What Can Help Me Through a Tough Day?

We are so  honored to be with you each day sharing hope. Our outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. We are averaging over 100 new subscribers a day. We just past 103,000 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

We are in a new promotion. The person who is our 105,000 will wins some nice prizes. It goes very fast so don’t miss out. 

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Doug Bolton, the founder of Signs of Hope, is writing  a new book, “Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.” It reaches out the military and veterans who may be battling anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, rejections, PTSD, and many other usual suspects. There are 22 military connected suicides every day. That is almost one every hour. We need to help stop those statistics. Be looking for more updates about the new book. 

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+ Update! The book has been sent to my editor this week. Now I wait and see how many red marks she will have in it. 🙂

There will be some incredible interviews with veterans in this book. Up to twenty different veterans agreed to let me ask them some very personal questions. Some answers will have you in tears.  

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It has been a hard week for me. I am having trouble with fluids building up around my heart and in my lungs. My Cardiologist has increased my “water pills,” but it doesn’t seem to be helping too much.

This is not something new to me. I have had trouble with fluid build up for several years now. It is a part of life I would like to get rid of,  but it hangs around like long lost relatives who come visiting, unannounced, and want to stay forever.

Enough of my pity party stories for today.

How are you doing? Have you been sliding down a slippery slope? Are there days you would rather stay in bed, and not face the day? Do you seem to be taking one step forward and two steps backwards?

You are not alone, my friend. Life doesn’t always come out the way we want it each day.

So, how can we get out of the muck and mire of life and survive?

Here are some things I have learned:

What I have Learned

  1. I have learned that your side of the story isn’t always the best side.
  2. I have learned that when people are trying to help-let them.
  3. I have learned that you really aren’t on an island alone. God is everywhere. He is probably right there with you enjoying the vast oceans he has created.
  4. I have learned that you don’t need to tell anyone your ailments. They have enough of their own.
  5. If have learned that if you are hurting, the best thing you can do is go to someone else who is hurting, and help them smile and therefore you smile back.
  6. I have learned that good friends are worth all the gold in the world.
  7. I have learned that tough love is sometimes needed actually help someone.
  8. If have learned that you do not have to try to cure the world and everything in it. God is in charge.
  9. I have learned that some of our choices are wrong. Learn from them and adjust.
  10. I have learned that hope shines bright in the darkness of light. (Learned from Sara Young: Author of Jesus Today.)
  11. I have learned all the storms that come your way are for a purpose. Some will be raging storms, like health, others will be winds that you can face with perseverance.
  12. I have learned that not everything that looks hopeless really is.
  13. I have learned I can only control things I can control. Good Yogi Berra line but mine just the same.)
  14. I have learned that hope is the only four letter word that over comes anxiety, fear, or depression.
  15. I have learned that if we threw all of our problems into a pile, and saw everyone else’s we’d grab ours back. (From my daughter-in-Law whom I call princess. There’s a reason.)
  16. I have learned that I cannot avoid trials, but they often help me grow.
  17. I have learned that the innocence of a little child can brighten my day.
  18. I have learned that in every season and in every change in life, God is there.
  19. I have learned that I should never forget God’s promises.
  20. I have learned of a place where sin and shame are powerless.
  21. I have learned at God’s Name Mountains roar and crumble.
  22. I have learned that this world is great, but heaven is greater.

 

 I hope these things I have learned will help in some way.

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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Reality Minus Expectations = Esteem

We are so  honored to be with you each day sharing hope. Our outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. We are averaging over 100 new subscribers a day. We just past 102,600 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

We are starting a new promotion. The person who is our 105,000 will wins some nice prizes. It goes very fast so don’t miss out. 

_____________________________________

Doug Bolton, the founder of Signs of Hope, is writing  a new book, “Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.” It reaches out the military and veterans who may be battling anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, rejections, PTSD, and many other usual suspects. There are 22 military connected suicides every day. That is almost one every hour. We need to help stop those statistics. Be looking for more details about the new book. Look for updates here.

+ Update! The book has been sent to my editor this week. Now I wait and see how many red marks she will have in it. 🙂 

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Have you fallen into the trap of high expectations, and feel sad because you can’t achieve them? You aren’t alone. Too many people are on the same boat with you.

