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#362008 - 05/12/11 07:59 AM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2572
O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Psalm 63:1

When a young child is separated from her parents, she will protest their absence. She will experience sadness, anxiety, anger and a longing for her parents to return. These intense emotions are not a sign of her failure as a child. Her protest is a clear sign of how important her parents are to her, of how much she misses them, of how much she loves them. At certain developmental stages, it is a sign of emotional health for a child to protest separation. At certain ages a healthy child will protest, will be angry, will be afraid, and will long for the parents return.

If one or both of our parents was in some way absent from our lives during our formative years, it will be easy for us to imagine that God will leave us as well. We may experience silence and distance. And we may find ourselves longing for God.

Just as it is good for a child to protest the absence of a parent, it is good for us to protest when we subjectively experience God's absence. It is good to give voice to our longing for God. It is good to write or pray or talk about our deep need for God's presence and love. We can call out to God. We can protest God's absence.

O God, do not be silent.
Do not be distant.
I miss you when you seem so far away.
I long for you to be close.
I long to know that you care about me.
I long for you, God.
Nothing can replace you.
No one can be God but you.
Do not be silent.
Do not be distant.
Come. Speak.
I need you. Amen.

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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#362127 - 05/13/11 06:55 PM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2572
Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has born? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.
Isaiah 49:15-16

We may experience abandonment from a spouse who turns away from us to their addiction of choice. We may experience feeling like we have been rejected by friends. We may struggle with memories of parents who were not compassionate with us. Or memories of parents who 'forgot' us in one way or another.

And so we say to God: "You will abandon and reject and forget me like all the others!"

Sometimes these experiences are so familiar that we expect them from anyone we want to be close to, including God. It is a terrible fear to live with. It creates deep distress.

God responds to our distress with words of reassurance. We are not always able to take in reassurance that is offered to us. But there are times when it can feel like a drink of cool water to our parched throats.

God says "I am not like all the rest. I will not forget you. Even if your parents forgot you, or your spouse turns away, or your friends leave, I will not forget you. I have tattooed you on the palms of my hand".

I will not forget you.

It may not be easy for us to comprehend, but it is very clear. God says; "I will not forget you."

I need reassurance, Lord.
I want to believe
that you will remember.
But I have been forgotten before.
I know you are not like that.
I know it in my head.
But my heart forgets so easily.
Reassure me, today, Lord
of your unfailing love.
Amen

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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#362172 - 05/14/11 10:49 AM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2572
Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.
Hosea 6:3

There are days when we feel God's presence. We sense God's love. We see God's power. But we do not always feel or sense or see. There are times of silence, distance and uncertainty. There are the difficult times of waiting for God to appear. In times like this we may find ourselves both longing for God and fearing that God will come.

The longing comes because in our heart of hearts we know that there is no recovery without God's gracious presence. If God does not appear, we are stuck, bound, hopelessly entangled in dysfunction. If God does appear, it will be like the sun rising - we will be able to see the way. It will be like gentle rains which nurture us so that we can grow and thrive.

The fear comes because often we do not see God as one who comes as 'sun' and 'rain' to give life. We are afraid that when God does appear, it will be to punish us, to demand restitution from us, to shame us. Because we have served vengeful and vindictive gods, we fear that it will be the god-of-impossible-expectations who will finally appear.

We do well to follow the urging of this text to 'acknowledge God'. We need daily to examine whom we serve. When we acknowledge the god-of -impossible-expectations, then we will surely fear his appearing. But if we acknowledge the God of the Bible whose coming is to nurture and give life, then we will await God's coming like the dawn of a new day.

I acknowledge you, Lord.
You are not the god of impossible-expectations.
You are not the god-who-is-eager-to-punish.
I know what it is like when these other gods come.
They bring shame, blame and fear.
I do not acknowledge them, Lord.
I acknowledge you.

Come as the dawn of a new day, Lord.
Bring light into my dark days.
Come as gentle rain, Lord,
Cleanse, renew and nurture.
Come, Lord, as the dawn.
Come as the rains.
Water the parched earth of my soul.
Amen.

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h30qiH7MSHM


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#362270 - 05/15/11 04:35 PM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2572
Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

Many of us struggle with fear. It is a very uncomfortable emotion. We would be happy to be rid of it. It causes our hearts to race, our focus of attention to narrow, and terrible possibilities to enter our minds. We wish we could banish fear from our hearts by sheer will power. We wish we could simply stop feeling afraid. Unfortunately fear is not dismissed so easily.

