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Resources for Suicidal Teens and Parents

In the last few blogs, we’ve talked about a tough subject, suicide, and suicidal thoughts, with Lori Wildenberg. We first started the conversation with what is suicide and what are suicidal thoughts. Then we shared Lori giving her powerful testimony about how her daughter, who had an unsuccessful suicide attempt and now is thriving and doing great. We have shown risk factors and signs to look for in children. Today we conclude with a few lasting points and resources.

Keys to Overcoming Suicide and Suicidal Thoughts

One of the keys to overcoming suicide and suicidal thoughts is to stay connected and communicate. Many times this can be something we tend to avoid because this is a tough subject to talk about with our kids. We are reluctant to go to a child we love and ask the hard question, “Have you thought about suicide” and not want to hear the answer that they may be depressed or thinking about suicide.

Another key truth is that positivity can be toxic because it feels dismissive. If our kids come to us with genuine concern, and we dismiss it and put a positive spin on it, we’re telling them we don’t want to hear their struggle, to get over it, and that there’s always a silver lining. What is more important than positivity is giving the reality that life can be hard. God is still good, but life is hard. We need to let our children know that there are struggles and understand that it’s not always going to be what it might look like on social media. Life is hard, and it’s filled with hard things, and that’s not such a bad thing that it is filled with hard things. We need to explain that if we think about it, in sadness, when we experience sadness, which draws up compassion, and if a person feels fear, this can draw up bravery in a person. Anger can help someone get to a place where they do some problem-solving. Everyone likes happiness; happy is excellent; no one’s going to argue that, but our kids will live a full life, so we want to ensure that we equip them for that full life.

Another key is that fear and worry can kick into anxiety, and sadness can kick into depression, which can kick into suicidal ideation. So, watch if our kids are feeling sad; if it’s temporary, that’s typical, temporary if they can still express joy in their grief and sadness. For example,  let’s say that maybe a grandparent has passed away; if they can still recall a funny story and laugh and enjoy things still, even during the grief, if you can see that, what you know is your child is experiencing sadness, not depression. But if sadness continues for some time, you need help. Some studies say even if there’s no joy, if it’s only sadness for a few weeks, get help; others say a little longer. But I would say you know your child and watch for when help needs to come.

The last key today is if we feel like our child may be sad or depressed and possibly have suicidal thoughts treat it now. Look at it like your child has some illness or physical sickness; you would seek help whether your child wanted it or not, right? Even if they didn’t want help and broke their leg, you would still go to the doctor to get their legs set. So we move forward as responsible parents; we don’t wait for them to say, Yes, I’m ready for help. We get help. We go to the doctor, we go to the pediatrician, and we find a therapist.

I pray that these informative and moving conversations on suicide and suicidal thoughts in our children have touched you and have helped bring light to the dark topic.

Listen to the Warfare Parenting Podcast today and don’ forget to visit LoriWildenberg.com and find many more resources.

Another resource: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, is 1- 800-273-Talk


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Insights on Fathering a Prodigal

I wanted to bring you this story because sometimes we don’t hear enough from the father’s point of view when facing a defiant and self-destructive child. Tom Yohe is the real deal, and he has fought hell for the victory with his daughter. Today he shares some powerful insights and feelings about being a father of a prodigal. I asked him, “What would you be the dynamic difference between the father and mother? Do you find that the struggle is similar? Or do you find that you deal with it differently? Please share your personal experience.

Tom and his wife get the hell parents to face when struggling with a prodigal child. Tom shares, “Well, Dena, my wife and I have been in full-time ministry. For most of our married life, we met in college at Christian University. We were in the pastoral ministry for several years. Then we transitioned, went overseas for a one-year stint with Campus Crusade. Then they asked us to come on staff after the end of that year. So we served with them. We were in mission work. Our dream was to serve overseas, but things were going south with our daughter. We first noticed it when she was age 12; she cut herself back then, you know, we just never heard of that as their concept. I had no way to process that. Then as she got into high school, she began experimenting, using drugs and alcohol, and things just went, went south from there. Her high school senior year was a mess. She barely graduated, but it went on for years after that. Again, we were around many full-time ministries, people who weren’t going through this. It was very isolating. We would tell our friends who were looking at universities for their children and tell us, “Oh, my son’s going into there, my daughter is going here.” We were looking for treatment centers, and that’s not a big conversation you want to have with everybody. It was tough, very isolating and a lot of guilt involved. Some people who were friends didn’t want to hang out with us anymore. I guess I could understand it. Maybe they didn’t want their daughters or their children around our daughter. I would probably want the same thing. But why did they isolate from us? Why did they push us aside? So it was, it was hurtful.

