About Us, Hope Redefined, how to help with porn addiction, recovery, Uncategorized

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.

from the wife, HER Voice, pornography addiction, recovery, the everyday, Uncategorized

Slow Change

I hate exercise. But I love cycling. I can’t even call it exercise because I love it that much. I’m not talking about a spinning class or riding a stationary bicycle, I’m talking about taking my bike out on a trail and riding across gravel and crunchy leaves and over old bridges.

A few months ago I was blessed with the gift of a few hours of time to myself, as for the first time ever, my kids were in school at the same time. I made a promise to myself not to spend that time cleaning or running errands, but biking on my trusty old mountain bike, one of my favorite past times. And it was glorious.

One afternoon a couple of weeks ago, the weather was finally cooler and it was an ideal autumn day. I set out on a ride with my playlist in full swing and I have to say, I was feeling pretty good about myself. Each week I had been able to push myself further and further, and it had been a long time since I’ve had something I’ve truly wanted to invest in for myself. I was rocking it. Then, bam! Out of nowhere, my pedals started spinning aimlessly and my bike stopped moving. I switched gears in a panic, causing my bike to completely lock up. I’m stuck. Just like that, I’m a walker – you know, those people I always pity as I’m riding, because riding gets the job done so much quicker. I can see more scenery and accomplish more in shorter time period. Not so with walking. So, I started the slow walk back to the car, which took double the time. And as each helpful citizen passed and offered to help me out, the amazing feeling I had earlier slowly dwindled. I’m humbled as well as extremely bummed. I wasn’t able to conquer the thing I love doing most, nor the goals I set for myself at the beginning of this new season.

Here I am two weeks later and I’m back on the trail. Only still walking as I wait for my “new bike fund” to grow. I’m forced to go slow, for now. Instead of making it to the winding part of the trail with the creek to my left, I can only make it to the old bridge about halfway down my usual route. It feels like I’m crawling.

Quite honestly, my fitness life isn’t the only thing feels like it’s moving at a snail’s pace. Many things do in this season, including my husband’s recovery. Despite the amazing progress he has made over the past couple of years in the way of his addiction, his progress has now leveled off. Praise God he has been porn free for nearly two years, but there is a piece of his heart that is still holding on to the day in and day out struggles. Like my bike ride, my husband’s progress at first was drastic and encouraging, but eventually it slowed to a jog, and then a walk, and now it feels like a crawl. Sometimes it feels he will never be truly free.

Over the course of our marriage, especially in the early days, I tried everything that I thought would bring freedom to my husband. As we all have done, I took it upon myself to do anything that I thought would conquer this problem. I got angry and expressed my hurt in unhealthy ways. I didn’t get angry enough and tried to ignore the problem. I sent him articles, book recommendations, support group options and videos that I thought maybe, just maybe, might finally change his heart. I checked countless search histories behind his back to try to find something I could use that maybe would force him to give this up.

I cannot conquer this sin for him.

But, none of these things ever worked. I cannot conquer this sin for him. I cannot conquer it any more than I can will my bike to start working again, even though I can clearly see parts of the bike’s mechanics disconnected from the bike itself. It needs repairs that I am in no way capable of doing myself. My bike needs a skilled repair man and my husband needs his heart in the hands of a mighty God.

And so, I felt God whisper a request to me at the start of this year. He was asking me to let go. To surrender my husband to Him. To take the burden of trying to keep up with his progress or lack thereof, and hand it over. Despite the huge changes my husband had made, there was still more needing to be done that only God could do. Only God could conquer my husband’s heart.

All of what God was asking me to do came together one night as I came to the story in Genesis 32 of Jacob face to face encounter with God. This story takes place the night before Jacob is to meet his brother Esau – the brother he deceived long ago. The brother that as far as Jacob knows, wants to kill him. The scriptures tell us Jacob was afraid for his life, therefore his typical planning and scheming nature kicks in. But here, on the eve of this meeting, Jacob, the expert deceiver, could no longer rely on his own lies and schemes. God meets him and wrestles with him. In this moment, Jacob’s only option was to rely on God’s blessing. He had nothing else. The words of David Guzik’s commentary (Enduring Word https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/genesis-32/) really hit home for me:

“This is an invaluable place for everyone to come to: where God conquers us. There is something to be said for every man doing his wrestling with God, and then acknowledging God’s greatness after having been defeated. We must know we serve a God who is greater than us, and we cannot conquer anything until He conquers us.”

