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Archive for the ‘Adoption’ Category


Overwhelming Fearfulness

 

Don’t quit before the miracle happensAA Slogan

 

 

Father,

You know my troubles like no other,

And You understand my adversities.

You know that sometimes I become

So fearful my skin grows cold,

And it feels like I can hardly breathe.

My countenance shrinks and I feel helpless.

I’m afraid of so many things.

I’m afraid of people and of being alone,

Of never experiencing happiness again,

Of not having enough income to survive.

 

Father, it seems like the list never ends,

And I lack the power and strength to move forward.

I need You now—more than ever.

Help me. Be my strength, when I am weak.

Be my fortress, when my life crumbles around me.

You know I can’t rely on anybody but You.

At times I’m fearful that You don’t really care—

That You are not interested in helping me.

I want to be strong and confident,

But I am not, and I know that I’m not.

I acknowledge this as a shortcoming.

Give me Your strength and Your confidence.

Help me put one foot in front of the other—one day at a time.

I have nothing to sustain me but my trust in You,

Which I admit is tenuous and often very fragile,

Amen.

 

For I am ready to fall, and my sorrow is continually before me. For I confess my iniquity; I am full of anxiety because of my sin. But my enemies are vigorous and strong; and many are those who hate me wrongfully, and those who repay evil for good. Do not forsake me, O Lord, O my God, do not be far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation. (Psalm 38:17-22)

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Bottoming Out

 

I can’t handle it God; You take over—AA Slogan

 

Father,

My soul aches, and my spirit is weak.

Heartache has consumed me,

And I’m fearful of the future.

Those who know your Word much better than I,

Have rebuked me, chastening me

With contempt, ridicule, and shame.

In my heart, I have cowed before them,

Never questioning their motives or intent.

Slinking away in defeat and despair,

I have vowed to never return—to remain aloof

From them, from You, and from their religiosity.

I have wandered from You,

To a place where there is

No joy, no kindness, and no future.

Time has not been my friend.

My mistakes have brought me low.

My accusers know your Word,

But they don’t know your forgiving Spirit.

Father, I need Your help to return home,

To come back to where I belong,

To nurture a real and substantive relationship with You.

Strengthen me with power in the inner man.

Allow me to stand strong;

Allow me to be bold and confident;

Allow me to be the person you created me to be.

Don’t allow my accusers to continue having dominion

Over me, lest my future be as bleak as my past,

Amen

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Out of the depths I have cried to Thee, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice! Let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. If Thou, Lord, shouldst mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared. (Psalm 129:1-4)

 

Jack Watts

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God is interested in us being forthright—not in us being piously pretentious. God loathes hypocrisy—just like most of us do. He definitely understands adversity though, having experienced it through the suffering of His Son. This means God can and does empathize with each of us. This makes Him fully capable of meeting us exactly where we are, regardless of our situation, despite the level of our dysfunction. As difficult as it may seem to believe, He loves each of us exactly the way we are.

Recognizing this, while also coming to terms with it, is why I wrote Conquering Negative Self-Talk. It’s for wounded, hurting people—people just like you and me. It’s for those who believe they have very little to offer. It’s for people who have been crushed—for those who have had life knock the wind out of their sails. It’s for people who are in pain—for those who desire to reach out to God but lack the necessary words to express their deepest heartaches, apprehensions, and misgivings. Actually, this self-help workbook can benefit just about anybody, but it is especially useful for alcoholics, drug addicts, and codependents. So, if you are looking for something that will improve your life—a resource that will point you to God in the midst of crushing circumstances, when your self-worth is virtually non-existent, Conquering Negative Self-Talk is definitely for you.

 

 

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A Battle of the Wills

 

Not My Will but Yours—AA Slogan

 

 

Father,

I’ve wanted relationships and possessions

That You have not intended for me to have.

I’ve wanted them so badly

That I’ve come before You

Numerous times—pleading and begging—

Beseeching You to grant my desires.

And all You have done is to say “No.”

Refusing to accept Your answer as final,

I have continued my relentless complaining,

Insisting that You make my will be Your own.

