Faith

“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.”- J.R.R. Tolkien

Hebrews 11:1- Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

In Psalm 46:10 God tells us to be still and know that He is God.

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 2:5 to rest our faith in the power of God rather than the wisdom of men. He goes on to say in 2 Corinthians 5:7, that we walk by faith not by sight.

Ephesians 2:8-9- For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 

Luke 1:37- For nothing will be impossible with God. 

Staying encouraged about our future and our lives is often quite easy when things are going well. But, what about when things aren’t going well? What about when the road darkens? It is at these times that we must have faith. During these times God tells us to be still and know that He is God because He is taking care of what we are hoping for. I know it is often easier to trust in the wisdom of our friends or our families, but we can never forget to include God in our plans and trust in His power. For by grace we are ultimately saved through this faith. And, all things are possible with God. Today you can choose to trust in God’s power of your life. Today you can have faith in His plan for you.

(Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash)

Tired Thoughts

My mind goes blank, but of what?! That is the debate!
For I still possess a yearning.  Inside me, it just keeps turning. 
At times I wait to see what can be done, but at others, it seems this awful feeling has won. 
At times I have great aspirations, yet they often seem to be quelled by dire situations.  As hard as I try, these opportunities so often seem to fly by. 
Even so, I do not consider this defeat, only another challenge I must meet! 
I must make it easier on myself, however, and in every action, be oh so clever.

(Tired Thoughts is a poem by Justin Heupel) (Photo by Rishabh Agarwal)

Courage, Strength, Hope, Love, and Faith

My courage, my strength, I must go on, I must have faith! 
My love, my fear, both appreciated more with every tear!
  My mercy and intuition help me to evaluate every situation.
  My blood, my sweat, help me to pay off every debt! 
My joy my passion, I will always remember smiling and laughing!
  My life, my strife…  Nothing’s won without a fight!
  My lies my hate, not forgotten, never too late. 
My hope my creed, shown by every deed.
Hard work and dreams, sometimes nothing is as it seems.
  My doubt and questions; answered by hard life lessons. 
Every family member, every friend…  No matter what, I’ll be there for you until the end! No matter how hard or painful, lonely, or cruel…  Don’t give up; there is nothing we can’t do.
 LIVE, always for good, leave no moral left misunderstood!
 LOVE with all your heart; if you don’t give it your all, it’s not even worth the start! 
Life is not easy, no one ever said it was…  So live it for yourself, not for someone else. 
Try to be humble and kind, you never know in life what you will find… 
Do this not for me but for yourself…  To say; I have nothing else!

(Courage, Strength, Hope, Love, and Faith is a poem by Justin Heupel) (Photo by Javier Allegue Barros)

Life

When you should be dead by rights and death is in your sights.
When you wake up from a coma and you still smell death’s aroma
When you can’t eat, and it hurts to speak, and comfort is all you seek.
When you can’t walk, and people can’t understand you when you talk.
You can’t drink, you can barely think, and every color looks pink.
When you lose fifty pounds and don’t understand certain sounds.
When you are weak, and your future looks bleak.
When you can barely lift a pound, and a wheelchair is your only way around.
When you can’t write, and people tear up at your sight.
When you don’t have control, and you feel all alone.
When your passion is taken, and you feel mistaken.
Then you see life in a different way, you thank God for every day.
Your thoughts grow deep, and you are thankful for sleep.
You are thankful for every meal and are grateful to be able to feel.
You think before you speak and wisdom is what you seek.
You try to make people smile and help them through any trial.
You are happy to be alive, and for great things, you strive.
You appreciate the little things in life, and that brings you less strife.
You appreciate your family more, and you don’t mind being a little sore.
Happy you will be, be patient, you will see!
If you let it, life will be great. Just wait! Do your best and God will take care of the rest.

(Life is a poem by Justin Heupel) (Photo by Greg Rakozy )

Patiently Probing Possibilities

Patience is a virtue, laziness, a sin.  We all harbor each within.
  It is said that those who work hard will be rewarded, and the efforts of the lazy will be thwarted. 
Myself?  I am trying to find that fine line, where strength and patience align.
  I work for things I love, at times patiently seeking guidance from above. 
Other times, however, I tend to think I am more clever and end up doing whatever. 
At this point, I tend to wonder, why is it that I fail?  For my coffin, is it just one more nail? 
It could be, but what if that’s not the case?  What if all of my inpatient decisions are just a waste, to be filed in the garbage and erased. 
  Where would that leave me, though?  Isn’t there something from my mistakes I can show? 
Maybe not, but from them, I can learn a lot!  So that is what I will try to do, after all, no one is perfect, even you!

