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Archive for December, 2011


Father,

In my pain and in my anguish—

When my heart was broken

And darkness threatened to overwhelm me—

I felt so lost and abandoned, but I wasn’t.

Despite my anxiety and trembling heart,

You were there, never leaving my side,

Diligently working within my heart,

Stripping me of all of my pretense,

Scourging me of all of my arrogance,

And revealing each of my self-serving ways,

Which have made my life a wasteland.

For so long, I had no concern or awareness

About anything You desired for my life.

My only concern was to find relief from my torment,

But Your consternation ran far deeper

Than anything I ever conceived or imagined.

I thought my anguish would never end

And I would never smile at the future,

But that was far from true.

In my anguish, I revealed the desires of my heart,

Repeatedly asking You to grant my wishes,

But You never would, which compounded my distress.

What I have gained through my loss, however,

May have been the most valuable lesson of my life.

Out of my painful void, You have raised me up,

Placing my feet on solid, immovable ground,

Strengthening me with power in the inner man,

Making me sound at the core of my being.

No longer fearful and timid, I’m peaceful and confident.

Instead of filling my hours with fretful apprehension,

My state of mind is now one of strength and resolve.

None of this could have taken place

Had You not changed my heart’s desire—

Irreversibly transforming my perspective.

Without Your loving, consistent attention,

I would never have learned my lesson,

Which would have destined me

To repeat my mistakes endlessly,

Like an unreasoning animal

Rather than like a thoughtful child of Yours.

Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses. Look upon my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins. Look upon my enemies, for they are many; and they hate me with a violent hatred. Guard my soul and deliver me; do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in Thee. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for Thee. (Psalm 25:16-21)

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For a long time, I put away my photo albums. Should a picture surface of that sweet little blonde haired blue eyed boy smiling and happy, filled with promise, my heart would break all over again, and I would literally fall down in grief.There really are no words to explain the shattering of a mothers heart when she sees her child fall into that deep dark pit of drug addiction. We nurtured them, cared for them, taught them to talk, walk, ride a bike….and to look for cars before they crossed the street. We celebrated birthdays and holidays – those photo albums lay cold with the proof of a child brought by God and filled with promise and purpose.

Then….the drugs.

Our hope hangs by a slim thread, and we lay at night to greet sleeplessness, watching the minutes tick away on the clock wide awake until the alarm forces us to stand and struggle through grief beyond words. Day by day, we hope only that our child is alive. We can prepare for many things in life, but we never prepare to see our child addicted to drugs. We never prepare to send letters to our child in prison.

And often, we are alone in our sorrow—with no one to understand the pain we have. We are afraid to share it with others.

My son became addicted to pain medication and, like your daughter, he is on the path to healing. He was in a methadone clinic for many months, but has now ceased that treatment. It remains, however, a tightrope, adding to that the stigma of where he has been and that knowing of being “different.”

Forever, where a child goes, his mother goes as well and the dark dankness of drug addiction and prison is a hateful place. Even more so is the loneliness of following them and doing so alone. We go with them to the steel bars and, while we reach out and beg God for their healing and their lives, the fear of losing our child to the monster of drugs lurks, wanting to steal hope from the pieces of our heart that lay about as a shattered glass.

My “Christmas Baby” just celebrated his 31st birthday, and I know you understand when I say how grateful and thankful and BLESSED I am to be able to physically touch him—to press my head against his chest and hear his heart beat.

I am thankful for your post, for I too am a grateful and thankful mother, hopeful for the life of my son. Your post gave me the courage to share what I otherwise would not have shared. Now, I find that I want to write it—perhaps not for the world—but for myself. Write the story and toss it to the wind.

Thank you so much and may God bless you, and continue to heal your mother’s heart. May He hold your daughter in the safety of His hands and cover her with his wings, in Jesus Name.

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Allison’s Story


Jack, I just ‘found’ you on facebook through a mutual friend. So glad that I did. I have not read your book yet; but that will be remedied very soon. I am looking forward to reading your book.My beautiful daughter was in the nightmare hell of crack addiction for 5 years of her sweet young life. It goes without saying all that I was feeling and that I was in a constant state of prayer, or I would have lost my mind. That is something I know. Three years ago, she was incarcerated for possession. This was her 3rd incarceration and should have been the last one with a sentence of many years (according to man’s law…). Her probation officer and public defender (all of this went on about 200 miles from my home and I chose very wisely not to rush over there and be in the midst of all this) saw something in her and pressed for her to be sentenced to an 18 month treatment program (addicts can walk circles around a measly 28 day program and they do it every day, sadly). So these 2 people and the judge chose to use the ‘spirit of the law’ in my daughter’s case. Now, 3 years later… by the grace of our most loving and ever present Lord… and by the commitment of my daughter to her own recovery and many faceted and layered health… One day at a time, just for today, she is 3 years ‘clean and serene’… and me? Still, and ever more shall be, in a constant state of prayer. I am ever so very grateful for my daughter’s life… and MY life as it is today, compared to ‘how it was’, what happened… and what is happening now. I found serenity and fellowship within the family of Nar-Anon (a recovery group for family members and loved ones who love someone afflicted with the family disease of addiction) while my daughter found her way to recovery from addiction, her God, and her new way of life through the recovery family of Narcotics Anonymous. While most of us do not exactly embrace our 30th birthday.

