Friday, August 31, 2012

Wash In The Pool

Often when I mow my grass I end up with a ton of black dirt in my eyes, nose, mouth and ears. My back yard is a weed fest, littered with dirt. I am a scary sight after I get done. But when I wash up afterward, what an amazing feeling. Nothing better than getting clean after a time in the dirt. It's the same way in my recovery. For so long I walked around with my heart stained with blackness. Everything I breathed in, consumed, listened to, and even allowed my eyes to see brought blackness into my life. I was walking blind with no purpose. In the book of John we see a man describing what had happened after his washing from the Father. Someone asked him, "how were your eyes opened"? Then the man said, "(glad you asked!)Jesus put some anointed clay on my eyes and then... told me to 'go wash in the pool'...So I went and washed and I received sight"Jn 9:11 Did you catch that? He was a blind mess and then in obedience, he "went" and then "received". Wow! That hit me between the eyes this AM. My recovery is messy, life is messy, but in order to become clean as freshly fallen snow, to "gain" and then "keep" the right sight, I must follow His plan. He wants to wash me clean daily. Is He calling you to the pool today? What is holding you back? Recovery is worth the messiness. He turns ashes into beauty. It just takes one step, the 1st step to get going. I am grateful that I finally listened to His voice.  There is nothing like being cleaned up after a time in the dirt.  Rodney Holmstrom

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ways I Get Stuck

One of the Seven Ways We Get Stuck (lesson 25) is that we go too fast! We try to speed through our recovery and be on to the next thing. We skip over important steps, like sharing our inventory, stepping out of denial, admitting we are powerless. I was reading in Joshua about the time after Moses died when God brought His people into the promise land and there were several verses that made me think about lesson 25. Just as God had parted the Red Sea when He brought them out of Egypt, in order to get to the place God promised them they also had to go through a river, the Jordan. It doesn’t get as much publicity as the Red Sea parting, but God did the same for this next generation of people who weren’t born in Egypt, but who were born in the transition… he spilled the water (during flood season), and they walked across on dry land. After they got to the other side they had specific instructions to be circumcised. They had a literal example of cutting the old ways out of their life (yikes) and stepping into the new ways where God’s promises are. In chapter 5 verse 8 it reads… ‘and after the whole nation had been circumcised, they were in the camp until they were healed.’ I love that it doesn’t say, and ‘after the old had been cut away, they rushed out and took over the city of Jericho’… instead it reads… “they were in the camp until they were healed.” Had they eagerly rushed out instead of staying for a period of healing, there is a good chance they would not have had the strength or stamina to walk around the walls of Jericho and overtake the city. God has BIG plans for us. Breaking down walls and stepping into our promises is no small task. If we rush in to it without healing, we could not only land back in the dessert of dry isolation and loneliness, but we could also hurt people along the way. Remember, it’s a process, and in God’s timing AFTER our time of healing (in step study, in large group, in open share)… God will deliver HIS promises to us. Just thought I would share this with you. Have a blessed day Angela, another changed life

My Eye on the Storm?

Yesterday was one of those days where I felt overwhelmed and like the walls were caving in on me. Ever have one of those days? I was thinking this morning about the time I was young in the ocean with my mom and brother playing in the water. The water was pretty low and I was able to walk out to this little spot of dirt and play. I began walking back to shore the same way I came and realized real quick that the tide had come in and I was not able to walk back. I was not a good swimmer and found myself frozen with incredible fear. I began calling out to my mom on the shore in great panic, saying "mom! I'm scared!!!" Mom quickly came to my rescue just like any mom would. As she talked me thru the process of returning to her loving arms, she just kept saying, "look at me son, keep swimming, it's going to be ok." On a much grander scale the Father does the same thing for me as I face life's storms. When the winds and waves pick up in my life, He is telling me the same thing, "Look at Me Rodney. Keep your eyes on Me son. Keep walking toward Me. It's gonna be alright". Even if I am not a good swimmer, the good news is that He will come and meet me where I am in my storm. Jesus told Peter in his storm, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid.”Matt 14:27. Today, as we face our storms and big waves, take courage friend. Because of Him, we need not be afraid. He is all powerful, all knowing, willing and very much able to help us thru any and all storms we will face. Today I hear the Lord saying, "Quit looking at the storm Rodney. Look at Me." He is much stronger that any of the waves surrounding us right now isn't He?  Keep your eyes on Him no matter what. Keep praising Him in the storm. Rodney Holmstrom

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Horrific Evenings to Blessed Life

