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How to heal from addict to pastor?

Going from an addict to a pastor has a powerful story that is told by Adam Comer. This is his story.

“I grew up in East Tennessee, the Knoxville area, the city of Knoxville, and I had what I would call the American dream, I did not have trauma or drama in my life. And that is important to mention, because doing what I’ve done for the last decade, a lot of times that is what drives some people to addictions to numb that pain to escape that pain with major trauma and drama. And a lot of times it’s from the people that are supposed to love them the most and protect them. 

Listen to the podcast interview here.

 

But that wasn’t my story.

I played sports, I was popular have two loving parents still do a roof over my head. They were educators dad was a basketball coach. And so I didn’t have anything in my past that would drive me to addiction.

I went to college in Chattanooga. And honestly, that was when some of my major rebellion would start. And looking back I can tell people to and maybe someone watching this can relate- There was something in my life that I was trying to fill. Even in school like high school, I remember I needed people to like me. And so I was popular with every kind of clicks- you know high school is kind of clicky unfortunately, there’s the jocks and the whatever over here and the nerves and the preppies and so I could go around, or I could be whatever anyone needed me to be to have that acceptance. And that was a hole I was I don’t know why, but I needed that. And so I was feeling that looking back. 

But in college, I really began partying, I played basketball in high school, it was only two seniors on our team. I went and tried to walk on at UT Chattanooga, but just found partying was more important. And with women and I don’t know, I just begin to live a life that was chaos. And it felt like it was filling something although I was making that gap bigger in my life, I was losing something. Around that time, Hurricane Katrina hit, I moved down to New Orleans and I injured my back and I was introduced to some pretty powerful prescription pain medication. And that was the moment when I tasted that for the first time this is what I’ve been missing my whole life. That’s what I thought. And I’m in kind of like in Genesis, the enemy convinced two people that had everything that they needed something else and so it’s an interesting trick, but I tasted that and then that just began Chase. 

Again, I grew up in church and then just had a good life. But that began a search and I got to keep continuing to have that feeling. I have to continue to fill that hole that it’s missing. I moved back home to Knoxville didn’t go back to school. And I kind of began to court my my high school sweetheart, I don’t think people say court anymore in 2022. But they could cuz I just did. But she was a preacher’s kid, a PK and like the innocent kind, knew nothing about the life I was living. She thought I was living good. I was going to church and things like that. And she wanted to believe me. She wanted to believe the lies. She was a good woman she knew me. So we ended up getting married. 

And then I was overtime. You know, the Bible says within the dark comes into the life and I just couldn’t hide it money. I was just constantly having to spend money and buy these drugs buy these drugs. I would be making X number of dollars a week on a paycheck or every two weeks and she thought I was making maybe 30% of that and the rest was going to drugs and began to pawn things and begin to steal things to eventually you know, she thought I was having an affair on her. In essence I was with drugs, the same feelings that she had from me always being attention on something else my phone when I was secretive, so the same feelings and affair brings is what she was feeling. And so she confronted me went to the rehabs went to different things, the 12 steps, the NA the AA, and she was so supportive every time she could be there, she was there as a loving wife. 

And then I would get out and I would just relapse AND relapse AND relapse to where she was done. The only woman that I ever loved was done, we separated. At that point, there was nowhere for me to live, I couldn’t even lay my head I’ve stolen from everyone that would allow me to stay on their couch like friends I’ve known for years. Even finally, it came to my parents. And like I said, they’re educators, they would allow me to sleep in their house. But at six in the morning, they knock on the door and say, Adam, you have to get out, because they’re going to work that used to drive me and make me so mad. But it’s like if they did not I’d steal from them. And so just chaos in my life. 

And I remember Googling something, and it was is there such thing as Christian addiction recovery, I guess training a child in the way they should go. And I just knew that this methodology that I was doing, wasn’t working for me. And that’s when a place called S2L recovery popped up. And I was in middle Tennessee about three hours away. And I’m given kind of the PG, PG 13 version just to be safe here. 