My daughter’s 30th birthday = 1 year ‘clean and serene’. Wow this is a long comment. Your prayer is a beautiful and powerful expression of our struggle every day and often several times / day … that … ‘not knowing’ … is so odd for us … and in the program of Nar-Anon we learn 2 things that help me tremendously every day about this … not knowing (the clear will of God or what is next in our future… ) which perplexes us: First: Do the next right thing (simple yet not always easy). Second: my very personal favorite ‘slogan’ which freed me to be myself and love myself and learn how to live in peace with myself, my world, and THE world (along with many other life changes; yet this remains my favorite touchstone: “I am responsible for my effort. I am not responsible for the outcome.” I hope that something I have shared here will help someone struggling with a loved one’s addiction. Thank you, Jack, for stepping out into God’s will for you even though you may not understand it all the time. Your heart’s work has (I’m sure of it even not reading your book yet, *smile*) reached and set on a path of healing…. many lives already and still many lives to come; and thank you for sharing your inspiring prayers with us.

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Father,

Having been wounded at the core of my being,

I have stopped seeking You—

Stopped praying, stopped looking to You

For wisdom, guidance, and discernment.

I haven’t wanted anything to do with You.

I have been so angry, so hurt, and so humiliated.

In my pain, I have acted in shameful ways.

I have tried to hide my behavior

From You and from everybody else.

I didn’t want my life to be like this—

I didn’t want to become who I am.

My sins have gone over my head,

And I am unable to control them,

Which I foolishly believed I could.

They control me, and I know it.

And I can no longer hide from the truth.

I am weary of concealing my face in shame,

Of constantly churning anger and bitterness—

Of medicating my pain with sinfulness.

I don’t want the wounds I have received

While in my abuse situation to control

My future like they have my past.

I want to stop my downward cycle.

I want to change my behavior completely.

I am in a deep pit and I know it,

And there is no easy way to extricate myself.

I have routinely blamed others for my plight,

Choosing to embrace the role of being a victim,

Convincing myself that I have been faultless,

But I no longer believe my delusions.

I have to admit the truth to You and to myself.

I need Your help, Father. Without You,

My life will have neither meaning nor value.

Help me end my self-defeating behavior,

So that I can once again be cleansed

And restored to strength and sanity.

For I joyfully concur with the Law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the member of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. (Romans 7:22-25)

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Restore America


Lord,

Once we were many, but now we are few—

Those who call upon Your Name,

Knowing who You are, and who You are not.

Our leaders have turned their back to You,

As our President proudly announced that

We are no longer a Christian nation,

Which obviously gave him pleasure to do.

In my heart, I know it is true. We are not,

But this does not make me despair—not at all.

I know that those who mock You, delighting in their mischief,

Who wield power, as they sit in their seats scoffing,

Legislating wrong and calling it right, as they

Greedily line their pockets will ill gotten gains.

Their demise is at hand. In their hearts,

They believe they are all powerful,

But they are not. For a while—for a short period—

They have basked in their glory, believing that

It would last for generations, but it will not.

Rise up, Lord, call Your sheep by name

That we may rid our land of these miscreants.

Be gracious to us, oh Lord, and do not

Chasten us any longer than necessary.

Spare us further calamity from those

Who mock Your name and laugh contemptuously

At those who love Your ways and want to

Restore our nation to what it once was.

—Jack Watts

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Father,

I don’t just think I’ve been mistreated,

I know I have been mistreated.

And You know I’ve been wronged as well.

I’ve told You what happened repeatedly.

Everybody in my life knows my story.

Now that it has been a while since my abuse,

Everybody else seems to have progressed

With their lives—except for me.

I remain stuck in my debilitating mindset,

Which has not changed appreciably,

Despite the passage of so much time.

It’s infuriating and unfair that I’m the one

Who continues to experience so much pain.

Those who used, abused, and discarded me

Should be the ones to pay, but they haven’t.

I’m the one that continues to languish.

By refusing to move on with my life,

I know that I’m not hurting them—not one bit.

I’m only hurting myself and those around me.

It’s not fair. It’s not fair at all,

But I can’t live like this any longer.

I don’t want to waste my future harboring resentment,

Rehashing my drama repeatedly in my mind,

But it’s going to be difficult to get back on track.

I didn’t realize I had drifted so far from You, Father.

I didn’t realize how willful I had become,

But now I do. It becomes clearer each day.

I have blamed others for my plight for so long,

That bitterness seems normal—even comfortable,

Which frightens me for what lies ahead.

Show me how to find my way back to You.

—Jack Watts

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let you mind dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

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Joan’s Story.


I read this at 2 a.m., after one of the saddest and hardest Christmases I can recall. Watching the tragedy unfold with my prodigal son and the collateral damage to his wife and children sort of culminated on Christmas day, leaving me praying the same prayer as you have written here. As a widow, I feel a bit unprotected from it. As the day draws near, the enemy has upped the ante—the assaults more vicious and closer together—just as the Bible says. I know that because of the particular ministry I am in, I am more of a target and, being on a front line of the spiritual war, where it seems prayers hit the ceiling and fall back to the floor, I must return again and again to the verse you quote, I must stay the course and even though hunkered down at times with real fear, He is working something out. Thanks for the prayer.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

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