There is something about texts such as this one that leave us very uncomfortable. The words "do not fear" seem like a simple command. God says "do not fear". It looks like a simple imperative. Our job is simply to obey. But, we cannot seem to obey. No matter how hard we try not to be afraid, we cannot seem to make our fears go away.

The key to understanding texts of this kind is to see that when God says 'do not fear', it is not a simple imperative from an authority figure. The words "do not fear" are spoken as words of comfort. And they are followed by a specific promise of God's presence with us.

A loving parent speaks to a child who awakens from a nightmare with words such as, "Don't be afraid. I'm here with you. You are safe." This is not a rejection of the child's fears. It is not an instruction to do the impossible. It is, rather, a promise of protection. If a parent says only "Don't be afraid," then the child learns that the parent doesn't understand and the child feels unprotected. But if the parent says "Don't be afraid, I'm here with you," the child's needs are validated and the child is comforted by the parent's protection.

God comforts us in the way a loving parent comforts a frightened child. God says to us, "I know that you are afraid; but I also want you to know that I am here with you. I will not leave you. I will give you strength. I will give you help. I will hold you by the hand so that you will not fall".

You know, God,
how often I am afraid.
And you know the soil in which these fears have grown.
And you know how I have struggled to be free from fear.
Help me to draw courage today from your presence.
Be with me.
Give me strength.
Help me.
Uphold me with your hand.
Still my fears, God of all Comfort.
Still my fears with your powerful love.
Amen.

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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#362297 - 05/16/11 08:08 AM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2572
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7

Sometimes it feels like our hearts are breaking.

And sometimes we worry that we will lose our minds.

Both our hearts and our minds need protection.

When we let go of the defenses that have protected us for so long, and we allow ourselves to be honest and vulnerable, it sometimes feels like we will 'come apart'. In these moments can find courage in God's promise of protection. God's peace can guard our breaking hearts and our troubled minds.

Notice that God's guardianship of our heart and mind is 'in Christ Jesus'. It is in Jesus that we see most clearly that God is 'for' us. God can be trusted to guard us because God cares about us. It is in Jesus that we see most clearly that God understands the dangers to our hearts and minds. God can be trusted to guard us because God knows from personal experience the dangers we face. It is in Jesus that we see most clearly God's power. God can be trusted to guard our hearts and minds because God has the resources to do what needs to be done.

The peace of God is not a 'blissed out' euphoria that helps us minimize or ignore our problems. God's peace does not participate in denial. This peace is not another Novocain, another 'fix' to alter our mood. It is the gentle guard that protects us so that we can face reality. It is the security that comes from knowing that God pays attention, that we are not forgotten, that God is with us, that we are loved.

Guard my breaking heart today, Lord.
Guard my troubled mind.
Let your peace do its work in me, Lord.
because I am in danger and I need your protection.
Guard me with your peace today.
Guard my heart and mind.
Amen.

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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#362395 - 05/17/11 07:46 AM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2572
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for you are with me.
Psalm 23:4

Sometimes the recovery journey takes us through the valley of the shadow of death. It is a frightening valley.

What a difference it makes in times like this to hear God's promise to be with us. It's not that the fears vanish, they don't always. But we experience them differently when we are not alone. When we are alone our fears can become the focus of our thoughts and feelings - they can consume all of our emotional resources. But when our journey is a shared one, fear does not have the same power over us.

God has made a very specific promise to us when we are going through the most difficult of life's struggles. God has promised to be with us. It is hard to say how God's presence will be made known. Our subjective experience of God's presence may vary widely. Sometimes when we least expect it, we may hear the still, small voice of God saying "I am here". Sometimes God will use a friend, a sponsor, a counselor, or someone in a support group to speak to us in ways that help us to remember that we are not alone. Sometimes God will give us a peace that needs no words.

The important reality is that God is with us. God does not come and go in the way our experience of God's presence comes and goes. God does not forsake us. God walks with us. Even through deep valleys.<

God, I am walking through a difficult valley right now.
Sometimes I think my heart will give way with fear.
Remind me of your presence.
Sometimes I know you are here.
Sometimes I'm sure you have gone.
Are you really here?
Please walk close beside me.
I need your protection.
I need your love.
Amen.

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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#362460 - 05/18/11 08:21 AM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2572
If I go to the heavens, you are there; If I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
Psalm 139:8

Sometimes life is hell. That's how it feels. It feels like we have taken up residence in hell. Sometimes the darkness overwhelms us. Sometimes we hurt so much that we can't imagine experiencing joy or peace ever again. Sometimes we seem to have 'made our bed ' in a place that God has deserted, a place from which God has turned away.