In my stubbornness, I have maintained that

Right was wrong, and wrong was right,

While deceiving myself into believing

My purposes were noble—even altruistic.

I have ascribed righteousness to my desires,

As if seeking my goals was the pathway

To wisdom, contentment, and fulfillment.

In my foolishness, I have done my best

To convince myself that my way has been right,

But You remained adamant, refusing my demands.

Still unwilling to accept Your will over my own,

I have manipulated events until frustration

And exhaustion have overwhelmed me,

But You never budged nor wavered—not once.

Now, at the end of all my stubborn willful fretting,

I bow my knee and accept Your decision.

“No” it is, and “No” it shall be forevermore.

There are still parts of me that regret Your answer,

But You are in charge, and I am not.

Now that I have submitted myself

To Your purpose and direction rather than to my own,

I have begun to see things differently.

Finally, at the end of my stubborn willfulness,

I acknowledge that Your way is superior to my own,

Amen.

 

 

You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. And you are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive because you ask with the wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. (James 4:2-3)

Jack Watts

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Changes in Your Circumstances

 

If you turn it over and don’t let go of it, you will be upside down—AA Slogan

 

 

Father,

When You want my attention,

You know how to get it.

There are times when I feel

Like You aren’t really there,

Like You don’t really care,

Like my life has little meaning, value or purpose.

Then, through my circumstances,

You shake me to the core, and I am undone.

That’s when You begin your relentless pruning.

At first, I don’t recognize what is going on,

And I cry out, ”Why me, Lord?”

I don’t like what is happening,

And I resist Your efforts to make me

Into the person You intend for me to be.

I want to be your man,

Strong, resourceful, and successful,

But I want it to come easily, with little effort,

But it never does—not for me, anyway.

I chafe, as You prune my immature ways,

With precision and focused determination.

When I recognize what is occurring,

I bow me knee and acknowledge,

That Your hand has been hard on me,

But Your purpose has never wavered.

When You have finished, You seem pleased

With what You have pruned, knowing that

I will become stronger, more fruitful person.

 

I am the vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. (John 15:1-4)

Jack Watts

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We must lose our fear of creditors no matter how far we have to go, for we are liable to drink if we are afraid to face them—Alcoholics Anonymous

 

Father,

I know You have not given me a spirit of fear.

Your Word assures me that You haven’t,

But that doesn’t mean I’m not fearful. I am.

Sometimes, my fear is so consuming

It sends a cold chill through my body—

Through my soul—through the essence of my being.

On the outside, it doesn’t show, but on the inside,

Where my insecurities make me vulnerable, I am undone.

Every fiber of my being quakes with foreboding,

Immobilizing me, consuming me with dread.

When will it end? When will my heart know peace?

When will terror of the unknown and of economic insecurity

Cease to grip my soul? They toss me about,

Robbing me of sleep, robbing me of purpose,

And robbing me of a productive life.

 

You know me intimately, Lord.

You know my thoughts and all my imperfections,

But I can’t find You in this dismal pit,

Which has become my daily existence.

Assure me that I will experience joy once again—

That I will regain my confidence—that I will smile confidently.

Don’t allow fear of the future to be my lot,

My portion, and my destiny for the rest of my life.

 

Father, You know my course, but I do not.

What will my future be? Will my disquietude ever abate?

Will tranquility be mine again, or just a distant memory?

The answers are not in my possession.

I have no control of events, even though I pretend I do.

My fearfulness robs me of my faith in You, and I don’t have

The strength to overcome this limitation.

You see me as I really am and not how I pretend to be.

I need Your help. Rescue me, Lord; rescue me quickly,

Lest apprehension consume everything of value in me,

Amen.

So your life will hang in doubt before you; and you shall be in dread night and day, and shall have no assurance of your life. In the morning you shall say, ‘Would that it were evening!’ And at evening you shall say, ‘Would that it were morning!’ because of the dread of your heart which you dread, and for the sight of your eyes which you shall see. (Deuteronomy 28:66-67)

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Father, I Need Your Help

 

Faith is not belief without proof but trust without reservation—AA Slogan

 

 

Father,

I feel like a wounded gazelle,

Unable to fend for myself,

As hungry beasts surround me.