Tom shared, “Well, fathers do deal with it differently. A tendency, I think, for many men is to throw themselves into work because they see themselves as a provider. A lot of these things are costly. You know, if you get into treatment centers and counselors and what have you, then it’s easy to say, okay, this is how I’m dealing with it, I’m going to be the provider. I’m going to make sure that the counseling happens or their treatment centers, we have insurance, or what have you. But that’s also their way of escaping and disengaging from what’s happening. And often, the wife, you know, is left to deal with a lot of heat daily. So we were fortunate we were in ministry together, and we were with an organization that gave us leverage or freedom. We explained that we were walking through something hard right now. Then they go, okay, take some time. 

We would pass through. We would take hours, literally, up in our bedroom, trying to get on the same page when we were trying to deal with our daughter because we realized it didn’t take long, that if she found a weakness, she would exploit it. If we weren’t on the same page, we weren’t united, and what was coming out of our mouths, she would be quick to exploit that to get the attention off herself and onto us and get us arguing with each other.

There was a moment when God spoke to me and directed me to the book of Genesis. As I read through that, I looked at that and said, Oh, my gosh, God is a hurting parent. God created Adam and Eve and put them in a perfect environment. They didn’t have all the stuff going on and gave them one boundary and couldn’t keep it. Then they had children, and their son murdered their other son. I mean, it’s practical’s from the beginning. Yes. So I realized that God is a practical parent, and He knows my pain. He understands my fears and every emotion that I’m walking in. I can come to God with that because He’s walking with me. I mean, think about how many rebellious kids he has right now. It wasn’t too long in Genesis that He was ready to wipe out Europe because the hearts of men were so wicked. He said, “You know, I regret I’m grieving over what’s happening here.” Well, that’s the father grieving over what his children are doing. So thankfully, God didn’t wipe us out and had a plan to give us His Son.

There were some points of clarity as we battled the devil over our daughter. Some of these moments were more powerful than others. I would say that the one was when I had to rush to the hospital. Renee had cut herself up so deeply that they had to take her to the hospital. We had gone through so many other things with her, and I didn’t know what to do. God just spoke to me. He said, Tom, “I love you unconditionally. Tell Renee you love her unconditionally.” So when I went into the hospital room, she was so full of guilt and fear. She goes, “Oh, Daddy, I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.” I said, Renee, it’s okay. I said, look, nothing that you’ve done or has been done to you will ever change our love for you. We will love you unconditionally, and we will always love you. That was a powerful moment in our relationship. It wasn’t the end of her prodigal journey. But our relationship was there. And when she got into horrible things, she called us. She called for help. And that was very, very important.

Another important point is to learn about boundaries. We also need to learn how to set appropriate boundaries, and that’s part of it. You know, the verse, I think it’s in Hebrews; “God disciplines those whom He loves.” You know, discipline is not unloving. It’s sometimes the most loving thing we can do. When we set some clear boundaries, Dena and I spent time we figured out what those boundaries were, we figured out which ones we could enforce because I could set boundaries, but none of us were going to enforce them. What good is it? And we explain those boundaries to Renee. She knew them, and she understood them. So there was a very, very hard, hard reality that came to us one evening when she violated the boundary and had to experience the consequences. But in her writing and reflecting, she told us that was one of the most loving things we did, and she doesn’t resent us for it. She appreciated it. As a young boy, my father worked a lot. And he wasn’t in the home a lot. I knew they loved me and stuff like that, but I missed having him around. And I wasn’t the best of kids either. But, you know, if they didn’t discipline me, I began to wonder if they loved me or not because I think love does speak words of discipline at times.

Well, one of the things I got from this journey, fathering a prodigal, was gained a sense of humility. You know, it’s easy to be proud Out of everything’s working right, and you think, Hey, I’ve got this. But there was a deep sense of humility and added compassion for people walking through painful journeys. Unconditional love, you know, is the verse that God manifested His love for us and that while we were sinners, Christ died for us. Christ didn’t wait for us to clean up our act, didn’t wait for us to earn or deserve it. He gave it unconditionally, without concern about our response or lack of. So I think that love needs to continue to be there for our children; just as Christ loved us, we need to love them. Then I believe not to isolate, please, please don’t isolate. That’s the tactic of the enemy. God wants us in the community. That’s why He created the body of Christ, the church, and we’re not perfect as the body. But that’s the place to be supportive, other people who understand and will walk alongside you without criticism or judgment.