But because there’s a lot of death and decay that took place in the before the time that I’m talking about coming up to now a lot of pain to get into that that would take a longer time than we have. But it also I don’t know that some audience members need to hear that. 

And yeah, so you could imagine, I mean, low points in my life. I remember saying out loud to myself in a room to myself talking, which is interesting, But I remember saying there will never be another day in your life that you don’t take a drug. I thought to myself, I needed this just to get up just to have a meeting just to go to lunch just to talk on the phone. It owned me. Right I was a slave to it. Something this big. I did whatever it said, if you go back and listen to the last episode, we talked about desire. I did everything this desire told me to and it didn’t matter who I hurt. I don’t know, I just became a wicked master manipulator that only wanted to serve me as god never thought that that’s what I did, though. I was worshipping idols that, you know, never thought that but that’s what it is. 

I definitely think especially doing what I’ve done the last decade, the men come to us and the darkest seasons of their life. There’s a lot of spiritual warfare that comes with that. So I don’t play around with that. I absolutely believe that. Yeah, I think there’s oppression and possession. I think when it comes to addiction, I think it’s a mixed bag. I think it’s our desires that we’re seeking. But I think the temptation is there, I think situations can come. I don’t want to speak on it too much in the aspect of details. Definitely know that I have seen some very dark things in the ministry that I’m in now. 

True is that kind of how it worked for you listen to this justification that I had. I have a dear friend and by God’s grace, he’s a strong believer, and we are close friends today. In fact, we actually speak together about this was a professional baseball player. He’s my age. Now he doesn’t play professional baseball. But I mean, he was in the major leagues. And so he was one of the ones that would allow me to stay with him. Every morning he had a it was in the offseason. So he was in Knoxville, he just working out and I would stay with him. And in the morning, you’d have Bible study, but I began to steal from him. And my justification was he’d never know. He’s rich, right? He’s a major league baseball player. He’s never gonna know. I mean, this was 1000s of dollars. And so yeah, that kind of justification of how ludicrous someone’s not going to know that there’s money missing from their bank account. Oh, no, it’s odd. You don’t even think that way. 

And I mean, even the desire, think about in the garden like you were talking about? How many have had everything perfect unity with God, before sin. Like that’s heaven. When we get to heaven, there’s no more sin. There’s no more pain there. No more disease, no more addiction, no more divorce, no more anything because we’re in perfect unity with God and the tool of the enemy was to convince people in perfection, that they didn’t have everything that they needed something else they needed another desire and convince them to sin. And so yeah, definitely tricks and temptations and spiritual warfare left and right. But there also is our own flesh, right idolatry I can’t blame the devil for me wanting to be wrong. He might be nice to me, he maybe did this. But I mean, man’s responsibility is also there. And that was my responsibility to choose that, yes, not doing the things that the Word says that we’ll get into, to really help with those kinds of things. 

Now I didn’t know how I was gonna get there to Middle Tennessee to this place called us to a recovery. Christian rehab, didn’t know anything about it. But God did. I landed in Middle Tennessee, and it was immediately different. And we talked about this in the first episode. All of my experience at secular rehab was saying that once I was an addict, always an addict, or a when I came to these places of recovery, I had to raise my hand and introduce myself as an addict, or an alcoholic. And when I came to St. Well, in Middle Tennessee, it was like, don’t you dare say that. If you’re in Christ, you’re a bloodstained child of the kingdom. There’s hope there immediate, and you talked about hope. I don’t know if it was this episode or less. But immediately, immediately, hope began to be born in my life. And that spurred something in me and I wanted to learn more about who this God was who He was and what did He say this about his children. 