My demise seems certain,

And there is no place to hide.

My friends, those who call upon Your name,

Are nowhere to be found—

Just when I need them the most.

My love has abandoned me for another,

Never looking back—not once.

I am undone and badly crushed,

And those who seek what little is left,

Fight over the scraps of my being—

Over the pieces of my shattered life.

How long will You leave me exposed—

Vulnerable to ravenous predators—

To those who seek to destroy me?

Tell me, Lord, when will it be enough?

When will You protect Your wounded child?

When will You move Your mighty hand to help?

If You do not rescue me soon, there will be nothing left.

My head, which was once proud, now hangs in despair,

And my countenance is greatly diminished.

Terrifying apprehension of the future

Overwhelms me, and dread has become my lot.

I fear that my adversaries will have victory over me.

Provide me with a way through this thorny maze,

To a place that is safe and secure—

Free from turmoil, pain, and despair.

 

How long, O Lord? Wilt Thou forget me forever? How long wilt Thou hide Thy face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O Lord, my God; Enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death. Let my enemy say, “I have overcome him,” lest my adversaries rejoice when I am shaken. But I have trusted in Thy lovingkindness; my heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me. (Psalm 13)

Jack Watts

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Scrupulous Honesty

 

There is pain in recovery; misery is optional—AA Slogan

 

Father,

When I come before You,

I dutifully pay lip service

To how awesome You are.

When I say it, I mean it—sort of.

I know it’s true, but I must admit

That what I’m really interested in is me.

I acknowledge Your sovereignty because

I want “things,” from You—lots of things.

I want You to bless me—

To make my life easier and, most of all,

To rubberstamp my will as Your own.

Nearly all of my prayers focus on

What You can do for me.

I’m interested in Your blessings—

Not in getting to know You better.

This is the truth, and I need to be honest.

I wish I were a better, more selfless person.

I wish I had more character than this, but I don’t.

Admitting the truth about who I am embarrasses me,

But You know my heart and what I’m really like.

I need You to continue making changes in me.

Teach me to seek You for Yourself,

And not simply for what You can do for me.

Give me a heart to yearn for wisdom,

Rather than just Your generous benevolence.

Teach me to look beyond my limited world

To think about the needs of others.

Give me a heart for someone other than myself.

I recognize my selfishness; it is ever before me,

But You are changing me from the inside out,

Helping me to become a better, more thoughtful person—

A person worthy to bear Your name,

Amen.

Jack Watts

 

The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart. I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results on his deeds. (Jeremiah 17:9-10)

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God’s Leading

 

If you want what we have and you’re willing to go to any lengths to get it—AA Slogan

 

Father,

As I try to understand Your leading

And the direction You desire for me to follow,

It seems easy enough, but it never is.

I try to predict what You are doing—

What You have in mind for me,

But I never really know what that is.

It seems like I’m in the dark frequently,

And You are never predictable.

Just when I think I understand Your ways,

You move in a different direction—never returning

To the path I have learned to follow.

All I can do is listen to Your gentle whisper,

Which guides me toward my destiny.

Sometimes, I wish it was easier to be certain—

To know exactly where You are headed,

And what the outcome will be,

But that’s not my role—not my lot in life.

My job is to be keen and vigilant,

As You move through each of life’s circumstances,

Always pointing toward higher ground,

Always aiming toward Your predetermined purpose.

Having walked this road with You for many years,

I know that You can be trusted,

And that’s all I need to sustain me,

Amen.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Thy presence, and do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Thy ways, and sinners will be converted to Thee. (Psalm 51:10-13)

Jack Watts

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Learning to Trust God

 

It’s easy to talk the talk, but you have to walk the walk—AA Slogan

 

 

Father,

As the years progress,

I often hear people talk

About how much they trust You,

But their proclamations seem less sincere

Than the pronouncements of a fickle lover.

Lacking tangibility and depth,

Their affirmations, which flow mellifluously

From their self-serving mouths,

Have selfish and egotistical motives

That seem devoid of worthwhile substance.

Their loyalty has not been forged

By adversity and weathered by hardship.

