for carefree days and joy-filled moments.  When my heart feels heavy, help me to remember that pain has a purpose; and if I go with the pain, it will birth something wonderful in the end.  Amen.

 

Life Lesson #1 (Updated): Deal with Your Stuff


“… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. — Romans 3:23-24 (NIV)

{I originally wrote this post in January 2012. It has been rewritten a bit, as events in my life have changed, but the life lesson is still the same (and more important than ever for me to share).}

It’s very difficult when writing a blog to know just how much to share with your readers.  As a writer, I want to touch my readers’ hearts.  I want them to read what I write and say, “Oh my gosh.  I know exactly what she’s talking about!”, or “I SO get where she’s coming from.”  At the same time, I don’t want to share so much that it portrays people in my life in a bad light; because there are two sides to every story, and you are really only hearing mine.  Suffice it to say, because of poor choices I have made in the past, my life has not exactly gone the way I had hoped; but I am hopeful that some of my mistakes can be used for good in teaching others not to do what I did.

Lesson #1:  Do NOT marry someone until you have dealt with your “stuff.”

When I married my husband, I knew I did not love him.  I did know he was a good Christian man, and he had a good heart; and I truly believed that God would help me grow to love him in time.  I was 28 years old, desperately wanted to be a wife and mother, and felt the biological clock ticking.  I had just come out of a four-year off-again-on-again relationship with a man whom I loved more than anything but who had no intention of marrying me anytime soon because of family pressure on his side.  It was actually this man who sat in church with me one day, looked out over the congregation, saw my future husband in one of the front rows, pointed and said, “You should go out with that guy.”  My initial reaction was, “Oh my gosh.  No way.  He is SO not my type!”  (Now I realize that many of you highly-intelligent readers will be asking, “Why did you go out with this guy for four years when he is telling you to go out with other people?”)  Can I just say, “It’s what insecure people do.”  It’s also what led me to marry my husband.

Which brings me back to dealing with our stuff…

We can drag an awful lot of baggage, which we aren’t even aware of, into our marriages.  Are you familiar with any of these:

  • Insecurity
  • Low self-esteem/unworthiness
  • Unresolved relationship issues
  • Poverty (lack of money or love)
  • Emotional/physical/verbal abuse
  • Codependency
  • Anger
  • Mental health issues

If you haven’t dealt with them BEFORE you tie the knot, trust me when I say that you WILL deal with them at some point after.  All of the baggage mentioned above comes with a bountiful set of emotions.  Emotions get triggered in our brains from the darnedest things…  a sound, a smell, a touch, a look, a word, etc.  You may think that you can suppress emotions, but they can only be suppressed for so long.  Emotions are alive, so suppressing them is like burying something alive.  They will eventually erupt and find their way out; and when they do, it isn’t pretty!

I was married for almost 22 years.  I can honestly say, it was a struggle from Day 1.  On my wedding night, I was crying because I had a new last name.  Please don’t misunderstand me.  I had every intention of changing my name when I got married.  It wasn’t having a new last name that was the problem; it had everything to do with thinking, “Oh my gosh, I can’t go back.  I’ve made a horrible mistake.  This is not what I wanted.”  I don’t come from a belief system that says, “Get married today and divorced tomorrow.”  I had made a covenant before God.  This was serious business.  For what it’s worth, my husband was probably feeling the same way.  All of the sudden he was faced with a hysterical wife who was not at all like the woman he thought he had married.

In retrospect, I think I was more in love with the IDEA of getting married (the ring, the dress, the flowers, walking down the aisle) than I was with the man I had agreed to marry.  Also, in my insecurity, I didn’t believe anyone else would ever ask me to marry him.  My husband did; therefore, I thought I better jump at the opportunity.

I had had similar feelings (that I was making a mistake) the morning of my wedding but had brushed them off as wedding-day jitters.  At that point, I remember thinking, “I can’t back out now.  Everyone has flown out here for the wedding.  My parents have put a lot of expense into this.”