The neighbor has a new boat; now you want one. Mary has a better job, now you want a better job. You saw a guy drive by in a souped up hot rod, and now you want one.

It can go on and on. We seem to always want more than we have. We expect to be recognized as the most successful person in the neighborhood.

What this leads to is disappointments, depression, anxiety, etc. We have to face reality, and realize that maybe we can’t have that boat, job, or car that the other people have.

What we need to do is accept the spot where we are, and live a good life, of serving God to our fullest.

If we really live with that in mind that leads us to esteem. People see us as we are, and accept us as we are. They look up to us, because we aren’t trying to climb over people to get where we want to go.

So, Reality, (The way we are) compared to expectations, (Where we want to be) should look like this math problem solver.

Reality – Expectations = esteem. Simple math. Just face reality, and quite trying to reach such high expectations, and your esteem will be much higher.

If you are wallowing in the muck and mire, because you feel you are a failure. It may be because you expectations are above your reality that is right for you.

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give  up!

 

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Not Tough Love, just Love

We are so  honored to be with you each day sharing hope. Our outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. We are averaging over 100 new subscribers a day. We just past 101,335 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

We are starting a new promotion. The person who is our 105,000 will wins some nice prizes. It goes very fast so don’t miss out. 

_____________________________________

Doug Bolton, the founder of Signs of Hope, is writing  a new book, “Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.” It reaches out the military and veterans who may be battling anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, rejections, PTSD, and many other usual suspects. There are 22 military connected suicides every day. That is almost one every hour. We need to help stop those statistics. Be looking for more details about the new book. Look for updates here.

+ Update! The book has been sent to my editor this week. Now I wait and see how many red marks she will have in it. 🙂 

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Welcome back Linda Clare. Her posts have us crying. They want us to reach out to help. They are inspiring.

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Not Tough Love—Just Love

That Sunday in church, tears slid down my face. I was so close to hopelessness, I didn’t care if my mascara ran. The night before, two of my grown sons, fueled by alcohol and drugs, had argued and nearly come to blows. Again.

The son who was supposed to be getting sober had relapsed. His brother was tweaking on meth. Around three AM, old grudges and rivalry reignited as their shouts woke my husband and me. We’d managed to break up the late-night fracas, but nothing was resolved. I felt trapped in a cycle: hope’s birth, followed by hope’s death, hope’s rebirth and back to death again. Now, even as Deacon Ron (not his real name) read aloud the Gospel, I wondered if I had strength enough to ever hope again.

My heart was heavy. Any hope of escaping the cycle seemed impossible. I was not only discouraged and sad, I was angry. Angry at my sons for their behavior and their choices. Angry at myself for my failure to enforce Tough Love. Angry at. . .well, just mad.

Bad enough that I felt hopeless. Recently, someone had remarked that I also appeared helpless. Tough Love sounded like a logical solution to a thorny problem, but I couldn’t make it work. That made me seem like a toothless T. Rex, my mini-arms clawing nothing but air.  Why couldn’t I do what so many friends, relatives, counselors and clergy had suggested over the years? Why couldn’t I detach myself from the alcoholics and addicts in my life? After services, I avoided eye contact as I slouched along in the handshake line.

The problem for me, lay in the popular meaning of the term Tough Love. Whenever people advise me to use Tough Love, they usually mean, “kick out your addicted loved ones.” In twenty-plus years of dealing with their substance abuse, I’ve ordered my loved ones into treatment, set rules and drawn up code of conduct contracts. I’ve called police, obtained restraining orders and separated from my alcoholic husband for a time. But what I could never do was kick them out—especially if it meant, “Don’t come back until you’ve licked this problem.”

After services, instead of slinking off, I knelt at the prayer bench where Deacon Ron waits to pray for those who ask him. Ron’s also a Jail Chaplain, and has led a prison ministry for at least twenty years. He knows my family’s situation well. “Please pray for me.” I hung my head but he placed his hands on my shoulders. I glanced up and confessed. “I’m a terrible failure at Tough Love.”

What he said next made my jaw drop. “I don’t believe in Tough Love.”

I’d never heard anyone say that.  I thought Tough Love was the only way I’d ever convince my sons to go into recovery. The reason they were still using their drugs of choice was that I sucked at Tough Love. Unwittingly, I’d chained them to a life of self-destructive misery by not “kicking them out.”