About Tom:

Tom and his wife, Dena, have spent the latter part of their lives with a ministry called. “Hope for Hurting Parents. They offer all kinds of resources and small groups. They have helped so many parents that have prodigal children. Please visit their site today.

Here is the link to the ministry: https://hopeforhurtingparents.com/
Here is the link for his book: https://amzn.to/3xR5T9K

Tom has also just released his amazing book, Moments of Clarity: Wisdom from the Father of a Prodigal. In this book, he shares the moments of clarity and wisdom from God he received. At the same time, his family endured the tumultuous journey through the mental illness, addiction, and self-harming actions of a rebellious teenage daughter. Each chapter contains hard-fought moments of clarity that are like refreshing therapy sessions, providing a much-needed deluge of grace.

I pray that this helped us all see deeper into a father’s heart facing a prodigal child for many years. Tom gave us insight into his parent’s broken hearts as he watched his daughter head down a destructive path in life. Yet, God’s redemptive hand moved through him and his daughter, and victory was found.

LINKS & RESOURCES

WEBSITE: https://www.LaineLawsonCraft.com

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Unsuccessful Suicide Story

Unsuccessful suicide attempts are a tough topic to talk about. We have been discussing suicide and suicidal thoughts in these last blogs and Warfare Parenting Podcast. Today, Lori Wildenberg shares her personal experience with her daughter’s unsuccessful suicide attempt.

This is Lori’s story.

Lori shared, “You know this, this is a tough topic. In the last episode, we talked about some of the signs demonstrating that perhaps the depression is getting deeper and could lead to suicide. And my daughter had some of those signs when she was younger, in middle school; she wrestled with an eating disorder. By the time she went to college, I had thought she was emotionally healthy. She started well. Then there was a lot of pressure with the particular major that she was in. It was a high-pressure major. So she had all the stress of the workload of college. She was also working a little bit, earning some extra spending money. She had some friendships that were getting somewhat difficult. All of those stressors started to keep piling on and piling on. 

Then the feelings of I would say she was feeling alone, or even feeling worthless, or perhaps feeling like she wasn’t ever really loved. All of which, I mean, if she were to stop and think about it, but your brain isn’t right when you’re going through these things, right? So she was wrestling with a lot of things and it started to get too much. When I would call her, at first, I could hear the sadness in her voice. Later, I found out that she was crying like every night. I didn’t know this. When we talked, she was four hours away, so it wasn’t like we were close. But we still had the phone, and I could hear the sadness in her voice. 

But, then I have to tell you, the scariest thing was hearing her voice void of emotion when I talked to her. That scared me. It was like my daughter would be like, I don’t care if a good thing happened to me, it doesn’t matter if a bad thing happens to me, I don’t feel anything. This was incredibly frightening. Well, after one of those calls, I got pretty scared, and I made a plan to go and see her, and I was going the next day. 

Well, the night before she attempted to take her life, she ended up telling me later. But I didn’t know that she had an unsuccessful attempt at the time. If you read my book, you’ll learn a little bit more about that. But I’d instead not get into that part of it. It is in the book because my daughter describes her own experience, and I leave that up to her. The book’s title is “Messy Hope Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression or Suicidal Ideation”. 

So when she came home with me, then the next thing was we went to the doctor. She got on a prescription to help stabilize some of the things that were going on with her and then made a plan for doing some therapy. All of those things help. Yet I think that one of the things that helped the most was graduation which was maybe six months from then. She ended up graduating from college. Then many of those triggers, the things triggering her, fell away, and she continued to get healthier and healthier, and everybody’s different. But I do know everybody needs help, and as parents, we can be a tool to provide more hope and help for our kids. God can use us in that

About two years, maybe a year and a half after her attempt, she wrote a blog about her experience and depression. She wrote it to help somebody else who may be feeling like she was, about 18 months to two years ago. The blog was a tough one to read. I almost felt like I was going to be sick, you know, to hear the things that she was thinking and the way that she even thought about herself. It was very troubling. But when I read her blog, God started to impress upon me that her blog was so important for young people to read. 