Something else interesting about this story – God wrestled with Jacob. He approached Jacob, not the other way around. God finds us in our sinful state, our pain, our shame and our brokenness – and he takes our hearts in His hands and remakes us. He conquers us. I’ve witnessed this first hand in my own heart over the past two years. I did not ask for God to come into my life and expose the most hurtful parts of my husband’s sin, but through it my heart was conquered and changed in ways I still am unable to fully understand.

So for months now, I’ve prayed what feels like a risky prayer for my husband: Conquer. Lord, conquer my husband’s heart. Risky in the sense that I am scared of how God might go about that. But, like a skilled bike repair man, this is His business and I can trust Him. I can see the changes in my husband, bit by bit. The wrestling is happening, even if it is at a snail’s pace.

My walks on the trail have now become quiet times of reflection. I can still take in the scenery, even though I don’t make it to all of my favorite landmarks. And there is still beauty in this season, as I vacillate between words of praise to God, then to questions and frustrations and sometimes just silence. Don’t get me wrong, I will be so happy the day I can race down the trail on my bike, but for now, I’m in a season of slow change remembering that God can conquer it all.

from the wife, HER Voice, Hope Redefined, pornography addiction, recovery, the everyday, Uncategorized

The Night that Changed Everything

My heart was full of joy as I rested on the swing in the quiet, serene setting of our porch overlooking the trees below. My husband sat next to me. I texted, laughing with a friend about her burnt dinner through “LOLs” and smiley emojis. One moment there was bliss, but I had no idea my world was about to come crashing down.

It was the day before our 20th wedding anniversary. Earlier that year, we had taken a trip to celebrate and it was wonderful. The next minute would change everything about how I saw my husband, our 20 years together, our marriage and my life.

He turned to me and said, “I need to talk to you about something important.” The seriousness in his voice alarmed me. It was then he explained to me that for over 20 years, he had been addicted to pornography and mentally undressing women with his eyes. He had a sexual addiction and I had been oblivious. For over 20 years, I had no idea. None. I thought we had an amazing marriage, one that others may even have been envious of, even though that was never our goal. It seemed he adored me and that adoration fed a deep need inside of me to feel loved and cherished.

At the moment of this reveal, I must admit I handled it extremely well. The shock of it numbed my emotions. I wasn’t sure what any of this meant. However, the next day my emotions caught up with my brain, and I began to comprehend and process what this meant. 

It meant for twenty years, my adoring husband had been unfaithful to me in his thoughts and actions. It meant that my whole world and everything I thought was true was actually not true. It meant that my husband, my best friend, the one who I thought would always protect me and that I was safe with, was not protecting me. He felt more like an enemy than a friend, and he did not safe.

Feeling like my world has just been completely shaken is the best way to describe how it felt to find out my husband had a sexual addiction. I felt like I was falling and I couldn’t get my footing. Like I was drowning, thrashing about in a sea of pain. Because of this feeling, I began grabbing onto things, anything that felt like a lifeline and anything that felt like it might be safe. I grabbed on to people, hoping they could save me and fill that void. That deep longing to be loved and valued. But when a drowning person grabs onto another person, they often drown that person with them. And if not, that person has to swim away in order to save themselves. This, of course, feels like more rejection.

It is difficult to describe this type of pain, and for someone who has never experienced this kind of betrayal, it may not even make sense. But it is a deep pain, nonetheless.

What I realized through my healing process through Hope Redefined and Redeemed Hope was that I had a deep fear of rejection from my past along with many insecurities. My husband was a strong source of security for me. When he became unsafe for me, that security was gone. I realized how much I depended on him for security, when in truth, the only One I should depend on for my security is Jesus. That’s all. Jesus should be it. No person is able to hold us up. No person was ever meant to carry that weight and keep us anchored and secure.

photo courtesy of unsplash.com

Jesus is meant to be our anchor keeping us securely grounded in love, value, and acceptance.