I own a battered copy of the 1982 book, ToughLove, by family therapists and drug and alcohol counselors Phyllis and David York. After the tumultuous sixties and seventies, more and more teens were using tobacco and alcohol, and the crack cocaine epidemic was hitting youth hard. TOUGHLOVE was touted as the solution to restore parents’ control over their wayward youths. The book was a bestseller and changed many lives.

Somewhere along the way, though, TOUGHLOVE became Tough Love. While counseling professionals may still use the phrase to reference the Yorks’ program to establish control over wayward teens, most people today tend to think of Tough Love as, “kicking him/her out,” cutting off contact and withholding resources.

The idea works some of the time. I know several parents whose adult and teenage sons recovered after a Tough Love ultimatum. One friend’s son, in his forties, was a meth addict who recovered after his family said he wasn’t welcome at the family Christmas gathering. My own husband of forty years gave up drinking after we separated, and I’m thankful.

But not every family’s so lucky.  Sadly, addiction and mental illness are often tangled together. Too unstable to hold a job, find housing or pay for treatment, those with both mental conditions and substance abuse problems often self-medicate. Some are like my middle son, whose drug use and mental illness give him an emotional and social age of about ten years old.

Many alcoholics and addicts either cannot or will not get the help they need. Sometimes addicts are stubborn, but more often they’re destitute, physically sick, mentally ill or all three.  After the closure of most mental hospitals in the eighties, individuals once committed to institutions are now forced to live in the streets.  And what’s left for these people is more tough than loving.

My knees hurt as I knelt before Deacon Ron, but my mind raced. Why didn’t he believe in Tough Love? I remembered our own attempts to use Tough Love—we really did try. When our meth addict was not even sixteen, we “kicked him out.” Surely our son would feel the cold and wet from an Oregon winter night and beg to go to rehab. I packed my son’s belongings into a black trash bag, sobbing as I placed it outside the front door. We stood firm as he tried to talk his way back inside. We locked all the doors, only to find him asleep in his bed the next morning. This went on for days.

We finally gave up trying to kick him out, fearing he’d die if he had to live on the street.

Deacon Ron’s gaze drilled through me as I knelt. “Did you know that I lost a son to drugs?”

My eyes must have widened. Ron may have sensed I needed to know he wasn’t just opinionated—he’d already made the ultimate sacrifice. “No,” I mumbled. “I’m sorry for your loss.” I took a breath. “See, that’s why I fail at Tough Love— if I turn my back on them, I’m scared my sons will die.”

Ron smiled a little. “What does Jesus command us to do?”

“Ah. Love the Lord with all your heart, mind and soul. And love your neighbor as yourself.”

“That’s right.” Ron bowed his head and asked God to give me wisdom, courage, to help me love not only my sons, but to forgive those who judge me if I can’t do what they suggest. My soggy heart felt lighter as I began to I understand that talking about difficult problems like substance abuse and mental illness makes people uncomfortable. People naturally want to do something—anything—to make the pain stop. Tough Love sounds easy—just remove the addict from your midst and the problem is solved. In our culture, hard problems like addiction, sickness and death aren’t discussed much, let alone embraced.

I’m as squeamish as the next person—I still can’t watch the part of the movie where the Romans flog Jesus. But God has provided me with the grace and enough hope to keep encouraging and yes, often nudging my sons to get clean.

As Ron prayed, I also felt more compassion for those who can’t tolerate the idea of suffering, those whose story must turn away from the Passion and always be tuned to the glory of Easter. I forgave myself for being so sucky at Tough Love. Slowly, anger was replaced by love.

That day, I arrived home to the sound of our lawn mower. One son had transformed our yard from a mess after the harsh winter storms to an emerald-jeweled landscape. Besides mowing, he’d hauled fallen branches, edged the planters, raked leaves and swept the driveway. He’d even mowed the neighbor’s yard. He beamed as I thanked him for his efforts. Inside, his brother had cooked a Sunday dinner fit for royalty, and the house had been tidied too. A bouquet of fresh daffodils sat on the dining table. Both my sons demonstrated their love by doing, without being asked, chores that for me are difficult. I hugged each of them, hard, whispering that I loved them to the moon and back.