Both of us lamented the fact that we did not have premarital counseling before our wedding day.  We were supposed to have it.  We even went to our first session; unfortunately, right in the middle of it, our pastor got an emergency phone call and had to end the session.  We somehow never rescheduled.  I think the pastor thought, “These are two mature individuals who obviously love each other, both from good Lutheran stock, so they will be fine.”  (Of course, I have no idea what he was actually thinking.  Pre-marriage counseling for us may have just slipped his mind.)  I do think, though, that many of the conflicts we struggled with over the years would have surfaced in those counseling sessions, and we could have been spared quite a bit of the heartache we experienced (or at least been a little bit more prepared for it).

So, how did we stay married so long?  In this Married-Today-Divorced-Tomorrow Age, I’d like to think it was because neither one of us could come to terms with breaking the covenant we made before our God; and we were both too stubborn to give up.  In reality, it isn’t because of anything WE were thinking or doing.  The truth is that God was the third strand in our cord; and whereas our two strands would have broken early on, His continued holding on.  There was a purpose to all we went through.  Just as an ugly jagged-edged rock can be put into a tumbler and bounced all over for days on end and come out a beautiful gem, our marriage tossed us around enough to remove the jagged edges off of us whereby (hopefully) we can take our mistakes and use them to instruct others.  It means that all of the junk our children were forced to wade through was strengthening them and building them up for service to others.  They will have a sense of compassion and empathy from having “been there” that will give them remarkable insight in helping others through the maze.  I have also come to realize that divorce does not separate us from our stuff.  If not dealt with, our stuff follows us into any relationship we enter into.

Maybe you are in a similar place.  Maybe you’re about to get married and you realize you’re not getting married for the right reasons.  Maybe you’re already married, were lucky enough to have been in love when you walked down the aisle, but now find you have drifted apart.  Maybe you’re struggling with a wayward or mentally-ill child, and it is wreaking havoc in your marriage.  (I have a daughter who is ADHD/NLD/and borderline Asperger’s.  Trust me when I say I KNOW the havoc mental health issues inflict on a marriage.)  Maybe you are a single person who feels the only way you can be loved is to sleep with every person who asks you to with the hope that maybe one of them will propose.  Maybe you are the child of an alcoholic who has become a workaholic to compensate for the love you never got, and you’ve reached the point where you realize you’ve accumulated a lot of things but you have no one to pass them on to.

We all have issues.  We all struggle.  But there is hope.  We CAN deal with our stuff before it deals with us.  We CAN break the cycle that we’re in … be it codependency, verbal abuse, anger.  We CAN stop it.  It isn’t easy.  It means making some tough decisions (for me, it meant filing for divorce after 20+ years), but remember that it is for your good and the good of those who come after you (my children have told me filing for divorce was the right thing to do).  Dare to be the difference in your future child (or grandchild’s life).  Dare to be the one who breaks the chain.  And remember… the best thing you can do is to deal with it BEFORE you get married!

Saved by Grace …

Lori Lynn

Dear Lord… Thank you for being the third strand in the frayed and broken cord now binding me and my children.  Without you, we would have been done a long time ago.  Continue to show us in a myriad of ways that You have a purpose in all that we have gone through and give us the strength to continue holding on until beauty shines through.  Give us the courage to change what we know needs to be changed, and help us to grow to be more like You.  In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.

Author’s note: Please know that I am in no way advocating divorce. I am not encouraging it, nor am I condoning it; but it happens.

Although I filed for divorce, I still believe it is wrong; and I will be held accountable when I go before my Father in heaven. But I am convinced that God knows my heart, and He knows why I filed. He knows my ultimate goal is to live for His glory and to show others that our sinfulness does not have to keep us from fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives… oftentimes He uses our mess-ups to connect us to people in ways we never thought possible. We all sin and fall short.  May He grace you today as He has graced me…

I Don’t Want Social Media … I Want Friends!


When I was in 6th grade, I suffered a temporary bout of ostracism from every kid in my class with the exception of one girl, who was a bit of an outcast herself. The details of this sordid event escape me. I’m sure I did something to raise someone’s ire or the green horns of jealousy; but whatever the cause, the repercussions have been profound. Decades later, the effects are still felt. Pretty much every experience I encounter gets processed through the lens of rejection.