Their trust seems shallow and juvenile,

Rather than strong, resilient, and steadfast.

Believing that whining and demanding

Will gain Your favor rather than being authentic,

They come before You with hearts

That are petulant, peevish, and proud.

Lacking gratitude, they are arrogantly self-righteous.

 

I understand their perspective completely,

Having spent decades of my life

Coming before You in precisely

The same self-serving, self-centered way—

Never understanding, never conceding

That You know what is best for me.

I acknowledge my effrontery and selfishness.

I have foolishly thought that my way

Was better than Yours, but I have been wrong.

I have wanted my will, believing that

When You refused to grant my demands,

You were distant and detached—

Unloving, uncaring, rigid, and unconcerned.

How foolish I have been, Father; how foolish.

You do know what is best for me,

Regardless of what that might be.

After years of perusing frivolity,

I now understand the error of my ways.

I wish I had recognized this sooner,

But I lacked the maturity to do so.

Now, as wisdom settles deep within me,

I bow me knee and acknowledge this truth:

You give and take away,

You give and take away,

You give and take away,

Blessed be Your name,

Amen.

 

Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord and He will have compassion on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are you ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:6-9)

Jack Watts

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My Life Still Has Purpose

 

In the End, God’s Truth Will Prevail—Jack Watts

 

Father,

Having been used, abused, and discarded,

By those who insisted they spoke in Your name,

But most assuredly did not,

My self-worth has suffered significantly.

Having internalized their shaming charge,

Which they have levied against me,

I have acted in ways contrary to my beliefs,

Which You have set forth in Your Word—

Convictions that reside deep in the core of my being.

Having tried to run from You for so long,

I now see how flawed my judgment has been.

Returning to You has required me to renew my mind

By looking at life from an entirely different perspective.

Thank You for enlightening me with wisdom,

For revealing that You have good things

Planned for me and not for the calamity I dread.

At times, I still have trouble believing You—

Trusting that the purpose You have planted

Within me is real and will come to fruition.

The stinging indictment of my abusers

Has found fertile ground in my soul,

And continues to resonate, telling me that

I am a person without value—without worth.

When I begin to internalize this message,

Flood me with Your love, Your truth, and Your Word.

Let my heart believe You when You say,

You are my child—loved and valued.

And I most assuredly have a purpose for your life.

Whenever you have doubts, come to Me,

And I will remind you of your value,

Amen.

 

The seers will be ashamed and the diviners will be embarrassed. Indeed, they will all cover their mouths because there is no answer from God. On the other hand I am filled with power—with the Spirit of the Lord—and with justice and courage to make known to Jacob his rebellious act, even to Israel his sin. (Micah 3:7-8)

Jack Watts

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My Life Still Has Purpose

 

In the End, God’s Truth Will Prevail—Jack Watts

 

Father,

Having been used, abused, and discarded,

By those who insisted they spoke in Your name,

But most assuredly did not,

My self-worth has suffered significantly.

Having internalized their shaming charge,

Which they have levied against me,

I have acted in ways contrary to my beliefs,

Which You have set forth in Your Word—

Convictions that reside deep in the core of my being.

Having tried to run from You for so long,

I now see how flawed my judgment has been.

Returning to You has required me to renew my mind

By looking at life from an entirely different perspective.

Thank You for enlightening me with wisdom,

For revealing that You have good things

Planned for me and not for the calamity I dread.

At times, I still have trouble believing You—

Trusting that the purpose You have planted

Within me is real and will come to fruition.

The stinging indictment of my abusers

Has found fertile ground in my soul,

And continues to resonate, telling me that

I am a person without value—without worth.

When I begin to internalize this message,

Flood me with Your love, Your truth, and Your Word.

Let my heart believe You when You say,

You are my child—loved and valued.

And I most assuredly have a purpose for your life.

Whenever you have doubts, come to Me,

And I will remind you of your value,

Amen.

 

The seers will be ashamed and the diviners will be embarrassed. Indeed, they will all cover their mouths because there is no answer from God. On the other hand I am filled with power—with the Spirit of the Lord—and with justice and courage to make known to Jacob his rebellious act, even to Israel his sin. (Micah 3:7-8)

Jack Watts

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Father,

Having said yes to alcohol for so long,

It has become an integral part of my life.