Evenings at home were horrific! I was at the kitchen table, doing my math homework with my step dad. I couldn't figure out the math problem I was working on and the harder my step dad tried to explain, the less I understood it. I could feel the tension in his voice as well as my brain locking up the angrier he got. I could see the frustration building into rage that would always end up with him punching me in the face, knocking me to the floor leaving me humiliated. For many years of my life I developed a mistrust toward people but specifically men. I believed all men were like this and so I avoided any kind of close contact with them. Isn't it ugly how the enemy can feed us lies thru our hurt!? The enemy used my past to keep me from blessings. I made a choice to ignore the hurt and not deal with it for so long. This just kept me living as that little boy in a man's body at the kitchen table. The fact is, I need men in my life to sharpen me and for many years was hesitant to allow them into my life. Thru CR, thru the willingness to finally face those dark memories, God has brought great healing to my life and a greater trust for men. These men are huge to my recovery and growth. We sharpen each other daily and weekly. I love how God replaces the lies "you can't trust them! They will only hurt you." -with- "I have sent you these men as a gift to walk along side you." Although, I know people will still fail me just as I do them, it is worth the rewards of opening my life and heart to allow them in. I am learning that when I trust in God, I am always protected and safe no matter what happens. True recovery comes in the context of community and boy am I so grateful to be in this community of believers, my fellow strugglers in life. I now know that it is thru Christ's strength AND the people He brings into my life that I have been able to not only forgive my step dad for his wrongdoings, but trust the new people He has graciously blessed me with today. “For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace."Isaiah 55:12. Thank You Father for leading me to peace. Thank you, Rodney Holmstrom

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Yesterday's Bread...

There is an old saying, "He who is not satisfied with himself will not grow." There is truth to that as I need to be happy in my own skin as God created me. He calls His creation good. However, this also got me to thinking that I don't need to be content with where I am in my growth though. Have you ever been in a great spot with the Lord, feeling like you are in that strike zone with quiet time, reading His word. Better yet, u are applying it to your life. Pretty sweet spot isn't it? But then, like me, have u been guilty of riding those days out in the days to follow without seeking Him in quiet time? Ouch! Yeah I have been guilty too. Not surprising though cause it is easy for me to want to take over as ruler, playing God in my life when things are going well. "I got this Lord" thoughts kick in. I am learning thru CR though that if I want to stay on track with God I have to make communication with Him a daily & top priority. I cannot live on yesterday's bread. I am created to hunger and thirst and if I don't fill it with Him, then I will with something else. Then I am in big trouble. It is thru His Word that He speaks, guides and yes even protects. Can you imagine going into a battle with nothing but the clothes on our back? Seems silly and yet that is exactly what I am doing when I leave the home without spending time with Him. In order for me to have true peace in my heart and mind, I must invite Him into my day. True peace is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of Righteousness, that is a person in Jesus Christ. We will face conflicts all day but His peace reigns inside us cause we "put on the Full Armor of God."Eph 6:10. Spend time with Him today. He loves His job as a Mentor.  Thank you, Rodney Holmstrom

Monday, August 27, 2012

Doors Slamming In Your Face?

Have you had a few doors slam in your face? You know, where you were confident that this was the way you were supposed to go and then at the last second the door closes? Yeah me too. Can be a little embarrassing huh? I can remember in those times feeling so discouraged and feeling like, "God, what gives? I really thought this was Your plan for me but now..." It is in those times that I can allow "fear" to start creeping back in, paralyzing me from taking another step. Then, in fear ruling my life, I can forget that He still has a plan for me, it just looks different than I thought. I am learning thru CR that I don't have to live with fear or discouragement. "God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, & of love, & of sound mind." 2Tim 1:7 So, even though a door closes on me in life, I don't need to become discouraged. Why? Because it may create some unnecessary fear that will prevent me later from walking with great confidence and strength thru the next door God opens for me. Walk in & with His power today. No matter what obstacles you face, know that He has another door for you coming, just "keep walking" in His love, power and sound mind, having great confidence that He will make a way. Our God is in control.  Thank you, Rodney Holmstrom

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Are You At Your Breaking Point?