But the psalmist says 'even if I make my bed in the depths, you are there'. There are no genuinely God-forsaken places on our journey. There are no places unfamiliar to God. It is a difficult and painful journey, but our lines of support are not stretched thin. God is not at a distance. God is with us.

If God is with us, we can travel through those dark times in recovery, those times in hell. If God is with us, we can hold on through the difficult emotional and spiritual roller coaster of recovery.

No matter where I am, Lord
you are with me.
If I am up, today.
You are here.
If I am down.
You are here.
If I am very, very down.
You are still here.
If I am very, very, very, very, very down.
You are here.
Thank you.
Even in the terrible times when I am in the depths, you are there with me.
Your presence is a ray of hope
in the dark times of my recovery.
Amen.

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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#362525 - 05/19/11 08:01 AM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2572
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself prays for us with groans that words cannot express.
Romans 8:26

When we are alone, when our private terrors have left us without the ability to speak, when even the simplest of prayers ["Help!"] is more that our weary hearts can muster - those are the times we need God's Spirit most of all.

It is life itself to know that God pays attention to us. The Spirit of the Living God is with us and is attentive to our weakness. God does not shame us for our weakness. Our weakness is not a bad thing to God. Our weakness is simply a reality. The Spirit's response to our weakness is to help us. God is on our side. The Spirit knows us and loves us. God knows the pain that crushes us. God helps us in our weakness.

In those moments when we have been silenced by life, the Spirit prays for us. The Spirit prays with groans for which there is no language. When we are not able to pray we can find comfort and hope in the promise that the Spirit is praying for us.

Oh God
I need to be reminded when I feel so absolutely alone
that you know my pain,
you know my weakness.

When I come to the end of words,
when my mind is full of confusion,
help me to remember that you pray for me.

When I am overwhelmed with despair,
when I want to give up,
when I want to run away in fear,
it is only your presence,
gentle, powerful Friend,
that gives me hope and strength.

I need your help today.
I need you to pray for me.
Amen

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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#362592 - 05/20/11 07:39 AM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2572
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
Isaiah 43:2

There are times in the recovery process when it feels like we will drown in sorrow. The losses, the betrayals, the failures threaten to overwhelm us. The intensity of the emotional pain frightens us in times like this. We feel ourselves loosing ground as life swirls around us.

This text states with great clarity two central truths which are critical to our survival in times like this. First, God has made a very specific promise to us. God says "I will be with you." This may not always be what we want. We may want God to take the floods of life away. We may want God to build dams upstream in life so that the danger of flood is diminished. But, God's promise is clear. I will be with you.

Secondly, this text says very clearly "When you pass through the waters, they will not sweep over you." God will protect us and see us through. There are times in recovery when there just doesn't seem to be any way to make it. Nothing is more painful in these times than to have someone who stands at a distance express optimism about our recovery in a way that minimizes the struggle. ["Oh, you're going to be fine. Stop worrying about it."] Conversely, nothing is more valuable in these times than to have someone with us who sees the danger clearly but who is able to be hopeful for us and protect us and see us through

For your promise to be with me in the floods of life, God,
I give you thanks.
Help me to sense your presence.
For your hopefulness about my recovery,
I give you thanks.
Help me to share in your hope.
You are Life-Preserver to me, God.
Thank you.
Amen.

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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#362662 - 05/21/11 09:06 AM Re: Daily Meditation [Re: JustScott]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2572
I post this from the Hospital. No troubles though. New little boy joined the world last night at 11:21PM!

----------------------------------------

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them, I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.
Isaiah 42:16

God leads blind people along unfamiliar paths. God promises to make rough places smooth for sightless and disoriented people. God will not forsake them.

During recovery we often feel sightless and disoriented. Our abilities to see clearly are often very limited - we don't have enough distance on things to give proper perspective. Denial leaves us blind. Rejected emotions and ignored human needs can also contribute to spiritual and psychological blindness.

So many things in recovery are unfamiliar to us. We are not accustomed to feeling what we feel, to talking about our experiences, or to trusting other people. Honesty is new territory for us. All of this is not only unfamiliar territory, it is scary territory as well.
But it is exactly to people like us that God makes promises. God makes promises to sightless and disoriented people. God will guide. God will give light. God will smooth the rough places. God will not abandon.

I can't see very well, Lord.
I certainly am not familiar with this path, Lord.
Are you sure you know where this leads?
This feels like a pretty rough trail to me, Lord.
Are you sure we can make it?
Be my guide, Lord, I am afraid.
I would be lost without you.
I cannot find my way alone.
Guide me, Lord.
Turn darkness into light.
Make the rough places smooth.
Do not forsake me.
Amen.

Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan


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