By the end of the day, I had sore knees, a singing heart and a stronger hope than ever. I’ll keep pushing them (and myself) to lay down demons and hold them accountable if they fight those demons with T. Rex arms. More than anything, I will keep on loving without conditions. That’s the toughest kind of love there is.

Linda Clare

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken. 

You are never unloved.

And above all….never ever give up!

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What Does the Human Heart Crave?

We are so  honored to be with you each day sharing hope. Our outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. We are averaging over 100 new subscribers a day. We just past 100,030 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

In our current promotion the winner will be the person who is the 100,000th subscriber will win some nice prizes. It will go very fast. This is a huge milestone for us. 

* WE HAVE A WINNER!!! At 11:54pm last night we had the 100,000th subscriber! If you subscribed at that time, email us at doug@dougbolton.com to confirm you are the winner.+

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Doug Bolton, the founder of Signs of Hope, is writing  a new book, “Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.” It reaches out the military and veterans who may be battling anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, rejections, PTSD, and many other usual suspects. There are 22 military connected suicides every day. That is almost one every hour. We need to help stop those statistics. Be looking for more details about the new book. Look for updates here.

UPDATE!!  In the final stages of having the book finished. Much of it is already sent off to my editor. The countdown begins!!

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The human heart craves…

 

…peace

…a Savior

…forgiveness

 

…strength to cope

…a leader to follow

…shelter in the storm

 

…security for the day

…protection from evil

…joy in spite of turmoil

 

…provision for all needs

…power to fight the enemy

…recognition of achievement

 

…fulfillment for its emptiness

…to be loved, unconditionally

…safety from all that would harm

 

…soothing for the frustrations of life

…to be accepted, without reservation

…refreshment in those parched times

 

…courage to step out when fainthearted

…tenderness when the world is unlovely

…confidence and calm when fear attacks

 

…to be understood, without condemnation

…the right spouse, job, school, friendships

…comfort in times of stress, grief, and affliction

 

…a guidance counselor to find the designed path

…encouragement for those days filled with woes

…to be welcomed Home into the Everlasting Arms

 

…an intimate relationship with the Love of the universe!

 

And yes, there are times when the human heart is contrary and desires the wrong things, seeking in confusion. A right heart craves to beat in perfect harmony with the Heartbeat of the Beloved.

 

Crave the Love that is offered in that intimate relationship. Crave that oneness. Crave the Love that is above all others. Crave the Love that loves you beyond belief.

 

Don’t feel like it? I hear some souls sinking. But I don’t feel loved.

 

Perhaps you’ve been grieving over some loss in your life. Perhaps you’ve been wrongfully accused of something or hurt in some way. Perhaps you’re feeling very discouraged right now. Perhaps you have negative feelings about yourself or negative thoughts bombarding your mind.

 

Perhaps…well, whatever your perhaps may be, your heart is wounded. Your eyes spill over with stress-induced tears from a broken heart.

 

Well, I’m here to tell you that feelings change but the truth of God’s love does not. The truth is…God loves you with a love that can still any storm, win any battle, override any tension or discomfort, soothe any pain, comfort any hurt, calm any fear, encourage any heartache, and will always uphold you and share peace and joy with you.

 

You, the one He loves truly. You, the one for whom He died. You, the one to whom He yearns to be close. You, the Lord’s espoused, His intended, His precious companion for all eternity. You are His precious heart’s desire.

 

He rejoices over you with mirth and pleasure. He spins around in excitement over you with shouts of joy and songs of praise! (Zeph. 3:17)

 

This is the Love your heart is craving!

 

“We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect.” (1 John 4:16-17a NLT)

 

No matter what circumstance is swirling around you, you are loved and you will be okay. If your life is falling apart right now, you’ll be okay. Even if all looks dark and dreary, you’ll be okay.

 

Let me encourage you… YOU. ARE. LOVED. Each. And. EVERY. Day. No matter what!

 

The only one you truly need to make you feel loved is the Lord. He will never leave you, nor abandon you. And that, my sweet friend, should fill your love tank to overflowing!

 

May your craving be filled with that special, tender fulfilling Love!

 

Blessings, Lynn

 

lynnmosher.com

 

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