Although the ostracizing event blew over that summer and I went on to have many friends throughout junior high, high school, and college, I have found, as an adult, that I still frequently feel like an outcast.

I have a significant number of friends on Facebook (not thousands, because I’m very selective about whom I friend), but here’s the thing … I could have hundreds more if not for the cloudy vision of life I see through my cataracts of rejection, which cause the recurring tape in my head to say, “No one likes you, so they won’t want to be your friend.”) I realize this is faulty thinking. The friends I do have would assure me it just isn’t true. Nonetheless, my faulty thinking affects the outcome of my daily living.

Why do I care how many friends I have? If I really think about it, I don’t. I mean, in the big huge scheme of things, what really matters more … that other people like me or that I like myself? I mean, if I have thousands of friends on Facebook (or any other social media platform for that matter) but I don’t like myself, am I really happy?

We live in a technology-driven, ADHD world of nonconnection … plugged in and tuned out. I firmly believe it’s time to unplug and tune in … tune in with some real flesh and blood friends who truly care and are there when we need them.

I don’t want thousands of friends on Facebook. I want real friends … a dozen flesh and blood comrades in arms who will call me up periodically and invite me to do things with them. “Hey, Lori Lynn, Chris Botti is going to be in town. Want to go see him?” “Hey, Lori Lynn, I feel the need to go Christmas shopping in Chicago. Want to go?” “Hey, Lori Lynn, I’m contemplating signing up for a mission trip to India. You game?” To each of these, I would answer a resounding, “YES, definitely!”

I’m tired of being lonely. I’m tired of not having anyone to connect with in the flesh, so here’s what I’m planning to do for starters:

  • Contact a handful of high school friends, whom I haven’t seen in years, and invite them to my home for an evening of fun;
  • Start a weekly Bible study in my home to connect with a number of people I’ve met at various churches in my area;
  • Initiate new friendships by beginning a monthly book club.

I’m not a terribly social person … I tend to be an introvert … but I’m an introvert who needs to know I belong … that I matter to someone. I need to know there is someone out there who understands me or, if they don’t, are honest enough to say, “Ya know, I have no idea what you’re going through right now, but I’m here for you. How can I help?” Unfortunately, I don’t have many of those people in my life at this point; and I think what is so depressing about that is the fact that I was brought up to be that kind of person (which I was until the majority of people I encountered in life were more than happy to receive my help but weren’t able to reciprocate when I was the one needing help). Constantly meeting other people’s needs while your own continue to go unmet leads to burnout rather quickly.

A huge contributing factor to why my marriage ended after 22 years had to do with so much of this. My husband and I never went out with other couples; we rarely went out period. I longed to connect with another human being; my husband was content connecting to a computer or TV screen.

God designed us as relational beings … first and foremost to be in relationship with Him, yes, but also to be in relationship with others. It’s why He gave Eve to Adam. We need one another. We need encouragement when times are tough. We need hugs when we are hurting. We need companionship when we are lonely. A cyber hug just won’t do!

Lori Lynn

___________

Dear LORD … Thank you for loving me and being my friend. I know You are always there for me and listen intently when I talk to You. You know my heart and the loneliness I feel. So today, LORD, I come before You and lay my loneliness at Your feet. I pray that You would send friends into my life … new friends as well as old … friends to laugh with, hands to hold, and arms to embrace me. I pray that they would be a support and encouragement to me, and I pray that I might be the same for them. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Battered, Bruised, and Broken


He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  — Psalm 147:3 (ESV)

A dear friend of mine, whom I will call Allie, did an intervention on her husband earlier this week.  He’s been an alcoholic for years.  Although I didn’t come from a background of alcoholism or drug dependency, I have been able to experience the debilitating effects it has on people by listening to not only her story but by observing the behavior of another dear friend of mine whose parents were alcoholics.

Alcoholism is not just a physical disease, it’s an emotional one.  The unfortunate thing about emotional diseases is that people who have them may look entirely healthy and normal; their behavior, on the other hand, can be anything but.