Are u at your breaking point? Have you ever noticed that some of the most joyful, and genuinely happy people are those who have walked thru some of the toughest stuff? I am so blessed to have a front row seat to see this joy every Friday night at our CR. Some people have asked me, "wow, as many hurts as you see coming in on a Friday night, it must be a pretty heavy night huh?" Honestly, it is to the contrary. It is one of the most joyous nights. When hurting people, that have admitted their need come to the realization that they are at their breaking point, this is when the blessing begins. Sure there are tears, pain, hurt, but there is such healing in those tears. And in that surrendering process, so much blessing. The blessing is in the breaking. I am blessed that Christ picked me up out of my own junk and ignited my heart for life change. I learned thru CR that I don't have to wallow in my junk. Someone once said, "What can't be cured must be endured." Jesus has the cure, is our cure for our hurt, so I must endure. When I walk thru my junk, admitting my need for Him, and allowing Him to do the healing, change is possible and joy is eminent. "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking  anything."James 1:2-4 No matter how things look in your life today, know that God is still in control. Stay in peace, knowing that He will always be with you. Know that He is creating a new you just like He has me. This can be painful but He is growing you and I into His masterpiece. Every experience good or bad is part of His divine plan to use the stains of our past for His glory. Rodney Holmstrom

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Grant Me The "Courage"

"You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor."-Aristotle. As I was reading the serenity prayer last night at CR, that phrase, "God grant me....the "courage" to change the things I can...." Oh what courage it takes to take that first step doesn't it? I can remember being in some low places in my life and my knees literally felt like they were about to buckle under the pressure. Someone once said, "What is "not" started today is never finished." So true. I know today that if I had not used the courage and strength that Joshua speaks of, and lean into Him in the midst of my storm, even though the temptation is to turn and run, I would not have survived. In Luke 11 it gives me hope to know that if I "ask" for His help in having the courage to face life's battles, it will be given,. If I "seek" Him, I will find my Father cause He is waiting on me to surrender. If I knock, He will open the massive door keeping me from experiencing His freedom and hope in my life. He will do this not just for yesterday's struggles but for today's & tomorrow's. All I need to do is "start" by full surrender. He is the one leading, the one changing me, the one granting true serenity in the midst of a chaotic life; while giving me the courage to change the things I can; and His great wisdom to know the difference. Start today, and let's run and finish this race together one day in the arms of our Savior. He who brings you to it, will be faithful to carry you thru it.  Rodney Holmstrom roholmstrom@fellowshipnwa.org 479-659-3679 for more questions about CR

Friday, August 24, 2012

Habits?

This morning I was thinking about habits. I used to have some pretty crazy and destructive habits that brought much pain to myself and to others including my family. The word habit can seem like a dirty word but as I reflect on some new habits in my life, I realized that "habits" are good if they are the correct habits. Today I am so grateful for God giving me the strength to replace my destructive habits with new life changing habits. This life change was, is, and will only be possible if Christ is leading me. Someone once said,  “Habits are first cobwebs, then cables." Some of my past habits truly became cables that were wrapped around my neck and shoulders causing me to live in misery while I was drowning. Today, these new habits are cables connected to the Father. Today I have freedom. And though I am no where near perfect, I am seeking Him in faith as I continue this journey of life.  I don't know what you are battling today. I'm not sure what habits have a stranglehold hold on you and your family, but I do know that change is possible. Today, you can make a choice to start a new healthy habit, and that is to seek Christ with all your heart. Only He can give you the strength to deal with your life hurts and destructive habits. “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life."Prov4:23. Life change can happen in your life too. I promise u, & the journey is well worth it. The "gift" is a relationship with Christ. The "fruit" is freedom and joy unlike anything else. "Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step."MLK Jr.  I am praying that you find a CR in your area and take this first step.  See you there! Rodney Holmstrom

When I Am Weak.....Then comes the fruit

"Yeah but...I don't think I can, what if I fail?" It is interesting how I can get so wrapped up in worrying about failing, not being good enough to complete a challenge, or not being strong enough. I was walking with one of my Sponsee's the others night and we were talking about his first run at a garden this year. He was telling me about his watermelon and tomato's. He said the surprising thing about it was the plants that started out looking so strong were the ones that produced the least amount of fruit. However his plants that he would have thought were never going to make it, the weakest, were the ones that soared. Wow! Isn't that what God does with us? I know He does with me. He is looking for me to not act like I am strong, and have it all together, but instead to admit I am weak so that He can make me strong thru Him. "For when I am weak, then I am strong." I need to remember this when I am battling these concerns of "what if I fail". The fact is, I will fail at times but that is the beauty of being an imperfect and ordinary being, called to do extra ordinary things. When I look back on my life, it is my failures that have taught me the most about myself and life. Today, I choose to not live in fear of failure but be grateful for the opportunity to have on the job, life training. As our good friend James says, "Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."James 1:4. I am grateful that I have not only God but so many others as well to help me in this race. Keep plugging today and don't worry about the "what if's". God is in control anyway. Why worry about something only He controls anyway. :)RODNEY HOLMSTROM

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What Are You Addicted To?