But there was another side that parents needed to be equipped. Because young people today are struggling with so many mental health things, one in four will end up with a mental health diagnosis. This is what God had; part of her healing journey was writing her blog and participating in writing messy hope with me. I have to say; I wasn’t sure about God’s plan. I was really scared about his plan because I thought, Lord, what if this because I’m asking her these questions, and she’s drawing up these past emotions? What if this puts her back into that black hole with all the layers? Right? What if this starts to heap dirt on top of her again? You know, I’m afraid to do this. And I kept checking in with her; how are you doing? Are you okay? 

Finally, at one point, when I asked her, because I was really scared, and I asked her if she was alright, she went, “You know, it’s really hard, mom, for me to relate to that person that I was then to who I am today.” Wow, there’s the victory. 

There is much more for you in this week’s Warfare parenting Podcast. Please listen here today.

You can also buy Lori’s book, which shares many applications, tools, and more. For more information, please visit her website here.

LINKS & RESOURCES

WEBSITE: https://www.LaineLawsonCraft.com

DOWNLOAD FREE: Warfare Prayers – Laine Lawson Craft

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Keys to Prevent Suicide

Today we begin the three-part series on suicidal thoughts and suicide. Lori Wildenberg is here with me for the next three episodes, helping us understand suicide and suicidal thoughts in a greater capacity. In our next episode, Lori has her own personal story that we will hear and read about. She is the author of “Messy Hope: Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression, or Suicidal Ideation.” I know you will want to hear and be a part of the upcoming episodes on suicide. 

Today I  pray that you find more insight and everything you need to know about this complicated subject,  suicide, and suicidal thoughts. 

The frightening stats of the increase in suicide are hard to digest. Here are some up-to-date statistics that will help us understand more:

Teenage girl’s hospital admissions that have attempted suicide are up 50%

The second leading cause of death in this age group

Young men are more successful in taking their lives in suicide attempts

In Colorado alone, the number one cause of death in teenagers and young adults is suicide

The essential part of today’s insights is whether we know if our teen or young adult may be considering suicide or have suicidal thoughts? We can look for these warning signs:

Psychological disorders like depression or bipolar

Drug and alcohol abuse

Agitated, hopeless, irritable, worthless feelings, family history, physical or sexual abuse

Some situational influences can increase suicidal thoughts if a relationship breakup with a girlfriend or boyfriend—a family who has recently gone through a divorce. We need to look deep into circumstances that could increase our teens’ anxiety, sadness, or emotional state.

One of the most significant warning signs to look for is making irrational decisions that make no sense—for example, deciding not to go back to school. If you ask yourself why they are acting like this and making this decision, an extremely irrational decision, this is a significant warning sign.

My friend Lori shares, “My youngest daughter was at college and suffered and struggled with depression. And she called me up and said that she would pack up all her stuff. She would move home, and she would commute to school, okay, commuting to school. The school was four hours away. All right now, she would have an eight-hour commute. That didn’t make any sense. She had quit her job just because it appeared to be on a whim. She impulsively quit her job, packed up her stuff, and made impulsive decisions. 

In the suicidal series episode 2, Lori shares her personal story of how her daughter had an unsuccessful suicide attempt and how they found healing.

Since Covid suicides have gone up 30%, these are frightening statistics for parents of teens and young adults. There is one essential key to knowing what your teen or young adult may be thinking.

The key to knowing our teens and young adults are free of suicidal thoughts is to ask them! And we’ve got to be asking our kids, how are you doing and specifically, How are you doing today? Ask them specifically so that they know that you’re ready for that answer. Ask them I’d like to pray for you. How can I pray? That’s another thing that could lead to more insight into their feelings, but we’ve got to start asking our kids the tough, awful question, “Have you considered taking your life?” That’s a horrible question to ask. But if you’re thinking about that, chances are pretty good that your child has already thought about it. And then they know that you’re ready to have that conversation with them, and they don’t have to protect you.

I have a passion for that question. Because if we don’t ask it, we may regret it because we feel that maybe they are thinking of it. And so I encourage everybody, if you believe your child, your teen young adult, may be thinking about suicide, ask them how you are doing today and ask the most challenging question, “Have you considered taking your life?”

I pray that this helps you as a parent today of teens and young adults learning all about suicidal thoughts.

The most important takeaway is staying connected to our teens and young adults, specifically our prodigal children. These keys will help us see warning signs and better communicate with them. 