(Patiently Probing Possibilities is a poem by Justin Heupel) (Photo by Holger Link )

Metaphorically speaking, use current events and circumstances as your muse.

What am I saying here?  Well…  What is the first thing you would think about if I asked you to tell me what is happening in the world today?  I would imagine that the majority of people would reference the Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19).  How it has wreaked havoc on our everyday lives.  How it has devastated lives.  How no matter where we go, we are bound to hear someone talking about something related to it.  How everyone has an opinion about how it should be addressed.  Because of this current event, the circumstances in our lives have been impacted dramatically.

“Yeah, so what is this muse you speak of?” you might ask.  A muse is something that causes us to think deeply about the specific thing, person, situation, etc.…  A muse can also be a source of inspiration for an artist, author, poet, musician, etc…  So, in this instance, I found myself thinking deeply about our current events and circumstances and was inspired.  How can such a dreadful experience be inspiring?  Good question!  This is where the “metaphorically speaking” piece comes in.  As I was deep in thought about our current events and circumstances, I began to compare them to that of a person who suffers from issues with addiction.

“WHAT”?!..  Yes, hear me out.  Consider yourself (a person with addiction issues) as the world and your addiction as the Carona Virus.  Up until the addiction manifested, your life was manageable.  Maybe you had some bad breaks, but you were always able to find a way to get by.  Then, slowly you started experiencing some terrible circumstances.  You began feeling symptoms of withdrawal.  You started waking up and craving the source of your addiction.  You couldn’t go to sleep without indulging in the source of your addiction.  At this point, life is getting difficult, but it is still manageable.  Then, BOOM!  Something drastic happens, you lose your job, get arrested, lose custody of your children, etc… 

Now your addiction has wreaked havoc on your life. It is the main cause of your devastation.  Wherever you go, whatever you do, it is always on your mind.  You hear everyone telling you different things about your addiction.  Some people judge you.  Some people encourage you.  Others ignore you.  Almost everyone tells you that you need to quit.  Regardless, your addiction has impacted the circumstances of your life dramatically.  Now you can’t drive, see your children, or go to work. 

Now your addiction has wreaked havoc on your life. It is the main cause of your devastation.  Wherever you go, whatever you do, it is always on your mind.  You hear everyone telling you different things about your addiction.  Some people judge you.  Some people encourage you.  Others ignore you.  Almost everyone tells you that you need to quit.  Regardless, your addiction has impacted the circumstances of your life dramatically.  Now you can’t drive, see your children, or go to work. 

So where do you go from there?  Well, let’s go back to our metaphor.  What has the world done when it’s circumstances have been dramatically impacted?  Take action!  Do not wait for your addiction to ruin you.  Sure it has devastated you, but it hasn’t won yet!  Don’t ignore your symptoms! Seek help!  Avoid risky situations! Do research! Talk to people that have overcome similar issues!  Focus on remaining positive and keep hope and faith.  Just like the world, you have experienced adversity before.  Maybe not at this magnitude, but just like the world, you will not give up!  Today you can, metaphorically speaking, use current events and circumstances as your muse to remain sober!

(Photo by Markus Spiske )

Prove to others and more importantly yourself that you can remain sober!

The first thing that comes to my mind when I consider this statement is that “motivation comes from action.”  What that means is that when we start doing something, we are more apt to continue doing something.  Not only that, but everyone has to start somewhere.  A key component of remaining sober is the motivation to do so. The first day might be stressful, but remember that after you get that first day in, you are more apt to continue to stay sober.  If you would like to consider this from a scientific perspective, think of Newton’s first law of motion: “an object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion.”  Take that first step! Once you have taken action and get your sobriety in motion, the motivation to continue to stay sober will begin to manifest and slowly but surely remain in motion.

The other thing I think of when I consider that statement is the motivation I get from proving others wrong and right.  Chances are (if your experience is anything like mine), you have made some choices that have affected others in negative ways.  Whether they believe you are serious about your recovery or not, how gratifying is it to either prove them wrong or make them proud by proving them right.    We have all heard the saying, “actions speak louder than words.”  What better way to prove yourself than by taking that step and getting through your day sober?!  Today you can remain sober! Today you can prove to others and more importantly yourself that you can!

(Photo by Nik)