So I wanted to learn how to become one of His children, but also when I am what does He say about me? And what does He say about himself. And so I just begin to dive into his word and, and trust the leaders that God put in my life. And He began to grow me and grow me and grow me. And it became easier and easier to not fall into the tricks of the enemy. And also, I mean, like you said, hope spurns things that begin to restore my marriage, because she could hear my voice that was different. This is over a period of time. And so I just began to learn more about who He was, and who He said I was, to where eventually, this place I was at S2L there said, Hey, you want to do an internship. And I definitely as a leader, you know, sort of played sports and got to kind of put that into me, as to be a leader. And so I said, Yeah, I think I definitely feel like to help people. And so I’ll commit to the short term internship, but my wife’s three hours away, and God restored our marriage. So you know, I’m not going to do anything after that. Well, sure enough, after the internship, they asked me to become a full time staff member making $50 a week. Okay. And so it’s like, Hey, let me give you the church answer. I’ll pray about it. Me, and My wife will pray about it, knowing that there’s one, they couldn’t really do that. So I call my wife that, hey, I’ve committed to three days of prayer. Clearly, this isn’t an option. Your parents, my parents, any career I have is in East Tennessee three hours away. But I told him, we pray about it. Let’s pray about it. And by the way, honey, they’re gonna pay me $50 a week. So don’t move here thinking you’re gonna make money, right? And just we committed to prayer. 

On the second day of praying, my wife’s boss comes to her and says, Hey, there’s a potential promotion for you. But you’d have to be willing to move to Middle Tennessee if you want to take it. And she told me that we’re like, really? Okay. I’m hard headed, Lord. But that’s a little bit too much. I mean, I get it, it’s clear. And so I accepted the position, my wife moved to Middle Tennessee. 

And God just began to open doors and grow us as a couple. Grow me in ministry. We have two beautiful children now. We’re plugged into an amazing church and just a began to open doors inside of the ministry and to where now a decade later, the Chief Executive Officer of the very program that God called me to come into and he used to set me free from the chains of addiction. 

Primarily, when I was in the throes of addiction. It was opiates was my preferred, but at some point, I was so needing to numb life because I was so addicted and there’s so much shame of the things that I’d done. And my body physically felt addicted as at some point, it didn’t matter what it was, whatever was available now my preferred would have been opiates, but at some point it was whatever was available to numb to escape to, to not have to deal with the shame in the cycle of guilt and things that I’ve done. So yeah, it was anything and everything. Anything I can get my hands on, I mean, stolen from anyone and everyone pawn things. Just a person that no one could trust, a person that didn’t know who he was a person that was lost and almost believed the world that, you know, this is what you need, oh, my God was money, I wanted to be a millionaire. And so I’m serving that God all the while, you know, doing everything that anybody could tell me to do. 

And I was just the last person, broken, broken person that numb that brokenness and put on a facade of someone who knew what he was doing as a facade of a cocky, you know, using the natural gifts that God birthed me with the serve myself, and not care about anyone around me. 

Now I’m a pastor, a pastor guide really, that was never in the playbook. I’m supposed to be a millionaire. I’m a pastor, I have a heart for people. I care about others. This is so weird. But you know, the verse that I mean, people try to twist the verse, But Delight yourself in the Lord, He will give you the desires of your heart. And my desires are to see others set free. My desires are to see others thrive. Why is that my desire? I don’t know. But it’s because my DNA changed. It’s because I’m not serving self God. It’s because I’m not chasing the Numb anymore. And it’s because I believe that that person that I described, is dead. Yes, he’s been crucified with Christ. It’s no longer Him who lives but it’s Christ who lives in me in the life I now live, I live to him, because he died for me. And he gave himself for me. And I mean, I don’t know how else to describe other than, like, DNA change, and that shame. Now, we can bear good fruit and bad fruit. 

Well, I planted seeds in a life and I had to deal with a lot of bad fruit even after I’m redeemed and living for the Lord. But it no longer sucked me into a place of devastation, and no longer sucked me into a place of depression. Because, you know, I read that He’s with me now into the end of age. And that’s the end of the verse, the beginning of the verse, The Great Commission, but I mean, if you just take the bookends of the verse, All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me, says Jesus, all- not some. And He closes out the verse and I’m with you. To the end of Age, it’s like, okay, I’m the Spirit of God walking with me to deal with this. Now, I don’t have to roll in on myself and make myself God again. And woe is me. You did that? Adam, Woe is me. Woe is me. No, I did that. I hate that I did that I dealt with the consequences, legal, relational with my wife, financial, I had to deal with all of those consequences. But I had a really know, that that’s not who I am anymore. 