What are you addicted to? The truth is that we are all addicted to something. We know the obvious ones such as drugs, alcohol, sex, food. Some we don't think about is drama, bitterness, resentment, anger. It can feel so right to hold on to those things doesn't it? I know in my life I was a professional addict when it came to bitterness or resentment toward those who wronged me. Even as recent as yesterday I felt this rejection from a brother on a decision I made that proved to be a foolish mistake. I could feel myself getting angry cause this guy was basically saying, "I can't believe you could be so stupid". At least that was what I was hearing. Lol. In the past it felt so right to hold onto it and yet, little did I know it was destroying me like poison to my soul. When I live in this way, I am allowing the enemy to become a ruler in my heart. “Flies never visit an egg that has no crack." The best way to keep the flies away in my life and the Spirit present, is to remove those things that quench the spirit. I am learning thru CR that my bitterness doesn't hurt "them" but only myself, making me miserable and unable to fulfill His purpose for my life. So today, God is telling me even in this recent conflict, "Let it go Rodney. I have bigger things for you to spend your energy on." ok God, I hear ya. “If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit."Gal5.25 For more information about Celebrate Recovery, contact Rodney at 479-659-3679 or roholmstrom@fellowshipnwa.org

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Made Anew

There is an old ancient proverb that says: "If we do not change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed." Very true! In fact that was the story of my life. I was miserable as a husband and dad as a young man early in my marriage. I was not living a life for Christ and although I had stopped the drugs, was still drinking some in moderation to mask some deep wounds from my past. I was looking for happiness in things and people instead of the Father. As I reflected on my time with my son last night, it was humbling to think about what grace I have been given. There was no longer a little boy sitting across from me at the table at dinner, but a young man. I get overwhelmed to think about what could have been but then remember, I need to stay away from the would of, could of, should of's. The truth is, early as a dad, I was not what I should have been and though I was not drugging, I poured myself into ridiculous hours at work and that became my new coping skill. Last night I saw a young man breaking a cycle of dysfunction. I am grateful that Christ came back into my life in a very real way and I was able to let go of the setbacks and disappointments from my past. Because I was able to start experiencing love from the Father in a real way, I was then able to give love to those around me in a real and genuine way. By doing this I am able to look at the incredible promises of God shine bright. Last night, sitting across the table, I saw one of those special promises in the flesh, my dear son. God did as He promised and restored the years the locusts had eaten and made me anew. As it has been said, "The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." This morning my heart is full of gratitude for Him giving me the strength to take that 1st step and for the new life, future, and family He has blessed me with. This morning I hang onto the promises of God. I am reminded of what my response is and should be to His blessings, and that is to love well. Starting 1st with the Father, my wife and kids and then my community and Church. "Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."1Cor 13:7. Thank You Father for giving me the forever family u have put around me. Rodney If you would like more information about Celebrate Recovery, contact Rodney at 479-659-3679 or roholmstrom@fellowshipnwa.org

Friday, August 17, 2012

Not a second too soon!!!

This morning I was talking with one of our Forever Family CR brothers and he was sharing with me about a sister that had come into their ministry. She was lost, and seeking a better hope and life. Our brother took the time to share the gospel with her and then led her to Christ. She received Christ and was then baptized in church the very next day, this past Sunday in fact. That in itself is enough to warm our hearts with great rejoicing. What you don’t know is that yesterday we received tough news that she was involved in a house fire and died. Wow! This hit me hard and really got me to thinking. Who is it I need to share with about His hope? It was Shakespeare that once said “Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.” I don’t know about you but I sure don’t want to be a minute late on something like this. As believers we know the importance on sharing with others and helping them to grow in their own faith. Reading in Colossians 2:6-7 this morning, “And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him…..and you will overflow with thankfulness.” One of the great ways this love and thankfulness overflows is in how I treat others not just in the moments I want them to listen to what I have to say. But in ever day interactions. Do they see something in me that they want for themselves? Or do I hurt my testimony and turn them off to anything I have to say. “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1Peter 4:8. My prayer for myself and others is that we first live a life that is alluring and attractive for others to desire for themselves and then secondly, that we have the courage to share what a relationship with Him means and how it can change us, with as many people as we can. I am grateful for our CR brothers willingness to share this message with this woman before she passed. We know where she is and we rejoice with the angels. Who’s next? “Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.”Jude 1:2. I pray this over you as you read this friend. For information about Celebrate Recovery contact Rodney at 479-659-3679 or roholmstrom@fellowshipnwa.org