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Cleaning the Filter

We call it Lake Ferree – the enormous above ground pool we installed a few years ago. For me, the expanse of glistening water is a picture of heaven. There are few things I enjoy more than swimming laps, and even when the water is too cold to be comfortable, I don a wetsuit and

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Strength for the Journey

As part of a process of spiritual direction, I’ve been focusing on scriptures about the love of God, and for a couple of weeks I keep returning to 1 Kings 19: 1-9. It’s a familiar story from my childhood Sunday school days about the prophet Elijah fleeing for his life from an angry queen Jezebel.

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Tending to Your Foundation

Jesus’ story about building houses and their foundations has recently been fleshed out in bricks and mortar, in earthen cellars and rotten wood thanks to a new old house our son bought the end of the summer. Built in the early 1900s, the house is the kind that takes vision, perseverance and money. At this

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For Love of Family

Family has been on my mind a lot lately. Our son is getting married in a few weeks to a young woman whom David and I adore, and we couldn’t be happier for them. All the wedding preparations bring memories of weddings past – our daughter’s wedding 10 years ago and our own 34 years

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Clenched Teeth

After examining the tooth I had chipped for the third time in less than two years, the dentist asked if I might be grinding my teeth. I admit I was a bit offended. However, based on the hundreds of dollars and hours of dental work required to thrice fix the injured tooth, the other reasonable

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The Exhaustion of Control

“Trust the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5 (NIV) I’ve long been someone who thrived on being in control. (I just preferred to view it as part of my organized nature). There’s an element of my controlling that is, indeed, helpful. It makes me good at my

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Choosing Love

On Valentine’s Day the culture focuses on the idealized nature of romantic love, which is surely a positive counterpoint to the usual media fodder of fifty shades of betrayal and breakup. The hearts and flowers, though, emphasize love as a feeling instead of love as an action. It’s more important to choose love, I think, than to

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What is Your Vision?

“I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord.” (Jer. 29: 11) Bethesda Workshops was blessed recently to take part in a guided Visioning Retreat for our board of directors and some others closely associated with the ministry. The facilitator led us to think first about what we’re doing well – what is working

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The Freedom of Forgiveness

Paul has reminded us that bitterness will destroy relationships and that we are to continually remove it from our lives. As you progress in your recovery and learn to live in continual conscious connection to God, bitterness is replaced by kindness and compassion toward others. The process of this transformation is forgiveness. Forgiveness is never

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Affirmation Therapy

As we identified the in the last “encouragement” segment about the old man and the new man, living a life of integrity and authenticity is an ongoing and continuous process. It involves the daily choices and surrenders of taking off those attitudes and behaviors that were a part of our old life and putting on

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Surrendering Bitterness

In Ephesians 4 Paul has been urging us to take off the old and put on the new. This taking off has included dishonesty and criticalness, while putting on affirmation, along with honesty of emotions. Now Paul tells us, “Let all bitterness…..be put away from you, along with all malice.”  Bitterness and seeking to emotionally hurt

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The Old Man and the New Man

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesian Church he encouraged them to put off the old self and to put on the new self. The tense of the verb in Greek is present perfect, which means it involves an ongoing and continuous action. Paul outlines attitudes and behaviors that need to be continuously “put on” and

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No Worries

I’m not a superstitious person. I don’t spy a devil under every bush, or an angel, either, for that matter. But I do love the unexpected God flashes that make my spirit smile, stretch and say ahhhh. The kind that appear at just the right moment to punctuate joy or embolden courage or hearten despair.

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A Godly Sorrow

The Apostle Paul shares an interesting concept in 2 Corinthians 7:10, where he writes, “For godly grief (sorrow) produces repentance …. Whereas worldly grief (sorrow) produces death.” If we would apply these words to recovery we see the difference between guilt and shame. I see “godly grief” as a picture of guilt. When we experience

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Newsflash!

Beginning with my sabbatical in August, I realized my emotional state is better when I don’t follow the news, at least in televised format. I’m not the junky I was once, yet the acute troubles of our culture intrude, and these days the headlines are especially disturbing. Because of my own story, I’m particularly triggered

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Music of the Ages

The music of Christmas is one of the best parts of the season for me – the spiritual music, at least. I’m not particularly fond of most of the Christmas jingles, though the Charlie Brown Christmas melody never ceases to delight and move me. Many of my most poignant childhood memories involve music. My mother

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Needed: A Tutor for Persistent Problems

A recent devotional in Jesus Calling by Sarah Young (December 18th) opens with this challenge: “When you are plagued by a persistent problem – one that goes on and on – view it as a rich opportunity.” I immediately connected with the idea of persistent problems, as I too easily focus on things gone wrong. The news

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Gratitude Moment by Moment

Recently, I left for a speaking trip feeling poorly physically and frazzled emotionally from a variety of challenges that felt weighty in the moment. The events had been planned for months and were important to me, and I doubted I was up to delivering anything close to my best. Before I left for the airport

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Carrying Your Baggage

A recent trip found me people-watching at a major airline hub, which is something I really enjoy. The passing scenery of humanity is fascinating. What people wear (or not), their demeanor and interactions, the food they eat while juggling kids and suitcases – all of it is mesmerizing. This time my focus was mainly on

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More Than a Job

During a recent trip to Portland, Oregon, my husband began having debilitating pain that started in his back and radiated down one leg. We correctly suspected sciatica, and the prospect of a cross country flight home seemed impossible. After a very long night where both of us slept very little, we went to the emergency

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High Maintenance

Since childhood I suspect I’ve often been termed high maintenance. I felt like I was too emotional for my stoic family, and my unrecognized attachment and trauma wounds prompted volatility and neediness. Thankfully, years of recovery and healing have mitigated those symptoms to a large degree. On the other hand, recovery induced a different kind

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A New Beginning – 2015 Calendar picture submissions

A New Beginning ~  Calendar Picture Submissions As we try to think of new themes and pictures for the 2015 Bethesda Workshops calendar, we decided to ask for help. Bethesda Workshops wants to invite you to submit pictures that represent ‘A New Beginning‘ so that we may use them for the 2015 calendar. Make sure your

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Different Diseases

Recently, a period of Lectio Divina of Psalm 103, long one of my favorites, reminded me of the promise that God “forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases.” For years I clung to that promise and the ones that accompany it – “to redeem your life from the pit and crown you with

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Not Happy with Good Options

I spent the first week of my August sabbatical caring for our young grandsons while their parents had a mini-vacation. Like most kids, four-year-old Jim’s food repertoire is pretty small and not necessarily super healthy. In response, I decided to see if I could coax him into trying different options. Together, we came up with

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