Yeah, they really do come in order when God is first. And I mean, there’s a piece that surpass in times of chaos. And it’s interesting that I could see it now on this side of things. When I see the men coming into our program, you know, a see that does that see that hopelessness on their face, and the moment they hear what I heard, there’s hope. I want to be clear, though, and I kind of was but you’re not hearing us say that you come to the Lord, you surrender your life to the Lord, then the rest of your life is rainbows and unicorns. Now, you’ll still lose people. You’ll still have people think and say things badly of you, you still have days that you feel a certain way, they’ll still be troubles. Because the word says so that’s a promise Jesus gave Oh, have trouble. Yes. But he says Take heart. I’ve overcome the world. And so I mean, it’s almost like you deal with life with the power of the Holy Spirit. And so it still hurts. You’re still paying. But it doesn’t drive you to despair. It doesn’t drive me to devastation and chaos, to be honest. Our whole deal is we’re teaching people how to suffer. Yeah, learn how to suffer and apart from God on this planet, like we talked about earlier. But separation from God is suffering. 

Thank you God for overcoming the world and for you son Jesus now I am set free from addictions and now serving as a pastor to help others find freedom, wholeness, and healing.

If you would like to connect with Adam please contact S2Lrecovery.org

 

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Do You Need Help for Anxiety and Your tweens

Many times our tweens, teens, and young adults suffer from anxiety. Sometimes we don’t know what to do. Caris Snider, an anxiety survivor herself, has written all about anxiety and now for girls’ and boys’ tweens too!

Tweens are around the age of 8 years old to 12 years old.

Older teens and young adults who face anxiety would greatly benefit from Caris’s first book, Anxiety Elephants 31 Day Devotional!

Maybe you aren’t sure if your child is suffering from anxiety. Here are some symptoms: stomach ache, headaches, fidgety, distraction during school or sports,  crying, or getting angry. These are real symptoms, and we need to dig a little deeper to help them overcome anxiety.

How do we help our children with anxiety? Here are a few suggestions: 

Open up a conversation while distracted, so they are more likely to open up.

Start conversations with specific questions about today. For example, “How was your lunch?” instead of “How was your day?” We want the most information we can get.

Discuss some of the more complex issues with your tween, teen, and young adults to prepare and not be caught off guard, giving them a firm foundation.

These keys can help you equip them for anxiety- why wait?

In Anxiety Elephants for Tweens, you get a scripture, devotion, and a stomp step to help stomp out anxiety each day. There is also a Prayer and journaling page so that they can write down their struggles or what they learned- or even draw something- or rewrite the scripture.

Once you determine that your intuition may be correct, here are a few more positive steps to help them. Admit and acknowledge they are anxious so you know that you need the next steps. If your child had asthma, you would go to a doctor and even get medicine. So first, make an appointment with your child’s doctor and make sure there is no underlying condition. Rule out any physical problems. Then make an appointment for a counselor to help guide your anxious tweens to healing. 

Connect with Caris at CarisSnider.com

Book: Anxiety Elephants for Tweens

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God are you with me in my struggle?

God are you with me in my struggle is what Misty Phillip asked God. Now she shares what her experiences were with us in today’s Livin’ Lively with Laine blog.

I experienced many struggles from an early age. And then I thought when I became a believer that somehow life was going to be so much more amazing and that I wouldn’t have struggles. And anybody who reads the Bible knows that Jesus said that in this world, we will have tribulation, not we might have tribulation. And part of the Believers Walk is going through trials and tribulations and it is those trials and tribulations that conform us to the image of Christ and make us more like him when we surrender and submit our lives to Him.