LINKS & RESOURCES

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WEBSITE: https://www.LaineLawsonCraft.com

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DOWNLOAD FREE: Warfare Prayers – Laine Lawson Craft

SOCIAL ===============================

FACEBOOK:https://www.facebook.com/LaineLawsonCraft

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https://lainelawsoncraft.com/warfare-prayers/

About the Author:

Lori Wildenberg

LoriWildenberg.com

 

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3 Steps That Can Help YOU Prevent and Survive Cancer

Have you had cancer or does anyone you love suffer from cancer? Today, Ginny Brant shares her powerful healing story and ways that we can prevent and survive cancer starting today!

Ginny shares, “I was on a mission to not get cancer because there was so much of it in my family. And it was four months after my mother died of breast cancer that providentially, as my sister would say, I found a lump in my breast. I had just done the Cooper River Bridge run with my husband. I walked briskly, but the point is, at the end of it that night, my ring got caught in my nighty in the middle of the night, and that’s when I found the lump. So I immediately looked into it, but I wasn’t too concerned about it. I had been here once before, and they weren’t anything to worry about. But I went to the doctor, and the first bad news was, yeah, this is cancer. And then the next week, more test results came back. They told me it’s not just cancer. It’s aggressive. And then, the third week after the results of the MRI came back; they gave me the news that brought me to my knees. They said it’s not only aggressive; it appears to be in your lymph nodes and different places in your body. Wow. I don’t understand. Because I went for a second opinion in Chicago of Cancer Treatment Centers of America. And the first thing that doctors went through with me was the risk factors for this aggressive breast cancer. There were eight of them. I didn’t have one of them. So since my mother had died from breast cancer, they did extensive genetic testing that showed nothing.”

This started Ginny’s search for how she could’ve prevented cancer and how she would beat cancer!

Here are her top three revelations that she shares will help prevent and increase your successful survival of cancer:

Emotions:

Your emotions can draw illness. These unresolved emotions, things like in my case for 15 years, I took care of ailing parents, a father with dementia, and a mother with breast cancer. The point is, we were in a grief cycle we couldn’t get out of. I’ve discovered that long-term grief, long-term anger, or any long-term negative emotion can suppress your immune system. So 15 years of not being able to stop grief put my body in a position where it couldn’t heal normally and regenerate. It suppressed the immune system that God had given me.

Toxins and heavy metals:

My doctor tested me, and I had heavy metals because of the chemo. I was introduced to the infrared sauna company. I thought they would test heavy metals, which I already knew, and how we keep track of my progress. They pointed me to 15 out of 20 chemicals in that chemical profile, that red high zone in my body, and many of them work endocrine disrupting hormones, or what we call Xeno estrogens that mimic estrogen in the body. I had an estrogen-based and aggressive cancer. So when I showed the results to my doctors at the cancer center, they said, ” Oh, this is definitely one of the causes of your cancer.

Healthy Gut:

Having a healthy gut lining protects you from cancer. It protects you from brain disease, heart disease, and even severe symptoms of COVID 19. The research is clear that 70 to 80% of your immune cells are in that gut lining. And so we must keep it nourished adequately with fruits and vegetables and plants and fermented foods.

Ginny shared that she was very intentional. She was very different. She said, “You know, I just asked God to guide me as I was doing my research, and you know, like He clearly pulled back the curtain on cancer for me, and I never would know everything that was going on in my body, but I saw the main things that would give me something to work with so that I could respond well after receiving the worst chemo known to mankind. I could restore my body back to full health. And why is that? Because God created our bodies to heal on an everyday basis. It is a miracle, and when we start to remove all the things that are suppressing that, then our body can get back to healing and regenerating as God created it to do.”

About the Author

Ginny Brant website: https://www.ginnybrant.com

Book:  Unleash Your God-Given Healing: eight Steps to Prevent and Survive Cancer

You don’t want to miss Ginny’s complete story and steps. She shares her powerful testimony and tips with us this week. You can listen to her right here on the Livin’ Lively with Laine Podcast

 

 

 

I am here for you. Please don’t hesitate to contact me. You can email me, call me at 1-833-PRAY-W-ME, or reply to this blog and we can pray together!

 

 

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You Can Beat Anorexia a Hope-Building Story

Tina Yeager is a licensed mental health professional with personal experience with anorexia. Today I will be sharing her journey of overcoming anorexia. Tina shares her hope-building story on her victory in overcoming anorexia, tips, and ways to help navigate healing.