When Allie first talked about doing an intervention on her husband a few years ago, she was at a low point.  She was suffering, her children were suffering, and her husband was under the impression that no one knew that he was an alcoholic.  Due to other health concerns Allie’s husband was experiencing (involving an upcoming surgery), Allie decided the timing just wasn’t right to do the intervention, so she postponed it.  Things continued to get worse.  Now, years later, her children were not only angry at their father, they were beginning to get angry with her.  She knew it was time to do something, but the timing still wasn’t right.  Her husband’s employer was having layoffs; his job was on the line.  Luckily, this time, Allie didn’t let it deter her.  She followed through with the intervention.

I prayed hard for her all week.  I lifted not only her and her children up in prayer but her husband as well.  Allie loves her husband dearly.  Whereas he has been thinking all this time that she wants a divorce, she told me time and time again that she doesn’t.  She told her husband that countless times as well; but because of the alcohol affecting his brain, he hasn’t been able to “hear” what she has been saying.  So, I prayed for all of them, and I know others were praying as well.

Whereas Allie’s husband initially said, “Thanks, but no thanks” to the intervention, now–nearly a week later–it’s looking like he is willing to follow through and get help.

I think what helped Allie the most was the support she received from friends.  Her husband’s best friend from childhood, a reformed alcoholic himself, came down hard on Allie’s husband, making sure he realizes this isn’t just about the fact that he is going to lose his family and, quite possibly, his job; his very life is on the line.  (The interventionalist, who has done over 2,500 interventions, told Allie that her husband was even worse off than he had first thought just from talking with her.  Once he looked into her husband’s eyes and saw the yellow color and the lack of expression, he knew things were bad.)  So, not only does Allie have her husband’s best friend rallying around her in support, but Allie’s own children are standing their ground.  When Allie’s husband called and asked her to bring some of his personal items to the hotel he was staying at (Allie and the girls refuse to let him come home until he gets treatment), the children (unbeknownst to Allie) dropped them off at the hotel’s front desk without seeing their dad and left a message on Allie’s cell phone letting her know they took care of it and she was not (under any circumstances) to contact him (because they knew he would wear her down and she would feel sorry for him).

So, why am I writing all of this…

Because it has shown me so very clearly how we all struggle.  For many it may be alcohol or drug dependency that causes the problems in our families; but for others it may be the codependency itself.  There may be no chemical dependency involved whatsoever.  Perhaps there is just such a strong underlying root of rejection, insecurity, shame, and/or guilt that leads us to want to help others too much.  We help to the point of enabling them.  We want people to like us, so we do whatever we can to make sure they do.

Sometimes the best thing we can do for people we love so much is to let them fall flat on their face… stop enabling them.  It’s time they own their own issues so that those of us who live with them don’t have to.  We have enough issues of our own to deal with.  When we let their issues start to define our behavior, we lose ourselves and become worn out and ineffective at living our own lives.  We cease fulfill our God-given purpose.

My other dear friend… the one whose parents were alcoholics… has difficulty with intimacy.  He has many friends, but he allows them to only get so close before he backs away.  There is something broken inside him.  Until he is willing to deal with the issues his alcoholic parents infested him with as a young boy, he will be unable to have fulfilling relationships with others as an adult.  Either he will strive unendingly to validate himself through works, or he will settle for shallow relationships that will eventually fall short of satisfying his deepest longings.

I am so thankful we have a God who specializes in restoring battered up, broken souls.  I am thankful He can mend us from the inside out … if we let Him.  Just like Allie’s husband needs some time alone at an addiction treatment center to overcome his alcoholism, I need time alone with God to heal my wounded soul.  How about you?  Do you have a broken part that needs some mending?  I would encourage you to seek out Jehovah Rapha.  He’s in the restoration business.  He will mend you and make you whole.

Lori Lynn

Thank you, Father, for loving me … even in my battered, bruised, and broken state.  I pray that You would heal me everywhere I hurt, from the inside out.  I pray that You would infuse my soul with Your Holy Spirit, that I might water the souls of others as I walk through life with my patched-up holes.  In Jesus’ Name I pray.  Amen.