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More Than A Piece Of Paper

This past month, I had the honor of receiving my certification from an organization that is committed to training and equipping helping professionals understand betrayal trauma and the impact of sexual addiction. The organization is called APSATS (Association of Partners of Sex Addiction Trauma Specialist). This certification makes me a Certified Partner Coach. Crazy job title to be excited over, right?  

I feel such a pressing on my heart to share why this is such a big deal, not only for me but for the women around me.

The day I received the certificate, I posted on social media my gratitude and excitement about getting to this point. What I didn’t mention was that when I sat back down in the back of the room and tried to contain my excitement, I heard this still small voice say, “Open the folder, Lyschel, and sit with this for a moment.” I have a tendency to run through life and quickly move from one thing to the next – physically, mentally and emotionally. The Lord knows this about me.  

I immediately opened the green folder containing my certificate and I just sat with it for a moment. Within a few seconds, the tears began to fall as I felt the Spirit remind me of all that happened prior to this moment. All of the mountains that were conquered, overcome or walked around to get to this moment.

The first thing that came to mind was my husband. The grief of his addiction is still there. It’s still something I ache over and the reality of what it has stolen from him, me and us. I hate that this is part of his story, and as a result, a part of mine. But man, we have weathered some storms – more like a tsunami quickly followed by a tornado. Some of these storms have been faced together and others I went through all on my own, with God by my side. Every single one of those storms contributed to the moment I was having in the back of this meeting room, looking at this simple piece of paper.

Second, I thought of my children. They have sacrificed for their mom to be able to walk in this calling. There were missed dinners and basketball games, along with a few field trips here and there. While I can wrestle with guilt over missing moments, I also think about the home life they are receiving because of the healing and investment I have made in myself to grow. It’s like they are getting to start from a level up.

Next, my thoughts and gratitude quickly moved to the women who have sat with me over the last seven years. Beautiful faces on the computer in our online groups and hugs received in our face to face groups. I can’t count the number of times women have thanked me for giving God my Yes. This was one more of those Yes moments.

I also thought of the incredible opposition that came from so many places as I have stepped into this space. Opposition from the enemy, but also opposition from other people.

I love the quote Brené Brown uses in her work, Daring Greatly from Teddy Roosevelt:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt

This is the kind of wisdom we have to hold on to when we live in a place that requires incredible vulnerability, uncertainty and courage.

I guess you could consider this my acceptance speech. And I do accept this certification with pride, honor and intentionality.

Looking back over my life, I can see how much I’ve learned and grown. I have a love and hunger to care for hurting people that does not make sense most days. I know with confidence that these things were given to me as a gift from God. I wholeheartedly receive this gift and will wake up tomorrow and whisper (probably into my coffee cup), “What’s on the agenda for today, Lord?”

I hope you find this kind of fight within yourself, whatever the area is. I hope you wake up tomorrow, give Him your Yes, and then buckle up for a crazy ride.

Thank you APSATS Board, Laura Hall, Barbara Steffens, Jen Cole, Jeanne, Carol, Dan, Janice and so many others who gave their yeses, too, so we could be way-makers.

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We are One!

Can you believe it? I can’t!

For many of you, this may be like watching the pregnancy of a friend. Time always passes faster when it isn’t you, right?  I remember watching one of my close friends while she was pregnant and thinking, “wow, that went fast.” I know from my own journey that the one carrying the baby doesn’t think it’s gone fast at all!

pic courtesy of Unsplash.com

On June 17th, 2018, I sat at this very same computer, and hit send as I submitted our 501(c)3 documents. I remember the overwhelming emotions. I took a huge inhale and felt like I was being transported to the ascending hill of a roller-coaster, knowing the coaster was about to plunge over a very steep drop. Screaming, laughter and total terror were about to overtake me, and they did.

These past 12 months have been nothing short of a miracle in so many ways, and I don’t use the word miracle lightly. I have watched the hand of God move in ways I never saw coming. I watched him secure a location for a retreat before it was even imagined. I witnessed women coming into a community and feeling connected with other people for the first time in a very long time. I sat in awe as surprise donations showed up in my mailbox and He graciously provided instruction on how to spend it.

In the middle of these gifts were also pockets of doors closing and chapters ending. Something I still don’t navigate with a ton of grace. But, reflecting back now, those times of uncertainty and insecurity make total sense.

A few months ago, the Lord highlighted Ananias as I reflected on the story of Saul/Paul’s conversion. In the past I have always been curious of Paul’s conversion, but this particular time He brought Ananias to my mind. To refresh your memory, Ananias is the one that God called to go lay hands on Saul as he lay blind on the road to Damascus. Ananias reminds the Lord of the risks involved in carrying out His request (see Acts 9:10-19), yet he still gives the Lord his yes. And then he goes.

I believe the Lord offered this story to remind me that I can not only converse with Him, but remind Him of my insecurities. Eventually, I can give Him my yes and I can go. 

As I put together a slide show to celebrate all that the Lord has done through this ministry this year, I just wept. Several of the memories I had forgotten, and along with those, the memory of how He answered the prayers we lifted up to heaven. It was truly a gift to sit and take in the captured moments and also remember the moments surrounding those photos. 

For those who have been a part of this ministry in ANY capacity – thank you. Women who have participated in support groups. Women who have attended the retreat. People who have bowed their heads, even for just a moment, and lifted us up. Mentors who have encouraged me to keep going even in the face of fear. 

Thank you to those who watch from afar like a momma bear. Thank you to those who show up, roll up their sleeves and get in the middle with us. Thank you to those who share our ministry with hurting friends. Thank you to those who send cards and encouragement to keep going, reminding me, “the work matters.” My words don’t seem to capture the gratitude that I feel within my heart.

So here I am, one year later, still reminding God of my insecurities. But, still giving him my yes.

Please celebrate with us and watch the video below. I also hope you will continue to watch for His goodness all of your days.

Happy 1st Anniversary, Hope Redefined community.