It started with middle school age junior high school. She didn’t fit in and wasn’t popular. Someone suggested that I might be a little chunky and need to be thinner to be included. Precise details on food, and I thought if I could be smaller or thinner. Maybe they would let me even be in the background.

She became very restricted with what she ate. This lasted about eight years. She never reached the worst stage where you lose your period. In middle school, she starved herself so severely that her elbow was the most significant part of her arm. Her hips stuck out, so only bones appeared. Her skeleton poked through her clothes. 

She ate under 1000 calories a day. Then she over-exercised. She would exercise in intense heat to sweat more pounds off. Her parents began to see her lose interest in food. So she began to hide it very well.

She would take laxatives to lose weight. She would work during meal times to not have to eat with the family. She became very good at hiding her disorder. She even hid rat poison in her bedroom. Instead of getting better, she got better at hiding her anorexia.

She said these are thoughts I was thinking, “I am never going to be thin enough, and I am never going to be good enough,” throughout the entire eight years of her battle. Her self-image was not based on God’s lens but through her filter of not being good enough or thin enough.

Tina got worse and worse. Her non-eating and exercise led to terrible consequences. Desperate to be thin at all cost!

But God had a plan of healing. Tina became pregnant, and it saved her from anorexia! 

The darts of the anorexia disorder attacked Tina, but God unexpectedly delivered her! After she found out she would have a baby, she began to take care of the baby inside of her and started to eat healthily. She focused on her baby!

Tina then became immersed in God because something beyond her was vital. She began to focus on God first. She began to look at her life as a mother and a parent. She studied God’s word to give her statements of value and worth.

It takes a process. It takes time to heal. This is not a one and done with this eating disorder mindset. This takes time to unravel. Here are some tips to overcome anorexia:

  1. Get Christian counseling offering spiritual help as well physical help expediting healing 
  2. Every story is different, so all of them can be worked through with prayer, believing God will deliver and heal anorexia
  3. Address medical issues along with counseling to prevent long-term medical problems

Tina shares that one of the essential tips she can give us is to have deep conversations with your teen or young adult if you suspect anorexia. If we don’t try to address the issue, they can continue hiding it. This is the best way to start the journey of healing. 


Laine’s Resources

WEBSITE: https://www.LaineLawsonCraft.com

FREE “IS LIFE HURTING TOO MUCH” E-BOOK: https://LaineLawsonCraft.ac-page.com/hurting

DOWNLOAD FREE: 5 Warfare Prayers for Your Prodigal: https://LaineLawsonCraft.ac-page.com/5-warfare-prayers

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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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Do You Want to Know Your Spouse Better?

Do you want to know your spouse better? I sure wish I could’ve known what I know now to get along better with my husband. We were at odds for way too many years. We literally lived on opposite ends of the house for several years. It was very sad and a lot of it was that we misunderstood one another.

When my marriage was dead, and I was hopeless, I sure wished I had known about Linked for Couples. Steve and I did NOT understand each other at all! It took several years of counseling to learn about each of our personalities and how to deal with one another better!

Here are a few questions that you can ask yourself today about your marriage:

  1. Do you love your spouse but feel like you don’t understand each other?
  2. Do you long to have a deeper connection with your life’s partner?
  3. Is your marriage thriving or merely surviving?
  4. Is there conflict in your home that you would like to convert to peace?

If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, this quick guide to personalities is for you. You will want to listen in with Linda Goldfarb today on the Livin’ Lively with Laine Podcast as she shares proven strategies and quick tips to help you connect better with your spouse and positively handle real-life situations.

Go through a simple assessment, identify your personality type and the personality type of your spouse from her book, Linked for Couples, which teaches couples how to apply these simple tools to quickly improve communication and create a peaceful living environment.

For any of you who are hopeless about your marriage, please contact me.

I will send you my free full version book, Start Again From Scratch, which shares how God resurrected my own marriage miraculously. Also, I would love to pray for your marriage with you!

I am here for you. Please don’t hesitate to contact me. You can email me, call me at 1-833-PRAY-W-ME, or reply to this email, and I will pray with you. You are never alone.

I love you very much.


PSS: Did you get a chance to listen to the first episodes of my newest podcast, Warfare Parenting Podcast? Warfare Parenting is for parents of prodigal teens and young adults. Please share it with anyone who is facing this difficult challenge.