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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.


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