It’s hard, though, isn’t it? I mean, in the midst of the struggle, I mean, it is hard to go, Okay, God, you’re curating something beautiful out of this. And that is why it is a struggle because I think any of us with a faith root system, we know God is there. But sometimes we don’t feel like it, do we? Yeah, it can definitely be a challenge. But for me, I know that when I was going through some really serious struggles as a young wife and a mother, the only thing that got me through those struggles was my lifeline to the Word of God. And it was those times that God really poured into me that then I was able to pour that back out on the pages of the struggle is real, but so is God.

One particular season that I was referencing, as a new mom, I was on bed rest with my youngest son for almost my entire pregnancy. I had two boys that I was homeschooling, one of which had grandmal seizures as a baby and profound special needs. At the same time, we lived next door to my husband’s parents, who both had brain tumors. So in that time, my husband lost his job. It was literally like one major thing after another. And that is just in a short couple of years span. It was exhausting. And I was like God, why not question him? Like, why is this happening? But what can I do? 

You know, just being in His word, just searching for truth. And that’s where I learned that we all have struggles, right? Sometimes they’re small struggles, sometimes they’re big struggles, your struggles are going to be different than my struggles. You know, other struggles I experienced in the past, I’ve lost babies had a stillborn child with trisomy 18, experienced a lot of death and grief in my family. I was in rebellion as a young person and did all the wrong things before.

God radically changed my life. 

But in seasons I was truly walking in darkness, and God radically pulled me out of that. So all of those struggles, you may not have my struggles but at some level, we all struggle, whether it’s tension within our family, a job loss, or the death of a loved one. And so how we navigate those trials is what I think is so important. 

I think it’s okay for us to take our questions to God, and to ask him why we just can’t get stuck in the why we have to surrender and bow our knees to him and pick up that cross and follow Him. And it’s not always easy. But when we do that we can rest under his sovereign hand. You know, and as you’re talking, we see these are just amazing stories of true struggles. You know, I feel struggles are kind of universal, and they all are equal. I mean, what may be a struggle for you might necessarily be a greater struggle for someone else. I mean, struggles or struggles is all I’m getting to. I don’t think we need to have opinions or measurements of it. If someone’s hurting then that’s my measurement. If you’re hurting if you’re in grief or if you’re struggling over something that you could not prevent that, man, those are tough times. 

And you do wonder like you said, why not? Why God, but why? Why? What am I going to do on it? God? Tell us a little bit how your devotion or your Bible study came about through these struggles. Yeah. So when my oldest son went to college, I had homeschooled my boys and thought I was just going to homeschool my boys and then be a grandma. And I realized very quickly, if I didn’t find something else to do with my time that I would drive my boys absolutely crazy. 

And so I began praying and asking God and seeking Him for the next step in my life. And when my son was in college, he had signed up for a bike race. It’s called the Ms. 150. It goes from Houston to Austin. And he was working full time and going to school full time, and he wasn’t getting those rides in. And so as a good mom, I was like, come on, son. I’ll go for a ride with you. 

Well, long story short, I wasn’t wearing a helmet that day. And I had a terrible bike accident that I snapped both of my arms after over the end on my bike, and I didn’t have that helmet. So I put my arms out, you know, to break my fall. And for the next year, I couldn’t do anything as my arms healed. 

And God had me sit. And over that time, He just spoke his love over me. And then I realized, I’m the older woman, and that I needed to take the lessons that God was sharing with me, and share them with others. So I went to my husband. And I said, I really feel like I’m called to write a Bible study. And he said, I think you’re right. And I said, I think I should write it about overcoming. And he said, Maybe that’s your life story you absolutely do. 

So the first thing I did was I got into the Greek. And I started to look at every reference of the word overcome in the Bible. And really, in one sitting, God gave me the structure of the Bible study. We went to church the next day, and the pastor was preaching from Joshua, about being strong and courageous. And my family knew the music that day was Susan Ashton, who was a contemporary Christian singer in the 90s, who, when I first got saved, that’s all I listened to. And she has the song about the Spirit moving us that we can’t go from one place to the other, unless the spirit moves us. And my family knew in that moment that God was anointing me to write this study, I can’t even explain it to you. But they all looked at me. And they knew.