I can’t imagine what my existence would be without it,

But I also know that it is destroying me—

Just as surely as if I was drinking poison.

I know I must make some fundamental changes,

But I’ve become so engrained in my ways

That I’m not sure I can make them. In fact,

Without Your active involvement,

I’m certain that I can’t. I will fail.

 

I need Your help right now, Father—

Not tomorrow or the next day—right this minute.

Give me the strength to say “No” to alcohol.

Provide me with the intestinal fortitude

To “gut things out” until I am no longer

Consumed by the desire to pick up a drink.

Strengthen me with power in the inner man.

Without Your help, I fear my sobriety

Will be disjointed and short-lived,

But with Your help, my life can be filled

With joy, meaning and purpose once again.

Thank You for being there and for me,

Amen.

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

And do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge Him,

And He will make your paths straight, (Proverbs 3:5-6, NAS.)

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Discarding Arrogance and Pretense

 

Pain is the touchstone of spiritual growth—AA Slogan

 

 

Father,

In my pain and anguish,

When my heart was broken,

And I thought darkness would overwhelm me,

I felt lost and all alone, but I wasn’t.

Despite how I felt, You were there with me,

Diligently working in my heart—

Stripping me of all of my pretense,

Stripping me of all of my arrogance,

Stripping me of all of my self-serving ways—

Each of which had made a wasteland of my life.

Although Your child, I had no concern or awareness

Of the direction You intended for me to follow.

My only concern was relief from my discomfort,

But Your goals were far greater than mine.

I thought my anguish would never end—

That I would never smile at the future—

But I was wrong about this, as well.

I knew the desires of my heart

And asked You repeatedly to grant them,

But You never would, which saddened me at the time.

What I have gained through my loss though,

Has had more value than I could have imagined.

Out of the abyss, You have raised me up.

You have placed my feet on solid, immovable rock.

You have strengthened me with power

In the inner man—at the center of my being.

 

No longer fearful or timid, I’m resolute and confident.

Instead of being apprehensive, I am calm, strong, and sane.

And it’s all because You have changed my heart—

Transforming my perspective about what has value.

Without Your loving, consistent care,

I would never have learned my lessons

And would have been destined to repeat my mistakes

Over and over again, like an unreasoning animal—

Not like a man—not like a child of the King.

To compensate for what I have wasted in dissipation,

You reached into the pit—into the mire—

Into emotional carnage of my life and redeemed me,

Providing me with a future and a hope,

Amen.

 

 

Teach me to do Thy will, for Thou are my God; Let Thy good Spirit lead me on level ground. For the sake of Thy name, O Lord, revive me. In Thy righteousness bring my soul out of trouble. (Psalm 143:10-11)

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Pursuing Your Purpose

 

If it is meant to be, I can’t stop it. If it isn’t God’s will, I can’t make it happen—AA Slogan

 

Father,

My spirit has been rejuvenated.

Even my step feels lighter,

As the burden of my past has been

Lifted from my shoulders.

Now free to walk into the future,

Unencumbered by guilt, shame, and remorse,

Which have produced self-defeating behavior,

I want my life to have more meaning

Than the mediocrity that has become my routine.

The pursuit of valueless materialism no longer

Has the appeal that it once had, which is freeing.

Even my definition of success has changed.

My spirit has been awakened, and I want

To spend each day, which You have numbered,

Doing what You would have me do—

What You have prepared for me to do.

 

I’ve learned that I can more accurately

Understand Your leading by looking back,

Than I can by looking toward the future.

Whatever You have in store for me, Lord,

Regardless of what that might be,

This is where I want to spend my days.

Having wandered so far from You in the past,

I know the mischief I am capable of doing,

And that is not what I want for my life.

Guard my heart, Father, so that

I will not wander away from You again,

Pursuing fruitless, meaningless diversions.

Let my heart rejoice in Your ways.

Give me peace, purpose, and the resolve

To accomplish Your will each day,

For as many as I have remaining,

Amen.

 

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)

Jack Watts

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