A boat has an anchor to keep it securely fastened to the ground. Jesus is meant to be our anchor keeping us securely grounded in love, value, and acceptance. Nothing else is able to keep us anchored.

The Hope Redefined Support Group was exactly what I needed, when I needed it. It was a safe place to share my emotions with others who were in the same situation. I began to see that all I was feeling was completely normal and began to have hope for healing. By the end of the eight weeks, I felt mostly healed. I went to the Redeemed Hope Retreat to see if there was any more healing needed. Through the retreat, God did an even deeper work and truly restored my hope in Him.

I’m a life changed through this ministry and I’m so thankful for it. Thank you, Lyschel, l and the Hope Redefined/ Redeemed Hope team for all you do.

how to help with porn addiction

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.


recovery, the everyday

The Harvest isn’t the point

I confess, I’m not a gardener. I WANT to be a gardener, but alas I have failed for 4 years in a row. My dream has been to feed my family of 7 and then have a basket at the end of my driveway for all of my neighbors to reap from our harvest too. Wouldn’t that be dreamy to come home from a long days work and be able to grab a few fresh tomatoes on the way to your suburban abode?

So with this “bounty” goal in mind I have been working my backyard for several years. This past year I even lasagna layered my soil as I put it to bed for the winter in hopes of having this amazingly rich soil and HARVEST. Because it’s all about the harvest….right.

So this spring/summer growing season has come and I have managed to grow 4 peppers, 9 green beans and possibly 12 tomatoes. Yes, you read that correctly…9 green beans. 🙁

This year our struggle was pests. We had squash beetles, bunnies and squirrels. Squirrels who deserve a rant all on their own but I will save that soap box for another time.

As I walked through the rows of my garden a few weeks ago and griped about the condition, I said out loud.

“Alright Lord, this is it. I’m done. No more gardening for me. I am chalking this hobby up to epic fails and will buy all my goods from the store. I’m done!”

I heard His voice whisper in my heart. “But Lyschel, you love watching things grow. You have so much joy in seedlings.”

He is so right. I do love watching things grow. I love coming out to find a new seed popping through and the height of my tomato plants increasing as we begin to cage them. I’m ridiculously giddy during this phase.

But obviously when you hear God’s whispers you sit with them for a bit and ask for more. So as I began to process what he meant by “you love watching things grow” I began to realize that the delight I take in the process is just as special to me as the dream of a basket full of colorful goodness.

So what’s your point Lyschel?

Well, I started laying this realization out over several areas of my life. I wanted to see how this delight was transferring to other places or how the frustration of no harvest was weighing on me.

Our journey of sobriety and healing was one of the first thoughts that came to mind…second to parenting.

I could see how much I DIDN’T enjoy the growth process in these other places. I wanted to have the fastest growing season ever and fast forward to the harvest. Right…who wouldn’t want that. Am I alone?

I know I’m not alone because I sit with you all each week and we wrestle in this growing season together. We cry over the seeds that don’t seem to be taking root. We shake our fist in fits or rage at the squirrel who has yet again stole something that was NOT intended for him. We walk the row in prayers of anticipation and greatness. Then walk the same ones in defeat and are ready to throw in the towel…or trowel. (See what I did there,lol).

But the growth and advancement of our healing or my garden hobby don’t happen in one season. My soil will continue to get more rich with each season of planting. My skills will get stronger with each season of fighting off the pests and my harvest will increase ever so slightly with each season that passes. It’s no different for my recovery. With each struggle I will press further into the word of God. With each slip or relapse I will bring out the tools and skills I am learning from others as I continue to work on myself. We will take better steps forward as each season passes.

See, my harvest is not guaranteed, I think that has been proven. Not in my garden or in my marriage. But its something we go in full of hope and lots of unknowns. I had no idea that the little bunny family in my neighbors yard would have sooo many babies this year. I also had no idea this sin would snatch so much of our hearts and joy.

I don’t want to make light of our stories but I do want to offer HOPE. He sees us, he hears our grumbling in the rows of despair and he knows what brings us joy when we quickly forget and focus on the results verses the progress.

I’m praying you exhale today and determine what brings your heart joy in the gardening of your marriage. I pray he whisper to you too.

*full disclosure, the photo is not my garden, lol

Battling with you,

Lyschel Burket
Hope Redefined