I’m so glad, because it took me three years to write that study. And things don’t always work out the way we think or in the timing that we think that they are. But it did launch at number one on Amazon. And I have won a Golden scroll award for it. And God has truly just blessed my meager efforts of taking people from Genesis to Revelation, and showing them that God has not left us alone that he has promises to his overcomers.

Here are a couple of keys for you today that would to help transform you today. 

  1. So the first thing is you have to be in the Word, you have to be in the word so that the word is it gets inside of you so that you can use that word as a weapon. That’s what God says it’s the sword of the Spirit. And so every time Jesus was tempted, He spoke back to Satan with the Word of God, if we don’t have that word of God in us, we can’t use it as a weapon. So that’s first and foremost, we have to be in the Word. 
  2. And then second of all, Praise is a weapon. You know, when I am struggling, I crank my praise music up, I go for a walk, get out in God’s creation. And then I would just say a heart of gratitude. Like every day that we wake up is a gift from God. And so if we can just thank him even in the midst of our difficult situation. I think that he can work in ways when our heart is open and receptive and we have a heart have gratitude because we have to keep our eyes on eternity, knowing that this is a temporary situation that we have here on earth, and that if we can keep our eyes fixed on eternity, everything that we go through here will pale in comparison to the amazing glory that we will receive. And heaven. 
  3. One of the best features in my study is that you can have the daily affirmations. And so I basically instead of having them, you know, say something worldly about themselves, like I’m empowered, and I can do these things. It’s really about taking the Scripture and applying the scripture to your life. So I’ll use that example. I can do all things not I can do all things. But I can do all things with the strength of Christ. And so it’s just taking the scriptures and really claiming those promises. And if you were in the struggle, I would just encourage you to grab that studying some friends and go through it together. And it’s powerful. I love to say healing is better, we do it together. And I think that is so powerful. And I’m going to also touch really quickly on the praise music very dear to my heart, I love to sing literally out my backyard many days with my Pandora way. You know, there’s something about when I’m down or upset, and I get some praise, music going. Literally the joy of the Lord just touches me. And I like to say mystery, and I’m sure you would do that. Anytime we get in the presence of God, whether it’s his word, whether in prayer or praise, we don’t leave the same, do we? That’s right. We never leave the same. The word is alive and active and being in his presence. 

Just a touch from Jesus can radically change everything.

 

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Does God Speak to Me?

does god speak to me?

Does God speak to me? Did God speak through animals in the Bible? These are some great questions that we will have fun addressing today!

Let’s have some fun and see how God moves in ways we never knew He could! Today we learn that God talked through a donkey! That’s right- a donkey.

Have you ever heard that this was in the Bible? I had never heard it!

Here is the scripture reference:

WOW! If God speaks through a donkey, He will undoubtedly talk through to us!


Here are a few ways we can hear God speak:

  1. Be still and unplug from the noisy world so that we can listen to Him speak.
  2. Open up our expectation to the possibility that God will speak.
  3. Get your Bible to start reading His word and see if you read something that speaks right to your heart.
  4. Think through the past few weeks, and did someone like a friend, family member, pastor, or neighbor say something that made you feel affirmed or understood? That might be God speaking through them to you!
  5. Make it a point every day to spend some time with God praying and reading His word, and I know He will speak to you!

Susan K. Stewart shares how God used her raising donkeys to use them to tell others about God. Listen to the Livin’ Lively with Laine Podcast as Susan shares this funny and powerful story. Also, you can check out her devotion; Donkey Devos Listen when God Speaks.

Isn’t it great to know that God is the same God yesterday, today, and tomorrow a God that doesn’t change? God is still speaking to us! Now, all we have to do is to get still in a quiet place, read His word, communicate with Him through prayer, and listen to others for affirming or revelation words that touch our hearts.

Please reply to this blog here or in the comments below and let me know your stories of how God speaks to you too!